While smoke alarms are an essential tool to warn occupiers of the presence of fire in their premises, there are other early warning signs that can prevent the incidence of fire. Alarms save lives because they alert people to danger, but property damage can still be extensive. Fortunately, there are a few early indicators that something is amiss with the electrical wiring in your premises.
Circuit Breakers that keep Tripping
A common one involves circuit breakers, which are designed to trip automatically, stopping the flow of electricity if there is an overload. This can happen every now and then if too many appliances are plugged into the same outlet. In one-off situations, the solution is to remove one of the appliances and plug it into another outlet.
When it happens often, however, it could be a short circuit caused by broken wires or wires touching each other. Circuit breakers that keep tripping on a regular basis should be checked out by a qualified electrician.
Switches or Outlets that Buzz
Sometimes occupiers assume that this buzzing is from fluorescent lights, which have a tendency to produce a similar noise. Do not assume that this is nothing to worry about. Buzzing can be caused by a loose connection in the wiring or an overloaded circuit. If the sound is in a switch or power outlet, call an electrician.
Flickering Lights – the Possibilities
We have all experienced this at some time. Most of the time it is a loose or faulty bulb that is the culprit. Replace the bulb with a new one, and if the flickering continues it will be either a connection problem somewhere in the circuit or something faulty in the actual fixture. As in all other circumstances, contact an electrician. Do not attempt to fix it yourself.
Mild Electric Shocks and Something Burning
These are two symptoms of the same problem – faulty wiring. Getting a mild shock could be a ground fault with the particular appliance, but it could also be a warning about the condition of the wiring in the premises. A smell of burning plastic coming from an outlet or switch is definitely a warning sign. Switch off the power at the main panel and call an electrician immediately.
These are all situations we have encountered at NLE Commercial. As suppliers and installers of commercial appliances such as dishwashers and laundry equipment, we have sometimes found during an installation that the existing wiring needs replacing. Because our work meets all Australian electrical safety standards, we are able to correct the wiring as part of the installation process.
We urge home and business owners not to ignore any of the signs mentioned, as a fire could be the end result.