How do so many homes have electrical fires each year? The Electrical Safety Foundation International estimates about 51,000 homes have electrical fires each year, with about 500 deaths, 1,400 injuries, and $1.3 billion in property damage. Other sources vary but the numbers are somewhat similar, and they raise the question of how this happens. Electricity isn’t flammable like gas, and it’s typically well-contained in your Wilmington, NC home’s wiring, keeping out of trouble. At least, that’s how it might seem. At Mister Sparky of Wilmington, our emergency electrician service responds to actual and potential electrical emergencies, when the risk of fire, electric shock, and other electricity-related problems needs urgent attention. We also respond to power loss problems, questionable situations like buzzing from outlets, dimming or flashing lights, and smells that may reflect electrical problems. Heated electrical equipment including plugs and wires can also get us rolling, and any sign of damaged equipment including broken protective coverings or melted plastic also calls for an emergency electrician. In the end, all the signs of trouble do support the number of electrical concerns that erupt into flames or even major fires and make it clear that electricity is to be taken seriously, with our emergency electrician ready to investigate and handle potential problems with professional experience.
Unknown Wiring and Unrecognized Hazards
In many homes, the wiring behind the walls is unknown in quality and materials. The older the home is, the more possibilities exist, such as aluminum wiring, even knob and tube style from long ago, which by themselves pose some risk but also concerns that our emergency electrician should check when extending the wiring. Special care needs to be used to ensure that connections between aluminum wiring and modern copper are performed correctly, and when aluminum is attached to modern fixtures there can be many issues to consider. Aging insulation exposes wires to moisture, contact with other wiring, and corrosion, and increases the risk of situations where wires heat up or spark and potentially ignite materials nearby. Even the best wiring in walls is at risk of being exposed to pipe leaks and other water damage, resulting in corrosion and poor connections, heating up and causing fire risks as well. For any possible water damage, our emergency electrician should evaluate the risk of shock hazards when the water is flowing and people might get in contact with it, and wires should be replaced as part of damage repairs, especially wires that may have been exposed to water through capillary action drawing it up into the insulated areas where damage can’t be seen.
One of the signs of water leaks is the presence of creatures coming and going from the space where the leak occurred, which becomes a natural nesting area with plentiful moisture. Water can come from pipes or rainwater may seep into the walls through the roof or outside walls of the home. If it’s a particularly wild storm, blowing rain can find its way in very creatively, and our emergency electrician may find damage in unexpected places. Creatures enjoying this resource can also wind up chewing on wires and destroying the insulation, resulting in potential shorts and ignition sources. Any potential problems can develop over time, so there’s no obvious cause and effect between the original situation and the eventual fire. Experience is one of our emergency electrician’s most important tools, because past problems in other Wilmington, NC homes may suggest issues to be checked that aren’t immediately obvious in the current situation. Nature can even take extreme roles in electrical problems, such as tree limbs damaging the home’s incoming power connection, or a lightning strike that renders circuit breakers, wiring, and other components untrustworthy.
Hidden Problems from the Home’s Past
The age of the home not only renders the wiring suspect from older electrical practices and materials, there may also be problems from past natural events or physical damage from repairs or renovations that has been undiscovered until now. Our emergency electrician may suspect the presence of such problems due to clues such as a bit of melted plastic on an old circuit breaker or a carbonized pattern somewhere in the walls indicating a lightning strike in the past. An area where components don’t match the age of the home can indicate the need for a repair in the past that may not have covered all the necessary problems, leaving them to develop over time or wait until newer equipment was connected such as microwave ovens that draw significant amounts of power and cause damaged wiring to heat up. With so many ways for electrical problems to occur in a home, it’s important to be proactive with inspections and careful servicing, and also to be aware that signs of electrical trouble should be taken seriously, even when there’s no obvious reason for them to be happening.
Power Failures Can Be Signs of Trouble, Too
A power failure is an urgent situation for your family for your safety and comfort, but it can also be a sign that there are problems in your electrical wiring and protective devices that need attention. Especially if the failures recur, it’s wise to have our expert electricians come and check the source of the problem for trouble.
Your Expert Electrician, Ready to Respond When You’re Concerned About Your Power
At Mister Sparky of Wilmington, we watch out for your safety when we’re providing routine electrical services, noting problems during an inspection, fixture installation, wiring, and other activities when your home’s electrical components are more visible. We respect the power of electricity and are well-trained in its sometimes unexpected behavior, and we’re always ready to help you avoid trouble with power in your home. Give us a call whenever you have concerns in Wilmington, NC, and we’ll provide information and an emergency electrician visit if needed. We’re here for all your general electrician needs too, just give us a call!