Hiring an unlicensed electrician or general “handyman” to do electrical work in your home could leave you in the dark— or worse. Sure, the price may be right, at first, but the risks are great – including short circuits, damage to appliances, fire hazards, not to mention the risks related to an unlicensed worker getting injured on your property!
What does this all mean? Read on and we will discuss some of the more common problems found in homes that have been serviced by unlicensed electricians.
What are some signs of bad wiring?
Poor workmanship isn’t always so easy to see. It’s not just being left in the dark and having to flip a breaker, though that’s a surefire indicator that you have a short circuit or are overloading the breaker. Other indicators that your house needs a checkup by a licensed, reliable electrical contractor are:
- Hot or discolored outlets - Electrical outlets should never be hot to the touch and they shouldn’t appear discolored. If you notice these symptoms, it could be the beginning of a serious problem.
- Dimming lights - Lights that dim or flicker when other appliances are switched on can indicate an overloaded circuit or faulty wiring.While it might feel like a fun trick, especially around Halloween, it’s important to get this checked out ASAP.
- Popping sounds or tingling plug-ins - An outlet that makes an audible “pop” or gives you a pins-and-needles feeling when you plug something in. That feeling might be interesting, but it’s not a good sign.
- Melting plastic smells - Ever smell a “hot” smell or a melting plastic smell when you flip a switch or plug something in? This is a sure sign of a serious electrical problem, get this checked out ASAP.
What’s a Short Circuit?
No, it’s not just a movie from the 1980’s. A short circuit is a potentially dangerous situation that is often the result of an unlicensed “electrician” attempting to make a quick fix for a little cash.
Here’s the thing: electricity always wants to find the easy way out. It will inevitably follow the path of least resistance. If the insulation to a wire is faulty or a part of a bare wire mysteriously becomes exposed, allowing it to touch anything conductive (metal light switch housing, nails, or screws, etc) – the electricity will take that shorter path.
This could result in minor annoyances like tripped breakers or GFCI switches and as well as more significant issues like electrical shocks, overheated wiring, and, in the worst case scenario, a house fire.
Some of the most likely symptoms of bad wiring jobs include issues like damaged insulation from improper installation (too much bare wire exposed, nicks in the insulation elsewhere), nail or screw punctures, and, most often, loose or improperly secured connections.
If you’ve had work done by an unlicensed electrician or handyman and you are experiencing these “bad wiring blues” – SWFL Electric can help. And of course, if you want to avoid these problems altogether, contact us for any of your electrical needs.