Recognizing a Problem
At some point in your experience as a home or business owner, you may be going about your day as usual, only to find that one of your electrical outlets has been blackened and melted by heat (right where you were wanting to plug in a new 50″ screen TV… darn it!). Aside from being frustrated, you are also somewhat concerned about the safety of the situation; and you have every reason to be concerned!
Electricity is not something to play around with, neither is it something to ignore when a problem arises. Unaddressed electrical malfunctions claim responsibility for thousands of house fires every year, and hundreds of civilian deaths.
Causes of Excess Heat
The reason behind a charred or burnt outlet is usually simple to diagnose, seeing as it is almost always caused by one of two problems:
1. Damaged or Incorrectly Installed Wiring
It is very important for wiring to be installed in a way that creates an unbroken channel for the electricity to flow through. When wires become old and worn, things begin to break loose, giving opportunity for free-flowing energy; this is called arcing.
Arcing is a large amount of electricity that shoots from the breaking point of the wiring to the nearest conductor it can find, such as the other broken end of wiring. The arc that is shooting through the air, however, generates a lot of heat that can melt or burn any surrounding flammable material.
If the wiring in your home is old and possibly damaged by time, or if the installers were not careful in their work of wiring installation, it is possible that electrical arcing is indeed the cause of the burnt outlet.
2. Circuit Overload
Sometimes outlets are overburdened with appliances, loaded power strips, etc., and the demand is beyond what the electrical wiring was designed to carry. When this happens, the wiring will become hot and possibly ignite or melt anything that comes into contact with it, including the plastic outlet.
This problem often occurs in older homes that were built “back in the day”, before lifestyles depended on so many electrical gadgets and appliances. The common wiring of days gone by was of a smaller gauge that cannot safely handle large flows of electricity.
If you can smell electrical heat and a burning odor, turn off your power and call a licensed electrician immediately! You may be overloading a circuit.
What Can Be Done?
It is important to note that (for the sake of safety) all electrical work should be left to the professionals. Having said that, both damaged and overloaded wiring should be dealt with as soon as possible.
Old damaged wiring will need to be switched out with new wire, and insufficiently gauged wire should be replaced with a size that can meet the demands of your home or business. Sounds like a big project, right? …but it is a necessary one!
Have It Done Right!
There is no room for playing games or cutting corners when it comes to electrical work. Penny Electric knows how serious it can be to face wiring malfunctions, because the safety of innocent lives are the first priority.
Penny Electric proudly serves the Southern Nevada area with commitment and quality workmanship. Our electricians are continually being educated in the latest solutions and techniques of the electrical world, and we use products and skill that can compete with the best!