Is Your Home Going Wacky? How to Know When it’s time to Call an Electrician

When things get a bit weird in your house.  Lights start flickering. You hear a buzzing sound.  An outlet has a strange odor.  Something snaps, crackles or pops. These are all signs something has gone haywire with the electrical wiring in your home. So, who do you call?  You could contact Ghostbusters, of course,  but you will likely get a much better response from a local electrician.

So, how do you know when it’s the right time to call for help? Below are some telltale signs you need to pick up the phone. 

The Lights are Wonky

Dimming or flickering lights can often be blamed on major appliances that suck up energy and are wired to the same circuit. Consult an electrician about moving major appliances to a different circuit.  If your power is inconsistent, it could be due to a faulty fixture, frayed wiring, or a bulb with a wattage that exceeds the limits of your outlet.

Your Nose Knows

If you smell smoke or notice an odd odor coming from an outlet, turn off and unplug anything connected to it. Have a qualified electrician look at it before using it again. If your fuse box or breaker panel smells off, call an electrician right away. 

Sparks, Sparks Everywhere

If a breaker panel, fuse box or outlet is sparking, call an electrician immediately. If an appliance is producing sparks on its own, it could be damaged. In this case, contact an appliance repair person who may be able to fix it under warranty, or for less money than a professional electrician. 

Blown Fuses and Tripped Breakers

If a hair dryer or vacuum cleaner keeps tripping a breaker,  the appliance is likely causing the problem. This could range from a loose bulb to a loose connection in the fixture. However, if a single outlet causes you to blow the same fuse repeatedly, the circuit is probably overloaded. Call in a pro.

Outlets Shock You

If you are getting a shock whenever you use a certain outlet, get help.  Same goes if an outlet is vibrating or warm to the touch.  These are signs of damaged circuits, broken cords or an unstable electric current.  

Something Keeps Buzzing

When all is well, electricity is silent as it flows between connections.  However, loose prongs, outlets or fraying wire can cause the current to create a buzzing sound.  If a particular outlet or light switch is making noise, stop using it and call an electrician.

Your House is Old

If your house is more than 20 years old, it’s time to get an electrical check up.  It is dangerous to pile on plug strips, or other outlet modifications, to make up for a lack of plug space.  Keep in mind that power bars and multi-taps will strain your power, not give you more. 

Extension Cords are Everywhere

Power is safest when the wires are buried inside the walls.  An extension cord that is out in the open can get damaged, causing tripped breakers, damaged outlets, or a fire.  Use extension cords sparingly or only for a short time, such as during the holidays.  If you need more permanent outlets, have an electrician install them.

Water is a Hazard

Water is an excellent conductor of electricity, and kitchens and bathrooms require special shock-resistant outlets.  Ground fault circuit interrupters, or GFCIs, have two small buttons in the center and add an extra layer of protection. Have them installed in areas that often get wet.

Need Help? Contact Us for all of Your Electrical Needs

The folks at CKElectric can handle all of your electrical projects, big or small!  Need a service call? Our electricians can help you figure out why your outlets have stopped working or your panel keeps tripping. 

We serve Sykesville, Eldersburg, Frederick, and all of Central Maryland.  Call us at 443-920-3078 or email us at  We are happy to serve you!


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