light bulb illuminates on wooden background.

Faulty electrical wiring is one of the major causes of fires and related injuries. However, even though this unfortunate event isn’t uncommon, some people never learn their lesson. Some will even ignore signs of major electrical problems that they know are indicative of underlying issues like a misbehaving thermostat that needs a reset or a microwave that was acting weird when you baked a pie last time.

While some of the potential signs of an electrical problem are hidden behind the walls, others can also be seen right away. Therefore, you must know how to identify these problems so you can take the appropriate action and call a qualified electrician to check them right away.

Electrical Problem Warning Signs

It’s crucial to know the signs of a major electrical problem before it becomes too late. Even if you’re not an experienced electrician, there are some things that are easy to spot.

1. Flickering Lights

If you notice that lights are constantly flickering in your house, it could indicate an electrical issue. Flickering lights are generally problematic because it usually means that the bulb isn’t screwed tight and may loosen over time.

Flickering lights might also be because of a faulty switch. When the bulb and its switch have a poor connection, it usually creates flickers as the electricity that’s supposed to flow freely gets interrupted by problems in the connection.

You’re lucky if these are indeed the reasons you have flickering lights, as these are just minor problems that you can quickly fix. However, in some cases, flickering lights can also signify major electrical issues like fluctuating voltage, overloaded circuits, and loose wiring. There are various ways to fix them which are outlined below:

  • Overloaded Circuit

If your light is flickering every time you turn on a major electrical appliance like refrigerators or a dishwasher, it can be a sign of an overloaded circuit. An overloaded circuit means that the power supply is unable to handle the electric load.

Thus, you may want to have an expert check if you need a new or additional circuit breaker for your appliances. If ignored, the overloaded circuit can cause your electrical wirings to overheat, which can cause a fire.

  • Fluctuating Voltage

Electrical currents fluctuate as a part of the standard flow in the electrical circuit. However, the voltage should register between the standard voltage of your country. You may want to measure your home’s voltage using a voltmeter once you notice flickering lights. Ignoring flickering lights because of fluctuating voltage may harm other appliances at home, costing you a lot. Make this a part of your home maintenance routine.

  • Loose Wiring

Flickering lights can also be an indication of loose wiring which can result in a fire if neglected. Loose wiring on any electrical component can also cause arcing. Arcing happens when the electric current jumps over the gap from one wire to another. So, if you notice flickering lights in your home or any loose wiring on an electrical component, have experts check them as soon as possible.

2. Burning Smell

If you suddenly notice a burning smell, it may also be an indication of electrical problems. If the power is on and there’s no smoking appliance nearby, check your breaker panel for blown fuses or tripped breakers. A circuit may also have overheated wires in the insulation that’s producing this odor. It’s crucial for you to find the source of the burning odor, especially if it smells like burning plastic or vinyl. This odor is a clear indication that there’s a major electrical problem. If left unattended, an electrical issue can quickly become a fire that damages your property and belongings. If this has happened to you, be sure to contact professionals for fire damage restoration in Manhattan or other large cities.

3. Sizzling Sound

An electrical arc crossing two blue, copper wires on a green and black gradient background.

If you hear sizzling sounds when you switch on a light or plug in an appliance, this may indicate that the insulation has been compromised and needs to be replaced. Once a circuit is opened, arcing can occur within the wires, which may result in a short circuit. A short circuit refers to an electric current jump across an open circuit that could ignite the insulation. It may lead to fire hazards or, even worse, electrocution accidents when electric current arcs come in contact with water.

4. Circuit Breaker Trips Repeatedly

If your circuit breaker repeatedly trips for no apparent reason, it could be a sign that you have an overloaded circuit. This happens when the breaker trips to protect the electrical system from being damaged by too much current or voltage flowing. So, if your circuit breaker trips repeatedly, find out exactly where the problem lies and see if any other appliances on that same circuit also need to be checked.


Electrical problems can be dangerous to both human lives and property. Don’t ignore flickering lights, as they can indicate a more serious electrical problem than you may initially think. When you smell something like burning plastic or vinyl, determine the source immediately to avoid the possibility of causing a fire.

Similarly, a sizzling sound is also an indication of a fire hazard that you shouldn’t ignore. Lastly, if your circuit breaker trips repeatedly, you should be alarmed and seek a qualified electrician’s help to prevent the possible dangers of an overloaded circuit breaker.