Scary Electrical Stories to Tell in the Dark
5 Things That Horrify Electricians (With Pictures!)
By Victoria Figueiredo
Do you ever wonder what keeps electricians up at night? The thoughts and fears that haunt their minds long after everyone else has fallen asleep? Yes, even tough guys who deal with live wires like it’s no big deal have things to be afraid of. We asked our techs and these are the five things that give them the heebie-jeebies. Spoiler alert: it’s not ghosts or ghouls!
- Melted Meter CansHave you ever seen a meter can melted so thoroughly that it strongly resembles a s’more-ready marshmallow? Because we have. House fires are scary no matter what, but ones that start somewhere in your electrical system are especially haunting, not least because they’re so easily preventable. How can you protect your home from falling prey to a meter fire? Keep an eye out for excessive moisture collecting in the clear cover, environmental contaminants, excessive electrical load including overloads and short circuits, loose or melted conductors, vandalism, and storm damage. You don’t have to look at your meter every day, but a glance every now and then will save you a fire and save us some nightmares!
- Spontaneously Combustible Outlets
Outlet fires are as terrifying as they sound and about as common as you fear. Prevent outlet fires and/or melting hardware by doing the following: invest in arc-fault breakers and try your best to not over load your circuits!!! The circuits in your home are only made to withstand a certain load. When you plug more things into your outlets than your circuit can handle, you’re asking for a fire. The simplest way to avoid over loading your circuits is to unplug something whenever you plug something else in. Here’s a couple small-scale examples just to explain the practice: if you’re doing your hair in the morning, unplug your hairdryer when you plug in your curling iron. If it’s cold where you are, unplug your space heater while you vacuum. Over time and with consistent practice, this tip will become second nature to you. Bearing that in mind, you totally don’t have to do this every single time you plug something in! The main thing to watch out for is any appliance that produces heat – these use up a lot more power than things like lamps, and are therefore more likely to overload a circuit. Just be smart and unplug!
Want to go the extra mile to protect your home from overloaded circuitry? Consider investing in an arc-fault circuit interrupter, or AFCI. This is a circuit breaker that monitors your current usage and trips when it detects an overload, short circuit, or an electric arc, saving your home from an electrical fire. Using them to protect your home outlets can give you the peace of mind you need when it comes to electrical safety. Have questions about AFCI installation or whether you should invest in them at all? Give us a call! We’re happy to share our horror stories.
We know we’ve talked about this before, but we’re certain they’re still lurking in your home, waiting for the perfect moment to strike and ruin your life. What menace are we talking about? ALL YOUR DAMAGED CABLES, CORDS, AND WIRES. We can’t say this enough – just ditch the broken cables!!! Would you rather spend thirty bucks on a new phone charger or $300k + on a new home and new possessions? That’s what we thought.
If your once-smooth cables are looking oddly fuzzy, seriously just get rid of them. This includes cords for lamps, chargers for laptops and phones, basically anything you plug into the wall. Wires are insulated for a reason – to protect from electrical shock, fires, and electrocution. Spooky stuff! If your cords are in good shape, keep them that way by making sure that you pull on the plugs when you remove them from the wall instead of tugging on the cables. You can also extend the life of your cords by ensuring that none of them are pinched, caught between or under heavy objects (think table, desk, chair, and couch legs), and NEVER hang anything by its cord – that’s just asking for trouble.
Service panels are the main thing we as electricians have to deal with on a daily basis. You would not believe the spine-chilling things we’ve seen when dealing with panels. Good News Electric provides a nice, clear list of the problems you should be checking for:
- Exposed wires
- Aluminum wiring
- Major renovations
- See flickering lights
- Fuses and not breakers
- Breakers trip frequently
- Outlets with burn marks
- The building is 20 years or older
- Burnt marks on wires in panel
- Hear strange sounds or smells
- Loose breakers or screws in panel
- No power when switch is turned on
- See sparks when switch is turned on
- Outlets or switches are hot to the touch
- Multiple wires attached to one breaker
If you experience any of these issues, the first thing you should do is call an electrician (that would be us!) and schedule a service call ASAP. Your service panel is literally is constant use – problems in it are no joke!
Not that you can do much about this, but tiny attics are just creepy. Take it from the people who squeeze into itty bitty spaces for a living – the claustrophobia is real! Try your best to prevent or detect/deal with infestations of any kind. Squirrels, rats, ants, wasps – we’ve seen ‘em all and we’re here to tell you they make our skin crawl!