Did you know that electricity travels at the speed of light (186,000 miles per second)? Electricity allows us to power our homes, but it can also be very dangerous, which is why problems such as electrocution and electrical fires can occur within a second. The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that electrical receptacles, such as outlets, are involved in 5,300 fires every year, many of which occur in residential homes. The risk of fire is one of many reasons — and probably the most important — to make sure that your wiring and repairs are done by a certified residential electrician from one of the over 212,000 electrical repair companies in the U.S.

If you suspect that your home is at risk for fire, or if you want to make sure your electrical work is done properly to avoid shock, here are some warning signs that you may need to contact a residential electrical service:

1. Have you ever received an electric shock when touching an appliance or other electrical item? If the shock occurred after crossing a carpeted surface, you should be fine, as this is especially common in the winter. However, if this occurs when you open your refrigerator or turn on your stove, you probably want to call a home electrician. This can be a sign of either a ground fault problem in the appliance or improper wiring in your home.

2. Do the lights in your ceiling fixtures flicker? Check to make sure that the bulb isn’t loose or in need of replacement. If it still flickers, it might be a problem with the fixture itself, so make sure to contact an electrician as soon as possible, and avoid using that light in the meantime.

3. Do you have a switch or outlet that doesn’t work properly? Signs of this may include a plug that sits loose in an outlet, or switches and receptacles that only work intermittently. If you notice this problem anywhere in your home, call a residential electrical service immediately.

4. Have you noticed any major problems with your electrical work? If you have seen circuits or fuses blowing or shorting out regularly, or sparks and/or burning odors coming from fixtures or appliances, this can put your home at serious risk for fire. Make sure to check your fuse box or circuit breaker as well: if you see accumulated rust or moisture, don’t hesitate in calling an electrician.

Electrical repairs can be frustrating to deal with, but ensuring that they happen can save you and your family from disaster or injury. If you experience any of the above issues, be sure to call a residential electrical service to have a certified electrician come to your home as soon as possible.

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