9 Signs You Need an Electrical Inspection Now


  • Lights that flicker or dim
  • Circuit breaker trips
  • Strange smells
  • Overusing extension cords
  • Electrical shocks
  • Outdated electrical panel
  • Hot sockets or switches
  • Aluminum wiring
  • Unusual noises
Electrical Inspection 1

Having a safe and reliable electrical system is critical to enjoying all the comforts of modern living—from security to convenience. It’s important to keep your home’s wiring and fixtures in good shape to prevent dangerous situations like electrical fires.

Every homeowner should be proactive in maintaining the safety and efficiency of their home’s electrical system. For instance, an annual electrical inspection can prevent severe accidents, like fires, often resulting from overlooked electrical issues. 

This guide will discuss eight signs that your home urgently needs an electrical inspection. Plus, we’ll touch on how to make sure your electrician has the right credentials to do the job safely and effectively.

Electrical Inspection

1. Lights That Flicker or Dim

If your lights aren’t steady, it could point to serious issues in your electrical circuit. This is a job for a pro who can make sure everything is up to code.

2. Circuit Breaker Trips

Frequent tripping means your electrical system is struggling. It’s designed to cut power to prevent overheating and fires, but if it happens often, you need to check it out.

3. Strange Smells 

It can be confusing and sometimes uncomfortable when encountering strange smells in your household. When it comes to electrical safety, remember to keep an ear and nose out for:

  • Burning plastic or rubber: This could mean wiring is melting somewhere, which is definitely not a good sign! This smell could originate from wiring within the walls, overloaded outlets, or overheated appliances.
  • Ozone or a sharp, metallic smell: If you notice a sharp, clean, chlorine-like scent, it could be ozone produced by electric arcing. Arcing occurs when electricity jumps across a gap in a connection, creating intense heat that can ignite flammable materials. This often happens in faulty switches, power outlets, or within the electrical panel.
  • Fishy or chemical odor: Although unexpected, a fishy or ammonia-like odor can be associated with overheating electrical components. When exposed to excessive heat, plastic coatings or other materials used in switches, outlets, or electrical wiring emit this smell.

    If you notice these, shut off the power to the area and call a licensed electrician immediately.

4. Overusing Extension Cords

Relying too much on extension cords can indicate insufficient outlets and an overburdened system. An inspection can tell if you need more outlets to handle your electrical needs safely.

5. Electrical Shocks

Any shock or tingle from touching appliances signals a problem with your system’s grounding or other electrical faults. Get this checked to prevent more serious issues.

6. Outdated Electrical Panel

If your panel is over 20 years old, it might not cope well with today’s electrical demands. Upgrading can improve safety and efficiency. 

7. Hot Sockets or Switches

These should never feel hot to the touch. If they do, it’s a sign of excessive demand or faulty wiring. 

8. Aluminum Wiring

Found in older homes, aluminum wiring is a known fire risk compared to copper. If your home predates 1972, consider having it inspected and possibly upgraded.

9. Unusual Noises

If you start hearing odd noises around your house, it might be more than just the building settling—it could be a sign of electrical problems. Here are a few noises to keep an ear out for:

  • Buzzing: This noise is common and can come from fixtures, outlets, or switches. It often means there’s a loose connection somewhere, which could lead to bigger issues if not fixed.
  • Crackling or popping: Heard from an outlet or switch? It’s not just annoying; it could be a sign of an arc fault, where electricity is jumping over gaps in connections, and that’s definitely not good.
  • Sizzling: Imagine the sound of bacon in the pan, but if you’re hearing it from your electrical system, that’s a red flag that something might be overheating and burning.
  • Humming: A breaker box shouldn’t hum loudly. If yours does, it could mean the circuit’s overloaded or a breaker isn’t working right. Either way, it’s worth getting it checked out.
  • Rattling: This might suggest something’s come loose. While not immediately dangerous, it’s a good idea to make sure everything’s tight and right to avoid problems down the road.

    Noises like these are your home’s way of calling for help. To avoid a real headache, turn off the power to the area where you hear the noise and call in a pro to take a look. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

Checking an Electrician’s License

Always verify an electrician’s license through your state’s electrical board. A valid license means the electrician meets the necessary standards to safely inspect and repair your home’s electrical system.

In the words of the licensed electricians at MSS Ortiz, “By ensuring frequent inspection by one of our electrical professionals, you can ensure that any issues are caught early and before they can grow and become potentially life-threatening. Electrical malfunctions are not similar to plumbing situations where it takes months or years to cause damage.

Electrical issues are typically discovered after serious damage or fire has occurred. They can be brought on by common events like plugging in an appliance, flipping a light switch, or lightning.

With our HomeSafe Electrical Evaluation, you’ll know if you’re close to the capacity of your breaker box, if your outlets are rated for certain appliances, or if something we see isn’t up to code.”


Watching for these warning signs and working with a licensed professional can keep your electrical system safe and functional.

Furthermore, regular inspections help avoid most electrical hazards, ensuring your home stays safe and sound.

Julie Higgins
Julie is a Staff Writer at momooze.com. She has been working in publishing houses before joining the editorial team at momooze. Julie's love and passion are topics around beauty, lifestyle, hair and nails.