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Signs of Bad Wiring in Your House

Some signs of bad wiring include hot plates, flickering lights, frequently blown fuses, and more. Ignoring these signs can put homeowners at risk of damage. In more severe cases, it can even cause electrical fires. 

Are you a homeowner in the Greater Baltimore area who wants to know more about your electrical wiring? Homeowners will want to know all about the different signs of bad wiring so they can protect their house and property. 

Let the experts at JPS Electrical Services guide you through the different signs in this article. We have years of experience in servicing homeowners in the Harford and Baltimore County, Maryland area and know the ins and outs of electrical systems

Keep reading to learn all about the signs of bad wiring. 

Bad Wiring Signals in Your House

Poor wiring will reveal itself through signs like tripped breakers, weird smells, and more. These signs are the first warning signs of an electrical issue, and your next step should always be to contact your electrician. 

An electrician will be able to begin the necessary repairs and solve the problem before it gets worse. 

We will discuss the individual signs of bad wiring in more detail. 

Frequent Blown Fuses and Tripped Breakers

Breakers that keep tripping over one specific outlet can have faulty wiring issues. The same goes for blown fuses over one single outlet. This is a symptom of an overloaded circuit. 

While circuit breakers are designed to shut down in case of power surges, you should watch out if this happens more frequently than normal. 

Hot Outlets

Outlet plates should not feel hot to the touch, and a heated outlet means there is an electrical issue. Turn off the outlet and get it checked for damage. Sometimes the materials have simply aged and need replacing, or there was an unreasonable demand on the power draw of the outlet

If the outlet plate is hot without anything in it, it is likely that the wiring is bad. This will need a thorough inspection from your electrician. 

Flickering Lights

Lights that flicker or dim can mean the circuit is damaged. Lights only use a small amount of power, but appliances on the same circuit that need more power such as a washing machine can be draining more power than the circuit is able to provide. 

Drawing too much power from a circuit is a quick way to damage your wiring system. 

Odd Smells

A burning or otherwise odd smell coming from an outlet in your house is a sign of bad wiring. You should not use this outlet; turn it off and take out any plugs that are connected to it. Odd smells coming from the breaker panel or fuse box should be taken seriously as well. 


Sparks that are coming from a fuse box, outlet, or breaker panel warrant an immediate call to your electrician. This is a strong risk of fire and electric shock. Sometimes, these sparks can be accompanied by the smell of burning rubber. 

Sparks that come from appliances mean that the appliance is the issue, and you can either call a repair company or replace the appliance. 

Too Many Extensions Cords

Regular and heavy use of extension cords can compromise your wiring by raising the chances of the cord being damaged. If the cord is pinched, kinked, or shorted out, you could damage your outlets or trip your breaker. Sometimes, you can even cause a fire. 

Extension cords should be used only when needed and never for large appliances. Your safest option is to hire an electrician to install more outlets if you need them. 

Pest Problems

If you have a mouse or rat problem in your home, you should be wary of the damage they can do to your electrical wiring system. Pests like these can chew through your wires, which can wreak havoc on your wiring system. 

Call pest control to take care of your pest problem immediately, and then you should have your electrician double-check your wires just in case. 

Old Aluminum Wiring

If you purchased an older home, you could have faulty aluminum wiring. Aluminum wiring was used to wire most homes in the 1960s to 1970s, but poor wiring design at the time caused many electrical fires. 

If you have old aluminum wiring, you should look into getting it replaced quickly before any fire hazards begin. You can replace it with copper or new aluminum wiring.


Signs of bad wiring in your house should always be taken seriously as it can put your home and your safety at risk. Electrical shock and fires can begin from poor wiring systems, and it’s always worth the effort to have an electrician come double-check your wires. 

If you have bad wiring and live in the Harford or Baltimore County area, JPS Electrical Services is ready to help. We can help with all questions about your electrical system, so reach out to JPS Electrical today on our website or via our phone at (410)656-4311.

 JPS Electrical has extensive knowledge of all things electrical. We offer residential electrical inspections, installations, maintenance plans, repairs, and servicing for those in the Great Baltimore area. See our website today for a free estimate

Frequently Asked Questions

How do electricians look for faulty wiring? 

Electricians look for wires with fraying or damage. They will also look for wires where they shouldn’t be, such as falling from ceilings or coming out of the walls. Other things they look for are wires that are escaping their protective coating. 

What is the top cause of faulty electrical wiring? 

One of the top causes of faulty electrical wiring issues is having too few outlets and relying on too many extension cords. Extension cords can present a weakness for your system if they get damaged or overloaded.