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Electrical fires are a surprisingly common household issue, with the US Fire Administration estimating over 45,000 home electrical fires every year. Learning the signs of electrical issues can help prevent disasters, including devastating house fires.

Whether the issue is relatively minor or extremely serious, it’s important for homeowners to be aware of the signs. Many electrical issues can affect your HVAC unit, which can create additional home issues. Here are five signs of electrical issues to look for in your Raleigh, North Carolina, home so you can get them fixed before they create serious problems.

Dead Outlet

If you plug in an appliance or charger into an outlet, you expect it to provide instant, continuous power. However, if there are wiring or other electrical issues beyond the outlet, you may not get any power at all. Inconsistent power, or no power at all, is a strong indicator of a bigger problem. If there is no power coming from the outlet, remove everything that’s plugged into it to make sure you’re safe, and then call a professional. 

If you use a system like a ductless mini-split or dehumidifier that runs off an outlet, make sure you check that outlet regularly to ensure it’s working properly, especially if you only use the connected system every now and again. 

System Shudder

When you start up your air conditioning, it should kick on smoothly without any stuttering or shuddering. If you notice your HVAC system takes a few tries to get up to speed, or it seems to take extra effort to turn on completely, you could be facing an issue with your capacitor. This is what helps the interior motors get moving. 

If it can’t handle the electrical current that’s running through it, or if the wiring has an issue leading to not enough power transfer, you’ll get a weak start that leads to shuddering. This will dramatically affect your system’s efficiency and can lead to higher energy bills. 


This should be fairly obvious, but if you plug something into an outlet and you get a shock, it’s time to call an electrician. Your home’s wiring may not be grounded properly, and this could absolutely lead to a fire hazard. You also shouldn’t get shocks from touching any of your appliances, or a shock when you turn them on, especially not large appliances like HVAC units. 

If this happens, immediately remove anything from the connected outlet and shut off any appliance or electrically powered home item that shocked you. A professional can tell you if the issue is from the appliance itself, or if it’s from your home’s wiring. 

Burning Smell

Burning smells can be a sign that something is wrong for several different home appliances, including wiring. If you notice a pervasive burning smell, it’s a good idea to first check your HVAC unit to ensure your filter is clean and that there isn’t any debris inside the unit. Once you’ve checked that, you may also want to make sure there isn’t any leftover food in your oven or toaster. 

If you can’t find anything that accounts for the smell, you may be facing an electrical issue. Find the area of the house that it’s coming from and try to shut down anything plugged in around it before calling an electrician. Burning smells caused by electrical issues often have a sharp, chemical-like smell.

Wrong Temperature

One of the surest signs you have a wiring issue that’s affecting your HVAC system is that it’s blowing the wrong temperature air. This could point to several different issues. The most serious would be a frayed or broken wire inside your wall, which can lead to potential fire risks. Other problems could be a disconnect in your thermostat or at your HVAC unit. Communication between your thermostat and HVAC unit is key for effective home climate control, and an electrical issue that causes the wrong temperature can create an uncomfortable home. 

If you’re concerned you may have an electrical issue in your home, give the professionals at Cape Fear Air Conditioning a call at 919-246-5801 today!

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