Electrical wiring issues are responsible for more than 50,000 house fires annually, and unfortunately, many of these calamities are avoidable. Electrical fires cause hundreds of thousands of dollars in property loss, including the expenses of reconstructing the home or business. The causes may be improper installation or damaged and poorly maintained wiring, but the effects of this unseen hazard can be costly.
The entity responsible for the damage may have a right to repair a construction defect before the injured party sues, but this and the time frame for discovery or cure depends on state law. Under Kentucky law, the statute of limitations for notification to and action of a construction professional is ten years for contracts. But the statute of repose, which bars liability regardless of fault beyond a certain period, is seven years after substantial completion.
Signs there are electrical wiring problems
There are a few signs that can point to potentially hazardous electrical conditions in the home or office:
- Dimming or flickering lights, which can point to an imbalance of energy-sucking appliances that may draw current away from another circuit.
- Odors coming from a socket, which may indicate a wiring issue. If the breaker panel has an odd odor, call an electrician immediately.
- Sparking, depending on the source. If it comes from the appliance, it may indicate that there is something wrong with the fixture or the appliance. But if it is coming from the fuse box, it is important to call an electrician right away.
- Buzzing, which may be symptomatic of loose prongs or fraying wire that may be causing the circuit to jump.
- Hot outlets, which can mean improper wiring.
These and other signs may indicate significant electrical problems in the home or building, and the owner should take action if they detect any one of these issues.
Preventative measures to take
There are proactive measures the owner can take to protect the structure from potential issues. As most municipalities only require an inspection when there is a renovation or addition, it is a good idea to check the last time an electrician checked the system out. The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends an inspection every ten years.
It is also possible to file a claim against a third party, such as the inspector who did not see the problem, or the previous owner or agent who failed to disclose the defect. Getting more information is the first step toward finding a remedy.