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Faulty Wiring – 6 Tell-Tale Signs

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faulty wiring – 6 tell tale signs

Faulty wiring is more than just an inconvenience for your business. It poses a serious health and safety risk to everyone and everything on site. At the very least, wiring faults can lead to small electrical shocks. In the worst-case scenario, they can lead to fire outbreaks and even cause fatal harm.

Either way, it’s not something you should put up with. In this post, we’ll outline some potential causes of faulty wiring and how to spot it on your premises.

What’s behind faulty wiring?

As the name suggests, faulty wiring often arises from poor workmanship. Electricians that aren’t properly trained, accredited or experienced will make errors which cause big problems down the line – long after they’re gone.

To avoid this going forward, you’ll want a local contractor that’s worth their salt. That’s covered in our guide on how to find the best commercial electrical contractors, including:

  • Accreditations – Look for names like NICEIC and SafeContractor.
  • Experience – 5-10 years’ experience is a good trust factor.
  • Reviews – Check reviews on Trustpilot, Facebook and Google.
  • Expertise – Make sure they offer the specific services you need.

Even if you only work with the best of the best, you can still fall victim to faulty wiring. Your business might have moved into a new premises. Or maybe the wiring job was overseen by a previous site manager who was a little less cautious.

Of course, there’s always the issue of time. Wiring can be subject to general wear and tear, or can even become outdated as new practices and materials take over. That’s why it’s important to have your wiring regularly inspected.

Signs of faulty wiring

Without further ado, let’s take a look at some signs of faulty wiring on your premises…

1. Buzzing

It’s easy to assume that any buzzing noise you hear is simply the sound of electricity. However, well installed wiring shouldn’t actually make a sound you can hear. Faulty wiring can cause the buzzing sound and could be allowing current to escape, which can have serious consequences – as we’ll cover later.

2. Smell

Likewise, electricity doesn’t have an odour. Or at least it shouldn’t. If you can smell anything odd around your sockets, switches or consumer unit, you should get it seen to by a professional electrical contractor immediately. Chances are, that smell is indicative of a fault somewhere in your system or a particular appliance.

3. Flickering lights

Lights can obviously flicker if they need replacing. But if that doesn’t fix the problem, it’s probably a sign of faulty wiring. That could be down to large appliances dominating your circuit, for example. So, while it may seem like a small inconvenience, a flickering light isn’t something you should ignore.

4. Heat

Whether it’s a large powerful appliance or something that’s actually intended to heat things up, the socket itself should never become hot. Whatever you’ve plugged in, check for heat around the socket or outlet and get any issues inspected. Be careful when doing so, as electricity can generate some pretty high temperatures.

5. Frequent circuit breaks

Circuit breakers are installed as standard to stop electricity flowing when a problem is detected – including an excess of current or a faulty component. That could be down to overloading or a defective appliance. However, if you notice that they’re constantly tripping, it could also be a sign of faulty wiring.

6. Shocks or sparks

While these two sound obvious, they’re still worth mentioning. Sparks around sockets or switches –or shocks when using them – are clearly a sign of faulty wiring, or at the very least a faulty appliance. Be sure to communicate with employees regularly and check if they’ve encountered any shocks or sparks.

faulty wiring – 6 tell tale signs

What happens if faulty wiring is ignored?

There are some faults you can ignore at a commercial property. But we’re talking about things like a loose door knob or misty window – not electrical faults. Your electrical system has a constant flow of electric current, including all the appliances connected to it. Because of this, faulty wiring simply can’t be ignored without serious consequences. Here are some of the risks with faulty wiring…

Fire or explosion

Whether it’s dodgy sockets or old appliances, wiring faults allow electric current to escape. They can also cause a power surge due to the interrupted flow of current. The result can be explosions if appliances can’t handle the surge of power, which is enough to start a fire. Alternatively, sparks can catch fire if flammable materials are near a faulty socket, for example.

Human harm

Another potential result of faulty wiring is human harm. At the very least, people can get a shock from faulty appliances or outlets. However, at worst, it can be fatal. Electric shocks can cause cardiac arrest by interfering with the heart, while there’s an obvious risk to life when fires start to spread.


Let’s not forget the impact on your business. The smallest fault with wiring can have big consequences for your electrical system. You might suffer from an outage that takes hours or days to fix, which means disruption or downtime for your business. Not to mention the lost time that comes in the aftermath of an electrical fire.

Financial loss

All of these issues have one thing in common – they can cost you a lot. Repairs for outages, fire damage and broken appliances cost much more than a simple inspection for faulty wiring. There’s also the risk of legal costs if any employees or visitors are harmed by electrical shocks or fire.

The damage could be lasting too. To quote business magnate Warren Buffet: “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.”

Fix your faulty wiring before it’s too late

When it comes to faulty wiring, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you spot any of the signs above, you should contact a trusted electrical contractor immediately. That’s where Volta Compliance can help throughout Yorkshire.

Our team of trained and accredited electricians can inspect your wiring and recommend the best course of action. We can also complete regular EICR checks to make sure your installation is safe and fully functional. Call 0113 397 1361 to arrange an inspection.

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Richard Carr Volta Compliance
Richard Carr
Managing Director
Richard is the Director of Volta Compliance. He is a fully qualified approved electrician graded with the JIB. Richard has over 20 years electrical experience working on commercial and industrial installations.