Warning signs
If your home is more than 30 years old, your wiring may not be capable of handling all those new electrical products and appliances you've been hooking up. Underwriters Laboratories advises consumers to look out for these warning signs that may indicate wiring in need of upgrading:
Your lights flicker or dim when another appliance is turned on. This may be a sign of a loose connection, improper wiring or overloaded circuits.
Your house has no three-pronged outlets. New houses are required to have them everywhere, including outdoors. If you have none, your system is outdated.
You smell burning metal or plastic. This may indicate a loose connection, malfunctioning switch, overheating component or a damaged wire.
Cords, plugs, switch plates or receptacles are hot and discolored. If any are too hot to touch for more than five seconds, there may be an overload or product malfunction.
Contact a licensed electrician if you notice any of these signs. For more tips, visit or call 877-ULHELPS.

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