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Home Smells Like Fish? You Might Have Exposed Electrical Wiring In The Home

Exposed wire in the electrical wiring
Different odors permeate your home throughout the day. Most of the odors come from pleasant or enjoyable sources, such as cookies baking in your oven or popcorn popping in your microwave. However, some smells can be disturbing, including electrical odors.
Electrical odors can be dangerous if they occur in out-of-sight places in your home, such as behind your baseboards or inside your breaker panel. The odors can also smell like things you wouldn't associate with electricity, including dead fish.
If you detect a fish odor in your home, and you haven't cooked or eaten seafood in a while, contact an electrician right away. Learn why your home smells like fish and how an electrician can help you below.

What's Making Your Home Smell Like Fish?

Many electrical components and appliances can potentially emit a fish odor if they overheat. The odor doesn't come from the wiring inside the electrical components but from the plastic insulation covering it. Some plastic materials contain chemicals that emit bad fishy odors when they become hot enough to burn or melt.
Although the fishy smell may be overpowering at times, it isn't the biggest problem you have on your hands. Without the proper insulation to contain its heat, hot wiring can become extremely dangerous. If the wiring travels through a structure with inflammable material, such as wood and wallpaper, it can catch fire. 
Electrical fires cause over 1,000 injuries a year. Fires can also cause significant property damage, and even death. If you take the appropriate steps now, you can keep your home, belongings, and loved ones safe from an unforeseen electrical fire.

How Can an Electrician Help?

If you try to find the source of the fishy odor yourself, you may encounter some problems along the way. Some areas of the home rely on the same electrical wiring for power. Because of this, it may be hard to narrow down the actual source of the bad wiring. You can save time by contacting an electrician for assistance. 
Fishy odors can come from multiple things, including bad wall sockets, light switches, and even circuit breakers and panels. An electrician will need to check all of these places to determine the exact cause of your home's fishy odor.
Many electrical contractors use heat detection devices to help them find hot wiring. 
In addition, an electrician may check your appliances to see if they could be sources of the fishy odor. Some appliances can experience bad wiring over time, including ovens, washing machines, and dishwashers, so it's important to rule out these sources during the inspection.
Once a contractor locates the source of the fishy smell, they take steps to solve it. If the circuit breaker or panel caused the fishy odor, an electrician may replace it with a newer model. Your circuit breaker or panel may be too outdated to control the electricity flowing through your home.
An electrician may suggest that you upgrade some of your electrical wiring to prevent issues in the near future, particularly if the wiring is made of aluminum. Aluminum wiring can break down over the years and cause a number of problems, including odors. Replacing old aluminum wiring with copper may be a better choice for you. 
It's crucial that you maintain your home's electrical components and wiring properly after the repairs and replacements. You can do so by only using appliances with energy efficient features. An electrician can help you find appliances that meet your home's electrical needs better.
If the fishy odor in your home concerns you, contact us at Richardson Ready Electric Incorporated by fax, email, or phone today.