5 Costliest Small Business Claims

Small businesses face a number of challenges and obstacles each year. Sometimes, those challenges require the business to file an insurance claim. Four out of 10 small businesses will likely face a property or general liability claim in the next decade, according to a review of The Hartford’s small business claims.

1. Burglary and Theft

Burglary and theft account for about 20% of all small business claims, and this costs businesses $8,000 per claim.

Small businesses can help minimize the risk of theft by:

  • Conducting background checks when hiring employees
  • Installing surveillance systems
  • Adding fencing
  • Installing sufficient exterior and interior lighting

There’s no surefire way to prevent theft and burglary, but implementing adequate security measures can help greatly reduce the risk.

The cost of a theft claim may not be substantial, but if several thefts occur over a short period of time, these claims could easily bankrupt a business.

2. Fire Damage

Fire claims are one of the most common and costliest claims among small businesses. They account for 10% of claims, and cost $35,000 on average.

Businesses can help prevent fires by:

  • Testing all fire detection and suppression equipment
  • Ensuring your building meets local and national fire codes.
  • Establishing an emergency preparedness plan, which includes fire evacuation routes

Fire damage is costly, but cleaning up the damage also takes a great deal of time.

3. Customer Slip and Fall/Injury

Businesses have a duty to ensure that their properties are in reasonable repair and must also warn visitors and occupants of dangerous conditions. Failure to warn of dangerous conditions or neglecting a dangerous condition could lead to a slip and fall injury.

Customer injury and damages can cost businesses thousands of dollars.

  • Customer slips and falls account for 10% of claims and costs $20,000 on average.
  • Customer damage and injury account for less than 5% of claims and costs $30,000 on average.
  • Product liability accounts for less than 5% of claims and costs $35,000 on average.

Customer injury and damages can have a ripple effect, damaging a company’s reputation along the way. The same effect can occur with a product liability claim.

When customers lose trust in a business, it can be difficult for the company to keep its doors open.

4. Vehicle Accidents

Some small businesses have company vehicles and require employees to travel as part of their scope of employment. These businesses have to worry about the risk of vehicle accident claims.

Vehicle accident claims account for less than 5% of claims, but they cost $45,000 on average.

Businesses can reduce the risk of these claims by:

  • Screening employee driving records before allowing them to drive a company vehicle.
  • Not providing incentives for speedy deliveries.
  • Investing in defensive driver training for employees.

Not every small business has to worry about vehicle accident claims, but those that do face great financial risk.

5. Reputational Harm

Reputational harm claims are among the costliest for small businesses, although they account for only a small percentage of claims (less than 5%). On average, a reputational harm claim costs a small business $50,000.

If a lawsuit is involved, the cost of a claim can be much higher, averaging $75,000 or more per case.

March 8, 2019 / by / in
3 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Protect Their Cash Flow

Entrepreneurs should try and protect their cash flow at all times, but far too many businesses are running on credit with very little cash flow to cover unexpected expenses. Cash is king, and when a business doesn’t have cash, borrowing will add interest and can be expensive to in the long-run.

As a business owner, you should have cash available, and this requires proper cash flow management and protection.

Ways to keep the cash flow flowing include:

1. Limit Liabilities at All Costs

One major mistake that businesses make is that they do not limit their liabilities. Statistics show that 36% – 53% of small businesses will be involved in at least one form of litigation every year. If a business barely has the cash flow to keep the lights on, this litigation can lead to bankruptcy or foreclosure.

A business needs to protect against liability, and this is done through proper insurance policies.

The policies that an entrepreneur should have are many, and include:

  • General liability
  • Workers’ compensation
  • Property
  • Health (for yourself)
  • Auto insurance

Workers’ compensation is an important policy, and it limits the business’ liability in the event that an employee is injured on-the-job.

“Almost all injuries, whether physical or psychological, are covered by the Act. A narrow selection of occupational diseases is covered by a similar law known as the Occupational Diseases Act,” states Strom & Associates.

2. Credit Histories and Policy Checks

Are you reviewing your business’ credit policies and credit histories of clients or customers? You should be. You need to manage the credit of your customers to ensure proper cash flow management.

Eliminate customers that are no longer profitable, and also make note of all customers that are slow to pay.

Businesses have a right to not extend credit to their customers, and if a customer pays months after an invoice is due, your resources may be better saved for another customer.

It may even make sense, and help with cash flow, to offer cash discounts so that your customers pay sooner.

3. Utilize Collection Services and Streamline Invoice Reminders

Collection agencies are paid because they will take on the burden of collecting on your invoices. The goal is to get your money, and it is these agencies that will work on your behalf to ensure that your invoice is paid.

Before an invoice goes to collection, reminders and encouragement to pay an invoice should be sent.

Streamline your invoice reminders, allowing for automatic notices to be sent when invoices are overdue. Not only will this help save you time and resources when sending out overdue reminders, but you’ll also find that invoice collection is faster, too.

Of course, you can also work on your cash flow by negotiating contracts with your suppliers. If you have built a strong relationship with the supplier, you’ll want to discuss the possibility of extending payments to the supplier.

You may be able to extend your payments from 30 days to 90 days, and in this case, you’ll be able to keep more cash flow on hand to keep your business running on solid ground.

February 19, 2019 / by / in
Should You Monitor Employee Mental Health in the Workplace

Mental health is a hot-button issue in the media and one that is still considered a bit taboo in the workplace. But when employees are overly stressed, it can lead to depression, anxiety and lost productivity. As an employer, you care about your employees’ well-being and have a vested interest in ensuring that you cultivate a positive, product work environment.

Should you monitor employee mental health in the workplace, and if so, how do you go about doing it?

Should You Monitor Employee Mental Health?

At least one out of six employees are battling mental health issues, like depression, anxiety and stress. The U.S. National Comorbidity Survey for Americans aged 15-54 found that 18% of employed individuals experienced symptoms of mental health issues. In 2010, Americans spent more than $11 billion on antidepressants.

The issue is more common than you might think. But because mental health is still a taboo subject in the workplace, employers often write off the symptoms.

How to Monitor Mental Health in the Workplace

How can you monitor the mental state of your employees without creating conflict?

Break the Taboo

Employees can experience mental health issues for a number of reasons, but one of the main issues is the fear of opening up to talk about it. Many people shy away from expressing the issues they’re battling with on a daily basis.

Cultivate a work culture that encourages your employees to openly talk about mental health. Raise awareness about common issues, like anxiety, depression, social anxiety, etc. Create an environment where your employees can come forward to talk about these issues.

Talking about the problem is the first step to overcoming the issue. And giving employees the flexibility to take mental days will further encourage this positive, open environment. Sometimes, all it takes is one or two days of recharging for the employee’s mental state to improve.

Look for Behavior Changes

Some people feel uncomfortable coming forward to talk about their mental health struggles. Go the extra mile and be on the lookout for behavior changes in your team members.

Common symptoms to look for include:

  • Withdrawal from contact
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Loss of motivation

If one of your team members is displaying some or all of these symptoms, consider sitting down and having a conversation about the behavior.

Talking to Employees without Judgement

If you decide to sit down and talk to an employee who may be exhibiting the above-mentioned behavioral changes, do so in a gentle manner.

Do not make assumptions or be combative. Your assumptions may be wrong. The goal is to see what is going on and find the best solution to overcome it.

If the employee opens up and is in fact suffering from mental health issues, steps can be taken to address it.

Encourage Self-Improvement

If employees are open about their mental health struggles, you may have a conversation about what triggers his or her symptoms. With a list of symptoms in hand, you can find ways to offer support to manage the issue.

Some workplaces offer free sessions with therapists to evaluate employee mental health and provide support. You may direct the employee to take advantage of these sessions to improve themselves.

February 18, 2019 / by / in
4 Technologies to Reduce Employee Theft

Employee theft is a very real concern for every business, whether you’re in retail or the food service industry. Each year, employee theft costs businesses $50 billion, with the average company losing $1.13 million per year.

Theft, if charged as a felony, can have employees facing fines of $20,000-$100,000 and prison time of 10-20 years.

While there’s no surefire way to eliminate employee theft, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk. Technology can help. Here are four technologies that can help reduce employee theft.

1. Surveillance

The simplest solution is still one of the most effective: surveillance. Thanks to advancements in technology, business owners have more options when monitoring employees.

With remote monitoring, cameras can be placed throughout the work environment for surveillance. Letting employees know that they’re being monitored can prevent “privacy violation” claims in case of theft. Hidden cameras can also be placed strategically on the premises, but do be aware of privacy concerns.

For businesses on tighter budgets, a DropCam (created by Nest) can be paired with an iPad for DIY monitoring.

Traditional video surveillance is also an option. Outsourcing to a professional company will cost more, but will ultimately save you time and effort.

2. Internet Monitoring

When most people think of employee theft, they envision employees walking off with physical merchandise or cash. But employees can also steal your time – another valuable resource.

Monitoring employee Internet use can help prevent wasted time during the work day. Wasted time is one of the biggest challenges that companies face today. According to a survey from, 64% of respondents said they wasted about an hour each day. About 14% of respondents admitted to wasting three hours or more each day.

Monitoring internet usage can help prevent employee theft of time, but there are legal issues that need to be considered. If you’re going to go this route, consult with a lawyer first.

3. Video Analytics

Video analytics software can be paired with security cameras to analyze surveillance in real-time. The software identifies and detects suspicious activity, and it allows users to go directly to the incident on the video footage. This feature saves businesses hours of monitoring and reviewing.

This same technology can also be incorporated into a point of sale system to catch employees who may be working with thieves or making bad choices.

4. Digital Security Procedures

Implementing a digital policy and internal security procedures can further help prevent employee theft. These procedures may include:

  • Updating login credentials and passwords regularly.
  • Closely monitoring activity on expense accounts and credit cards.
  • Restricting access to sensitive documents and areas.
  • Recording access to these sensitive areas and documents.
  • Installing employee-facing cameras.
  • Locking up expensive items.

While technology can certainly help prevent employee theft, it’s also important to always be on the lookout for warnings signs of theft. Maybe an employee is having money trouble, or is disgruntled because of a recent work event. Encouraging open communication among co-workers and managers can help prevent a situation from escalating to theft.

February 8, 2019 / by / in
4 Ways to Improve Employee Retention

Employee retention is crucial in the business world, but a lot of businesses are burning through employees quickly. The “cush” jobs at Google – you know, where they have everything at their fingertips from a chef to laundry facilities – has an average tenure period of just 3.2 years. Dropbox’s tenure is just 2.1 years.

When these employees leave a company, new employees need to be recruited, trained and hired. It’s a major expense for any business, and it can also cause a lot of lost time when trying to hit deadlines.

Businesses are trying to improve employee retention through:

1. Return to Work Programs

Return to work programs help retain employees that have been injured at the workplace. In fact, 80% of companies have return to work programs that will reduce workers’ compensation costs drastically.

What these programs do is allow the person to work, even if that means:

  • Working shorter hours as they need.
  • Changing the worker’s job on a temporary basis while they heal.
  • Modifying job requirements so that the individual can return to work.

Return to work programs allow injured employees to return to work without the fear of being reinjured or amplifying the injury already sustained.

2. Match or Exceed Industry Compensation

Employee retention is also dependent on compensation, but this comes after other factors in some fields. Google pays their employees well, but some employees can’t deal with the work environment for a long period of time.

But when all things are equal, employees want to be fairly compensated for the work that they have completed.

This requires businesses to:

  • Keep a pulse on industry compensation standards
  • Incorporate bonuses and benefits
  • Follow trends in benefits

Compensation matters a lot to employees, and it’s essential that employees are fairly compensated if you expect to retain them.

3. Flexible Work Days

When possible, depending on the industry, incorporating flexible work days is a smart choice. These work days may be working at home, or they can mean working different hours as long as the job gets done.

Flexible work days are great for employees because it gives a sense of control.

If a child is sick, the parent can choose to work remotely, caring for their child and still getting work done. Being flexible in the workplace is also a good idea. If a loyal employee who is always at work early comes in late, let it slide.

4. Provide Perks to Employees

You should work on providing perks to employees, and this can be working with vendors to offer discounts, or it could be providing tickets to a baseball game. Local retailers may be willing to offer discounts to your employees, or you may be able to get VIP passes to special events.

Employees will look at job perks when deciding whether to work for a company.

If you’re willing to go the extra mile to make employees happy, you’ll retain employees for a longer period of time.

And while you’re working on retention, don’t forget to consult with your employees and see how you can improve.

February 6, 2019 / by / in
How Entrepreneurs Can Combat Workplace Sitting Disease

There’s a new disease affecting workers, and it’s not a disease with obvious symptoms. Sitting disease, as they’re calling it, affects 86% of American workers and can be worsened by a sedentary lifestyle outside of the workplace.

The human body was designed for movement, but desk jobs are contributing to our increasingly sedentary lifestyles. Forward-thinking entrepreneurs can help combat the problem by encouraging a healthier, more active lifestyle. Here’s how:

Invest in Sit/Stand Desks

Unfortunately, the harmful effects of sitting at a desk all day can’t be counteracted with exercise alone. Movement is the key. That’s where a sit/stand desk can help.

A sit/stand desk has an adjustable height that allows employees to either work while standing or sitting. Having the option of sitting or standing may be more beneficial than simply requiring employees to stand at their desks. Standing too much, as it turns out, can double your risk of heart disease. A sit/stand desk can allow for a healthy balance of standing and sitting.

Encourage Employees to Move More

If movement is the solution, then encouraging employees to get up and move can go a long way in combatting sitting disease.

Researchers say getting up every 30 minutes can help reduce the risk of death.

Encourage employees to take regular short breaks and to move as much as possible during these breaks. Phone calls can be answered while walking or standing. Hold walking meetings where everyone walks around the block while discussing the matters at hand. Even something as simple as walking to a co-worker’s desk or the water cooler can help get the blood flowing.

Invest in Balance Boards or Stability Ball Chairs

Sit/stand desks aren’t the only option if you want to get your employees up and moving. For those using standing desks, a balance board can be used to burn additional calories while strengthening muscles. Stability ball chairs work in a similar way and help to develop a strong core.

Some employees may prefer to use a treadmill desk or an under-desk recumbent bike to stay active while working. Do what you can to accommodate your employee’s preferences as long as it doesn’t interfere with productivity.

Establish a Wellness Program

Make health and wellness a part of your company culture. If your budget allows, you may offer an on-site gym and/or fitness classes.

If that’s not possible, you can reimburse employees for their gym memberships and fitness-related purchases.

Plan for team-building activities that get employees moving. Outdoor team-building workshops can help strengthen bonds between co-workers while promoting an active lifestyle.

Reward Employees for Being Active

Some entrepreneurs are giving their employees Fitbits and monitoring their activity. Those who are the most active during the week or month get rewarded. Offering an attractive reward will encourage more employees to participate and be more active.

Encouraging employees to take regular, short breaks is the real key to helping prevent sitting disease. Getting up and moving every 30 minutes for 5 minutes can help reset the body and get the blood flowing properly again.

February 4, 2019 / by / in
Creating a Blog Your Audience Wants to Read

Every business needs to have a blog. That’s what everyone in the digital marketing industry will tell you. They aren’t necessarily wrong, but they don’t explain how to create a successful blog.

You can throw words on a page, but that doesn’t mean that people want to read them.

Blogging is both an art and a science. It’s important to be creative with your content, but you have to know which types of content will jibe with your audience.

Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience is the key most important thing when creating content. Otherwise, you’re just throwing content at the wall and seeing what sticks.

Get to know your target audience. What are their pain points? What questions do they need answers to? The answers to these questions can help you create content that your audience is eager to read.

Titles and topics should grab your reader’s attention and provide valuable information.

Create Content Readers Can Use

Do you blog posts have a purpose? Can the reader actually use the information? The more actionable your blog posts, the more engaging and valuable they will be. And the more shares you’ll get from readers.

Posts that tend to receive higher rates of engagement include:

  • How-to or tutorial posts
  • In-depth explanations of topics
  • List posts
  • Controversial posts
  • Timely posts. For example, this post talks about the dangers of Thanksgiving – a timely post for readers in mid-November.

Instead of rehashing old and tired topics, provide a new perspective or outlook on an issue. Solve problems with new solutions. Get your readers excited about your posts.

Be Yourself

Be personable with your content. Write like you speak. Being personable doesn’t mean that you toss grammar and spelling rules out the window, but it does mean that you shouldn’t be genuine.

Your audience wants to hear from you, and we each have our own unique way of saying things. There are hundreds of formal blog posts out there. Don’t be afraid to be yourself and stand out in the crowd with your own voice.

Make it Visual

Adding images to your post will improve engagement and shares. Images also open the opportunity for visitors to save or share your posts on Pinterest, which could expose your content to more people.

Visuals help break up your content and keep readers on the page. They also help with the number of social shares you receive. Having an image every 75-100 words can actually double the number of shares you receive.

There are plenty of websites that offer free images, including Canva, Giphy and Pexels.

Tell Stories

Humans love stories – we’re hardwired to love them. If you can, turn your idea into a story that people can connect with. Again, this all comes back to authenticity. Be yourself. Put yourself out there. Create a personality and a voice for your blog or brand.

A stuffy blog that’s more promotional than informative and fun won’t get you the results you want. But storytelling? Now, that’s something that will attract and hook readers.

December 15, 2018 / by / in
6 Things You MUST Do Today to Grow Your Small Business

Are you looking to grow your small business? If yes, then there is much that you have to do. Growth is a gradual process and, therefore, you have to be patient and take the necessary steps that are vital to your goals. Here are top six things that you must do today to grow your business:

1. Understand your Customers
You can only create services and products that will be on demand if you are keen on the needs of your current and prospective clients. An excellent way to understand the needs of your clients is through surveys and research. You have to invite them to offer their honest and brutal feedback constantly. Surveys and reviews are the ideal ways to understand your clients. This makes it easier for you to create services and products that suit the current market demands. Additionally, it aids in your understanding of the areas of your business that need improving

2. Improve Customer Service
If you fail to offer quality customer service, it will be hard to satisfy your clients even when you possess a superior service or product. This aspect of your company is about taking the additional step to make your clients feel special. Your customers should know that you value them. If they have issues, be sure to have them addressed. In case they have questions, take your time to provide them with answers. They must not feel like things are hard for them once they raise particular issues. Social media is a perfect way to understand your clients by paying attention to them. If they deem the customer service satisfactory, they could recommend you to other potential clients.

3. Establish Loyalty
It takes patience and time to convince clients to come and purchase your offering. But it is not sufficient to convince them to purchase. You require encouraging loyalty. Considering that competitors who can provide them with a better offering exist, you need your clients to remain loyal to you. Don’t be comfortable just because you have plenty of loyal clients. They can be easily lured to other options and leave you. Offer loyalty rewards. In the case of promotions and discounts, inform the most loyal clients first. You have to ensure that your clients feel appreciated.

4. Leverage on Social Media
Social media is a potent tool today due to its power to reach many people at once. Be sure to use social media for your business to assist you in remaining relevant. Paying attention to people and going through their comments will offer you an idea on how to increase their satisfaction. You will get a grasp of how they behave and search for a way to meet their needs. The perfect thing about social media is that it has minimal expenses and offers you a chance to get new clients. According to Kansas City Web Design, “If you want to compete and win online, you have to maintain an active social media presence.”

5. Emphasize on Professional Development
Your business’ success relies on the quality of the staff that you hire. Creating an effective team is essential in ensuring the prosperity of your business. One of the ideal ways to acquire driven employees is to offer them a sense of purpose. They should not just come to work for a salary. They need to work for something more significant than themselves. They have to comprehend the larger goals of the company, and that’s where branding gets involved. In addition to attracting customers, a powerful brand will lure quality employees. Your staff needs to feel that someone listens to them, and this can be accomplished through team-building activities. It is also vital to send them to seminars and training sessions to improve their skills.

6. Attend Networking Events
Don’t miss the opportunity to participate in these events. This is the chance to broaden your networks. It is an essential part of the business that is neglected by a majority of the entrepreneurs. You need to create relationships with other businesses. Networking will help you connect with individuals who can aid in the growth of your business. There is a likelihood of finding investors, employees, and more clients.

From understanding your clients to attending networking events, these six things will aid in growing your business. Be sure to balance between them so that you don’t overdo one thing and neglect another.

December 6, 2018 / by / in
7 Simple Ways to Reduce Business Energy Costs

Your business can reduce energy costs easily by following some simple guidelines. You can reduce energy costs with minimal inconvenience to your employees and increase your profit margin at the same time by utilizing the seven ideas below. The most common sources of energy used by business are sun energy, which is free; natural gas, and electricity. Your business may be all electric or a combination of natural gas and electricity. If your business is all electric, you will benefit from the ideas on saving on natural gas, because those ideas involve saving money on heating costs.

The first two ideas discuss ways to utilize sun energy:

1. Using skylights. Skylights vary in terms of energy ratings, and placement of skylights depends on how much you want to increase winter heat or decrease summer heat or both. Glazing determines the quality of your skylights.

2. Using solar panels. Solar panels convert sun energy to electricity, so it harnesses sun power and saves on electricity costs at the same time. It will work if your roof gets plenty of sunlight and is in good shape. If your roof will need to be fixed in the near future, it makes sense to fix the roof before getting solar panels. Ollie Smith, CEO of Energy Seek recommends to cut down on the number of solar panels you need, look for ways to reduce the amount of electricity usage in your offices and the business in general.

Here are some ways to reduce heating costs and saving on natural gas costs while minimizing the inconvenience for your employees:

3. Using energy efficient windows. For greater efficiency, look for Energy Star ratings on windows. They save more on energy than lower quality windows. Energy efficient windows reduce your business’s usage of electricity and natural gas and saves on those bills accordingly. In addition, the windows help keep sound out, which minimizes distractions for your employees.

4. Insulated window treatments. Cellular shades, also known as honeycomb shades, would be a good option. You may want to use the top-down bottom-up style, because your employees can control how much sunlight they get during the day. Shutters may also be used to save on heating costs. Shutters are installed close to the window frame to save on energy. Shutters save energy both during the winter and summer time.

5. Using one or more programmable thermostats. An interior wall usually works well for this kind of thermostat. That way you can set the thermostat to automatically change several times throughout the day. You can also use it to adjust your cooling or heating when the business is closed.

Some ideas are presented to reduce electricity costs without causing major inconveniences to your employees:

6. Adjusting your thermostat during the summer months. Based on the recommendations by the U.S. Department of Energy, use the following temperature settings during the summer months:
* 78 degrees or warmer during business operating hours.
* 88 degrees during the night or when the business is closed.

7. Types of lighting. You may want to illuminate small areas of space, also known as task lighting, use motion detectors, or set light timers so you don’t use lighting when the business is closed. Task writing saves energy because it illuminates a small space instead of the whole room. Motion detectors cause the lights to go off when there is no activity (motion). Light timers cause the lights to go off when the business is closed.

Seven simple ideas for reducing energy costs were discussed above. Some of them involve using solar energy, others involve reducing the amount of natural gas you use, and another group of ideas are about saving money on electricity. There is some overlap. Solar panels help reduce the costs of electricity. Insulated windows can help with both heating and cooling costs. Even though the costs may be a little high at first, your savings on utility savings can outweigh the initial costs of making those changes.

November 25, 2018 / by / in
What Are the Signs of Electrical Problems?

If there is one problem in the house that the homeowner can’t afford to ignore, it’s a problem with the electrical system. A faulty electrical system not only interferes with the proper functioning of appliances and other items but can lead to a fire. Indeed, over 51,000 homes catch fire every year because of problems with their electrical systems. Because of this, it’s crucial that a homeowner know the signs of electrical problems in their home and have them fixed as soon as possible.

Signs that something is wrong with the electrical system include:

Lights That Flicker or Dim

The cause of this is that the light source is on the same circuit as an electrical appliance. “If this is the case, an electrician should wire the lights to different circuits and wire appliances like the washing machine to dedicated lines,” says Ryan Bealmear, President of Teague Electric.

Strange Smells

If someone in the household notices a strange smell coming from an outlet, they need to turn off whatever is plugged into it, and unplug it. The outlet should not be used until an electrician examines and fixes it. A funny smell emanating from the circuit breaker must be considered an emergency, and an electrician should be called at once.

Strange Noises

An electrical system that is working well is silent. If a person hears buzzing from an outlet, they should unplug it, and call an electrician.

Breakers That Keep Tripping

Breakers that frequently trip or fuses that frequently blow may mean that the circuit has too much of a load to carry. An electrician should be called in to evaluate the situation and perhaps install a new line or two. However, if the circuit breaker trips whenever an appliance such as a vacuum cleaner is plugged into any outlet in the house, it’s probably the fault of the appliance.

Frayed Wires

Wires can fray because of age, being bent too often or damage from a fastener or the beater bar of a vacuum cleaner. Any appliance or device that has frayed wires needs to be repaired or replaced.

Loose Connections

It’s possible that the connections between outlets and electric wires can become slack over time. Now and then, the homeowner should check to make sure that the wires, outlets and switches are in good condition, especially if they suspect that something is not right. If electrical components are found to be damaged, they should be replaced right away.


Sparks are dramatic signs that all is not right with the electrical system. Sparks from the circuit breaker box constitute an emergency that needs to be seen to by a electrician. On the other hand, sparks may mean that the appliance, lamp or other device is faulty. That would require the services of a repairman who is usually less expensive than an electrician. If the warranty is still in force, it may cost nothing at all to fix it.

Hot Switch Plates

Switch plates and outlets should never get to the point where they are too hot to touch. If they are, the person needs to unplug whatever is attached to it. If the outlet or switch plate is hot even when it’s not being used, it may be a sign that it was not wired the right way. The thing to do is take out the fuse or turn off the breaker to the outlet, and call the electrician. A switch plate or outlet that has scorch marks must be replaced right away.

Too Many Extension Cords

Extension cords should be used conservatively and unplugged when they are not needed. It is too easy for an extension cord to be damaged, which in turn can damage outlets, trip breakers or start fires. If the homeowner finds that they have to constantly use extension cords to get regular jobs done, they should have more outlets installed in the house.

No GFCIs in a Wet Room

GFCIs or ground fault circuit interrupters are shock proof outlets that should be installed in a wet room such as a kitchen, bath or laundry room. They usually have two red buttons. If a wet room does not have GFCIs, they need to be installed by an electrician.

November 20, 2018 / by / in