It's amazing how people get used to their creature comforts. They don't think twice about the electricity that powers their home until something starts to go wrong. If you have suddenly become aware of an issue, you'll want to get to the bottom of it as soon as possible, especially as malfunctioning power systems can be dangerous. What are some of the steps you should be taking to narrow down the issue?
Some people seem to think that these cords can be used full time, instead of doing a major rewire, and simply plug in too many devices at the same time. Also, due to the fact that these cords are movable, they can often become damaged, kinked or simply wear out. Could you have too many powerful devices plugged into the same cord, causing an issue with the system?
Why the Flickering?
Flickering lights should never be ignored as this can indicate that you have issues with an electrical circuit. It's probably not caused by the fixture itself but by an overload. All the big appliances should have their own, dedicated circuit and you may need to separate them out.
Hot to the Touch
While some electrical appliances can get hot when they're in use, the outlets that they are plugged into should never feel hot. If you find this is the case, remove that particular appliance and try plugging in something else. If you still notice a problem, then there is likely an issue with the wiring. It may be a good idea to take out the fuse for that circuit while more checks are made.
If you find that your circuit breakers are tripping and it's the same one each time, this indicates that it is overloaded and once again you may have too many appliances or devices plugged into that single facility.
Finally, if you notice a strange smell coming from one particular outlet, this could indicate that an overload is causing plastic to melt within the wiring. It's a sure sign of overload and you should disconnect the power at the mains until you've got a qualified electrician to look at this.
When Were You Last Tested?
When was the last time that you had your fuse box or breaker panel inspected? Electricians can be called out to initiate a thorough test and remember that some jurisdictions require these tests to be undertaken whenever electrical maintenance is needed.