Electrical problems can be frustrating and dangerous, but they don’t have to ruin your home.
In this article, we’ll talk about some of the most common electrical problems that occur in homes and how to fix them. You’ll also learn how to prevent these issues in the future.
1. Dead Outlets
A dead outlet can be frustrating. Imagine you plug your phone in to a power outlet and nothing happens. You try everything you can to fix the issue, until you realize that it’s not your phone or charging cable that’s causing the problem – it’s the outlet itself.
You can easily fix dead outlets without hiring an electrician. However, before you start trying to work on your own, make sure you take the proper safety precautions and switch off the breaker from the main electrical panel first.
One of the most common reasons an outlet dies is because it has a tripped breaker or fuse. A tripped breaker interrupts the supply of power to an outlet when something like a short circuit occurs. A tripped breaker can also be caused by bad connections anywhere between the service panel and the outlet.
Another common cause of a dead outlet is poor installation. If you installed an outlet on your own, or if you hired an inexperienced handyman to do the job, the connectors that attach the wires to the outlet may not be fastened properly. The screws that attach the wires to the outlet may be a bit loose, or they could have been backstabbed.
If the wires are stabbed in correctly, they should be firmly attached beneath the outlet screw. If they are sagging or coming loose, it’s probably time to replace the outlet. If you have no other choice, it might be worth calling an electrician to install a new one for you.
2. Flickering Lights
Flickering lights are a common problem that can cause serious trouble in your home, so you need to take action right away. You don’t want to get a shock or have an electrical fire, so you should call an electrician to fix your flickering lights as soon as possible.
First, you need to figure out if the lights are just flickering now and then or if they’re consistently happening over time. The problem could be that your appliances are drawing too much power, causing an overloaded circuit and the lights to flicker briefly.
Another potential cause is that your circuits aren’t designed to handle as many devices as you have plugged into them. Large appliances like dishwashers, washing machines and air conditioners draw a lot of power to start up and can overload your circuit.
In that case, you may need to install a larger voltage supply or upgrade the wiring in your home. An electrician will be able to tell if you have an overloaded circuit and how to safely address it.
One of the most dangerous causes of flickering lights is loose wiring, a leading cause of house fires. A loose connection in any part of your wiring, breakers or switches can cause electricity to jump between gaps in the system.
If you have a lot of flickering lights in your home, it might be time for new wiring. It’s best to hire a professional who will keep your wires clean and free of corrosion. This can help you avoid the risk of an electrical fire in your home and ensure that your lights stay bright for years to come. It’s also a good idea to replace your old lightbulbs with new ones if they are getting dim.
3. Faulty Switches
Switches are a crucial part of any home electrical system. They control light fixtures, outlets, and other electrical devices. When switches fail, it can be a sign that something else is wrong with the circuit.
Whenever a switch no longer operates properly, you should troubleshoot the entire circuit first to determine the cause of the problem. This will help you know if the switch is at fault or if it’s time to replace it altogether.
In most cases, a faulty switch can be fixed by changing it out with a new one. However, it’s best to call a professional electrical contractor for this job since you could get hurt trying to do it yourself.
The first step in repairing or replacing a switch is disconnecting the wires to the old switch and reconnecting them to the new one. You’ll need a pair of wire strippers to cut off the insulation from the wires before you disconnect them from the switch. Then, use your voltage tester to verify that the new switch is oriented correctly based on its on-off labeling.
When re-connecting the wires, make sure that the switch is mounted securely and to the correct terminal screws. Depending on the type of switch, you may need to loosen the screws before you can re-attach the wires to the screws.
Another common sign that a switch is faulty is when the switch makes buzzing or whirring noises. These sounds are usually caused by the switch’s toggle lever or slide mechanism being worn out and need to be replaced. Likewise, switches that are warm to the touch or show any signs of scorching or melting should also be replaced immediately.
4. Overloaded Circuits
Overloaded circuits are a common electrical issue that can lead to serious damage and a fire. It’s important to understand the warning signs of an overload, and how to prevent one from happening in your home.
Overloading circuits happen when the electricity used by plugged-in devices exceeds the load capacity of the electrical wiring. When this happens, the breaker that protects the circuit will trip, cutting off the power. Without the breaker, an overload could cause the wiring to overheat and melt, potentially leading to a fire.
The best way to avoid overloading your circuits is by knowing what the load rating of your circuit is and then avoiding plugging too many things into it. This will prevent you from experiencing frequent blackouts and tripping your circuit breaker.
A simple way to determine your circuits’ load rating is by mapping them. It helps you figure out what the safe number of appliances and lights should be plugged into each one to avoid overloading.
If you find that you have a lot of appliances plugged into an outlet or several of them are tripping the breaker, it may be time to redistribute the load and create new dedicated circuits. It’s also a good idea to calculate the load rating of each circuit, so you can make sure that the load isn’t too high.
If you aren’t able to identify the cause of an overloaded circuit, call a qualified electrician for a thorough inspection and repair. This type of work is dangerous and should only be handled by experienced and trained professionals.
If you hear a buzzing sound coming from your lights, it is important to find out where the problem is occurring. This is because buzzing sounds may indicate a faulty circuit or electrical fire.
The most common cause of buzzing is a defective fluorescent fixture ballast. Usually, this is due to old-style ballasts that contain laminated iron cores that come loose within the coil windings. The loose laminations vibrate when the electromagnetic lines of force come in contact with them, causing them to produce a buzzing sound.
Other possible causes of buzzing are faulty light bulbs and dimmers. Incandescent light bulbs are more susceptible to buzzing because they use filaments that vibrate during operation. If you have an incandescent light bulb that produces a buzzing noise, replace it with a new one.
LED light bulbs also vibrate, but this isn’t a cause for concern as long as the product is in good working order. However, if you notice a buzzing or humming sound coming from your LED lights, it could be a sign of something more serious.
As with incandescent and fluorescent lights, you can fix this problem by replacing the faulty light bulb with a new one. You can also switch the dimmer on and off to see if the buzzing goes away.
If the dimmer does not silence the buzzing, you may need to replace the dimmer itself. This may be more expensive than just replacing the bulb, but it can help eliminate the problem.
Finally, if you notice a buzzing sound coming from the breaker box or lighting circuits, this is an even bigger issue. If the breaker is not properly grounded, or if the wiring inside the box is too loose, it may be a safety hazard and you should call an electrician.