Every homeowner will, at some point, encounter an electrical issue in their home. While some problems are more severe, be aware of the most common issue. It enables you to take the right steps on time.
Most importantly, have the contact details of a reliable electrician at hand should the problem be out of your depth or present a safety hazard. Here are common electrical issues and how to fix them.
An Outdated Electrical Service
You likely have outdated electrical service if your home is over 40 years old. An upgrade involves installing a new service panel with modern breakers, running new grounding wires, and installing new outlets where needed. It also entails increasing the electricity capacity to 200 amps. When you upgrade your electrical service, the benefits are two-fold.
Not only does it improve your home’s safety, but it also increases its resale value. While this might seem like a daunting and expensive task, it’s not as bad as it sounds, especially if you have a qualified electrician to do the work.
A Tripped Circuit Breaker
If a circuit breaker trips, there’s an electrical overload. It happens when too many devices are plugged into one circuit. To fix this, unplug some of the devices on that circuit and reset the breaker. If it trips again, have an electrician install a new circuit.
Faulty appliances can also cause tripping. In this case, have the appliance checked by a professional before plugging it back.
An Overloaded Outlet
Overloaded outlets are a common cause of electrical fires. Do not plug more than two devices into one outlet to prevent this. If you need to plug in more, use a power strip with a built-in circuit breaker. When an outlet overloads frequently, have an electrician install a new outlet or circuit.
There are a few reasons why your lights might be flickering. One possibility is that a bulb is loose in its socket. To fix this, screw the bulb in tighter. If that doesn’t work, try replacing the bulb.
Another possibility is that there’s a loose connection in the circuit. A humming noise could also indicate a loose connection. Let an electrician inspect the circuit as it could be dangerous.
Badly Damaged Cords
Replace all frayed or damaged cords as they present a serious fire hazard. Some appliance cords, like toasters and irons, are not meant to be replaced. In this case, it’s best to buy a new appliance.
Don’t put the cords under carpets or furniture to prevent damage and fraying. Also, make sure to use the correct type of extension cord for the appliance.
Outlets that Don’t Work
If an outlet doesn’t work, check if the breaker has tripped. If it hasn’t, the problem is likely with the outlet itself. This is an easy fix; simply replace the outlet. If you don’t feel confident doing this, hire an electrician. Sparks or strange smells from outlets indicate a more serious problem and require the attention of a professional.
Burning or Hot Switches
If a switch feels hot to the touch or burns around it, it indicates an electrical short. Do not attempt to fix this yourself. Turn off the power to the switch at the breaker and call an electrician immediately.
Carry Out Regular Maintenance and Seek Expert Help
One of the best ways to avoid electrical problems is to carry out regular maintenance. Remember to clean lint out of dryer vents, vacuum floor, and ceiling vents, and trim trees near power lines. They might seem unimportant, but they make a big difference in preventing electrical fires.
While most electrical problems are easy to fix, some are more serious and require the attention of a professional. If you’re ever unsure what to do, contact an electrician. They can assess the situation and let you know what needs to be done.