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5 Common Electrical Problems Homeowners Should Watch Out For

In your home, there are many times that you can do projects or minor do-it-yourself fixes, but when it comes to your electricity, you really should wait to attempt to fix it. The average homeowner should only try to fix seemingly common electrical issues that could be hazardous if you are trained to identify the actual issue.

When you have an electrical problem that is beyond your abilities, or understanding, you should call a licensed technician for electrical troubleshooting. Professionals are trained beyond basic electrical safety and will be able to assess and fix any electrical issues you may have safely. Homeowners will run into some common electrical problems, which will indicate that a larger, potentially hazardous issue is happening.

Inoperable Outlets

Are you trying to use an outlet that won't work? Are you without power in rooms that you need it most? When your outlets don't work, it can ruin the efficiency and flow of your home. It's important to troubleshoot to discover the source of the loss of power. It could be a half-hot outlet, where one is working, and the other is not, which could be as simple as engaging a light switch.

Unusable outlets can result from a poor connection, like loose wires. The only way to know if it's a loose connection is to have an electrician pull out the outlet and see if the wires are loose. Confirming loose connections can be an involved and dangerous process for anyone who is not a professional electrician. Inoperable outlets can also result from possible arcing or a tripped breaker due to excessive heat buildup resulting in melted wires or burned-out outlets.

Dimming or Flickering Lights

If you find the lights in your home are flickering or dimming for no reason, you shouldn't automatically dismiss them. While there are some situations where there is an easy fix, it could be a dangerously serious electrical issue that needs to be addressed. Bringing in an electrician sooner rather than later will keep your home safe by preventing shocks and fires.

First, you should check if the bulb is loose in the socket. Then after making sure it's fitted properly inside the socket, check the type of bulb to ensure it is the right size, and remember that fluorescent bulbs tend to flicker when they turn on. When the lights continue to dim or flicker, contributing factors like loose or corroded connections can lead to sparks, overheating and potential fires.

These are your warning signs that something more serious is happening, possibly indicating a poor connection leading to arcing. A professional should be called out to assess and troubleshoot the issue.

Hot Outlets

A hot electrical outlet indicates that something isn't operating as it should. The most common issue when an outlet is hot to the touch is that our electricity demand is overloading it. Every outlet is designed to run a certain amount of power, and when it's used beyond those limits, it will begin to overheat.

If you notice an outlet is hot to the touch, immediately unplug everything connected to the outlet, and call your electrician. If nothing is plugged into the outlet when you notice the heat, it could indicate the current is too much for the circuit to handle. This is more common in older homes, and the electrical system must be updated to meet modern electrical demands.

These hot outlets happen in these homes where too many surge protectors are plugged in to create additional outlets. The danger with overloaded circuits is that they have the most potential to cause a fire in your home, and warm outlets should be brought to your electrician's attention immediately.

GFCIs Tripping

A GFCI outlet stands for a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter, and sometimes they are referred to as GFIs as well. They are mainly found throughout the home where water is present, like bathrooms, kitchens, or laundry rooms. They are specifically designed to protect people from severe or fatal electric shocks.

They monitor the electrical current at the outlet and are designed to trip or stop power to the outlet when it detects an imbalance or excess of electricity. If your GFCI outlet is tripping consistently, a few things could cause it. You could start by seeing if the outlet needs to be replaced, which is easily done by testing the outlet and ensuring it is functioning properly.

The easiest way to test a GFCI outlet is by plugging in a small appliance, running the appliance, then pushing the test button on the outlet. When you push the test button on the outlet, it should cut power to the outlet, and the appliance should turn off. If the test is successful, push the reset button on the outlet after you are done so that the outlet can continue to run as normal.

If it doesn't work, it could simply need to be replaced. However, it's a sign that something larger is happening. These are most commonly linked to your home's electrical panel needing an upgrade or could even be a part of some panel recalls.

Bulbs Blowing Out

If the light bulbs in your home blow out, you should always replace them with LEDs, which are more energy efficient and durable. If the problem persists beyond the light bulb, you should hire an electrician to troubleshoot it. When your light bulbs are blowing out frequently, it could indicate that the connections, or wiring, is loose, causing the electricity not to flow smoothly, which will cause overheating and lead the light bulb to blow.

Beyond bad or old lightbulbs, one of the main causes of consistent light bulbs blowing out is high voltage in the outlet. The high voltage generates excess heat and blows out the bulbs. This can cause serious electrical damages and issues that need professional attention.

Professional Help

When electrical issues come up in your home, it's important to have peace of mind knowing that your electricians practice safe and effective workmanship. Prioritizing safety should be the mark of a great electrician, and it will keep your home and family safe.

You can read more on our blog, where we frequently post about common household electrical news, safety, and related articles.


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