Solutions to the 10 Most Common Electrical Problems
Familiar yourself with the most common electrical problems you could encounter.
No matter how perfect your electrical setup is, any property – domestic or commercial – is likely to encounter electrical problems at some point. It can be as trivial as a flickering light bulb or faulty appliance or as dangerous as a circuit overload or electric shock.
Inside your house, your safety is paramount. Knowing how to deal with electrical issues can make a world of difference in protecting your family and your NSW property. Sky-high energy bills, tripping circuit breakers, and damaged appliances could be an indication of circuitry issues.
Here are 10 of the most common electrical problems you might have to deal with as well as their appropriate solutions.
1. Frequent electrical surges
Electrical surges can often be traced to faulty appliances or bad electrical wiring. On occasion, external forces such as lightning strikes and damage to power lines can also lead to electrical surges in the house. While the actual surge only lasts a fraction of a second, it can damage your electrical connection if it happens frequently.
Solution: One way to safeguard your appliances is by installing surge protectors. If you experience frequent electrical surges, the problem is probably the wiring or home grid itself. Try disconnecting cheap devices or power boards from the outlet and see if this solves the problem. If not, it might be time to consult a Level 2 electrician such as Real Electrical Solutions, for example.
2. Dead lights and outlets
When outlets show discolouration, it is probably a sign that they are worn out or possibly dead, although, if they still look brand new but suddenly stop working, it might be difficult to diagnose the problem.
Sometimes, lights also go out for no apparent reason. Often, the culprit is a tripped ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet located in the laundry room, basement, garage, or any other area where there is a water source present. Once a GFCI trips, it cuts the power to any circuit connected to the load terminals.
Solution: When outlets can no longer hold plugs, it is time to replace them. When the GFCI trips, it should be reset in order to restore power to the other outlets.
3. Faulty light switches
Light switches that are not working properly is another common electrical problem. When light switches do not work or take time to work, this could indicate wiring issues, or it could mean that the switches are already old and malfunctioning.
If you have a dimmer switch that does not adjust the lighting properly, it may be a result of substandard devices or faulty workmanship.
Solution: When the problem is due to a faulty circuit or wiring, it is best to call a professional electrician to check out your light switches and fix the issue.
4. Lights bulbs are too dim or too bright
If some light bulbs in your house seem excessively bright while others are too dim, the problem could be a result of a bad mains connection or you have combined different types of lights with different wattages.
Solution: Check if all your light bulbs are identical and replace the ones that are not. If the problem persists, you might need to call an electrician.
5. Light bulbs burn out too fast
Are you replacing your light bulbs more often than usual? If your lights are burning out too quickly, it could mean:
the Wattage is too high
the bulb is too close to the property insulation.
faulty wiring on the circuit or mains.
too much wattage on a dimmer switch.
Solution: Going through each bullet point can be complicated for non-professionals. You might be better off talking to an electrician from a trusted company like Real Electrical Solutions who can correctly identify the cause of your light bulb burnouts.
6. Overhead recessed lights go out
Just like downlights, overhead recessed lighting is equipped with a safety device that automatically cuts the power when it gets too hot. If your lights go out and come back on, then the bulb is either installed too close to the ceiling or has a wattage too high.
Solution: Check if your recessed lights are producing excessive heat and if there is adequate insulation. Also, check the total wattage on the circuitry. You don’t want your overhead lighting to overheat and start a fire, so get it tested regularly.
7. Circuit breaker overload
The circuit breaker is the control hub that manages all the electrical connections in your home. Two of the most common electrical problems with circuit breakers are overloading and tripping.
Circuits overload when multiple high-powered appliances consume electricity at the same time. These include white goods such as refrigerators and air conditioning units, and small appliances like the unassuming hairdryer.
Solution: You can avoid overloading the circuit breaker by:
unplugging electrical devices, such as phone chargers, that are not in use.
distributing your electrical consumption across multiple circuit breakers instead of a single circuit.
not installing power boards in a daisy chain, with one plugged into another and so on.
8. Circuit breaker trips out
The circuit breaker is designed to protect your home, so it means it is doing its job when it does trip! Circuit breakers often trip due to the overloading of power boards as there are often not enough power points in many homes and apartments to cater to several high-wattage appliances such as microwaves, hairdryers, and complete home entertainment systems.
Solution: Recall the last appliance you plugged in before the circuit tripped. If it was a hairdryer, try switching the power setting to low. Make sure that devices are properly plugged in and disconnect when not in use.
9. High electricity bills
If your most recent power bill is unusually high, and you did not buy any new high-wattage appliances, it could be due to an electrical problem. Worn out, damaged, and outdated wires and circuits can lead to a spike in your electricity bill.
Solution: Cut down your electric bill by doing the following:
Fix leaks in your hot water system
Unplug electronic devices when not in use
Repair or replace damaged wiring or circuit
Switch to a more cost-effective energy provider
10. Electrical shocks
Electrical shocks can happen due to faulty wiring, grounded sockets, grounded appliances, or a power leakage. Electricity flowing through your body can feel like a mild jolt to a downright nasty blast; It may result in no injury at all or it could cause serious injury or even death.
Solution: You may be risking another electrical shock if you try to diagnose the problem yourself. In most cases, it is best to consult a licensed electrician.
When Do You Need to Call a Licensed Electrician?
When there is a power outage or power surge, the first thing you should do is check if your neighbours are experiencing the same problem. If power is out for the entire block, then report the outage to your energy provider. If the electrical problem is limited to your property, you should consider reaching out to a licensed professional asap.