10 Common Electrical Problems You Should Know About
Your home is the place you should feel the safest and most comfortable. Unfortunately, every homeowner will experience electrical problems at one point or another. While many of the most common electrical problems are relatively harmless, some pose a huge safety risk. In an effort to keep your home as safe as possible (and save you some serious aggravation) we thought we’d give you a rundown on ten of the most common electrical problems.
The chances that you’ll experience one (or more) of these electrical problems are high and, when you know how to handle the issue effectively, you stand a much better chance of saving time and money. Some of these issues, if handled promptly, will pose little risk to you and your family. Others can prove costly and even lead to tragic accidents if left to worsen. After reading this article, you’ll have an understanding of the best steps to take when any of these electrical problems occur.
As Raleigh electricians, the safety of our community is our highest priority. We believe that educating homeowners about the dangers of electrical problems is essential. With electrical problems accounting for a whopping 51,000 fires each and every year, knowing how to handle these issues is crucial.
With that, let’s look at ten of the most common electrical problems and how to fix them!
Harmless But Irritating Common Electrical Problems
Not all electrical problems should have you feeling panicked. In fact, there are several electrical issues that pose little more than a slight irritation. Still, if you encounter any of these problems, you should go about getting them repaired by a licensed electrician as soon as possible. Here are a few frustrating but harmless electrical problems you should be on the lookout for, as well as how to fix them.
1. A Broken Light Switch
Ever walked into a room and flicked the light switch only to find that the light doesn’t come on? While you may be inclined to believe that this is due to a problem with your electrical system, it is likely that the problem lies within the light switch itself.
To fix this issue, simply turn off the circuit breaker. Take a flathead screwdriver and remove the switch’s faceplate before using a Phillips head to remove the light switch itself. Next, test the two wires that are connected to the screw for electricity. If it’s safe to do so, disconnect the light switch and reassemble. Uncomfortable with the idea of handling light switch repair on your own? Contact Right Electrical Services! We’ll be happy to fix the issue for you.
2. Simple Short Circuit
Some electrical appliances, such as hairdryers, demand so much power that they can cause frequent trips or short circuits. If this problem occurs, it is definitely irritating but far from harmless. To fix this common electrical problem, reset your breaker.
Remember that if the short circuits occur repeatedly when using the same appliance, it is the appliance and not a problem with your electrical system. If this problem occurs frequently regardless of the appliance used, however, you’ll want to call a licensed pro to see if there’s a short in the wiring or a receptacle.
3. A Loose Outlet Plug
If you have a loose outlet in your home, you’ll want to be sure to turn off the breaker before touching it. If power is being delivered to the outlet and you go to tinker with it, you are at considerable risk for electric shock.
Once the breaker is turned off, double-check for voltage to the outlet using either a voltmeter or plug something into the outlet. Once you’ve confirmed that there isn’t an active electrical flow, you’re free to proceed. To retighten the loose outlet plug, unscrew the cover plate and add outlet shims until the outlet is flush with the wall itself.
4. A Damaged or Cut Extension Cord
A cut or damaged extension cord poses little risk but should still be addressed sooner rather than later. Start by unplugging both ends of the cord in question. Next, cut off the old plug. Then, gently score and peel back the cord’s insulation jacket. After doing so, you’ll want to strip each wire with a wire stripper, taking care to twist each wire as tightly as possible at the end. Screw these into the back of the plug: white to the silver screw, black to gold, and green to the green screw. Finally, close the plug before securing the wires. There you have it!
Common Electrical Problems That Can Be Extremely Dangerous
Now that we’ve covered some of the most common electrical problems that are relatively harmless, it’s time to talk about those that are dangerous. If any of the following electrical problems occur in your home, don’t waste time! Each of these issues poses a risk for electrical fires and are, put simply, a ticking time bomb.
Always call a licensed electrician to handle these matters as they tend to be more complicated than other electrical issues. By handling these problems promptly, you can keep you and your family (not to mention personal property) safe.
5. Light Bulbs Burning Out Frequently
While you may assume that light bulbs burning out frequently is due to nothing more than overuse, this can actually be an indicator of something much more serious. In fact, you may have a loose connection in either the socket or the circuit.
If you have recessed lights that are failing frequently, insulation could be causing overheating, and these fixtures are designed to shut off to prevent a fire. If you’re going through light bulbs left and right, you need to call an electrician to assess the issue- you could be dangerously close to an electrical fire in your home.
6. Dimming or Flickering Lights
Flickering lights in your home may seem harmless enough until you find out that this is a huge warning sign for a poor connection. Why is a poor connection so serious? Well, a poor connection can lead to eventual arcing. Arcing describes the event where loose or corroded connections make contact. When these connections make contact, they can easily spark, overheat, and cause an electrical fire. Don’t delay- call an electrician today to uncover the cause of your dimming or flickering lights.
7. Outlets or Switches That Are Warm to the Touch
When it comes to the electrical field, we know that an appliance or electrical component being warm to the touch is usually a bad sign. While it’s pretty normal for a dimming switch to be warm to the touch, any other type of switch or outlet shouldn’t warm up to this extent. Warm outlets are a serious safety concern and are commonly indicative of loose wiring or terminals. When these electrical components become loose, they can generate a lot of extra heat.
As you can likely assume, this extra heat is far from safe. This is another huge risk for an electrical fire and should be resolved immediately. Again, this is a common electrical problem that should only be handled by a professional. Contact a trusted electrician.
8. Circuit Breaker That Keeps Tripping
Is your circuit breaker tripping frequently? While you may be annoyed, you should also be wary. Usually, this is a sign that the circuit is overloaded and using too much electricity. Too much electricity passing through a circuit can overheat your home’s electrical wiring and this can cause fire or electrocution. Take a frequently tripping circuit breaker very seriously. A licensed electrician can take a look and advise you on the best way to repair the issue.
9. Dead Outlets
Have some of your home’s outlets stopped working? You should know that this typically happens for two reasons. For one, this could be a sign of a tripped poor connection (or even arcing). Secondly, this could be due to a tripped breaker causing excessive heat buildup that has melted the outlets or the wires as a result. Do we even need to say it? You got it, this can lead to an electrical fire which can be absolutely devastating. Call an electrician to get this issue resolved immediately.
10. Wires Sticking Out From Outlets
If you have an older home, listen up. When houses are old, so is the wiring. Wires typically fall off from outlets either because they are wired inefficiently or because there are excess wires.
One way to reduce the potential damages caused by this common electrical problem is to tape the wires securely. This, however, should only be used as a temporary safeguard. You can’t rely fully on this temporary protection because the tape will eventually lose its adhesiveness and peel off.
This problem is a huge warning sign for an inevitable electrical fire and should be handled by an electrician immediately- especially if the socket itself is combustible.
Whether Your Electrical Problem is Harmless or More Serious, Count on Right Electrical Services!
Now that you know some of the most common electrical problems, as well as their severity, you can be on the lookout. One of the best ways to prevent electrical fires in your home is to stay proactive. When you stay aware of these common electrical problems, their causes, and how they can be fixed, you will be much more likely to have the issue repaired before it becomes too serious.
Looking for Raleigh electricians that you can trust to keep your home safe? Look no further than Right Electrical Services, LLC! We have a passion for helping our customers practice electrical safety in their homes, offering our expertise at budget-friendly prices. Give us a call today at (919) 359-1017 or request service online! Our team of expert electricians is here for you!
As always, leave any of your questions surrounding electrical safety, electrical repair, and home improvement in the comment section below. We’d love to hear from you and are on standby to answer your questions promptly.