Here are 10 typical electrical issues, along with an effective solution for each one.
Nowadays, every home is full of household appliances and all types of widgets. While safety is paramount, very people take it seriously. In most cases, a smaller electrical issue indicates a larger one. Well, that shouldn’t be a surprise since the majority of houses have outdated wiring. Worst of all, the same old wiring strains to power our ever-growing collection of energy-hungry electronics.
As you can imagine, the circuits in older homes can hardly support such amounts of electricity. Consequently, you may notice the signs of strain. Perhaps, it may be a tangle of extension cords sprouting from a single outlet or something else. No matter what, you need to address every problem immediately before it snowballs into something more serious.
Electrical Problems Around the House
1. Frequent surges
If you live in an old home, you’ll most likely have to deal with regular electrical surges. While they may happen from lightning strikes, the problem roots in the faulty wiring in most cases. Whenever there’s a massive jump in charge inside the power lines, a surge happens. In other words, it’s no surprise if your TV or another appliance runs off.
Typically, the problem comes from cheap electronics, like the DVD player you bought from the flea market. A faulty appliance can cause significant damage not only to your power line but to other electronics as well. In most cases, constant surges will degrade your home machines’ life expectancy significantly.
Fortunately, you can fix the problem with a decent-quality surge protector. Of course, it won’t save you from lightning strikes, but it will undoubtedly be of assistance when using faulty electronics.
2. Sags and dips in power
Similarly, sketchy gizmos can contribute to sags and dips in electrical supply. Sometimes, cheaper electronics may draw lots of power when turned on. This is when your lights will dim and get bright in the nick of a second.
Those so-called “brown-outs” may also occur when multiple large appliances are running simultaneously. You may want to look into old or faulty wiring as the reason for the problem in such cases.
3. Faulty switches
Usually, one of the signs of a persisting problem comes from your home lights. Of course, sometimes the problem is that the switches don’t activate at all. This may mean that someone has removed the fixtures or some type of fault in the wiring. Another typical issue is the symptom of flickering lights. Typically, the problem may root in frayed wiring. If that’s the case, you must fix it soon, or it could start a fire.
4. Circuit breaker tripping
So far, it’s as clear as a day that a frequently tripping circuit breaker is an indication of an electrical issue. Of course, a working breaker is, in fact, a good thing. However, it’s often a sign that you’re using too many high-wattage items on the same source.
Fortunately, you can quickly fix this issue. Simply reduce the number of appliances working simultaneously. Another solution is to use your hair dryer on a lower setting or limit the overall electrical usage on a single circuit.
5. Circuit overload
Arguably, circuit overload is one of the common reasons for frequent circuit breaker tripping. Even if you live in a newer home, you may not have enough power points. Consequently, this will translate into higher amounts of current flowing to your home entertainment unit setup.
The easiest way to solve circuit overloads is to remove all devices that aren’t in use. For example, you may have no idea that your phone charger still draws power even when you’re not charging anything. Another great idea is to spread your electrical needs around. That way, you won’t overburden a single circuit. Also, never daisy-chain power boards, and try to be mindful when connecting devices around your home.
6. Lights too bright or dim
Another concern that has to do with home lights is when they’re too bright or subdued. For example, brighter or darker lights may indicate either different wattage or bad neutral connection. In some cases, the reason may be shoddy workmanship or sub-standard products.
Firstly, make sure that all globes are identical. Always use bulbs that correspond with your lights in wattage. If the problem persists, you should call a professional.
7. Electrical shocks
If you’re living in an old home, we have bad news for you. Electrical shocks are a common problem in homes with older electrical systems. Most of the time, it happens when turning a device on or off. Perhaps, some of the common reasons may be lacking insulation, or the wiring isn’t grounded.
As already noted, the problem may be due to your old system. However, you may also experience shocks because of a faulty appliance. Therefore, it’s best to test the outlet with another small device. If you turn it on and you get shocked, the problem’s in the wiring. Either way, you should call up an electrician.
8. High electricity bills
High electricity bills are every homeowner’s nightmare. Typically, we all expect to have higher utility bills in the summer and winter. This is true, especially if you have an air conditioning system at home. However, having unusually high bills during the off-season may be a bit strange. Moreover, the problem might be even more significant than you’ve thought.
For this reason, you should optimize your consumption accordingly. For example, you can use a digital or smart thermostat. In the summer, program it to raise the temperature at night and cool it down before coming home. During winter, you can lower the temperature while no one’s at home.
Another way to minimize your home energy consumption is through GFCI outlets. They will let a minimal amount of power to your appliances, saving you money. If the problem’s still there, you may have more extensive damage to deal with. Perhaps, you have an ongoing issue with your circuits or wiring. In such cases, you may have to call up an electrician.
9. Light bulbs frequently burning out
Undoubtedly, everybody hates having to change light bulbs every month. If you think your light bulbs burn out too frequently, then it’s time to investigate the issue. Perhaps, the problem is in the high wattage, but it can also be in the bad wiring. Sometimes, it can occur when there’s a poor connection on the circuit. You can do a quick check by plugging your lamp into another socket. Generally, you’ll either have a problem with the original socket or the issue is in the fixture itself.
10. Recessed lights going off and turning on
Last but not least, let’s not forget about recessed lighting. If you notice your recessed lights turning off and then turning on, they may be getting too hot. In other words, you’re using bulbs with higher wattage, or you have problems with the insulation in the ceiling. While the safety devices in such lighting will automatically turn them off, it’s best to address the issue on time. As you may know, overheated lighting poses a fire risk, so you should fix it before it’s too late.
Final Thoughts for electrical problems
Finally, it’s safe to say that the easiest way to solve your electrical problems is to call a professional. Arguably, many local electricians will investigate and fix any ongoing issues in your home electrical system. Perhaps, you can still do some things on your own.
For example, you can check whether the light bulbs are the proper wattage. Still, you’d want to rely on a professional electrician to diagnose any bigger electrical problem in your home. This will give you indispensable peace of mind and safety for you and your family.