JD’s Blog | How to Troubleshoot Common Electrical Issues
Due to the numerous risks involved, many projects involving electricity are better left to the experts. However, you can certainly diagnose issues before the electrician arrives. Here are some of the most common electrical issues – and how to possibly troubleshoot them!
As one of a common electrical issues, power surges can evaporate anything electronic that’s plugged into the outlet. Power surges can and do come from lightening strikes or transformer malfunctions. Some manufacturers have designed and installed a built-in safety on some electric panels. At the first sign of a power surge, the breaker or the fuse box cuts off the power to an area experiencing the surge. I’m not familiar with this system myself. I am familiar with Whole House Surge Suppressors that can be installed into your electrical panel by you, or an electrician. The suppressor connects to a double pole breaker and is supposed to protect the entire panel of circuits.
If a breaker trips, it will shut down the power. Go down to the breaker panel and look for the switch that tripped. If the switches aren’t labeled you might want to add that to your to-do list. Once you find the switch, first turn it hard off and then turn it back on. If it’s a push-in breaker, you may not be able to tell without a voltage tester.
Electrical outlet(s) out of order
First, check to see if a circuit breaker has tripped. If the breaker box shows no sign of being tripped, the power outage could be limited to that particular outlet, or a loose stab-lock connection in an outlet ahead of it. It could’ve burned out. The clearest indication is the flickering of lights, intermittent power coming on and off or brightening of lights.
Flickering lights are a one sign of a poor connection, found somewhere between the breaker and the lights, that could eventually break the connection. The expertise of an experienced electrician is required to determine the source of the electrical issue and correct it. Questions related to flickering lights are frequently asked – we’re an expert on the topic. A thorough diagnostic could take us all the way to the service entrance from the power company. To learn more about flickering lights, click here.
Lights turning on and off automatically
Some recessed light fixtures have a built-in heat sensor, which prevents the fixture from overheating. As such, it may turn off by itself. Once it has cooled, the light will turn back on. This is normally an incompatibility issue between that specific light bulb and the fixture installed in the ceiling. Try using a lower wattage lamp, or better yet, switch the trim part to LED.
Appliances causing breakers to trip
Items that run on high-wattage can overload the circuit when simultaneously running on the same circuit as other high-wattage items. To fix this problem, moving the problematic item to a different outlet connected to a different circuit should solve the problem. If you don’t have a different circuit in the immediate vicinity of the appliance cord, an electrician could install one for you, provided that your panel is not completely full.
Frequent burnt light bulbs
If you are constantly changing bulbs, the reason may be that you are using a fixture that cannot handle a high-wattage bulb. Check the fixture to ensure you get the right bulb with the correct wattage. Once you have the information, purchase a bulb more suited to the fixture. Better yet, because incandescent light bulbs are going the way of disco, switch to LED. They claim to last up to 25 years.