If the lighting/heating fixtures in your house are antiquated or the wiring is outdated, it is possible that electrical problems in the house are too frequent for your liking. Electrical problems can be scary; you may have to hire a professional electrician to overhaul the entire electrical system if the problems are too persistent. Sometimes, however, you’ve got to handle minor problems on your own, e.g. fixing flickering lights. But then you have to be careful not to put your appliances, lighting, electronics, and indeed the entire home at risk of fire damage. That’s why you need to know the following tricks that electricians use to identify and fix minor electrical issues before they get out of hand.
1. Circuit leakage
Circuit leakage in electrical systems is caused by damaged wiring. You can know there’s circuit leakage in your house if your monthly electricity bills are rising abnormally. To fix this problem, all that you need to do is replace damaged wires. Damaged wires have melted insulation and can cause electrical shocks when you touch them. You may also want to replace outdated electrical devices with more energy-efficient devices.
Every lighting fixture is designed for a specific wattage. If you use a bulb of a higher wattage than a fixture can handle, both the fixture and the bulb overheats. That is what electricians call over-lamping. You can tell there’s over-lamping in your house if the socket/insulation on the fixture’s wires melts. If the problem isn’t fixed in time, the wires can start producing sparks, putting your house at risk of an electrical fire. The solution to this problem is to replace all damaged wires and then, henceforth, only use bulbs that are within your fixtures’ wattage limit. If your fixtures don’t have a specified wattage limit, don’t use a bulb with a wattage higher than 60 watts.
3. Tripping circuit breaker
This happens when a power source is overwhelmed due to too many electrical devices being plugged in. The solution here is to avoid overloading a single power source with many high-power-consuming appliances. If the problem persists, check for damaged wires and replace them.
4. Flickering lights
Flickering lights mostly signify that the bulbs are loose; they’re not making proper contact with the base. You can fix the problem by tightening them in their fixtures. If that doesn’t solve the problem, your switches are probably old and outdated, making them incompatible with modern bulbs, e.g. LED lights. You may need to update them before they cause a bigger fire hazard. Also, check if the wires are damaged and replace them.
5. Water heater issues
Water temperature issues are the most prevalent. At times, the water is completely cold due to the thermostat or the heating element being faulty. Other times, the water gets warm but not hot enough, mostly due to the water heater being undersized or the heating element being faulty. These two problems can also be caused by your circuit breaker tripping, blown fuses, or crossed hot and cold connections. You may want to hire a professional to fix the heater’s heating elements or thermostat. Professional electricians, e.g. these Sacramento professional electricians, will make sure that your water heater is properly sized before anything else. They will give you expert tips on how to fix common heating issues without compromising the home’s safety.
6. No GFCIs
GFCIs (ground-fault circuit interrupters) eliminate the risk of electrocution in the bathroom, garage, kitchen, and other wet areas. You can install GFCI breakers on the main electrical panel all by yourself or hire a professional to do it for you.
7. Electrical Shocks
Sometimes you get mild electrical shocks when you turn an appliance on/off. There are two possible causes of this: The appliance is either faulty or the wires are damaged. You can rule out the faulty device theory by plugging in another device to see it the problem remains. If the problem fixes itself, that confirms the initial theory. If the problem persists even with the new device, call in an electrician to fix the wiring.
Electrical malfunctioning in your house can be pretty intimidating. But sometimes it isn’t as big a problem as it may seem- common issues have pretty simple solutions. The above tips will help you perform simple diagnostics and fix minor issues. For complex connection problems and potentially dangerous electrical charges, always call a professional electrician.