If you’re noticing short circuits, warm fixtures, flickering lights, or any other strange new electrical problems around your home, you’re not alone. As many of us work from home for the first time, we’re also running into electrical problems in our homes we may never have encountered before. Some residential buildings weren’t built to handle the amount of electricity we’re drawing from them now. Learn what could be causing your home’s electric “phenomena,” as well as if you will need to hire professional assistance to get the job done.
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Signs of Electrical Problems In Your Home
Many electrical problems in the home require a professional fix, but if you can quickly diagnose the source of the issue, you might be able to resolve it on your own. Here are some of the most common electrical problems you’ll encounter at home and what they mean.
Short Circuits, Tripped Breakers, and Blown Fuses
A short circuit occurs when part of your circuit is physically shortened, which could be due to two wires touching that normally wouldn’t, causing a massive surge of electricity to release a large amount of heat and light. Tripped breakers occur when your circuit breaker detects an unusual amount of energy flowing through a circuit and automatically shuts it off. A blown fuse is also something that occurs when too much energy flows through a circuit, physically destroying and severing the circuit.
Older homes, in particular, are vulnerable to these three problems, especially as their electrical infrastructure becomes more taxed over time. Try to moderate your use of power-hungry appliances and contact an electrician for help, as all three are indicators of deeper problems.
A sudden power surge or the loss of it, can interrupt your workday and even damage your computer or other equipment you have at home. Voltage swells involve at least a 10% increase in the amount of voltage over the recommended baseline flowing through your electrical system, while voltage sags or dips see a 10% drop. During a voltage transient, a large surge of power, such as electricity from a lightning bolt, can pass through our home’s electrical system and potentially damage it.
Try to unplug any cheaper devices that may not have adequate surge protection in order to find the source of the problem. Call an electrician if it continues, as power surges and sags can pose risks to your safety and that of your devices.
Warm or Hot Outlets or Fixtures
Outlets or fixtures that are warm or hot to the touch can indicate that too much electricity is flowing through a circuit, potentially causing serious electrical problems. There is a chance this could be from a family member or roommate replacing a light bulb with another bulb that has incorrect wattage for the fixture. Turn off and unplug anything drawing power from the outlet or fixture. If you can’t find any light bulbs or appliances that may have caused the outlet or fixture to overheat, contact an electrician for help, because it could be a more serious issue.
A dead outlet can be an unwelcome surprise if you’re utilizing outlets you haven’t used before. The solution might be as simple as flipping on an unused switch that happens to control the outlet in question. However, your outlet might have faulty wiring that has been “backstabbed” or simply rammed into a connector, causing a loose connection. If you suspect a wiring problem, it’s best to work with a professional.
Lighting that Flickers or Dims
Flickering lights can be a relatively small problem with an easy fix or a big problem, depending on how many lights are affected. If one light is flickering, you might have a bad connection at that point or a problem with the light or fixture. If multiple lights are flickering, you might have a problem with your circuit. If multiple lights are flickering, you’re better off calling a professional electrician than attempting to handle the problem yourself.
Short Light Bulb Life
If your light bulbs are burning out faster than they should, it can be hard to identify the precise cause, making it wise to consult an electrician. Your bulb might not be suitable for the socket and could be drawing too much power, which can pose a fire hazard. You might have a loose connection with the circuit box, light fixture, or in the circuit itself. Depending on where a socket is located, it could be overheating, especially if it’s not properly insulated.
Loose Outlet Plug
A loose outlet plug can come from an improperly installed outlet, which might only become apparent once it receives some sustained use. If it’s not fixed, the plug can fall out of the wall and expose its wires, presenting a shock or fire hazard. Luckily, it’s easy to find spacers you can insert that offer support to a loose plug. If you suspect there might be damage to the wiring, it’s a good idea to call an electrician to inspect it.
If you tried plugging in a device and received a shock from the outlet, that indicates a serious and dangerous problem. An electrical shock can come from faulty ground wiring in a device or appliance you’re trying to connect to an outlet. It may also indicate a problem with the outlet itself and will require a professional to fix.
If you see any of these telltale signs of electrical problems in your home, carefully assess them without placing yourself in danger. If you’re unable to fix the problem with a few simple steps, you’ll need a professional to assist you, because handling electricity comes with major risks. Bell Solar & Electrical Systems has been serving customers across the Las Vegas Valley since 2007 and today is ranked among the top 10% of 22,000 contractors statewide by BuildZoom. Give us a call today so we can set up a time to meet and discuss your problems.