Electrical problems aren’t just annoying. They can also be dangerous. Faulty wiring can not only leave you without power but cause shocks and electrical fires as well. Because the wiring is mostly hidden behind your walls, diagnosing electrical issues in your house can be tricky. Some problems are annoying, while others are hazardous. To help you tell which is which, here’s a brief rundown of the ones you’re most likely to encounter.
When you plug an electrical cord into an outlet, the contact points are supposed to hold the plug firmly in place. Worn contact points lead to loose outlets, which are both inconvenient and unsafe. A worn contact point can lead to arcing, electrical sparks that jump through the air from one wire to another ‒ a major fire hazard. Replacing the outlet will solve the problem. New ones are available at most hardware stores. Anyone moderately handy won’t even need an electrician .
Dead outlets increase the strain on your electrical system. Rather than powering your devices through multiple channels, the electricity in each room is funneled through a few of them. Over time, this can lead to overloaded circuits, tripped breakers, and degraded wiring.
Dead outlets are normally caused by worn or burnt wires. Replace the outlet and see if that solves the problem. If not, consult a qualified electrician. The wires feeding it may be damaged.
Dead Light Switch
Most homes have at least one light switch that doesn’t activate anything in the house. It’s a common electrical issue, but normally not a serious one. A switch that’s been dead since you moved in has probably been superseded by more recent wiring, so it’s no longer connected to anything. As long as all the lights work, nothing needs to be done.
However, if the switch was working previously, then you’re probably dealing with a short. Light switches contain several moving parts that wear down over time. Most dead switches simply need to be replaced. On the other hand, if the same switch has failed repeatedly, you might need to rewire it.
Bulbs Burn Out Too Fast
Light bulbs aren’t expensive, but they can be when you’re buying a new one every few months. Modern light bulbs are designed to last thousands of hours. If they’re burning out after only a few weeks or months, then either the bulb’s wattage is too high or it’s being overloaded. You either need to purchase the right bulb or call an electrician to figure out what’s wrong with the light socket.
In most cases, flickering lights are caused by a power surge in the electrical grid. However, if your neighbors’ lights are working fine, then your electrical system is having difficulties coping with the demands you’re placing on it. It’s possible your appliances are drawing an excessive amount of power. Unplug a few and see if the problem recurs.
Otherwise, you’ll have to hire an electrician to have a look at your wiring. You could be suffering from loose or corroded connections. Or you may need to add more circuits to your electrical box. Creating dedicated switches for your most energy-intensive appliances distributes the load more evenly throughout your home.
Lights Are Too Bright or Too Dim
When lights are too bright, it’s normally because the bulb’s wattage is too high. Every light socket has a label on the side with the recommended wattage. Inserting a high-wattage bulb into a low-wattage socket is known as “overlamping,” and it can create serious problems. It can overheat the socket and melt the insulation around the wires, leading to arcing, electrical discharge, and even fire.
If your bulbs have the correct wattage, then you’re probably dealing with a bad main neutral connection. This occurs when the neutral wire, which carries electricity back to its source, becomes damaged or disconnected. So rather than flowing smoothly through your house, power builds up inside it.
When this happens, sockets can overheat and trigger a fire or electrocute you. Replacing the neutral wire will solve the problem, but it should be entrusted to an electrician.
Electrical outlets become hot when they’re overloaded. Try removing some of the appliances plugged into them and see if they cool down. If they don’t, then the casing, wiring, or insulation has probably gotten damaged. Regardless of the cause, warm outlets are a major safety concern and should be repaired right away by a qualified electrician.
If an outlet gives you a shock, either the ground wire or neutral wire has gone bad. Power is building up in the system and you need to call an electrician as soon as possible.
Guard Against Electrical Issues in Your House
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