Electrical problems can be hard to diagnose, especially without considerable training or the proper tools. They can also be hard to pin down, often developing gradually or presenting symptoms intermittently.
Knowing the signs of developing electrical gremlins can save a lot of headaches. As a homeowner, there are two main things to keep in mind: area where electrical problems typically present themselves, and less obvious symptoms of common electrical problems.
If You Suspect an Electrical Problem is Developing, Check These Areas First
These two items should always be the first places you check. The majority of electrical faults will present themselves here.
The Electrical Panel
This is also referred to as the “circuit breaker panel” or “breaker box”.
As a homeowner, you want to check your panel for any indication that something is wrong with the circuit(s) that are giving you problems. Do not open your electrical panel. Check:
- That the breaker is active for the circuit and has not been tripped, or if using a fuse box, that the fuse is still intact and has not been blown.
- That all the breaker positions are in their correct position.
- Look for obvious physical damage
Outlets and Electrical Switches
Electrical problems that are present in items connected to a circuit, such as appliances, TV’s, lights, light fixtures, ceiling fans, ventilation fans, and other electrical devices, may be a result of the switch or electrical outlet tied to that circuit.
- The physical condition of the switch and outlet – Specifically, you’re looking to see any obvious physical damage. Look at the color of the switch/outlet, and check for scorch or burn marks.
- For switches, that the switch fully engages when activated – Is your switch “sticky” and not completely activating, or failing to activate entirely? If it does engage the on position, does it stay there or does it slip out? When used, is it loose or does it feel secure?
- For outlets, check to see that devices receive power when plugged in – Further to that, do cords stay snugly plugged in, or do they slide or fall out? There should be sufficient friction to provide a bit of resistance but still enable the free operation of the outlet.
Many homeowners are comfortable working on their electrical outlets. If you prefer an expert to handle it, give us a call!
Common Signs of Developing Electrical Problems
Pay close attention if you are experiencing any of the below.
Outside of static electricity (which can be fun when you’ve got fuzzy socks on carpet), you should not be getting shocked by the electrical system in your home. If shocks are occurring it is likely due to a fault in the ground of the appliance, device, or switch you are using. If multiple devices are giving shocks on the same circuit, it is likely due to a fault in the circuit itself.
Ground faults can be a result of frayed wiring, damaged or severed wiring, or degradation or corrosion of the wiring. It should be addressed by an electrician to ensure a safe and effective fix.
Hot Outlets, Power Cords, Appliances, or Fixtures
An item connected to the electrical grid in your home should not get excessively hot unless it is by design (like a space heater or your oven). If items become too hot, it not only signifies a potential problem with the electrical circuit, but it becomes a fire hazard as well.
Possible causes include improper use of the electrical device (such as using improper wattage bulbs in a light fixture), a grounding or short circuiting issue within the appliance itself, improper insulation or installation of the device, and other less obvious problems.
If you smell burning or melting rubber/plastic when using an electric item or circuit, immediately cut power and call us. This indicates a problem with the circuit, such as a loose wire, a short circuit, or a damaged wire. In either case, the smell or melting or burning indicates a real fire hazard is present.
We will send an electrician to diagnose the cause of the problem as well as outline the appropriate fix. It is important that only a qualified electrician handles problems of this nature.
If you hear a loud pop when activating an electrical device or plugging a device into an outlet, chances are good that you have a loose or poorly connected wire. If this is happening inside your wall, switch, or outlet, disconnect power at the circuit breaker and call us.
If You Need an Electrical Repair, Call The WireNut
We have electricians in Colorado Springs that are ready to help solve your electrical issue. We will take care to listen to your needs, determine the cause of the problem, and provide you with a clear and transparent quote that will solve your problem. As with all our electrical work, our electrical repairs are backed by our three year satisfaction guarantee.