Top 15 Common Electrical Problems and Solutions

Posted on 2 December 2017, By

Why do we blame nation’s power system without even checking the poor wiring inside our home? It may be out-dated and won’t be efficient in supplying electricity to the appliances, electronics and lighting.

The problem is that the circuits fitted during older days were not designed to power different types of electronic equipment or lighting of this era.

There may be obvious signs of strains with more extension cords and single outlet paving the way to sprout power strips or lurking not seen at the back of ceilings, walls and cover plates.

So when considering household electric appliances, your safety is the main goal. If you are facing high bills, flickering lights and damaged appliances at your home, you can make sure the home circuit is not in a proper working condition.

Also read How to Reduce Electricity Bill at Home

Here are some common electrical wiring problems and their solutions

1) Electrical surges

It can be occurred due to poor wiring in the house or lightning strikes or faulty appliances or damaged power lines. Surges are common and last for a microsecond but if you experience frequent surges lead to equipment damage that degrade life expectancy particularly.

Check the device that connects to the home grid or the wiring and try disconnecting the poor quality powerboards or devices from the outlet. If the surges don’t occur again, your problem is solved. If it is not, you must call an electrician.

2) Overloading

Sometimes your light fixture has a bulb or other fitting with high watts than the designed fixture. This is a code violation and the risk level is quite high. The high heat from the bulb can melt the socket and insulation present in wires of the fixture. This results in sparks from one wire to another and causes electrical fires. Even after the bulb is removed, the socket and wires will still be under damage.

It is always better to fit a bulb or any other fittings by staying within the wattage. If the fixtures are not marked with wattage, it is advisable to use a 60-watt bulb or even smaller ones.

3) Power sags and dips

Sags are dips usually occur when the power grip is faulty and electrical appliances are connected to it. It also occurs when the grid is made of low quality materials. When this is the case, it draws more power when switched on.

4) Junction box that is uncovered

The junction box has lots of wires that are connected to each other. If it is not covered, a person gets a shock from damaged wire too. This is a code violation and the risk is minimal if the wires are not within the reach. Thus it is better to cover it with the screws provided.

5) Switches of light not working

You can easily point out if it a bad workmanship or sub-standard products with dim switches that don’t work on adjusting the lights properly. It can also be the fault of wiring or circuit or outlet. You can consult an electrician for this issue.

6) Flickering light

You might have experienced with your frayed wiring when it is windy outside that causes a short when the cables move. It is not a code violation but has a higher level of risk as it can suddenly start a fire. Immediately call the electrician to get weatherhead replaced.

7) Tripping circuit breaker

When other high power consuming items are used before you plug in microwave or hairdryers there is a chance to get it tripped. Tripping is actually a sign that your home is protected. Just check what causes tripping and try using a low setting and also usage can be limited to a single circuit too.

8) Less outlets

Nowadays most of the houses have extension cords and power strips to rely heavily on them. If you don’t use heavy load extension cords like 14-gauge or thicker the risk will be minimal.

Thus it is advisable to use more outlets with the help of an electrician.

9) Electric shocks

When the electricity is not properly used, it results in electrical shocks with a nasty experience. The chances of such electrical problems in old homes were quite high because the circuits fitted during older days. An electric shock happens when you switch on or off a device. The issue can either be with the appliance or the wiring. To check the issue, you can test with another device. But to be on the safer side, just talk with your electrician to resolve the issues.

10) No RCCB (Residual Current Circuit Breaker)

RCCB is also known as Earth Leakage Circuit Breaker (ELCB). This is used to disconnect the load from main supply when the circuit has residual current. By using RCCB you can ensure protection against direct and indirect contact, electric fire and protection of earthing against corrosion.

11) Frequent burning out of light bulbs

If your light bulbs burn out too often, check if your issue falls under this:

➤ High wattage

➤ Insulation is near to light

➤ Poor wiring on circuit and mains

➤ More wattage on a dimmer switch

12) Overcircuited panel

It is a code violation to place tandem breakers in one slot rather than too many single-pole breakers. The difference between double-pole breakers and tandem breakers are that the latter one doesn’t take up two slots in a single circuit. The danger level will be minimal. This problem can be resolved by adding a sub-panel with extra slots or replacing the existing panel with a bigger model.

13) High electric bill

You can reduce electric bills by:

➤ Repairing damaged circuits or wiring

➤ Unplugging electronic devices when not in use

➤ Relying on a cost-effective service provider

➤ Recognizing power surging devices

Also read All You Need to Know About Improving Energy Efficiency Using LED Lighting

14) Aluminum wiring

It has a high danger level as aluminum was used as a cheap substitute for copper in earlier days and is no longer a safe option. This is because corrosion takes place when aluminum is in contact with copper and when the connections loosen, it leads to fires.

The solution for this issue is retrofitting a dielectric wire nut for aluminum wire to copper connection in case of light fixtures. This helps in stopping corrosion due to the grease in the nuts.

15) Backstabbed wires

The pushed wires at the back can be loose for new switches than those anchored around screw terminals. This is not a code violation as it is allowed for new constructions too. The risk occurs only when the loose wires are worst in case otherwise it stops the switch from working.

Check if your wires are backstabbed, if so, release it and fix them to the respective screw terminals on the receptacle.

Always be cautious with the signs of electrical problems in home as it causes a dangerous hazard. Not all problems are related and may be due to human error too. There are at times when electronic appliances go bad or problems occur due to faulty wiring and get increased when environmental conditions are bad.

Here are some tips for troubleshooting your electrical problems easily as it is true that troubleshooting a problem has a complete solution.

Also read Home Electrical Repairs that You can Totally Handle Yourself

Before finding out the problem, make sure:

➤ Switch is off

➤ If the bulb is burned out

➤ If RCCB (Residual Current Circuit Breaker) is tripped

In some situations, troubleshooting will be quite easy when it is the case of a switch or the light bulb burned out. Many times, you may notice RCCB receptacle is tripped and the tripped plug is behind a pile of boxes in a garage without even noticing that there is a plug present there.

So let’s start troubleshooting

➤ Be safe first

It is very important to make sure of your safety while working with electrical problems and solutions.

➤ It is advisable not to work with energized wires or circuits.

➤ Switch off the circuit and tag it to keep off so that other wont switch it on again

➤ Before you test, insulate the wires with electrical tape if it is to be turned on. You can insulate the hot wire with red or black to identify from others (also known as hot wire flagging).

➤ If you don’t know anything about resolving your electrical issues, kindly contact an electrician.

The process goes like this:

➤ Identify the power coming cable and don’t work with the power on. Flag the circuit with a label to make others aware that you are working on it.

➤ Check all equipment served by each cable and don’t forget to disconnect device with any associated cable. Isolate the equipment to avoid a failing component.

➤ Check the switch with an OHM Meter.

➤ Securely test the fixture with an extra cord to check whether it works. If it doesn’t – check the installation wiring, bulbs and so on.

➤ In some cases a hot wire will test alright way to ground ordinarily a ground wire, however won’t test ok to the White Neutral Wire. This can be caused by a couple of things, a free or burnt association that has burnt clear of the association point, for example, a receptacle screw or the point of insertion at the back of a receptacle. A device won’t work if there is no neutral. Make sure to check all the Neutral Connections at the source and at any intersection prompting the issue zone.

➤ The space heaters with high wattage used for a long time make the receptacle to get heated more. This occurs especially on the heater side.

➤ If a receptacle became stained where the cord is connected then the possibilities are the wiring appended to the receptacle inside the box will have encountered overheating and could be burnt.

➤ Ensure your connections are well made. A free connection will likewise cause shorts and make burnt wires which could bring about a potential fire danger.

➤ Don’t over fix wire nuts, however ensure they are on tight.

As the circuit and all the components are checked you must be able to find the issue and fix it. Always keep in mind safety is paramount, so if you are unsure about the issue don’t consider it for fixing alone. A professional electrician can easily diagnose and resolve it. Be safe!!

Most electrical dangers could be controlled if you quality products certified by the concerned authorities are used. Anchor supplies only certified and quality products ensuring your safety making it as their priority. If you require assistance on any products or installation, they also have hotline service to help you. Just a call on the toll-free number and they will reach you. Safety cannot be compromised is what is strongly believed by Anchor, if you too feel the same opt for nothing but the best – Anchor. Switch to the most trusted brand in electronics and enjoy a safer world.

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