Recognizing common household electrical problems can help you request professional maintenance when necessary. You should address electrical problems that require repairs quickly, as complications can present fire and safety hazards. Professional electricians have the knowledge and experience to ensure your home’s electrical system is safe.
Common Home Electric Problems
A home’s electrical system is essential, and maintaining electrical components properly helps maintain safety and energy savings. Consider the following most common household electrical issues:
Circuit Breaker Complications
Manufacturers design circuit breakers to trip when the circuit overloads. A circuit breaker trips to prevent overheating and reduce fire hazards. Your breaker may trip occasionally due to simple overloads, but frequent tripping can indicate a more serious issue. Contact an electrician as soon as possible if you notice your circuit breakers tripping often. A professional can inspect your entire electrical system and identify electrical threats and potential fire hazards.
Electrical circuits can sometimes veer from their correct course, causing an arc fault. Arc faults typically occur because of wiring errors or degraded wiring, and they can cause electrical fires. You can take measures to prevent electrical fires if you suspect your home may have degraded wiring. An electrician can install an arc-fault circuit interrupter (ACFI) to safeguard against arc faults.
Loose Power Outlets
Power outlets should fit appropriately to a wall and remain tight. An incorrectly installed outlet box or poor connections can cause loose wall outlets, and this is a common complication in older homes.
If you notice an outlet is loose or shifting, call a professional for assistance. A loose outlet is an electrical hazard that can shock you if you touch it, so it’s important to seek professional inspection and repair versus attempting to fix it yourself. Plugging or unplugging a cord could shock a person if the outlet’s wiring is loose.
It’s also crucial to seek professional repair quickly. A shifting outlet causes an outlet box’s wires to rub together, fraying and exposing them. If left unresolved, exposed wires can lead to an arc fault and electrical fire.
Sparking or Warm Outlets
An outlet or light switch may require replacement if it sparks or feels warm to the touch. This can also indicate loose wiring that requires repair. Seeking professional inspection and repair is crucial because loose wiring is a fire hazard.
Some homes have fewer outlets than others, causing families to use power strips for their power needs. While this seems like a convenient fix, trying to pull too much power from too few outlets can overload them and create a fire hazard. An experienced electrician can install new outlets in your home, allowing you to access adequate electricity safely.
A dead outlet is one that no longer delivers power. An outlet may stop working due to faulty wiring or burning out. Dead outlets create a fire hazard and require immediate replacement.
Flickering lights are a common electrical issue, but different complications can cause them. Flickering lights often indicate that a home’s electrical system requires attention. If your lights dim when you use kitchen appliances or you notice a faint flickering when you turn your air conditioner on, one of the following issues may be to blame:
- Circuit overload
- Electrical voltage fluctuations
- Meter box complications
- Ill-fitted or outdated wiring in an older home
An electrician can inspect your wiring to determine the cause of your flickering lights.
Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupter Damage
Ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) are necessary for various applications. They became required in 1971 for swimming pool equipment and outdoor outlets. Now, they are also required for any room with water fixtures such as:
GFCI outlets are important because they protect against electrocution. They contain moisture-detecting and abnormal electrical flow sensors, forcing them to trip if a dangerous electric flow or water is present. A GFCI trip occurs within milliseconds if necessary, making them a crucial safety feature for Florida homes.
Severe electrical issues and outlet complications can damage CGFI circuits, so testing the outlets monthly is essential for ensuring they work properly. To test a CGFI outlet, press the test and reset buttons. If they fail to work, you should contact a professional immediately and avoid using the outlet.
Counterfeit Electrical Appliances and Products
Reputable manufacturers and stores sell electrical appliances and products that meet business, regulatory and safety standards. Counterfeit electrical products are fake or fail to meet regulatory standards. While they may have a lower cost than reputable products, counterfeit electrical products are dangerous and present electrical hazards such as:
- Causing electric shock
Unusual Outlet Sounds
Electrical switches and outlets should operate silently. Buzzing, sizzling or crackling sounds indicate loose wires, which are a serious fire hazard. Turn off the outlet’s power source immediately if you notice any of these sounds, and contact an electrician.
In addition to unusual outlet sounds, odd odors can indicate an urgent electrical complication. Some odors, such as a finish or paint smell, are normal after a new installation. However, an odor coming from an electrical outlet indicates an electrical hazard.
An overheated circuit can emit a urine-like or fishy odor. This odor comes from the outlet’s heat-resistant chemicals and plastics, and it can be difficult to locate if an HVAC system moves the odor throughout a home. The following complications can cause an unusual odor in an outlet:
- Short circuits
- Damaged or frayed electrical insulation
- Using loose plugs in the outlet
- Undersized wiring or circuit breakers
- Circuit overload
- Sparking or arcing outlets caused by damage
If you notice any abnormal smells coming from an electrical outlet, turn the power source off and call an electrician.
A power surge occurs when an excess charge surges through power lines, increasing the current that travels to your home’s outlets. Damaged power lines and lightning strikes are the most common causes of electrical surges. When a surge occurs, an appliance such as your television or computer may turn on and off rapidly, and repeated exposure to this can damage it. You can protect your electrical system from surges with surge protectors, but you should contact a professional electrician if surges continue affecting your appliances.
Electrical dips and sags can also occur. Appliances can cause dips and sags if they pull excessive power from an outdated electric panel or connect to a faulty outlet.
High Electric Bills
Electric bills vary based on power consumption, but significant bill spikes can indicate electrical complications. If your electric bill seems much higher than usual but your energy usage has remained fairly consistent, you should contact an electrician to inspect your system. A professional can check for the following common home electric problems:
- Electrical system leaks
- Damaged electrical components such as circuits
- Outdated or damaged electrical appliances
Scheduling electrical system inspection and repairs can help your electrical fixtures and appliances operate efficiently, saving energy costs.
Trust Del-Air Heating, Cooling, Plumbing, and Electrical With Your Home’s Electrical Needs
Electrical systems require expert attention when complications arise. Recognizing common electrical issues and scheduling professional service quickly can safeguard your home and family against potential hazards. Del-Air Heating, Cooling, Plumbing, and Electrical provides expert installation and professional solutions for common electrical problems throughout Florida. Our team properly diagnoses and repairs electrical complications so you can rest assured your home is safe.
Book online or call us for fast and reliable service if you notice any potential electrical issues.
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