5 things to check before you call your electrician

Posted in: Electrical Tips for the Home

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We’re all familiar with the scenario. Suddenly, the light in your fridge is out. It’s plugged in but nothing’s happening. You need that fridge working; there’s cheese, meat and milk in there. In a panic you call the electrician and whilst you wait, rearrange your kitchen to plug in the fridge somewhere else to keep it going. After all that stress, worry and maybe even heavy lifting, the electrician turns up, presses a little button to reset your fuse box, gives you the bill and is gone.

When it comes to electrical appliances there are a few common problems you should always check before jumping on the phone. They will potentially save you a lot of embarrassment and you won’t have that awkward moment of staring at the electrician apologetically. Here’s your five-point appliance checklist:

  1. Is it plugged in? You’d be surprised. Plugs and cords can be tripped over or pulled out accidentally. They can be turned off at the wall or unplugged by a well-intentioned family member. If your appliance stops working, check that it’s turned on and plugged in. It may seem obvious, but that’s why we tend to not check these things first.
  2. Overloading. Once you’ve checked that your appliance is plugged in, check that it’s not plugged in to an overloaded multi-board within your fuse box. Many 4(or more)-way adaptors will have switches, disabling them if they’re carrying too much load. Unplug a couple of things, look for a switch or button on your multi-board and see if your appliance will now work.
  3. Check your fuse box. If your appliance won’t work, it’s plugged in and isn’t overloaded, try it in a different part of the house (you may want to use an extension cord if it’s a heavy appliance like a fridge or washer). If it works in this new area, then it’s likely that you’ve simply blown a fuse. Locate your fuse box and look for the fuse that covers the room that your appliance is in
  4. Check your socket. If the fuse is not blown, check the socket itself for melting or burn marks that could indicate a malfunction or faulty wiring. If this is the case it may be wise to turn off the fuse to that area of the house. This can be very dangerous and should be addressed by an electrician as soon as possible.
  5. Check your appliance. If it still isn’t working then the problem may lie in the appliance itself. Try plugging something else into the same socket. If this is the case, depending on the appliance, you may be able to fix it yourself. Look online for repair tutorials about your particular appliance.

Don’t panic. Think about the situation before calling your electrical services company. However, always remember; if your electrical appliances stopped working because of an overloaded fuse or multi-board, you will need to rectify this situation as soon as possible. Merely replacing the fuse or resetting the multi-board will see the problem happening again and again. Saving time, money and embarrassment is important, but safety should always be your biggest consideration. If you’re unsure, always call an electrician.