10 Common Electrical Problems Around The Home
When it comes to household electrics, your safety is paramount. Flickering lights, high bills and damaged appliances can all be a sign of electrical problems on your home circuit. Identify problems from the list below, as well as the most appropriate solution.
1. Frequent electrical surges
Electrical surges can be caused by anything from lightning strikes, damage to power lines, faulty appliances and bad electrical wiring in the house. While an actual surge only lasts a microsecond, frequent surges can damage the electrical components connected to your home, degrading their life expectancy significantly.
If you experience frequent electrical surges, the culprit is probably an electrical device connected to the home grid or the wiring itself. Try removing any cheaply made devices or powerboards from the outlet to see if this prevents the surges. Otherwise, it might be time to consult a professional electrician.
2. Sags and dips in power
Like electrical surges, sags and dips in electrical supply can often be attributed to devices connected to your power grid that are faulty or made with substandard materials, and draw a lot of power when they are turned on.
3. Light switches not working properly
Dimmer switches that don’t adjust light properly can often be attributed to shoddy workmanship or sub-standard products.
If you have just moved into a new house and find switches that don’t seem to activate anything at all, this might be a sign the switches have been superseded and fixtures removed, or it could be a fault in the outlet, circuit or wiring. Consult with an electrician if you’re experiencing issues with switches in your house.
4. Circuit breaker tripping frequently
High wattage items like microwaves and hairdryers can trip circuit breakers, particularly when other power consuming items are used on the same source. A circuit breaker is designed to protect you and your home, so when it does trip, that’s a sign it’s doing its job.
Look at what you were using when it tripped. If it was a hair dryer, try using the low setting. Alternatively, limit the electrical usage on a single circuit while high watt devices are in use.
5. Circuit overload
One of the biggest causes of frequent circuit breaker tripping is the overloading of power boards. Most homes and apartments, even newer ones, don’t have enough power points to cater to, for example, a complete home entertainment unit setup. If circuit breakers in your home are tripping frequently, it could be down to circuit overload. Prevent this by:
- Never daisy-chain power boards.
- Remove devices that aren’t in use (for example, phone chargers still draw power even when not connected).
- Spread your electrical needs around. Don’t overburden a single circuit.
- Be mindful of how you connect devices around the home – what’s in use, and what is unnecessary.
6. Lights too bright or dim
If some lights around the house seem excessively bright but others are dim, then there’s two probable causes:
- Different types of lights with different wattage: Check that all the globes are identical.
- Bad main neutral connection: This will continue to cause problems for the home until it is fixed by a professional.
7. Electrical shocks
An electrical shock is a nasty experience. Even though they are usually pretty mild, something akin to a static shock, they remind us that electricity is dangerous when not probably utilised.
Electrical shocks typically happen when you turn a device on or off. The issue could be with the appliance, or it could be in the wiring. You can test this by plugging in another device and seeing if the results are reproducible, however you’re just risking another electrical shock. In most cases, it might be better to speak with an electrician.
8. High electrical bill
Reducing the cost of your electrical bill could include:
- Switching to a more cost effective provider
- Identifying electrical devices that may be causing power surges
- Patching leaks in the hot water system
- Unplugging appliances and chargers when not in use
- Repairing damaged wiring or circuits
9. Light bulbs burning out too often
There are a number of reasons your lights can be burning out too often:
- Wattage is too high
- Insulation is too close to the light
- Bad wiring on the circuit
- Bad wiring on the mains
- On a dimmer switch, too much total wattage on one switch
- If flickering there is probably a poor connection on the circuit.
Isolating the issue can be tricky for non-professionals. If you’re going through light bulbs like it’s nobody’s business, it it might be worth reaching out to an electrician to help identify the root cause of light bulb burnouts.
10. Recessed light ‘goes out’ and comes back on
Recessed lighting (like downlights) are equipped with safety devices that cut out power to the light when it gets too hot. You’re either using too high wattage on the bulb, or insulation in the ceiling is too close to the bulb.
Check for excessive heat
Check overhead lights every so often:
- Are they producing excessive heat?
- What is the total wattage on the circuit?
- Are they insulated properly?
Overheated lighting can be a fire risk, so be sure test regularly.
What to do if problems persist
If electrical problems are ongoing around your home, you should consider contacting a electrician. Safety around the home is paramount, so don’t leave anything to change. Get in touch with a professional, like your local Platinum Electrician, to help diagnose the problems with your home electricals for peace of mind and safety assurance.