16 of the Most Common Electrical Problems and Solutions You Should Know

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Nobody likes problems, especially electrical problems. They are both dreadful and aggravating.

Electrical problems can happen anywhere where electricity is. But today, we’re going to name 16 of the most common electrical problems and solutions that you should know.

Before we go there, we understand that when it comes to minor issues that pose no threats, you will probably prefer to do it on your own. And that’s perfect!

However, electricity is hazardous and should not be meddled with if you have no experience or knowledge of it. In that case, it is always safe to consult experts before you do anything that is risky.

If you are also interested in energy saving tips cast a glance here!

Now, let’s take a look at the most common electrical problems and solutions!

Featured Image via Titouan@titouanc

Most Common Electrical Problems and Solutions

  1. Transients [Surges]

Transients, which are commonly known as surges, are the lighting-fast striking of light. These are caused by high-voltage disruptions in the flow of electricity. They occur for a split second. Transients can damage any electronic devices that are connected at the moment.

If the transients continue happening, it is probably time to get your electrical connections checked. Otherwise, these transients are nothing to worry about if they have stopped.

Solution

Check if there is anything wrong with your wires and consult with an electrician if the transients keep going on.

  1. No RCCB or RCD

An RCCB (Residual Current Circuit Breaker) or RCD (Residual Current Device) is a separate device used for detecting and preventing low voltage circuit if there is a current leak. The device will automatically turn off the switch if it detects a leakage while the current is flowing abnormally.

It is a must to have an RCCB device at home because it reduces the chances of electrical shocks.

Solution

In order to prevent electrocution that can happen because of leakage, you can get RCCB installed at your home by a professional.

  1. Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping

If your circuit breaker keeps on tripping, chances are they have detected some issues in the current circuit.

That is where they get the name ‘circuit breakers’ because they break up circuits when they sense that there is something wrong with the flow of current.

Solution

What you need to do is find the main electrical panel in your home (because that’s where all the main control switches are). You will see a switch panel that has its switch turned off (for old switches) and partly off (for modern switches). You only need to flip the switch back on and voila!

If the same problem continues to persist, you may have to call an electrician.

  1. Frequent Bulb Burnouts

Are you tired of changing your bulb every now and then? It seems like the bulbs you’ve been buying are not as good as they were. But don’t blame the bulb. It can actually be another electrical problem at your house.

There are a lot of reasons why bulb lights burn out much frequently. It can be due to high voltage, tightly fixed bulb, improper air circulation, and so on.

Solution 

What you can do is check if the holder is either loose or it’s depleted. But if everything is fine and one bulb after another keeps going to waste, we suggest you consult with an electrician right now to save more bulbs from burning out!

  1. Wires Sticking Out from Outlets

This point represents its own problem clearly. When houses are old, everything in it also becomes aged, including wires. Wires fall off from outlets because they are excess wires or due to inefficient wiring. This can also happen in any other building, not just old houses.

If the wires are taped securely, it reduces potential damages. Still, you cannot totally rely on the temporary protection of tapes because when it loses its adhesiveness, as it will peel off. Therefore, it brings forth again the chances of a fire; especially if the socket is combustible.

Solution

Get your sockets rewired or just make sure that the wires are tightly secured. This can prevent fire sparks that can possibly happen if there are live wires hanging off.

  1. Backstabbed Outlets/Wires

Backstabbed outlets/wires are simply wires that have cuts or holes on them, hence, exposing live wires which makes electrocution possible when in direct contact with them.

Solution

What you can do is turn off your power supply and tightly tape the impaled part of the wire. Although this provides safety from electrocution, it is not ensured that the plaster will last. Moreover, the safety that the tape can provide is temporary and when it starts peeling off, the situation becomes hazardous again.

Hence, we recommend you get a new wire fixed and you won’t have to worry again.

  1. No GFCIs

A GFCI which is also known as a ground fault circuit interrupter is another device that prevents electric shocks. What the device does is detect human contact with electricity and shuts down the power immediately.

Without this device, there is a high chance of electrocution. This device is a savior if you install it in offices and other places that run completely on electricity.

At home, it is safe for kids whenever they loiter around when you’re not around to keep a watch on them.

Solution

You can get the GFCI installed at your place to ensure the safety of everyone around you.

  1. Aluminum Wiring

So you may be thinking about what could go wrong with aluminum wiring. In the past, aluminum wiring is very common but ever since it became the cause of many house fires, copper wires are widely used in the present day.

The reason aluminum wires are not preferable today is that aluminum as a metal is more susceptible to oxidation when conducting electricity. As such, if it comes in contact with wood, plastic or other combustible materials, it poses a high risk of an electrical fire.

Solution

You can use copper which is a cheaper and equally ductile material which does not have the same properties of oxidation that aluminum has.

To be on the safe side, professionally installed copper wiring reduces the risk of electrical fires by a much higher rate than aluminum wires.

  1. Ungrounded Outlets

Ungrounded connections are ones which do not have a grounding system as an added failsafe. What grounding does is provide a pathway to excess electricity in the event of a problem with the wiring, such as a short circuit.

Image via rawpixel@rawpixel

In the event a grounding pathway is unavailable, the excess current may flow through other materials such as wood, metal or other materials.

Additionally, many electric appliances also use have a grounding pin on their plugs, to prevent users from shock or electrocution in the event of a malfunction in the appliance. Not having a ground connection poses a risk to your appliances as well as someone using them.

Solution

The workaround to such hazards is having a grounding connection and wiring installed by professionals across your home so that every outlet you use, comes with the added safety of a grounded connection ensuring all-round safety for your home, your appliances, and your loved ones.

  1. Sags and Dips

What causes sags and dips in power?

The reason lies in the devices you use. Sags and dips are very similar to transients/surges. The difference is that when you use cheap or underrated power grids and you turn on your switch, it draws more power than what the device can handle. Hence, that causes sags and dips.

If the problem persists, it is likely because your power controlling device has gone outdated or is worn out.

Solution

If you wish to experience improved lighting or power use, you can have your power checked and your old device replaced with a new one.

  1. Dysfunctional Switches

If you find that your dimming or ON/OFF switches are not functioning as you expect them to, there is a chance that the switch may have been overridden. Another cause might be because of improper wiring and circuit faults. It also can be as simple as the switch getting damaged because it is old.

Solution

Talk with an electrician to see what the problem is and get the dysfunctional switch replaced with a new one so you won’t have to face any issue afterward.

  1. Getting High Electricity Bills

Are your electricity bills rising even when you consumed lesser power than it should be?

There are a lot of causes that make your bills go up. Few of those are:

  • Wiring and circuit in your house may have been damaged
  • Your power supplier might not be cost-effective
  • Outdated electrical devices in your home that consume more power
  • Leakage in electrical systems

The best thing that you can do from your side is to keep a check on how you utilize electricity.

Image via Thomas Kelley@thkelley

Sometimes, we can forget to turn off electrical appliances after use. This is another main reason why your electricity bills are rising.

Solution

To ensure that your bills drop down, you can economize electricity usage in your home.

If that is still not helping, consult with professionals to see where the problem lies so they can suggest you what to do next.

  1. Lighting is either too bright or too dim

When you notice that some lights burn brighter while some seem to be too dim, then you are experiencing either one of the two problems:

  • First, it can simply be because some bulbs consume different wattage of power.
  • Second is that the main power panel is having technical problems

Solution

Check or ask whether the bulbs you use are of the same wattage or not.

In case they are and you still experience either too bright or too dim lighting, you can ask a professional to get it fixed.

  1. Uncovered Junction Box

Junction boxes are made to separate one section of wires from another. They also protect the wires from external forces that can damage them.

In large buildings, the use of junction boxes is extremely important. This is because when there is an electrical problem occurring in one part of a building, the wires to that building can easily be located in the junction box.

If your junction box is not covered, it will become harder to locate which set of wires have problems.

Moreover, a junction box can prevent chances of electrocution.

Solution

To prevent all the potential problems and damages that an uncovered junction can cause, you can get it installed/covered by a professional.

  1. Over-lamping

Over-lamping is a result of attaching a bulb that has higher wattage to a holder/fixture that endures lesser wattage.

What happens when you fit a much higher wattage bulb to it? The socket will heat up (during prolonged usage) and eventually burn out, leading to damage, expenses, and dangers at times.

Image via Tim Mossholder@timmossholder

Solution

In order to avoid the risks of scorching and potential house fires, make sure you fit a bulb that is required to stay within a wattage limit. If you are not sure, you can inquire about bulb wattage first. Another action you can take is to get your sockets changed if you need brighter and better lighting.

  1. Electrical Shocks

At some point in your life, you may have got a taste of what electrical shocks feel like – be it for a split second static shock. And yes, an electrical shock is an unpleasant experience that nobody wants to encounter.

However, if you are one of the people who has experienced it, you have a pretty good reason to read this.

There are innumerable causes that people will encounter electrical shocks. But if we speak from an electrical point of view, it can be because of backstabbed wires, fault on appliances, power leakage, and so on.

Solution

If you want to know what causes electric shocks in your home and appliances, it is crucial to have it tested by an electrician. It can become highly risky when you test it by yourself without knowing the root cause of it.

Just a reminder for your safety 

Before you decide to consult an electrician, we suggest that you find experts in the field. Rather than having to waste your money time and again to resolve the same issue, you can refer the problem to experts.

For instance, professional electricians like Electrical Detectives are excellent at fixing electrical issues like these in one go!

Be safe!

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