Common Electrical Problems to Investigate Before Calling in an Electrician

Common electrical problems present more of an annoyance than any real danger. Most quality electrical systems and appliances (and you should only buy quality appliances) have failsafe mechanisms that prevent them from working due to an external situation that makes their operation potentially dangerous.

You should investigate the problem before you call in an electrician. You may find that the problem is caused by something that is easily fixed by yourself.


Frequent Electrical Surges and Dips

Surges can often be attributed to outside sources, such as weather damage to power lines or lightning strikes. But they are most often caused right in your home and the culprits are usually your own devices and appliances.

If you have a series of appliances on a circuit that is experiencing frequent power surges, trying unplugging them one by one until the surges stop. The last one to be unplugged is likely to be the cause of the problem.

If the power surges continue after all the appliances are removed from the circuit, it’s time to call your electrician.

Electrical power dips are likely to be caused by appliances that are drawing more power than they are rated for.

Circuits are rated to carry a certain load of amperage. All appliances should have an amperage rating stated on them as well. If all of the appliances fall way below the amperage loading for the circuit, one of your appliances is drawing more power than they are rated for.

Unplugging them one by one, as you did to detect the power surge problem, can also help you pinpoint the problem appliance.


Circuit Breaker Tripping and Overloads

Appliances that consume a lot of power like microwave ovens, power tools and hairdryers are the usual suspects when investigating the cause of a circuit breaker that is frequently tripping.

The best way to avoid frequent circuit breaker tripping is to be mindful of how much load each circuit is rated for. Be sure to spread out your high-wattage appliances over more than one single circuit. And get in the habit of unplugging these items when you are not using them.


Lighting Faults and Problems

Like appliances, lighting fixtures have safety devices built into them that shut the lamp off when it generates too much heat. If you have to change bulbs often in a light fixture, it may not be the bulb that’s the problem.

If it’s a recessed light in particular, it may be in a housing that does not allow enough ventilation to keep the light cool enough to operate.

You should always be aware of how high the wattage is in light bulbs as well. Even if you are careful to keep them on separate circuits, many high wattage light bulbs in your home can cause your electricity bill to go through the roof without you even being aware of it.

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