Common Electrical Issues

Common Electrical Issues

People have been benefiting from electricity for well over a century. These days, we couldn’t possibly imagine life without it, and most of our lives are spent utilizing it in some way whether it’s to see at night, to charge our cell phones or to power our computers. The world of electricity is, however, far from perfect and people run into issues with it all of the time.

While everyone needs to practice good safety precautions when attempting to fix common electrical issues, some of them (and realistically, probably most of them) will require the attention of a licensed electrician for both optimal safety and expertise.

The circuit breaker is constantly tripping.

Whether it’s because you have multiple teenagers using hair dryers or because someone is using the microwave the same time someone else is using the toaster, when the circuit breaker trips you know it is doing its job. While a circuit overload is the most likely culprit, it might also be tripping due to a ground fault or short circuit.

First, take special notice of what is being used when the circuit breaker trips. Avoid using high wattage devices that are on the same circuit at the same time. Keep in mind, also, that an appliance that is overheating can also cause an overloaded circuit. This happens frequently to central air conditioners in the summer.

The lights around the house are either too dim or too bright.

Don’t worry, your eyes aren’t failing you and it’s not the ghost of Christmas Past! This common electrical issue is usually caused when different light bulb wattages are used in your lamps. Make sure that all of your globes have matching light wattages. It could also be a bad neutral connection, which can only be fixed by a professional electrician.

Ouch! You keep getting electrical shocks. 

If you’ve ever experienced an electrical shock you know that it’s serious business. Static shocks are a milder form but if this is something that is happening in your home frequently, you will want to investigate. Usually, electrical shocks happen when an appliance or device is turned on or off, which means that there are two possibilities: either it’s the device itself or the wiring. You can try to reproduce the shock with a different device in the same outlet, but really, who wants get shocked twice? It’s better to contact a professional.

Repeated electrical surges. 

This electrical power disturbance can wreak havoc on appliances and other electrical equipment. It can be caused by bad electrical wiring, power line damage, a lightning strike, and even caused by the appliance or piece of equipment itself. Even though these power surges last less than a second, they can impair or even destroy electrical components in and around your home. If you are experiencing electrical surges on a regular basis, it is likely caused by inferior electrical devices that are plugged into the home grid or by bad wiring. In either case, it’s best to call your electrician.

The lights flicker every time it’s windy. 

This is caused when wires in the weatherhead are frayed and are causing a short when the cables move. The weatherhead is the fitting where cables from the outside power line enter the house. This can be very dangerous as a frayed wire can arc and start a fire, so don’t hesitate to call an electrician or the electric utility company immediately.

Recessed lights work, stop working, and then work again. 

A recessed light is one that is flush with the ceiling, and a common electrical issue is when these lights work, go dark, and come back on again later. This usually means that the bulb is overheating because it is either the wrong style or the wrong wattage for that particular light housing. It could also mean that the insulation above it in the ceiling is too close to the light.

Check to make sure you have the right bulb wattage and if it continues to happen, consult your professional electrician.

Dead or half dead outlets.

No worries, it isn’t the zombie apocalypse! This happens frequently when breakers or GFCI’s have been reset. Sometimes, depending on the age of the home, an outlet might lose its “hold” on cords that are plugged into it. Also, it’s possible that the appliance or electrical component tripped the GFI causing it to go dead to spare you an unpleasant electrical shock. Check to see if the GFI breaker needs resetting. You can try to plug different appliances into the same outlet to see if any of them work. Also, if a plug won’t stay in the socket consider that it’s either a bad plug or the outlet might need replacing. If you have any concerns or questions, contact a professional.

Your electric bill is way too high.

There are ways to cut your electric bills that will not only save you money but will also conserve energy. These include:

• Unplug chargers, appliances, and other electrical components when they aren’t being used.
• Research all of the electrical providers in your area and consider switching to one that is less expensive.
• Get all damaged circuits and wires repaired or replaced.
• Identify the devices that are causing power surges and replace them with better quality, more electrically sound devices.
• Patch any leaks in the hot water system.

Light bulbs are burning out quickly.

The newer, more eco-friendly light bulbs are certainly not cheap, and if you are burning through those at record pace, you’ll want to identify the cause behind it. There are a number of reasons why your light bulbs might be burning out quickly. It could be that the wattage is too high, and if this is the case it’s an easy fix.

However, it could be any of these other problems, which will require the attention of a licensed electrician.

• Faulty wiring on the mains
• Faulty wiring on the circuit
• Insulation too close to light bulb
• If flickering is involved, there is likely a bad connection on the circuit
• If it’s connected to a dimmer switch, it’s likely too much wattage on the switch

If you have any questions or concerns about the safety or efficiency of the wiring in your home, don’t hesitate to call Atlas Services at 561-734-8200. We are committed to your satisfaction and have built a solid and well-respected reputation in the industry since our inception in 1978.