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12 Electrical Problems Homeowners Experience

electrician fixing subpanel in home

Last updated on July 7th, 2021 at 01:30 pm

12 Electrical Problems Homeowners Experience

There are several different electrical problems that homeowners may encounter. You can find out more by clicking right here.

Electrical failures or malfunctions were the second leading cause of home fires between 2012 and 2016. Anything from a tripped breaker to flickering lights can mean danger for your home, and addressing electrical problems as they come is essential in keeping you and your family safe.

There are a variety of electrical issues that can pop up in your home, though, and some definitely aren’t as dangerous as others.

Whether you’ve been experiencing electrical problems in your home or are researching so you know what to expect for the future, identifying the problem can help you solve it. Read on to learn 11 of the most common home electrical problems.

1. Flickering Lights

Flickering lights can often point to grid issues, like a power surge, downed line, or something happening outside of your home. If you notice this happening with your neighbors as well, it’s safe to assume that’s an issue with your local power grid.

Sometimes, though, surges happen when certain appliances require more power than your home can supply. If your property is older, then flickering lights can simply point to outdated wiring.

If you think the problem has to do with your home and not the power grid, calling in a professional can help you diagnose the problem once and for all.

2. Tripping Circuit Breakers

If the power goes out in your kitchen every time you use the microwave, or if the outlet turns off each time you blow-dry your hair, this can point to an issue with your circuit breaker. This is especially common in older homes.

The wiring in these homes wasn’t designed for the high-wattage appliances we use today. So electrical problems — especially with modern, more powerful appliances — are common to experience when you’re going about daily life.

You can have subpanels added to your current fuse box to supply more power, but if that isn’t enough, then you might have to replace the entire circuit box.

3. High Power Bill

If your power bill is normally high, then this isn’t anything to worry about. What we’re referring to here is a sudden spike in your monthly electricity bill. For instance, if you normally pay $300 a month and your bill suddenly spikes to $600 the next month, that’s something you’re going to want to look into.

This increased price could point to something like a malfunctioning electrical device, or faulty wiring in your home.

Hiring an electrician to examine, diagnose, and then fix the problem is going to bring your monthly bill down tremendously.

4. GFCI Outlets Not Resetting

Ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) are required on outlets in certain areas of your home — like bathrooms, the garage, your kitchen, outdoor spaces, basements, and any other outlet within six feet of a water source — by national law. A failure to meet these requirements could result in serious safety hazards for your home.

GFCIs are designed to shut off power to the outlet at the slightest imbalance in the current. So, if you’re blow-drying your hair and water splashes, then the power is going to shut off to that outlet.

If you find that your GFCI is not functioning properly, it’s definitely time to bring a professional to look at the problem. It could point to a loose or bad connection in the outlet or power source itself.

5. Warm or Loose Outlets

Loose outlets are an especially large area of concern if you have curious pets or children. This issue, however, can usually be fixed at home with the help of outlet shims and a screwdriver.

To begin, make sure the breaker is off. Then, simply unscrew the cover plate so the outlet itself is exposed. Keep adding outlet shims until the outlet itself is tight again, then replace the cover plate and you’re good to go.

If you’ve fixed the loose outlet, though, and it’s warm to the touch, then that can point to other issues. This is usually a sign that your wiring needs to be repaired. (The exception here is dimmer switches. If they control bulbs over 300 watts, then the warmth is to be expected.)

If this issue is left unattended, it could lead to sparking and other dangers. Call an electrician to have the issue handled as soon as possible.

6. Lightbulbs Having a Short Lifespan

Sometimes, the only issue you’ll notice is with the lightbulb itself.

If you begin noticing that your lightbulbs burn out faster than expected (especially LEDs), it could point to bad wiring in the circuitry. It could also point to a bad neutral connection.

You should begin with checking the wattage on the bulbs you’re using. If you notice that nothing is wrong there, then it’s definitely time to call in a professional.

7. Buzzing Noises

It’s important to know that your outlets and switches shouldn’t make any noise, so if you notice a buzzing when you turn something on, it’s important to look into the issue.

The first thing you should do is walk to your breaker and turn off any power to that outlet. Then, it’s best to call in a professional and allow them to handle the diagnosis and repair from there.

8. Exposed Wires

If you’ve recently remodeled, you might have exposed wires throughout the area. Not only do these present a fire hazard, but they also pose a serious safety threat to your entire home. Whether it’s the risk of a child tripping or a pet chewing the wires, this is an important problem to address.

Wires have to be spliced and covered once they’re installed. Hanging ones should be supported or attached to framing structures. An electrician can quickly clean up these messes and have your home back up to the highest of safety standards in no time.

9. Not Enough Outlets

This is usually a problem with older homes. In newer homes, there are plenty of outlets spread throughout the apartment, but with older homes, there can sometimes be as little as one outlet in an entire room. Even in modern homes, however, a lack of wires can pose an annoying problem.

You can hire an electrician to not only update any old wiring but also add more outlets to your home.

Not only will this add convenience to your space, but it’s also going to make it safer for everyone in your home.

10. Strange Smells Emitting From Outlets

If you notice a strange smell emitting from your outlets, unplug and turn off the power to it immediately. This could point to arcing in the outlet or fixture itself. If this is the case, you’re going to want to have it repaired or replaced.

Be sure to closely examine the outlet or fixture for damage. If you notice it, and cannot locate any other potential source of the smell, it’s best to have it fully replaced.

Electrical arcs can quickly lead to fires if not immediately cared for, so it’s important to call in a knowledgeable professional immediately.

11. Plugs Keep Falling Out

Outlets contain contacts that grip the prongs of any item you plug in to keep it securely in place. If you notice any plugs falling out of an outlet, be sure to call in an electrician to have the problem fixed.

Loose or worn contacts can lead to a fire behind your drywall.

12. Broken Light Switches

If nothing happens when you flip any light switch in your home, there are a few steps to take.

Start with making sure the lightbulb itself hasn’t gone out. If that isn’t the case, then the issue could lie in a broken circuit, faulty wiring, or an issue with the outlet itself.

If you’re noticing this problem in a space you just moved into, a fixture may have disconnected. It’s also possible that that switch doesn’t connect to anything at all.

If you suspect a larger problem, though, it’s best to call in a professional to figure out the dilemma.

Fixing Electrical Problems Is Easier Than You Think

While all of these problems can sound complicated or scary to fix, they’re not all as serious as you might think. You may be able to fix some of them on your own, but, for others, you may find that seeking out a professional is in your best interest.

Some electrical problems are a quick fix, but others are best left to the professionals. Not only can this save you time, but it can also save you money. Instead of making a mistake and having to pay someone to fix it, you’ll know that it was done correctly from the beginning.

If you’re ready to have your electrical problems fixed for good, contact us today to get started. Service Wise Electric is a family-owned and operated electrical company serving Marietta, Acworth as well as all of Cherokee County Georgia.

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