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Top 3 Electrical Problems

1. Lights in the home are flickering.

If you find that some of the light fixtures in your home are blinking on and off, first check and make sure it is not a problem with the light bulb, which may be in need of replacement or is not fastened properly into the fixture. If the problem persists, it could signal a poor connection somewhere within he electrical circuit of your home. Loose conductors in the main electrical panel can be cause for widespread flicking lights, whereas if the problem is occurring only in one light, it can mean a loose connection in that particular circuit.

2. Appliances will not work when plugged into certain outlets.

Dead receptacles can be caused by a variety of problems.

For example, a circuit breaker could have been tripped. Troubleshooting for this is rather simple: Go to your panel box and turn off the proper breaker. Wait a moment, then flip the switch back to the On position. If the breaker trips again, it’s because one of three things:

  • An overloaded circuit occurs when too many appliances are running through a single circuit. Disperse the plugged-in appliances through other receptacles to fix the problem.
  • A short circuit is caused by two wires touching that are not supposed to be in contact with each other. Short circuits can melt power cords and produce a burning smell. If you think the problem is a short circuit, contact your local electrician.
  • A ground fault could also be the culprit, and is similar to a short circuit in that two things are touching that are not supposed to be; in this case, the hot wire could be touching metal or the copper ground wire. This scenario also calls for an electrician if you are not an experienced handyman.

Another cause for a dead receptacle (although uncommon) is if a wire inside of the wall has been damaged due to the hammering in of nails or screws. As in the case of short circuits or ground faults, an electrical professional will most likely need to make a visit and identify the problem for sure.

3. A wall switch or outlet quickly becomes hot when used.

When it comes to light switches, a slightly warm feeling isn’t necessarily a sign or damage, especially for dimming lights. But if the plastic becomes hot, or there is warmth coming from an outlet receptacle, it could be caused by a short circuit. Go to your home’s panel box and switch off that particular circuit breaker to let it cool down. Heat can be the sign of a bad connection. Unfortunately this can be more serious than a short-circuit, which generally trips and turns itself off (making it a dead outlet). A bad connection can mean that the circuit breaker won’t trip, which is more of a risk for fire. Call an electrician immediately and have them come check it out for you!

While some troubleshooting and basic repairs can be done on your own, the risk of electrocution and fire is serious when dealing with wires and connections. More advanced electrical repairs should be left to the professionals, and routine electrical inspections should be marked appropriately on your calendar to avoid future problems!

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