You expect your lights to come on when you flip the switch. You expect your coffee to brew at the press of a button. And you expect your refrigerator to keep your food cold at all hours of the day and night.
In most cases, these expectations rely on electrical energy. Electricity accounts for 41% of home energy consumption.
Despite its importance, however, most homeowners don’t give electricity significant thought. They don’t give it thought, that is, until something goes wrong.
That’s why it’s crucial that you know how to spot electrical issues and when to hire an electrician. These are the most common electrical problems homeowners face.
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Common Home Electrical Problems
Home electrical problems are inconvenient. However, they can also be costly and dangerous. Recognizing common problems can save time, money, and even your life.
Circuit Breaker Issues
Your home’s circuit breaker prevents the electrical system from overloading or short-circuiting. It does this by stopping the flow of the current when it detects a problem.
Your circuit breaker might trip during a powerful storm. Using multiple heavy appliances at a time can also trigger the circuit breaker.
If your circuit breaker trips frequently, however, you likely have an electrical problem. The problem could be with the breaker itself. Or the problem could be rooted in your home’s wiring.
Only by hiring an electrician can you definitively identify—and address—the cause.
Electricity That Surges
Electrical surges happen when the voltage to your home temporarily spikes. During these spikes, you might notice your appliances quickly turning off and then on again.
While brief, surges can damage appliances and shorten their lifespans.
Once again, storms can cause occasional surges. Construction and repair work and other causes for downed power lines can also be at fault.
Using surge protectors is the best way to defend against the damage from these occasional surges.
If surges happen more frequently, however, they could be a sign of internal problems in your home’s wiring. An experienced electrician can identify and correct these problems.
Electricity That Sags
Electrical sags, or dips, are the opposite of electrical surges. When your electricity sags, the voltage to your home temporarily decreases. As a result, you might notice the lights dim before quickly recovering.
Appliances can sometimes cause these temporary brownouts. This is especially true if they’re drawing on a faulty outlet. Old and malfunctioning electrical panels are another common culprit.
Again, a professional repairman can assess your situation and recommend solutions.
Not having enough outlets to simultaneously charge your phone, power your laptop, and microwave a snack can be annoying.
Many homeowners attempt to solve this problem by using extension cords and outlet expanders. Heavy-duty, UL-listed extension cords and surge protectors can provide a temporary solution. In the long term, though, these practices risk overloading your home’s electrical system. The result can be extensive and even deadly damage.
The only long-term solution is the installation of additional outlets by a qualified electrician.
If you already don’t have enough outlets, dead outlets only make matters worse. However, they, too, represent a safety hazard.
Dead outlets result when plugs burn out or otherwise become damaged from faulty wiring.
Sometimes, only one plug in an outlet will fail. Unfortunately, it can be dangerous to use the outlet’s remaining plug. Instead, the only safe course of action is to call an electrician for your home.
Don’t Be Shocked: Stay Current on Your Home’s Electrical Maintenance Needs
Keeping the power flowing to your home requires that you recognize and address common electrical problems.
When it comes to this task, a home electrician and this article can help. When it comes to other home maintenance tasks, count on the rest of our content for the best advice.