10 Common Electrical Problems That Homeowners Deal With

Your home should be where you feel most safe. Yet a concerning number of accidents take place in American homes every year, many of which are preventable. 

Our home’s electrical system is an obvious source of potential danger. In fact, electrical faults are the second leading cause of house fires across the US. And then there are all the accidental electric shocks, burns, and fatal electrocutions. 

What kinds of electrical problems can homeowners face? What’s the best course of action if you spot them? Let’s take a look!

  1. Flickering or Dimming Lights

Flickering or dimming lights is one of the most common electrical problems that homeowners can experience. This issue can be a sign of faulty wiring, a circuit overload, or something else. Flickering lights can even lead to arcing, a dangerous electrical phenomenon.  

To avoid the possibility of loose or corroded connections making intermittent contact, you should call in the professionals right away to locate and resolve the problem. Otherwise, you could run the risk of overheating, sparking, and fire. 

  1. Hot Power Outlets

Power outlets that are warm or hot to the touch aren’t always easy to spot unless you’re checking for them.

If you do notice that your power outlets warm up through use, these call for the immediate attention of a professional. Hot power outlets are often a precursor to a potential electrical fire, making them a serious safety concern that you should never ignore. 

  1. Sparking Sockets 

If you notice sparks flying from your sockets whenever you plug in appliances, this can be a sign of arcing. If these sparks last longer than a split second and are white or yellow in color, improper wiring is likely to blame. Although, it could also be energy overloads, as an electric company worker would be able to explain. 

To avoid these sparks turning into flames, it’s imperative that you call a professional such as this electrician right away. 

  1. Frequent Lightbulb Blowouts

You might assume that blowouts are due to overuse or faulty lightbulbs, but the problem could be a lot more serious than that. The real cause could be a loose connection in the circuit or socket. 

If you have recessed lights in your kitchen or elsewhere in your home, blowouts here could be due to nearby insulation causing overheating. These fixtures shut off when they get too hot to prevent fire, but that doesn’t mean that these failing often is an issue you should ever ignore. 

  1. Broken Light Switch

Luckily, there are some electrical issues that don’t need professional attention, such as a broken light switch. To fix this issue, you’ll first need to turn off the circuit breaker. You’ll know you have the right one when the light goes out. 

Using a flathead screwdriver, remove the faceplate. Then you’ll need a Phillips head screwdriver to take off the light switch. Next, test the two wires connected to the screw for electricity. If it’s safe to do so, disconnect and reassemble the light switch.

  1. Electric Shocks 

Experiencing a small static electric shock when you touch a plug shouldn’t be anything to worry about. This should be a very occasional thing. If it’s happening every time you use a certain appliance or outlet, it’s time to call an electrician. 

Not only will a professional be able to find the source of the electrical issue, but they’ll also be able to protect you and your home from this issue causing a fire. 

  1. Buzzing Sounds

No household appliance is totally silent, least of all fridges with their humming sounds and other quirks. It’s far from normal to hear buzzing or zapping sounds coming from sockets or other appliances. 

The cause of this buzzing could be anything from a loose screw at a termination point to faulty wiring. Hiring an electric services professional is the only safe way to find the source of the buzzing and stop the noise. 

  1. Dead Outlets

Dead outlets are another common electrical problem that you might be able to tackle yourself.

They can occur as a result of a tripped poor connection or a tripped breaker due to excess heat building up and melting the wires or outlets. To fix the problem, go to the electrical panel, find the blown fuse or tripped breaker, and replace it. 

  1. Tripping Circuit Breakers 

Certain electrical appliances, such as space heaters and hairdryers, can often trip or short circuits. If it often happens when you use a specific appliance, you’ll know that it’s the appliance causing the issue and not your home electric system. 

Resetting the breaker will fix the problem. Although, you might also want to think about replacing the appliance if it’s old or low quality. It’s far from convenient to have to reset the breaker every time you want to warm up or dry your hair!

On the other hand, if this happens without the appliance, this isn’t something you should ignore. Especially since circuit breakers are your home’s first line of defense against electrical issues. A professional will be able to tell you what’s wrong, such as a short in the wiring or an overloaded circuit. And if it’s the latter, you might want to consider upgrading your electric service.

  1. Cut or Damaged Extension Cord

Again, a cut or damaged extension cord is quite an easy fix if you know what you’re doing. First, you’ll need to unplug both ends, cut off the old plug, and then score into the insulation jacket and peel it back a little. 

Using a wire stripper, strip each wire and twist them at the end before screwing them into the back of the plug. Black goes to gold, white goes to silver, and green goes to green. Once that’s done, all you need to do is close the plug and secure the wires. 

Common Electrical Problems 

As these electrical problems often faced by homeowners show, there’s a lot that can go wrong with your home’s electrics. 

And, while there are some issues that are easy enough to solve on your own, if in doubt, it’s always best to call in the professional services of an expert electrician. 

Want more updates and advice? Be sure to check out our other blog posts for all the latest on everything from travel to health!


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