Diagnosing common electrical problems
According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, home-based electrical issues lead to nearly 55,000 fires annually, resulting in more than 500 deaths and 1,400 injuries. For those who aren’t injured, electrical fires leave behind $1.4 billion in property damage.
You can look for the following signs, or bring in a highly rated electrician to make sure your home is safe.
Flickering lights. This is a sign of a poor connection – one that may lead to a broken connection. You will need to call an electrician to hunt down the source and correct it.
On-again/off-again recessed lights. These contain a built-in mechanism to prevent overheating, leading to the turn-off. Once the fixture has cooled, it turns on. This is usually the result of a bad match between your light bulb and fixture, or the ceiling insulation is touching the fixture.
Appliances cause the circuit breaker to trip. High-wattage items running at the same time can overload the circuit. The solution is to move the appliances to a different circuit, or to have an electrician install a separate circuit.
Outlet problems. Sometimes, outlets are not properly grounded, especially when older outlets have been replaced with three-prong outlets. Also, the hot and neutral wires sometimes are reversed. This fix should be conducted by an electrician.
Frequent light bulb burnout. If you find yourself constantly changing light bulbs, it might be the result of using a bulb with a higher wattage than your light fixture can handle. Check your light fixtures to make sure you are using bulbs with the correct wattage.
Homeowners who decide to take on electrical repairs themselves should bring in a licensed electrician to inspect their work. Improper maintenance can lead to serious damage to the home, and even death. Sign in to Angie’s List to find a licensed electrician in the Chicago area.