Electricity plays a large role in your home. When it’s working properly, it’s often taken for granted, but when your home is experiencing electrical surges, high electrical bills, or other common electrical problems, all you can think about is the cheapest and quickest way to fix it. That’s because the most common results of improper electrical use include fires, electrocution, and other risks to yourself, your loved ones, and your home.
15 Common Electrical Problems
What are the most common electrical problems, and how can you fix them before it’s too late?
1. The circuit breaker is tripping too often
Problem: Some high wattage items like hairdryers and microwaves trip your circuit breaker when they’re plugged in.
Solution: Identify which items are tripping your circuit breaker consistently, then try setting the item to a lower setting — like with a hairdryer — or limit the amount of high-wattage devices used on a single circuit.
2. Lights are too bright or dim
Problem: Walking around the house, you may notice that some of your lights are brighter while others are dimmer. This can be caused by two problems – different wattages used or a bad main neutral connection.
Solution: Make sure that throughout the house you’re using similar wattages so that there isn’t a large difference between rooms. If you do have the same wattage for all your lightbulbs, your lights have a bad neutral connection, and you’ll need to call a professional to get the problem resolved.
3. You experience frequent electrical surges
Problem: Electrical surges can be caused by a number of things — including mother nature, faulty appliances, and bad connections — but they shouldn’t happen frequently. Frequent surges can cause damage to electrical components and degrade the life expectancy. In a worst-case scenario, they can also cause a fire.
Solution: Remove any cheaply made devices or power boards from an outlet and see if this resolves the problem. You can also install a surge protector. If the issue persists, contact a licensed electrician.
4. There are sags or dips in your power
Problem: Whether your lights flicker constantly or you experience frequent sags or dips in your electricity, the problem is similar to electrical surges – devices connected to your power are faulty or made from substandard materials.
Solution: Try to find the device that’s causing the issue and remove it from the outlet. If the problem persists are you’re unable to find the culprit, call a certified electrician.
5. Light switches aren’t working
Problem: Whether you use a standard light switch or a dimmer switch, if your switch isn’t functioning as you’d expect it to, the problem may be that it’s being overridden, has improper wiring and circuit faults, or is getting old and has been damaged.
Solution: Wiring issues should always be resolved by a professional electrician. If your light switch isn’t working properly, you need to get it replaced.
6. You’ve experienced an electrical shock
Problem: If you’re plugging in or unplugging something, you should never experience an electrical shock. Typically, these are pretty mild when they occur, but electricity is dangerous, and this problem should not be left unresolved.
Solution: Contact a trained professional at once to get this issue resolved. A shock could indicate a wiring issue that becomes a fire hazard to your home.
7. Your electrical bill is higher than normal
Problem: If your electrical bill has suddenly spiked, it could be caused by devices causing power surges, a hot water system that is leaking, appliances and other items being plugged in when not in use, or damaged wiring and circuits.
Solution: Identify which devices may be causing power surges and unplug them. If you’re not experiencing surges, try remembering to unplug devices that aren’t in use as these items can still pull energy. Also schedule regular AC maintenance to ensure that your air conditioner is running efficiently and not using more power than necessary. If the problem persists, call a certified electrician to identify the issue.
8. Lights bulbs are burning out often
Problem: If you feel like you’re constantly replacing light bulbs, the problem may be that the wattage is too high, the light has bad wiring, or the light is too close to insulation.
Solution: Replace the bulb with a lower wattage and see if that resolves the problem. If the issue continues, contact a licensed electrician to repair the wiring of your light.
9. Your outlets feel warm
Problem: You might be surprised to find that your outlets or switches feel warm to the touch, this indicates that there may be too many devices on a single outlet, the breaker is rated too high, or there’s a wiring issue.
Solution: Reduce the number of items plugged into an outlet, and see if this resolves the issue. If the problem persists, you should call a licensed electrician immediately, as high breakers and wiring issues can cause a fire.
10. Your home lacks GFCI outlets
Problem: GFCIs ground your outlets to prevent electric shocks. It detects when a human comes into contact with electricity or the appliance contacts water, and shuts down the power immediately. Without these outlets, you’re more prone to electrocution in places where water is present – like bathrooms or kitchens.
Solution: Call a certified electrician to ground your outlets and install GFCI outlets throughout your home. Most home inspections require GFCIs to be installed in the bathrooms and kitchen.
11. Junction boxes are uncovered
Problem: Junction boxes keep wires separated from each other to help you avoid fire hazards and prevent external forces from damaging them. If these boxes are uncovered, these wires are more exposed to the elements, and it can also be harder to find wires located in the junction box.
Solution: You should call a licensed electrician to prevent problems and damages associated with an uncovered junction box.
12. Your home uses aluminum wiring
Problem: Aluminum used to be the standard for wiring, but it’s one of the leading causes of house fires. That’s because aluminum as a metal is more susceptible to oxidation when conducting electricity. When it comes in contact with wood, plastic, or other materials, it can create the perfect conditions for an electrical fire.
Solution: You should talk to a licensed professional about the risks of aluminum wires and how much it would cost to replace the wiring of your house with copper – which is a cheap and safer alternative.
13. Your outlets are buzzing or making noise
Problem: There are several reasons why your outlet might make a buzzing or humming noise, but the root problem is all the same – it’s an electrical issue. Whether the device that’s plugged in has an electrical issue or the problem is with the outlet itself, your outlets should never make noise.
Solution: Identify if the problem is with the outlet itself or a device that’s plugged into the outlet. If the issue is with the item plugged in, unplug the device and get it replaced. If the problem persists, call a certified electrician to get the problem resolved, as a buzzing outlet could mean a fire hazard for your home.
14. Your outlet is burnt
Problem: An overloaded circuit or frayed wire can cause your outlet to burn or blacken. If left unresolved, this can become a fire hazard.
Solution: Turn off the power to the room and the burnt outlet. Test that no voltage is coming from the outlet using a voltage tester, and then replace the outlet – taking time to remove any burnt wiring. If you don’t feel confident doing this on your own, call a trained professional to replace the burnt outlet and ensure there is no future risk of fire.
15. Your home doesn’t have enough outlets
Problem: When there aren’t enough outlets around your home, you’ll tend to make riskier choices like overloading a circuit or connecting surge protectors together to create more outlets. This can be extremely dangerous to your home.
Solution: If a single surge protector isn’t providing enough outlets to an area of your home, call a licensed electrician to install more outlets – eliminating any risk of cross wires or crowded areas.
Climate Design Can Help
At Climate Design, we provide HVAC and electrical services all over Tampa Bay: Clearwater, Largo, Palm Harbor, South Tampa, St. Pete Beach, Eastlake, Tarpon Springs, Safety Harbor, St. Petersburg, Sarasota, Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch, Palmetto, and New Port Richey.
If you’re having electrical or HVAC issues, we can help!
Call (888) 572-7245 to Schedule Your Appointment