Common Electrical Problems at Home and How to Fix Them

Common Electrical Problems at Home and How to Fix Them

Who doesn’t have electrical problems? There’s always some loose connection or faulty wiring to fix. And so much more. We’ve turned into agony aunts today for your common electrical problems and solutions at home. Here are some common electrical problems and solutions that can help you fix them. Happy problem-solving!

Circuit Breaker Tripping

Trip goes the switch! Commonly experienced when using load-heavy appliances like the air conditioner or microwave, or sometimes even in general, you lose either a phase in the house or experience a complete outage.

Problem How to Solve
Circuit is overloaded Circuit breaker trip could be due to damaged electrical appliances that could cause a circuit overload. Try to narrow down on the faulty appliance or have a qualified electrician help you out. You would need a qualified technician to repair the appliance.
Short Circuit A faulty connection or damaged wire is causing a short circuit. You would need an electrician to address this.
Damaged Circuit Breaker Over a period of time, circuit breakers could malfunction or be damaged. This is likely to be the case for an old house.

Switches Don’t Work Anymore

Switches are designed to last long, but sometimes they stop working due to any of the below causes. It’s one of the most common electrical problems and solutions out there.

Problem How to Solve
Light switch buzzing If your light switch makes a buzzing sound, it could be the electrical current jumping across an air gap in the circuit. In many cases, this could also cause sparks. This could be due to incorrect installation and resulting loose wires. In most cases, redoing the installation would solve the problem.
Cracked Switch If the switch is cracked, it could expose the screw terminals and the live wires. It’s best to replace the switch with a new one.
Switch Malfunction If the switch did not undergo stringent QA/QC checks, or if it’s a really old switch, it could be possible that the switch is malfunctioning. Replace with new good quality switches for home.

Ungrounded Electrical Outlets

Grounding provides an outlet for the excessive current to flow in the event of a short circuit. In some cases, the electrical outlets can be ungrounded.

Problem How to Solve
Lack of Grounding If the house is old, it’s possible that there was no grounding performed. In this case, the focus should be on how to establish proper grounding in the house or apartment. Replacing the wiring, though a legitimate option, is not very feasible. A GFCI outlet is the best bet in this case, to allow for a quick power cut in case of excess surge, allowing the required protection.
Improper Installation A plug tester can be used to check if the grounding works correctly. In some cases, the ground wire is present, but not well connected to the outlet. Re-installing the outlet correctly will solve the problem.
Two-slot outlet In this case, the outlet does not have the slot to allow ground contact. Troubleshooting the problem by replacing the outlet with a new three pin outlet should solve the problem.

Flickering Lights

If the lights go dim and bright, this could be due to any of the below problems.

Problem How to Solve
Voltage Fluctuations Voltage fluctuations can cause lights to flicker, especially when heavy appliances are being used either in your house or another one that shares a common connection. In some cases, it could be a problem with the electrical grid. For high-value appliances use a Voltage Stabilizer to regulate the voltage to the device.
Loose Connections Either the wiring, the connection or the bulb itself is loose. Try reconnecting or replacing the faulty component to solve this problem.
Utility Service Problem Check with your neighbours if they are also facing this problem. This could be a problem in a shared transformer, or a problem in the electrical grid. Contact your electricity provider and inform them of this problem.

Electrical Shocks

Electrical shocks are rather dangerous and undesirable electrical problems in house. It could be either when using a switch, a specific device, or in some extreme cases, walls or wall components.

Problem How to Solve
Faulty Appliance If the appliance has a damaged circuit or stray wiring, it could cause shocks. Disconnect the appliance immediately, and let an experienced technician deal with the problem.
Faulty Switch or Wiring If the outlet or switch has loose connections or is incorrectly installed, it can lead to electrical shocks. Try to re-install the switch. In case this is not the problem, there could be faulty wiring causing the problem. An electrician will need to inspect the wiring and replace the faulty stretch of wiring.
Contact with Water If an appliance, switch or open wire is coming in contact with moisture or water, this could lead to electrical shocks. You would have to check the wiring for insulation and remove contact of water from switches and appliances.

Less Electrical Outlets

Our dependence on appliances increases with every passing day. Very often, we fall short of electrical outlets for our appliances.

Problem How to Solve
Old home or improper electrical space planning
  1. Add New Outlets on Walls. It will require some civil work, but in the end, will prove to be a permanent solution. Plan in advance and add additional outlets, based on your growing electrical needs.
  2. Use extension cords that allow you to work far away from the electrical outlets while also giving options for multiple charging points.

Less Electrical Outlets

Our dependence on appliances increases with every passing day. Very often, we fall short of electrical outlets for our appliances.

Problem How to Solve
Old Appliances Old appliances are less power efficient and often have high power consumption. This could be as simple as using an incandescent bulb, or even something like an old Air Conditioner. Switching to power-efficient LEDs, maintaining existing appliances and using modern appliances with a higher Energy Star Rating are some pointers that can keep the bills low.
Faulty Appliances In some cases, there could be faulty appliances that draw up a much higher current load. Check with an experienced technician to confirm. Repair or replace.
Improper Usage Practices Do you keep your television, fans, lights and HVAC systems running all day? Or do you often forget to turn off the switch of water heaters, microwaves, or the lot? This may be a problem of usage patterns. In general, disconnect appliances when not in use
Power Theft While this is mostly done from main lines, there could be a case of someone maliciously consuming power from your home, via a common outlet, shared wall, or an unknown wiring duct. Have a skilled electrician perform a load analysis and confirm.

Hope that we’ve helped you address some of your common electrical problems in home. In general, use power-efficient appliances with higher star ratings. Troubleshooting electrical problems is not a DIY, but an expert job. Please do not manage electrical problems and solutions on your own. Always hire a certified electrician to check your power connections and appliances.