Whether you’re renovating your home or just keeping it in top shape, it’s essential to be familiar with electrical problems and how to avoid them. This will help prevent fires and other disasters from threatening your life or property.
Flickering lights, loose bulbs, and light switches that don’t work are common signs of faulty wiring. Getting a professional electrician to look at it and fix it immediately is best.
Check the Outlets
Electrical outlets are vital to our lives, but they can also be a source of disasters. They channel immense energy and carry a genuine risk of harm when not maintained, repaired, or replaced correctly.
Luckily, most of these problems can be easily identified and avoided. You can even test the outlets to determine if they work correctly by plugging in a multimeter to measure voltage, grounding, and polarization.
Voltage testers are inexpensive and easy to use, making them a handy DIY option. Insert a probe into each vertical slot of the outlet to see if it is reading 110 to 120 volts.
If the reading is different, there is a problem with the wiring or the circuit breaker is tripped. If unsure of the cause, call an electrician to inspect your wiring and outlet.
A hot outlet is a fire hazard that indicates something is plugged into it wrong. It may be a switch plate wired incorrectly or the outlet itself. If you notice a hot outlet, shut off power at the breaker panel until an electrician can examine it.
Check the Wiring
The wiring in your home is a crucial safety component that can make or break the integrity of your house’s electrical system. If it goes bad, it can cause serious problems that can be very dangerous for your family and home.
The first step to identifying and preventing electrical problems is performing routine wiring checks. This will help you spot minor issues early on and resolve them before they become significant problems.
When doing a wiring check, start by checking your circuit breaker box. Look for any signs of burning, blackening, or corrosion that could indicate that something is wrong with your system.
Next, look for loose or disconnected wires that may indicate a more severe problem. A tangled or messy cable can indicate a poor installation job.
If the wires are loose and tangled, tightening them down is often more accessible with a specialized tool. This can result in a dangerous situation and potentially cause an electrical fire.
Aside from tangled cables, it would help to inspect all exposed wires in your home and garage for frayed or damaged wiring. Rodents love to chew on wiring, and a frayed or broken wire can be a hazardous and expensive fire hazard.
It’s also essential to ensure that your house is wired correctly for GFCI outlets, which have red and black buttons between the plugs to prevent you from accidentally overloading the outlet. If you see any faulty wires or wiring that looks in disrepair, have an electrician replace it immediately!
Check the Appliances
Appliances are essential to life, so things can quickly go awry when they break down. If you notice that an appliance is causing your electrical system to malfunction, it’s best to have it repaired immediately. This will prevent further damage and ensure your safety.
When testing electrical appliances, it’s best to use a multimeter. This is a small, inexpensive tool that can be used to test the functionality of all types of home appliances.
First, hook the positive (usually black) wire from the multimeter to a power-supply lead. Next, touch one end of the information to a terminal and the other to the other terminal on the appliance you’re testing.
If the closed contacts on the appliance have proper continuity, you should see a reading of 2 ohms or less. If you don’t, it might be time to replace the device.
A good rule of thumb is to always test appliances before using them for the first time. This will help you determine whether the device is safe for you to use and will improve its performance.
Contacting a professional electrician is a good idea if you need help with what to look for when checking your appliances. This will save you time, money, and hassle in the long run.
Check the Switches
A switch is an essential part of any electrical circuit. It allows you to control lights and appliances. It will respond quickly to your touch and work smoothly when in good condition.
If your light switch isn’t working correctly, it may be time to replace it. If you can’t figure out what is wrong with it, it could be a sign that something more serious is happening in your home.
You’ll need a multimeter or continuity tester to determine whether the switch is in good condition. Clip one of the tester’s probes to each terminal on a button and turn it on. If the tester lights up, you know the switch is functioning correctly.
Depending on the type of switch, you’ll need to determine which wires connect to each terminal. For three-way switches, locate the black or dark-colored screw terminal and label the attached wire using electrical tape.
For a four-way switch, locate the two wires that travel to the other terminals on the button. Label the standard (hot) wire and each.