The electrical system is one of the most important elements of your home. You always have to make sure that it is working properly as it involves your family’s safety. However, that does not mean that you always need to call a professional electrician for every small thing that goes wrong.
There are some basic things which you should check before rushing to your phone and calling a professional. It will save the expense as sometimes it can be a minor issue. Below are some few things your electrician would want you to know if you do have an electrical problem. Sometimes the answer is just in front of you, all it needs is a little troubleshooting before you think of hiring a professional electrician.
• Check for “Overlamping”
If you think that your electrical problem seems limited to one light fixture, you should start checking your bulbs. The first obvious question which might pop up will be “ did this bulb burn out?” It might seem pretty obvious, but it is easy to forget to check.
Another less obvious problem electricians see is overlamping. This means that the bulb in the fixture has a very high voltage that it can handle. For example, installing a 100-watt bulb in a lamp designed to handle 50 watts.
The problem with overlamping is that it will melt your socket and damage the wires of the fixture. That kind of damage creates a significant fire risk known as arc faults. In simple words, the electricity cannot follow its proper path and may jump to the carpet or table and ignite a fire.
• Check the circuit breaker
Most houses have a very easy-to-check circuit breaker. All you need to do is to open the door on the circuit breaker panel and flip the switch back to the “On” position.
If you have an older home, you will have to look for the fuse box, To spot the fuse which is burnt out, look for one which is cloudy or discolored. It may seem to have melted in some areas.
You will see the problem fuse as it would be labeled as the area which has lost power. For example, if the lights of your kitchen have gone off, you should look for the fuse which is labeled as “kitchen” if it looks different from the other ones. If everything works apart from the stove, look for the fuse labeled as “stove”.
If you sense that your fuse or circuit is blowing a lot, look for a pattern. In other words, are you losing electricity to one area in the house often? Do you have a microwave running at the same time as a vacuum cleaner? You have to check if there is no other appliance which is overloading the circuit.
• Are the neighbor’s lights on?
If your whole house is in the dark, the first thing to check is if your neighbor’s house has lights. If not, then it is a power outage. I would be better to call up the utility company before calling an electrician, The company might provide you with some information or send someone to check on your house.
• Not all electricians are equally trained
As you hit on the search button on the internet, you will notice that you will see two different labels of electricians. The classifications of Journeyman and Master electrician indicate levels of training. It is similar to having a bachelor’s degree vs master’s degree.
A Master electrician has higher skills such as :
• Electrical Installations
• Safety regulations
• Project management
• Electrical systems
A journeyman, on the other hand, can definitely do the job but may not know as many of the details like codes. Now I am sure that you are confused and asking yourself, “which one is right for your project?”
Let me simplify it for you, while both of them will be perfectly able to complete minor repairs, it would be however recommended to hire a Master electrician for complex jobs such as reconfiguring the electrical system.
Even if electricians don’t work for free, when it comes to the safety of your home, it is worth the money.
• Reset a GFCI outlet
GFCI is also known as Ground-fault circuit interrupter. These outlets monitor the electrical circuit to make sure there is an even flow of electricity. If you are having trouble with just one outlet, it may need resetting. If it is a GFCI outlet, you will see two buttons: Test and Reset.
Press the reset button to see if the outlet starts working again!
• Recognize these signs of a potential electrical problem
Keep an eye on these problems as they may lead to more expensive issues :
• Lights dim or flicker
• Frequently needing to reset a breaker
• Wiring is at least 30 years old
• Outlets sparks
• Unidentifiable burning smell
If you see any of the above symptoms, then it is time to call a professional.