A home's electrical system is made up of all the wiring, switches, outlets and other devices that allow electricity to flow through a house. It's your responsibility to make sure that everything is working properly, and this Fix-It Guide can help you get started.
The First Step: Turn Off the Power
If you notice that part of your home is losing power, it's important to identify the source of the problem. You can do this by checking your breaker panel. If the breaker trips frequently, you may have an overload on the circuit and need to call in an electrician.
The next step is to check your switches and outlets for signs of damage or tripping. Old, damaged switches can cause lights to flicker or even go out. You'll also want to check for loose bulbs and frayed or worn wiring.
Mice and rats can chew on wiring, causing it to corrode and eventually short out. This is a serious fire hazard, so you should always keep all electrical wires and receptacles in good condition.
Loose prongs on switches and receptacles can also cause tripping or electrical shocks. If you see that any of your cords are producing a choking sound or sparking when you use them, replace them immediately.
Dead Outlets Aren't for Meddling With
If you discover that an outlet in your home is no longer functioning, don't try to "fix" it. While it might seem tempting to force a "dead" outlet to work, this could lead to a fire.
Sags and Dips
If your light fixtures or appliances are flickering and dimming frequently, it's likely that you have a power surge. These are sudden drops in voltage that can last up to a minute before the lights return to normal brightness.
They are a common problem that can be caused by old electrical wiring in older homes, which doesn't have the capacity to support modern gadgets like refrigerators and washing machines. This is especially true for older houses that haven't been upgraded to include ground-fault circuit interrupters, which shut off circuits in 4 milliseconds before the current can be a hazard.
It's also important to make sure that you have updated receptacles in wet areas, such as bathrooms and kitchens. If you do, you should invest in GFCIs for the safety of your family and home. In addition, check the corners where there may be some water leaks from your ceiling that are normally caused by overflowing rain gutters. You can hire a professional gutter cleaning service like Gutter Cleaning Fresno for your gutters that is causing these leaks.
Unlike fuse-based circuit breakers, AFCIs are designed to protect against the more dangerous arc faults that can occur when electrical wiring or devices are damaged, stressed, or overheated. Without AFCIs, a simple tripping or overload can trigger an arc fault and cause serious damage to your wiring and devices.
Tracing A Short Circuit is a Painstaking Process
If you're trying to troubleshoot a circuit that has gone out, you'll need to find the point of origin. This can be tricky because it could be a switch, an outlet, or something else entirely.
Before you start to snoop around, it's important to know what your home's electrical system is and how it works. This will ensure you're using your skills wisely, and it can prevent future problems from occurring.
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