Electricity is a wondrous thing. Unfortunately, it can also turn against us. So, let’s find out just what can go wrong with our household electrics and what we can do about it.
switches don’t work
If you move into a new property and a switch doesn’t do anything at all, it may have been disconnected. Alternatively, it could be down to a problem with the outlet, circuit or wiring. This will need the attention of an electrician. Dimmer switches that don’t work properly may be victims of poor workmanship or simply substandard.
Lights are too bright or too dim
There are two likely explanations. You may be inadvertently using different types of lights, with different wattages. Check to make sure they all match. Alternatively, it may be down to a bad main neutral connection. This latter problem needs the attention of a professional.
Repeated electrical surges
These can be caused by damaged power lines, faulty appliances, bad wiring or even lightning strikes. The surge may be short-lived but repeated surges can damage electrical components. Recurring surges are most likely down to an electrical device in your home, or the domestic wiring. If disconnecting cheap appliances or power boards doesn’t end the problem, it’s time to call in an electrician.
Dips in power
These can also be caused by faulty or substandard devices. This time, using too much power when activated.
The circuit breaker keeps tripping
Circuit breakers can be tripped by high-demand items such as hair-dryers and microwaves, especially if other items are used on the same source. Take note of what appliances you had on when the circuit tripped. In future, try putting them on a lower setting. Alternatively, don’t connect multiple high-power devices to one circuit.
Thankfully, most electric shocks are relatively mild but, even then, they are a warning sign. They mostly happen when a device is being switched on or off and may be down to either the appliance or the wiring. If you receive any kind of electric shock, no matter how mild, you should definitely call in an expert.
Light bulbs burning out repeatedly
There are various possible causes for this. Your wattage may be too high. Insulation may be too near to the light. There may be bad wiring in the circuit or mains. A dimmer switch may have too much wattage on one switch. Flickering could suggest a poor connection. Again, this may require the attention of an electrician.
Recessed lights turn off then come back on again
Recessed lighting is designed to cut out when it gets too hot. This is likely to be caused by either too much wattage on the bulb or the insulation in the ceiling being too near the bulb. If cut-outs do happen, check for excessive heat, as this can be a fire hazard.