The 9 most common electrical problems
Last modified: 2019/09/12 | Approximate reading time 4 mins
Nowadays, we are so used to having access to electricity at all times that when a problem occurs, we’re caught off guard. Many homeowners are reluctant to touch their electrical set-up, which is a good instinct to have, especially due to the fact that electrical work is regulated and in some places illegal to carry out without the proper certifications (Quebec included).
However, it may be useful to have some idea of the kinds of common problems you may face. With this knowledge, you’ll be able to better describe the problem to a qualified electrician that will meet you and determine the seriousness of the situation.
Indeed, some of the issues listed in this article require urgent solutions while others will be a little less critical.
Here are the 9 most common electrical problems
As you’ll notice, many of these problems come back to the electrical panel. Here are two articles on this subject that could be read in conjunction with this article:
1- Sudden loss of power
You’re sitting at home enjoying a book and suddenly, your house plunges into darkness. If this happens once in a while, chances are the cause is outside of your main electrical circuit, as there are many reasons for a power cut. On the other hand, if you’re the only house on the block experiencing this, the problem is likely within your home. For example, this could be a result of overuse, with many devices requiring too much energy at the same time.
2- Short circuits
A short circuit may indicate that your electrical panel is not equipped to suit your needs. This is a common occurrence in older homes where the electrical panel or system has not been renovated for quite some time. In the past, people used a lot less electricity, as there weren’t as many electronics present in the home. Older panels often have 60 amp capacity, while newer ones have 200 amp capacity.
3- The problem with circuit breakers
In electrical panels, circuit breakers play an important role in the regulation and operation of electrical circuits. If some are missing, they should be immediately replaced or you’ll need to consider an alternate solution. It’s advisable to inspect your electrical panel at least once a year to make sure all circuit breakers are securely installed.
4- Electric overloads
Often, and even when an electric panel is in good condition, parts of the system can take on more work than others and this will cause a temporary interruption. If you find yourself in front of your electrical panel often to flip the breakers, it may be a sign that circuits are out of balance. Here are some tips to avoid overloads:
- Connect energy-consuming appliances to different circuits;
- Avoid daisy chain connections (one power bar plugged into another);
- See if you should replace or have your electrical panel changed to distribute the loads.
5- Lack of power outlets
This problem is prevalent in older homes. Again, because people used less electricity before, older units aren’t designed to meet current needs. To overcome this, many homeowners opt for power bars and daisy chains, which doesn’t solve the underlying problem. Instead, to fix this we’d recommend contacting an electrician who can install new outlets. This will allow for a better distribution of electricity and power throughout your home while making life a little easier.
6- Electric shocks
If you find yourself getting an electric shock while performing tasks where this shouldn’t happen, then you’ll need to look into this. First, it’s important to determine the source of the problem and act accordingly. For example, if you get shocked every time you touch your toaster, you’ll need to figure out if the problem is with your appliance or the outlet. When it comes to electric shocks, it’s crucial to be careful. In most scenarios, it’s strongly advised that you call an electrician to diagnose the source of the problem.
7- High electricity bills
Has your electricity consumption shot up on your bills out of nowhere? This is a definite indication of energy-loss or overconsumption that occurs as a result of this problem. If the power in your home is overloaded, this will increase all of your expenses.
8- Wiring issues
When you’re dealing with wiring issues, it’s often the cause of damage to the cables. This isn’t always associated with the age of the cables, as the materials used in the past were often quite resistant. On the other hand, there can be many reasons why you’re facing issues with wiring. If you or a former occupant has attempted to move, play with or fix the wiring, it could easily interfere with how it works and cause issues.
9- Devices or sockets that admit heat or odours
If this is something you’ve come across in your home, it needs to be dealt with as soon as possible. This could point to certain devices or appliances working too hard or missing wiring. If you notice this problem, please contact an electrician as soon as possible so they are able to find the source of the problem and make corrections.
Electricity problems: call an expert
Throughout this article, we’ve tried to drive the point home, when dealing with electrical work, you need to call in the experts. In Quebec, there’s a formal prohibition in place for homeowners to complete this type of work themselves if they don’t hold the proper RBQ license. In addition, if a fire occurs, certain insurance companies will refuse to compensate you if they determine that you’ve performed the work.
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