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Electrician vs Homeowner – Troubleshooting Tips

Posted on: May 26, 2014

electrician-blackdiamondAs frightening as the prospect of doing electrical work can be, there’s no need to call an electrician for every single electrical problem. Savvy homeowners know when to take care of issues themselves and when to call an electrician, though they also know to err on the side of getting help. Here are some common electrical issues and best practices for troubleshooting them.

An Outlet Doesn’t Work

If it’s just one outlet that refuses to provide power, fixing the problem may be as simple as flipping a switch. Find your home’s electrical panel, typically located in a garage or basement, and look for anything in the “off” position. If you see such a switch, flip it to “on.” If that doesn’t fix the problem, you’ll need to have a professional take a look at the outlet.

Constantly Flickering Lights

Sometimes, flickering is just a sign that a light bulb isn’t screwed in all the way, an easy fix for any homeowner. While you’re there, check to make sure that the bulb is the correct wattage for the fixture; putting in a higher-watt bulb than the fixture is meant to take is called “overlamping,” a very dangerous situation. Try replacing the light bulb with a fresh one, too; if that works, you probably just had a bad bulb. If none of those solutions work, there’s likely a wiring issue that will require professional attention.

Frequently Tripping Circuit Breaker

The most common cause of frequent circuit breaker tripping is just overloading the breaker. Try shutting off some appliances when they aren’t in use and see if that fixes the problem, and try to avoid plugging too many appliances into one outlet. Another common cause of tripping is a short circuit; you can proactively prevent that issue by replacing frayed cords and preventing pets from gnawing on wires. Once a wiring issue emerges, though, call an electrician.

Hot Switches

If you notice that some of your wall switches, especially dimmer switches, get especially warm when the lights are on, the solution is simple: do nothing. It’s actually normal for many wall switches to heat up, and it’s not indicative of any real issue. On the other hand, if you notice excessive heat at a receptacle, that’s a problem. Call an electrician for an upgrade.

At Black Diamond Plumbing & Mechanical, we’ve been helping Elmhurst, IL, homeowners troubleshoot electrical problems since 1999, and we’re committed to providing only the best electrical services. Our electricians will be happy to come to your home, assess the causes of these and any other electrical problems and work quickly to get your electrical system running smoothly again. If electrical problems are plaguing your Chicagoland home, give us a call to learn more.

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