Even though you probably don’t want to hear this, every home is bound to experience some electrical problems. Even though not major, if not properly identified and fixed, these problems can quickly become an unnecessary headache. Lucky for you, most of these issues are easy to identify, so you can take action in no time.
A mild electrical shock can occur when turning an electrical appliance on or off, flick a switch or plug in certain appliances. In this situation the problem can be hard to uncover, as it could exist in either the appliance itself or the home wiring.
The easiest way to know what’s going on is to remove the appliance and plug something else in its place; if the same thing happens again with the new appliance and you feel a mild electric shock, that means the fault its not the appliance’s but a wiring issue. Exercise caution however, it may be better to have an electrician diagnose from the start. Commonly, the appliance will be faulty, however, there could be a problem with the way your house is wired, and so it would be best to get a registered electrician to have a look.
ELECTRICAL SPIKES AND SURGES
This happens when you experience an electrical spike in your home of short duration. This problem is hard to detect, and it usually happens following a storm. If your home does not have surge protection your appliances could be severely damaged. This could be very expensive. To avoid this, you could ask your electrician to install a surge protector (or to check if you have one), to protect your appliances from electrical outbursts. When buying powerboards, also check the packaging to see if they are surge protected.
FAULTY CIRCUIT BREAKER
The circuit breaker is a safety little switch that protects the appliances from a system overload. It is essential to prevent serious damage to your home, as well as possible electrocution. If this is faulty it can be really dangerous for your home and can lead to fires.
Signs of a faulty breaker could be that your home stays out of power often, as the breaker will cut off electricity entirely. If this is the case, get it fixed as soon as possible.
You know this issue is happening to your when your circuit breaker is working way too much, and you find yourself constantly tripping the breaker. This usually happens with power boards, something pretty common nowadays around homes, as almost everything in homes is electric. Be mindful of this especially if you live in an apartment, or in a house which has an open kitchen that’s in the same area as the lounge room. Make sure you always unplug what’s not in use, especially phone chargers, which are easy to always leave on. Even when you’re not charging your phone, the charger is still using electricity, so be mindful on this and take it off the power. If you also have a multitude of appliances in an area which wasn’t built to support the demand you may also experience problems.
Also, remember to never overuse a power board. This means, if the power board contains six power outlets, use those six only, don’t try to extend it by by piggybacking double adapters. Not only you will contribute to a circuit overload, but you’ll be using adapters that have no safety switch, which is a potential hazard.
ELECTRICAL SAGS, DIPS AND OUTAGES
Dips and sags (short period of low voltage) and power outages can be caused by electrical appliances that use lots of power when turned on. To protect them, you can ask your electrician to install a UPS, which is an uninterruptable power supply, that works as a backup power supply for only a couple of minutes – enough time to turn off all electrical safely before the power is off.
A very common issue, flickering lights can be quite dangerous, as they can be the result of a faulty or old bulb that needs a change or a sign that the entire wiring system has a flaw. It is definitely a problem that cannot be ignored, and if you are experiencing it, the safest thing is to call an electrician, especially if your home is older than 10 years.
BURNING ODOUR OR SPARKS
These issues are a clear sign you have a fault in your wiring, and should be inspected as soon as possible. It would be advisable to unplug all devices and to switch off the power of your entire home until the arrival of a professional, in order to prevent a possible fire hazard.
HOT CEILING FIXTURES
Use your hand to inspect your ceiling fixtures regularly (but be careful!), focusing on the temperature. If you find they are quite hot, it may be a sign of a problem, and you may need to contact a professional to get it fixed. Florescent or LED lights could be a good replacement instead of the normal bulbs, as they emit less heat and are more energy efficient.