How To Troubleshoot Electrical Problems In Your House
Electricity is something most of us take for granted. When you need it, you turn to the nearest switch or outlet, and there it is, ready to serve you 24/7. It illuminates our homes, keeps them cool or warm, and powers all those appliances that are an integral part of our everyday lives.
However, the wiring inside many of our houses is out of date, straining to supply our ever-growing collection of electricity-hungry appliances, lighting, and electronics. As experts in the field, we at Quick Way Electrical (1999) Ltd have written down common electrical problems in your house and how to troubleshoot them.
1. Loss of power
If in the kitchen: Older houses may have several receptacles on the same circuit. If you are running two or more high-power devices at the same time (e.g., toaster, microwave, blender, etc.), it’s very likely that you tripped a breaker. You can reset the breaker and then avoid running both devices at the same time (or try a different outlet) to avoid the problem. If this problem happens regularly, the semi-permanent appliances that occasionally run (fridge, microwave) may be the culprits.
In the bathroom: GFCI receptacles are usually the problem. Sometimes resetting them can be tricky. There is a TEST and a RESET button. Press the ‘test’ button to force the breaker to trip and the ‘reset’ button to push it back. Sometimes the switch inside doesn’t trip fully, so if you can’t press RESET, try pressing TEST first and then RESET. If this happens regularly, it could be a faulty GFCI receptacle, or you may have too many devices on the same circuit.
Other areas: You’ve most likely got two devices on the same circuit that are drawing too much power. Check the breakers and check to see what is running on that circuit.
If you’re not sure, please give us a call. We will always try to help you over the phone with these problems before sending someone.
2. Intermittent flickering, or ‘weird’ acting power
These problems are usually the result of incorrect wiring (an open neutral). If you’ve done any wiring in your house recently, check that first. If you’ve moved recently and the home is new to you, or the above step didn’t work, give us a call, and we can help you out!
3. There’s a switch that does nothing
In older homes, it was common in living room areas to use external standing lamps and lights instead of wiring lights into the ceiling. In order to operate the external fixtures, a receptacle was connected to a switch.
a. Get a simple device (like a small light), and plug it into a working receptacle (preferably in a separate room). Make sure the switches on the light itself are on and make sure the light turns on.
b. Keep the internal switches on the light, unplug the light from this receptacle, and plug the light into a receptacle in the same room as the unknown switch.
c. Flick the light switch, and see if the light turns off. Repeat this step for each receptacle in the living room.
Note: Some switches only wire to ONE of the two plugs on a duplex receptacle. Be sure to test each plug of each receptacle separately. If you’re still stuck, give us a call, and we can assist you.
If you are looking for an electrical contractor in Medicine Hat, Alberta, reach out to us at Quick Way Electrical (1999) Ltd. We have served southern Alberta and Saskatchewan for thirty years, providing our expertise and reliability in all types of electrical services. We have extensive experience in all categories of electrical construction, from commercial to residential and industrial markets.
We offer service and maintenance, commercial electric, residential electric, and security services to clients across Medicine Hat, Dunmore, Irvine, Redcliff, Bow Island, Lethbridge, Brooks, Kindersley, Maple Creek, and throughout Southern Alberta and Saskatchewan.