Common electrical issues and warning signs you should look out for

Every home’s electrical infrastructure may have a few electrical issues developed over the years, and that is completely normal.

However, many of these common electrical issues are difficult to spot, and this is exactly why you need to know how to identify them.

If they’re allowed to persist for too long, they may cause major damage to your home’s electrical infrastructure or lead to electrical hazards.

Let’s take a look at several common electrical issues and how to spot them.

Overloaded circuit

Every circuit is designed to handle a certain amount of load.

An overloaded circuit has too many electrical appliances plugged into it; this puts too much stress on the circuit causing it to trip the circuit breaker.

An overloaded circuit may trip the breaker switch very frequently but at some point, the breaker may get damaged and the circuit will continue overloading, 

This may lead to circuits overheating and potentially becoming fire hazards.

Warning signs: Apart from the circuit breaker tripping frequently, some other common warning signs include:

  • Buzzing noises from outlets
  • Burning smell from switches and outlets
  • Underpowered appliances
  • Feeling a slight tingling sensation when touching an outlet

Backstabbed wires

This is a problem usually faced by newer electrical receptacles and switches where the wires are pushed into a connector that grabs the wire from inside the switch, rather than using screws to fix the wires in place.

Backstabbed wires may suffer loose connections that could trip the circuit breaker or cause the switch to not function.

Warning signs: There aren’t many warning signs for faulty backstabbed wires, but loose connections caused by backstabbed wires could cause wires to heat up, making the outlets feel hot to the touch.

Electrical dips

Electrical dips are similar to electrical surges because both involve electrical voltage, but the similarities end there.

While electrical surges involve a sudden spike in voltage, leading to circuit breakers tripping and electrical appliances getting damaged, electrical dips are occasional drops in the voltage.

Electrical dips happen when an appliance, regardless of its size, draws too much power from an outlet, or is plugged into a faulty outlet.

Warning signs: The most prominent signs of electrical dips are the lights dimming for a brief moment and going back to normal. 

If the dip only lasts for a few seconds, it won’t be a major concern.

Bulb burnouts

Modern bulbs are designed to last for a long time but if there is a problem with your electrical infrastructure, bulbs may start to burn out well before their time.

Bulbs may burn out quickly for many reasons, like a high voltage in your home or overstressing of the bulbs.

Sometimes, this could even happen when you’ve installed bulbs that are too large and their wattage exceeds the fixture’s rating; this results in a heat build-up, leading to heat damage and the bulb burning out.

Warning signs:  One prominent sign that your bulb may burn is when it glows much brighter than it should and becomes very hot.

Overloaded outlets

Having fewer outlets may sound like a good thing since this would mean having fewer chances of your home’s electrical infrastructure getting overloaded but this is not the case.

When your home has fewer outlets, the existing outlets may get overloaded as it tries to manage your power requirements.

The usual solution to having fewer outlets is to use an extension cord but plugging too many things into the extension cord to make up for the lack of outlets may overload wall circuits and cause power surges.

Warning signs: Power surges and the circuit breaker tripping out frequently may be clear signs that your home’s electrical outlets are under stress.

Common electrical issues should not be ignored

The electrical issues mentioned above can potentially damage your home’s electrical infrastructure, driving you to spend a large amount of money to get things back in working order.
As a best practice, you should keep an eye out for the right warning signs and seek help from professional domestic electricians.


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