For most of us, calling an electrician is the first thing that comes to mind whenever there’s an electrical problem. But they often charge a big sum for even the smallest of tasks. Sure, you are paying for a trained professional to do a job that may not be safe for you to handle. But sometimes there are problems that are simple enough for you to do on your own and this can save you from paying substantial money on the electrician’s fees. In fact, before calling in the electrician, you can attempt a few checks yourself to figure out if you really need to call him. Here are some common electrical problems and the checks you can do if you face them.
1. Some areas of the house don’t have power
First, check all the circuit breakers in the part of your home where there is a power outage. Turning circuit breakers back on might bring the power back. Check if the neighbours have power or not. Sometimes there are some phases which may be cut by the power company, so call and check with them. And if your problem is none of these, then just call a level 2 electrician who will be able to help you.
2. Power overload
This happens when there are very few power points which force you to use many power boards. This has a simple solution: Just plug out a few appliances to fix the problem immediately. Instead, simply install more power points later to solve the problem.
This seemingly simple issue can actually be very dangerous and overlamping leads to many home fires. To be safe, always check that the wattage of the bulb corresponds to the wattage of the fixture. If fixtures are not marked, use bulbs lesser than 60 watts.
4. Open junction box
Open electrical junction boxes are common in attics and tiny spaces in homes. Often the cover plate is missing from the junction box because there are too many wire connections sticking out of it and they cannot be safely contained inside the box. In this case a larger box may be necessary. If you have any experience in carrying out electrical repairs, you can easily install a cover by taking the proper precautions. But if you have never done any electrical repairs before, it’s best to call an electrician.
5. Faulty ground fault boxes/receptacles
These receptacles usually are rectangle shaped, and have a reset and test button. Outside outlets might be controlled by these receptacles. They are however, sensitive to power surges and moisture and trip. You just have to press the reset button to restore power. If it trips often, then you may have to replace it, or get it fixed by an electrician. Dining and kitchen receptacles also trip which you can fix in a similar way.
Some of these receptacles, also known as GFCIs, have a button which you might have to put your strength into. Most GFCIs show a red or yellow light when they trip and green when they’re on.
6. A bulb goes out
If a bulb goes out, you can replace it yourself with a new bulb. It’s one of the easiest things that we all have done at some point or other. But if it keeps happening, the fixture might be faulty and you should get it checked by an electrician.
These are a few things you can do before calling the electrician. They will definitely save you some dollars but if you’re simply not confident with electrical jobs, better call the electrician.