Don't Call Us - 4 Electrical Issues You Can Fix May 3, 2018
"It's Easter Sunday, the whole family is coming over, and my lights have stopped working! Can you come out?"
As much as we enjoy an easy service call, you don't need to be a handyman to resolve the most common electrical problems. These steps will help you resolve basic electrical problems in a hurry, without paying unnecessary fees.
Please note! If any of the actions outlined in this article make you feel unsafe or uncomfortable, don't hesitate to call an electrician.
1. Plugs or Lights have Stopped Working
In the majority of cases, if your plugs and lights have suddenly stopped working you are in need of a breaker reset. And if you ask an electrician to drive over and flip the switch, you aren't getting value for your dollar.
Your electrical breaker will trip if your circuit is drawing more current than the breaker is rated for. So if you are running your treadmill, your TV, someone starts up the vacuum, and then suddenly you lose power - you likely need a breaker reset.
GFCI receptacles are designed to trip with only 5mA of current leakage from the hot wire. Unfortunately this can result in nuisance tripping if there are fluorescent lights, a bathroom fan, or circuits longer than 100ft connected to it. Some appliances may inadvertently trip the GFCI as well.
To resolve the issue, go to each GFCI in your house and firmly press the 'TEST' and then 'RESET' button. If the GFCI has tripped, this will bring your circuits back online.
If the GFCI continues to trip, either there is an issue that needs to be resolved in the circuit or the GFCI itself needs to be replaced.
3. Lightbulbs Burn Out Frequently
You might not call an electrician for this one. Instead, you will find yourself replacing lightbulbs in the same fixtures every few weeks, and eventually starting to wonder why.
There are a couple of different issues that can cause this problem. The most likely issue is that you are simply installing the wrong size or rating of light bulb for the particular fixture. Most light fixtures will have a label somewhere on them indicating the size and rating of bulb that is required. Take a look at the label, and confirm you are installing the correct bulbs.
Another common reason for frequent light burnouts is incompatibility with dimmer switches. If you have light bulbs on a dimmer switch, the bulbs must be specifically labelled as 'DIMMABLE'. Even if an LED bulb is labelled as dimmable, it may not work well with an older dimmer switch. Old dimmer switches are not always compatible with LED bulbs. Try installing dimmable fluorescent bulbs and see if they last longer.
4. The Smoke Detector is Chirping
Every smoke detector in your home should have two sources of power - hardwired power from your electrical panel and a battery backup. If one of these power sources fails, the smoke detector will start chirping.
Start with the battery. Replace the battery with new, make sure any battery tabs are pulled, and close the battery door firmly. Then hit the 'TEST' button on the alarm to reset the electronics. Generally this will resolve the issue.
If the detector continues chirping, find the electrical breaker for the smoke detectors and turn it OFF and ON firmly.
Finally, some smoke detectors will chirp at the end of their life. Check the date on the back of your smoke detector. If it is more than 5-10 years old, it needs to be replaced.
We hope you enjoyed this article. Remember, if you are uncomfortable fixing these issues yourself or if you have more questions, you can reach us at any time at 780-920-2567 or by email at Aaron@LegionPower.ca.