7 Common Household Electrical Problems

When you run into an electrical issue in your home, it can be extremely inconvenient. The following are a list of extremely common household issues and what you should do when they occur.

Tripped circuit breaker

In most cases, an overloaded circuit is the reason for a circuit breaker tripping. This means that the circuit is attempting to draw more power than what it can handle. To avoid the circuit wires overheating, the circuit breaker (or fuse) trips to avoid larger issues such as electrical fires. Other causes of circuit breakers tripping are due to a short circuits, or ground fault surges. In the case of an overloaded circuit, you can help negate the issue by avoiding plugging in too many appliances to the same circuit and overusing power-boards and extension cords. Our Perth Electricians are well versed in both diagnosing and repairing tripped circuits, allowing you to avoid greater electrical risks in the future.

Overloaded power outlet

An overloaded power outlet is usually caused by too many appliances being plugged into the one outlet, exceeding the electrical load it can handle. As mentioned above, overuse of power boards can often be the culprit for this occurring, or simply using too many appliances that draw high amps. Being aware of not using too many appliances in the same room at the same time is a good habit, as they are usually connected to the same circuit. In some cases, a solution to this is getting a trusted residential electrician to install a new circuit and power outlets in your home. This better distributes your electrical load, allowing your electrical appliances to operate safely.

Electrical surges

Electrical surges can occur when the electricity flow in your home is interrupted and then started again. When electricity flows back into the system it causes an electrical surge. The most common type of electrical surge is an internal one inside your home and can happen multiple times a day in your home without you realising. Common culprits for these types of surges are refrigerators and air conditioning units, although smaller appliances such as hair dryers, microwaves and computers can also be responsible. Larger surges usually stem from outside sources, such as lightning strikes, or a tree near your home touching a powerline. However, these types of large surges are rare.

Even though smaller surges don’t blow circuits or overheat wires, over time they can cause something called ‘electronic rust’ which can degrade your circuit over time. You can take small steps at home to avoid this, unplug devices which aren’t in use, and avoid overloading outlets. An electrician can also update your internal wiring, repair any degradation, or install new circuits for areas of high electrical use.

Flickering lights

If multiple lights in your home flicker, buzz or dim it is usually a tell-tale sign that it is a circuit issue. Light flickering may occur on their own, or may only occur when other appliances are in use. Either way, it is usually the best course of action to call out an electrician to diagnose the issue, as this is an issue best not ignored. Flickering lights may be a sign of a more serious issue which requires immediate attention.

Air conditioning malfunction

Your air-conditioning unit may malfunction from time to time, which can be especially frustrating in hot Perth summers. Common problems include the unit not turning on, blowing hot hair on a cold setting, a noisy indoor unit, bad odours, or refrigerant leakage.  Maintain your unit by getting it serviced yearly by an air conditioning electrician. General maintenance which you can conduct yourself include keeping the outdoor unit clean, removing fallen leaves, dust, and other debris every so often to provide optimal air flow through the unit.

An electrician can replace or clean filters, remove ice accumulation on cooling coils, restore a malfunctioning drainage system by unblocking pipes and repair the source of refrigerant leakage. It is recommended that you don’t conduct these types of repairs yourself , as they require specific knowledge of the air conditioning unit’s internals, which can vary brand to brand

Warm light switches and power outlets

It is never a good sign when your light switches and power outlets feel warm to the touch. This usually means there is too much power running through it and/or it is connected to faulty wiring. This is most common in older homes with older switches and outlets, which have become worn out over time. At the first realisation of a warm switch or outlet, you must call your local electrician immediately. Ignoring the issue puts you at risk of an electrical fire occurring in your home due to wires overheating.

In conclusion, although these issues are all common, they certainly should never be ignored. There are steps you can take to reduce the risk of these problems occurring in your home, reducing simultaneous appliance use, and by generally maintaining good electrical practices. However, there is no need to panic if an issue does arise. Perth residential electricians take the guesswork out of resolving the issue and provide you with the peace of mind that your home is safeguarded against electrical problems both now, and in the future.