Electrical problems are not as common as, let’s say, plumbing problems in the average household. And while that’s good news, it also makes it more difficult to know when it’s time to call an electrician for fast and dependable service.
Aside from blatantly obvious electrical malfunctions that lead to flying sparks or circuit breakers that trip repeatedly, you should always keep a sharp eye out for more subtle telltale electrical-danger signs. If you have the skill and the right tools, perhaps one or more of these are projects you can tackle yourself. But if you’re even the least bit unsure, then the smart move is to call Burton for professional, 24/7 service.
Cause: Loose wiring splice or a light fixture that’s worn out and needs to be replaced.
Solution: Cut power to the fixture and investigate the supply wiring and the fixture itself. Replace wire connectors with new professional-grade types. Replace the fixture if suspect.
Outlets with a faceplate that’s warm to the touch
Cause: An overly large electrical load operating on that outlet, undersized wiring or a loose electrical splice. (Note: it’s not unusual for dimmer switches, especially large ones, to be warm. Unless the switch face is actually too hot to touch, a warm dimmer is not a hazard in most cases).
Solution: Cut power and investigate. Look for a loose splice, melted connections, burned insulation. Repair as necessary. Also, evaluate wattage of device; it may be too large relative to supply wiring. Move device to another circuit, preferably one served by a 20-amp circuit breaker and 12-gauge wire. If condition persists, contact an electrician.
Wobbly switches or outlet receptacles
Cause: Device is improperly mounted to the electrical box or the box itself has come loose from the stud.
Solution: Cut power. Remove faceplate and tighten mounting screws. Occasionally, overly long screws will not fully seat. Shorten screws with an electrician’s multi-tool (a pair of pliers that strip wire, bend wire and cut screws). Reinstall device. Otherwise, tighten connection of box to framing.
Ceiling fans that slowly wobble
Cause: Fan is out of balance or may be installed on a box that’s not listed for supporting a fan.
Solution: Balance fan or cut power and reinstall fan, checking for loose, damaged or missing hardware. If necessary, replace box. Use a retrofit/old-work box rated for fan installation (note: These are not to be confused with old-work boxes or other electrical boxes not listed for fan installation.
GFCI outlets that trip repeatedly
Cause: A ground fault or a worn-out GFCI outlet receptacle.
Solution: Move appliance or tool to another GFCI and test. If GFCI trips, appliance or tool is suspect. If GFCI does not trip, electrical problems are likely. Cut power and investigate for damaged wire insulation, a loose splice or a small length of exposed wire making contact with a metal electrical box. If you don’t find wiring or splice problems, replace the GFCI. If condition persists, contact an electrician.
Need a Professional Electrician Now?
The Burton A/C, Heating, Plumbing & Electrical is ready to jump into action. Call us today for any and all electrical repairs or wiring needs…especially when you don’t want to leave anything to chance.