Have you noticed unusual electrical issues around your home? Are you worried you and your family may be facing one or more safety hazards? Though certain electrical problems are essentially harmless, others present a significant safety risk to you, your loved ones, and your home. Below, our Harrison Electric team outlines which electrical issues require the immediate attention of a licensed electrician, and which ones (while annoying) are hardly reason to panic.

Short Circuit

At some point, every homeowner will probably experience a short circuit. A short or tripped circuit occurs when the electrical draw on a particular circuit exceeds a predetermined load. When the load gets too high, the circuit automatically shuts off to protect the electrical system and any appliances plugged into the circuit from damage.

If a simple short circuit is an infrequent occurrence around your house, it’s likely not cause for alarm. Simply head to your breaker box, locate the tripped circuit and reset the switch. If the issue occurs repeatedly or is not associated with the use of a particular appliance, however, you may be dealing with a short in the wiring or at the outlet. Either situation requires the expertise of a trained professional, so contact a residential electrician at your earliest convenience.

Broken Light Switch or Faceplate

Broken light switches, while unsightly, are usually not cause for alarm. If you notice one, simply turn off the circuit that services that lightswitch. You can attempt to remove the faceplate yourself, but for safety’s sake, don’t attempt to reassemble the switch. If, however, you’re dealing with just a cracked faceplate on the receptacle, you can safely unscrew and replace it.

While a broken switch is undoubtedly inconvenient, the wiring that feeds the switch should only be serviced by a professional. A residential electrician can quickly test the wiring for proper functionality and reassemble the damaged switch with new parts.

Loose Receptacles

If you’ve observed loose light switches or outlets, you’ve got an electrical hazard on your hands. Outlets and light switches should always remain flush with the wall surrounding the receptacle, so if you’ve noticed recessed or improperly aligned receptacles, those are also cause for immediate concern.

Continued use of such receptacles can trigger dangerous electrical arcing, which can ignite a fire within the walls of your home. For you and your family’s safety, schedule outlet replacement with a licensed residential electrician at your earliest convenience. 

Electrical Surges

There are many reasons why electrical surges can occur in a home, and they can range from appliances not working correctly to damaged power lines. In most cases, the surge will only last for a second, but it can cause damage to the system.

If you are experiencing power surges more frequently, it may have something to do with an electrical device or even the wiring, so it's recommended to disconnect any cheaper devices from the outlet, and if it continues, reach out to electricians in your area.

High Electrical Bills

Another reason that may be worth investigating is if you have electric bills that are consistently high. It could be caused by one appliance that uses more energy than others, you may be being overcharged by your provider, or there may be damaged circuitry. If there are damages, this is a concern and could be considered an emergency because it could pose a fire issue.

Bulbs Burning Out Frequently

If you find yourself replacing your bulbs constantly, one of the first things to check for is to make sure that the wattage of the bulb is correct for the socket. If this isn't the case, then there may be a loose connection inside the plugin, requiring some rewiring.

Warm Outlets or Switches

If any of your switches or outlets are noticeably warm when you touch them, this could be a severe issue that needs to be addressed. An overloaded circuit or damage to the wiring can create this, so you may want to consider reaching out to an emergency electrician for this situation.

Electrical Shocks

Most of the time, an electrical shock will be a mild experience, and this can happen when you turn on an appliance or plug it in. This means there is improper wiring, or the appliance is not working correctly, so you can either try a different device and possibly be shocked again or reach out to a local professional to address the issue.

Dimming or Flickering Lights

Wonky lighting performance may indicate poor connections or faulty wiring that can eventually lead to dangerous electrical arcing. Using electrical connections that are corroded, loose, or otherwise damaged, can create sparking, excess heat, and even house fires, so don’t write this issue off. Schedule an inspection with a residential electrician who can recommend the appropriate system upgrades and perform the rewiring process.

Non-Functional Outlets

Dealing with a seemingly dead outlet? Have you checked the circuit breaker? If the breaker hasn’t tripped, you may have a poor wiring connection, which typically leads to arcing. If the problem has persisted for some time, there’s a chance that the wires or connections may have melted due to overheating. To protect yourself, turn off the circuit that feeds the affected receptacle, and contact an electrician to schedule an inspection and outlet replacement.

Harrison Electric: Your Twin Cities Source for Comprehensive Residential Electrical Service

Dealing with a worrisome electrical problem? Not sure if you have a safety hazard on your hands? Don’t hesitate to reach out to our team at Harrison Electric for help! Since 1985, our residential electricians have been providing Twin Cities homeowners with comprehensive electrical service, and we’re here to serve you, too! From inspections, outlet replacement, and rewiring, to lighting installation, panel upgrades, and burying power lines, when we say we do it all, we truly mean it.

To learn more about our electrical services or to request your service quote, give us a call at 763-544-3300. Or, feel free to get in touch with us via our contact form, and a member of our team will be in contact with you promptly!