We often blame the nation’s power system without properly inspecting the electrical wiring inside our house.
Maybe the circuits have become outdated and are not efficient enough to power the electronics, appliances, and lighting. Older electrical wiring systems were not designed to power all the different kinds of equipment and lighting that are common today.
Electrical wiring problems can be frightening. It is not just about the damage to appliances; electrical wiring problems pose a threat to your property and life as well.
If you are facing issues like flickering lights, high electricity bills, or damaged appliances, it means there are electrical wiring problems in your house. Sometimes the solutions are easy and you can do it yourself with some items like vinyl tape.
Today, we will discuss some common electrical wiring problems and how you can solve them.
You may have light fixtures that have bulbs of a higher wattage than they are designed for. This is a high-risk code violation.
The insulation and socket present in the fixture’s wires can be melted by the intense heat of the bulb, which may cause sparks and start an electrical fire. The wires and socket will remain damaged even after you remove the bulb.
To avoid this issue, always use bulbs or other fittings that are within the wattage limit listed on the fixtures. If a fixture is not marked, we advise you to fit a 60-watt bulb or an even smaller one.
2. Uncovered Junction Boxes
Junction boxes have lots of electrical wires that are connected to each other. They are designed to keep different parts of the wires away from one another and to save the wires from getting damaged. If these boxes are not covered, there are high chances of electrocution.
Buy a new cover and get help from a professional to install it with the screws provided.
3. Flickering Lights
Frayed wiring in the Weatherhead can cause a short if the cables move when it is windy outside and cause flickering lights. It has a higher danger level because it can cause a sudden fire.
If you notice something like this, contact the electric utility company immediately and get the Weatherhead replaced.
4. Fewer Outlets Can Cause Electrical Wiring Problems
If you have extension cords and power strips in your house, they can put you in a certain level of danger unless you use heavy-duty extension cords of 14-gauge or thicker.
16 gauge or lower extension cords can heat up too much and cause a fire when overloaded. Therefore it is recommended to acquire help from an electrician to add more outlets.
5. Overcircuited Panel
It is a code violation to put tandem breakers (two circuits) in one slot rather than single-pole breakers (one circuit). Usually, worst-case there are labels on each panel specifying how many circuits can be accommodated by it.
This issue can be solved if you add a sub-panel with some extra slots or buy a larger panel.
6. No Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs)
GFCIs cut off circuits within a few milliseconds to prevent a deadly shock. If you do not have GFCIs in your home, there is a high chance of electrocution in wet areas like kitchens and bathrooms.
To avoid this risk, you should install GFCIs. It is a simple job and you can do it yourself. As an alternative, you can install GFCI breakers on the main electrical panel. But then you will have to go to the basement and reset it every time it trips.
7. Plug Falling Out of Receptacle
There is a high danger level when the receptacle cannot grip the prongs firmly. There may be arcing due to loose contacts, which can ignite dust and dry wood. You should replace such receptacles as soon as possible to avoid any accident.
8. Backstabbed Wires
The pushed wires in the back of new receptacles and switches are more likely to be loose than those anchored around screw terminals.
While not a code violation, the potential danger comes from when the loose wires stop a switch from working. In the worst-case scenario, these wires can start a fire.
Check if there are any backstabbed wires by removing a receptacle or switch from its outlet box. If you find any, release it and connect it to the proper screw terminals on the receptacle.
9. 2-Prong Ungrounded Receptacles
There is no way to conduct any stray current without risk. The risk level is minimal unless you use an adapter to place a three-prong plug into a two-prong receptacle. If you do so, the device you were trying to plug in can be destroyed. There is a high risk of electrocution as well.
As a solution to this issue, you should replace all the two-prong receptacles with three-prong ones that are properly grounded. Additionally, verify that all current three-prong receptacles are grounded using a GFCI circuit tester.
10. Frequent Burning Out of Bulbs
Your light bulbs can go out too often due to:
- High voltage
- High wattage
- Poor electrical wiring on mains and circuits
- The light bulb is fitted too tightly
- Unsuitable air circulation
11. Aluminum Wiring
In earlier days, aluminum was used as a low-cost substitute for copper. However, it is not considered a safe option now. Aluminum corrodes when it comes in contact with copper, which loosens connections and starts fires.
To prevent this, retrofit each copper or aluminum attachment for light fixtures with an insulating wire nut that is approved for aluminum wire. The grease in these nuts helps in stopping corrosion while maintaining conductivity.
12. Tripping Circuit Breaker
When a high-power-consuming appliance is used in tandem with other appliances, there is a possibility that it will get tripped. It is actually a good sign which indicates that your house is safe. Just try to find out the reason for the tripping and use a low setting.
These are only a few of the many electrical problems. Carefully check the circuit and other components to find out the problem and fix it. If you are not sure about the issue, make sure to call a professional. Always remember that safety comes first.
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