Troubleshooting Electrical Issues: DIY Checks Before Calling an Electrician

When electrical problems arise, it’s tempting to immediately contact an electrician. However, there are simple DIY checks you can perform first to potentially resolve the issue without professional help. Follow these steps before picking up the phone:

Easy DIY Checks for Electrical Problems

Ensure Proper Connection: Check that your device or appliance is securely plugged in. Loose connections are a common cause of seemingly complex electrical issues.

Verify Switch Controls: Confirm if the outlet isn’t controlled by a switch. Sometimes, outlets are wired to switches, leading to confusion when they fail to function.

Reset GFCI Outlets: Test and reset Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlets, particularly in moisture-prone areas like kitchens and bathrooms. These outlets offer protection but may need resetting after tripping.

Inspect Device Condition: Assess the condition of your devices or appliances. Faulty items can mimic electrical issues and cause circuit breakers to trip.

Review Breaker Panel: Check your circuit breaker panel for tripped breakers. Reset any flipped breakers, ensuring they’re securely in the “on” position.

Manage Circuit Load: Unplug devices from overloaded circuits and reset the breaker. Overloading can lead to circuit trips, indicating potential wiring concerns.

When to Seek Professional Help

If your DIY efforts fail to resolve the issue, it may be time to call a professional electrician. Consider contacting them in the following scenarios:

  • Immediate Attention Required: Signs of an electrical fire or hazards such as burning smells, charred outlets, or smoke demand urgent intervention from an electrician.
  • Persistent Issues: If problems persist despite your DIY attempts, a licensed electrician can provide safe and effective resolution.

Still having problems? It’s time to call an electrician!

If your electrical problems persist even after trying these troubleshooting steps, the best idea is to call a reputable, local electrician.

Certain electrical problems should result in an immediate call to your electrician. If you detect signs of an electrical fire – such as a fishy or burning smell, charred or melted outlets, or smoke coming from any of your electrical fixtures – then call a professional ASAP. Depending on the severity of the issue, you may want to turn off the electricity at your fuse box until the issue can be assessed.