When to Call a Professional for Electrical Repairs

May 17, 2023

Flickering lights or a constantly tripping breaker may seem like minor inconveniences. But in reality, they can be signs of deteriorating wiring that could put your home and family at risk.

Licensed electricians have extensive training and knowledge of building codes to keep you safe. Here are some situations when calling an electrician instead of DIYing is best.

Flickering Lights

When your home lights flicker, you’ve experienced a reduction or change in electrical current that causes the light to dim or flash. This can damage your electronics and cause a home fire if not quickly addressed. Depending on the scope of the problem, you may need to have an electrician look at your wiring system or breaker box to find the cause of the flickering lights.

If the lights only flicker in one part of the house, it could be as simple as a loose light bulb. Typically, you can switch off the power and screw the light bulb in tighter using your hands to ensure a good connection. If your lights are flickering in multiple rooms or throughout the house, it is likely a more severe issue with the breaker box, service conductors, or wiring. This is a job for a professional electrician to take care of because it can be dangerous.

Suppose your flickering lights occur when large appliances run, such as refrigerators, washing machines, or hairdryers. In that case, it is likely because the wiring in that area of your house needs to be updated to accommodate a higher load. An electrician can inspect the breaker box and wiring to determine what needs to be done and suggest repair or replacement options.

Faulty Outlets

Electrical outlets are essential to any home, but they’re easy to overlook until one stops working. Faulty outlets can lead to a variety of issues, including fire hazards. If your outlet starts acting up, here are some signs it’s time to call a professional.

Faulty outlets may produce buzzing noises or feel warm to the touch. This could signify loose connections or the need to upgrade from two-prong to three-prong outlets or even from standard outlets to GFCI outlets for safety and convenience. A hot outlet can also mean it struggles to control electricity, producing more heat as it flows through the wires.

A constantly tripping circuit breaker is another common reason to call an electrician. This often means that your home doesn’t have enough power to support the appliances you’re using and requires residential electricians or some electricians in Dallas to add more lines or replace old ones.

Frequently tripping circuits can also cause singed wires, which are extremely dangerous. Look for a yellow or white color and burned smell when checking for these signs, and avoid outlets with cosmetic blemishes like chips and cracks. These can allow dust and debris to build up inside the outlet, which can eventually short-circuit or spark. They should be replaced immediately by a professional. A qualified electrician can inspect your entire electrical system to ensure it’s safe and functioning.

Faulty Circuit Breakers

If your circuit breakers keep tripping, it may be time to call in an electrician. Replacing a circuit breaker is hands-on work within the main breaker panel, which requires knowledge of safety rules and regulations. Attempting such a project without a licensed electrician can result in fatal shock or damage to your home’s electrical system.

A faulty breaker can cause flickering lights, electrical shocks, and fire. To check whether your breaker is terrible, look for signs like scorch marks around the breaker, smoke, or melted wires. If you notice any of these, turn off your power and call a professional immediately.

Faulty breakers can also happen if you try to use fewer appliances on one circuit. This can wear out the springs and contacts in your breaker box. It’s a good idea to spread the load of your devices out across several circuits.

It’s also possible that your breaker is old and needs to be replaced. Circuit breakers are designed to last for decades but can become worn out over time. Depending on your home’s age, you may need to return or upgrade the wiring. Many older homes were built with Federal Pacific panels (“Stab-Lok”). These panels used aluminum instead of copper wire, which oxidized over time and promoted heat buildup that could cause fires.

Faulty Appliances

We all take the convenience of our appliances for granted — until they start to break down. Even a tiny appliance malfunction can cause an electrical shortage that damages your other appliances and causes issues like a fire. When a device is faulty, it sends power surges through your circuits and outlets. These can range from causing minor damage to your other appliances or ruining your outlet and breaker box.

If an appliance is faulty, you must call your local electrician immediately. It would help to discontinue the device until an electrician can come to your home and fix the problem.

A faulty appliance may make weird noises, smell like burning wire, or stop working. If you see a strange smell in your home, turn off the power to the appliance and call your electrician immediately.

Many people think they can save money by attempting DIY electrical repairs. However, working with electricity is dangerous and requires specialized training and safety equipment. If you don’t have the proper tools and experience, you could accidentally cause long-term damage to your home’s wiring. In addition, you could create a fire hazard for your family or neighbors. This type of risk isn’t worth it! The ESFi recommends turning off the main breaker and unplugging any appliances before beginning a DIY project. It would help if you also used a non-contact voltage tester to double-check the power is off before starting work.

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