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Common Electrical Issues Most Homeowners Experience

Electrical lights
August 15, 2018

Whether you’re a home owner or a business owner, chances are that you’ve experienced electrical problems at one time or another. Whether it’s bad wiring, a damaged appliance, or a power surge, electrical problems can happen at any time. The good news is that while there is a list of common electrical issues, there are also solutions to ensure your home stays lit and safe this year. Here are the most common electrical problems that homeowners experience: 

Flickering Lights

Considered one of the most common electrical problems, you might experience a few flickering lights. There are a few easy fixes you should try first as the problem might have to do with the bulb itself. Make sure the light bulb is tightly screwed in, if that doesn’t work, replace it with a new one. If replacing the bulb doesn’t seem to work however, the issue is mostly likely a bad connection. Fixing any wiring issues should be left to a licensed electrician, as they can safely repair your light fixture.

Burnt-Out Bulbs

A light bulb that burns out too quickly is another sign of an electrical issue. Most likely the issue is with the bulb itself, as a light bulb that burns out too quickly is either a bulb with high wattage, its left on too long, or its made of poor quality. The problem could also be that your power company is delivering more power than your light bulb is designed to handle, thus shortening their lifespan. Replacing the light bulbs in your house with ones that can receive a higher voltage might solve the problem.


Plugging into an outlet can occasionally cause a few sparks to fly, but not all sparks are harmless. A sparking outlet can be a sign of a much bigger electrical problem. When an outlet gets too hot, it can melt away the protective coating on the wires, causing electricity to jump through the bare wires. A sparking outlet should be treated by an electrician right away as it puts you at risk of an electrical fire.

Busted Outlets

If an outlet doesn’t seem to work at all, check the rest of your outlets. If multiple outlets aren’t providing power, check with your neighbor to see if they’re having a similar problem. If you’re not the only one experiencing multiple dead outlets, then the problem is with your power company and they should be contacted immediately. If you have one dead outlet, the problem could be a tripped circuit breaker. If flipping the circuit breaker switches doesn’t work, then the problem may be the outlet itself. Check for any scorch marks or discoloration, your outlet may have burned out and will need to be replaced.

Circuit Breaker Issues 

Every homeowner deals with a tripped circuit breaker at some point, but if it frequently trips, it could be a number of problems. If your circuit breaker is tripping constantly, it could be overloaded. Take inventory of how many high wattage appliances you use at the same time. You can try plugging a few appliances into different outlets. You can also consider upgrading your electrical panel so it can handle a larger electrical load. Power surges, which can be caused by power outages, can also cause your circuit breaker to trip. A short circuit could also be the culprit, and it happens when an electrical current travels down a different path than it’s supposed to. 

Damaged Wires

Be on the lookout for damaged, frayed, and exposed wires as they put you at risk of electrocution and electrical fires. Look for any patches of exposed wire, cuts, black or brown stains, or a nasty burning smell, as that usually indicates damaged wiring. If your home has damaged wires, replace them immediately.

Strange Sounds and Smells 

If there is an electrical issue, you might smell it or hear it before you see it. If you smell something foul or burning coming out of an outlet, leave it alone and call an electrician. Outlets and appliances that function normally should make little to no noise, but if a prong gets loose, an outlet’s damaged, or there’s a frayed wire, it can produce a buzzing sound. If you hear buzzing from any of your outlets, call an electrician immediately.

If you are experiencing any of the electrical issues mentioned above, call Excel Electric. We’re ready to help!