Attempting Electrical Repair without the proper training or license is dangerous to you and your home. Even small jobs like changing a light bulb or a broken switch can lead to more serious problems. Incorrect repairs can cause fires and other expensive damage to your home.
There are a number of common electrical repairs that homeowners often try to tackle on their own. While a few of these can be fairly easy to fix, the majority should always be left to professional electricians.
If you notice that a fixture has been burning for longer than it should or that a smell of burnt plastic is present, you should turn off the electricity and call an electrician as soon as possible. Burning lights are a sign that the wiring in the fixture has been overheating and is a risk for a fire. A burnt smell indicates that the wires are heating up to the point of melting the plastic sheathing. If left untreated, this could lead to a fire that could spread to other parts of the house and cause costly damage.
The first thing you should do when your breakers keep tripping is locate the main breaker box, which is usually in the basement or garage. Once you have found it, you should determine if the issue is specific to one room or if your entire electrical system is affected. If the breaker keeps tripping, it may be a sign that the wiring is old and needs to be replaced.
Another electrical problem that is easily detectable is a constant buzzing noise coming from an outlet, light switch, or appliance. The sound is a result of a loose wire that is constantly rubbing against other components in the fixture or electrical circuit. Buzzing sounds can also indicate an overloaded circuit or a faulty appliance.
Occasional sparks when plugging in an appliance are normal, but large or frequent sparking should be a warning sign. If the sparking is coming from a light switch, remove the cover plate to reveal the connections inside and use a neon tester or a simple multi-meter to test each of the slots for power. The switch should be hot (charged) if the tester or multi-meter reads voltage.
If the breaker continues to trip after replacing the fuse or switching the breaker off and on again, it is likely time to contact a professional electrician. A faulty appliance or old wiring could be the culprit, and ignoring this issue could lead to a major electrical disaster. An electrician will be able to diagnose the issue and make the appropriate electrical repairs. This will ensure your safety and help avoid any costly home repairs in the future.