4 Situations That Require An Electrical Professional
At this time of year, electrical problems can be a big headache for some homeowners. With various obligations, some don’t have the time, budget or patience to wait for a licensed electrician to fix issues that pop up. Instead, homeowners may decide to DIY these problems themselves.
However, electrical repair isn't something that should be taken lightly. Even the most experienced DIY expert can encounter danger when trying to diagnose home electric issues. It's important to know what electrical hurdles homeowners should and shouldn't tackle on their own.
What Can You Do Yourself?
Before handling home electrical jobs yourself, make sure you know how to shut off power to that part of your house. Basic fixes such as swapping out non-functioning light switches or outlets that don’t work are just a few tasks homeowners can DIY.
When completing these DIY jobs - which may include troubleshooting - it's vital to carry out the following steps:
- Research proper safety steps online.
- Buy all the necessary equipment from a local hardware store.
- Proceed with caution.
Once again, it’s important that you not move forward with DIY electrical work without turning off the power supply.
When to Call an Electrician
There are many situations that call for the expertise of a licensed electrician - and which homeowners shouldn't try to tackle alone, according to the Copper Development Association.
Here are 4 common electrical situations that require the attention of a professional with electrician training:
1) When your lights flicker or go out
Plugging numerous devices and fixtures into outlets throughout your home can overload your electrical system, especially in older homes. This can result in dimming lights, blown circuit breakers and, if individual outlets are particularly overloaded, potential fire hazards. While installing a new electrical circuit to increase amperage could be the answer to your problems, it isn’t a DIY project – it would require an electrician.
2) When you want to upgrade outlets in older homes
Adding in grounded outlets in older homes is a different animal, according to Mr. Electric. Ground faults can occur when currents unexpectedly run into areas they shouldn't. Often a result of old, damaged or faulty wiring, ground faults can make implementing grounded outlets very risky.
Ground faults can be detected and avoided in a number of ways, according to the Spruce. Installation of grounded outlets can be tackled by an electrician in a short amount of time.
3) If your outlets or cords are warm
An outlet or cord that is warm to the touch is a sign of danger, according to Mister Sparky. It can be tough for the layman to diagnose the exact cause of the issue. Common reasons for warm outlets or cords include: damaged wiring, too many items plugged in, or outdated electrical wiring. While these issues don’t necessarily point to a fire hazard, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Unplug any items from the outlets and cords in question and see if they cool down.
One important note of distinction: there's a difference between a warm cord (or outlet) and a hot one. A hot cord or outlet may indicate a fire stemming from circuit resistance is possible. Unplug everything from that outlet, turn off the power to the circuit breaker that controls that outlet and call an electrician right away.
4) When homes haven't been serviced in years
This Old House notes that little inefficiencies in electrical wiring and systems can build up over time in older homes. While these complications may not be a big deal individually, they can present problems collectively. For this reason, it's a good idea to request an assessment completed by an electrician to understand the quality and safety of an entire home electrical system.Repair plans from HomeServe can help cover the costs associated with covered electrical situations that require emergency electrician service. Enter your ZIP Code here to find out more about the plans available to you.