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Troubleshooting Home Electrical Issues: A Quick Guide

Jun 16, 2023 | Electrician Program, News, trade school

Our homes are filled with a variety of electrical systems. While these electrical systems and appliances make our lives more convenient and comfortable, they are bound to face issues every now and then.

Neglecting these electrical issues could pose significant hazards to you and your household. While a professional electrical repair company may be necessary in serious cases, it’s also important to know how to troubleshoot these electrical issues right when they arise.

This quick guide is here to provide you with everything you need to know about troubleshooting your home’s electrical issues.

Keep reading to learn more.

How to Troubleshoot Simple Electrical Issues

There are many different ways to troubleshoot simple electrical issues and ensure the safety of your home.

Here are the best solutions to combat the most common electrical issues.

1. Flickering Lights

Notice lights flickering in your home? This is one of the most common electrical issues, but it can be easily fixed.

First, check to see where the flickering is coming from. If it is coming from a single light, tightening the light bulb could do the trick. If multiple lights are affected, this likely signals a wiring issue. This could include loose or outdated wiring or overloaded circuits.

In this case, you will want to contact a licensed electrical company to inspect the issue further. From here they can repair the faulty wiring or replace your entire system.

2. Frayed Electrical Cords

If you come across a frayed cord in your home, it’s essential to take care of it ASAP. Ensure that the appliance connected to the cord is turned off and unplugged. Then, apply electrical tape around the frayed section to cover the area.

If the fraying is severe, you will need to replace the entire cord to reduce the risk of electrical shock or fire.

3. Tripped Circuit Breakers

Tripped circuit breakers are a result of excessive energy usage from a single outlet. All you need to do in order to fix a tripped circuit breaker is to flip the tripped switch.

4. Unfamiliar or Funny Odors

If you notice any strange or unpleasant odors in your home, be aware. It may be caused by an underlying electrical issue.

While this isn’t always a cause for concern, if you notice that the smell is coming from a certain appliance, be sure to shut it off until a professional electrician can inspect it.

5. Counterfeit Electrical Products

It’s always essential to purchase your electrical products from a reputable supplier. Counterfeit electrical products are commonly sold at places like flea markets at extremely low prices that seem almost too good to be true.

If your electrical appliance is not approved by the Underwriters Laboratory (UL), be sure to replace it immediately for your safety.

6. Hot Ceiling Fixtures

If your ceiling fixtures feel excessively hot to the touch, it may suggest a problem with the electrical wiring or the fixture itself. It could be caused by loose connections, overloaded circuits, or insufficient ventilation around the fixture.

Replacing your fixtures with fluorescent or LED lights could decrease the heat.

7. Abnormally High Electric Bills

If you notice that your electrical bills are abnormally high lately, there may be an underlying problem at play with your electrical systems such as faulty appliances, wiring problems, or insulation issues.

If you cannot get to the cause of the issue yourself, don’t hesitate to hire an experienced electrician to help figure out what’s going on.

8. Electrical Shocks

An electrical shock generally suggests faulty wiring within your home. This could turn into a potentially dangerous issue and not something you should take on without professional help. Therefore, it’s important to seek help from a licensed electrician for your safety.

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How to Trace a Short Circuit?

One of the most effective ways to address electrical issues is to trace a short circuit. First, turn off the power supply of the circuit to ensure your safety. Then, carefully inspect the area of the short circuit and make sure there are no fraying or exposed wires that could put you at risk.

After this, you will need to use a device called a multimeter to determine the exact area of the short circuit. Begin by disconnecting the affected circuit from the power source. Then, test the resistance or continuity between different points along the circuit, such as between wires or connections. A drop in resistance or a continuous beep on the multimeter means you are dealing with a short circuit.

While you can attempt to trace a short circuit on your own, it’s always recommended to hire a qualified electrician. They can accurately replace the damaged wiring and ensure the circuit is restored properly.

Act Sooner Rather Than Later

When it comes to a faulty electrical system, you always want to act sooner rather than later. While many people may initially write off issues like flickering lights or frayed wires as normal, they have the potential to cause serious physical harm and damage to you and your home, including house fires and fatal electrical shocks.

Even if the issue is easily-fixable and minor, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Whenever an electrical issue arises, it’s vital to inspect the problem and seek help from expert technicians, who are equipped with all the necessary skills to repair or replace your system.

Become a Licensed Electrician at the Erie Institute of Technology

Are you interested in a career as an electrician? The Erie Institute of Technology is here to help you on your career path.

With our outstanding Electrician Program, you can become a licensed electrician in as little as 15 months. This program gives you personalized attention and hands-on courses to ensure you receive the guidance you need throughout your new career journey.

Apply online today or visit our website for more information regarding our programs.


Ross Aresco


Ross Aresco is the CFO of Erie Institute of Technology. Erie Institute of Technology (EIT) is an Erie Pennsylvania technical/trade school providing training programs for medical, computer, electronics, manufacturing, and technology careers. EIT offers programs in many different areas to suit your interests and talents.

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