2436 N Lewis Ave, Tulsa, OK 74110, United States

Sallisaw, OK

(918) 775-3281

Tulsa, OK

(918) 775-3281

How Do You Troubleshoot an Electrical Problem?

Electrical issues in your home can range from mildly annoying, like a flickering light, to downright alarming, such as a burning smell coming from an outlet. It’s natural to feel a bit out of your depth when these problems arise. After all, not all of us are born with a multimeter in hand, ready to diagnose and fix whatever electrical challenge comes our way. But here’s the good news: with some guidance and the right approach, you can learn the basics of electrical troubleshooting. And who knows? You might even save yourself a bit of money on electrical troubleshooting cost in the process.

Understanding Electrical Safety First

Before we start talking about troubleshooting your electrical problems, we have to talk about safety, as it should be front and center in your mind. Electricity is not something you should take lightly, as it could cause serious injuries and can even be fatal if you don’t handle it properly. So, before we go into the whole electrical troubleshooting cost and more, let’s take a step back and see what kind of safety features you need to ensure your own safety. The first thing you need to do is to make sure the main power is off. It could mean that you turn off the switch or unplug the appliance or the circuit breaker for the area you’re working on.

Identifying Common Electrical Problems

Now that we know safety is our top priority let’s take the next step and look at some common electrical problems and their electrical troubleshooting cost.

  • Flickering Lights: Flickering lights are a common occurrence in any home, and usually, all you have is a loose bulb or a fixture that’s outlived its usefulness. But sometimes, it could be a sign of a more serious problem like fluctuating voltage in your home which could increase the electrical troubleshooting cost you had in your mind.
  • Dead Outlets: Almost everybody has gone through this situation where they plug something into the socket and get nothing. Dead outlets can be puzzling as they could be controlled by a switch, part of a tripped circuit, or just worn out. You have to figure out the root cause and deal with it.
  • Frequent Circuit Breaker Trips: If one or more circuit breakers are tripping again and again, it could be a sign that something’s not right with your wiring. It could be an overloaded circuit, a short circuit, or a ground fault, among other things, and we recommend calling in a professional for this job. This might increase the electrical troubleshooting cost, but it’s safer to let the professionals handle this.
  • Buzzing Noises or Burning Smells: Now, if you hear buzzing noises near any appliance or fixture or smell something burning, it’s a definite red flag that you just can’t ignore. It could be a loose connection, an overloaded circuit, or something more serious, so we recommend calling a professional.

Initial Assessment and Observation

Now that we’ve looked at some of the most common problems, the first step in troubleshooting is to check for signs of damage like scorch marks or exposed wiring. Make a note of when and where the issue occurred and whether it’s common for all things or specific to one appliance. Does it happen at a particular time of day, or does it happen randomly or frequently? Identifying the pattern can help you reach the root cause of the problem and help you realize the electrical troubleshooting cost of the issue.

Step-by-Step Troubleshooting Guide

Now that we’ve seen some of the most common electrical problems and how to do an initial assessment, let’s go further and take a look at how you can troubleshoot them.

Flickering Lights

Flickering lights can be annoying, but sometimes, they can be a symptom of a larger problem, so you must take them seriously.

Check your bulb and make sure it’s screwed in tightly, as sometimes that is all you need to rectify the problem. If that doesn’t help, you can check the bulb type and see if you’re using an LED bulb on a dimmer or something else. Sometimes, you have to match the bulb to the proper fixture to make the problem go away.

Sometimes, it’s not your bulb that’s the culprit but a loose connection in the fixture or the switch. This is where things become a little more complicated, and you need a professional to come and take a look at it. This is especially true if you’re not comfortable working with exposed wires.

Dead Outlets

Dead outlets can be exasperating for some of the best and most seasoned DIY-ers, but here are some things you can do.

  • Reset GFCI Outlets: These outlets have a test and reset button and are commonly found in bathrooms and kitchens and a simple press of the reset button can sometimes bring them back to life.
  • Check the Circuit Breaker: Look for a tripped breaker in your electrical panel, and if you find one, flip it to the “off” position and then back to “on.”
  • Test Other Outlets: If other outlets on the same circuit are working, the problem might be isolated to the dead outlet, which could need replacement.

Circuit Breaker Issues

Frequent trips of the circuit breaker are your home’s way of telling you there’s a deeper, more complex electrical issue.

  • Overloaded Circuit: This is the most common cause, and you can unplug a few devices to lighten the load and see if the problem persists.
  • Short Circuit: This is a more serious issue, often indicated by a charred outlet or plug, and it’s best to consult a professional if you suspect a short circuit.
  • Ground Fault: Similar to a short circuit, a ground fault occurs when the hot wire touches a ground wire or a metal outlet box, which is another scenario where professional help is advisable.

Unusual Noises or Smells

Buzzing sounds or burning smells are immediate red flags that need immediate and expert attention.

Identify the Source: If you can safely determine where the noise or smell is coming from, it can help diagnose the issue.

Disconnect Power: For any persistent or concerning noises or smells, it’s safest to turn off the power to the affected area and call a professional.

Powering Through with AMPCO Electric

If you have some electrical problem in your house, it’s best to consult a professional who can handle it without increasing the electrical troubleshooting cost beyond your budget. But if you want to take care of it yourself, you know how what you have to do, including safety. Whether you’re dealing with flickering lights, dead outlets, or a more serious issue, knowing you to identify it and tackle it and when to step back and call a professional leads to a safe environment for you.

When the situation calls for expertise, AMPCO Electric is here to light the way. With a team of experienced, licensed professionals, we’re equipped to handle all your electrical needs, from minor repairs to major installations. We understand the importance of quality, safety, and customer satisfaction and are committed to providing top-notch service at a fair price.