Many homes or businesses will experience minor electrical faults from time to time, but most people do nothing about them, even though they can be dangerous and also lead to bigger and more expensive problems. Some faults will happen only very intermittently and so be very difficult to diagnose whilst others, people just put it with and don’t realise they are fixable. Let’s look at what to do about some common household electrical issues.

Electrical Power Surges

A surge is when extra power runs through one of your circuits (or all) briefly and they have a few main causes. But surges should not be ignored, they can be very dangerous because if they happen regularly they can slowly cause more and more damage making the likelihood of a fire more possible. Fires can come from wiring or appliances that are burned out by the surges. Common causes for electrical surges are lightning and thunderstorms if you live in a more isolated area, faulty wiring or overloads caused by too much power being drawn from your supply. They should definitely not be ignored, and you should call an electrician.

Power Sags or Dips

The opposite of a surge, sometimes your power will drop briefly as the voltage is lowered. This can happen to all your supply or sometimes just one circuit. Often caused by turning on power-hungry appliances like aircon, heaters and fridge freezers etc. Whilst not as dangerous as surges, sags can be identified by testing a suspicious appliance. It may mean it’s faulty or that your incoming mains don’t meet your household’s requirements so it’s still best to call an electrician.

Faulty Light Switches

Switches are prone to fail and short circuit, or not get a good connection simply due to wear and tear. Whilst not dangerous initially, if they are causing short circuits this can damage your wiring if it’s old and you’ll also likely get through more bulbs. Switches are easily replaceable and very affordable.

Circuit Breaker Tripping

If one or more of your circuit breaker switches regularly trips in your consumer unit (fuse box) then this is a sign of a fault or overload. This is your consumer unit’s way of telling you something is wrong. If after resetting the switch everything is ok, most people just ignore it. If it happens regularly then you almost certainly have a fault which is likely either a faulty appliance or too much power being used from your supply. As it will likely happen to one circuit then it’s usually an easy fix for your local electrician.

Electric Shocks

Most household shocks are minor, but if you experience shocks of any kind then switch off the power and call an electrician immediately.