Sparking outlets and lights can be a sign of poor wiring or corrosion. They can also indicate an electrical fire hazard that needs immediate attention.
Blown fuses are another sign that you need a professional. Your Home Solutions professional will find the source of the issue and determine a course of action.
A home’s electrical outlets, or receptacles, are where lamps, electronics, appliances, and space heaters plug in to receive current. These workhorses see cord plugs inserted and withdrawn hundreds of times over the years, which can cause them to wear out or become damaged. If you’re experiencing any issues with your outlets – like a strange smell when you plug something in or sparks when you turn on an outlet – you may have a problem that needs professional attention.
The first step in troubleshooting an issue with your outlets is to understand what they are and how they’re supposed to function. Electrical outlets are receptacles in your circuit breaker box, with openings that allow you to plug devices into them known as sockets. Outlets in newer homes usually have a circuit breaker that shuts off the flow of electricity to prevent overloading. However, older homes often still use fuses, which can burn out in the event of an overload. An electrician can replace your fuses and ensure the flow of electricity is protected in case of an overload.
One of the most common electrical problems homeowners experience is a blown fuse, which can occur when too many devices are plugged into an outlet or socket. This type of residential electrical repair is simple and inexpensive, but it’s a good idea to upgrade your outlets to GFCI outlets to keep you and your family safe.
Electrical fires are a leading cause of home fires, and many of them are caused by old outlets. When you notice a spark coming from an outlet or feel it getting hot, you should call an electrician to inspect it. An electrician can replace the outlet with a GFCI, which will detect electrical problems and shut off the power to the socket.
Another option for upgrading your electrical outlets is to replace them with newer types that offer a range of convenient features. For example, some outlets are recessed into the wall plate, which means less space is needed behind furniture to plug in an item. Others have a built-in USB port that can charge your phone or other devices.
Light switches are among the most used electrical devices in a house, and yet they often break down after years of use. Switches are used to turn on lights, wall outlets (receptacles), and hard-wired appliances like garbage disposals. They’re also an important part of a home’s electrical system and can become a safety hazard when they stop working correctly or at all. Fortunately, switches are fairly simple to repair and most homeowners can complete this task themselves.
The first thing to do when a switch stops working is to make sure that the bulb hasn’t burned out, especially for a fixture switched by a wall switch. If the switch is simply not turning on or off, it may be a simple matter of troubleshooting by examining the switches and the circuit wires to make sure that everything is connected properly.
Once you’ve determined that the switch is bad, it’s time to disconnect it from the circuit wires. This can be done by making sure the power is off, and then loosening the screws that hold the wires to the switch. Some switches have push-in connections, in which case you can simply insert the end of a screwdriver into a slot on the back of the switch to disconnect them.
After the switches are disconnected, you should see bare copper wires running from each of them to the terminal box. If you don’t, you need to re-wire the switch by using wire strippers and removing the insulation from the last 3/4 inch of each exposed end of each wire. Then, using pliers or wire strippers, bend the ends of each wire into a semicircle so they can be wrapped around terminal screws on the new switch.
If the switch still isn’t turning on or off, it might be that the switch itself is bad and needs to be replaced. However, sometimes the problem lies farther down the line, in the breaker panel, or the wiring through the walls. In those cases, the problem can be harder to diagnose and will require professional help from a licensed electrician.
Lighting fixtures, like light bulbs or even ceiling fans, can break or become faulty. They may need to be replaced or the wiring may need to be updated. This is one type of electrical repair that requires a professional to perform safely.
If the lights keep burning out, it could be a simple problem such as using a bulb of a higher wattage than the fixture can handle. It’s also possible that the problem is more serious, such as an overload. If this is the case, the fuse will need to be replaced, and you’ll need an electrician to do that.
Electrical issues can be frustrating, but you can trust Lippolis Electric to fix them for you. We have the experience, knowledge, and equipment to get your repairs done quickly and efficiently.
Electrical wiring connects all the different parts of your electrical system. It’s under a constant cycle of heating and cooling, expansion and contraction with every use of switches and appliances, and it can suffer from many kinds of damage over time. This isn’t something you want to ignore and hope it goes away – damaged wiring can cause short circuits that degrade your system, and in the worst-case scenario, cause fires.
Electrical wires can be fixed in a variety of ways. Some are permanent fixes that require the services of a licensed electrician, like replacing a large strip of wiring or installing a new outlet in your home. Others are much more simple – fixing pinched wires for example. When a wire gets pinched, it can cut off the electrical supply to the device or appliance and expose the inner wires. This presents a serious safety risk and needs to be repaired immediately.
A few of the easiest fixes for a pinched wire include using electrical tape, heat shrink tubing, or sugru to cover and insulate it. To make the fix, first, turn off the power to the area. Then, measure the pinched area and cut a piece of 2:1 heat-shrink tubing that’s twice as wide as the measurement. Apply it over the wire and use a hair dryer or heat gun to shrink it over the damaged area.
For more permanent repairs, you’ll need a pair of wire cutters, wire strippers, and crimpers, along with some electrical tape, wire nuts, and solder. If the two offending wires are close to each other, remove their screw terminals and strip off 3/4 inch of insulation from each end of a 6-inch pigtail wire (use a green pigtail for grounding wires). Connect one end of the pigtail wire to each of the offending ends using a wire connector or soldering iron.
A professional electrician can help you assess your wiring and provide a quote for any necessary repairs. They will be able to ensure that all of your wiring is up to code and safe, which will protect you from tripping your breaker or causing power surges that can lead to a house fire.