Skip to content

Household Troubleshooting (Electrical)

Posted in Electrical Safety, and Troubleshooting

Household Troubleshooting

Most electrical issues in residential settings will require a licensed electrician to correct. However, there are some smaller problems that homeowners can safely troubleshoot and repair. Here are a few examples:

Circuit Breaker Trip

This is a common electrical issue that usually has a simple solution. If you notice some of your outlets and lights (in the same area of the house) stop working, you will likely find a circuit breaker has tripped. A tripped breaker usually can be spotted easily.  The breaker switch will either be in the off position or halfway between off and on depending on the model.  Some even have a red symbol showing it has been locked out. The most common reason for the breaker to trip is “overload.” To troubleshoot the issue, turn the breaker back on, if it doesn’t trip again you can forget about it. But if the same breaker trips again, start switching off some of your electrical appliances on that circuit and see if the problem is resolved.  If the problem persists you might have an “electrical short” somewhere in that circuit.  Both situations “continuous overload” and “electrical shorts” are serious as they both can cause fires and depending on where the short is and the situation, electrocution is possible.  It might be a good time to call a licensed electrician.


Is one outlet not working?  Check if other outlets close to it are also malfunctioning.  If so, it most likely is the circuit breaker. If you reset the breaker and still have no power to one or more outlets, then again, it’s time to call a licensed electrician. 

Extension Cords or Appliance Cords

Another problem that is easy to miss is damaged or frayed electrical cords.  Check cords often for insulation cracks, frays and exposed wire. There could also be dark spots, burn marks and melted sections of the cord.  This would indicate a short.  If it’s an extension cord, replace it.  If it’s an appliance cord, have a licensed electrician repair it for you and stop using it immediately.  Shorts can cause fire and electrocution under certain circumstances or conditions.

Lights That Flicker

Although annoying, this can be one of the easiest electrical issues to troubleshoot.  First check the bulb.  Occam’s Razor suggests that often the simplest solution to a problem is usually the correct one, so don’t assume the worst. Make sure the bulb is screwed in all the way or firmly in position.  If it wasn’t the position of the bulb then check it’s wattage.  Is it the recommended wattage for that fixture?  If the wattage is too high, then there is potential for over heating and fire.  If the wattage is not the issue, replace the bulb.  After all that you still have flickering lights then call a licensed electrician.

These have been a few tips to help homeowners troubleshoot electrical issues, but if you are at all nervous of touching anything electrical then call a licensed electrician.  We are happy to help. Contact Medley Electric.

Medley Electric (519) 781-2468