We usually take our electrical system for granted, but it can easily cause fires and other serious problems. Electrical repairs should always be left to professional electricians like West Chester Electricians.
Flickering lights are a warning that the wiring is not in good condition. If you ignore this problem, it may lead to a fire in your Puyallup home or business.
Whether it’s one outlet that doesn’t work or a whole roomful, many homeowners assume they need to call an electrician. In fact, most outlets have relatively simple problems that can be fixed by the homeowner.
When a receptacle stops working, first plug something into another outlet to see if it works. If the other outlet works, the problem is likely with the broken receptacle.
If the receptacle still doesn’t work, turn off power at the circuit breaker in your electrical service panel. Then, use a voltage tester to determine if there is still current at the affected outlet. If there is, return to the electrical service panel and turn off all other circuits connected to this outlet. Then, remove the outlet and look at it closely. The black wires (which carry electricity) are attached to bronze-colored screw terminals. The white wires are attached to silver-colored screw terminals, and the bare copper or green grounding wire is usually attached to a metal screw that has a plastic grounding nut on it.
You may be able to fix the issue by tightening the screw terminals, particularly the grounding nut on the outlet’s screw. You can also replace the plug if it has been damaged or worn. If there is a wire that appears burned or discolored, you should not attempt to repair it; this can be a fire hazard.
If you can’t fix the outlet, you will need to replace it. Look at the surrounding outlets to see if they are hot to the touch or have produced sparks or a burning smell. These are all signs of serious issues that should be addressed by a professional.
If the outlet is recessed, you can fill out the recess with outlet shims available in the electrical department at home centers. You will also need to strip an inch of insulation off the wires that connect to the outlet before replacing it. Be sure to use a voltage tester to ensure the new outlet is safe to use. If you have a very recessed outlet, you might want to replace it with a non-recessed model.
A switch interrupts the flow of electric current to whatever fixture it controls. If a switch doesn’t work, it means that a circuit wire connection is either incomplete or broken. In most cases, the problem is simple enough that a homeowner can fix it without calling in a professional electrician. Before working on a light switch, always unplug the lamp and turn off the electricity to it at your home’s electrical service panel. It’s also a good idea to remove the switch cover plate and use a non-contact neon circuit tester to ensure that no live current is present.
If it is, carefully follow the test procedures to find out where the current is running, such as using a multimeter set to resistance mode to determine if the switch’s terminals are connected correctly. It’s also a good idea, in most cases, to replace any switch that has been in constant use for five or more years, since these switches may have worn out internally and not function properly anymore.
Start by turning off the power to the switch’s circuit, which usually involves finding the correct fuse or circuit breaker in an electrical box and then unscrewing it. Once the switch is disconnected from its circuit wires, remove the screw that holds it in its mounting position and pull it toward you to expose its terminal screws. Before unscrewing them, carefully examine the switch’s wiring configuration and, if necessary, make a diagram of the wiring to help you remember which wires go where when replacing the switch.
Many modern switches have terminal screws on each side that accept the ends of the circuit wires. The white (neutral) wire connects to the silver screw; the black or red (hot) wire goes to a brass screw or into a hole in the back of the device; and a green or bare copper grounding wire may attach to a terminal screw or to a green grounding strip on the switch or in an electrical box.
If the problem is a three-way switch, turn off power to that circuit at the electrical service panel, remove the cover plates from both switches, and unscrew them from their mounting positions. Then, use a battery-powered continuity tester to identify which two switch wires are the traveler wires that carry current between them. Connect the identified traveler wires to their respective terminals on each three-way switch, and then screw the switches back into their electrical boxes and reinstall the cover plates.
Nothing brightens a room like a new light fixture, but changing one requires working with electricity—something that scares many people away from the project. The good news is that it’s not as hard as it looks, and there are some tricks to make the job safe.
Before you start, shut off the power for the circuit at your electrical panel by switching the breaker switch to the “Off” position. Then, use a circuit tester to confirm that no electricity is flowing anywhere in your home, including the light fixture circuit.
Then, locate the electrical box for the light fixture in your ceiling or wall. Look inside, and you’ll find a pair of wires that connect to the socket, along with a bare or green grounding wire. Depending on the fixture, there may be more wires. If there is a decorative plate or escutcheon covering the wiring, remove it to expose the screws that hold the wiring in place.
Check the light bulbs to ensure they are suitable for the fixture (the wattage rating is usually printed on the bulb). If the bulbs are too high, they’ll overheat and possibly cause the fixture to short out. This problem can also occur if the insulation on the wiring has deteriorated. Long-term exposure to heat can crack the sheath, expose the conducting metal, and create a fire hazard.
If your lights are flickering, the most common culprit is a loose light bulb in the socket. The constant on-off flow of electricity can loosen a light bulb over time, and you can often fix this by simply screwing in the bulb more tightly.
If the flickering continues, it could be a sign that the light fixture is overheating. Insulation may be packed too tightly around the fixture canister, which can trigger a limit switch to overheat and stop the flow of electricity. If this is the case, you can try a different light fixture or reduce the wattage of the current bulb. If this doesn’t work, it’s time to consult an electrician. Be aware that any changes to a light fixture’s original design could void its UL approval rating, so you should always consult an electrician before making any lighting modifications.
The wiring of any home, office, or machine is what supplies the power for it to work. If a wire is damaged or cut off, it will stop the electrical supply and could result in an electric shock, a fire, or even death. This quick and easy guide shows you how to repair a broken wire without soldering, which is great for beginners or anyone who doesn’t have the time to solder.
The best thing to do is to disconnect the device or appliance that you are working on before doing any electrical repairs. This will prevent the device from powering up while you are working on it, which could cause injury or shock. In addition, it will make it easier to find and fix the broken wire.
If you notice that a cable’s outer jacket has been ripped, it is important to fix it right away to avoid exposure of the electrical wire inside. This is particularly true for frequently used cables like phone or laptop chargers, which often experience a lot of movement and stress. This is why it is a good idea to buy a roll of electrical tape for your workshop so that you can fix any exposed wiring as soon as possible.
You will need to strip the insulation from the ends of the wire with a tool and then cut a length of new wire that is at least an inch longer than the old one. Apply a thin layer of electrical tape to the copper wire, then add a second piece of tape on top of it. This will help to hold the other pieces of tape in place and prevent them from coming off.
When you are finished, cut a small length of heat-shrink tubing and slide it onto the spliced wires. Heat it up with a hair dryer or heat gun to make it shrink. This will keep the splices protected from moisture and temperature changes.
You should also consider purchasing a multimeter, which is a useful tool for checking the condition of your wiring and making sure that it is safe to use. You can also use it to trace the circuit and determine where the problem is.