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Electrical Service / Electrical Receptacle Troubleshooting

Expert Electrical Receptacle Service

Many things can go wrong with residential electrical wiring and receptacles. While some electrical issues might have as simple a fix as changing the wattage bulb, other seemingly small problems could result in electrical fires or electric shock. Attempting to troubleshoot electrical problems without the proper training can be dangerous. An experienced and qualified electrician will take the proper precautions to troubleshoot properly and professionally.

Contact Prime Electrical Service for help with troubleshooting your electrical wiring issues. We will come and diagnose the problem and except in extreme cases, we can typically remedy it the same day. Signs of a serious electrical problem include: recurring blown fuses or tripped circuit breakers, a burning smell near outlets or wiring, a sizzling sound at wall switches or outlets, and outlets and switches that deliver a slight shock when touched.

You can do some minor electrical problem troubleshooting on your own before contacting an electrician.

Common Electrical Problems

I have to change the bulbs in my ceiling fan all the time.

You may be using a higher wattage bulb than your fixture can handle. Try a lower wattage and consider replacing with LED lights, which last much longer. If neither of these efforts help, call an electrician for further troubleshooting.

My electrical receptacle has stopped working.

Check to see if you have tripped a circuit breaker. Many receptacles are now being replaced with ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) that shut off the electricity when they sense a problem, such as a surge. GFCIs react quickly to electrical imbalances so they are often used around damp or wet areas. Building codes require them to be used near water fixtures. If your outlet has a test and reset button, it is a GFCI and can be reset by pushing the reset button.

If you have just overloaded the circuit by having too many things plugged in, try unplugging a device and waiting several minutes before resetting. If your breakers or fuses continue to trip, a more serious problem could be indicated and you should consult an electrician.

In older houses, you could have receptacles in different rooms that are on the same circuit, so a problem in an isolated room could be related to an outlet surge in a main area of the house.

If there was a fire or if the electrical receptacle has black marks on it, you should call an electrician and avoid using the receptacle until an electrician checks and/or replaces it.

I saw a spark when I pulled a plug from an electrical receptacle.

When you initially plug in or unplug an appliance, the sudden transference of power can cause a small spark. If an outlet sparks briefly once in a while, it may be no cause for concern. However, large or frequent sparks may indicate a serious problem. Call an electrician to inspect the outlet right away.

The lights in the room suddenly brighten/dim.

Several possibilities exist, but this problem could indicate a serious hazard, so have an electrician check out the wiring as soon as possible.

If the brightening/dimming seems related to appliance use, you may just have too many things running on the circuit at once. Try unplugging unnecessary appliances and if the problem is resolved, you can relocate some plugs to different outlets.

If the phenomena seems unrelated, you should call the power company and an electrician. A problem could exist in the local power grid or you may have improper wiring/and or a bad “neutral wire.” A neutral wire is the wire in an electrical receptacle that is the pathway between currents. This problem poses a serious fire and electrical hazard that could cause damage to your appliances in addition to causing an electrical fire.

Stay Safe and Contact Prime Electrical Service for Your Electrical Needs

Residential electrical wiring can be complicated and should be maintained or repaired by a qualified electrician. We thoroughly evaluate each home in order to accurately identify the source of any electrical issues and to determine the best solution. Prime Electrical’s skilled specialists have 30 years of experience keeping families safe in their homes. Contact us for help with all of your electrical needs in the Montgomery, Bucks, and Chester County areas at 610-994-0290.