The Most Common Types of Home Electrical Problems

Whether you have just moved to your new home or you are living in a beloved family residence, chances are that sooner or later you’ll experience certain types of electrical problems.

Each of these problems is characterized by certain occurrences that are relatively easy to recognize. Having some idea about what’s going on will help you figure out whether you’re dealing with an emergency that demands the immediate assistance of an experienced electrician.

Do you know what the most common home electrical problems are? Keep on reading to find out more and to learn how to choose the best electrical contractor capable of fixing those issues.

Electrical Shocks

A mild electrical shock can be experienced when you’re trying to turn an appliance on or off, whenever you flick a light switch or try to plug a particular appliance. The problem could be hidden either in the appliance itself or in your home’s wiring.

To check whether the problem stem from the appliance, plug it off and plug something else in its place. If the second item works without causing problems, chances are that you have a faulty appliance. If you’re experiencing a mild shock once again, you probably have a wiring issue.

A single electrical shock is far from a cause of concern.

If electrical shocks keep on happening in your house, however, you may need to call a residential electrician. Don’t attempt DIY repairs because faulty wiring may pose some serious risks. Experienced electricians have the safety gear and the tools to do a good job without jeopardizing their health.

Circuit Breaker Malfunction

The function of a circuit breaker is to protect the appliances from a system overload that could otherwise contribute to some serious damage. It’s easy to see how a faulty circuit breaker can be dangerous.

In the instances when the circuit is overloaded, the breaker will cut off the electricity entirely. A system overload may otherwise contribute to a fire getting started in your home.

If your circuit breaker starts tripping too often, you will probably need to change it altogether. Old circuit breakers could cause such problems. New equipment can also malfunction, even when the system isn’t overloaded.

Flickering Lights

This is probably one of the most common problems that households experience and though many people neglect flickering lights, these could be quite dangerous. Flickering lights in your home could indicate either that the light bulb needs changing or that the entire wiring system has a flaw.

Lights that are flickering throughout your home are indicative of faulty wiring or an electricity problem that an experienced electrician will need to assess. Calling a professional becomes even more important if your home is older than 10 years.

Hot Ceiling Fixtures

Check your ceiling fixtures every now and then – these could give you tons of important information about the condition of your home’s wiring system.

Use your hand to inspect the area around the fixtures and to make sure that it isn’t warm or hot. Exceeded recommendations for maximum bulb wattage could be at blame in this instance.

Excessive heat from the ceiling fixtures can contribute to a fire – don’t underestimate the importance of this problem. Call an electrician and have your wiring inspected. An electrician could recommend switching to fluorescent lights or even light-emitting diodes. These emit less heat, they are more energy efficient and they give you sufficiently bright light.

Issues with Light Switches and Electrical Wires

Improperly working light switches and electrical wires are a sure indication of a possible major home wiring problem.

A problem could be stemming from a single broken switch. A basic replacement will be needed in such instances. In this case, if you have had enough experience, you could do the job yourself. This is an often occurrence if the wiring is loose or if the switch simply starts falling off. Be very careful if you decide to opt for DIY switch replacements and use the necessary protective gear. Turn the electricity off while you’re working!

Issues with light switches, however, could potentially be indicative of a bigger problem with your home wiring. If you don’t know what the cause of the problem is or if you’ve never dealt with wiring in the past, call an electrician and get professional assistance.

Burning Odor or Sparks

Needless to say, those issues are a definite sign that you have a wiring problem that should be inspected immediately.

Sparks could start from your electrical outlets. Plug off all devices as a preventative measure. Otherwise, you risk losing expensive pieces due to a wiring malfunction. You may also want to shut the electricity off altogether and wait for the arrival of a professional.

Burning odor or sparks could mean that you’re at risk of having a fire started. This is why you should better introduce strict safety measures, regardless of the problem’s severity. It’s possible for the odor or for sparks to be caused by a system overload but an experienced electrician is the only person that can complete the diagnostic process.

If you experience any of the mentioned problems, you’re in need of professional assistance. Here are some of the essentials to pay attention to whenever facing the task of choosing a contractor for maintenance or emergency repairs.

Licensing, Certification and Insurance

Companies that provide electrical repair services need to have the right kinds of licenses and certificates. These stand as evidence that the professionals adhere to the strictest industry standards.

Reputable companies have information about their license on their websites. Public registers exist, as well. Access those online to make sure that the company’s license is still valid.

Finally, make sure that the electrical contractors have insurance. The insurance policy will provide coverage in the case of an injury during the work process or if your property gets damaged.

Extensive Warranty

Most professional electricians will provide you with a reasonable, long-term warranty. The duration and the conditions will depend on company policies and on the severity of the issue being fixed.

Ask for the availability of warranties in advance. This way, you can rest assured that you’re getting access to quality wiring repair and electrical system diagnostic services.


Yes, you can ask your residential electrician for references. You could even ask your neighbors and friends to recommend a professional. When asking for a recommendation, inquire about the punctuality of the electrical contractor, the timeframe for doing the fix, the availability of a warranty and the overall price of the project.

Get a Contract Signed

Make sure the contract you sign includes all the details on the work that needs to be done in your home. It should also list the amount that you’ve agreed upon and the time-frame for the completion of the repairs.

Don’t rely on spoken agreements and turn to your lawyer for details and clarifications on the document, especially if you can’t understand the fine print or you worry about some of the clauses.

To keep your wiring in good condition and to prevent the most common problems from taking place, you should get in the habit of doing maintenance. Having your home inspected by an electrician every now and then can help you save a lot of money in the long run. Also, if you notice any warning signs, call for an emergency inspection immediately.