How to Troubleshoot Some Electrical Issues at Home

Nothing can be as frustrating as electrical problems at home. You may find the whole concept of electricity to be completely baffling and not know where to start, but you may be able to carry out certain checks in advance of calling out an electrician. What are some of the areas you could focus on, to try and pinpoint the problem?

Problems with Bulbs

Many issues may arise based on the large number of lightbulbs and fixtures that you have in the typical home. For example, you may find that lightbulbs are flickering or blinking on and off. Usually, this is due to a poor connection within the circuit, although if the bulb itself is recessed into the ceiling, this could be a case of it cutting out to avoid overheating. In this case, check to see that the recommended wattage of the bulb is not too high for the surrounding insulation or that the style of the bulb is too large for its seat.


If you find that you plug something into a wall socket and it doesn't work, it could be that one of the breakers or GFCIs has tripped. Sometimes these reset switches can be in odd places, so you have to search for them if this is the first time it's happened. When you find the reset and see that it is in the "off" position, push it in to reset it. If this works, it may just have been a temporary overload, or some moisture may have come into contact with the GFCI interrupter. If it trips again, it's time to ask the electrician.

Overloading the Circuit

If you find that a circuit breaker will trip when you're using a high wattage piece of equipment such as a hair dryer, check to see if something else in the home was being used at the same time. Sometimes, if you're running a tumble dryer or even a microwave at the same time then the combination can overload and break the circuit. If you have a busy household and find that this type of overlap is unavoidable, ask your electrician how a new and separate circuit may be installed.

Heat Buildup

If you find that some of the wall switches in your home are rather warm to the touch, don't just put this down to "one of those things". Sometimes, switches that dim a set of bulbs in the room can be a little warmer than their "normal" counterparts, but otherwise any buildup of heat is something that needs investigation by a qualified expert.