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Common Household Electrical Problems

Modern homes have extremely complex electrical systems, with lots of delicate wiring. As you would expect from any complex system, there are a lot of common household electrical problems that can occur. Chances are that your house suffers from at least some electrical problems. Now, not every problem is something to be worried about, and many of the problems may be something most people can live with, but they are still worth keeping an eye out for.

Exposed junction boxes

Junction boxes are boxes meant to provide covering for electrical wires. It is very common for these boxes to become damaged, especially on older houses. It is also common for careless homeowners to not bother installing a junction box, and simply leave the wires exposed. This is a big mistake and could have legal ramifications. In terms of physical damage, not having a junction box is dangerous. Junction boxes not only provide protection for the wiring, but they also prevent sparks and heat damage if the wiring short circuits or if the wiring does become damaged. Thankfully, getting a junction box installed is a very simple task, and you should be able to find a junction box at any hardware store.

Power surges and spikes

If you live in an area that is prone to storms, then you have probably heard of power surges. Power surges occur when a sudden rush of electricity is sent into the electrical system, as you can probably guess, lightening is a big cause of power surges. A poorly timed power surge can damage all sorts of electronics and electrical equipment; if you have your television, computer, and gaming system all plugged into one outlet, one poorly timed power surge could permanently damage them all. The solution is to invest in a surge protector. You can buy a model that you install yourself, or you can contact a licenced electrician and have one installed directly on your switchboard.


Power systems are very delicate, and if you put too much strain on them, then they are very likely to give out. You then have to go flip your circuit breaker to restart everything. Now, it is common to have to reset a tripped breaker every once in a while, but if you are doing it often then there is a problem. Do you notice that your lights flicker or dim when a certain appliance comes on (specifically power heavy appliances like hair dryers, washing machines, dish washers, etc.)? If so, then chances are good that your power circuit is being overloaded. The solution here is to identify the appliance that is taxing your electrical system, and then call an electrician and see if you can get the troublesome appliance placed on a dedicated circuit. This makes it so that you can run the appliance without interfering with other appliances in your house. You can also get an electrician to install extra outlets, so that you are not overloading one by running too many appliances off of it.

Minor electric shocks

Do you ever get a minor electric shock whenever you use a certain appliance? You may be tempted to ignore these minor shocks, but you should not, because they can indicate that you have a serious wiring problem on your hands. You will have to figure out whether the appliance is at fault or if the wiring of your house is the issue. To figure it out, grab a new appliance and try plugging it into the outlet. If you still receive a minor electric shock, then the issue is not with the appliance, but with faulty wiring. Call an electrician ASAP to check out the wiring, as you do not know how dangerous it could potentially be.

Not enough outlets

This is not too much of an issue for modern homes, but it can be an issue for older homes that were built before modern housing codes, which generally require a certain amount of outlets. Most people probably would not consider this a major problem because they can just use power strips, adapters, and power cords to make up for the lack of outlets. While it is true that not having enough outlets is hardly a major concern, it can present some problems. First off, extension cords can overheat and malfunction if they are overused, so you should never make a habit of using them for everyday use. As for power strips, they are not dangerous, but if you plug too many things into a power strip, you risk circuit overload. Outlets can only handle a certain amount of electronics, so plugging in more appliances than the outlet can handle could potentially cause some common household electrical problems. Next time you have an electrician out to your house, ask them how much it would cost to add some extra outlets around the house. Usually it will not cost too much.

Outlet troubles

There are a couple of issues that can arise with power outlets. First off, do you notice that sparks fly out whenever something is plugged into the outlet? Well, in many cases that is completely normal and nothing to be worried about. However, sometimes outlets can overheat, which causes insulation around the wires to begin melting, this leads to exposed wires. Exposed wires can lead to electrical fires and short circuiting, so you will want to get any sparking outlets checked out right away.

The second issue that often arises with outlets, is that they stop working. If an outlet stops working, check your switchboard to make sure that nothing is wrong with the electrical supply and that no circuit breakers are tripped. If not, then problem is with the outlet itself or the wiring. Check to see if the outlet is discoloured or looks like it has been burned out, as that is a very common issue with outlets. If only half of the outlet is not working, do not use the other working half. It could potentially be dangerous to both you and those around you. Call an electrician to come check out the outlet’s wiring.

What to do

If you are worried about or find yourself facing any common household electrical problems, get in contact with your electrician. They see these issues all the time and will be able to help you out resolving them quickly and efficiently. Our team is always available and ready to help should you need it, we can be found on live chat or give us a call on 1800 695 376.