Common Household Electrical Issues and Their Causes

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Electrical problems in a home are almost always best left to an electrician, as working with electricity and wiring is not only dangerous but often more complicated than people realize. However, before you call for an electrician you may want to consider the causes of many common household electrical issues. In some cases you may be able to address these on your own and in other cases, they may not be the result of faulty wiring or electrical connections in the first place. Note the following:

1. Recessed lighting that shuts off and on

If the recessed light seems to shut off and then eventually come on again all by itself, this is often the result of a safety feature that keeps it from overheating. Since recessed lighting is so close to the ceiling itself, it's important that it not become too hot as this could result in a fire or in singeing of the home's building materials. If you notice this light going off and on happening quite often, it may be that you have bulbs that are using too much wattage or that are too large so that they get too hot. Switch to smaller or dimmer bulbs and note if this corrects the problem before calling for an electrician.

2. When an outlet doesn't works

First note if the plug that isn't working is powered by a switch on the wall and ensure that the switch is on; this switch itself may be faulty, not the plug. A plug that you use constantly may also see connectors behind the outlet start to come loose simply due to wear and tear. Try replacing the outlet itself and the wall switch; if the outlet still doesn't work, call an electrician to check the wiring.

3. Your electric bill suddenly spikes

It's easy to think this is a problem with the home's electricity itself, but you might first check to see if you have a leak in your home's hot water heater. If so, this will cause the heater to run too often as it continuously fills with lukewarm water that must then be heated, to compensate for this leak.

You might also inspect your home's roof, as missing tiles or holes in the roofing paper can mean you're allowing cooled or warmed air to escape, so that your central air conditioner or furnace need to work overtime. If you cannot find a solution with your home's appliances or insulation itself, then it's good to call an electrician to note if you faulty wiring or another reason why your home may be using too much electricity.