The Easy 5-Step Visual Guide to Electrical Fault Finding

electrical fires

Forgot to plug out your kitchen tools? Do you leave your home with all your electrical appliances powered?  

If yes, then you are at risk of fire-related accidents. This bad habit doesn’t just put your home at risk for property damage, but even worse, it may lead to life-threatening emergencies. 

Based on the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) statistics, home electrical fires account for an estimated 51,000 fires each year along with 500 deaths and $1.3 billion in property damage. 

Additionally, from a study on electrical injuries, 1,500 people die each year in the United States due to electrical hazards. 

With lives on the line, it is essential to be critical of these visual dangers. 

Prevent all these electrical-related problems from happening through fault-finding! Read on to find out five visual guides to identify electrical faults.

[Related: What Happens During Main Service Panel Inspections?]

5 Visual Signs of Electrical Faults

Indications of electrical fault are sometimes easily visible. You can even identify the problem immediately without the use of any equipment. 

Sometimes, these tell-tale signs appear when observing electrical components and wiring connections

Here are the 5 signs of a faulty electrical system!

1. Discoloration of switch and power outlet casing

Scorch marks or discolored casings are the effects of burning inside the power outlet. In more severe cases, black spots spread on the wall of the component’s location. 

Additionally, when the casing is made of plastic, excessive heat can cause it to melt. 

Usually, this phenomenon can be observed when the components are hot to touch, or a buzzing sound could be heard every time it is activated.

Refrain from using the damaged switch or outlet again to prevent accidents from happening.

2. Flickering or dimming of lights

Most of us have experienced how problematic flickering lights are. Loose light bulbs could be the main culprit to why this happens. 

Most of the time, twisting the bulb to tighten its connection to the socket might do the trick. 

However, another reason it occurs is because of the lack of current in the electrical circuit. 

The principle is similar to that of refrigerator lights wherein closing the door acts as the signal for dimming by hindering the current supply. 

High-wattage bulbs need sufficient power to function effectively. Insufficient load arises from not being able to provide the electrical requirements. 

You can find a quick fix for this problem by replacing components like the light bulb itself with a much lower power requirement. 

You can also opt to connect the lighting system to a different circuit.

3. Damaged electrical wiring

Exposed electrical wiring is vulnerable to physical damage. Pests, like rats, sometimes chew on the rubber until the insides are exposed. 

Constant scratching or pressure on the rubber could also cause the problem. When left for a long time, serious electrical and fire hazards can occur. 

Most of the time, small damages are not visible to the naked eye and are only identified if you are already in contact with the wire and feel an electrical shock.

Damaged wires are also the reasons for a faulty ground. When left for a long time, the redirected current flows to a flammable portion of your house or establishment.

Get your electrical connections checked by your local electrician. If possible, add components that can safeguard it from physical damage.

[Related: What Happens During a Rough Electrical Inspection?]

4. Malfunctioning circuit breakers and a blown fuse

Circuit breakers automatically safeguard the electrical circuit from ground fault or short circuit. 

As the primary safety device, a malfunctioning circuit breaker is a significant problem and is often the place to start with electrical fault finding. 

The component to look into is the electrical fuse. A blown fuse means there is a problem in the circuit.

When a circuit breaker trips, it means that there is an abnormal flow of electricity in the circuit. If this electrical component always trips, it is a tell-tale sign of a problem in your circuits. 

Fault finding should commence once tripping happens. From the circuit breaker, finding the fault stems onto these three: 

  • Electrical wiring problems
  • Overloading, and 
  • Appliance malfunctions.

Furthermore, fault finding is a vital component to identify the repairs and replacements, equipment to use, and actions to take.

Perform what needs to be done and replace the fuse before doing an operational test.

5. Electrical appliances often fail to operate

Like flickering light bulbs, your electrical appliances may not operate due to low load within the system. 

Immediately finding the fault is important to prevent further damage to the appliances. It could be because you plugged the equipment into the wrong power outlet.

Matching the voltage requirement is of utmost importance and can be compensated by using voltage regulators. 

Sometimes, you can tell a looming operational failure when a tingling sensation can be felt when you plug into the power source or a burning smell.

Identify the fault and inspect the appliance before you use it again to avoid electrical failures. 

[Related: How Much Does a Residential Electrical Inspection Cost in Arizona?]

electrical fault professionals

Consult A Professional Electrician Now!

Have you encountered all these signs at your home? Take action immediately before it’s too late!

Sometimes, it is better to leave it to the hands of the professionals to avoid further incidents and to protect yourself from the hazards presented by the fault. 

Contact us here at Assurance Electrical Services for all your electrical needs! 

Our licensed, professional electricians will provide the best services we can offer to help you in improving your establishment’s electrical safety.

From electric troubleshooting to fault finding, we got it all covered! We are capable of providing quality service with our equipment and replacement components.

Do you have any questions regarding the topic? Share your thoughts and leave a comment below.

Founder, CEO at Assurance Electrical Services | (928) 713-2177 | | Website | + posts

Jeff Brandlin is the founder of Assurance Electrical Services, LLC. He started in the electrical industry when he was 21 and had worked in several electrical firms before founding Assurance Electrical. Jeff is dedicated to providing the best quality service to his clients and always puts their needs first. Outside work, Jeff enjoys spending time with his wife and children.

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