When you think of electrical problems, what comes to mind? Maybe you think of something involving an outage, or damaged extension cords. but the real truth here is that electrical problems span out more than just common household electrics. By reading this blog post you will find out what these electrical problems are and how to face them head-on, with our without an electrician (Safety is a priority, to understand an electricians role please read this article – the importance of electricians in the industry)
Now you know what you are getting into, we all understand that nobody likes problems especially if they are electrical problems. First, you have to know how electrical problems occur, well, they can happen anywhere where electricity is! Sounds crazy eh? Electricity is everywhere around you, both flowing through a PowerPoint for example, or even in modern times through the air by what we call wireless charging.
if you are also interested in facts about electricians, have a read here!
To start, let’s understand how electricity is used in Australia and review its consumption over time.
According to the image above, live electricity consumption courteous of Energy Consumers Australia displays a regional infographic with metrics identifying the consumption according to a scale of low blue to high red colour across regions in Australia and States. This indeed implies that electricity in the state of NSW is much greater than other states in Australia. According to the NSW Government, the estimated population of NSW in March 2018 is 7.95 million, with roughly 64.5% of residents living in Greater Sydney (Source NSW government – Population) (2016 Census)
The massive number of residents which is ever-growing by 1.65% each year (Roughly 80,000 to 120,000 annualy – Source = Population NSW.net) demonstrates just how reliance on electricity in NSW and Australia for a fact is growing, the problematics involving electrical problems do beg to challenge whether electricity is truly safe in this day and age and how safety is paramount when investigating electrical problems and inquiring about their solutions.
The basic premise is to understand the words themselves and define them, ‘Electrical Problems’ and even ‘Electrical Faults’.
Electrical Problems – Common issues surrounding the use of electricity in everyday life (Might not seem the most extravagant and elegant definition, but it sums up pretty well? Source – UPE)
Electrical Faults – ” In an electric power system, a fault or fault current is any abnormal electric current. For example, a short circuit is a fault in which the current bypasses the normal load. An open-circuit fault occurs if a circuit is interrupted by some failure ” – Electric Fault from Wikipedia
Now onto the real reason why you are here, let’s take a look at everyday electrical problems and solutions that will help you solve them!
1: NO RCCB or RCD
Having no RCD or RCCB in your home can cause detrimental issues to appliances, yourself, family and friends. An RCD (Residual Current Device) and RCCB (Residual Current Circuit Breaker) are devices used to detect and prevent low voltage circuits if a potential or current leak is detected, its main feature is to switch off automatically electricity that is flowing through appliances, sockets and much more. It is standard and a must to have an RCCB or RCD device at your home (Definitely at an office or industrial area or building) as it reduces the chances of electrical shocks that are the most frequent causes of electrocution and can also protect against electrical fires
Here’s some information that Safework NSW provides for RCD’s
“The Common examples of electrical equipment that do require an RCD including:
- hand-held electrical equipment, for example, drills, saws, hairdryers, curling wands and electric knives
- electrical equipment that is moved while in operation, including jackhammers, electric lawnmowers, floor polishers and extension cords
- electrical equipment that is moved between jobs in ways that could result in damage to the equipment, for example, electric welders, electric cement mixers, portable bench saws and extension cords.
Additional RCD requirements may be included in AS/NZS 3000:2007, local building and electrical safety laws. ”
Safe work NSW is the number one source for information relating to electrical problems and other topics in the area of “Electricity”. Please go over to the website for more important information regarding safety, legal obligation and laws surrounding a certain topic. Click here
To follow current legislation in NSW, it is advised that homes to sell and rent must have at least 2 RCD’s protecting appliances. To prevent electrocution as a result of leakage, it is highly recommended and strict that you hire a professional electrician to investigate and inspect your home to get your RCCB and RCD’s installed. The first step is to contact an electrician, or if you have time, see for yourself if your home currently has RCD’s, however, interfering with circuits or trying to amend the issue yourself is strictly not recommended.
2: Electrical Surges Occurring Intermittently
Electrical surges are a nuisance that can be caused by anything involving the flow of electricity being interrupted to then being started again. Power surges are caused by Lightning strikes, power lines that are damaged, faulty appliances and even sometimes poor electrical wiring in the house. While you may have had power surges in the past lasting a microsecond, frequent surges cause expected issues and can indeed damage electrical components connected to your homes electrical grid, which in turn degrades the life expectancy profoundly. Some usual culprits include electrical devices connected to the home grid or it could even be the wiring itself.
To perform tests yourself, with the basis of safety, you can try removing poorly and cheaply made devices and appliances from outlets and see whether it prevents the surges. According to AUS Grid, you can also try buying a surge diverter for equipment, that costs as little as $10 to protect from power surges. Some equipment and appliances themselves include measures to protect against power surges as a part of their design. If all else fails, it may be time to consult with a professional electrician who can most likely inspect and investigate the issue with great knowledge and skill. (Surge protectors and powerboards with surge protection are also common fixes to electrical surges)
3: Sags and Dips
Sags and dips are typically associated with electrical surges, as they both typically involve the electricity supply of your home grid being interfered with and often attributed devices connected to your power are faulty, as a result, they draw a lot of power. Simply, the reason behind sags and dips in power lies in the devices you use. When using a cheap or underrated power gird to then turn on the switch, it draws more power than the device can handle, hence, it causes sags and dips. After determining the issue, if the problems persist it is likely that the power controlling device is outdated, obsolete or has worn out. Causes of voltage dip according to Sunpower UK = The in-house causes are due to the switching on of high-current equipment such as air conditioners, microwave, furnace fans, hair driers, motors etc. (Source What is voltage dip? Sunpower UK)
We all wish to improve our lives with electricity and its amazing benefits sure do ensure that. Having improved lighting and power use is as simple as checking appliances and devices which are old and having them replaced with a new one.
4: Tripping Circuit Breakers
Microwaves and Air Conditioners both have something in common… they are high wattage devices that can trip circuit breakers, and in particular, it is common that frequent circuit trips are caused when the other consuming items are connected to the same source. A sign associated with a circuit overload is the use of too much electricity, chances are that the circuit breakers have also detected some other issues in the current circuit as well. The name ‘Circuit Breakers’ is described as a device which breaks up circuits when the flow of current is detected as having potential or current issues.
First off, find the main electrical panel in your house (Main switches are located here) and see whether a circuit breaker has been switched to the ‘OFF’ position. The only thing you can do at that point is quite simple, just flick the switch to the ‘ON’ position and voila, power has been restored. It may sound like a simple and non-recurring permanent fix, however, if the same problems continue to persist it may be time to contact an electrician who may upgrade your circuits or circuit breaker.
5: High Electrical Bills
It is staggering how electrical problems can raise your electricity bills even when you consume lesser power than you use to. There are lots of causes that can make your bills go up:
- Circuits and wiring located in your homes may have been damaged
- Your power supplier doesn’t have the best cost-effective service of sourcing your home with electricity
- When you don’t use certain appliances and the switch is still on
- Leakage in electrical systems
- Outdated electrical devices and wich consumer more power because of their aged technology and non-efficient designs
Luckily, there are solutions to this electrical problem!
- Comparing electrical providers and using the more cost-effective ones (You can compare with resources such as Canstar Blue Compare Energy Plans Tool)
- Identifying what electrical devices may be causing power surges
- Hiring a professional electrician to repair damaged wiring or circuits
- Unplugging and discontinuing use of appliances and chargers when not in use
6: Electrical Shocks
At some point in your life, you may have experienced an electrical shock and know it doesn’t feel so great… Most of the time, electrical shocks aren’t so hazardous, often feel like a static shock, this does remind us that electricity is not something to mess with and the proper utilisation ensures that you don’t get shocked the next time. If you are a person who has experienced an electrical shock, it may be reasonable to read this. There are a numberless amount of causes that people will encounter an electrical shock. Speaking from an electrical point of view, it can be because of faulty appliances, backstabbed wires, leakage power, earth leakage, and so on.
Because issues can be with an appliance or wiring, you could try testing by plugging in another device and seeing if the results are reproducible, this is a risky move as you could encounter another electrical shock, so in most cases, it may be better to speak with an electrician who is specialised in resolving issues regarding electrical shock. (Don’t forget to check if the electrician is licensed and insured! We ensure that the electrician we send to your home has all the right equipment and certifications!)
7: Light Bulb Constantly Burning out in Short Span of Time
It is certainly strange to have a light bulb burn out in a short period? it may even seem like the bulb you are purchasing may be the root of the cause. Now wait for a second, don’t blame the bulb, it may be another electrical problem at your home which may be causing this.
There are many reasons why your bulb may be burning out:
- High voltage
- The bulb is fixed in too tightly
- Air Circulation is not sufficient
- Bad wiring in the Main
- Too much wattage passing through a dimmer switch
If you also experience the occasional flickering it could be associated with a poor connection on the circuit. To isolate the issue, it will be tricky for non-professionals. If you are burning through bulbs like no tomorrow, it might be smart to reach out to an electrician who can help you pinpoint and identify the root cause, hassle-free.
Electrical Problems – A Reminder for Your Safety!
Rather than having the issue occur again and again, and deciding to temporarily fix it (In some cases, prolonging damage and higher expenses) We suggest that you contact a qualified and licensed electrician. Safety at your home is the first priority and is paramount, so don’t leave anything of concern to hopefully fix itself.
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