If you’re coming up against electrical problems in your home, you might be wondering which jobs are safe to tackle yourself and which require professional attention. Rather than risking your personal safety, read our guide to figuring out when you should call an electrician.
Problem: Flickering lights
Sometimes a loose bulb can cause lights to flicker, so it’s worth checking to see whether the bulb needs tightening. Once you’ve secured it and are sure that the bulb is tightly in place, switch the light back on to see whether the flickering is still occurring. If it is, there could be a faulty connection somewhere, and this will require a professional assessment.
Verdict: Call an electrician if the flickering does not stop once you’ve tightened the bulb(s) in question.
Problem: Switches don’t work
If you’ve tried to plug appliances into a wall socket that is controlled by a switch and have found nothing will work when plugged in, this could mean that the outlet has not been wired properly to the main circuit.
Verdict: If your electrical knowledge is limited, it’s best to call an electrician to rewire the connection.
Problem: The clothes dryer doesn’t heat up
Sometimes an electrical problem can cause your clothes dryer to not heat up enough to adequately dry your garments; this is usually the result of a poor connection either at the dryer’s circuit breaker or at its receptacle. Alternatively, if you have a fuse box, you could find one of the dryer’s fuses has blown, making the appliance fail to heat up properly.
Verdict: If you can’t safely replace the fuses or need further assessment to figure the problem out, call an electrician.
Problem: Certain appliances make the fuse blow/trip the circuit breaker
High-wattage appliances can sometimes cause the circuit breaker to trip, especially if they’re being used simultaneously. If you’ve got the hairdryer plugged in and in use, along with a lamp that’s on, you could find that tripping occurs. Sometimes the circuit is not tripped immediately, which often means it is overloaded.
Verdict: You can rectify the problem by using a single appliance at a time to avoid putting too much strain on a single circuit, or invest in a second circuit for the other appliances that you want to have running at the same time. You won’t usually need to call out an electrician for this sort of incident.
Problem: Ceiling light doesn’t work
If you’ve tried turning on your ceiling light only to find that it doesn’t work, it might warrant some investigation. Take a look at the bulb and see if it appears smoked inside and, if so, replace the bulb. This may rectify the
problem, but if it doesn’t, try turning on another ceiling light on the same floor of the property. If this light also fails to come on, it may be a problem with the fuse box – circuit breakers can trip if a light bulb has blown, for example.
Verdict: Usually you’ll simply need to replace the bulb and switch the circuit breaker back on if you find the switch has tripped.
If you’re ever in doubt about the safety of tackling electrical jobs yourself, get in contact with a qualified electrician in London or your local area who will assess the problem and set any issues right.