It can be frustrating and inconvenient to deal with electrical issues in your home. However, if you’re struggling with issues like bad outlets and lights, you’re in good company with other Denver homeowners.
Here are 5 of the most common electrical issues Denver homeowners encounter:
- Outlets that aren’t working
- Overloading your outlets or power strips
- Flickering lights
- Lights that quickly burn out
- Frequent electrical surges
In this blog, we’ll go over how you can repair the above problems and get back to enjoying your home.
Want an electrical repair ASAP? Contact Cooper Green Team. We can fix your problem correctly—the first time around.
Electrical Repair #1: Resetting outlets that aren’t working properly
If you have a dead outlet, it’s probably because:
- You have a tripped GFCI outlet: GFCI outlets stand for “Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter” and are the outlets in your home with test and reset buttons. They are used to guard against high shock hazards. If the GFCI outlet is the one not working, tap the “reset” button. If a normal outlet isn’t working, go find the closest GFCI outlet and see if the “reset” button has popped out and needs to be pushed in.
GFCI outlet that doesn’t need to be reset since the “reset” button hasn’t popped out
- You have a tripped circuit breaker: If you’re using a high-wattage appliance like a microwave or hairdryer on an outlet, it could cause your circuit breaker to trip and kill your outlet. In this case, locate your electrical panel and see if any switches are in neutral (AKA middle) position. Reset the breaker by moving the switch to the opposite position that the rest of the switches are in. Afterward, move the switch back to the same position as the others.
Note: If the switch moves back to neutral, do not try to reset your circuit breaker again. Call an electrician as there may be deeper electrical issues in your home.
Circuit breaker example. Notice how the switches are either all to the left or right. A tripped circuit will be in the middle.
- You have a tripped GFCI circuit breaker: Your electrical panel might have a GFCI circuit breaker as well. Try resetting that breaker following the steps for a normal circuit breaker.
- You have a loose or damaged wire: If no GFCI outlet needs to be reset and your circuit breaker hasn’t tripped, there might be an issue with that outlet’s wiring. Contact an electrician to look at the wiring.
Electrical Repair #2: Getting around overloading your outlets or power strips
If you don’t have enough conveniently located outlets in your home, you might be tempted to overload your outlets and power strips. This isn’t a good idea because your outlets and power strips have a cap of electricity they can handle before their wires overheat. When electrical wires overheat, your home is at risk of an electrical fire.
To avoid overloading your outlets or power strips, try:
- Removing any devices that aren’t needed at the time (e.g. like phone chargers) to avoid unnecessarily burdening a circuit.
- Upgrading any 2-prong outlets to 3-prong outlets. 2-prong outlets are considered a safety hazard and should be upgraded.
- Upgrading your power strips to ones with a higher amperage rating. This is especially important if you need to use devices that require a lot of power at the same time.
- Avoiding daisy-chaining your power strips, which is plugging a power strip into another power strip.
- Adding more outlets, which should only be completed by a professional electrician.
Electrical Repair #3: Troubleshooting flickering lights
If your lights are flickering on and off, some ways to fix them include:
- Replacing the lightbulb: The easiest fix is to replace the lightbulb. If you have an LED light bulb on a dimmer switch, try replacing it with a traditional lightbulb. Although many dimmer switches are compatible with LED light bulbs, not all of them are compatible.
- Unplugging lights from outlets/power strips: As we mentioned above, it isn’t a good idea to overload an outlet/power strip. If you have flickering lights, attempt some of the fixes in Electrical Repair #2.
- Repairing loose wire connections: Your lights might be flickering because of a loose wire connection. Contact an electrician to check for and fix any loose connections in your electrical panel or elsewhere.
Electrical Repair #4: Dealing with lights that quickly burn out
On average, light bulbs typically last for 1,500 hours. If they are dying sooner than that, they’re burning out much too quickly.
Luckily, you can repair this issue by:
- Switching to a different light bulb wattage: Check your fixture’s wattage. If you use a lightbulb with a wattage too high for its fixture, it’s going to burn out earlier than it normally would. It can also pose a fire hazard since the generated heat could end up melting the wire insulation in the fixture. Switch over to light bulbs with wattage ratings that are either equal to or lower than the fixture’s wattage rating.
- Fixing bad wiring. If the wiring in the light fixture is loose or damaged, your light bulbs will burn out faster than normal. Contact an electrician to fix the wiring.
- Changing light bulb types for ceiling fans. Incandescent light bulbs in ceiling fans end up getting jiggled more, breaking the filament in the light bulb and killing the bulb. You can swap out the incandescent light bulbs to “rough service” light bulbs or LED light bulbs, both of which types can withstand ceiling fan vibration more.
Electrical Repair #5: Handling frequent electrical surges
If you’re dealing with electrical surges frequently, your electrical system could be taking unnecessary hits that shorten its lifespan.
You can lessen the damage caused by electrical surges by:
- Checking that you aren’t overloading outlets or power strips. Read Electrical Repair #2 for tips.
- Fixing malfunctioning wiring. Contact an electrician to inspect for frayed wires if:
- your home is 30+ years old
- you notice lights randomly dimming
- you notice that your outlets feel hot or spark when you touch them
- you see burn marks on your outlets
- you hear buzzing noises coming from your outlets
- you can smell burning plastic near your outlets
- Using a surge protector. While you can’t stop power outages and thunderstorms from occurring, you can use a surge protector to avoid overloading and damaging your electrical devices when said events happen.
Need speedy & reliable help from a Denver electrician? Contact Cooper Green Team
For over 40 years, we’ve helped Denver homeowners to resolve their electrical problems. In that time, we’ve seen it all and that’s why we have the experience and training needed to repair your electrical problem on the first service visit.
Luke Cooper is the General Manager of the Cooper Green team and son of Gary Cooper, owner and CEO of Cooper HVAC. After years in the field, Luke took his talents to management and has helped thousands of Colorado homeowners during hot summers and frigid winters. His decade of experience in the field and guiding the company makes him one of the most knowledgeable individuals in Colorado on HVAC, plumbing, electrical and other home services.