How To Solve Common Electrical Problems

We take electricity for granted, until something goes wrong, anyway. And when things do go wrong, people often contact us asking all sorts of questions.

Here are the most common electrical related questions we hear, and what we tell them to solve their problem.

“Why are my light bulbs burning out so fast?”

Incandescent light bulbs typically live 1,000 hours, which translates to running your light bulbs for 4-5 hours a night for half a year. So, if it’s not running that long, then there’s something wrong. (Of course, LEDs and CFLs should last much longer.)

There are a variety of reasons light bulbs burn out early, including:

Having high voltage in your home - A high voltage supply in your home will burn the bulb brighter, thus burning it out faster. To find out if it’s high, use a voltmeter (about $15 online) to check the voltage in an outlet or the service panel. An average voltage is 115 - 125 volts. More than that is excessive and you should call your local electric company to solve the problem.

  • Excessive fixture vibration - If your light bulb is in a ceiling fan that has an unbalanced fan blade, the vibration jiggles the filament in the bulb, leading to a short bulb life. Use a rough service bulb to correct this problem (or, you know, fix the fan.)
  • Using the wrong bulb - If the fixture holding the bulb is meant for a 60-watt bulb, then a 75- or 100-watt bulb can overheat a fixture, especially in an enclosed fixture.
  • Installing cheap bulbs - Don’t be surprised if your bulbs die quickly if you bought inexpensive bulbs in bulk.

For cost efficient alternatives to incandescent light bulbs, check out our blog post on comparing lighting options.

“Why are my light bulbs flickering?”

We actually have an entire blog dedicated to why light bulbs flicker.

A quick list of reasons for why includes having:

  • A faulty light bulb
  • A large appliance turning on
  • Too many outlets/lights on a circuit
  • Loose connections
  • A power grid problem

“Why did my outlet(s) stop working?”

There are a variety of reasons why this could have happened including:

  • GFCI outlet tripped - The GFCI outlet (the outlet with the test and reset buttons) shuts off itself and other outlets around it to protect you from serious shocks. If the outlet not working isn’t a GFCI, find the nearest one and see if the “reset” button has popped out and press it in.
  • Circuit breaker tripped - Sometimes a single circuit can trip (or fuse blow) due to an overload from running too many appliances at once. Check your circuit box and see if any switches are in the off position. Flip them back on if there are.
  • Loose or damaged wiring - If one outlet isn’t working and the GFCI outlets or circuit breaker hasn’t tripped, something might be wrong with the wiring of that particular outlet. In that case, it’s best to call a professional to repair it for you.

Need more help?

If you have an electrical problem in your Florida home that you can’t fix on your own, Energy Today may be able to help! View our Florida service area.

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