Easy Electrical Fixes - True Story
Not long ago, a homeowner called Mr. Handyman with a serious problem: the electric in half of her house was out. Her first call had been to her regular electrician , who had come out right away and after inspecting the circuits had come to the conclusion that the house had been wired improperly originally. But he could fix the problem. For $7,595.00. So the homeowner wanted a second opinion from us. We were happy to give her an opinion, right after she answered one question: How were her major appliances, the ones that use a 220 amp circuit (such as the oven, washing machine, dryer), behaving? She replied that they were partially on. Dim displays, but not operable. The problem was clear to us: One of the two main circuits running into her house was down. We knew this because the appliances need two 110 amp circuits to run, and obviously one was still on while the other was out. Our solution saved her some money. $7,595.00, in fact. We recommended she call the electric company, as this problem usually occurs in a main circuit somewhere in the neighborhood. She called the electric company, and later that evening her power was fully restored. Needless to say, Mr. Handyman is now her regular electrician.
Easy Electrical Fixes
There are a few easy electrical repairs that any homeowner can make before having to hire a professional to fix the problem. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Is the power out in outlets or switches in the kitchen, bathroom or garage? Check the GFCIs (ground fault circuit interrupters). Those are the outlets near your kitchen and bathroom sinks with the little black and red switches in the middle. The GFCI is there to protect you from electrocution. If it detects a fluctuation in the current, such as when water is introduced, it automatically shuts off power to the outlet, and may also affect other outlets on the same circuit. So if some outlets aren't working, find the nearby GFCIs and press the RESET (black) button. You should get your power back. Sometimes GFCIs are hidden behind appliances, so you may need to move your refrigerator aside.
- Garbage disposal not working? Get down under the sink, clear out all the junk you've been meaning to remove from the cabinet, and check for a little red button under the unit. It's the reset button. Push it in. Chances are good you'll be back in business.
- Power suddenly off in a small portion of your home? This seems like an obvious one, but stay with us here. We know that you know to head to your circuit breakers and see if any are in the OFF position. But do you know that often you need to switch the offending breakers off before trying to switch them back on? Try that little trick before giving up.
- Lightbulb burns out shortly after putting in a new one, time and time again? You probably are using a wattage that is too high for the lamp or fixture. Check the wattage on the lamp and be sure you're using the right bulb.
When you need more help with your electric problemSo when SHOULD you call Mr. Handyman? For just about any other reason. Electricity is extraordinarily dangerous, and not something you want to mess around with. We have heard stories of clients receiving a nasty shock just from removing the outlet faceplates. Be sure to call us in these situations:
- Your power is off, but all the breakers are in the ON position.
- Your lights or appliances aren't working, even though they are switched ON or plugged in.
- Your ceiling fan seems to be swaying more than usual when it's on.
- Your lights flicker.
- You detect an electrical burning smell when you switch on a light.
- Your garbage disposal stops operating, even though you've reset it.
- You need any carpentry work associated with the electrical work. Electricians aren't carpenters, but we are. Mr. Handyman is one-stop shopping.