Troubleshooting Electrical Problems

After we moved into a house that seemed to have a lot of electrical problems, I had to learn how to troubleshoot things and fast. I learned how to flip the switch on my circuit breaker, deal with tripped GFCI outlets, and even how to rewire an outlet with the power off. It was a lot of work, but I was able to save a lot of money on professional services. However, after trying in vain to fix my circuit breaker on my own, I realized that I needed some help from an expert. A professional came out, took apart my panel and fixed everything. This blog is all about troubleshooting electrical issues and when to call a pro.

Tips For Testing Electrical Outlets For Proper Ground


One of the biggest safety concerns with your home's electrical grid is the current ground. In fact, most electrical codes require that wiring be sufficiently grounded to create a path for excess or stray current to discharge. Despite this requirement, some circuits may not be properly grounded and may need to be repaired. Here are some tips to help you spot a wiring circuit that isn't properly grounded.

How Do You Test The Circuits?

Most modern wiring is fairly easy to test when you're looking for an open ground. Most electrical supply stores carry neon lamp testers, and one of those will help you test the wiring. Attach one of the tester's leads to the hot wire on the power receptacle. Then, attach the other lead to the ground slot. In most cases, the receptacle should be labeled so that you can easily identify each of these. If not, you may need an electrician's help. If the receptacle is properly grounded, the the light on the neon lamp tester will illuminate..

If you connect the leads and the light doesn't illuminate, that's a key indication that there's a problem. Shut down the breaker that powers the receptacle. Then, use a screwdriver to remove the faceplate from the receptacle. Pull the unit out of the wall, then look for the three lugs on the back panel of the receptacle box.

Each of the lugs should have a wire attached. The two that are parallel feed the power while the third is the ground. If that wire isn't properly attached, you should connect it tightly to restore the ground. Once you've connected the ground wire, test the outlet again. The lamp should light up to indicate a ground. If it does, replace the receptacle and the faceplate.

What If The Lamp Doesn't Light?

If that lamp doesn't light up even after you've fixed the grounding wire, it's a sure sign that something's wrong with the wires. You may have a break in the wire or a possible loose connection that needs to be addressed. Your electrician can trace the wires to locate the short or other malfunction with the wiring. In some cases, it may also mean having to run new wiring in the house to correct the problem.

Any time you suspect a missing ground or other electrical problem in your home, it's in your best interest to address it right away. After all, a lack of proper ground can lead to a potential short or an overloaded circuit in your home. Talk with a local electrician, like Skyline Electric, Inc., today to troubleshoot the electrical issues in your house.


13 May 2016