If you’re a homeowner, you’ll know that owning a house comes with a lot of responsibilities. Every now and then, there will be things needing your attention. Leaky pipes need to be fixed, damaged shingles need to be replaced, drafty windows need to be sealed, and once in a while, you’ll also run into some electrical problems.
Flickering lights, dead outlets, and overloaded circuits are some of the common issues that homeowners encounter. And if you consider yourself a handyman, you may think that paying someone to fix these electrical problems is unnecessary. However, with the safety risk that comes with amateur electrical work, it is surely worth paying a professional. You’re probably wondering “When should I call an electrician?” Getting electrical upgrades, replacements of electrical components, troubleshooting, remodeling, installing a generator, and more calls for the expertise of an electrician. To put it simply, other than changing your light bulbs, any project that involves electricity should be entrusted to a licensed electrician.
10 Signs You Need to Call An Electrician
To give you more concrete examples on when is the perfect time to call an electrician, we listed here some scenarios when you should definitely call for one.
If your circuit breakers frequently trip
It’s common for a circuit breaker to trip when it detects an electrical fault – like an excess of current or a power surge. What’s not normal is when it keeps tripping, as this is a sign that something is faulty with the circuit.
Remember, it’s not about just resetting the circuit or replacing a blown fuse. Call an electrician near you for an assessment if this issue persists.
If your lights are flickering
Flickering lights are annoying, but more than giving you a headache this could mean that you have an underlying issue with your wiring. A quick way to check if the problem calls for professional help is to check first if the bulb is tightly fixed on the socket as the flickering light may just be caused by a loose bulb.
If, however, the problem does involve multiple lights in a room, you may have an issue with your circuit. As this involves your electrical panel, the best thing to do is to hire an electrician to inspect and fix the issue.
Read our article to know more possible reasons why your lights are flickering.
If you hear buzzing sounds in the walls
Another electrical problem that could drive you nuts is hearing buzzing sounds in between the walls. And there’s a good reason to be annoyed by this because this is not normal. There are a couple of reasons why there could be a humming noise coming from the walls, such as a loose connection or faulty wiring that requires immediate attention.
Do not dismiss this issue. Schedule a visit from an expert immediately to properly diagnose the problem
If you see signs of deterioration near your service panel
If you haven’t yet, we highly encourage you to include inspecting your service panel in your regular home maintenance check. The service panel is a key component in your home’s electrical system, so you want to make sure that it’s always in top condition.
Any signs of damage around the service panel box require immediate attention. Rust and corrosion near the breaker box, for example, is an indication that there could be moisture buildup near your panel. As you know, water and electricity are a deadly combination, so you want to have your service panel checked by an electrician as soon as possible.
If a light switch is not working
Often, a broken mechanism is responsible when a light switch suddenly stops working. The simplest solution to this is to replace the whole light switch. However, there could be other reasons why a light switch is not working, like tripped circuit breakers, loose wires, or faulty circuit cables.
If you want to properly diagnose and also address the issue, call an electrician near you.
If you don’t have GFCI outlets
GFCI or Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters is a type of outlet that shuts off power when it detects imbalances in the electrical current to prevent electrical shock and damage when water comes in contact with the said outlet.
If the outlets in your kitchen, bathroom or other areas near a water source are not GFCI, it is a good idea to have an electrician upgrade them for safety purposes and to also be up to code.
If you have two-prong outlets
The National Electric Code says that two-prong outlets are still legally allowed in homes as long as they are working properly. However, it is good to have this upgraded by a licensed electrician as this type of outlet is not grounded.
The main difference between two-prong and three-prong outlets is that the latter has a ground wire. The third prong provides a safe grounding path from the plugged device back to the breaker box.
If you live in a house that’s over 20 years old
Are you living in a home that’s over two decades old? If you haven’t had an electrical upgrade since the home was built, chances are, its electrical system could no longer supply enough power for your modern needs.
Schedule a visit with your trusted electrician to assess if your home’s wiring could still sufficiently handle your family’s daily electrical consumption.
Wondering if it’s time to replace your electrical panel? Read our article on signs to look out for telling you that you need an upgrade.
If you’re using too many extension cords
Relying on extension cords to power your regularly-used electronics is a safety risk. Although they are convenient to use, extension cords should only be used for short periods of time. If you lack outlets in your home, have an electrician install new ones in areas where you need them.
You can also read our safety tips on using extension cords here.
If you’re installing new light fixtures
Especially when you’re remodeling, it only makes sense that you add new light fixtures to give the room an upgrade. However, be warned that replacing an old fixture isn’t as simple as removing it and twisting a few wires to install a new one. With electricity involved, you want to make sure that new fixtures are properly installed to prevent short circuits or electrical fires.
Installing new fixtures, as well as when you need to rewire during a model are the best times that you need an electrician.
Why should I call an electrician?
In our world when you can simply Google anything and find instruction videos on YouTube, paying for the services of a professional to get something fixed sounds like a waste of money. Although there are some home projects that you can take care yourself, especially if you have the training and the tools for it, electrical work should always be left to the experts.
We enumerated above some of the situations when it’s best to call an electrician. Here, we listed three compelling reasons why you should call the pros.
- Prevent the risk of short circuits and electrical fires – An electric issue may seem simple on the surface; however, fixing it could not be simply solved by following an instruction video. For example, a minor mistake in replacing a faulty wall outlet can ruin your appliances, cause a short circuit, electrocute you or start an electric fire.Did you know? The US Fire Administration approximates that there are 24,000 electrical fires each year in the country. The leading cause of these fires is faulty outlets. Make sure to have your outlets fixed or replaced only by licensed electricians if you don’t want to be part of this statistic.
- Electrical work needs a level of expertise – Dealing with electrical circuits and other components is tricky. Without any experience, a simple fix could cause confusion or result in, dangerous, substandard work.Certified electricians are trained and have the experience to know how each component work and how to handle various electrical problems.
- Avoid more expensive fixes in the future – One of the reasons why homeowners tend to go the DIY route is to save money. However, it is more cost-effective to pay for the professional fees of an electrician than to risk ruining your appliances or causing damage in your home if you try to fix electrical problems yourself.
How much do electricians charge?
The cost to hire an electrician depends on several factors, such as what type of work needs to be done, how long you’ll need the services of the electrician, and where you live. But to give you an idea, the average hourly rate of an electrician runs from $50 to $100. On top of this per hour rate, you will also be charged with travel fees, overhead costs, and the materials needed to complete the job. It would be safe to expect to pay around $161 to $520 for common electrical repairs. For emergency repairs, costs will run higher – around double the hourly rate and an additional trip charge that starts at $100.
To get an idea of how much you will be charged for electrical repairs/installations, you can contact several contractors to get a quote.