Common Electrical Problems Around the House


It’s no secret that electricity is a powerful and dangerous phenomenon. It also has the capacity to be kind of strange: we’ve had a look at some of the more unknown and bizarre aspects of electricity here.

When electrical problems go wrong in the house you can feel a little like Tom Cruise might have felt in Mission Impossible when he was dodging invisible alarm triggers: you never know where or what might trigger an electrical spark! Of course, your household life is not a film, and the consequences of electricity misbehaving are all too real.

From electrical shocks to power outages, we’ve listed a few common electrical problems to keep your eye out for to keep your home as safe and reliable as possible.


When you find all the electricity in your kitchen suddenly disappears, it’s likely that your circuit breaker is doing its job. If it wasn’t for the circuit breaker household electricity would be a bad idea: the potential for electrical fires from faulty wiring or poorly made equipment would be far too high. The circuit breaker cuts the electricity whenever it gets a sniff off too much electricity surging.

It’s often high wattage equipment like hair-dryers or microwaves that cause the circuit breakers to trip. If your circuit breaker trips too often, check what it is that seems to cause it to overload. If it’s a hairdryer for example, perhaps think about plugging it onto its own circuit. Alternatively, check to see that you don’t have too many appliances on a single circuit.

Often, a major cause of circuit breaker trips is overloading power boards.  An average home most likely won’t have enough power points to cater to your electrical needs, so extensions are needed.  There are a few handy tips to make sure you don’t overload a single circuit:

  • Never daisy-chain power boards: In other words, don’t plug one power board into another.
  • Spread your electrical devices around: This may take some time and thought to reorganise where your appliances have to go.
  • Be cognisant of what’s in use and what’s not: Unplug appliances that aren’t in need – phone chargers, for example, still draw power when not in use.


There’s nothing more annoying than flickering lights, or light switches that don’t work properly. If your dimmer switches aren’t working properly it will most likely be because of some dodgy workmanship, or less than optimal products.

If your lighting is too dim or too bright there are 2 possible causes: It could be as simple as not having lights with the same wattage. If this is the case simply buy lights that all have the same wattage.

Alternatively, it could be a bad main neutral connection. A neutral connection is one that normally completes it’s circuit back to the source. If it’s faulty then this isn’t the kind of thing you go messing around with by yourself. Call a professional electrician you can trust.

If you find your lightbulbs are burning out too quickly it could be a number of reasons: Too high wattage; bad wiring on either the circuit or the mains; insulation too close to the light; if there’s a dimmer switch there could be too much wattage on one switch.

Isolating what it is can be frustrating even for professionals at times, so if your lightbulb bill is getting a little too high, it might be worth giving your favourite sparky a buzz!


Getting one of these with a bit of oomph is an experience you won’t want to have again any time soon! Though they’re actually not very harmful, it’s a good reminder of the kind of power that is flowing through your home all the time.

Typically they occur when switching on or off appliances and it will either be the appliance or bad wiring. You can test to see if it’s the wiring by trying different appliances in the same socket, though you run the risk of getting another shock!

If electric shocks are happening regularly, it’s probably best to call an electrician, unless of course your morning coffee isn’t strong enough and you’ve learnt to kind of enjoy the sudden jolt from the kettle with your morning croissant.


Electrical surges can be caused by anything from lightning strikes to dodgily made appliances. Surges last only a fraction of a second, but if they happen too regularly they will cause damage to the electrical components in your home reducing their life expectancy significantly.

If surges are happening frequently, the problem is going to be either a dodgy device or poor wiring. Start by removing cheaply made devices or powerboards and if the problem persists call an electrician.

A sag in power is closely related to a surge – it just won’t trip your circuit breaker. The same checks apply to sag as they do to a surge!

When it comes to electricity in the household the problems can be as complex as the phenomenon itself. Always err on the side of caution and don’t hesitate to call a trusted electrician if in doubt.