Two Home Electrical Mistakes That You Should Avoid

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Two Home Electrical Mistakes That You Should Avoid

24 March 2016
 Categories: Construction & Contractors, Articles

Most people take their home electrical systems for granted. However, this system is made up of electrical wiring, circuits, sockets, and breakers that must work in conjunction to provide your residence with electricity. While this system can malfunction on its own, it is much more likely that you could unknowingly cause electrical issues. Keep reading to understand some of these mistakes and how they may affect your house.

1. Using the Wrong Bulb Wattage

If you are like many homeowners, then you just grab a package of light bulbs at the store when you need them. However, if you have a variety of different light fixtures in your house, they may not be compatible with the bulbs you pick up. Light bulbs are rated in terms of wattage, and this refers to the amount of electricity that is consumed to illuminate the bulb.

Light bulbs come in watt varieties from 40 to 150, and the most common bulb is typically the 60 watt variety. However, if you pick up a pack of 60-watt light bulbs and place them in light fixtures that accept only 40-watt bulbs, then you will be creating a fire hazard. When you place a light bulb with a higher wattage into the light socket, the socket will heat up. This can damage the socket and melt the wires attached to it. The result will be an electrical short that can cause arcing and sparking problems. Both of these issues can cause a fire to start. To make sure you are choosing the right bulb, look at the wattage limit placed on the lamp socket or base and only use bulbs that meet the wattage range listed.

If you are doing your part to improve the environment by utilizing energy-efficient bulbs, then you may be confused about the watt ratings that are listed on them. Specifically, the watt ratings for both LED and compact fluorescent lights will be much lower than the standard 60-watt bulbs that you are used to because they use much less electricity. If you are looking for bulbs that are comparable to the old 60-watt varieties, then choose a 6- to 8-watt LED one or a 13- to 15-watt compact fluorescent one. Since the wattages of these bulbs are far lower than the average incandescent light, they can be used for almost any lamp without causing fire risks. You can use lights that are a few watts higher, as well. Just keep in mind that the lumens will increase with wattage. This means the bulbs will be much brighter than a 60-watt incandescent bulb. 

2. Ignoring Flickering Lights

If your lights flicker but do not go out, then you may be motivated to simply ignore the problem. If this problem is an isolated one that occurs with one or two lamps in your home, then it is likely that the light bulb is loose. Tighten the bulb in the socket. If it is a fluorescent bulb, then it may simply need to warm up, so be patient. If the bulb is an LED variety, then the pieces in the bulb may be loose and not connecting properly. Try replacing the bulb. 

However, if the problem does not go away or if it occurs throughout the entire home, then there is a serious electrical issue that needs to be investigated. Simply ignoring the problem is likely to lead to a fire. The issue may be caused by voltage fluctuations in the home. In general, when voltage is too low to meet the electrical needs of your home, electrical items in the residence receive less electricity than they need. The result is dimming or flickering lights. Voltage may be low due to corroded or loose electrical wires that come into your house. Basically, the wires that connect to the breaker box are the ones that are causing the problem. Loose wires can arc, spark, and cause a fire.

Another issue that you may notice is a light-flickering issue when the winds increase outside your house. This indicates a loose wire problem as well, but the issue will be with the fitting outside your house where the wires are connected to the exterior electrical line. Arcing can occur here, too, and an exterior fire may occur.

Both of these issues can be fixed by a professional electrician, so make sure to contact one of these professionals at a website like if you notice continuing problems with flickering lights.