How to Fix the 3 Most Common Home Wiring Problems Even Electricians Miss

Having issues with your home's electrical system can be extremely frustrating and potentially dangerous if not addressed properly. As a homeowner, you may notice flickering lights, tripping breakers, or outlets that don't work, and think you need to call an expensive electrician right away. However, many common wiring problems are simple enough that you can troubleshoot and fix them yourself.

Here are the 3 most common home wiring problems that even electricians miss sometimes, along with tips on how to properly diagnose and repair them.

1. Loose Wire Connections

Loose wire connections are one of the most prevalent culprits behind electrical issues in any home. Loose connections cause increased resistance in the circuit, which generates heat that damages the wire over time. This can eventually lead to complete failure of the connection and loss of power to lighting fixtures, outlets, or appliances.

Some signs of loose wiring include:

To check for loose wires, you'll need to access the electrical panel and outlet boxes to visually inspect connections. Turn off power at the main breaker before doing any electrical work. Then remove the panel cover and outlet covers to check wires.

Tighten any loose wire nuts or connections at outlets, switches, and appliances. Make sure wires are stripped properly so they make solid contact with connectors. You can also replace old or damaged wire nuts with fresh ones. Contact points should be shiny, not corroded.

If you have aluminum wiring, use special connectors and compounds rated for aluminum. Tighten all connections to the proper torque specifications to avoid future failure.

2. Faulty Electrical Outlets

Outlets that are flickering, not working at all, or making crackling noises when plugs are inserted or removed can indicate a serious problem with the outlet itself. Damaged or faulty outlets need to be replaced immediately to avoid electrocution or fire hazards.

Some signs of faulty outlets include:

The most common causes of outlet failure are old age, loose connections, incorrect installation, or moisture corrosion. If you plug something in and it immediately trips the breaker, the outlet is likely at fault.

To replace an outlet:

Make sure to replace it with an outlet of the same voltage and amperage rating. Install ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets in kitchens, bathrooms and other wet areas for added protection.

3. Faulty Breakers

Circuit breakers are designed to trip and shut off power to parts of your home if there is an overload on the circuit. However, breakers can wear out over time and begin to nuisance trip with no overload present. Or they may fail to trip when they should, allowing damaged wiring to overheat.

Signs of a faulty breaker include:

It's not safe to keep resetting a faulty breaker instead of replacing it. Faulty breakers won't protect wiring and equipment like they should.

To replace a breaker:

Replacing bad breakers resolves nuisance tripping issues and ensures proper overload protection. Contact a licensed electrician if you can't determine the cause of persistent tripping.

Properly diagnosing and fixing loose connections, faulty outlets, and bad breakers yourself can save you from having to pay electrician service call fees. But if the issue is beyond your skill level, don't hesitate to call a professional rather than risk electrocution or electrical fire hazards.