How to Troubleshoot Obscure Electrical Issues in Your Business

How to Troubleshoot Obscure Electrical Issues in Your Business

As a business owner, obscure electrical issues can be extremely frustrating to diagnose and resolve. However, with some diligence and know-how, even the most obscure electrical gremlins can be tracked down and fixed. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to troubleshoot those irritating electrical problems in your business.

Inspect the Electrical Panel

The first place to start is at the main electrical panel. Check for any tripped circuit breakers and reset them. If a circuit breaker trips repeatedly, that indicates a short or overload on that circuit.


Inspecting the electrical panel can reveal simple issues like a tripped breaker, but it can also point you to the problematic circuit.

Check All Light Switches and Fixtures

With the breakers off, inspect all light switches and light fixtures throughout the building, including office areas, storage rooms, exterior lights, and even the restrooms.

Look for:

Replacement switches, electrical outlets, and light fixtures are inexpensive. Go ahead and replace any that are questionable.

Inspect and Test Electrical Outlets

Thoroughly inspect each electrical outlet, especially those on troublesome circuits.

Warning: If outlets are warm or you smell electrical burning, shut power OFF immediately and call an electrician!

With the power on, carefully test each outlet with a multimeter or outlet tester. Check for:

Replace any damaged, corroded, or defective outlets you find. Outlets are prone to wear over time.

Check Connections and Wiring

With the power OFF, inspect connections and wiring as much as possible, including:

Look for:

Any wiring issues should be addressed by a qualified electrician.

Consult the Building's Electrical Blueprint

If available, review the building's original electrical blueprint. While it may be outdated, it can still give helpful insights for troubleshooting. The blueprint shows:

Any sections of the building that have been renovated may differ from the blueprints. Use them as a reference but inspect everything yourself.

Consider Electrical Load Issues

Determine if you have overloaded certain electrical circuits in your building. Adding significant new electrical devices can push an existing circuit beyond capacity.

Upgrading electrical panels, circuits, and wiring may be needed to support added electrical demand.

Be Methodical and Document Everything

Thorough documentation will help narrow down issues and allow you to explain problems to an electrician if needed.

When to Call a Professional Electrician

Some electrical issues are simply beyond the scope of the average business owner. Contact a licensed electrician immediately if:

A good electrician has the proper tools and experience to systematically diagnose and fix obscure electrical gremlins. They can ensure your business's electrical system is safe and meets all codes.

Troubleshooting frustrating electrical issues takes diligence and a methodical approach. With time and care, you can likely resolve many obscure electrical problems yourself. However, don't hesitate to call in a professional electrician when needed - getting the job done safely is always the priority.