How to Troubleshoot Uncommon Electrical Malfunctions in Older Commercial Buildings

How to Troubleshoot Uncommon Electrical Malfunctions in Older Commercial Buildings

As an electrician who often works on older commercial buildings, I've seen my fair share of uncommon electrical malfunctions that require creative troubleshooting. Here are some tips I've learned over the years for diagnosing and resolving those pesky electrical gremlins.

Identify the Specific Problem

The first step is always to clearly identify the specific problem or malfunction.

Thoroughly documenting the problem guides troubleshooting in the right direction. Never assume it's just a minor glitch without investigating.

Consider Both Old and New Equipment

With older buildings, problems could originate in older equipment that hasn't been updated as well as newer systems and devices that have been added over the years.

Faulty operation can be traced back to outdated and incompatible equipment that was overlooked.

Visual Inspection Is Key

Many elusive electrical gremlins result from loose connections, overheated wires, corroded terminals, or damaged insulation. Finding these requires careful visual inspection of the electrical system.

Thorough inspection of the entire system often reveals degradation that is causing intermittent problems.

Don't Rule Out Environmental Factors

The environment itself can trigger some electrical system malfunctions in older buildings. Consider these possibilities:

Look for and correct environmental problems contributing to the electrical gremlins.

Leverage Maintenance Records

The maintenance history of an older building provides clues for troubleshooting unusual electrical problems.

Put the electrical system in context by studying maintenance records and staff experiences with it.

Be Methodical When Everything Looks OK

Sometimes I find no obvious cause despite checks revealing properly operating equipment. In these cases, be meticulous to track down the issue.

Following a methodical process eventually reveals the source of even the most puzzling electrical malfunctions.

Pinpointing uncommon electrical problems in older buildings requires tapping specialized troubleshooting techniques. Arm yourself with the right knowledge and tools to take on these electrical mysteries when they emerge. Let methodical, detailed diagnostic processes guide you to the root cause of the malfunction. With persistence, even the most evasive electrical gremlins eventually get revealed.