How to Troubleshoot Unusual Electrical Faults in Commercial Buildings

How to Troubleshoot Unusual Electrical Faults in Commercial Buildings


As an electrician working in commercial buildings, I occasionally come across unusual electrical faults that require some troubleshooting to diagnose and repair. In my experience, these types of issues are often caused by faulty equipment, wiring problems, or human error. Having a systematic approach and the right tools allows me to efficiently track down the root cause of the issue. In this article, I will share some tips and techniques I use when troubleshooting unusual electrical faults in commercial buildings.

Check the Basics First

When I encounter an unusual electrical issue, the first thing I do is check the basics. This includes:

Evaluate the Symptoms

Once I've checked the basics, I take time to thoroughly evaluate the symptoms of the electrical problem. Important clues include:

Evaluating these clues helps me narrow down the possible causes. I take detailed notes so I can refer back to the key facts.

Use Diagnostic Tools and Meters

My electrical troubleshooting toolbox contains some essential diagnostic tools and meters:

Using these tools properly and safely is critical for effective electrical troubleshooting. I select the right meter for each test scenario.

Isolate the Problem Circuit or Equipment

Once I have a clear picture of the problem's symptoms, I can start isolating it to a particular circuit or piece of equipment. Strategies I use include:

Methodically isolating the issue prevents wasting time checking unrelated circuits or equipment. I focus the troubleshooting only on the problem sources.

Pinpoint Specific Faults

Once I've isolated the fault to a specific circuit or device, I dig deeper to identify the exact issue. For example:

The goal is to pinpoint the root cause, whether it's a wiring fault, component failure, incorrect installation, or other issue. Understanding the specific fault allows me to correctly repair it.

Implement Repairs and Confirm Fix

After identifying the root cause of the electrical problem through troubleshooting, I proceed to implement the repair. Common fixes include:

Once repairs are complete, I always confirm that the fix has resolved the original fault. I test the circuit thoroughly under normal operating conditions, after the repair. This ensures the issue will not recur.

Provide Documentation

The final step is providing documentation of the fault, troubleshooting process, and repair. This typically includes:

Thorough documentation allows other technicians to quickly understand the repairs made and underlying causes if future problems arise.


Troubleshooting unusual electrical faults requires critical thinking, patience, the right tools, and systematic isolation. By following the techniques outlined above, I can efficiently get to the bottom of unusual power issues affecting commercial building operations and keep downtime to a minimum. The key is having a solid methodology to pinpoint root causes and implement fixes. With experience, an electrician builds strong troubleshooting instincts for resolving erratic electrical gremlins before they become major problems.