How to Troubleshoot Unusual Electrical Faults in Older Commercial Buildings

Electrical systems in older commercial buildings can develop unusual faults over time that may be difficult to diagnose. As the building electrician, it is my job to methodically troubleshoot these issues to restore power and prevent safety hazards. In this article, I will share my approach for tracking down tricky electrical gremlins in aging electrical infrastructure.

Understanding Common Electrical Issues in Old Buildings

Older commercial buildings often use outdated electrical systems that were installed decades ago per older electrical codes. Common electrical issues include:

Knowing these common issues will help me diagnose unusual electrical faults explained in the following sections.

Conducting a Thorough Electrical Inspection

My first step is always to thoroughly inspect the building's electrical system:

Thoroughly inspecting the electrical system provides clues to locate faults causing unusual issues. I make detailed notes and take photos to document anomalies.

Using Diagnostic Tools to Pinpoint Problems

Visual inspection provides the first clues to unusual electrical issues. To further isolate problems, I use diagnostic tools:

Methodically using these diagnostic tools provides vital data to pinpoint faults causing unusual electrical issues. I isolate problems down to specific circuits or devices.

Systematic Troubleshooting for Unusual Electrical Faults

With inspection findings and diagnostic data, I follow a systematic process to zone in on unusual electrical gremlins:

1. Correlate findings to electrical issues

2. Isolate affected circuit(s)

3. Divide circuit into segments

4. Replace components selectively

5. Verify proper operation

This systematic process narrows down unusual faults and prevents replacing good parts. I focus repair efforts only where testing and inspection data points.

Gaining Experience Identifying Obscure Electrical Anomalies

Finding and fixing unusual electrical issues in old buildings involves detective work. Every case provides learning experiences identifying obscure anomalies like:

These examples illustrate the value of inspecting the entire system, looking for patterns and correlating findings across circuits. Experience gives me an intuitive sense where to search for elusive electrical gremlins.

In summary, methodically troubleshooting unusual electrical faults requires thoughtful inspection, diagnostic testing and correlating findings across the entire system. Isolating problems to specific circuits or components avoids unnecessary repairs. Experience and intuition also play a key role identifying obscure anomalies. Using this approach, I can solve difficult electrical faults and maintain safe, reliable power in aging commercial buildings.