“Troubleshooting Unusual Electrical Failures in Older Commercial Buildings”

Troubleshooting Unusual Electrical Failures in Older Commercial Buildings


As the owner of an older commercial building, I know firsthand how frustrating and disruptive unusual electrical issues can be. In my experience troubleshooting electrical systems in aging structures, I've learned that a methodical, detailed approach is crucial for accurately diagnosing and resolving unusual electrical failures.

In this article, I will share the key steps I follow and tools I use when troubleshooting unusual electrical issues in older commercial buildings. My goal is to provide building owners, facility managers, and maintenance technicians with a helpful guide for systematically tracking down the root causes of electrical malfunctions.

Common Causes of Electrical Issues in Older Buildings

Before jumping into testing and repairs, it's important to understand some of the most frequent culprits behind unusual electrical failures in aging commercial structures:

Key Troubleshooting Steps

With a baseline understanding of what commonly goes wrong, I can now walk through my systematic troubleshooting process for unusual electrical issues:

Inspect Electrical Room and Equipment

Consult Building Plans and Electrical Schematics

Interview Occupants

Inspect Affected Areas

Check Load Levels

Isolate Affected Circuits

Inspect Wiring and Connections

Check Voltage Levels

Evaluate Grounding System

Consider Power Quality Issues

Leveraging Electrical Contractors When Stumped

Despite methodical troubleshooting, unusual electrical gremlins can sometimes evade identification. At that point, it can be wise to bring in a professional electrical contractor to assist.

Skilled troubleshooters have years of experience detecting obscure electrical issues and have specialized tools to help isolate problems. They can observe systems in operation to detect anomalies and perform diagnostic testing beyond the capabilities of basic multimeters. Electrical contractors can also identify underlying deficiencies like undersized wiring or overloaded neutral conductors that may be the root cause of electrical headaches.

For the most complex electrical mysteries, their expertise is invaluable in ultimately tracking down elusive electrical faults. Just be sure to thoroughly document your own troubleshooting steps to aid their analysis.


Chasing down unusual electrical malfunctions in aging commercial buildings demands diligence and rigor. While daunting, a systematic approach of visual inspections, testing at key points, and component-by-component isolation will ultimately uncover the source of the issue. Patience and meticulous record-keeping are essential. In some cases, calling in electrical contractors to conduct advanced diagnostics can break through even the most perplexing electrical puzzle. With a planful, thorough troubleshooting process, even the trickiest electrical gremlins don't stand a chance.