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Electrical Problems Every Sydney Homeowner Should Know About

For more than 20 years, Charbel and the team at Leading Electrical have been helping Sydney homeowners fix electrical issues. Understanding the electrical issues you are most likely to encounter along with potential hazards will allow you to keep your family and home safe. This article will discuss the causes, signs, and best prevention methods to minimize electrical disruptions.

Overloaded circuits 

What is an overloaded circuit?

Overloading a circuit is one of the most common electrical issues experienced. A circuit can be overloaded when too much electricity is being drawn from a single source of power. This overload is likely to cause a circuit breaker to be tripped and shut down power to prevent damage, fire or injury. 

Overloaded circuit example

One way to understand this is to picture three appliances all running simultaneously from one power outlet. When turned on, each will draw current from the power outlet. The circuit may overload depending on the age, condition, and power supply. 

Preventing circuits from being overloaded

Careful planning of the power sources and electrical outlets in your home is a good way to ensure your power requirements can be met without overloading circuits. Noticing a single power outlet powering multiple appliances with the help of double adapters and extension leads is an indicator of potential overloads. We recommend engaging a qualified electrician to update your power outlets before you experience overloaded circuits.

Signs of an overloaded circuit

It is important to know the warning signs of an overloaded electrical circuit. This will help keep your family safe and protect your belongings from damage. If you notice any of the following warning signs:

  1. Appliances activate circuit breakers.
  2. Lights and lamps flicker when someone turns them on or off.
  3. Noises that sound like zaps, pops and cracks
  4. The smell of burning plastic
  5. Visible signs of fire or smoke

You must immediately turn off the power and call a licensed electrician to diagnose and find the electrical fault

Woman working in home office with expensive electrical equipment.

Faulty Wiring

Faulty electrical wiring can pose a significant risk of electrocution and electric fire in any home. Aged wiring can cause electrical wiring faults. Installations and renovations that don’t meet minimum standards set in your local state may cause other faults. A licensed electrician must complete any electrical installation work or maintenance in New South Wales. 

Recognising Faulty Wiring

Fortunately, identifying electrical faults related to faulty wiring is relatively simple. The Leading Electrical team recommend keeping an eye out for the following:

  1. Flickering lights and frequently blown light globes can be a sign of existing wiring faults in your home. Paying particular attention to how electrical appliances function when energy-heavy devices are running can provide clues. An example would be lights dimming when an air conditioner or heater is turned on. 
  2. Hot power chords. When appliances are in use, they can generate heat. The chord and power outlet may produce some heat, but it should not be hot enough to cause discomfort when touched. The same goes for power leads and extension cords. 
  3. Tripped Circuit Breakers are something all homeowners will encounter at some point. However, constantly activated circuit breakers can point to faulty electrical wiring. Testing the appliance or device in another power outlet can help determine if the appliance is to blame.

Often a faulty appliance will trip the circuit breaker in any power outlet. If a faulty appliance works in another outlet, the problem is probably with the outlet itself.

  1. Burnt or discoloured power outlets can be an indicator of excessive heat in your home wiring. If you see power outlets that are discolored, you should have an electrician inspect them. This will help prevent the danger of electrocution and fires caused by electrical faults. Addressing any potential problems with your outlets promptly is important to ensure safety in your home. 
  2. The smell of burning plastic or smoke is another strong indicator of potential wiring issues. If you have both of these issues, it’s best to contact your preferred electrician to diagnose the problem. 

The Leading Electrical team also recommend avoiding the use of extension cords for extended periods. If you always use extension cords, it may be time to upgrade your electrical system to meet your changing energy needs. 

Power Outlets and Light Switches

Light switches and power points can also have electrical faults. They can indicate underlying electrical issues in both old and new homes. Loose wire connections, faulty wiring and worn components pose safety risks during operation. Ignoring these electrical issues can lead to more serious issues such as electrical fires and injury. 

Diagnosing Faulty Light Switches

  1. Inconsistent lighting is the first indicator of a faulty light switch. The light switch should control the light without dimming or flickering. If your light has a dimmer, it should adjust gradually as you adjust the dimmer control. 
  2. The light switch is hot to the touch. If a light switch feels hot, it could indicate that either the switch or the wiring is overloading. 
  3. The switch toggle is loose and isn’t functioning properly. Failed components in the switch can wear with time and lead to more serious electrical problems and possible injury. 

If you see a broken light switch in your home, it’s a good idea to contact a licensed electrician. They can fix or replace it for you. If you live in an older home, your electrician can assess all light switches to ensure they are safe and perform safely. 

Power Surge

Surges in power describe the sudden increase in the flow of electricity in the supply network. Power interruptions and restarts can cause sudden electricity surges in the grid. Electricity flowing back into the electricity grid from a lightning strike can also cause power surges. 

Power surges can expose appliances to levels of electricity that exceed their design limits. This can result in damage to wiring and the delicate components used to operate appliances and devices. Unlike faults and issues that arise in your home, power surges aren’t something you can monitor. The best defence against power surges is the use of surge protection devices. 

Surge Protectors

Powerboard Surge Protection

Protecting delicate and expensive electronic devices from power surges can be done using a surge-protector-equipped powerboard. Ranging in function and level of protection, high-end surge-protector powerboards are popular for TVs, home theatre and electrical devices. These devices quickly detect and respond to power surges, enabling them to protect multiple devices. Cheaper units typically offer fewer additional functions but provide much-needed protection for everyday appliances. 

Main Switchboard Surge Protection

Most modern homes also have a Surge Protection Device (SPD) installed in the main switchboard. SPDs are designed to protect the whole house from power surges while working alongside your powerboard surge protector. 

Protection from Common Electrical Issues

Being aware of the common electrical issues in your home allows you to protect your family and possessions. Early detection and fixing of electrical faults can prevent serious issues and harm to your family. Detecting and fixing electrical faults early can prevent them from becoming serious and causing harm to your family. Preventing electrical faults from becoming serious can protect your family from harm. 

If you need professional advice or are unsure about an electrical fault, our team is ready to help today.

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