Lights keep flickering?
A buzzing noise when you turn the light on?
A bulb that frequently dims out?
Behind these issues are reasons why you should call an electrician to replace your light bulb.
LIGHT BULB DEFECTS ARE SIGNS OF SERIOUS ELECTRICAL HAZARDS.
Hazards that can cause injuries, damage to properties, and even death.
We want you to be safe; that is why we prepared this article to discuss the dangers associated with light bulb problems. Also included is a guide on finding a reliable electrician Tampa.
8 Common Electrical Hazards
We hate it to break it you but: your light problems are not triggered by any paranormal entity or any sci-fi inspired occurrence.
The causes of these problems are far scarier: ELECTRICAL HAZARDS
1. Faulty/ Defective Wiring
Not only will faulty/defective wiring prevent appliances from running consistently, it can also put the whole electrical system in jeopardy.
Poor Wiring Can Put Your Life in Danger
Electricity flows through the wires. Therefore, they must be made of the right material with the right capacity. Placement is another factor to consider. A licensed electrician has an in-depth understanding on wiring and electrical layout.
Routine inspection must be implemented to make sure there are no damaged insulation and loose connections. Rodents may chew on the insulation and expose the copper wiring where electricity flows. Water damage or flooding may cause wires to short. Old age could cause deterioration behind the walls.
This Is Crazy:
When the exposed part comes in contact with metal or water, electricity will flow through it. Because electricity is heat; anything that holds electricity will become hot. Law of physics states that heat can be transferred from place to another. So if a conductor becomes hot, everything that it is contact with will share the temperature. If the electrical flow is too heavy, the temperature can rise fast and cause fire!
Electrocution or Serious Burns
Loose electrical connection is also an electrocution hazard. The insulation (which may be made of composite polymer material, porcelain, or glass) ensures that electricity won’t flow in all directions. If the electricity doesn’t kill you, it can leave you with serious skin burns. These are extremely painful and could require surgery.
Don’t Skimp on Dedicated Wiring
Not having dedicated wiring for high-voltage appliances, like refrigerators and air conditioners, can also trigger a flickering light bulb. High-voltage appliances require their own circuit because their electrical demands are higher than others. Only one high-voltage appliance should be plugged into a single circuit at a time. This prevents overloading, which can overheat the wiring and cause them to melt and fire up.
2. Outdated Wiring
20-year old wiring has probably endured enough. If the wiring in your home is over 20+ years, you will likely find deteriorated insulation, exposed copper wires, and frayed parts. As mentioned earlier, this can be hazardous causing fire and electrocution.
Electrical Requirements Have Changed
Electrical standards have changed dramatically over the past two decades. Electrical demands of individual homes have increased as they add more and more appliances and devices. Outdated wiring has lower amp rating than modern electrical workings require. And because of that, it cannot supply the right amount of electricity for modern appliances and fixtures. This is why people who live in older homes experience buzzing or dimming lights and sluggish appliances.
Stressed Out Wires = Fires
If low amp wiring is forced to channel more electrical current that intended, it will become hot and melt. Melted components can spark fires, particularly when in contact with flammable materials like drywalls and fiberboards. Call a licensed electrician before you lose that beautiful property just because of home electrical problems.
3. Extension Cords
Most of us remedy the need for additional outlets by using extension cords. They are also convenient because they allow you to use electrical devices even if you’re far from the outlet.
But heavy reliance on extensions can pose fire and electrocution hazards. Flickering or dimming light bulbs are noticeable signs that you should lessen your reliance on this electrical device.
Extension Cords Are Not That Strong
Extension cords are not substitute to standard wiring. When used too much, they can become electrical dangers!
If you find yourself using too many of extension cords or plugging too many devices into one extension, it means you need to call an electrician to install permanent outlets. If an extension draws too much electricity from a single circuit, it can destabilize the electric flow and cause light bulbs to blink or dim out.
- Use extension cords that fit the electrical requirements of your intended use. If the instructions say that it’s only for small devices, never try to run a refrigerator or washing machine with it. Also check if it’s for indoor or outdoor use.
- Even if the extension cord has 6 receptacles, try not to use all of them at the same time as a precautionary measure.
- Check the maximum current rating of your extension cord. Make sure the total current ratings of all the appliances you plug into it do not exceed this number.
- Avoid plugging another extension wire into another. This can overload the extension cords and spark fire! Just imagine the amount of heat that flows through them. Fire can spread fast if these cords are laid on the carpet or near curtains.
- Heavy reliance on an extension cord causes it to deteriorate fast. Extension cords were designed for short term use and should never be part of a permanent fix.
- Never run extension cords behind walls, floors, or ceilings. If they are covered, heat cannot escape, which may cause the components to melt and trigger fire.
- Extension cords are common electrocution hazards because they are often run along doors and windows, and beneath heavy furniture. The friction may scratch the insulation and expose the copper wires.
4. Electrical Surges
Electrical surges are brief spikes in electrical charge. The length is less than a fraction of a section only; but can still damage electrical systems and appliances if they happen frequently.
If you have blown light bulbs at home or bulbs that burn out too frequently, investigate possible causes of electrical surges.
It Could Be Your Own Appliances or Lightning!
A surge can occur if high-power appliances or devices are turned on, particularly if they do not have dedicated wiring. Lightning strikes are another culprit. Lightning doesn’t have to strike your area to trigger this occurrence. It only has to strike near a power line.
And each strike can burn out all your light bulbs at home, computer monitors, and television sets.
The electrical damage can pile up over time. If you don’t call a licensed electrician to check on your whole electrical system as soon as possible, you are at risk of fire and electrocution. You may have to replace some appliances ahead of time.
5. Poor Ventilation
This might sound a surprising inclusion in the list of electrical hazard examples.
Electrical components can heat up as current flows through them. Modern components are designed to sustain high temperatures, but they can only handle as much.
Your Electrical System Can Get Toasted
If the environment is also hot, the insulation can melt faster and leak the electricity to other directions. This lessens the flow towards the intended use like light bulbs. If light bulbs do not receive enough current, they will appear dim or not light up at all.
It is important not to smother wires and equipment so heat can escape. A well-trained electrician knows how to position electrical components, appliances, and devices in a way that prevents overheating.
Water is a good conductor of electricity, so make sure they never mix!
Water is the most common cause of “short circuit”, which is an injury and accident hazard.
What is Short Circuit?
The term “short circuit” generally means a circuit that allows electricity to travel into a path (which is often unintended, like water) with low or totally zero electrical impedance. This results in excessive electrical flow, which can cause overheating (and then fire!). You may suspect a short circuit if your light bulb starts to flicker.
Wiring Near Water
There are restrictions when wiring near docks, pools, and hot tubs to prevent accidents. And only licensed electricians must perform wiring in these particular areas.
- There should be ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) and they should be tested regularly.
- The GFCIs should come with bonding jumpers.
- Only materials labeled for outdoor use should be used.
- Overhead electrical wiring should be at least 22.5 above water level and 14.5 above the platform or diving board.
- Underground wiring should be at least 5 feet away from the edge of a pool or tub, except for wiring for the filter, heater, pump, and lighting.
All of these may be too complicated for untrained individuals. Do not leave anything to chance and just hire a licensed electrician to handle the job.
7. Undertaking Electrical Works Without License
It doesn’t matter if you spent the entire weekend watching YouTube tutorials on how to service your own electrical system. If you are not a licensed electrician, you are not allowed to perform any electrical work.
This sets you up for future issues with inspection while selling your home, renovating, insurance claims and more.
Maybe it’s Not Just a Simple Light Bulb Problem
Even a simple light bulb problem should be tackled by professional because it could be an indication of a bigger problem. Trained electricians can easily determine if the problem is solely with the light bulb or if there are more serious household electrical problems behind it.
Here’s why you should NOT attempt the DIY path when it comes to electricity:
- Electricity is a deadly force. You can get seriously injured or killed if you come in contact with strong enough voltage.
- Familiarize yourself with the local regulations related to electrical systems. If the authorities find out that you committed an error, they can sue you for it.
- Without sufficient training, your attempts may only exacerbate the problem, resulting to more costly repairs.
- Widely-experienced electricians can solve dynamic electrical situations faster.
8. Use of Substandard Materials
Your home’s electrical system works for you almost every single day. That is why you must make sure that each component is of superior quality.
If your light bulb burns out, dims out, or flickers too frequently, inspect not only your light bulb but every part of the electrical system. It could be defective wiring or fuse that’s causing the light bulb problems.
Cheap Can Be Dangerous
Substandard materials are initially cheap but you will have to replace them sooner. Just imagine the inconvenience and electrician bills that you have to endure if you stick on low quality products.
Furthermore, low quality products are not designed to withstand the normal electrical flow and periodic dips and surges. They will deteriorate fast. And if you do not replace them right away, they can cause fire, electrocution, and irreparable damage to your appliances and devices.
Let the Electrician Choose
Material choices are essential for a safe and reliable electrical system. It is best to hire a licensed electrician who is familiar with the most trusted electrical products.
How to Find a Reliable Electrician
Now that you’re fully aware of some of the most common electrical hazards and how they are associated with your light bulb problems, it is time to find a reliable technician.
If they are not enough, check out these statistics:
- According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), home electrical fires are the cause of 51,000 fires every year, causing more than 500 deaths and 1,400 injuries, and $1.3 billion worth of property damage.
- According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), electrical malfunctions and failures were the 2nd leading cause of home fires in the U.S in 2012 to 2016. This accounts to 13% of total home fires within that period.
- The highest rate of civilian deaths (18%) and direct property damage (20%) are due to fires related to electrical malfunctions and failures.
- In 2016, there were 1,800 reported fatal fires. Electrical malfunction caused 9.6% of them.
- In 2016, there were 7,000 fires that resulted in injuries. Electrician malfunction caused 6.8% of them.
Let us now proceed with finding the right electrician.
There are many contractors and individual practitioners out there, but not all of them are worth your trust, time, and money.
Check these things before making a hire:
Ignore the flashy advertisement for now and look for proper credentials. Your contractor must have the proper licenses, certificates, and permits to perform various electrical services. These are the most basic things to look for. If they can’t show you any, cross them out from the list.
It is also wise to counter-check their credentials with the regulating bodies in the country or in your locality.
Reviews and Rating
Google is a great place to start for reviews. These are user-generated and unsolicited giving you an honest perspective. You can sort by star rating to sift through the good and bad. Another tip is to see how the company responds to reviewers. A business who responds to reviews, both good and poor ones, puts a high emphasis of customer service.
Of course, you should also check other websites for reviews. If possible, ask your prospective contractors for references to their previous works. Try to talk to their previous customers and ask their opinion. Word of the mouth is the strongest reference.
List of Services
Not all electrical contractors provide the type of service that you need or might need. Some might be more focused on residential projects, others on commercial ones.
Try to determine the services that you need. If you’re unsure, a professional electrician can assess your place and list down all the necessary installations and repairs that it needs.
Hiring a contractor that offers a wide range of services is also more convenient. If you’re contented with the quality of their work, you may hire them to handle electrical projects for other settings ( e.g office, stores, rest house).
For your protection, hire only an electrician who carries insurance.
Remember that working with electricity is dangerous and there is no way to become 100% safe from accidents. Liability insurance is the best type of policy for this type of industry because it protects both the electrician and the project he is involved in.
If you’re hiring a contractor, make sure their employees are covered by workers’ compensation insurance. It is advised to contact their insurance provider to check if the policies are still active.
But that’s not all:
Those are just the most basic things to look for in an electrician. Listed below are the fine points:
Even the slightest electrical glitch can mess up your schedule. Knowing an emergency electrician who is ready to extend professional services 24/7 is valuable.
You will want your concerns to be accommodated quickly. Check the hours that your contractor is reachable by phone, email, or chat.
Well-conditioned and Well-stocked Service Vehicles
You do not want to hear excuses related to engine and tires. Try to take a glimpse the service vehicles of your prospect. A well taken care of vehicle often correlates to better service and care in your home.
It is also advantageous if their truck or vans contain the most commonly used items for all sorts of installations, repairs, and maintenance. This ensures that the process can be carried out without having to wait for parts to arrive.
Uniformed Staff and Well-Equipped Staff
The way the staff carry themselves will give you a hint about their quality of work. If they are not organized in the office, how can you expect them to be organized in your home?
Polite and Knowledgeable
Do not hesitate to ask questions or raise suggestions. A truly professional contractor makes sure that the customer has a complete understanding of the problem and the solution. They also recognize the room for improvement, that is why they would love to hear your suggestions.
The electrical contractor should be able to give precise answers to your questions.
The most expensive services are not always the best. It is possible to obtain the same level of craftsmanship at a more affordable price. To get the gauge for pricing, calculate the rates of a few contractors and then get the mean. Stick around that amount when making a decision.
Too Cheap = Too Bad
It is advised to stay away from unusually cheap prices. Remember this: licensed electricians spent thousands of hours and dollars to gain that valuable set of skills and knowledge. They know the worth of their services.
You might be able to get a discount if you hire the same company to handle multiple projects for you.
If an electrician performs every process with commitment and competence, he will confidently offer guarantee for his work.
Ask the contractor that you are planning to work with if they can guarantee the results and for how long.
An honest electrical contractor will present all the necessary documents related to the project to you. In fact, access to these documents is your right as a customer.
The Red Flags
Some crooked contractors out there will try to lure you by using these methods:
Don’t be a victim of this technique. If the prices are cheap, expect the quality of work and materials to be cheap as well.
Sudden Changes in Pricing/Tailoring to Your Budget
Professional electricians have standard rates and they can’t change the prices of electrical components. If the supplier says a 10-meter cable is worth $50, it really is $50. They can only get a discount but they can’t cut that to $25.
Stay away from contractors who make quick adjustments to their prices after hearing your budget.
Your home’s electrical system is essential to your daily life. It is, by essence, an investment.
This system is not the type that you should handle on your own or tackle any day. You will have to spare some time if something has to be inspected, tested, installed, or repaired. So, the best thing to do is to start right.
Hire a licensed electrician to perform the installation. If the system is installed properly using the quality materials, you will not encounter electrical problems too frequently.
To maintain the integrity of your electrical system, have the same electrician conduct routine maintenance.
It is also important to be alert of signs of serious electrical hazards such as light bulbs that flicker, dim out, explode, and burn out frequently.