The Top 10 Most Common Issues Home Owners Call L&M Electric About — Plus Quick Tips For Solving Them
Updated: Mar 24
When you have an electrical issue at your home that needs solving, L & M Electric is available for a free consultation to help you navigate the problem, resolve it remotely, and if necessary send out an electrician to fix the electrical issue within your home.
After years of consulting with homeowners, the following ten issues are the ones we receive the most calls and questions about. The good news is that many of these problems can be easily solved with a basic amount of troubleshooting.
If there is a problem, our electrical technicians are simply a short drive away.
Beeping Smoke Detectors That Won't Stop! It seems smoke detectors prefer to start causing trouble when the entire family is comfortably sleeping and it is the middle of the night. But, as simple as it seems, getting the smoke detectors to stop beeping and do their smoke detecting jobs require a few steps to properly reset the unit after replacing the batteries to ensure those chirps don't continue through the night (making your next day a miserable one). To prevent you from calling the fire department, or an electrician unnecessarily, we've put together a guide for how to reset those sometimes pesky smoke detectors. Click here to view.
An Unknown Tripped GFI Circuit: Since the '80s, GFI circuits have been used in homes to sever a circuit connection when the current between an energized conductor and a neutral return conductor is unbalanced. Simply put, they were added as a way to make the electricity in your home safer. And, over the following decades, they were added to more areas of the house from bathrooms to the laundry area. But often, homeowners are not aware when their GFI circuits are tripped, or unknowingly turned off by the younglings running around the house. When these circuits are turned off, it's easy to reenable the electricity. Simply press the usually red reset button (often found above the test button) found on an outlet by the circuit. Many electricians will tie all outdoor outlets to the garage GFI, so if you're having trouble make sure to check the outlets there to see if it has been tripped. If you can't figure it out, give us a call for a free phone consultation and if we can't help you solve it through some basic troubleshooting on the phone, we'll send out an electrician to discover the root problem.
The Panel Breaker Has Unexpectedly Been Tripped! Without the breakers on, you won't get power to those tripped areas of the house. If you don't have power, we recommend checking your electrical panel and looking for any tripped breakers. If one has been tripped and you can't get it to move over, remember that some breakers require flipping the breaker to the off position before you can turn it back on. If you continue to have trouble with power to certain parts of your house after resetting the breakers, give us a call and we'll schedule a time for one of our trained electricians to troubleshoot and find the problem's source on-site.
One Of My Outlets Is Not Working! So, you went to rearrange your living room couch and side tables, only to find out the lamp by the wall won't turn on, even when the light works on other outlets. Often, we find the issue is as simple as a light switch tethered to the particular outlet you've plugged the light into. In many rooms of most houses, an outlet is tied to the switches on the wall. If this is the case, and you don't want the light tethered to the switch, try the outlet's second plug receptacle. Often one of the two will be tied to the switch while the other is always on. If you'd like to change how this is configured or add this function to an outlet, give us a call and we'll be happy to set that switching system up in your living room, bedroom, or outdoor leisure area.
My Fan Suddenly Stopped Working! As the springtime (or your cleaning spirit) arrives, many people bring out the cleaning supplies with their rod dusters for those tall ceiling fans. As they're doing the great work of cleaning, they don't realize when they accidentally flip the fan direction switch. But, instead of pushing the switch fully into a direction, they bump it into the limbo zone, where neither direction is selected. And when this accident happens, the fan will not spin. If one of your fans suddenly stopped working and you recently went on a cleaning spree, the blade direction switch was most likely accidentally bumped. Fans last an awfully long time, from 15 to 25 years so if its less than that, the switch may be the culprit. Plus, when a fan motor finally does go out, it'll usually make a loud series of noises during its slow and annoying fall from grace.
What Happened To My Furnace? It Suddenly Stopped Working? One day your furnace was working fine and another it stopped altogether. While the power to the furnace can get severed, and the furnace can fail at some level, we often find the most common explanation for the furnace no longer working is due to a simple flip of a switch. This is even more likely if you find that you have power at the thermostat. In many houses, there is a light switch that does not switch a light. Instead, it controls the furnace power. Most people are not aware of this switch and think it is simply the light switch, so when they turn it off, the furnace goes off, but by the time they notice, they don't connect the dots because of the time that has passed. After confirming that the breaker is activated, check for an attic switch or one nearby that may be the cause (this can be a common issue in the basement). If it's not the switch, electricians will check power to the furnace, but if there is power, your heating and air technicians will need to check the inside of the unit. As a small sidebar, we also recommend keeping an additional capacitor (If you're a little handy) for your A/C unit, which tends to be the most common problem stopping the unit from working (and a way to save you money on a future fix).
My Bathroom Vent Fan Does Not Seem To Be Working Anymore! Most bathroom vents go through the wall and lead out into a nearby room or the outdoors (Preferably it's a vent and not a flapper to prevent pests from making your home theirs). If you think your bathroom fan is not working, simply take a piece of paper and place it up to the vent while the fan is running. If it is working, the paper will stick to the vent and quickly fall when you turn the fan off. We recommend not using dollar bills for this test, or your home might get a little greedy and suck it in without your permission.
What's The Deal With My Non-Working Garbage Disposal? While L & M Electric won't replace your garbage disposal (you'll need to call a plumber) we do set up and ensure power is traveling to the unit. If your garbage disposal is not working, you may be able to rest the unit or, if you're a little handy, clear out the insides of any junk. Here is how. To reset the unit, simply press the red button on the bottom of the disposal. Test to see if this resolves the issue with your disposal by flipping the switch and turning it back on. If that does not work, and you've got an Allen wrench nearby, place the tool in the middle bottom of the unit and turn the disposal manually to churn up anything that may be jammed. If the unit continues not to function and you know it's related to power, give us a call. Otherwise, call your preferred plumber to replace the unit.
Why Do I Keep Tripping My Kitchen Breaker? Any house built in the last 35 years will have two 20 amp circuits running to the kitchen countertop outlets. Houses built in recent years will have three with the refrigerator on the third circuit. If you find you continually trip your breaker to the kitchen, it's likely because you are running too many electrical devices on the same circuit. We recommend placing your countertop appliances (toasters, coffee markers, conventional ovens, etc...) on the two different circuits to share the load. In your kitchen, you'll notice two of the outlets have some reset and test buttons between the plugs. These two outlets control the GFI circuits and will give you a way to find out which controls what. Plug your phone charger into each outlet, and then press the test button on the GFI. If you lose power, you know that the outlet is tied to that circuit. You can do this for all outlets to know which is on the first circuit and which is on the second. If the fridge is on one of the two circuits (instead of its own) it will likely be on the one closest to the fridge (you can test that one by turning off the breaker since the GFI next to the refrigerator does not control the refrigerator). It's also possible, your electronic device is causing the trouble.
Bonus Tip: What's One Way To Prevent My House From Burning Down? Several years ago, there was a celebrity whose new house burned to the ground. It turned out, it was the result of a lamp cord slowly broken down as the dresser pinned down the wire and shredded it. One way to prevent your home from being at risk is to ensure all your electrically powered device's cords have room to sit and live without being worn out or pinched by heavy furniture. Also if you have a floor unit blowing hot air over a cord, that is another fire hazard recipe. The good news is that new house breakers are designed to manage the electricity and cut it off on situations that may cause a fire, but while they have minimized the number of home fires, they still can happen. Faulty outlets (and appliances), outdated wiring, space heaters, and using overly high wattage bulbs are other common fire causes. If you're concerned about this, we offer a home safety inspection to ensure there are no hidden electrical issues that may cause problems in the future.
These ten topics are the most common issues and questions we answer on the phones here at L & M Electric. Now, while we are willing and able to serve your electrical needs, we prefer to help troubleshoot and solve any simple issues before sending out our electricians to your home when necessary.
If you have any questions, comments, or concerns about the issues we've shared above, please call us for a free consultation at 1-877-563-5328. If there is a reason to send someone out for an electrical repair, we'll make that happen in a timely manner.
L & M Electric is providing safe electrical service that makes you feel like family.