Professional vs. DIY Electrical Troubleshooting: When to Call the Experts

Electrical problems are never pleasant to deal with, but they’re especially frustrating in commercial settings. In some cases, the fix may be simple enough to safely handle on your own, but other times, it might require professional experience.

In this post, we’ll explore some aspects of electrical troubleshooting that you can typically handle on your own, as well as some cases where you should leave the issues to an experienced electrician.

DIY-Friendly Electrical Troubleshooting

  • Resetting Circuit Breakers: If a breaker trips, it’s usually safe to reset it on your own. This electrical troubleshooting task comes with the caveat that if a breaker is constantly tripping, you should seek professional help.
  • Cord Inspection: It’s a good idea to be in the habit of routinely inspecting your power cords for signs of wear and tear. Ensure that the cord is not plugged into anything before you check it. If you notice signs of damage, replace the cord or call an electrician to see if they can repair it.
  • Resetting Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFICs): GFIC outlets are commonly found in kitchens and bathrooms, and it is usually safe to press the reset button if they trip. However, if the GFIC is constantly tripping, you’ll want to contact an electrician to investigate.

When to Seek Professional Help With Electrical Troubleshooting

  • Sparking Outlets:If you see sparks or smoke coming from an outlet or light switch, immediately cut off the power to that area and contact an electrician.
  • Constantly Flickering Lights: An occasional flicker isn’t much to be concerned about, but if your lights are constantly dimming on their own or look like something out of a horror film, it indicates an underlying issue with your electrical system that requires professional attention.
  • Inaccessible Areas: If you know an electrical problem is in a hard-to-reach area, never try to fix it yourself. Electricians have the training required to safely address electrical troubleshooting in areas where the electrical components are difficult to access.
  • Anytime You Feel Unsure: If you’re ever uncertain about whether you can safely handle an issue, always err on the side of caution and seek professional help.