Electrical Repairs You Can Do Yourself

Flickering lights, buzzing outlets, or a continuously blowing fuse can be signs of electrical wiring problems. This is why it’s best to keep up with regular electrical maintenance. For professional help, contact Hillside Expert Electrical.

Electrical Repairs

A continuously blowing fuse is a fire safety issue that needs to be addressed immediately. An electrician will diagnose this problem and make the necessary repairs.

A non-working electrical outlet can be frustrating, especially if you’re trying to finish a project. However, the problem may be a simple one that you can resolve yourself without calling in an electrician.

Start by turning off the power to the outlet at the breaker box using the circuit breaker switch, then use a voltage tester to confirm that it is indeed turned off. This step is critical because if you flip the wrong breaker switch, it could turn back on and power your outlet.

Next, check the outlet itself to see if it has any signs of damage or corrosion. If it has, consider replacing it with a new outlet. The prongs inside the outlet are designed to contact metal conductors that hold a plug in place, and when they do not make proper contact with those conductors, it can cause a loose connection and lead to sparking or burning.

If the outlet feels hot to the touch, has black or charred marks around it, or has a burned smell, stop using it and turn off the power at the breaker box using the same method as above. If you have a multi-outlet outlet, try plugging something into another outlet in the same room. If it works in the second outlet, there’s a good chance that the original outlet is faulty.

Loose wiring is also a common culprit for an electrical outlet not working. If you’re comfortable working with electricity, carefully unscrew the outlet from the wall and take a look at the connections in the back. Make sure that the black, white, and copper wires are tightly fastened beneath the screw terminals. If you notice any loose or frayed wires, reposition and tighten the screws to secure them.

Be careful not to paint over an outlet, though, as this can trap dust and debris in the recessed area where the prongs go into the outlet, leading to problems down the road. If you don’t feel confident in your ability to handle this, it’s best to call a licensed electrician to ensure the repairs are done safely and to code.


Light switches come in a wide variety of styles. They may be toggle-lever, slide-lever, or pushbutton; they can be a single-pole switch controlling things from a single location, three-way switches controlling lights or outlets from two locations, or four-way switches for larger homes or more complicated situations. Switches wear out after a number of years, just like any other electrical appliance in the house. When they fail, it can be difficult to determine where the problem lies.

Switches that make a buzzing sound or that are warm to the touch are probably dangerous and should be replaced immediately since they could create a fire hazard. Other problems with a switch might be caused by wires that are loose or have faulty connections, or by the mechanical parts in the switch itself becoming worn out. The first step to repairing a switch is to shut off power to it at the circuit breaker or fuse box and remove the cover plate from the switch. Use a non-contact neon circuit tester to verify that the switch’s wires do not have any live current before you begin working on the switch itself.

Carefully unscrew the switch’s screw terminals and disconnect the wires. If you’re replacing a switch, carefully mark the wires’ colors and their positions on the switch assembly to avoid mixing up their locations when installing the new switch.

Closely examine the switch’s wiring and draw a diagram.

Once you have the switch assembly free, inspect its wiring closely for loose or faulty connections. You can do this by inserting a screwdriver into the release slots on the back of the switch or by using a non-contact neon circuit tester to examine each wire as you move around the switch. In some cases, the switch will be secured to circuit wires by using wire connectors; this is an easy repair job that requires only a screwdriver.

If you’ve examined the switch’s wire connections and it still fails to operate correctly, you might find that the problem is actually a short circuit in the wiring pathway from the switch to the lamp, outlet, or other device that it controls. If this is the case, you’ll need to take the necessary steps to fix a short circuit, and this will likely require the assistance of a licensed electrician.

Fuse Boxes

Fuses are still used in some homes to handle high currents that a regular circuit breaker would not be able to safely handle. Like switches, fuse boxes can be prone to overwork and can sometimes be the source of localized power outages. Thankfully, it’s relatively easy to repair a blown fuse when you know what to look for.

The first thing you need to do is turn off the main power to your fuse box or panel. This will help ensure your safety and prevent shock, as well as make sure that any other fuses in the box are not impacted by your work. You will also need to identify the fuse that has broken, which can often be done by looking for a glass covering that appears discolored or the fuse itself having melted metal. Once you’ve found the faulty fuse, switch it out with a new one of the same amperage rating. It’s a good idea to keep spare fuses on hand so you can easily swap them out when needed.

Once you have replaced the fuse, it is important to shuffle any high-energy appliances around so that one circuit does not become overworked again. You can also consider a service upgrade from your electrician to increase the amount of power that one circuit can handle.

If the same fuse continues to blow out, or it does so shortly after replacing it, there may be another issue in your home that requires professional attention. This could include loose wires, an overloaded outlet or device, or even a problem inside the wall itself. These issues are best handled by a qualified electrician to avoid risky situations and costly repairs.

Flickering lights, buzzing sounds from outlets or appliances, and warm spots on walls and ceilings are all signs of an overloaded circuit. If you experience any of these issues, turn off the electrical source in the affected area and contact an electrician to have it checked out. An electrician can determine the cause of the overload and make any necessary upgrades to your electrical system.

Circuit Breakers

If you have a circuit breaker that keeps tripping, it’s likely worn out or unable to handle the amperage it’s meant for. It can also be a sign of another electrical problem, like faulty wiring, that must be addressed.

The best way to fix this is to hire a professional, licensed electrician who can replace the broken breaker and repair the electrical system. However, if you’re comfortable working around electricity, it’s possible to do this yourself. Just be aware that you will be working with live electricity, so take some precautions. Put on rubber gloves, shoes, and a pair of insulated tools with long handles to minimize your chances of getting shocked.

Before removing the cover of the circuit breaker panel, shut off the power to the box and carefully unscrew the lid. Be careful not to touch the metal bars that run through the back of the box. They are still alive and can deliver a fatal shock. Next, identify the breaker you wish to test or replace and make sure it’s on the “ON” setting. Then, place one of the prongs of a voltage tester against the terminal screw and the other on the ground screw. Look for a reading on the voltage tester or indicator light to see if there’s any current.

Once you’re sure there’s no voltage present, remove the faulty breaker and unhook the wire from its terminal. Unhooking the wire from the terminal is a little tricky, but you can do it by using a pair of needle-nose pliers with rubber-insulated handles. Carefully tuck the exposed wire in and around the other breakers in the panel so that it doesn’t cause a safety hazard.

Push the back of the new breaker into its holder clip on the panel, then line it up with the bus bar. Press down on the back of it to snap it into place. Be careful not to over-tighten the terminal screws, as this can damage the internal components of the breaker. Ensure all of the connections are secure, and switch off the main breaker before plugging in the new breaker and switching on the other branch circuit breakers to prevent an electric surge.