How Does an Electrician Diagnose and Fix a Problem With an Electrical System?

How Does an Electrician Diagnose and Fix a Problem With an Electrical System?

When a building owner or homeowner alerts an electrician about electrical problems, such as frequent power surges, an electrician must conduct many tests to diagnose the problem. There are several tests electricians perform to troubleshoot problems with electrical systems. The most common diagnostic tests conducted by an electrician include:

Electrical Meter Test

First, an electrician will conduct a simple test on the building's electrical meter. Defect electrical meters can interrupt the electrical flow to a building, particularly if the mechanisms are old or damaged. Electricians pay special attention to any signs of water damage on electrical meters, since this could indicate a water leak that may affect the main electrical panel.

Proper Grounding Test

Electricians will conduct a proper grounding test. This test is meant to ensure the home or commercial property has grounded electricity, since ungrounded connections can lead to risks such as electrical shocks and fire hazards. Electricians use a special receptacle tester tool that will read whether the electrical wiring for a building is grounded.

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter Test

Some homes and commercial properties have ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) that must be correctly wired. GFCIs that are improperly wired will lead to irregularities in the power supply and may create a higher risk of electrical sparks or fires. Electricians will pay special attention to any moisture around GFCI installations.  

Circuit Breaker Capacity Test

Electricians may also conduct a circuit breaker capacity test. For this test, the electrician will check for any obvious damage or irregularities on the circuit breaker and the main electrical panel. Aside from visual irregularities, an electrician will also assess whether or not the circuit breaker is at risk of overloading. Circuit breakers in good condition can maintain a safe, steady flow of electricity.

Electrical Wire Test

Finally, an electrician will also conduct a physical examination of the problematic electrical system. Electricians will look for signs of electrical wire damage in the home or commercial property, such as frayed or damaged wires. Some signs of physical problems with electrical wiring can include visible wires, exposed wires, or cracked insulation. Correcting the physical wires can resolve the problem with the electrical system and can make the property safe again.

Can a Trade School Electrician Diagnose Problems?

A trade school electrician is trained to diagnose electrical problems by developing critical thinking skills and problem-solving skills. As part of electrician training, most students will need to meet hands-on learning experience requirements to graduate and accumulate enough experience hours to apply for an electrician license.

However, most states do not allow student electricians to complete electrician work orders. To do any formal work, a student electrician must have an apprenticeship license or must be working under a licensed supervisor, such as a master electrician.

What Are the Most Common Electrical Issues?

Electrical systems can run into problems if they are installed incorrectly or fail due to old age. At a residential property, there are three main problems found in electrical systems - problems with the circuit breaker, problems with power surges and dips, and problems with dead outlets. Each of these common problems can be identified and corrected by a licensed electrician.

Circuit Breaker

The circuit breaker in a home is designed to alert the homeowner of any problems with the electrical system. A circuit breaker will trip when an interrupts the electricity flow if there is a problem, which will protect a home from major electrical damage. When a circuit breaker trips occasionally, this means the circuit breaker is preventing an overload and functioning correctly. However, a circuit breaker that trips constantly will usually indicate a larger problem.

Power Surge or Dip

Power surges and dips are generally signs that the electricity flow from power lines is inconsistent. A power surge occurs when the power line experiences a spike in electrical flow, which can turn off residential appliances. A dip is another word for a brown-out, which is when the flow of electricity through a power line experiences a reduced flow of energy. Both power surges and dips may occur in residential buildings with poor wiring, particularly if using appliances causes a circuit breaker to trip.

Scarce or Dead Outlets

Having dead outlets is just as bad as not having enough outlets. A scarce outlet can often lead to homeowners relying too heavily on a single outlet, which can cause the circuit breaker to continually trip. Dead outlets are usually a sign that the electrical wiring is burned out or damaged by faulty wiring, which can lead to major risks such as electrical fires if the dead outlet is used.

What Other Tools Does an Electrician Need?

In addition to the troubleshooting tools an electrician may need to diagnose a problem, electricians may also use electrician service software to assist customers. Electrical contractors can use advanced technology to keep track of recurring work orders, which is important since electrical systems must be checked regularly to ensure safety.

Electricians may also use software to make scheduling and dispatch easier. Scheduling and dispatch software that has built-in GPS tracking and cloud synchronization can make it easier for electricians to service commercial and residential properties more quickly. This can be particularly important if property owners identify troubling electrical system issues that may need immediate attention.

It's important for building owners and homeowners to rely on professional help, since only a licensed electrician will be able to locate the root of electrical system problems. Furthermore, electricians using service software can provide prompt service that can reduce the risk of major issues like electrical fires. To learn more about electrician service software, contact Service Box today.

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