Too Many Cords? Tips for Organizing Them!

 

With so many electronics, devices, and systems that require wires and electrical cords running through your house, your electrical cables are bound to turn into a disorganized mess. Besides being a huge headache when it comes time to move something or add something, that mess of cords can be a fire hazard as well!

Organizing cords is a great way to simplify things and increase safety at home. From rerouting cords to covering wires and shortening cords, getting electrical cables safely in order doesn’t have to be a big job. Here are a few tips:

Label Cords

Part of the problem with electrical cords getting out of control is not knowing what goes where. A labelling system that identifies what cords go with what is the best way to keep electrical cables under control. When you know exactly what cord corresponds to the device, you may be more likely to keep the cords in order. Labels can be anything from a colored sticker to masking tape and marker.

Hide Cables

One of the best ways to simultaneously organize cords and improve the appearance of your space is to hide cables. Pipe insulation is an effective way to conceal all of your cables and it only takes a couple minutes of work. Take a piece of pipe insulation, cut it lengthwise, put the cords inside and pull the ends through the opening. This method is a simple, discreet, and effective way to get your cables in order.

Make a Cable Catcher

Since so many problems with electrical cables occur in the home, consider a system to hold and organize your assortment of cords. This will reduce the likelihood of inadvertently unplugging something of vital importance when you just wanted to unplug your phone charger.

As an example, all of those cords that are protruding off your desk can be easily contained with a basket. The basket can be mounted on the underside of your desk and can catch the cords from electronics and devices on your desk to keep things neater and more organized.

Wrap and Store Cords

When you are finished using cords or have a mess of cords laying around unplugged, consider wrapping and storing them. This is a simple solution that only requires a few minutes of work. You can use twist ties or paper towel tubes to organize and store the cords you don’t use. The best part of this is that when you need them, they come out tangle free and ready to plug in.

Hope these tips for organizing your cords are helpful!

Call Fab Electric Today for Your Electrical Needs

Are you ready for your next electrical inspection, wiring repair or wiring upgrade, or do you need another service performed by a highly qualified electrician? Then call the experts at Fab Electric right away. At Fab Electric, our specialists have lots of experience, and with our fast, friendly service, you will enjoy electrical safely in your home and cost savings in no time! Call us at (301) 622-6979 to set up an appointment today!

 

How to Lower Your Electric Bill

 

Few people enjoy spending money unnecessarily. Many of us don’t realize it, but we spend money on our electrical bill that could have been saved by making a few simple changes. Reducing electricity usage has the added bonus of being good for the environment, and at the same time, saves you money!

Tips to Conserve Electricity

While there are some big changes that you can make to your home that will save on electricity, such as upgrading to energy-efficient appliances or installing solar panels, there are also many smaller changes and tricks that can be employed to conserve energy. Some tips to reduce energy usage include:

  • Switch to LED lighting: LED bulbs use much less power and last longer than conventional light bulbs and they are available in a variety of colors and styles
  • Optimize operation of dishwashers, washers, and dryers: Most electrical providers decrease the cost of electricity during off-peak hours, like early morning or nighttime. Using appliances during this time, rather than at peak hours, can save you a lot of money. Also, only run these appliances when you have a full load to reduce the time that they are operating.
  • Keep your thermostat steady:Drastic increases or decreases in temperature creates an unnecessary electrical strain. Keep your thermostat steady within two or three degrees.
  • Use a thermal wrap on your water heater:Water heaters are one of the biggest consumers of electricity, so insulating your water heater to prevent heat loss will reduce electricity expenditure.
  • Clean and replace filters: Air filters on appliances and ventilation gather dust and debris and the more clogged they get, the more power it takes to get air moving. Clean the filters on your dryer, furnace, fridge, and air conditioner to help them use less electricity.
  • Turn off the lights: Turn off the lights every time you leave a room. Leaving any electrical device or light on when you are not in the room is wasteful.
  • Insulate doors and windows: Heat can move through doors and windows, even when they are closed. Be aware of open doors or windows and install the proper weather stripping and insulation to minimize heat loss.
  • Don’t block the air conditioning vent with the door: Sometimes, vents are located in odd places, like behind doors in bedrooms. Close the door of your bedroom so you are the one to experience the air conditioning, not the door.
  • Turn off the fan:If you are leaving a room, turn off the fan!
  • Read a book: What we do for entertainment can have a massive effect on our electricity bills. A television consumes more electricity than a reading lamp. Pursuing hobbies that do not use as much electricity will also typically help you to stay healthier and smarter!
  • Get outside: Enjoy the natural energy of the summer sun!

Hope these tips for conserving energy and lowering your electric bill are helpful!

Call Fab Electric Today for Your Electrical Needs

Are you ready for your next electrical inspection, wiring repair or wiring upgrade, or do you need another service performed by a highly qualified electrician? Then call the experts at Fab Electric right away. At Fab Electric, our specialists have lots of experience, and with our fast, friendly service, you will enjoy electrical safely in your home and cost savings in no time! Call us at (301) 622-6979 to set up an appointment today!

 

 

 

How to Know When It’s Time for a Wiring Upgrade

 

Your home’s wiring is a vital component to its overall electrical system. Ignoring problems with your wiring can lead to dangerous consequences, such as electrocution or fire. You can also damage expensive electronics and appliances due to short circuits. Still, it isn’t always easy to know when your wiring needs to be repaired or replaced. Here are a few signs that should alert you to the need for a wiring upgrade.

Your Circuits Aren’t Grounded

Grounded circuits are standard for all modern homes and businesses. If your outlets are missing a third prong, then they aren’t grounded. In fact, if you live in a previously owned home, having a three-prong outlet cover doesn’t mean it’s really been properly grounded. Some less ethical homeowners may have just switched the plates so they appear to have been upgraded. If you are unsure whether your circuits are grounded, it’s important to have them tested.

The Breaker Trips Frequently

If you find yourself running to the breaker box every few days, then there is certainly an electrical issue going on. While there’s a chance the breaker itself is damaged, you’ll need to be sure the problem isn’t bad wiring or an inadequate electrical system. If you own an older home, it may be ill equipped to handle the amount of power that today’s households consume. Houses built in the 1980’s weren’t wired to accommodate laptops, televisions, video game systems, and a multitude of small and large appliances all at the same time. You may need to increase the number of outlets and replace outdated wiring so you can enjoy safe and more convenient access to electricity.

Your Circuits Aren’t Grounded

Grounded circuits are standard for all modern homes and businesses. If your outlets are missing a third prong, then they aren’t grounded. In fact, if you live in a previously owned home, having a three-prong outlet cover doesn’t mean it’s really been properly grounded. Some less ethical homeowners may have just switched the plates so they appear to have been upgraded. If you are unsure whether your circuits are grounded, it’s important to have them tested.

Current Wiring Was Installed 40 Years Ago

In the 60’s and 70’s, it was common for home builders to use aluminum wiring rather than copper. The materials were more affordable, but it was soon discovered that aluminum wiring was dangerous and increased the risk of electrical fires. Laws and regulations were put in place to avoid aluminum wiring installations for new homes, but older houses and commercial buildings were frequently grandfathered in. If your house was built decades ago, then you may want to hire a certified electrician for a proper inspection. If aluminum wiring is discovered, it’s vital that you replace it as soon as possible.

Do You Need a Wiring Upgrade? Call Fab Electric Today

Are you ready for your next electrical inspection, wiring repair or wiring upgrade? Then call the experts at Fab Electric right away. At Fab Electric, our specialists have lots of experience, and with our fast, friendly service, you will enjoy electricity safely in your home and cost savings in no time! Call us at (301) 622-6979 to set up an appointment today!

 

Upgrading Your Lighting to Become More Energy Efficient

 

An energy-efficient home has become the goal of nearly every modern homeowner. Lower costs, higher performance—what’s not to love? But how can you become more energy efficient?

Lighting upgrades are commonly listed as one of the quickest and simplest methods of improving home efficiency, and this is for good reason. Want to know what new energy-efficient lighting in your home brings to the table? Here are some of the biggest perks:

  • Lower energy costs. Both Light Emitting Diode (LED) and Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFL) feature much lower energy consumption when compared to traditional incandescent bulbs. You can expect an LED to use a tenth or less wattage, and a CLF to use roughly half to an eighth on average. For a single bulb the difference is small, but when you’re talking a whole-home and outdoor lighting upgrades the difference is huge.
  • Longer bulb and fixture lifespans. Tired of swapping out bulbs all the time and going through the expense of buying bulbs by the dozen? Energy-efficient bulbs do cost more upon purchase, but they also outlive traditional bulbs by many years. That places this investment firmly in the “smart idea” category.
  • More stable bulbs.Energy-efficient bulbs like LEDs, CFL, and even halogen bulbs all tend to work far better in temperature extremes as well, failing far less often in heavy winter weather or on hot days. They even produce less heat, meaning you stand to save a bit on cooling costs in the summer!
  • Less environmental impact. Being eco-friendly is becoming more and more important as time goes on and swapping out your fixtures and bulbs for higher efficiency ones is a great way to get ahead. Efficient bulbs consume less power, which helps to reduce your home’s carbon footprint.

LED vs CFL Bulbs

LED bulbs are currently available in many products such as replacements for 40W, 60W, and 75W traditional incandescent bulbs, reflector bulbs often used in recessed fixtures, and small track lights, desk lamps, kitchen undercabinet lighting, and outdoor area lights. They come in a variety of colors, and some are dimmable or offer convenient features such as daylight and motion sensors. LEDs work well indoors and outdoors because of their durability and performance in cold environments. Look for LED products such as pathway lights, step lights, and porch lights for outdoor use. You can also find solar-powered outdoor lighting.

While LEDs are more expensive, they save money because they last a long time and have very low energy use. As with other electronics, prices are expected to come down as more products enter the market.

CFL bulbs, on the other hand, are also available in a range of light colors, including warm (white to yellow) tones that were not as available when first introduced. Some are encased in a cover to further diffuse the light and provide a similar shape to the bulbs you are replacing. If you are looking for a dimmable bulb, check the package to make sure you purchase a CFL with that feature.

Fluorescent bulbs contain a small amount of mercury, and they should always be recycled at the end of their lifespan. Many retailers recycle CFLs for free. See EPA’s website for more information.

Energy Efficient Lighting Upgrades in the DC Metro Area

Interested in gaining the perks of energy-efficient lighting for your home or business? Reach out to the electrical experts at Fab Electric today! We can help you match your needs for ideal efficient lighting solution in your home or workplace. We work on both interior and exterior projects. Our projects include interior and exterior lighting installations, parking lot lights, preventative maintenance and more. At Fab Electric, our specialists have lots of experience, and with our fast, friendly service, you will enjoy electricity safely in your home and cost savings in no time! Call us at (301) 622-6979 to set up an appointment today!

 

 

Why Do Our Light Bulbs Keep Burning Out?

 

A frustrating electrical problem that many people encounter is a light bulb that continuously burns out for no apparent reason. Depending on how long a light is on during the day, most incandescent light bulbs should have a lifespan of about 900 hours (about 4 months), whereas LED lightbulbs are supposed to last 50,000 hours (about 11 years). If you find that your light bulbs keep burning out in a matter of weeks, there might be a bigger problem at play than faulty bulbs.

Reasons for Light Bulbs to Burn Out

There are several factors that contribute towards light bulbs burning out too fast, and there are many solutions that can help your light bulbs last longer.

Some of the reasons that light bulbs burn out immediately include:

Light Bulbs Getting Too Hot

If a light fixture is not insulated properly or a light bulb is the wrong wattage for the fixture, the heat generated by the bulb can cause the filament to burn too hot, causing the bulb to burn out quickly. Make sure that the light bulbs being used match the recommended wattage for a light fixture. If a recessed fixture is going through bulbs quickly, it could be that the insulation in the ceiling is holding the heat against the light too well and the bulbs are overheating.

Vibrating Light Bulbs

If a light fixture is shaking or vibrating, it can shorten the lifespan of light bulb filaments. This is a common occurrence in ceiling fans, garage door openers, and basements. To correct this problem, use rough service or if you are using incandescent lightbulbs, try LED bulbs in these fixtures.

Poor Light Fixture Connection

If a light bulb is screwed into a fixture too tightly it can depress the metal connection tab at the bottom of the socket. This can cause a loose connection that will cause the bulb to flicker, which makes the light bulb burn out quickly. To fix this problem, cut the power to the light fixture and gently pull the tab forward a little bit so that it connects with the bulb. Poor connections can also be caused by a loose wire in the light fixture. If you are unsure about why light bulbs are flickering, call your licensed electrician for more information about how to proceed safely.

High Home Voltage

If the voltage in your home is too high, it can make light bulbs burn out all over the house. If you find that light bulbs are burning out at the same time or one after another, call a licensed electrician, such as Fab Electric, to have the problem solved.

If your light bulbs keep burning out and if nothing seems to solve the problem, or if you have another electrical issue, please contact Fab Electric to ensure that your electrical system is in working order and that your home is safe. Call us today and a certified electric technician will inspect potential circuit board issues, fire hazards, smoke alarm batteries and carbon monoxide detectors. At Fab Electric, our specialists have lots of experience, and with our fast, friendly service, you will enjoy electricity safely in your home and cost savings in no time! Call us at (301) 622-6979 to set up an appointment today!

 

 

Increase Your Home’s Resale Value with Electrical Upgrades

Thinking about selling your home in the future? Many people don’t think of it, but it is wise to consider some home electric upgrades to boost resale value. The benefits go way beyond curb appeal!

By swapping out old appliances, you’ll increase efficiency to slash monthly electric bills. You’ll boost your mood by upgrading light fixtures and better utilizing natural light. At the same time, you can ensure that your home is safe and that everything is in good working order. You might like these upgrades so much that you will decide against moving after all!

Save with energy-efficient upgrades to your kitchen appliances.

Kitchen renovations have long been the solution for people wondering how to increase home value. Installing energy-efficient appliances may be expensive, but the energy savings they offer pay for any additional up-front costs. And don’t forget the visual appeal of new appliances: a new oven or refrigerator gives your kitchen a modern look that is certainly appealing!

Light up your space with smart and energy-efficient lighting.

Although often overlooked as a value-added feature, energy-efficient lighting can increase energy savings and by extension, home value. Home buyers appreciate LED light benefits and pay attention to little details in the house, including whether you’ve installed the best light switches and motion sensors.

You don’t need to replace every light fixture in the home: replacing the five most frequently used fixtures with ENERGY STAR–rated models could save you $75 a year on electricity and will be the fixtures most noticeable to potential buyers.

Invest in new windows to let in natural light and improve energy efficiency.

Retrofitting windows can transform a room by adding more natural light but choose which windows to replace with care as window replacement is expensive. Only replace windows if a room needs more light or if the existing window provides poor insulation. If you choose to replace windows, invest in the most energy-efficient windows possible to help offset installation costs.

Contact Fab Electric for a Professional Inspection

Looking for more ways to make your home more energy efficient to boost resale? A good first step is to ensure that your electrical system is in working order, and that your home can handle new more efficient solutions. Also, above all, it is important to make sure that your home is safe. Call Fab Electric today and a certified electric technician will inspect potential circuit board issues, fire hazards, smoke alarm batteries and carbon monoxide detectors. At Fab Electric, our specialists have lots of experience, and with our fast, friendly service, you will enjoy electricity safely in your home and cost savings in no time! Call us at (301) 622-6979 to set up an appointment today!

 

 

 

 

 

Are Sparking Outlets Dangerous?

 

You’ve probably seen it plenty of times — a small blue spark when you plug in an appliance. Most of the time, this is a normal and harmless event. But it’s worth paying attention to, because some sparks can be early warning signs of dangerous problems.

Why Do Outlets Spark?

Your home’s electrical system is divided into circuits, and some circuits may have multiple outlets along the way. Electrical current runs hot and fast in this continuous loop, and the outlet is the point where an appliance can “hop on”. When this happens, there’s always a split second when the plug and outlet connections are almost touching, and the electrical current can reach across that gap, producing a spark.

Whether you see it or not, this happens every time you plug something in, and it’s completely safe and normal. But there are other types of sparking that are cause for alarm.

What Makes a Bad Spark?

There are four types of outlet sparks that you shouldn’t ignore:

  • Long sparks: A safe spark will come and go in a flash, but one that fizzles and lingers is a sure sign of a problem.
  • Big sparks: If sparks are leaping out of the holes in the outlet cover, chances are they’re not the harmless type.
  • Yellow or white sparks: The benign sparks you see when plugging in an appliance are usually visibly blue.
  • Smelly sparks: If an outlet spark is followed by the smell of smoke or melting plastic, you may have an immediate problem and should immediately shut off the outlet at the circuit panel.

What Causes These Problems?

There are a few reasons why dangerous sparking can occur:

  • Short circuiting: If an outlet’s hot wire is touching its neutral or ground wire, it can cause a short circuit. When this happens, the outlet draws excessive current and produces significant heat, which can melt wire sheaths and even cause a fire. You can shut off the outlet’s circuit breaker and remove the outlet plate to check for visible signs of scorching or melting that would indicate a short circuit.
  • Moisture: There may be a leak within your walls, or perhaps water has splashed in through the outlet cover. But if you have moisture in there, there’s potential for sparking caused by short circuits and other electrical damage.
  • Overloading: The more appliances and devices you have plugged into a single outlet, the greater the potential for sparking. Spread your appliances out responsibly across outlets and circuits.
  • Old outlets: With repeated use over time, the electrical contact points inside your outlets can wear out. In cases of extreme wear, this can result in significant electrical arcing.
  • Improper repairs: If you see sparking in an outlet that was installed or repaired by someone who lacks the required licensing and certifications, you should have the work inspected by a licensed electrician.

Are you Worried About Damage Caused by Sparking Outlets? Contact Fab Electric for a Professional Inspection

Are you seeing troublesome sparking in one or more of the outlets in your home? Unless you’re sure it’s the result of safe, ordinary use, reach out to Fab Electric for a thorough inspection and on-the-spot repairs. At Fab Electric, our specialists have lots of experience, and with our fast, friendly service, you will enjoy electricity safely in your home and cost savings in no time! Call us at (301) 622-6979 to set up an appointment today!

 

 

 

Malfunctioning Appliances Can Cause Electrical Damage

 

When one of your appliances starts showing signs of disrepair, you might think the trouble is confined to that appliance only. But that’s not necessarily true — there are some ways in which a faulty appliance can send surges of electricity into your home’s electrical system, and the resulting damage can range from a tiny bit of wear and tear on other appliances to a destructive electrical fire.

With these consequences in mind, it’s important to discontinue use of an appliance if you suspect there’s a real problem. Seek out a repair professional who can fix the underlying issue and give you the all-clear to plug it in again.

What’s the Worst That Can Happen?

When a fizzling appliance sends a significant burst of electricity into your electrical system, your circuit breaker should trip. If you weren’t expecting this, a tripped circuit breaker may be your earliest sign that something is wrong.

It’s also an important safety mechanism designed to prevent further electrical damage, so you shouldn’t just flip the breaker back on while ignoring the root cause. Doing so will only create more opportunities for electrical damage.

Even with the protection of your circuit breakers, malfunctioning appliances can potentially cause you problems in three ways: surge damage, physical damage and fire damage.

Surge Damage

Chances are that you use a surge protector in conjunction with your home computer, and possibly with your television and other home theater electronics. Perhaps you even have whole-home surge protection installed. This technology protects sensitive microprocessors that can be easily damaged by power surges, which can originate with lightning strikes or power outages.

But surges can also take place internally, and this happens every day — appliances like air conditioners and refrigerators typically use an excess of energy when they initially switch on, sending small surges of power to other appliances on shared circuits. Faulty appliances can sometimes send much larger surges.

When this happens, certain electronics can receive permanent damage in an instant. They may also experience even more damage over time from smaller surges, which can reduce device lifespan.

Physical Damage

Large surges can literally burn some electrical components, such as the delicate connectors in light switches and electrical outlets. When these components are replaced after this type of damage, you can often see the telltale scorch marks and melted plastic.

It takes only a fraction of a second for a flash like this to render a switch or outlet inoperable, and damage can occur even if your circuit breaker trips. You should always consult a licensed electrician, such as Fab Electric, to help you replace damaged components and track down the source of the surge.

Fire Damage

In the worst-case scenario, a malfunctioning appliance will cause an electrical short that sparks a fire. These may be tiny fires that flare out on their own inside metal appliances, but depending on where they occur, they can ignite insulation, wallpaper, curtains, or other materials that may allow them to spread quickly. This is why it’s so important to address appliance failures at the earliest signs of malfunction.

Are you worried about damage caused to your home electrical system by faulty appliances? Contact Fab Electric for a Professional Inspection

The best way to prevent an electrical emergency due to faulty appliances is to have your system professionally inspected. At Fab Electric, our specialists have lots of experience, and with our fast, friendly service, you will enjoy electricity safely in your home and cost savings in no time! Call us at (301) 622-6979 to set up an appointment today!

How to Winter-Proof Your Home Electric

 

Winter time should be reserved for building snowmen, baking cookies, and enjoying all the season has to offer — not worrying about electric emergencies and heating hazards. Luckily, there are things you can do to safety-proof your home electric for winter months.

Prevent Fire Hazards

According to the Electric Safety Foundation, more home fires occur during the winter months than during any other part of the year. Heating equipment is the second leading cause of home fires in the United States. More than 65,000 home fires are attributed to heating equipment each year. These fire result in hundreds of deaths, thousands of injuries and millions of dollars in property damage.

Portable electric space heaters can be a convenient source of supplemental heat for your home in cold weather, but they also increase the risk of fire and electric shock if not used properly. If you plan to use a space heater, purchase a model that shuts off to avoid overheating. Never run your space heater when you aren’t at home, and don’t run it overnight.

Have a Backup Power Plan

Portable generators are commonly used in the winter as a result of storm-induced power outages. But this safety fact might startle you: The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that 50% of all portable generator-related carbon monoxide deaths occur during the winter months (November – February).

A standby generator can safely deliver backup power to your entire home. A portable generator can overload, damaging your expensive electrical equipment. In general, a standby generator can provide enough electricity to resume all normal home functions. It’s important to note that any propane generator runs the risk of engine exhaust and carbon monoxide poisoning. That’s why you should always keep generators outside in a dry, safe, and well-ventilated area.

Another investment consideration is a whole house surge protector to prevent your sensitive devices from downed power line or other electric surge-inducing events. The power surge protector attaches to your home’s main electric panel. This heavy duty surge protector redirects excess electricity to the ground, sparing your appliances and electronics from damage.

Be Winter Storm Savvy

Winter storms can also lead to serious hazards such as downed power lines and flooding. Learn how to spot hazards and educate your family on safety during storms. High winds, lightning, fallen trees and car accidents during a storm could cause a power line to fall down. Downed power lines are considered live and dangerous. If you see one, locate local authorities immediately.

If your property or a portion of it is hit by a hard storm, the electric aftermath can be downright dangerous. Contact us if you spot any of the following signs after a storm:

  • Burning odor or smoke (contact local fire authority)
  • Light switches or outlets not working
  • Humming or buzzing lights
  • Flickering lights
  • Hot ceiling fixtures
  • Visible sparks (contact local fire authority)

Keep the Heat On

While it seems wise to turn your heat all the way down to save on electric, your HVAC system might end up using significantly more energy when you decide to crank up the thermostat. Never turn off the heat when you leave home during the winter. Instead, set the temperature to at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit (or higher if you’ve had problems in the past or live in an area of extreme cold). If you have multiple heat zones, be sure to adjust all thermostats appropriately.

That being said, it can be awful costly to crank up your heat all winter long. By lowering your temperature 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit for at least eight hours daily during cold weather, you can save up to 15% a year on your heating bill. Energy.gov recommends the following settings:

  • 68 degrees Fahrenheit when you’re home
  • 55 degrees Fahrenheit or lower when you’re not home or sleeping

Many thermostats allow you to pre-set temperatures to suit your schedule: at work, when sleeping, or when traveling. This allows you to keep the heat at a consistent temperature, which not only protects your pipes from freezing, but optimizes HVAC efficiency, too!

Contact Fab Electric for a Professional Inspection

The best way to prevent a winter electric emergency is to have your system professionally inspected. A certified electric technician will inspect potential circuit board issues, fire hazards, smoke alarm batteries and carbon monoxide detectors. Luckily, Fab Electric services all of the above — and more. It’s never too late to schedule an electric safety inspection so you can focus on fun instead of fear this winter! At Fab Electric, our specialists have lots of experience, and with our fast, friendly service, you will enjoy electricity safely in your home and cost savings in no time! Call us at (301) 622-6979 to set up an appointment today!

 

A Flickering Light Bulb Could Mean a Lot More Than You Think

 

Do you have a flickering light bulb, and you’re not sure why? As you are likely aware, there are a lot of abnormal electrical issues that can go unnoticed, but a flickering light bulb isn’t one of them. It’s visible, annoying and potentially alarming if you’re not sure what’s causing it. And it shouldn’t be ignored. While the most likely explanations are harmless and easy to fix, a flickering light could also be an early warning sign of dangerous wiring problems.

Start With the Bulb

If you only have one flickering light, your best hope is that there’s simply a problem with the bulb. The problem could be as simple as the bulb being a little off-kilter. Unscrew the bulb and screw it back in carefully. If your bulb was simply making a poor connection, that may fix it.

If you’re using a CFL or fluorescent bulb and the flickering only lasts for a few seconds after the light is turned on, this is completely normal. If you find it jarring, you can always switch to LED bulbs, which are more energy efficient and activate at full luminescence as soon as they’re turned on.

It’s also possible the bulb is burning out or is faulty. Try replacing it with a different bulb. If the new one works fine, it’s likely that the old one was simply due for replacement.

If your flickering light is attached to a dimmer switch, the problem could be that you’re not using a compatible bulb. Not all light bulbs are dimmable, and incompatible bulbs may flicker or even strobe when used with a dimmer switch. Read the packaging carefully when purchasing replacement bulbs for dimmable fixtures.

Process of Elimination

If the flickering continues after troubleshooting the bulb, you should see if you can narrow the source of the problem to a wall outlet, light switch or the light fixture itself. If your flickering light is a hardwired ceiling or wall light, start by investigating the light switch. Does the flickering occur or intensify if you lightly touch the switch? Can you hear a crackling sound or see arcing electricity when you flip the switch? Those are signs your light switch is wearing out and should be replaced.

You can investigate the switch of a plug-in lamp the same way, but you should also try running the lamp in a different electrical outlet. If that solves the problem, the offending outlet should be inspected and likely replaced.

If it’s neither the switch nor the outlet, the problem could be within the wiring of the fixture or lamp itself. Unless it’s an expensive fixture, it may not be cost effective to try to repair it. Consider replacing faulty plug-in lamps or having a licensed electrician replace a hardwired fixture.

Searching for Surges

A power surge in a home’s electrical system is a common cause of lights that flicker or temporarily glow brighter. It doesn’t have to be a major power surge like one from a lightning strike; smaller power surges occur whenever a large appliance starts up.

Try adjusting your thermostat so that you can watch the light at the exact moment your air conditioner turns on. If you see the flicker or brightness right at that moment, it’s safe to assume that everyday power surges are the cause. These surges aren’t a safety concern, but they can cause cumulative damage that can shorten the lifespans of things like light bulbs and electronics.

If the flickering does not correspond with any large appliances starting up, it’s possible that something is causing uneven voltage levels in your electrical system. Fluctuating voltage can damage sensitive electronics and even start electrical fires, so it’s important to have this issue inspected immediately and repaired as needed.

All bulbs go bad eventually. But paying attention to unusual bulb behavior can help you get the jump on electrical problems in your home. If you need help replacing fixtures, investigating power surges, or tackling any other electrical issue, reach out to Fab Electric today. At Fab Electric, our specialists have lots of experience, and with our fast, friendly service, you will enjoy electricity safely in your home and cost savings in no time! Call us at (301) 622-6979 to set up an appointment today!