Most common types of electrical faults and how to fix them

It is something that can happen. Suddenly an electrical fault leaves us without electricity for a while, and it seems as though the world has come to a complete halt. We are going to list the most common electrical faults and, most importantly, what to do about them. 

An electrical fault is a major problem because we depend on electricity for so many things in our daily lives, but it doesn't always have to be serious or take a long time to fix. As we are not professional electricians and there may be no need to call them, it is good to have some basic ideas to find out where the problem may lie.

 

What electrical fault could leave me without electricity?

  • A power surge. This is something we all know. At home we have a maximum contracted electrical power. When this power is exceeded, there is an increase in the electrical voltage, the fuses are triggered, the power supply is no longer sufficient and it is cut off. This happens when we plug in more electrical appliances at the same time than we should to do everything at the same time, or if we switch on electrical appliances with a higher power. The ICP (Power Control Switch) will be down.
  • A fault in electric boilers. These are very common faults, which cause the differential switch in the electrical panel to trip, cutting off the electricity supply. One of the most common faults is due to water coming into contact with the heating element.
  • Problems with distribution cables. This is due to the network cables deteriorating or ageing. These cables transport electricity from the point of generation to the points of consumption.
  • Loss of insulation. Once again, the deterioration of the materials is the cause of this electrical fault, which is also quite common. In this case it is the current-insulating materials, which no longer protect the electrical installation as they should. The cause is ageing or lack of maintenance, and can often occur in older appliances. A sign of this is the famous spark that can occur when touching a plug or an electrical appliance.
  • Short circuit. This is a strong and unexpected increase in the intensity of the electric current, which can cause fires or affect the installation. This can be caused by an electrical storm, damaged wiring or overheating in a multiple socket if several things are plugged in.
  • Network electrical fault. In this case the fault is general, and can be due to many causes beyond our control, such as bad weather or a traffic accident. You have to be patient and wait for the technicians to find a solution.
  • Scheduled outages. This is not an electrical fault per se, but a power cut for a specific period of time, controlled by the company, to improve the service or to make necessary adjustments. Normally they will let us know about it.
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How to fix each electrical fault

A power surge is easy to fix. You will need to switch off or unplug some of the electrical appliances with the highest consumption, turn down the circuit breakers and wait a few seconds before switching them on again, from right to left, with the last one being the main switch. If, after doing this, the power has not returned, you should contact a qualified electrician who will check everything properly. Moreover, if the electricity comes back but the ICP trips, often the logical thing to do is to increase the contracted power.

In the event of a short circuit or faults in the electrical system or wiring, you should call a technician as soon as possible to prevent further damage. We have said it many times before, but an electrical fault can lead to a house fire. The professional who visits us will have to check the electrical installation, to see if there is a need to change a cable, several cables, or the whole network. You can also check the appliance that you suspect may have tripped the fuses. Any of these actions are complex and require electrical knowledge, so don't take any chances.

A technician's visit has its cost: travel, labour, and parts. Not to mention that the rate depends on the day and the time of day. It is important to consider contracting a service such as OKLuz Assist, with access to interesting bonuses for these repairs:

  • If there is an emergency in the electrical installation, a professional will come to your home in less than three hours.
  • Travel and the first three hours of labour are free of charge.
  • Unlimited number of repairs to the home's electrical installation.
  • Service available every day of the year and at all hours: 900 85 86 85.
  • Includes one repair per year of a white goods appliance (washing machine, tumble dryer, fridge, freezer, dishwasher, extractor hood, oven, ceramic hob or electric cooker) and two 'electrical handyman' services, for operations such as changing sockets, switches or installing light fittings.
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