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Electrical sockets or appliances that don’t work can be a real headache. But before getting in touch with your nearest electrician, you may be able to find the fault yourself with a little bit of problem solving logic.

Here with some advice on how to identify common electrical faults is Instrotech, an authorised distributor of electrical and environmental test equipment.

The importance of safety

Before you start working with electrical sockets or appliances, it is imperative to isolate the circuit and then double-check its dead. If in doubt, or where required by law, you should also consult a competent person who is registered with an electrical self-certification scheme.

The safety precautions you should perform include:

  • Switching off the power at the consumer unit/fuse box.
  • Isolating the circuit you will be working on by removing the fuse
  • Switching off and if possible, locking the breaker
  • Sticking a note on the unit to tell others you are working on it
  • Checking the circuit is dead with a socket or voltage tester

Electrical Tsting

Common electrical faults

  • An electrical appliance doesn’t work

First of all, try plugging it in to another socket. If it works, the original socket might be faulty and need replacing. If it still doesn’t work, try a different power circuit, such as on another floor. If it works, you might have a dead circuit.

  1. If the appliance doesn’t work in a socket you know is functioning correctly, open up the plug, check the flex connections, and replace the fuse with another of the same rating.
  2. If the appliance still doesn’t work after these steps, it may have an internal fault, which usually requires the attention of a professional.
  • A circuit is dead
  1. Turn off the lights and unplug all appliances on the circuit. Turn off the main isolating switch and then repair the circuit fuse or reset the circuit breaker/RCD. Turn the main switch back on.
  2. To find out which item is causing the fuse to blow or circuit breaker to trip, switch on each light and plug in every appliance. Once you locate the item, isolate the circuit again, open up the plug, check the flex connections, and replace the fuse with another of the same rating.
  3. If you still encounter a problem, the fault may be because of the fixed wiring, which requires the assistance of a qualified electrician.

A wall or ceiling light doesn’t work

  1. Check if other lights on the circuit are working. If so, turn off the light at the switch and replace the bulb. If not, you may have a dead circuit.
  2. If changing the bulb doesn’t work, turn off the power and check the cable connections at the light. You may need to strip back the cores and remake the connections, ensuring the terminal screws are tight. You can check the condition of the flex with a continuity tester at the same time too.
  3. If this doesn’t solve the problem, turn the power off again, remove the switch cover, and check the connections. If loose, remake them. If fine, replace the switch. Call an electrician if none of the above works.

For more help and advice regarding the tools and procedures that are necessary to easily identify the most common of electrical faults, contact Instrotech today for free friendly advice. They have all the tools and advice that you could possible require, all securely stowed under one roof together!

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