Self Diagnosis and Simple Electrical Repairs

  • Light fixtures not working:If the fixture is incandescent, a single lamp or chandelier, shut power off.  Replace the light bulb and try again.  If only one lamp is out on a chandelier, the problem is in the fixture.  Call for service and send us a digital picture so we can bring the right socket.  If a single lamp incandescent fixture is out, then it is the socket, the fixture or power to the fixture.  If you are a weekend warrior and want to save some money, pull the fixture and check for power.  If there is power, then the fixture is bad; replace it.  If there is no power, give us a call, there is a power issue.  Always shut power off.  Do not work on energized equipment.

  • Fluorescent fixture out.  Shut power off, try replacing the lamp.  Turn the power back on; if the fixture does not work, it could be a ballast or power problem.  You must be very careful.  Fluorescent fixtures have ballasts that can boost the voltage as high as 600 volts.  You must turn the power off, otherwise, you could get electrocuted or severely hurt.

  • Power out?  Check your circuit breakers.  If the breakers are not labeled, look for a breaker that looks tripped - different, a little off.  Try to turn it off.  You will have to shut it hard off, then back on. This will reset the power.  If this does not work, give us a call for a serviceman.

  • Air conditioning not working?  Try resetting the circuit breaker (see power out – breaker resetting instructions).  If the breaker is not tripped, then you may have a blown fuse.  Turn your power off to the air conditioner.  It would be a 220 breaker.  If you cannot find your breaker, do not try to replace the fuse without shutting the breaker off.  Give us a call if you have no power.  If you hear a loud buzzing in your compressor (the unit outdoors) or it smells burned at the compressor, then the unit itself is damaged.  Call an HVAC technician.

  • Electrical appliances not working – refrigerator, trash compactor, television, stove, dishwasher, computer, etc.  Try resetting your breaker first.  (see power out – breaker resetting instructions).  If this does not fix the problem, and you do not smell a burned smell at the appliance, chances are the problem is electrical.  Try resetting the breaker and if no success, give us a call for a serviceman.

  • Power at one outlet is off.  My power out is out at only one receptacle in a bedroom.  Check to see if this is a switched outlet.  Often in tract or custom homes, overhead lights are not installed and switched receptacles were used instead.

  • Power is out to 3-4 receptacles in one room, two bedrooms are next to each other.  If your home is circa 1970-1990, stablock, or quick wire receptacles that daisy chain in a parallel series manner may be the problem.  If one of these stab type spring friction connected receptacles loosens, a whole area of a circuit may go out including indoor lights and outdoor lights, depending on where this receptacle is in the circuit.  The electrical code for San Diego allows up to 15 current consuming devices on a lighting circuit assuming they are low power, 1 ½ amps or 180 watts each.  If you have 10 or 12 plugs out and no breaker is tripped, you probably have a stablock feed through problem.  This is a common problem in older homes.  Call us for a serviceman, as this problem cannot be self repaired.

  • Power out to half your house, and all 220s are out.  This would normally mean that your main breaker has tripped from age or overload.  To reset your main, shut all your other breakers off first.  The main breaker will be a double breaker marked “main” or “Service Disconnect”.  It normally is a 100-125 on an older home or town home that has your meter at the house.  For larger homes or homes 1980 or later, the electric services are more likely 200 amps.  Do not try resetting the main breaker with any loads on.  This can be unsafe and cause power surges and damage electronics, burn up computers, modems and create many additional problems.  If you find the main breaker is not tripped, then call SDG&E and see if you have a power outage in your neighborhood.  See if your neighbors’ lights are out.  If not, you may have a localized power issue that is utility related in a new Smart meter or a problem with the meter socket.  SDG&E will come out at no charge and confirm it is not in their utility system.  If it is, it saves you a service call; if not, then give us a call and we can make a repair.

  • Doorbell that doesn't ring? Their are four possible problems that could occur: the chime, the transformer, the button at your front door or bad wiring connections.

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