Category: Troubleshooting

Why Are My Lights Flickering?

how to fix flickering lights

While flickering lights are usually a bad sign in horror movies, they’re usually not as bad in the real world. However, flickering lights can most definitely be a nuisance and prolonged exposure can lead to strain on your eyes and even headaches. To prevent this from happening, the pros at Roman Electric are here to tell you a little more about why your lights are flickering and what you can do to fix them!

1. Loose Bulb

Before you panic and call an electrician, make sure the bulb has been tightened properly in the socket. Bulbs tend to loosen overtime, so this could most likely be the reason for the flickering. If you have incandescent bulbs, you might want to wear gloves before you touch them as they radiate heat. Turn off the lights and a wait a few minutes, then carefully tighten the bulb without using excess force.

2. Old Bulb

Sometimes bulbs flicker a lot before they completely wear out and stop working. If tightening the bulb does not work, you might want to replace the old bulb with a new one. If the flickering persists after this, you might be dealing with a different problem.

3. Type of Switch or Bulb

Sometimes the problem could be with the type of bulb or switch you have. Often, homeowners will replace the bulbs with new ones or different types without replacing the switch. So, you could potentially have a standard CFL or incandescent bulb hooked up to an older dimmer switch, which could be causing problems such as flickering. To fix this problem, you might want to change the switch—if you have experience dealing with electrical problems, you can do this on your own. However, there is no harm in calling an electrician either, as they can safely do the job for you.

4. Fluctuating Voltage

You might have noticed that sometimes, turning on a heavier appliance with high wattage can cause the lights to flicker or dim for a second. If this flickering is persistent long after you have turned on the appliance, you might be dealing with a voltage fluctuation problem. Your home’s electricity supply should be between 115 and 125 volts. By using a device called a voltmeter, you can check your home’s voltage supply—if the number is higher than 125 volts, you have figured out the reason for the flickering. To fix this, consider getting 130-volt bulbs and consult an electrician.

5. Loose Wiring

Check your fixtures, bulbs and outlets for any loose or worn-out wiring. If you notice any wires are loose or old, call an electrician immediately. Loose wiring can not only cause flickering lights but electric fires, which are far more dangerous to you and your family.

Fix Flickering Lights with Roman Electric!

We hope this guide on how you can fix flickering lights was helpful. If you want to learn more about how you can fix the lights, fixtures and wiring in your home, get in touch with the pros at Roman Electric! Call us today at 414-369-3798 or schedule an appointment online!

How to Read Your Electric Bill

Every month, we receive that piece of paper in the mail that none of us ever like to see. When the energy bill arrives, we hold our breath while we open it. Is it going to be ridiculously high, or is it more manageable this month? We’re not going to get into the most effective strategies for lowering your energy usage, at least not in this blog.

For this one, we’re going to take a step back and approach it from a more general angle. Before you figure out how to lower your energy bill, it’s important that you learn to better understand it in the first place! Here’s how to do just that, from the energy pros at Roman Electric!

The Important Parts

When you glance at your energy bill, there are a handful of numbers or items that should be the most important. These are the ones you’ll obviously want to look at every month – and unless you just pay the bill without looking, you already take a glance at these numbers anyway.

  • Amount Due: Of course! This is the number most everyone cares about more than anything. How much you’re paying is a good thing to know. It’ll usually be easily discernible and printed clearly.
  • Account Number: Assuming your energy provider does business like the majority of the other ones in America do, you’ll see your account number printed somewhere on the bill. This gives you a handy reference point when you’ve got a complaint or question you need to bring up with your provider.
  • kWh Used: This number is how the utility company determines how much to charge you. The electricity meter shows a certain number indicating how many kilowatt-hours you used, and they multiply that number by your rate to determine the bill.

Other Items on the Bill

That just scratches the surface. There are plenty of other numbers and labels on the bill, but they aren’t as important in terms of figuring out how much energy you’re using and how much you’re paying.

  • Charge Breakdown: The bill will probably itemize the different components of your total amount due. This will be made up of things like a generation charge (which will be the bulk of your bill), distribution charge and a transmission charge. Although most of your energy is spent generating the electricity, it costs money to get it to travel down the wires and to your home.
  • Graph showing your energy profile: It helps to know how much energy you’ve been using compared to recent months. Most energy providers will include a bar graph, or something similar, displaying your usage from month-to-month to help you keep your consumption in check.

 

The energy bill is never any fun, but it’s smart to be an educated consumer so you know what you’re getting each month. Of course, it’s always probably smartest to call your energy provider if you’ve got specific questions.

Here at Roman Electric, though, we pride ourselves on helping our Milwaukee neighbors create the most energy-efficient homes around. Get in touch with us, and we’ll work with you to implement solutions that are tailored specifically for you and your family.

Call us at 414-369-3798 for more information!

4 Common Thermostat Problems

No one looks forward to the day their thermostat stops working properly. But it’s important to identify when your thermostat runs into a problem. Doing so allows you to resolve the situation as quickly as possible, which helps to restore your HVAC system back to a working condition.

We recommend learning about some common thermostat problems to give you a better understanding of what to look out for. Roman Electric has detailed 4 of them below for your Milwaukee home.

1. Thermostat is Too Dirty

When a thermostat gets too dirty, it’s function can be affected. Build ups of dust and dirt can prevent certain parts from working properly. This can lead to incorrect thermostat readings, as the dust can obstruct the thermostat’s measuring tools.

To avoid dust affecting your thermostat, you’ll want to give it the occasional cleaning. This can be done by removing the thermostat’s plastic casing using a screwdriver, and gently scrubbing the insides with a dry cotton swab.

2. Thermostat has Faulty Wiring

Thermostats rely on wiring to receive the required power to function. And when a thermostat doesn’t have suitable wiring or connections, its performance can be severely affected. Faulty wiring is a known thermostat problem. But it’s causes aren’t always straightforward.

For example, faulty wiring can happen if the wiring wasn’t installed correctly. Having an inexperienced person install your thermostat can lead to loose and frayed wiring, which can cause issues with your thermostat as well as lead to a safety risk. Additionally, faulty wiring can be the result of a thermostat being old.

3. Thermostat Reading Temperatures from Other Sources

While the thermostat might be working correctly, it may be reading the incorrect temperatures. For example, if sunlight is directly hitting the thermostat, it may mess with its temperature readings. This can also happen if the thermostat is close to a heat source or window ac unit. Therefore, you’ll want to be sure your thermostat is installed in an area away from any other item that can affect temperature.

4. Thermostat Reaches the End of Its Lifespan

Eventually, your thermostat will reach the end of its working lifespan. When this happen, it can cause a variety of problems. And while you may think repairs are the cheaper solution – you may be paying more for repairs rather than getting a replacement. Therefore, you’ll want to know some of the signs that can indicate your thermostat need a replacement. We have listed them below:

  • Thermostat Always Reading Incorrect Temperatures
  • Thermostat Requires Constant and Reoccurring Repairs
  • Thermostat Begins Sparking or Has Burnt Smell
  • Thermostat is Over 10 Years Old

If your thermostat begins running into any of these issues, we recommend consulting with Roman Electric to determine if your thermostat is reaching the end of its lifespan.

Better maintain your thermostat by knowing of these common thermostat problems! And if you requires any services to be done on your thermostat, contact Roman Electric for our HVAC services. Call us at 414-369-3798 to have Milwaukee’s leading technicians service your home.

Here’s Why Your Outlet Doesn’t Work

Having an electrical outlet suddenly stop working is never a pleasant experience. But don’t assume the worst just yet. Some causes of a dead outlet are quite simple, while others do require the help of an electrical professional. Roman Electric would like to go over these causes for Wisconsin homeowners.

Below are some possible reasons why your outlet doesn’t work.

Your Circuit Breaker Tripped

Circuit breakers trip when unintended electrical currents are detected. If your outlet has short circuited or been overloaded, then your circuit breaker may have shut off its power. Check other nearby outlets to see if they are working. If they also are dead, then go to your circuit breaker.

When a circuit breaker has tripped, the lever will usually flip to the middle or off position. Before flipping the circuit breaker back on, first unplug and remove any appliances connected to the dead outlets. Too many plugged-in appliances could’ve cause the circuit breaker to trip. Additionally, damaged appliances can short out easily, also tripping your circuit breaker. Unplug and examine your appliances before switching the circuit breaker back on.

Your Outlet Needs New Wiring

Wiring is electricity’s main mode of transportation. If wiring is damaged or old, electricity cannot travel properly. An outlet can stop working due to faulty wiring. Besides the outlet refusing to work, other signs of faulty wiring are as follows:

  • Constant Buzzing Sound from the Outlet
  • Burnt Marks and Smell from the Outlet
  • Flickering Lights
  • Outlet Feels Hot to the Touch
  • Your Electrical System is Old

If you are experiencing any of these issues, contact Roman Electric for further diagnosis.

Your Outlet is a GFCI

GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) outlets are designed to reduce the severity of electrical shock. When electrical current follows an unintended path, the GFCI outlet will quickly shut off power. What this means is that if your outlet is GFCI, then it may have shut off due to a short circuit.

How do you tell if your outlet is a GFCI? The National Electric Code (NEC) requires GFCI outlets bathrooms, kitchens, outdoors, and laundry rooms. A GFCI outlet is easily identified by the test and reset buttons located in between the two plugs. If your dead outlet happens to be a GFCI, then the solution may be to simply press the reset button.

Before you press the reset button, first unplug every appliance from the outlet. Check your appliance for any issues that could’ve caused a short circuit, such as noticeable cracks or damaged cords. Check your GFCI outlet for any moisture or damages as well.

For more info on GFCIs and the NEC, click here.

Your Outlet Has a Bad Connection

Your outlet may be subject to a bad connection, which could’ve caused it to stop working. Outlets are installed using a box, and this box could run into issues such as a loose connection or damaged screws. If an outlet’s box can’t provide enough power, the outlet will cease to work.

Symptoms of a bad connection are almost identical to bad wiring. What also remains similar is the difficulty to diagnose the issue without the help of an electrical professional. If you fear your outlet does not have a good connection, contact Roman Electric for further diagnosis.

After reviewing the possible reasons why your outlet doesn’t work, you may be ready to consult with an electrical professional. Roman Electric will help troubleshoot any issue you have regarding a dead outlet, as well as provide the services to repair or replace your outlet. Give us a call at 414-369-3798 to schedule an appointment with Milwaukee’s trusted electrical experts.