Tag: electrical maintenance

When You Should Troubleshoot Electrical Problems


Electrical problems of any kind are frustrating, and some are downright scary! Depending on the issue in your home, you could be forced to deal with anything from some temporary darkness to a spark that catches fire. But how are you supposed to know when you should troubleshoot electrical problems as opposed to calling a professional electrician to take a look? Let the experts at Roman Electric help you tell the difference!

We’ll break down the situations when it would be most appropriate to call an electrician. Keep in mind, though, that even the simplest and least-threatening electrical issues can become dangerous in a hurry. If you’re on the fence about a DIY job or unsure about something, when in doubt call a professional.

When Not to Troubleshoot

Because electricity courses through all of our homes and powers such a wide range of appliances and devices, the power output can vary greatly. While it’s generally never a good idea to dive headfirst into electrical troubleshooting, so to speak, you don’t want to attempt it at all when the current is being affected.

Tips for Observing National Electrical Safety Month

Electrical currents can surge – like when lightning strikes your home’s power grid and spikes the power levels – even if it’s not as overwhelming as the surges during a storm. Power spikes can happen suddenly and without warning, so avoid attempting any troubleshooting if the current itself is involved.

That means things like flickering lights, overheated outlets and breakers that trip repeatedly are off-limits. While we can’t list every possible electrical problem you’ll encounter, we want to stress that any time you think you’ve got a current-related problem, you should call an electrician immediately.

When It’s (Sometimes) Okay to Troubleshoot

Although we don’t want to give the green light for you to attempt to troubleshoot electrical problems that don’t fall into the above category, there are a few that are generally viewed as safer to tackle.

If your electrical issue involves a broken physical object, then you’re probably okay to try a fix yourself. If you’re dealing with a loose outlet, a broken light switch or a broken extension cord, then fixing that yourself shouldn’t be a problem.

When to Replace a Light Switch

However, if you begin to fix it and uncover some more serious issues, don’t try and plow through it. Just drop what you’re doing and call someone who has been professionally trained in this area. Even if you’ve gotten halfway through the job, this isn’t the time to try and wing it.

When in Doubt: Call an Expert

If the risk you might encounter while troubleshooting an electrical problem is too great, or if you would just rather let an expert handle it from the get-go, give Roman Electric a call!

Our team has years of experience and a wealth of knowledge to help you out. Even if it turns out to be something small, you’d rather be safe than sorry! Give us a call at 414-369-3798 for the best service in the Milwaukee area!

When to Replace a Light Switch

Light switches are like old friends. You’ve known them for years, so when they don’t act the way they used to, you know something’s wrong. Though most light switch issues are not fire-hazards, it is good practice to address any problems immediately, so there is no risk to your family.

The expert electricians at Roman Electric are here to help you identify the signs of a worn out or defective light switch.

Crackle, Snap, Pop

Unusual sounds coming from your light switch are a tell-tale sign it’s time for replacement. Most of the time the issue lies with a faulty switch. But, a snap, hiss, crackle, or pop when you flip the switch could also mean that live electricity is arcing– a potential fire hazard. Call an electrician to diagnose the issue.

Feeling the Heat

If your light switch or switch plate feels hot, a serious electrical issue and fire hazard could be hiding in the wall. A hot light switch means there is too much voltage traveling through the switch, or that you have a wiring issue.  This rule does not necessarily apply to dimming switches. With a dimmer, feeling a mild heat is normal, so only contact the electrician if the heat is intense.

A Light Delay

Notice a delay between flipping the switch and the light turning on? Chances are, the electrical contacts are wearing out. After years of use, the metal parts inside switches wear out and impede the flow of electricity to light fixtures. Luckily, this is not the sign of a fire hazard, but simply the need for a replacement.

Loosening Up

If your light switch has lost its firm snap, it’s time to replace. The loosening of a switch often occurs concurrently with a delay in a light fixture illuminating. Both symptoms are caused by worn out parts in the switch.

If your light switch is showing any of the above signs, you must replace it at the risk of a fire. But, thanks to advances in the form and function of light switches, there are also plenty of reasons to replace a working switch.

  • Dimmer – Dimmer switches enable you to adjust the level of light in a room.
  • Motion Sensor – Motion sensor features only activate lights when motion is detected in a room and deactivate them without motion. This may help save on energy costs.
  • Time-Delay – Time delay functions cut off power to a light after a certain amount of time has passed.
  • Outlets — If you have a room that could benefit from extra outlets, consider purchasing a light switch with attached outlets.

Not sure when to replace a light switch? Just call Roman Electric!

When confronted with complex wiring, faulty light switches, and potential fire hazards, the best thing you can do is call an electrician. At Roman Electric, we believe in fast, friendly, and effective service. Our team of skilled engineers has been serving the greater Milwaukee area for decades, making us a trusted name in electric, plumbing, and HVAC service. Call us at 414-369-3798 or schedule service on our website.

4 Portable Generator Maintenance Tips

It’s important to be prepared in the case of a power outage by having a portable generator. But simply purchasing one isn’t enough. With blackouts being both anticipated and unexpected, performing regular maintenance on your portable generator is also necessary. When you want to use your portable generator, you want to help ensure it’s operating at full capacity, with no issues preventing power distribution.

So, what are some ways you can help maintain your portable generator? The experts at Roman Electric would like to answer this question for Milwaukee homeowners. Below are 4 portable generator maintenance tips you can perform.

1. Keep Your Portable Generator Clean/Covered When not in Use

When your portable generator is sitting in a room for days on end, it can get pretty dirty. Build-ups of dust, debris, or even mold/moss can accumulate on your portable generator. These contaminants can seep into vital components, possibly making it harder to function. Therefore, you’ll need to keep your portable generator cleaned and protected to help maintain it.

The best way to protect your portable generator from getting dirty is by purchasing a generator cover at your local department store. These covers can shield your portable generator and can come with additional capabilities such as water-resistance or weather proofing. However, they also act as insulation, so take them off before running your generator to avoid overheating.

If you don’t want to purchase a cover for your portable generator, then we recommend checking and cleaning it once a month.

2. Empty Your Portable Generator’s Tank After Use

After your portable generator has done its job, you’ll need to empty its tank into a gas container. Although we recommend you have enough fuel for your generator, you shouldn’t have it stored idle in the fuel tank. This can lead to gum deposits, which is when gas sticks to metal surfaces and chambers of the portable generator. Gum deposits can obstruct its performance.

Therefore, it’s recommended to store your portable generator’s fuel in a separate container after every use.

3. Purchase and Keep Backup Fuel and Filters

Speaking of fuel, you’ll want to ensure you have enough on standby. Power outages may last anywhere from a few hours to several days, so it’s important you have enough fuel to help accommodate. We recommend having enough backup fuel to fully refill your portable generator’s fuel tank. Be sure to also have backup oil and oil filters in case they require a replacement.

4. Monitor Your Portable Generator’s Wattage Capacity

When using your generator, you’ll want to be sure it can handle the voltage you plan on using. Not all portable generators are the same, so you’ll need to check your portable generator’s labeling or manual to determine its wattage rating. There’s usually two of these ratings listed: starting and running.

The starting or maximum rating is how much wattage a generator puts out in very short periods of time. Due to this, starting ratings usually have a higher rating. But overall this rating should be ignored for the most part. Instead, you’ll want to focus on the running or continuous rating. This rating determines the wattage over extensive periods of time, which is what you’ll be needing from a portable generator. Accommodate the running rating with whatever devices you plan on using with your portable generator.

Help give your portable generator that essential boost in performance by following these maintenance steps! And if you would like to upgrade your backup power by installing a whole-home standby generator, contact Roman Electric today! Give us a call at 414-369-3798 for affordable backup generator services.

Related Links:

Fact Sheet: Be Safe When Using A Portable Generator – FEMA

Using Portable Generators Safely – OSHA