We experience many wire connection problems at home that may result from amateur fittings or simply from passage of time. They can also get loosened over time. And most of the time, it is not feasible to call a professional electrician for small issues due to lack of availability or excessive charges. However, there are some issues you can correct by yourself by following a proper process as well as necessary precautions.
So, below mentioned are some common problems noticed in wire connections and their solutions.
- A flashlight
- Utility Knife
- Eye Protection
- Wire Strippers
- Wire Connectors (wire nuts)
- Electrical wire in various gauge
Loose Wire Connections at Switches and Outlets:
This is the most common problem in wire disconnections and thus, the first one to suspect. You may notice a buzzing sound or a spark from that switch or outlet. To solve this problem:
- Firstly, switch off the power at the suspected outlet.
- Remove the cover plate and use your flashlight to check inside the screw terminals.
- If you think they are loose, carefully tighten them.
This should fix your problem. Also, if you see pass-through wire connections inside in which there is the usage of wire nuts or any other connector, make sure they are tight. Loose connectors also commonly contribute to wire disconnections.
Another point to note is that if your wire connections are made via push-in fittings, you should remove them and reconnect the wires to the terminals. This is because these fittings are bound to fail.
Electrical Tape Used in Wire Connections:
Another common but big mistake is electrical wires joined with electrical tape. If you witness the same at your home, you should replace the tape with a wire nut or other safe connector. To solve this problem:
- Turn off the power.
- Remove the tape and clean the wires.
- Make sure the length of the exposed wire required is showing.
- Now, join the wires with a wire nut or a wire connector.
For most wire connectors, the length of the exposed wire required is about 3/4th of an inch. However, if you see wire ends damaged, cut them off and then strip the required length of exposed wire.
One Screw Terminal Bearing Two or More Wires: A potential fire hazard is having two or more wires connected under one screw terminal. It is a violation of the code as well. To solve this problem:
- Turn off the power.
- Now, remove the two wires from the terminal.
- Cut a 6-inch pigtail wire (a wire that connects one end of a screw terminal on a device and the other joins the circuit wires) of one color.
- Then strip the required insulation from each end of it (mostly 3/4th of an inch).
- Link one end to the two wires using a connector.
- Connect the other end to the screw terminal under which two wires were held before.
By following these steps, you create a bridge that connects the screw terminal to both the wires. And this solves another random wire connection problem that you can solve on your own!
You might often see too much-exposed wire at a terminal or wire nut connection. The uncovered area must be enough to wrap fully around the screw terminal but it should not fall out from the screw. There are chances of the wire getting shot if it touches other wires or metal. To solve this problem:
- Shut off the power.
- Disconnect the wires.
- Now cut off the excess wire if the exposed area is larger than required or strip off the insulation if the exposed area is smaller than required.
- Now connect the wires again to the terminal or wire nut.
- Make sure they are tightly connected.
A point to remember is that the wires should drape around the screw terminals clockwise. If they are in reverse, they can easily get loose.
For very small exposed areas in the middle of a wire, you can use electrical tape to seal those areas.
Wire disconnections or accidents arise due to mistakes, carelessness, or low-quality material used. We advise you to not compromise in this domain and use the best material available since the opposite can pose as serious hazards to your safety. A common mistake is using power strips with fewer allowed amps. This may result in it getting shot or even a fire. We recommend you use 20 amp power strip for maximum safety.
Above mentioned information covers the common problems in wire connections and tools and ways to correct them yourself. However, we recommend strongly consulting a professional electrician if at any point you feel stuck during the process or if you feel there is something you can’t do on your own. It is better to get the work done properly by professionals than doing it yourself at the cost of your safety.
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