Causes And Concerns About Brownouts

Posted on: 15 June 2017

You might be familiar with an electrical blackout, but have you also heard of a "brownout?" Brownouts are basically where the electrical current is reduced, rather than totally cut off. When it happens, appliances will stop working and lights will dim, but some electricity will still be available in smaller amounts. While some brownouts are beyond your control, most of them could indicate that you have a potentially serious problem in your home. Here are three common reasons why brownouts happen and what you can do to prevent them:

Short in your home's electrical system

If you've noticed lights flickering or dim in only one part of the home on a regular basis, then it's possible you have a short in that area's circuit. At first, the problem may be intermittent, but as time passes, it will become more frequent. Shorts can be anywhere in the wiring, including at the electrical outlet. Depending on how your house is wired, the short that's affecting an outlet at one end of the house may actually be on the other side of the house. An experienced electrician will be able to track down the source of the problem. Be aware that shorts are dangerous and could cause fires, so don't wait to have this problem fixed.

Your home's wiring is outdated

If you have an older home, sometimes new appliances will overload the circuit can cause a brownout. You will notice this when you see your lights dim or flicker each time you turn on and off certain appliances or devices. If the lights only flicker for a second or two, then you don't have to worry. However, if the current drops for longer periods, such as the entire time the appliance is being used, then you may want to think about rewiring your home. This is especially true if you're blowing fuses often. Be aware that power drains and surges like this can affect your modern electronics such as your phone or computer, so if you have an older wiring system, be sure to take precautions.

External factors

Sometimes, there are things you can't control that could cause brownouts. Electrical storms can cause brownouts or even temporary power outages. During these storms, reduce your use of appliances until the danger has passed. Another thing you can't control is what your utility company does. Occasionally, if there is a strain on the electrical grid, utility companies will reduce the supply to certain buildings or areas. Fortunately, for both these causes, there's no need to be concerned about a specific problem in your home.

Brownouts are something you should always be aware of because they are often an indication of your home's wiring health. When dealing with these issues, it's best to talk to an electrician about tracking down the problem and fixing the wiring. That way, you can prevent something more serious in the future.

Contact companies that offer electrical repair for more information and assistance.