Homeowners' Resource for Electrical Troubleshooting:
Solve Electrical Problems Yourself!
Does your home have:
- Electrical outlets not working or ...
- An outage from a circuit breaker tripping or ...
- Several lights that blink strangely or ...
- Receptacles dead because a tripping GFCI won't reset...
- Or three-way switches having trouble?
For diagnosis of home electrical problems, ever wish you had a house wiring diagram, or reliable online advice?... I am Laurence (aka Larry) Dimock, The Circuit Detective, a master electrician in Washington state who concentrated on troubleshooting home electrical problems. I used to offer email and phone advice from here, but now that I've retired, you'll have to rely on this did-it-myself website to fix your problem, as over 13 million have since 2004. They say the site is exceptional. U.S. and Canada only. Disclaimer
Decide how you will use this site:
"I may have a
Common problem that might be answered quickly in a
FAQs format, or with guidance from a
"I need to understand my electrical system better first"... Then go study the Background page and diagrams.
"I know enough about breakers, outlets, and circuits, but I need tips on troubleshooting"... Then go to the Nutshell or full Troubleshooting page for step-by-step help to find the cause of your problem, and check the MENU above.
"I have no malfunction, just a question about a wiring project"... Check this Circuit diagram or this Connections tutorial or Connections catalog or Home electrical wiring.
"I guess I need to find a local electrician to come to my home." Good luck.
How will you find this site again if your outage takes out your computer circuit...
... or if the internet is out, or if I don't keep the site running? Bookmarking won't help in those cases.
Lucky for you, I poured most of its material into a book, Circuit Down , carried by Lulu, which also offers it as a $5 PDF ebook. Get both!
SLEUTH: I had fun being in this 7-minute info-video drama. Maybe you will enjoy it. It will be of special interest if you have an outage that doesn't seem to be from a tripped breaker or GFCI. More videos by Larry.
Featured Tip: Is electrical troubleshooting for a home simple? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. If you read this site thoroughly, you will realize that more is involved than other sites suggest. And you may wonder if it is more than you want to deal with. But if your careful reading brings you increased understanding, then you are more equipped to deal with the possibilities. - Detective Larry ... More Tips
"One of the finest resources on the web" -Alan
"You provide information in such an easy to follow form" - Bill
"Yours is the only one where a novice can get real help" -Donna
"The most comprehensive site on practical residential electrical I have found anywhere" -ISP
"Best site I've found on electrical circuits problems" -Gaetan
The concept is Home Electrical Troubleshooting:
- "Home" includes any residence: a house, condominium, apartment, or mobile home.
- "Electrical" means the alternating-current house wiring system, from power company equipment, through circuit breakers or fuses, to plug-in outlets, electrical switches, and some of the appliances and light fixtures operated by this current.
- "Troubleshooting" here means the process of investigating and fixing home electrical problems; the site is mainly not concerned with upgrading or preventive maintenance.