Home Electrical Diagnostic Tree

Step-by-Step Tech Support for your Household Electrical System

bare tree This diagnostic tree for home electrical problems assumes little special knowledge or tools. Realize that it cannot address every possibility. For instance, if someone recently connected something the wrong way, this tree will not be as helpful as Connections or a personalized consultation with an electrician.

TO START, select which ONE of the following best describes your problem:
  1. More than one thing doesn't work and it doesn't seem to be from a tripped circuit breaker. (If this is so, as an alternative to entering the Tree here, you could try the flowchart for diagnosing outages.)
  2. Things are working now but in the past have gone out and later come back on, on their own.
  3. A circuit breaker has tripped and won't reset.
  4. A reset button (on a ground-fault outlet) has popped out and won't reset.
  5. Lights blink or flicker at times. But compare #6 in this list.
  6. Lights strangely dim down for a while or stay brightened -- for no reason or in response to unrelated appliances.
  7. Only one thing doesn't work (or one set of lights from a switch).
  8. Electric heater(s) are not working or not controllable.
  9. Someone experienced a shock.

If none of these choices apply, or if going through this diagnostic tree does not uncover the source of your problem, try other parts of my website, or contact an electrician in your area. If you have a feeling you are overlooking a very simple solution, do a quick reality check at Am I being dense?.

For help troubleshooting Christmas lights, Christmas tree lights, Xmas lights, and holiday lights, go to Terry Ritter's page.

"With your diagnostic tree, we found the source and fixed it in 10 minutes after spending hours yesterday trying to figure out which outlet was the culprit." -Pat and Bill

©2005-2020 Laurence Dimock