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How do I fix the low voltage in my house?

Some of my outlets are not working properly and seem to be underpowered. When I plug my lamp in, the light is dim and flickers. Some appliances won’t turn on at all. I think there might be a problem with the voltage. How should I go about fixing low voltage issues in my outlets?

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Patrick Price · Updated on
Reviewed by Shannon Martin, Licensed Insurance Agent.
Low voltage can be caused by several different things, some of which can be serious safety concerns.
There are a few quick things you can do to try and figure out what is causing the low voltage in your house. Most of the time, you’ll need to hire a trained electrician to safely fix low voltage issues.
Any time you have electrical issues, you should be on the lookout for the possibility of electrical fires. This could be a real danger if you’re having low voltage, depending on what’s causing it. The first thing we’ll need to do is figure out the source of the problem. Here’s what to do:
  • See if the issue only happens when a certain appliance is on. Some high-draw appliances can cause temporary low voltage. If the outlets only act up when your dishwasher is running, for instance, the low voltage is likely a result of power being drawn elsewhere in your house.
  • Check your circuit breaker. If you see that one of the circuits has tripped, that is likely going to be the cause. Also, watch out for any signs of melting or scoring. If you see any, call an electrician immediately.
  • Make sure the issue isn’t with your appliance. Plugin multiple items which you know for certain are in good working order. Do they display the same behavior? If not, you probably just have a broken lamp or frayed power cord.
  • Use a multimeter to look for readings below 120. If you find any, you’ve located the issue and confirmed that it is indeed a case of low voltage.
If you find out that your low voltage is being caused by a high-draw appliance or broken item, you should be able to handle the situation yourself. Replace any broken lamps, cords, lightbulbs, or plan when you’ll use any high-draw appliances.
If it turns out that your issue is caused by anything else, it’s probably time to contact a trained electrician. An electrician can also determine if there is a risk of electrical fire and take action accordingly.
Your electrical systems can be damaged by a few different things, many of which are covered by homeowners’ insurance. Make sure you have the coverage you need and save money by comparing rates and policies with the world’s number 1 insurance app
Jerry
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Jerry partners with more than 50 insurance companies, but our content is independently researched, written, and fact-checked by our team of editors and agents. We aren’t paid for reviews or other content.

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