How to tell if an electrical outlet or switch is on the fritz

Outlets and switches are something we easily take for granted. We use them multiple times a day, even thousands of times each year, but they do not last forever. Some signs of something wrong with your outlet or light switch are obvious, like sparks or popping coming from the receptacle. Others are more subtle, but still, need the attention of an electrician. Faulty, worn, or damaged electrical components can cause a major safety hazard in your home if left unrepaired.

A & E Electrical Solutions in Calgary share how to tell and what to do when one of these parts of your home’s electrical system is on the fritz.

Light switches

When a light goes out, it’s usually just a burnt-out bulb. If you’ve changed the bulb in the fixture and it still won’t work, it could be an issue with the light switch. Some tell-tale signs something is wrong with the light switch are:

– It sometimes turns on and sometimes doesn’t.
– Flickering or dimming when you turn the light on and off.
– Sparking coming from the switch.
– Popping, buzzing, or clicking sounds coming from the switch.
– The switch is warm to the touch.
– There are noticeable burn or scorch marks on the faceplate.

If you see any of these warning signs, it means the switch needs to be replaced or repaired. Burning, sparking, or noisy switches should be turned off and not used until a certified electrician can come to take a look for you. Continuing to use the faulty switch could result in injury or a fire.


The warning signs that something is wrong with your outlet are similar to light switches. One thing that can happen to outlets over time is that they can become loose. If you’ve noticed the faceplate is no longer flush with the wall, and the outlet moves in and out, or side to side, when you’re plugging something in, it needs to be repaired by an electricians. Other signs something is wrong with your outlets are:

– Burning or scorch marks.
– Sparking when things are plugged and unplugged.
– Cracks and chips on the outside of the outlet.
– The plug of your appliances or devices falls out easily.
– It won’t charge your devices.
– A burning smell or visible smoke coming from the outlet.
– Lights and other devices receive flickering power when plugged into a certain outlet.

Again, if you have outlets that are acting up with these warning signs, call a reputable electrician right away.

Electricians in Calgary

A & E Electrical solutions offer the full range of residential and commercial electrical services including wiring, installations, luxury upgrades, repairs, and maintenance. If you need electrical repair or are planning a new construction project or renovation, trust the professionals at A & E Electrical Solutions.

Connect with them today!

Electrical installation is done by A & E Electrical Solutions

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