From boilers to kitchen appliances, electricity and gas are essential in our homes and to our daily lives. This means that when things go wrong it can be anything from a hassle to devastating.
There’s nothing more annoying than a light that keeps flickering and nothing worse than the hot water running out midway through a shower on a cold morning, or your oven refusing to switch on just before a dinner party.
Severe gas and electricity issues may even threaten the value of your property.
In many cases, these issues can be avoided or managed with simple repairs and maintenance. Here’s how to identify and troubleshoot common gas and electricity issues in your home.
Know When to Call a Professional
You don’t necessarily need to take a gas engineer course to solve every gas issue, and you don’t need to be a qualified electrician to troubleshoot many electrical problems around the house. Below we will cover solutions to common gas and electrical problems that most people will be able to address themselves. However, there are times where it is essential to call in a professional, and it is important to know when you can fix the problem yourself and when you need expert help.
If you suspect a gas leak you should always immediately contact the emergency response service of your gas provider. For appliances such as ovens and boilers that are still under warranty, you should contact the manufacturer or the retailer (depending on who provided the warranty). Any repair or maintenance that will threaten your safety, whether related to electricity or gas, should always be handled by a qualified professional. If you are in doubt or feel uncomfortable, call an expert.
Signs and Signals to Watch Out For
One of the most critical signs to watch for in your home is a smell of gas. Your appliances and systems should never emit gas, so anytime you can smell this that means that something is leaking and needs to be immediately addressed by a professional. Note that hearing the gas in your oven is quite normal – some ovens have an audible sound of gas, and some do not. The smell of gas, however, needs to be immediately addressed.
If there is no flame or pilot light in your oven or boiler, this usually means that gas is not being delivered to the unit. This could be a fault in the unit, in the delivery system (such as the gas pipes) or it could be that your gas service has been cut off.
Unusual sounds can also indicate problems with electrical systems and appliances. Any plug or appliance that makes a fizzing or crackling sound should be immediately turned off. Any item that trips the circuit breaker should also be checked in case it is faulty.
Troubleshooting Common Problems
Stove Burner Won’t Light
Having a stove burner that won’t light doesn’t necessarily mean you need to upgrade your kitchen with a new stove. There are several things that may be the cause of the stove burner or burners not lighting, and many of these can be resolved fairly easily.
One common cause for this issue is that the pilot light has gone out: so check that this is still ignited. Another problem that can get in the way of the burner lighting is that the burner portholes are clogged. Check the portholes and clean them if necessary. Finally, if your stove has an electric igniter, make sure that this is connected to the electrical supply and that the circuit breaker hasn’t been tripped.
The Outlet Doesn’t Work
If you have an electrical outlet that doesn’t work there are two main things that may be to blame. Either the electrical supply may not be reaching the outlet, or the outlet itself may be worn out. A worn outlet is usually discoloured or will not be able to hold a plug without it falling out.
Check the circuit breaker to see if it has been tripped, which could be the reason for power not being delivered. If you still cannot identify the issue it is likely to be a wiring problem, meaning it is time to call a qualified electrician.
Propane Heater Pilot Won’t Light
Many homes these days have propane heaters to keep them cosy, and outdoor propane heaters are becoming increasingly popular to offer warmth to outdoor areas. If your propane heater’s pilot light won’t light up the first thing you need to check is that the gas supply to the heater is working correctly. You should also check that the electrical spark is functioning.
If all of this is working properly, the problem is most likely that the dust has accumulated inside the propane heater and stopped the pilot from lighting. To resolve this issue, you need to thoroughly clean the heater. Be sure to turn off the gas supply before cleaning it, and use a small paintbrush or old toothbrush to thoroughly clean the inside of the heater and removing clogged dust.