Electrical Wire Connection Problems and Solutions

Electrical Wire Connection Problems and Solutions

If you are searching for electrical wire connection problems and solutions, this post should help you find a solution to your problem.

After years of experience as an electrician, a poor electrical connection is a common sight. There are poor connections caused from loose wire nuts, crimped connection, and other times it may be no fault to the installer. There have been problems caused by defective materials, while other connection problems occur by the one trying to make a connection, property owners.

An issue with electrical connections are commonly a simple loose connection, but it could result in electrical fires within the property. There are situations where the connection itself is fine, and the problem is with a loose terminal. This is also a dangerous issue that can result in fire without an immediate fix.

Other connection problems can exist under circuit breaker terminals from being loose. When a circuit breaker connection is made, it is important to ensure the proper amount of wire insulation is stripped. This allows the bare wire to be positioned under terminal screws correctly. It is common for insulation not to be removed fully, and screwing over insulation is a big mistake.

Additionally, you should check the electrical service panel for any neutral wire connections. These wires should have a proper connection to the buss bar located under the service panel. If the neutral wires do not have a proper connection, it can result in similar situations like a hot wire. Make sure the wire is stripped and positioned properly in the neutral bar slot(s).

You want to be sure wire connections are tight. To do this, you may test by pulling the wire after making the connection. If it comes out, it was not tight enough.

Electrical Wire Connection Problems and Solutions

The following is a list for common problems with wire connections, and how you can properly fix them. When you start tackling DIY projects, be prepared to encounter many of the following problems.

We’re here to assist you in correcting problems with electrical wire connections.

Time Required: Under 1 Hour (each)

Difficulty Level: Average

Problem 1. Electrical wires held by electrical tape

When coming across this as an electrician, it’s a cringe worthy moment. This is a frequent sight, where there was no wire nut which was able to properly hold the connections. Having wires twisted and taped is one thing, though still not properly, but untwisting and taping wires is a huge fire hazard.

Solution

Turn off the power, remove the tape, clean the wire, twist the wires together, and then twist a wire nut over the wires. If the wire ends are damaged, and the wires are long enough to leave around 6 inches of wire in the box, then cut and strip the wires to make a clean splice. Twist the wires together and then add a wire nut to make a secure connection.” [1]

Problem 2. Multiple wires under single screw

If you find multiple wires attached under a single receptacle screw, or a single wire positioned under screws on either side, this should be corrected.

Solution

First, turn off power and remove black wires. You’ll twist the wires together, put on the wire nut and add a pigtail wire on the receptacle screw.

Follow the same steps for white wires, adding 6in. of white wire on the existing white wires, twist wires and position a wire nut before connecting a white pigtail wire on a neutral terminal to make a proper connection.

Problem 3. Exposed wire which may short-out

When an attached wire is not wrapped correctly (clockwise) around the screw, and has too much insulation stripped it leaves bare wire exposed, this can result in a short. Although, the wire may not be stripped enough, leaving too much insulation, preventing the screw to properly tighten.

Solution

Ensure the insulation is stripped back enough to expose the bare wire, but not enough to leave it exposed after making the connection. Bending the bare wire in half, make the shape of a circle and wrap the screw clockwise. At this stage, ensure there is no insulation under the screw, bare copper wire only. Tighten the terminal screw to make a proper connection.

Problem 4. Wind Causing Light Flickering

Lights begin to flicker when its windy outside because the wires are frayed and causes a short in the electrical system whenever the wind moves the cables.

Solution

Replacing the whether head should solve the flickering light problem and make it so your cables don’t move whenever the wind blows or you can “Contact the electric utility, which may replace the weatherhead at no charge” [2]

Problem 4. Aluminum Wiring

Aluminum wiring was originally used back in the 60’s and 70’s as a substitute for copper wiring, which is no longer standard practice. This is not a code violation since it is grandfathered in but has a danger level attached to it because the aluminum wires can corrode when coming into contact with copper. Connections will begin to loosen, leading to fires and arching.

Solution

Retrofit a dielectric wire nut approved for aluminum wire (a pair sells for less than $1) onto each copper/aluminum connection in light fixtures. These nuts have a special grease that stops corrosion while maintaining conductivity. Make sure any replacement switches and receptacles are labeled AL-compatible.” [3]

Materials & Tools Required

  • Wire strippers
  • Razor knife
  • Electrical wire
  • Safety glasses
  • Screw drivers
  • Wire nut

Conclusion

If you can safely repair your electrical problems yourself, feel free to do so but keep in mind, electrical work is very dangerous and should usually be left to a professional electrician or utility company worker.

Cited Sources

  1. “Electrical Wire Connection Problems and Solutions – Lammon Electric LLC.” Lammon Electric LLC., 22 June 2017, lammonelectric.com/electrical-wire-connection-problems-solutions/
  2. “10 Wiring Problems Solved.” This Old House, 7 Jan. 2018, www.thisoldhouse.com/how-to/10-wiring-problems-solved
  3. “10 Electrical Wiring Problems Solved!” Hardcore Electric, Denver Colorado, 12 Apr. 2014, www.hardcore-electric.com/electrical-wiring-problems/
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