When to Fix-It-Yourself and When to Call an Electrician

Messing with electrical appliances and components is serious business. Hello, my name is George Tanner. I’m a retired electrician. I can’t even begin to tell you how many horror stories I heard over the years of working as an electrician. People who thought they could quickly fix something in their homes but never should have even tried. Some got hurt and others were lucky. My goal here is to provide you with some guidelines as to what electrical malfunctions are easily fixable by nearly any adult, and what you should never attempt on your own. One thing you are going to hear me stress more than once is that electrical components are not to be taken lightly. We protect our children from them; we also have to protect ourselves. I hope you find this blog to be helpful!

Things To Know About Potentially Harmful Dirty Electricity In The Home


As you make a list of upgrades you want to have done to your home or the house you're about to buy, you may have work on the list for a licensed electrician, such as McDonald Electric. Older houses often can benefit from wiring upgrades and additional outlets. If you're having an electrician do some projects at your place, ask about checking and resolving any points of dirty electricity. Many people have never heard of this problem, but it is becoming increasingly prevalent.

Causes of Dirty Electricity

High-Frequency Voltage Transients

One problem involves a type of electromagnetic field, or EMF, that is characterized by high-frequency voltage transients (HFVTs). The transients result from energy-efficient devices that manipulate electrical current to lower electricity use. Examples of those modern devices include compact fluorescent lamps, plasma TV sets, computers and refrigerators. 

The manipulation causes fluctuating currents that radiate into the house and sometimes back up into utility wiring, thus infiltrating other people's buildings. 

It has always been the case that electrical communications equipment emits EMFs and that EMFs surround all electrical devices and wiring. However, HFVTs are a relatively new phenomenon. 

Older Wiring 

Another issue is caused by the electrical wiring, outlets and switches in older houses that were never meant to handle the high levels of electricity modern homeowners tend to use. Electricity may be clean when it arrives at the home but becomes polluted when moving through overloaded wires.

Excessive electrical use can include products such as microwave ovens, space heaters, hair dryers and curling irons, and numerous computers, TV sets, portable phones and charging devices. 

Potential Side Effects

Some researchers connect HFVTs with cancer and other serious illnesses. For example, a study published in 2008 linked transients from electrical wiring in a school to significantly high cancer rates among teachers. 

More commonly, people associate symptoms such as chronic headaches, digestive issues, insomnia, fatigue and unexplained dizziness with transients and other EMFs in buildings. 

How You Can Manage Dirty Electricity

Electricians measure EMFs with special meters and can install filters to reduce or eliminate HFVTs. You also can buy one of these meters to regularly check levels of EMFs in your home.

An additional possibility is an automatic demand switch that shuts off electrical current to the circuit controlling output to certain parts of the house. That way, you don't need all that power running when you're not home or when you're sleeping. This equipment should only be installed by a licensed electrician. 

If you have several electronic products in your bedroom, remove as many as possible, since you probably spend eight or more hours a day there in a relatively small, enclosed space. 

When you call an electrician for residential service, tell them about your concerns and ask for an evaluation of dirty electricity levels in the house. 


8 April 2015