How to Check Electrical Wiring

Updated February 21, 2017

Fuses that keep blowing, or electrical equipment that doesn't operate properly, ultimately makes you think there's something wrong with the electrical wiring in your home. It can be a rather tedious task checking your wiring, but if you do it systematically, it's likely your wiring checks will lead you to the problem so you can get it fixed.

Identify where the problem is, as best as possible, so you can check the appropriate electrical wiring. For example, if the fuse in the fuse box that protects your lighting circuit keeps blowing or tripping off, you know to check the wiring between the fuse and the lighting.

Turn off and, if appropriate, unplug all the electrical items linked to the electrical wiring you have identified that you need to check. For example, if it's the lighting circuit, ensure all the switches are turned off, or if it's the wall socket circuit, unplug the electrical equipment.

Replace or re-trip the fuse in the fuse box for the circuit you're checking. Pull out the fuse cover from the fuse box and put in a new fuse, or reset the trip switch. It's unlikely to blow or trip again, because the switches are off, or the plug's disconnected so there's not a complete circuit. However, if the fuse does blow, or the trip turns off the power again, there's a short in the circuit and unless you are electrically qualified, it's best to get a professional to check the wiring.

Turn on the light, or plug in the electrical appliance nearest the fuse you just replaced or re-tripped. If the fuse blows or trips, then you know the problem is the light switch, light fitting or electrical appliance. If the fuse doesn't blow, then mark the item down as working and move onto the next closest item and repeat the check.

Continue to check the next nearest switch, light or appliance to the fuse box until you've checked every link in the circuit. You are gradually moving farther away from the fuse box each time. Make a note of each item that works correctly, so you don't repeat the check on the same item. If you find an item or switch that makes the fuse blow, turn it off, make a note of it and continue checking the rest of the circuit; there may be more than one electrical wiring problem.

Look at your notes that tell you which part of the electrical wiring is causing the problem. You've now identified one or more areas that cause the fuse to blow so you need to concentrate on checking those specific areas in more detail.

Check if it's the appliance or plug socket that's causing the problem, if you're checking wall sockets. Plug in a different appliance, if the fuse blows, you know it's the plug socket, if it doesn't, then it's the appliance and your wiring is fine. If you're checking your lighting circuit, remove the light bulb that links to the switch that causes the fuse to blow. Turn on the switch, if the fuse blows, it's the switch unit and if it doesn't blow, it's the light unit.


Checking for electrical wiring issues helps to prevent against electrical fire and other similar hazards.

Things You'll Need

  • Replacement fuses
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About the Author

James Stevens has been writing articles for market research companies in the U.K. since 1990. He has written various country profiles for inclusion in comprehensive market reports including Vision One Research and Investzoom Market Research. Stevens holds a General Certificate of Education from Chelmsford College of Further Education.