Electric troubleshooting

 Hey people!  I have a tenant who says that she is hearing a pop sound from inside a wall.  She says that she has had a home theater system "blow out"  despite the fact that it was on a surge protector.  The place was built in 1950.  I will call an electrician on teusday, but I was wondering if anyone has any experience with this kind of problem.  Is this a short?  Could I diagnose it with a receptacle analyzer? ???

Nothing huh? Well I’ll just buy her a fire extingusher and tell her that watching TV is a waste of time.


Do you hear the popping? It is probably not a direct, sustained short. A direct short should pop the circuit breaker (or blow the fuse). Have any circuit breakers popped? I have seen broken outlets do this and in fact had to replace a bad outlet a couple of months ago. If you have the electrical skills, you might take a look at (or replace) the receptacle in question and see if that stops the popping. Also make sure the circuit breaker appears to be in good condition and try turning it on and off a few times. If you have fuses instead of breakers, be absolutely sure that the fuse is properly sized. Tenants often plug too much in, blow the fuse, and simply replace the fuse with a bigger one. This is a BIG fire risk, because the fuse or breaker is sized to protect the wire. Does the popping move when whatever she has plugged in is plugged into a different outlet?

If you’re not proficient with electrical work, then definitely have a qualified electrician look at it.

Good Luck,


I agree with all propertymanager has said. If the system is an older ungrounded sustem you really need to upgrade the entire system. If you have the proper elecritcal system eqiupement then it is possible to trace and even check for load of elecritcal systems in a house. As said before if you do not now elecrtcial systems then wait for a electricain do not chance it. If there are any outlet issues most of the time there will be blackening in the area of the outlet and if the popping is not in a area of an outlet them most likely not that. Then a short or load issue.
THere are older systems like federal pacific and zinco that has had issues with the panel boxes and breakers that will not trip. If you have one of these systems then replace and upgrade and be on the safe side.