What is an Electrical Emergency?

The CDC and other authorities are recommending that minimize contact with others as much as possible. Part of that is inviting as few people into your home as possible, but sometimes you really do need to have an electrician come to your home. This guide will help you decide if it is worth the calculated risk of social contact — even though we practice disciplined infection control and social distancing when in your home — to address your issue before a serious problem occurs.

Power Outages

Power outages are most often due to a failure of the electrical service. With everyone staying home and many people working from home, there is a lot more electricity being consumed. In another month or two, air conditioners will add to the load. However, some power outages are an issue with your household’s electrical system.

What to Do

Check with neighbors to see if it is just your home or the whole block. If it is isolated to your home, try to reset your circuit breakers.

Who to Call

If the rest of the neighborhood is also without power, you need to contact the electric company. However, if it is isolated to your home you will need to immediately call an electrician. Shut off power at the source and turn off all appliances, outlets, and lights.

Electrical Fire

Electrical fires are most often caused by a faulty electrical system, although they can also be caused by faulty appliances. An electrical fire is extremely dangerous. Even if you get the fire out, you need to take immediate action.

What to Do

You’ll need to take specific steps in the case of an electrical fire, and you’ll need to do them quickly. As a reminder, your home should have several working smoke detectors and at least one fire extinguisher, just for these occasions. Take these steps, in this order:

Call 911

Let them know what happened and the current situation. If anyone was injured, make sure you let the operator know so that they will also send medical personnel. If it is safe to remain in your home, continue with these steps:

An electrical fire is extremely dangerous. Even if you get the fire out, you need to take immediate action.
Cut the Power Supply
It is not enough to flip the breaker that the electrical problem is on. You absolutely must turn off power at the source, by shutting off power to the entire home at the circuit breaker box.

Put Out the Fire
You will need to use a fire extinguisher to put out the fire. Do not try to use anything else! You cannot put out an electrical fire the same way you would other common fires in the home. If you cannot get the fire out with a fire extinguisher, vacate your home to a safe distance.

Call an Electrician
Do not turn your power back on after the fire is out. You should immediately call a professional electrician to come inspect your electrical system, find the problem, and make appropriate repairs.

Burnt Outlet

If an outlet becomes very hot, catches fire, or looks brown or black, there is a problem with that circuit. If not repaired right away, this can lead to a serious electrical fire and more expensive repairs.

What to Do

Immediately turn off the circuit at the breaker box. Unplug everything from the outlet after the power to the outlet is off.

Who to Call

Unless the outlet catches fire, you don’t need to call any authorities for this type of emergency. Contact an electrician right away so that repairs can be made.

Electric Shocks

Electric shocks can be extremely dangerous. When outlets aren’t checked, plugs are damaged, or wires are frayed, it can cause one to come into contact with electricity. You can also shock yourself if you change a bulb or do other minor electrical chores without turning power off to the room.

What to Do

Do not touch the person who was shocked. Call 911 immediately for fast emergency medical service. Shut off power at the circuit breaker to prevent further hazards.

Who to Call

As soon as you are able you need to call an expert electrician to come inspect and repair your electrical system. Of course, your health and the health of your loved ones come first.

Fallen Power Lines

Fallen power lines don’t happen often, but they are very dangerous. They should be reported immediately.

What to Do

Stay at least 40 feet away from the downed power line. Do not touch any objects or trees that touch the power line.

Who to Call

Contact your local authorities and electric company. You do not need to call an electrician.

Short Circuits and Circuit Breaker Failure

Your circuit breaker box protects your circuits from overloading, as well as protecting against short circuits. Short circuits happen when an electrical current takes the wrong path. Both of these are signs of serious electrical problems.
You may also experience some failure from the circuit breaker box itself. If you have breakers that trip frequently, it is a sign that you are using more electricity than your box can handle. You may need an upgrade.

What to Do

Shut off power to your home at the source, usually at the circuit breaker box for safety. Short circuits and breakers tripping frequently are signs that there may be something wrong with your wiring. Cutting off power to the home will prevent potential electrical hazards.

Who to Call

As long as the short circuit does not cause shock or fire, you don’t need to call the authorities. Call an electrician right away to have your electrical system inspected and repaired.

Some minor electrical issues happen on occasion. Sometimes an appliance trips a breaker.

Continuous Electrical or Appliance Problem

Some minor electrical issues happen on occasion. Sometimes an appliance trips a breaker. But when an appliance trips the breaker almost every time, it is a sign that there is something wrong.

What to Do

Unplug the appliance and turn the breaker back on. If the breaker trips again, it is an electrical problem. If the breaker doesn’t flip, there is a problem with the appliance.

Who to Call

Call your electrician first. Let them know what is going on, and what you learned from troubleshooting. They may tell you to contact appliance repair. They may also come inspect your electrical system to make sure it can handle the load. You may need an electrical system upgrade.

Other Electrical Problems That Shouldn’t Be Put Off

Although the following electrical problems are not true emergencies, they shouldn’t be put off. There are a few electrical issues that can be a sign of a serious problem. In order to keep your household safe, you will need to make sure that your wiring, circuits, and breaker box are in good working order with an electrical inspection.

Flickering Lights

If you just have one flickering light, the problem is likely with the bulb or light fixture. However, if you have flickering lights all over your home, there’s a poor connection somewhere in the circuit. This can lead to sparking, overheating, and fire.

Dead Outlets

Sometimes dead outlets just mean that there is no active circuit to that area. If you have an outlet that was dead when you moved in, it may not pose a threat. However, if an outlet suddenly goes dead in your home, it could be a sign that the connections or wires are damaged. Shut off power to the outlet immediately.

Frequently Tripping Breakers

If your breakers flip frequently it is a sign that you are using more electricity than your electrical system is able to handle. You might consider upgrading to energy efficient appliances. If this doesn’t decrease the load enough, you might need an electrical upgrade.

We Are Available for Emergency Service!

We value your health and safety, and the health and safety of our technicians. We practice social distancing and wear masks while in your home. If you have an electrical emergency, we are here to assist you. Call us if you need help.

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