The electrical service in your home isn’t likely something you spend too much time thinking about. That’s because our modern electrical infrastructure is fairly reliable. Plus, the part of that infrastructure that’s inside your home is quite low-maintenance for the vital work it performs. However, plenty of things can and do go wrong with electrical systems. When they do, it can lead to an electrical issues that you need to address quickly. To make sure you can do that, here are the most common causes and signs of electrical emergencies and what to do about them.
A Power Outage
Since the majority of your home’s devices and appliances depend on electricity to function, any type of power outage definitely qualifies as an emergency. Of course, not all power outages are created equal. A power outage can stem from issues with the power grid that have nothing to do with your home. Things like downed electrical lines or failed transformers can result in a power outage in your home. So, if your home suffers a power outage, the first thing you should do is call your electric company and ask if there’s an area-wide outage to blame. If not, the problem could be inside your home.
To find out if the outage is localized to your home, you’ll need to take a look at your home’s main electrical service panel. If the main circuit breaker has tripped, you shouldn’t touch it right away. First, try and remember what devices or appliances you had running before the outage. It’s possible that you simply overloaded your main breaker. If you think that’s the case, unplug the appliances you believe caused the problem, and then reset the main breaker. If it trips again, call Absolute Services for help right away.
A Buzzing Electrical Panel
Your home’s main electrical panel has a big responsibility. It has to handle the transmission of electricity throughout your home and protect its wiring from damage related to overloads. When it’s working well, it should sit silently on the wall doing its job. So, if you start to hear any noises like buzzing, humming, or crackling from your electrical panel, it qualifies as an emergency.
It can mean that one or more of the circuit breakers in the panel have failed. A failed breaker can’t protect your home’s wiring from overvoltages and can lead to further damage if you ignore it. So, you should call the electricians at Absolute Services immediately if you start hearing any sounds coming from your electrical panel.
An Electrical Panel That’s Hot to the Touch
Odd sounds aren’t the only sign that your main electrical panel needs professional attention. If your panel ever becomes hot to the touch, you’ll need to consult an electrician right away. Under normal circumstances, your home’s electrical panel might feel warm. That’s a result of electrical resistance in the circuit breakers generating heat. Therefore, the more electricity you’re using at any given time, the warmer the panel should feel.
In most cases, though, your electrical panel’s front shouldn’t ever get much hotter than about 90 degrees Fahrenheit. If your panel is hot enough that it causes you pain — however slight — when you touch it, it’s too hot. This is a potential sign of a faulty panel, an overload, or a malfunctioning breaker. All of those qualify as electrical emergencies, so you should address them right away.
A Burnt Outlet
If your home has modern, three-pronged grounded outlets, you should know that they’re quite durable and safe. However, it is possible to damage an outlet if you plug too many power-hungry devices into it at the same time. That can lead to an overload that might cause the outlet to burn. This can leave some telltale scorch marks on the outlet that should warn you that something’s amiss.
If you notice such marks on your outlets, you should stop using them immediately. Failing to do so could lead to damage to the devices you plug in as well as the wiring in your walls that powers the outlet in question. Instead, you should call Absolute Services to have a qualified electrician investigate the source of the trouble and replace the outlet.
If you’re ever sitting in a room in your home in the evening and you notice your lights dimming for a moment or two, it could be a sign of an electrical emergency. If your lights dim at the same time that a large appliance like your home’s HVAC or electric stove powers on, you’re probably safe. At worst, you might need to consider an electrical service upgrade to make sure all of the electrical devices in your home have the power they require.
However, if your lights dim periodically and there’s no obvious reason for it, it could mean there’s a wiring issue in your home. That would qualify as an emergency because degraded wires represent a fire hazard. In that case, you should call an electrician to find and fix the problem immediately.
Although you may not think of it as an electrical emergency, flooding that happens almost anywhere in your home can turn into one quickly. That’s because water and electricity are a dangerous combination. The good news is that the current electrical codes require GFCI outlets in the parts of your home where floods are most likely to happen. Those outlets can detect a short circuit — like you’d get if the outlet gets wet — within milliseconds and cut the power.
However, not every home has GFCI outlets where you’d find them in any newly constructed home. So, if your home doesn’t have them in the kitchen, bathrooms, or any other areas with plumbing fixtures, don’t ignore them. It’s a good idea to have Absolute Services upgrade those outlets to ones that offer GFCI protection so you won’t have to worry about a flood turning into an electrical emergency.
Downed Electrical Cables
Electrical emergencies don’t only happen inside your home. It’s also possible for them to happen elsewhere on your property, especially wherever there are overhead power lines. The most common among these are downed power lines. Depending on the purpose of the lines running above your property, you can see downed lines without it interrupting power to your home.
However, downed power lines are unquestionably an emergency, even if they’re not directly affecting your home. If you ever see downed power lines, you should refrain from touching or even approaching them. Instead, get a safe distance away and call your local electric company so they can send a crew to handle the problem.
Your Local Emergency Electricians
If you live in Central Kentucky, including Elizabethtown, Louisville, or Lexington, Absolute Services is your go-to electrician. Our professional electricians can respond to and solve your electrical issues quickly and can handle your home’s other electrical services needed too. Plus, we offer complete HVAC, plumbing, and garage door services as well. With a history of service excellence dating back to 2008, you won’t find a better home services provider anywhere in the area. Are you wondering more about our emergency service, estimates, or membership plans? Find out more here!
If you have an electrical emergency in Central Kentucky, call the team at Absolute Services right away!