7 Electrical Emergencies You Need to Know

electrical emergencies

For some, an electrical emergency is a power outage that prevents the use of electronic devices for an extended period of time. For others, an electrical emergency is an outlet that emits a burning odor or wires that produce smoke. Regardless of what you classify as an electrical emergency, you should know exactly what to look for in order to identify serious electrical threats as well as those that are minor in nature. These emergencies have the potential to damage your home and your valuables.  An electrical emergency can even threaten your well-being as well as the safety of your loved ones.

The Dangers of Electrical Emergencies

A surprising number of people do not know what an electrical emergency really is. As a result, these individuals are incapable of properly pinpointing the telltale signs of such emergencies. This lack of knowledge jeopardizes human lives, the well-being of pets, the condition of property and so much more. As an example, an individual who is unaware of the threat posed by antiquated home wiring or another electrical flaw is at a higher risk for personal injury. His lack of awareness could lead to fire, the inhalation of smoke or an electrical shock. Fire and smoke also have the potential to ruin an individual’s prized possessions, including his living space.

In the worst case scenario, ignorance of electrical emergencies can result in death. Though most electrical emergencies do not end in the death of the homeowner or apartment tenant, financial losses stemming from such emergencies are more common than most assume. It isn’t just the damage caused to one’s possessions that inflicts financial harm. Repairs to the home and appliances are also quite costly. Physical injury caused by an electrical emergency often requires expensive medical treatment that has the potential to bankrupt the victim.

The Many Benefits of Understanding What Constitutes an Electrical Emergency

If you have an idea as to what sort of conditions and happenings represent an electrical emergency, you will drastically reduce the odds of injury and property damage. Those who can identify electrical emergencies will spend significantly less on home repairs and the replacement of valuables damaged or ruined by smoke, fire or other threats. Timing is of the essence. If you spot any questionable circumstances relating to electricity, appliances or other devices in your home, do not hesitate to reach out to an electrician for professional assistance.

Electrical Emergencies Everyone Should be Aware Of: Burning Odors

If you notice a burning odor coming from your home’s cords, walls, appliances or other devices that use electricity, don’t shrug it off! Though some brand new appliances emit odd odors after initially being powered up, this odor should not last. Any strange smell stemming from an outlet should be tended to right away. Unplug all devices connected to the outlet. Make everyone in the home aware of the problematic outlet. Refrain from using the outlet until a savvy electrician has inspected it. If you notice a burning odor from your breaker panel or fuse box, reach out to an electrician right away for professional assistance. When in doubt, err on the safe side so you don’t put your home, your loved ones and your valuables in harm’s way.

A hot Service Panel

Service panels should never reach the point where they are warm to the touch. There are extremely strong currents moving through your home’s wires. If your home has an antiquated wiring system or one with tangles, the currents pulsing through them are likely quite robust. If you notice changes to your electric panel like browning, warmth, frayed wiring or dim/flickering lights, there is an issue that requires the attention of an experienced electrician.

Arcing Wires

If wires are live and arcing, they have the potential to create life-threatening fires that consume everything you’ve worked so hard to obtain. According to the National Fire Protection Association, electrical distribution issues and lighting equipment fallibilities are responsible for more than 20,000 home structure fires and hundreds of civilian deaths each year. Arcing wires often induce sparks and melting that lead to such a fire. Do not underestimate the devastating potential of this seemingly minor issue.

Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide poisoning is a silent and invisible killer. If your home’s appliances aren’t properly installed or malfunction in some manner, they can leak carbon monoxide and put your life in danger. Physical signs of carbon monoxide poisoning include blurred vision, shortness of breath, dizziness, headaches, vomiting, nausea and general weakness. Make sure that a carbon monoxide detector is installed in each of your home’s hallways, especially those by bedrooms. Check and replace these detectors’ batteries as appropriate.

Wiring or Devices Emitting Smoke

Any sign of smoke in your home should be cause for concern. If smoke is generated by wiring or devices, stop what you are doing, take stock of the problem and obtain assistance from a knowledgeable electrician. The presence of such smoke is a warning sign that your home’s conditions are ripe for an electrical fire. This is not the type of problem the average layman can solve on his own. Contact a trusted electrician to diagnose the issue and perform the appropriate repair or replacement.

Unexplained Power Outages

Mysterious power outages are a clue that there is something wrong with your home’s electrical system. If your home’s wiring is decades old, it might be time for a replacement. Perhaps you are overburdening the system with energy-eating appliances and other devices. Do not assume that your neighbors are also experiencing similar power outages. Ask around to find out if others in your neighborhood endure similar problems. If their power remains on when yours goes out, it is time to seek assistance from a trustworthy electrician. 

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