An electrical outlet with smoke coming out of the top prong

What is an Electrical Emergency?

Time to Call an Electrician

When you don’t have in-depth knowledge of electrical work, it can be tough to discern what counts as a typical problem versus an emergency. Sure, if there’s a fire or sparking outlet, you know it’s serious — but electrical emergencies aren’t always obvious.

If you think your electrical system isn’t working correctly, start by cutting the power. This will give you some time to assess the situation and relay any issues that you find to an electrician.

Here’s how to know when you should pick up the phone and call your local electrician.

Electrical Fire

If there is a live fire in your home, call 911 immediately.

If you are able, put out the fire yourself with a fire extinguisher. Don’t turn the power back on until an electrical professional says it’s safe.

Once the fire is out, call an electrician to figure out what caused the fire. Fires can come from multiple sources, but the source of an electrical fire should be taken care of right away. Electrical current, if not flowing properly, can create a dangerous situation.

They will likely recommend upgrades to your electrical panel, wiring, or power supply to improve safety.

Burnt/Smoking Outlet

A short circuit is when an electrical point is exposed to power with low or no resistance. This full power, which would normally be regulated before moving to your plugged-in device, is unimpeded.

The current is hot and can cause a burning smell or show signs of char on your outlet or electrical panel. You’ll see black around the panel or even smoke coming out of the outlet. This should not be ignored, as it indicates an overload of power that can be dangerous and lead to a fire.

This result on the outlet means the circuit breaker is not automatically tripping. Turn the switch yourself to cut the power and contact an electrician to determine the right solution.

Unexpected Power Outage

When the power goes out, either in your entire home or in a portion, it’s time to do some problem-solving. First, if there’s been a recent storm, that is likely the source of the outage, and you should connect with your power supply company for updates on when the power will be restored.

If there hasn’t been a storm, still check with your power company to see any other regional issues. It may be your whole block out due to construction, an animal may have damaged wires, or there may have been equipment failure.

If your electrical company is not reporting any regional outages, there is likely a problem within your home. Make sure your power company knows about the outage, then call an electrician to investigate.

Remember, outages are not just an inconvenience. They could leave you without heat or AC, which can get uncomfortable and even be a health hazard for some. It could also spoil food in your fridge or medicine that is temperature-controlled.

Noisy Breaker Box

Your breaker is a key component in making your home electrical system work, as well as keeping your home protected from too much electrical current. When the panel is making noise, it is likely due to a circuit that has failed to trip. Circuits trip when they are overloaded with power, and when the breaker fails, it could be dangerous.

Call in a local electrician to figure out why the breaker isn’t working properly.

Here When You Need Us

Sylvester Electric, Inc. is the premier local electrical company for northeastern Massachusetts. Keep our number handy for when an electrical emergency occurs in your home: (978) 910-0021.