What is an Electrical Emergency?


Electricity keeps your home running in more ways than you can count. It's a powerful force. It can also be dangerous in an emergency. What constitutes an electrical emergency? What problems require you to call an electrician immediately to help? Here are a few to look out for.

A Power Outage

This is the most common reason why people call electricians. If the power goes out, first call your electric company to find out if it's the whole area, or just you. If it's everyone, they'll hopefully have an estimate for when you can expect your power back. If it's just you, you'll need to call an electrician to determine what the problem is in your electrical system, and how to get your power back.

A Burnt or Smoking Outlet

Have you ever seen scorch marks around an electrical outlet? That's a sign that it's overloaded. Don't touch it, as it could be hot, but do call an electrician to fix it. Sometimes, you might even see smoke coming out of the outlet. This is even more dangerous. Not only is the outlet overloaded, it could be about to start an electrical fire. In this case, before you call the electrician, call 911.

Circuit Breaker Problems

You can handle some minor electrical problems yourself at the breaker box. However, if the circuit breaker itself is having problems, you'll need to call a professional. The breaker's job is to prevent electrical current overload. When too many appliances are running at once, the breaker will shut off until you reset it.

However, if there are problems with your circuit breaker, that could mean it's unable to do its job properly. If it can't stop electrical overloads, that could lead to a fire in your home.

How do you know your circuit breaker is having problems? There could be humming or other noises coming from the breaker box. This indicates the breaker is trying to shut off the circuit but can't. Shut off all your appliances, then call an electrician immediately.

Burning Smell

The smell of burning electrical wires is very distinctive, like melting plastic. This is because the wires are overheating, melting the insulation around them. Shut off the circuit at the breaker and call your electrician. If you can tell them where the smell is coming from, it's helpful, but the important thing is to get someone out to fix it, before it causes a fire.


Whether it's due to a hurricane or a broken pipe, flooding in your home is bad news for your electrical system. If water gets near any of your electrical outlets, it's time to call an electrician immediately. Turn off the circuits at the breaker, and don't let your family or pets anywhere near the wet area, as electricity conducts through water.

Downed Power Lines

This is another common problem after a hurricane. Whether it's on the ground or stuck in tree branches, a downed power line should always result in an emergency call to your power company and to 911. Don't try to touch it, drive over it, or get anywhere near it. Just follow the power company's instructions and wait for them to come deal with it.

If you encounter these or any other electrical emergencies in your home, contact us at David Gray Electric immediately. We'll be there to help you through any electrical problem.

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