signs you need an emergency electrician

Signs You Need to Call an Emergency Electrician

Last Updated: January 3, 2023By

Every year, an estimated 51,000 home electrical fires occur in the United States. They cause over 1,400 injuries and a staggering $1.3 billion in lost and damaged property. Electrical systems, in turn, are the third most common culprit behind these disasters.

All that should be enough to prompt you to learn when to look up “emergency electrician near me” online. That way, you’ll know when you need a pro in the next hour or if it’s okay to have them come in the next day or two.

To that end, we created this emergency electrician hiring guide. Read on to discover the tell-tale signs you need to call and hire one on the dot.

Your Old Electrical Panel Is From FPE

Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) was a company that made electrical panels from the 1950s to the ’80s. It then got sued for faking safety tests for its products and finally went out of business in the late ’80s.

However, at least one million defective FPE electrical panels are still in U.S. homes. Houses built from the ’50s to the ’80s are the likeliest to have these dangerous panels. They’re hazards as they can fail to trip as needed; studies showed their failure rate could be upwards of 60%.

Unfortunately, many Florida homes’ construction dates coincided with FPE still being in business. For instance, of the 174,041 housing units in Tampa, FL, about 47% have been around between 1950 and 1989.

So if your home’s construction dates back to that period, your electrical panel may be from FPE. You’ll know it is if it says “Federal Pacific” or “FPE” on its front panel or “Stab-Lok” on the label inside the door’s cover.

If so, please hire an electrician that provides emergency services without delay. Your panel may be defective, and if it fails to trip, it can cause an electrical fire. Since that can happen anytime, it’s best to be safe and have it replaced ASAP.

Frequent Blackouts Affecting Only Your Home

Your electrical panel’s circuit breakers are safety switches for controlling current. They cut the power flow as soon as they detect anomalies like circuit overloads. When that happens, your home (or parts of it) loses power, hence, the blackouts.

That’s what you call “tripping,” and circuit breakers do so to prevent electrical surges. If they don’t trip (like defective FPE panels), they can cause fires and fry up electronics.

However, breakers that keep tripping also indicate problems with the electrical system. These include dangerous circuit overloads, short circuits, and ground faults. Like malfunctioning panels, they can cause electrical fires too.

Frequent tripping can also cause premature wearing of your circuit breakers. That can make them more prone to failure; they may no longer trip even if they must. They may also refuse to reset after they’ve tripped, leaving you without power.

So if you often experience mini-blackouts at home, it’s time to find and hire the best electrician near you. You may also need to call an emergency electrician if you can’t reset your tripped breakers.

Power Outage After a Thunderstorm

Did you know that Tampa, Florida, experiences at least 85 thunderstorm days yearly? No wonder then that it’s the lightning capital of the U.S.

Unfortunately, lightning strikes can travel through wires and damage everything in their path. After all, each strike contains millions, even up to a billion volts of electricity.

Lightning strikes can cause loss of power by damaging electrical panels and breakers. They can also fry wires, grounding, individual electrical circuits, and appliances.

If you lose power after a lightning strike, please don’t touch anything electrical. You’re at risk of electrocution or electrical burns if you do. Instead, call a licensed emergency electrician as soon as possible.

Acrid Odors or Fishy Smells

An electrical fire can produce an acrid, burning plastic odor. After all, many electrical components consist of plastic polymers. Examples include cable and wire coatings, insulation, outlet covers, and circuit breakers.

A fishy smell can indicate overheating electrical components on the verge of burning. Sometimes, it can signal an electrical fire that has only started.

Unplug all appliances and electronic devices if you smell those weird or foul odors. It’s also best to go to your electrical panel and switch off all its breakers, including the main breaker.

However, before touching the panel, look for burn marks first. Next, listen for hissing or sizzling sounds, which may indicate live electricity. If there’s none, touch its cover to check if it’s warm; if not, you can proceed to switch off the breakers.

Please call an emergency electrician and have them come over immediately. Then, open as many windows and doors as possible to ventilate your home. It’s also best to evacuate everyone, including pets, while you wait for the electrician.

Electrical Shocks and Injuries

Faulty receptacles, frayed or loose wires, and water-damaged outlets can cause electrical shocks. They don’t always cause injuries, but at the very least, they’re often painful.

When electrical shocks cause injuries, the results range from superficial to severe burns. They may even increase one’s likelihood of developing heart problems. They can also lead to neurological and psychological trauma.

So if your electrical outlets have shocked you more than once, please stop using them. It’s also best to turn off the circuit breaker feeding electricity to those outlets. Doing so can protect your household’s other members if they’re unaware of its dangers.

Afterward, call a licensed emergency electrician to inspect and fix the outlets ASAP.

Hire an Emergency Electrician Without Delay

From FPE panels to fishy odors and shocks, all these are signs you need an emergency electrician. So as soon as you notice or experience these symptoms, please don’t delay calling one. The sooner you do, the sooner a professional can come to your and your home’s rescue.

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