How to Address Electrical Emergencies in Your Home

January 4, 2022
Electrical Emergency Steps in Seattle, WA

Electrical systems can last between 25 and 40 years. But during its lifetime, you may experience multiple faults. If you encounter electrical emergencies, timely action can prevent electrocution and fires. But you need to identify the issue before it can trigger hazards. Here are the top five emergencies you should look out for in your home.

What to Do When There Is a Power Outage

You may experience a power outage in your Seattle home due to several reasons. Extreme weather characterized by storms is often responsible for most electrical interruptions. Lighting tends to affect power lines which may disrupt the supply of electricity.

Trees blowing in the wind can touch or fall on power lines. The grid has a cut-off circuit that prevents fires and other hazards when trees are in contact with the cables. Other events may include earthquakes or automobiles colliding with the power line.

When there is a power outage, you can call the power company to determine if the problem is with the grid. Sometimes, appliances can cause power interruptions. Also, connectors and switches are defective and need replacements.

It is worth noting that you can turn back the power when the breaker trips. But if it keeps tripping, it is better to turn off the electrical circuit from the mains. You can call Brennan Electric certified electricians in Seattle to fix your electrical system and prevent hazards.

An Overloaded Electrical System

If you have noticed the circuit breaker keeps tripping, the most probable culprit is usually an overloaded circuit. Circuit overloading is when the demands from your appliances exceed the supply from the electrical system.

Other signs of circuit overloading may include buzzing sounds from the outlets. You may also notice the lights flickering when you plug any electrical appliance into an outlet.

Circuit overloading is an emergency that has far-reaching consequences. In the absence of the circuit breaker, the wiring in your home will overheat and melt the insulation. It may start electrical arching and even fire in extreme cases.

To address overloading, start by identifying the circuits that cause the breaker to trip. Sometimes, using an appliance on the wrong outlet can lead to overloading. Remove the equipment before turning on the power supply. The issue could also be with your electrical system.

You can use a voltage tester to check the power supply from all the outlets. Consider replacing power-hungry equipment or bulbs with energy-efficient alternatives. For example, you can replace incandescent bulbs with LED lights. If you are unsure, it is always advisable to call a certified electrician to troubleshoot the circuit.

An Electric Shock Emergency

One of the dangers of defective systems is electric shocks. Wiring faults can cause arching and a shock when you touch the outlet.

When someone in your home experiences a shock, they may seem stuck and unable to move. Usually, the stiffness is due to the muscles contracting from the current going through the body. Avoid touching a victim of electric shock as the current will also go through you.

However, you can switch off the power from the main panel. That way, you’ll avoid exposing yourself to the electric current. If you cannot turn off the power, you can use a dry wooden or PVC rod to move the victim from the site. Also, pay attention when working around the circuit, as there may be water that can increase your chances of electrocution.

If it’s only the two of you in the house, you should call emergency services. People exposed to electric shock will need immediate attention to avoid complications. Before emergency services arrive, you can administer first aid by dressing their wounds or performing CPR if unconscious.

Addressing Fallen Power lines

A fallen power line is another emergency that can have far-reaching implications for your home. They can cause electrical fires, shocks, and the destruction of property.

If you spot fallen lines near your home, you should remain at least 40 feet away from the line. Take note of any metals or wires that may transmit the current and injure people or animals. If someone is in contact with puddles of water or metallic fences, it can lead to severe complications or death.

Also, avoid driving under the fallen lines or dangling wires. The electrical current on the grid is significant enough to cause electrocution even when a few feet away. Call for emergency services if someone is electrocuted. Be sure to report to your local power company so that they can rectify the issue to prevent more hazards.

Dealing With Electrical Fires

Out of the 24,000 residential fires annually, electrical faults account for 6.3% of cases, according to the Fire Administration. Defective outlets, light fixtures, and outdated wiring are the leading factors that increase the risk of fires.

Whether the fire starts from a faulty appliance or an overloaded circuit, you should avoid using water. Water conducts electricity and can increase your risk of electrocution.

Ideally, you can use a category C fire extinguisher to put out the fire. But if you don’t have one, you can prevent the spread of the fire by covering it with a blanket to limit oxygen. You can only use a class A fire extinguisher if you are sure the electrical supply is turned off.

Call the Seattle Fire Department immediately for assistance. If you don’t have the knowledge or experience of working with a fire extinguisher, stay away from the area. It is better to wait for the fire emergency crew rather than placing yourself or your property at risk.

How to Prevent Electrical Emergencies

Taking steps to prevent an electrical emergency is always safer and more affordable in the long term. Brennan Electric electricians recommend scheduling an inspection every three to five years for the safety of your Seattle home.

An inspection involves testing the electrical system to ensure it is current with industry standards and local regulations. Some areas of your house, such as the bathroom and kitchen, may have non-existent or faulty GFCI outlets. GFCI (Ground Fault Interrupter Circuit) outlets prevent electrocution in rooms where water may mix with electrical wiring.

Your home could also have outdated wiring, main panel, or ungrounded outlets. An update is often necessary to prevent electrical fires or equipment malfunctions. The only way to be sure is to schedule an inspection.

When to Call a Professional

A faulty electrical system can be dangerous. If you experience any electrical emergencies, consider calling a certified electrician. Burnt out or buzzing outlets, flickering lights, and an overloaded circuit should be left for experienced professionals.

Unless you are a trained electrician, avoid fixing electrical faults. Besides the danger of electrocution, you also risk damaging the valuables in your home.

A certified electrician can spot problems that you may overlook. If there has been a power interruption, a professional can offer lasting solutions. You can get insights on how to choose and install a backup system.

Brennan Electric is an electrical service with three decades of industry experience in Seattle. Our crew takes pride in providing dependable services to our clients. You can rely on us for generators, surge protection, circuit troubleshooting, and hot water tank services, amongst others. We are BBB accredited with A+ ratings. Our team is a recipient of the Angie’s List Super Service Award for 13 consecutive years. Call our award-winning crew today for exceptional services for your home.

Brennan Electric icon