A phone call in the middle of the night is scary. The first thought is usually, who died? But if you have a business like I do, those middle of the night calls are answered by an answering machine or a service. If you are a homeowner who is scared that your house is going to catch fire, you need to take note.
One homeowner though his house was going to catch on fire at 3:00 AM.
If the homeowner was afraid that his house was going to burn down, then he could turn off his main breaker. His power would only be between his house and the utility company, not inside his house.
If you smell something burning, turn off the main breaker and call the fire department. The fire department will call the power company.
If your lights are going on and off, call your utility company and ask them to send a service representative to your house. That’s faster than calling out an electrician.
After arriving at this customers’ house, I went through the electrical problems he was having, such as lights not working, central air conditioning not working, etc. After looking around, I took off his panel cover and tested the voltage on the primary side of the meter. The voltage was inadequate. I then called the power company and asked permission to enter the meter and to send out a service representative.
Would this particular electrical emergency have caused a fire? No it would not. But because this customer was having brown outs, it would have ruined his appliances and electronic equipment – like his refrigerator, TV, central air conditioner and other electronic equipment. Brown outs are when your utility company sends you less than the power that’s necessary to run appliances. That problem of partial power is on their end.
Electrical Emergency: Power Outages
There may be a situation where the electrician will have the equipment to fix a problem. But if it’s going to be daylight in a few hours, why call an electrician at 3:00 AM? I recommend you shut off your main breaker and call an electrician at daylight.
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If you have a short, it’s not a problem that something in the meter will be burning. It’s probably that the meter socket is not making contact with the other side. Through the load it is making it burn: so take the load off and it won’t do it anymore. If you’re worried, turn off the main breaker.
Electrical Emergency: Homeowners
Here are 3 steps you’ll need to know if you think you have a major problem:
- call the fire department first
- call the power company
- call an electrician that you know
Even though an electrical company may have 24 hour emergency service their response time is not going to be like the fire department that is on standby 24 hours a day. When you call an electrician, you’ll probably find them sleeping even if they are on call. But by the time they get the call, return the call, and travel time to get to your location, it may be too late.
If you don’t think it’s that serious, flip the main breaker and call your electrician in the morning.
If you have a major problem, call the fire department.
If you are afraid for your life and don’t know what to turn off, call the fire department. After their immediate response, they will know what to do.
The bottom line is this; if you are concerned, don’t take a chance with the lives of your family. Call the fire department or 911.
What happened when you had an electrical emergency? Who did you call? Post your response in the comment section below this post.