24/7 Emergency Electric Services with Upfront, Honest Pricing
We understand that an electrical emergency can be very worrisome and potentially dangerous.
Electrical emergencies range from power outages, lightning strikes, fallen power lines, burning smells, outlets with discoloration or burn marks, buzzing or humming sounds from your electric breaker box, shocks or sparks when plugging into an outlet, circuit breakers that trip often, lights that shut off when outlets are used, flickering lights, exposed and brittle knob & tube wiring, and more.
At Tri-County Services, you can expect a timely response from our technician and upfront pricing to fix the problem. From start to finish, you can rest assured you are in good hands with Tri-County Services.
If you’re experiencing a power outage, it’s usually because of a storm, downed trees, an automobile accident, or trouble with a local transformer. However, if neither of these seems to be the cause, a sudden power outage is a sign of a serious problem. For instance, a power outage could be the result of frayed or weak wires in your electrical system. That’s a serious fire hazard that needs immediate attention.
In order to diagnose the cause of the power outage, begin by calling your electric service provider to find out if the trouble is on their end. If it isn’t, contact Tri-County for emergency diagnostic service.
If you have ever witnessed a nearby lightning strike you know how alarming the sound is. And, you may also see the extremely bright fire-flash that the strike emits. Either way, it is extremely dangerous and frightening.
Indications of a lightning strike include:
- A power outage or power surge
- Fire or sparks
- Smell of smoke, plastic burning, or strong ozone smell (the way it smells after a rain storm)
- Physical damage to your home or building
- Humming or buzzing sound in your home or building
Downed Power Lines
If you have experienced a power outage, use caution when going outside to inspect the damage. Downed power lines can be the culprit. They can be hidden and promote an extremely hazardous situation. Downed power lines contain extremely high levels of current that are deadly. If you notice downed power lines, you should immediately notify your electric service provider and keep all family members and pets away.
Burnt or Discolored Outlets
If you notice discoloration or burn marks around, or on, your outlet covers, this is a red flag that a fire could be imminent and requires immediate attention. Immediately stop using the outlet and check other outlets for similar issues. Report your findings to Tri-County Services.
Reasons for burnt or discolored outlets:
- Old outlets
- Overloaded circuits
- Improper or old wiring
- Arcing due to loose wire connections
- Missing AFCI / GFCI protection
Noises Coming from Breaker Box – The “Gray Metal Box”
There is never a time when you should hear noises coming from your breaker box. This is a very dangerous sign and requires immediate attention. Do not attempt to fix it yourself. Immediately contact Tri-County Services for emergency service and further instructions.
What is a Breaker Box?
Your breaker box receives power from your main electrical service provider and safely distributes it to the various circuits within your home or business. To locate your breaker box, keep an eye out for a grey, metal box that is flush with the wall. This box houses the circuits that supply power to each electrical item in your home or business and protects these circuits by using circuit breakers or fuses.
What Type of Breaker Box Do You Have? Fuses or Circuit Breakers?
Your breaker box will house circuit breakers or fuses. Both fuses and circuit breakers are designed to interrupt the power to a circuit when the flow exceeds safe levels and protect the wiring. This interruption causes the circuit breaker to “trip” or the fuse to “blow”. When a circuit breaker “trips”, it can be reset and power is restored. However, when a fuse “blows” it must be replaced before power is restored. If this happens frequently, it may be a sign of a bigger problem that could pose a serious fire hazard risk. It is highly recommended to call Tri-County Services if you are experiencing recurrent “blown” fuses or “tripped” circuit breakers.
Inside Your Breaker Box
Older homes may still use fuses as a way to protect the electric circuits. These days, however, houses are wired much differently because of the increased electrical power demands from appliances, central air conditioning, and multiple other household applications. Old and overloaded fuse panels can cause major issues. And, it’s not uncommon for older homes to be badly undersized for the needs of modern appliances and other applications. Additionally, some older fuse boxes may not be grounded, which poses potential fire hazards. You may also see old, knob-and-tube wiring connected to your fuses. Since fuse boxes are an older method of electrical protection, a Tri-County Services electrician can inspect your fuse box and determine if it needs updating to meet the demands of your home or office for your safety and peace-of-mind.
Circuit Breakers: Large Circuit Breaker & Branch Circuit Breaker
Most newer homes contain a breaker box with circuit breakers. It will contain one large circuit breaker and multiple branch circuit breakers. The large circuit breaker is usually located at the top of the panel and will cut off all power to your home or business. The branch circuit breakers are located on both the left and right sides — usually below the main circuit breaker. These branch circuit breakers are usually numbered and labeled as to their amperage and the items they feed and manage.
If any branch circuit breakers “trip” or shut off, this means that the circuit is overloaded or hit some sort of obstacle causing it to shut down. If you notice the same branch circuit “tripping” or shutting off consistently, this should be inspected as soon as possible.
If it is necessary to shut off the electric supply to your home, it is important to first shut off each branch circuit breaker before shutting off the large circuit breaker to the home.
When Sparks Fly: Sparks & Shocks from an Outlet or Non-Working Outlets
If your electrical outlet will not work, be certain to check to see if a breaker has “tripped” first. If you have found no reason for your outlet not to be working, then you may have a wire inside the outlet that has overheated. If possible, turn off the circuit breaker for this outlet and call one of our electricians to inspect the outlet further.
If you notice that a particular outlet delivers a shock or spark when you plug something into it, that may be a cause for concern. If you notice the following signals when using your outlet, call Tri-County Services right away.
Signs of dangerous sparks:
- Sparks lasting longer than a moment
- Spark is an intense yellow color
- Sparks happen every time you use the outlet
- You smell smoke after you plug something into the outlet
- The outlet has burn marks or discoloration on it
Reasons for dangerous sparks or shocks:
- Water or moisture in the outlet
- Loose wiring
- Lack of a ground wire
- Frayed or uninsulated wiring
- Old outlets
- Cracked or broken outlets
Sometimes flickering lights can be a result of an intentional “brownout” caused by your electricity service provider when power needs reduced during times of increased usage, such as during heat waves.
However, if you notice consistent flickering lights that have nothing to do with an occasional “brownout”, you may have loose or faulty wiring that should be inspected promptly. In rare cases, there could be more serious issues that include broken circuit connections or switch failures.