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See, Smell, Hear- When to Call an Electrician and When to Call the Fire Department

Posted on: November 5, 2015

For many, the ins and outs of electrical malfunction are a collection of terrifying and daunting thoughts. Does that flickering light mean your home is about to catch fire, or is a flipping breaker a serious concern?

At Kolb Electric, we understand that much of the fear surrounding your home’s electricity is due to a lack of knowledge and understanding. Many issues require nothing more than the attention of your local electrical professional, while some actually are cause for immediate emergency action.

Common Concerns: When to Call an Electrician

These problems are encountered by our certified professionals more frequently than any other, and all exhibit signs that are easily recognized:

  • Flickering lights. If the problem occurs during the operation of heavy appliances (heating and air, or washers, fridges, etc.) it is likely that the outlet was not initially intended to hold high-power appliances. This can be fixed by having wiring work done to dedicate the circuit to the appliance, or by updating your wiring. If the flicker doesn’t seem to be associated with any particular appliance, it’s likely an issue with the conductors in your panel, and should be addressed right away.
  • “Buzzing” or “hum” from breaker box. Some light hum is not uncommon coming from breaker boxes, as energy is being rapidly moved around in it pretty much at all times. Now, if the hum escalates, gets louder, or persists more strongly in association with the operation of particular high power appliances, you know when to call an electrician.
  • Visible arcing when plugging in electrical appliances. If you sight a bit of a spark when plugging in an appliance, there’s likely an issue with your wiring, or a problem with the power box. This does not necessarily indicate an emergency, as the spark always occurs. It’s just that in a normally operating plug, you shouldn’t see it. Your best course of action is to desist using the outlet, and call on an electrician.

Do keep in mind that these are general parameters. Is you ever feel doubt, or are concerned with the electricity in your home, don’t hesitate to call Kolb right away!

Serious Issues: When to Call the Fire Department

Knowing when to call an electrician is important, but when do you call the fire department?

  • Burnt, or musty wiring smell. The smell of burning wiring is a distinctly unpleasant and immediately recognizable one. If you notice it, even slightly, call the fire department right away!
  • Prolonged sparking. Sparking from an appliance or your panel should be addressed right away, and will require some professional work. but in the meantime, you’ve got an emergency on your hands.
  • Any time you feel endangered. The fire department is there to protect you, and if at any point you feel threatened by an electrical concern, don’t hesitate to call. better to be a false alarm than have a home up in flames!

Electrical Repair in MD, VA And DC

Concerned about the electricity in your home? Call on Kolb Electric right away! Our certified professionals stand ready, boasting some of the best training, skill and service in the industry!

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