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powerlinesWhen your lights flicker, when your fixtures buzz, when you lose power to one or all appliances, is it best to call an electrician or the power company? Some homeowners are unsure of the differences between the two, and when you need power, you’ll want to solve the issues as quick as possible. So … who ya gonna call?


When to call an electrician

  • When circuit breakers trip frequently – there is something faulty with the wiring and/or in the electrical panel
  • When your lights randomly flicker or dim – large appliances draw a large current, and when they’re turned on, it can trigger a problem that’s easily repairable by an electrician
  • If you have overloaded circuits – this is a dangerous problem, so an electrician should install additional circuits and/or receptacles
  • Some older homes don’t have three-prong outlets – your home may not be properly grounded
  • Hot-to-the-touch switches or outlets that may give off a small electrical shock – this means there is either a large demand on the circuit or an older home may still have aluminum wiring
  • If you’re using multiple extension cords in place of permanent wiring – this means you don’t have enough outlets or they’re too far away from each other
  • When there is a lack of ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) – these should be placed in any room where there is potential for wet surfaces, such as kitchens and bathrooms


When to call the power company

  • When your power goes out during obvious severe weather – this kind of outage is almost always caused by thunderstorms, blizzards, heat waves, or other weather-related conditions and you’ll have to wait until the power company can get everything up and running again
  • If you notice that your neighborhood block or your neighbors’ power is also out – this is a job that extends beyond an electrician
  • If the power goes out and you turn the main breaker off then back on again and get no result – this means the power company is having trouble
  • If you can’t identify a source in the home that might have caused an outage (tripped breaker, severe weather, etc.) – a power company can probably tell you if there’s a problem with the grid or not
  • If you see a downed line – there’s nothing an electrical contractor can do about this; a special response team from the power company is needed
  • When you have no idea – start with the power company, they can tell you if it’s their problem or not and can probably give you some troubleshooting tips for free before you have to call an electrician and pay for service


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