Power Outages: Do You Need to Call an After-Hours Electrician?
If all the power in your home suddenly goes out in the evening or over a weekend, then you may not know what you need to do next. In some cases, this may be a general power fault that will be remedied by your power supplier in time; in others this may be a problem with your own electrical system that needs to be fixed by an electrician. How can you tell the difference?
Are Your Neighbours in the Dark?
If you have no power at home, then your first job should be to check if this is an isolated problem. If it's dark outside, look to see if street lights are still working or if you can see lights in other homes in your street; if it's daytime, ask a couple of your neighbours if they have the same problem as you.
If your street lights aren't working or if some of your neighbours have also lost power, then the chances are that the problem is with your power supplier rather than with your own wiring. Call your power supplier to report the problem—the company should be able to give you an estimate of when it will be repaired and anything you need to do in the meantime.
Are You the Only Home Without Power?
If none of your neighbours are having power problems, then you may have internal problems in your own electrical system that are causing the outage. Before you take steps to fix this issue, it's worth giving your power company a quick call just to double-check that you aren't suffering from an isolated phase blackout that is the company's problem. For example, power maintenance jobs may sometimes cut power in some neighbouring areas but not others.
If your power supplier doesn't know anything about your outage and doesn't feel that it is a general problem, then your home's electrical system may be at fault. If you're comfortable working with basic electrical fixes, then check your switchboard to see if any safety or mains switches have tripped to an off position. For example, if you've overloaded a circuit by plugging too many appliances into a socket, then a safety switch may have tripped and cut your power. Unplugging some of the appliances and then resetting the switch may fix the problem.
If you aren't comfortable working with your switchboard or if you can't spot an immediate problem with any switches on it, then call out an emergency electrician from a company like Future Electric Services as soon as you can. It's also a good idea to call an electrician if your outage was caused by a tripped switch but you can't work out why the circuit got overloaded in the first place—this may be a sign of a more serious problem that needs professional help.