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Call the Electrician! A Homeowner’s Guide to Getting Electrical Repairs

Electrical malfunctions are never fun, especially when you’re not sure what to check, what is fixable, and what needs professional help. And if you need professional help, how do you prepare for an electrician to come to your home?

Simply having a little more knowledge on what to do in unexpected circumstances can turn a stressful situation into an efficient and even empowering experience. At Service Direct, we have more than 17 years of experience connecting quality electricians to customers in need and have learned a lot along the way about the right questions to ask regarding any electrical journey.

Whether you’ve just experienced their first electrical issue or simply wish to be better prepared in the event that you need to call a professional these tips will help smooth out your electrical repair journey!

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Read our tips on hiring an electrician for your home.

Do You Need an Electrician?

Before calling an electrician to your home, it’s important to consider whether the problems you’re experiencing warrant an electrical professional’s help.

Check Your Fuse or Breaker Box

Did the power suddenly go out in a part of your home? The first thing to check is your breaker or fuse box for either a tripped breaker or blown fuse. If either of these are the case, try fixing the issue by (a) unplugging devices on the compromised circuit, and (b) either replacing the blown fuse or flipping the tripped breaker switch, (c) plugging devices on the circuit back in. If the fuse or breaker flips again, you should reduce the number of devices drawing from that circuit or call an electrician to troubleshoot load issues or a possible short circuit.

Make Sure the Problem Isn’t the Device That’s Plugged In

Let’s say your laptop stopped charging while you had it plugged in, and you can’t get it to work. Before panicking about the electrical system, make sure to plug your charger into another outlet to confirm that it works; meanwhile, try plugging a different device into the affected outlet. While this may seem silly to mention, it is an easy way to confirm your problem.

Confirm You Need An Electrician – Not the Power Company

A surprising number of people call an electrician for issues that need to be handled by their power company.

As a general rule, any electrical wiring in place that leads to your home is the domain of the power company until it reaches your electrical meter. Any wiring beyond the electrical meter (including wiring within the walls, the outlets, and anything that draws power, like lighting) is your responsibility, and probably should be handled by an electrician. So if there is a downed power line in your backyard, call the power company. If, on the other hand, rodents have eaten the wiring in your attic and caused a power outage, that’s a matter to be resolved by your electrician (and probably a pest control company).

If you’ve lost all the power in your home, your first course of action should be to call the power company to check whether they can detect any trouble with power leading to your home, and they can help you determine whether an electrician is necessary.

Watch for Signs of Imminent Electrical Hazard

Contact an electrician immediately if you notice signs of hazardous situations that need professional attention immediately. Call an electrician immediately if you:

  • Notice a burning smell coming from an outlet or behind a fixture
  • Sparks or arcs coming from your outlets
  • Experience shocks when plugging or unplugging items into outlets
  • Experience a shock when flipping a switch
  • Outlets get hot or begin to scorch
  • Your breaker box starts getting noisy
Calling An Electrician Homeowner's Guide installation
Be careful to decide whether the electrical work can be done DIY or if it needs a professional.

Leave Major Electrical Repairs to the Experts

While some minor repairs are safe to do on your own, complex and technical ones require an expert. When working on anything electrical, you must be very careful to avoid the risk of fire and electric shock.

It is important to remember that electricity can be unpredictable and dangerous. Professional electricians have undergone extensive training and have all the necessary tools and equipment for any major electrical repair that needs to be done. So make sure you leave the detailed work in the hands of a professional!

Electrical Panel Repair

Unless you are a professional electrician yourself, it can be highly dangerous and even disastrous to even attempt to repair an electrical panel. A professional electrician is highly trained in working with electricity and understands how to safely identify and repair any issues that may exist with the panel.

Attempting this type of work yourself could easily cause a power surge that could potentially ruin your appliances or worse yet start a fire leading to potential loss of life or property damage. It’s simply not worth the risk so for everyone’s safety, always look for professional assistance from an accredited professional electrician when dealing with anything related to your electrical panel.

Repairing Outlets or Short Circuits

Homeowners should never attempt to do their own electrical wiring. This type of repair involves technical skill and an awareness of risks that is best left to professional electricians. If done incorrectly, re-wiring can cause hazardous situations such as fire, shocks and a loss of power.

Professional electricians are knowledgeable in local building codes and safety regulations, and they also have the right tools and knowledge that is needed to do the job correctly and safely. Get professional assistance when it comes to anything related to your home’s electrical system – you’ll get connected safely and securely with professional results.

Follow these tips for how to decide if you can possibly do electrical work yourself or if it’s better to hire a pro. Smaller repairs can be done by homeowners but others need the services of a trusted local electrician.

Tips on Scheduling Electrical Service

When Looking for a Pro, Check Their Service Area

When looking for an expert who can help quickly, it is very important to confirm that they service your area. It would be unfortunate to find someone who provides the services you need when your location is out of range.

Service Direct has made finding a pro in your area a task that is as easy as calling the number on your screen and entering your zip code. By doing so, you can connect to an electrician in your area directly – no service fees or sign ups required. Or you can fill out a form on this page and a contractor will reach out to you.

Calling An Electrician Homeowner's Guide EV Charging
Many people want to upgrade their electrical systems to enable EV charging and that’s certainly better handled by qualified local electrical pros.

Know Your Availability Before You Call

Electrician services are in high demand these days, so if you want a fast repair, you need to know your availability. Most contractors offer a window of arrival time, so it’s something to think about if you need service in the middle of a weekday. At the very least, you should have your calendar in front of you so that you don’t wind up having to call back to reschedule.

Don’t Demand Exact Quotes in Advance

Most reputable electricians won’t be able to provide an iron-clad quote for a repair that they haven’t seen in person yet. Instead, they can provide you with an estimate on site. In some cases, they charge a service fee for an on-site estimate that is waived when you agree to service.

Create a Plan with Your Electrician When The Arrive

After your electrician has arrived, don’t hesitate to ask questions about their plan of action, especially if a complicated fix is required. Once they have assessed the situation, they should be able to give you a professional quote, discuss permit needs, discuss scope of work, payment methods, and, if the matter can’t be resolved immediately, set an expected schedule. By creating this plan, you can ensure that you’re in sync with your electrician and have plenty of material to reference in the event that you have questions.

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Get professional advice from your local electrician professionals.


We hope this journey has been educational and beneficial for you as a homeowner, helping you better understand how to tackle your electrical repairs on your own, as well as how to prepare for professional electricians when needed.

We also want everyone to stay safe and be aware of the potential risks/dangers associated with electricity. This is why we strongly suggest that if the repair is beyond your skill set or potentially dangerous, it’s best to leave it up to professional electricians. By doing so, you can guarantee the work will be done safely and correctly.

Hiring Electrician Pros FAQs

Why is my outlet hot to the touch?

There are several possible reasons why an outlet can become hot. The outlet could be on a circuit that is overloaded with too many appliances or devices. This can cause excessive current to flow through the outlet and make it overheat. The outlet could also have damaged or improper wiring that creates resistance or contact between wires. This can also cause overheating and potentially start a fire.

Why is my breaker box making noise?

A faint humming noise is normal for a breaker box. However, a loud buzzing noise with sparks is a sign of trouble. It means that there is a loose or damaged wire that is creating electric arcs and heat inside the breaker box. This can overload your system and cause a fire hazard. Another thing to watch out for is a buzzing noise that stops when your breaker trips. This means that your circuit breaker is overloaded and shutting down to protect your electrical system.

What is a short circuit?

A short circuit is a condition where an electrical current flows through an unintended path with very low resistance, instead of following the normal circuit. This can cause an excessive current, overheating, fire, or even an explosion. A short circuit can also happen when a wire’s insulation breaks down or when another conductive material touches the wires.

How can I tell if my electrical panel is unsafe?

Any signs of rust, corrosion, or water damage is an indication that your electrical panel is unsafe. Listen for unusual sounds such as buzzing, hissing, or crackling coming from the panel. This could indicate a loose connection, a faulty breaker, or a bad wire. Another sign of an unsafe panel is heating coming from the panel or a smell of burning odor.

Why are my light bulbs blowing out frequently?

High voltage could be the reason why your light bulbs are blowing out frequently as it can shorten the lifespan significantly. Another possible reason is loose connections. If the bulb socket or the wiring is loose, it can cause intermittent contact and fluctuations in the current, which can damage the bulb filament.

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