When the power goes out, it’s easy to become disoriented. A loss of power means no lights, so you can’t see where you’re going, and no air conditioning or heating, so your house can quickly become unbearably hot or cold depending on when the outage happens. But when the power goes out, you don’t need to stay in the dark and be uncomfortable—and risk getting hurt by tripping over things in the dark—for long. Here are some tips for what to do when your power goes out and how to stay safe until it comes back on again.
Check the circuit breaker:
The first thing you should do is check that your circuit breaker hasn’t tripped. This can happen as a result of heavy use in an area of your home, or because something has touched an exposed wire and caused a short circuit or sometimes this can be an appliance that has a fault. If you see that one of your circuit breakers is flipped down, flip it back up. Try flipping it down and then flipping it back up a few times before giving up: Sometimes resetting circuit breakers will not reset if there is still a fault on the circuit.
Look for loose connections in the outlet:
If you suspect a loose connection, try wiggling it around. If that doesn’t fix it, try replacing the outlet with a new one or by simply placing some tape around one of its prongs to secure it in place. If you have another nearby outlet, try plugging something else into that first (or using a cellphone/wireless charger). If that outlet is functioning properly, then your problem might be related to your wiring and require an electrician.
Plug into a different outlet:
Many homes have multiple wall outlets, so if one outlet is down for whatever reason, try a different one. If every outlet in your home is not working, move on to plan B: unplug small appliances and electronics from their own surge protectors and plug them directly into wall outlets.
Wait an hour and try again:
The lights may not come back on right away. Sometimes there’s a problem in a neighbor’s house that affects yours, and it can take hours for crews to find and fix it. If you try turning things back on now and nothing happens, wait an hour or two before trying again. It might work by then. But if not, call your utility company; you probably won’t be charged for waiting if you report it right away.
Check the fuse box:
If you smell a burning smell or see sparks flying from a fuse box, immediately shut off all circuit breakers and exit. If that doesn’t fix it, call an emergency electrician. If it does—and you still suspect a problem—leave all circuit breakers off and wait for help from an electrician. Never attempt to reset or repair anything yourself: It could cost you your life.
If you have flashlight, turn it on:
If you’re home and your power has gone out, turn on a flashlight so you can see what’s going on around you. Avoid turning on a normal light switch if you don’t know whether there’s electricity flowing; a spark could start a fire. If it’s nighttime and things are pretty dark, flip open your phone’s flashlight app. These will work with little or no battery life left.
Call a professional Electrician:
It is always best to call a professional electrician, especially if you are not sure what caused your electrical outage. A professional can come check everything and determine exactly what has happened. They will have all of the tools needed and be able to quickly diagnose any problems.
Contact us for emergency services:
When you lose electricity, your air conditioning stops working and it’s over 90 degrees in your home, it’s likely you’ll be up all night trying to stay cool. If there’s nobody at home, however, we recommend contacting us for emergency services. Our team will send over an HVAC specialist who can help you keep things cool until either your power comes back on or a window AC unit is installed in place of your old central AC unit.