Got Storm Related Electrical Damage? Here’s What To Do After

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Every thunderstorm is dangerous because they all make lightning, which can be deadly. Lightning can strike as far as 10 miles from a thunderstorm’s rain. Severe storms and floods are common in North Carolina, and they can result in downed power lines and other serious safety concerns. Moreover, many of these hazards remain long after the storm passes. In most cases, it’s best to leave the electrical damage repair to the professionals, especially after a storm; electrical work can be hazardous under normal circumstances, but wet equipment presents several additional challenges that only an expert can tackle.

How Damage Can Occur

As storms pass through North Carolina, many homes often suffer damages they weren’t prepared to handle, including electric repair. We help homeowners determine the extent of their home’s damage, working with electricians in Charlotte to ensure that everything is accounted for and reporting the results to the insurance companies to file claims on their behalf.

Since storms are common in North Carolina, we’re always prepared to respond when you need us, no matter the time of day. The following services are just a sample of what we’re often called to do after a storm.

Electrical Panel Repairs

The electrical panels are where all the circuit breakers are located, making them the central hub of electricity in a home. If it malfunctions after a thunderstorm, it could have been struck by lightning; this scenario requires extensive electric troubleshooting and repair by a professional, which can cost more money than anticipated. As such, you’ll want to be sure your insurance includes sufficient compensation and coverage.

Electrical Surges

Heavy wind and thunderstorms can cause power lines to fall and short out, leading to electrical surges throughout the neighborhood. If such a surge damages your home, it’s vital to contact an electrician to restore power. In addition, we can inspect your home for any fire hazards or damaged wires that the surge may have created; you should contact a professional because many homeowners will only recognize this internal damage once something worse happens. We will also work with the insurance adjuster to ensure the extent of all damages is fully recognized.

Assessing the Aftermath of the Electrical Damage

If lightning strikes your home or neighborhood and the smell of smoke rises, keep calm, grab your phone, and get you and your loved ones away to safety. Lightning doesn’t often strike homes, but they’re responsible for nearly 90% of lightning-related deaths and 70% of property damage.

If there’s no immediate danger and your power cut out, feel free to check for tripped circuit breakers. For example, after a thunderstorm, excess electricity can trip your breakers; they’re designed this way to protect the rest of your electrical system. As such, a tripped breaker isn’t inherently an emergency, but it could be a symptom of surge damage elsewhere in the home.

If resetting your breakers doesn’t restore power, it’s time to figure out what’s wrong. Does your breaker need repair? Where is the power out, and what were you doing when it stopped? Does this happen often, or did a tree remove a power line? Could there be damaged electrical components? Keeping your cool and having a plan helps you avoid hazardous mistakes made in a hurry.

Is It Time to Call an Electrician?

Logic must always prevail, especially in an emergency. Consider how much you know about residential electrical work, rewiring a fuse, or lighting repair in general. If you know you don’t know much, it’s time to call in an expert. After all, there’s never a good time to practice DIY electrical repair, and certainly not during an emergency.

Although your monthly budget may not have accounted for the sudden expense, hiring a professional protects your household; attempting to save money now could have costlier consequences. Electricity is serious business; don’t take it lightly.

What to Avoid

Contrary to popular belief, the most devastating part of an electrical disaster can be recovery. Cleaning up a damaged home after a severe storm can be challenging or hazardous.

If electrical components have gotten wet or are near water, turn it off if it’s safe to approach the main breaker. Otherwise, leave it and call an electrician if you must enter water to reach the switch. Likewise, don’t turn on any electrical equipment until a qualified expert has inspected it.

Avoid downed power lines; they may still have powerful jolts of energy, making them dangerous to touch. Similarly, avoid any water that touches downed lines, nor should you remove debris or trim trees nearby. If you must remove debris from the home, don’t pile it around electrical equipment.

If you were running an appliance when the power went out, turn them off; if they’re still on when the power is restored, it could be a fire hazard.

Finally, avoid using candles as a light source; we recommend battery-powered flashlights.

After a thunderstorm, give us a call and we can quickly determine the extent of the damage to your home’s electrical system.

Drying Wet Components

  • Don’t open an appliance to dry it inside. Many internal components retain high electrical voltages.
  • Unplug a wet appliance to let it dry. Be sure it continues to dry for several days after the external moisture is gone.
  • Leaving equipment in the sun can help expedite drying, but keep an eye on them; for example, LCDs quickly become damaged by prolonged sunlight exposure.
  • When you’re certain your item is dry, plug it in and try it. If it doesn’t work immediately, stop and wait another day.
  • If the power light turns on, give the equipment 10 minutes and then turn it off for 30. Repeat this process until the appliance functions.
  • If the power light doesn’t turn on and you know the outlet works, unplug it and seek repairs.
  • If you hear crackling or see smoke, unplug it and seek repairs.

Preparing for the Future

There are several steps you can take to prepare before thunderstorms come in and wreak havoc:

  • Remove rotting or dead trees that could damage property.
  • Delay outdoor activities.
  • If you cannot count to 30 seconds after seeing lightning before hearing thunder, go indoors.
  • Remain indoors for 30 minutes after you hear the last thunderclap.
  • Secure outdoor items that could cause damage.
  • Get inside a building or hard top vehicle if you can’t get inside your home. Passengers can be hurt if lightning strikes the car, but you’re safer in a vehicle than outside.
  • Remember, rubber tires and rubber shoes provide zero lightning protection.
  • Secure outside doors and shutter the windows.
  • Unplug electronic equipment before the lightning starts.

Always Hire a Professional

Even if you have a knack for DIY projects, it’s never worth attempting an electrical repair on your own. Instead, contacting a licensed and insured electrician in North Carolina to tackle this dangerous area is your best bet.

Additionally, if you have insured items that were damaged, attempting to make repairs on your own can compromise your homeowner insurance policy. As such, the insurers may refuse to compensate you, forcing you to pay to replace your lost items out of your own pocket. Compare that to the cost of hiring an electrician, and the choice becomes clear every time.

Once you call us, we can arrange for the necessary permits, thoroughly inspect the impacted area, and conduct repairs with the correct protocol.

Ask About Electrical Upgrades

Not only do we perform repairs, but we can also provide information about electrical upgrades that will enhance your home’s safety going forward. If you have an older home that hasn’t had its wiring updated in years, chances are good that there are several areas that need some attention. Common potentially dangerous issues we often see include:

  • Outdated fuse boxes: If your home was built before the 1940s, it probably still has an old fuse box in it somewhere. If fuses still control your home’s electricity, we are experts at safely converting them into circuit breakers. This hardware is more reliable and requires less maintenance than its antiquated cousin.
  • Outdated wiring: Does your home still use aluminum wiring? It’s essential to have an expert replace this material immediately. Aluminum hiring poses a significant fire hazard, so have it replaced right away for safety and peace of mind.
  • Damaged outlets: If any outlets are sparking, loose, or otherwise broken, we can update them right away with new outlets that decrease your risk of house fires and electrocution.

After a thunderstorm passes through, homeowners often require electrical inspections to figure out the full extent of the damage; your insurance company requires them to determine how much repairs will cost and how much it will have to pay out. Licensed electricians work hand-in-hand with insurance companies and the public claims adjuster to make this evaluation. Because this inspection is critical to ensuring you get every penny you deserve, that’s yet another reason to hire a professional. Contact us today to find out more about what else we can do for you.

Contact the Dependable Experts at On Time Electrical

At On Time Electrical, we assess the damage and determine an honest repair price that consists only of the necessary expenses. We never tack on hidden fees.

If it’s electrical, we can handle it; for years, we have worked with residents in Charlotte and the surrounding areas to fix their electrical issues promptly. And thanks to our 24-hour availability, help is closer than ever. We’re just one phone call away from coming to your home and getting everyone back to everyday life.