Individual or general outage?
The first reaction to a power outage is to check whether you are the only affected or if it affects the whole neighbourhood. If the entire neighbourhood is affected, it is probably an issue with the power grid. Contact your power company at the number mentioned on your last invoice.
If you are the only one affected by a power outage, then it probably comes from your installation. In this case, the following tips can help you find the source of the problem. Sometimes, you can also get the power back on yourself, for example, by simply switching a circuit breaker back on.
If the problem is more complicated, the precautions you will have taken will allow your electrician to act more efficiently. If there’s any doubt, always contact an electrician.What to do in the event of a power outage?
Fuses and circuit breakers
Electrical systems are protected by circuit breakers that react to excessive current caused by the simultaneous use of too many appliances, a faulty appliance or an installation defect, allowing you to prevent fires in case of overload or short circuits, by automatically cutting the power.
If a fuse has been blown, a specialised technician must replace it. A fuse blows when it has carried current that exceeds the rated value for an excessive time, melting its metallic wire.
A circuit breaker can be reset several times. It is only when you trip a circuit breaker that you can reset the power yourself, simply by switching the circuit breaker back on.
As well as the classic function of a fuse or circuit breaker that protects electrical circuits against overloads and short circuits, a safety switch protects appliances and people against direct and indirect contact. The goal is to prevent electrocution.
Its role is to cut electrical power in the event of a faulty insulation or loss of power in an installation, by comparing the nominal intensity of the phase current to that of the neutral one.
In the event of a faulty insulation, the current will be discharged by a protective grounding conductor, which will allow the safety switch to detect a difference in potential and cut the electrical power of the installation.
Resetting the main distribution panel
If the power outage was caused by a faulty appliance or by too many appliances operating simultaneously, you should quite easily notice it. The outage will happen after having plugged in either a faulty appliance or one too many appliances, which will cause an overload.
In this case, after having unplugged the suspected appliances, check the protection element of your electric switchboard. If you have an automatic circuit breaker, reset it. If an outage happens again when you plug in a specific appliance, contact an electrician. Do the same if a fuse must be replaced or in case of doubt.