Flat tire? Stovetop fire? Here’s how to troubleshoot these common everyday emergencies.
When the power to your house suddenly cuts out
When the power in your house suddenly cuts out—and the neighbors still have lights on—it’s probably an electrical fault. Grab a flashlight and go check out the GFCI receptacle, circuit breaker, main breaker, or fuse box, which is usually in the basement if you have one. If you have a GFCI outlet, try pushing the reset button, suggests networx.com. If you have breakers, check to see whether one of them has tripped or if you’ve blown a fuse (it will be flipped off). Most of the time, flipping the right breaker does the trick (you might have to do some trial and error). If not, it could be time to call a pro. “Any electrical work poses a risk of danger and, if carried out wrong, can cause serious injury,” says Kyle Gesuelli, home improvement expert at on-demand home services app Handy. “Additionally, if something does go wrong and the work hasn’t been carried out by a certified professional, it will invalidate your insurance.” Call your power company to confirm that it’s not a local outage; then call a licensed electrician. Do not try to handle complex electrical work on your own. Check out these ways to prepare for a power outage.
When your home’s gutters are overflowing
A wind or rainstorm can load up gutters with leaves, pine needles, branches, and more, and clogged gutters can cause major damage to your home. If the gutter is close to the ground, you can consider clearing it yourself if you’re handy with a ladder. But Gesuelli warns, “Unless you have experience carrying out work safely while perched on a ladder over six feet from the ground, and are confident doing so, it is wise to consider hiring a professional. That way you avoid risk of injury from a fall.”
When you have a sudden infestation of ants, flies, bees, or rodents
If the ants are marching—or the bedbugs, bees, mice, bats, bird mites or other pests are taking up residence in your home—grab some over-the-counter pesticide, Gesuelli says, and try to use them in the “hot spots,” where you see the highest concentration of pests. It could be around window frames, in the backs of cabinets, or near pipes. You can also try these tips to get rid of ants. However, if the problem persists or the infestation seems to be getting out of hand, call a pro.