Electrical Frequently Asked Questions
When is it time to call an electrician?
As soon as you have any doubt on the project that you’re working on.
What are the common Electrical Acronyms and what do they stand for?
Receptacle, ½ Hot Switched Receptacle, Single Pole Switch, 3-way Switch 4-way Switch, Surface light Outlet, Recess can light
How much electrical work should I attempt on my own?
It’s not all red, black and white anymore. Some electrical systems are computer driven along with LED lighting with neutral requirements, etc.
Which grade of electrical outlets should I have installed in my home?
All 15 and 20 amp, 120 volt receptacles must be Tamper Resistant along with using Weather Resistant along with using Weather Tamper Resistant type outside.
Are there outlets manufactured especially to stand up to outdoor use?
Yes, WTR Receptacles & Weather Tamper Resistant.
What is the difference between a breaker panel and my old fuse panel?
Both are sufficient. The problem is with today’s codes. Requirements for ARC Fault & GFI Breaker are not available for fuse panels.
How do I reset my breakers?
Thumb to off position first, then thumb to on.
What is a surge protector and should I get one?
It is a device used to protect electrical equipment from over voltage transients caused by external or lateral conditions. We highly recommend this be installed during new construction or after.
There is a humming noise coming from my panel. What does this mean?
Usually, this means the thermal in a circuit breaker is chattering. This is common with some circuit breaker brands.
Why is a breaker in my panel hot to touch?
The load being served exceeds the allowable amps of the circuit.
How can I tell when an electrical outlet is not safe?
When it’s loose in the wall or not tamper resistant.
Can I plug a new refrigerator in anywhere?
Yes, but typically refrigerators should be wired on a 20 amp small appliance circuit.
What does it mean when my fluorescent lights are flickering or cycling on and off?
Usually, the problem is solved by replacing the ballast (transformer) and lamps. The switch is rarely the problem.
Can I change an existing switch to a dimmer switch?
In most cases with today’s LED lighting, yes. A neutral wire may be needed at the dimmer switch location and is not always present.
What areas of my house should be GFCI protected?
Kitchens, bath vanities, laundry rooms, garage, outside weather proof receptacles, or any other location six feet from sinks.
What are the buttons on my GFCI outlet for?
Testing and resetting. Manufactures require monthly testing.
What is the difference between conventional circuit breakers and an AFCI?
A Conventional circuit breaker is designed to open and close a circuit by automatic means and to open the circuit automatically in the event of over current. An AFCI Breaker provides protection from the effects of ARC faults by recognizing characteristics unique to arcing and by functioning to de-energize the circuit when an ARC fault is detected.
Will my house be destroyed during a re-wire?
Of course electricians love to have the drywall removed prior to a rewire, but it’s not always necessary. Just strategically cutting drywall at the areas that are non-accessible will be required, which can be costly.
How long will it take to complete a re-wire and will I need to move out during the process?
Usually to perform the rewire, we are rewiring central A/C, range, water, heater, etc. This will take at least a couple of days. You might want to find a place to stay during this time due to not having these essentials.