Frequently Asked Questions
Electrical systems is a complex and intricate technology with often difficult to understand terminology. We have compiled a set of frequently asked questions and answers to help our client’s better understand this technology.
Some things to look for: Room lights dim when the refrigerator or air conditioner kicks on; the television screen shrinks; circuit breakers frequently trip; outlets or dimmer switches seem hot to the touch. Contact a licensed electrician to inspect your electrical system.
The third prong on a 3-prong plug is a grounding prong. The third grounding prong provides additional protection to the electrical system, the item plugged in, and you from electrical shock. Two-prong receptacles do not have the same level of grounding as a three-prong device.
When you use an electrical appliance, the current flows from your service panel to the device. A grounded wire gives the unused electrical current a safe way back to the service panel so there’s no danger in the event of a short circuit.
A GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) is an outlet that automatically shuts off an electrical circuit when it detects that the current isn’t flowing correctly. This device reduces the risk of electrical shock from a receptacle located in moist locations such as bathrooms and kitchens; they are also used in basements, garages and outside.
There are three indicators of an unsafe outlet: If an outlet can no longer hold a plug snugly; if any parts of the outlet are broken; or if the outlet feels hot to the touch. If any of these conditions exist, contact a licensed electrician to replace the outlet.
Yes – you need a special mounting box because a ceiling fan is an active mechanical load that is heavier than most light fixtures. Saddle boxes are usually good for fans up to 35 pounds.
First, disconnect any additional devices that may have caused the breaker to overload and trip. Breakers are mechanical devices and must be turned all the way off before turning back on.It may require a few attempts to reset. If this fails to reset the breaker; then call a licensed electrician to troubleshoot the problem.
No, because fuses provide the same protection against overloaded wiring as circuit breakers. However, when fuse boxes were in widespread use, most homes had only 30 or 60-ampere service.
Today’s homes need at least 100-ampere service to safely supply power for major appliances. If you have a fuse box and you’ve added any large appliances over the years, it is recommended that you have your home wiring inspected to make sure it is still safe.
In newer homes the electrical outlets in garages are usually protected by a GFCI device, per the National Electrical Code. Alternatively, you can have a licensed electrician install a dedicated line.
Not necessarily. Most homes built prior to 1960’s have a 2 wire (not grounded) electrical system. Per the National Electrical Code, it is recommended to have an electrician install GFCI outlets either at the first outlet of each circuit. Keep in mind that these outlets, however, improve electrical safety but do not give you a ‘ground’ receptacle. You should consider new wiring to locations where you plug-in sensitive electronic equipment such as laptops and desktop computers.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends electrical inspections for homes over 40 years old, homes ten years and over with any major renovation or major appliances added, and homes at the time of resale to provide consumers with a greater awareness of the condition of the electrical system.
If you have a question that is not addressed by these FAQs, please give us a call at 505-892-2429 or send us a note via our Contact page. We are most happy to answer your questions about any electrical issue that you have.
Electricity Saving Tips
Here are some very simple tips for saving up to forty percent on your electric bill. Following these simple electricity saving tips can reduce your power bill by up to 40 percent.
1. Switch to CFLs or LEDs
Replacing your old incandescent bulbs with CFL (compact fluorescent lightbulb) or even better, LED (light-emitting diode) bulbs is one of the quickest, easiest ways to save money.
2. Install Smarter Switches
Replace your outdoor lighting with fixtures that have motion sensors. Motion sensors (occupancy sensors) automatically turn lights on only when they are needed. Using motion sensors can save you up to $100 per year. In addition, use timers to control bath fans so the fan will run for a preset time to air out the room and then automatically turn off.
3. Use Power Strips
Most home computers and electronics can be turned off when they are not in use. Using power strips with multiple outlets allow you to shut off various devices with one flip off the switch. When you turn off the computer, the strip also shuts down other devices, such as your monitor, and printer. This tip can save you up to $100 every year.
4. Buy Energy Star appliances
When it’s time to replace your appliances, be sure to buy appliances with the Energy Star label. This label means the appliance meets energy-efficiency guidelines. Energy Star says that appliances bearing its label can cut those bills by 30 percent, for an annual savings of about $600.