Frequently Asked Questions

Electrical Service: Circuit Breakers or fuses?

Circuit breakers are typically selected over fuses because circuit breakers can be reset where fuses have to be replaced. The most time consuming activity that results from the operation of the overcurrent protective device is typically investigating the cause of the overcurrent condition. A known overload condition is the only situation that permits the immediate resetting or replacement of overcurrent protective devices per OSHA. Thus, if this device opens, it should not be reset or replaced without investigating the circuit since it most likely was a short-circuit condition.

When should I call an electrician?

If your answer to any of these questions is "YES", it's time to call an electrician.

  • Are you resetting circuit breakers or changing fuses too often?

  • When you turn on your air conditioner do the lights dim in the room?

  • Do your lights flicker or go on and off?

  • Do you ever smell electricity burning?

  • Do you have six electronic devises going into one outlet in back of your electronics center?

  • Are your receptacle outlets over burdened by multi-plug strips?

  • Are you using a two prong adapter for a three prong plug?

  • Do you have to run extension cords to plug in electrical devices?

How should outlets be installed in a kitchen area?

All receptacles installed above kitchen counter tops or at a wet bar shall have G.F.C.I. protection. Receptacles in a kitchen used to serve counter tops should be supplied with at least two 20 amp branch circuits, for small appliances. Each fixed appliance (refrigerator, stove, dish washer) should have its own dedicated circuit. On counter tops 12 inches or wider receptacles should be placed within 24 inches of a break in the counter top and every four feet there after.

Where do you put G.F.C.I.'s?

Any bathroom, kitchen, garage, or exterior receptacle must be GFCI protected. GFCI outlets must be installed in any area where electricity and water may come into contact, including basements, pools, spas, utility rooms, attached garages and outdoors.

The are two types of GFCIs in homes, the GFCI outlet and the GFCI circuit breaker. Both do the same job, but each has different applications and limitations. The GFCI outlet is a required safety device used instead a standard electrical outlet. It does not measure shorts to the ground, it measures the current difference between the hot and ground wires. A sudden difference of 4 ma. or more, indicating that there is another path for the electricity to flow, will trip this device. It protects any appliance plugged into it, and can also be wired to protect other outlets that are connected to it. A GFCI circuit breaker controls an entire circuit, and is installed on your home's main panel. There is a test button and a reset button on these units. If you press the test button the reset should pop out, to reset just push the reset button.

How many outlets and switches should I have in each room?

For new construction code states there must be an outlet 6 feet after any wall break and every 12 feet there after. Receptacle outlets are installed so that at no point along the floor line, in any wall space, there is more than six feet from an outlet in that space. This is to prevent the use of extension cords. Outlets are usually placed about 18 inches above floor level. Switches usually go about 48 inches from floor level.

How much should I attempt on my own?

Doing electrical work yourself can be a gamble. How much are you willing to risk to save money? There is a reason why it takes so much training to become an electrician.

Do not make a mistake by taking electricity lightly, even the smallest job could be a safety hazard. Why take a chance? Get a professional to do this work. The most dangerous time is when you tell yourself, "This is easy. I can do it myself. Why should I pay an electrician?" Don't wait until you don't remember where all those wires went, or your hair is standing straight up, you say to yourself, “Well maybe we better call someone to straighten up this mess“.