Frequently Asked Electrical Questions
We asked our electricians for some of the most common questions homeowners ask -- oh yeah, we asked them to answer them too. Click on the questions below to reveal their answers.
It only cost $38 to get an electrician to your home. They will arrive in a truck stocked with thousands of parts. They'll have everything they need to start your electrical project while they're at your home, unless the situation is unusual. Most of the time your electrical project is finished the same day we arrive. Our electrician will perform a thorough evaluation of your electrical system and explain what they'll need to do to complete the work you called for. They're not going to charge you by the hour, they will give you a total price, with options, before any of the work begins.
Once you approve the project and price, our electrician will begin. If you don't want to proceed with the work while we are there, all you pay is the $38. If you call us back to complete the work you do not pay another $38. Contact us if you'd like to schedule an appointment for an electrician to come to your home.
A circuit breaker “trips” or a fuse is “blown” when too much electricity is traveling over the wires in a circuit. The most common cause of a breaker to trip is a short circuit, when a live wire comes in contact with a grounded conductor. This usually results in sparks.
There are specialty breakers that can detect irregularities in in the electricity flowing through it. These irregularities can be safety hazard and the breaker will trip until the issue is corrected. Two such breakers are Ground Fault Interrupter (GFI) Breakers and an Arc Fault Breaker.
GFI Breakers are installed on circuits that power things installed near water. A GFI Breaker trip when they detect the smallest difference in electricity traveling through it. This can save someone that is in a potential hazardous situation and at risk of electrocution or being shocked.
Arc Fault Breakers trip when an arc is detected somewhere in the circuit. Arcing that goes undetected and unresolved can cause insulation and devices to melt and even fires. Arcing can occur from a loose connection, nail through a wire, extension cords, etc.
The fact that your breaker tripped is a good think, that usually means it is working. It becomes dangerous when a breaker should trip and it doesn’t. When a breaker trips it detected there was too much electricity flowing over the wires in that circuit. When you go to reset the breaker, if it stays on, you're probably good. If it immediately trips off again there is probably something still causing a short and needs to be fixed. If the breaker is old it is possible that the breaker has failed mechanically and just needs to be replaced. You want someone that has electrical experience to help you replace breakers or troubleshoot a breaker that will not reset.
If you have an outlet that plugs fall out of all the time, the only fix is to replace it. There are prongs inside the outlet that get loose over time after heavy usage. Many people will bend the prongs out on a plug, just to try and get it to stay in the wall. Doing this is bad for the plug and only make the outlet worst.
Replacing an outlet is a basic project you can do yourself if you have the right tools and cut the power off first. Here's a video on How to Replace an Outlet. Or if you are uncomfortable attempting this on your own, you may need to call an electrician for help.
No, you shouldn't hear noises when you turn a switch on and off. Popping, crackling, sizzling noises are usually an indication there is a loose connection behind the wall plate. Loose connections can overheat and melt the wires. In extreme cases, it can cause a fire. Switches can wear out over time and need to be replaced.
Replacing a switch is a basic project you can do yourself if you have the right tools and cut the power off first. Here's a video on How to Replace a Light Switch. Or if you are uncomfortable attempting this on your own, you may need to call an electrician for help.
Look for an access door on the front of the smoke detector. Slide the door open and pull the battery out. Replace with a new battery and slide the door closed. If you don't see a battery door on the front, take the smoke detector down and look on the back. There may be a small screw holding the door closed. Remove the screw, open the door and replace the battery.
Here's a video we made on How to Change the Battery in Your Smoke Detector. We hope you find it helpful and informative.
First, try changing the batteries. If the chirping continues, the smoke detector may have gone bad and needs to be replaced. Smoke detector manufacturers recommend replacing the smoke detector after 10 years. To find the age of the smoke detector, look on the back and you should find a manufactured date stamped.
If you need to replace your smoke detector, it is a basic project you can do yourself if you have the right tools and cut the power off first. Here's a video on How to Replace a Smoke Detector. Or if you are uncomfortable attempting this on your own, you may need to call an electrician for help.
LOWER USAGE - make sure that lights are off in rooms not being used. If you have an electric water heater, you can turn the temperature down. Air Conditioners in the summer use a lot of electricity, so running them less can save money. Clothes dryers use a lot of electricity, hanging clothes to dry help you run the dryer less.
UPGRADE TO HI EFFICIENCY - LED bulbs use less energy than compact fluorescent and incandescent bulbs. Many appliances have hi efficient models available. Multi-stage, hi efficient air conditioners save lots of money in the summertime as well. A combination of lowering usage and using hi efficiency will yield better results.
GO SOLAR - Installing rooftop solar can reduce your monthly power bill substantially. If you can't afford the upfront investment, there is special financing available that allow you in install solar now and start saving. Any Hour Services installs rooftop solar and can help you understand the options that are available.
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