Electrical Saving Tips
How many times have you called an electrician for a service call just to find out it was something simple? If only you would have known some saving tips, you could have fixed it yourself!
Well, maybe we can give you a few electrical saving tips that might save you a service call. Our first priority is our customers. If we can help you solve an electrical problem over the phone, we will.
We at Higher Power Electric are always trying to save our customers money whenever we can. If you have an electrical question and you think we can help, please call. We’ll do whatever we can to help and give some saving tips for your benefit.
Click on a question below to show our answer or recommendation…
No. Surge/Lightning Protection only offers additional levels of protection. Nothing can guarantee completely against Mother Nature and where she chooses to strike.
If I have surge/lightning protection on my main service, should I use point-of-use surge protection at my TV, stereo, computer, etc.?
Yes. Main line surge is no absolute guarantee and any additional surge protection down-stream in the system offers a greater level of protection; though, nothing is absolute when it comes to the power of Mother Nature.
Yes. Within reason, if the quantity of lights creates a load greater than the capacity of the circuit breaker, the breaker will trip off. In this event, additional circuits may be required to accommodate your holiday display.
Yes. Though, if the device exceeds the capacity of the circuit, the breaker will trip off.
Yes. Though, if the two loads exceed 20 amps, your breaker will sense overload, do its job, and trip off. Under this condition, you must plug one of the appliances into a different kitchen outlet on a different circuit, in order to minimize overloading a circuit.
Yes. This is a common occurrence when large motor/compressor loads start. These devices cause a minor momentary voltage drop, demonstrating itself as the blinking in your lights. This has no immediate negative effect on the electrical equipment within your house. Over time, surges and/or voltage dips can minimize the life of your valuable sensitive electronics. A whole-house surge protection system will give added protection for such occurrences.
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. Remember this is a mechanical device, so this may require several attempts. If this fails to reset the breaker, there may be a more serious problem. Call Higher Power Electric.
Except in the case of ground fault interrupters, which are susceptible to moisture and/or weather conditions, fuses and circuit breakers should not trip. You can unplug an appliance to determine if it causes the problem.
Both devices, either breaker or fuse, are designed to trip (turn off) in the event of an electrical overload, i.e. 20 amps of electrical load on a 15 amp circuit would cause a trip. The only difference is that a breaker is mechanical and may be reset. Whereas, a fuse is one time only and must be replaced. Please note: Modern breakers are much more efficient and offer greater levels of protection.
Sometimes we get calls from our customers stating that they experience half power or that they have some power in a few rooms but not every room. It has been our experience that about eighty percent of the time it will turn out that the customer has a problem with the utility company. Let us explain. The utility company will bring the power from their location and attach it to the pole or pedestal at your house. Power to the pole or pedestal is the responsibility of the utility company. Power from the pole or pedestal to your house is your responsibility. More times than not when you have “half power” it turns out to be a utility company problem on their end, but not always. Sometimes it can be a faulty main breaker or circuit breaker, sometimes it is the result of an underground break in your service wires or any combination of things. If the problem started for no apparent reason and you weren’t doing anything that you think might have caused it, you may consider calling your utility company first. If it turns out to be your responsibility, you’ll need to call a qualified electrician. Bottom line, if it turns out to be your utility company, you’ll save yourself some money because they will make the repair at no cost to you. Now, how’s that for some great saving tips!
GFCI stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. In layman’s terms, this device protects you from electrical shock. When it senses the slightest increase in resistance resulting from ground fault, (i.e. the use of electrical devices in or near water), it turns off to protect you.
What are the red and black buttons on my GFCI outlet? (sometimes the buttons match the outlet color)
The black button is a test button and when pressed, it should deactivate the outlet and any other outlet fed from it – indicating a properly functioning device. The red button is the reset button that you depress to reactivate the outlet or outlets in the event of deactivation resulting from a fault. If the buttons have the same color as the outlet, look for the “TEST” or “RESET” stamped on the button to identify its purpose.
Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCIs) are required by the National Electrical Code for certain electrical circuits in the home. There is a major difference between the functioning of an AFCI as compared to a GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter). The function of the GFCI is to protect people from the deadly effects of electric shock that could occur if parts of an electrical appliance or tool become energized due to a ground fault. The function of the AFCI is to protect the branch circuit wiring from dangerous arcing faults that could initiate an electrical fire.
AFCI and GFCI technologies can co-exist with each other and are a great complement for the most complete protection that can be provided on a circuit. Ask Higher Power Electric to help determine how AFCI’s can add extra safeguards for your home.
Garages built in 1978 and after required GFCI protected receptacles per National Electrical Code. This receptacle may not tolerate the additional resistance load created by older and some newer refrigerators/freezers. The GFCI senses there is a fault, and therefore trips off. The 2008 National Electric Code requires GFCI protected receptacles in unfinished basements, garages, outdoors, kitchens, and bathrooms. Have the GFCI protective device inspected by Higher Power Electric to determine if a replacement is required.
Check to see if the outlet is on a switch. Check and reset GFCI outlets and circuit breakers. Check light bulbs and replace them if necessary. If none of these is the problem, call Higher Power Electric.
Central air conditioning and heat pump condensers may cause a noticeable slight dimming on startup. Lights may flicker or dim due to the startup of some appliances or motor-driven equipment. Check with the local utility company for possible defects in supply source or for the utility switching to other utilities for supply.
Modern Recess Cans are rated for a maximum wattage bulb and are equipped with a thermal device that does not allow a bulb larger than that rating. If a larger wattage bulb is used, as the excess heat builds up, the thermal device will shut the can off until it cools. This is a safety device to protect your home against fire.
Flickering may indicate impending bulb failure, minor power fluctuation, and/or improperly installed bulbs. Cycling on and off is usually a clear indication of ballast and/or bulb failure. It is recommended when replacing the ballast to replace bulbs as well.
This is usually caused by several factors.
1. Use of non-brand named bulbs not made with stronger tolerances than name brand bulbs.
2. Larger wattage bulbs, which cause excessive heat build-up, shortening the life of the bulb.
3. Worn or burnt lamp sockets that create arcing and excessive heat.
Yes, but first you must make sure the electrical box is properly braced and rated for the weight and torque of the ceiling fan you are installing.
This could mean one of two things.
1. An intermittent chirp is probably an indication of a defective smoke detector.
2. A consistent chirp is probably an indication of a low battery condition requiring a new battery.
I have two telephone lines in my home. Why, when I'm on the phone and the other phone line is in use, do I hear the other conversation in the background?
This is commonly called “Bleed Over” and usually results from one of three conditions.
1. Excessively long runs of wire within the home of non-twisted pairs.
2. Loop wiring from phone station to phone station.
3. A nick in the phone wire somewhere within your residence causing a weak interconnect between phone lines.
Phone wiring installation today should be done as a home run system, each phone station being a dedicated run back to a common terminal block.
Please remember if you have a problem with your phone wiring within your home, today it is the responsibility of the electrician rather than the phone company as in the past.
With the deregulation of the utility companies in most areas of the country, the cable or telephone companies are no longer responsible for the equipment or wiring in your home. This responsibility has fallen to you and your electrical contractor. Therefore, when a problem arises, we recommend you to us at Higher Power Electric. Most TV and telephone utilities will still service your home for a substantial fee. This service, as in the past, is no longer free.