Do You Need a Bay Area Electrical Contractor?
Do You Need An Electrician?
Who do you call?
What questions do you ask?
Questions to Ask Yourself about Your Home Electrical System
Do circuit breakers in your home trip often or do fuses keep blowing? A home electrical system has these built-in safeguards to prevent electrical overload. Too much current causes the breakers to open automatically or the fuses to melt. When a circuit shuts down repeatedly, it’s a warning that should not be ignored.
Are GFCI outlets installed where required?
The National Electrical Code now requires extra protection for outlets in specific areas of the home, such as kitchens, baths, utility rooms, garages and outdoors. Ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCI’s) – which are identifiable by their TEST and RESET buttons-are generally required in proximity to wet locations. If your wiring has not been upgraded with GFCI’s you’re not protected.
Are extension cords needed to reach the outlets in any room?
Electrical outlets, especially in older homes, are often spaced too far apart for modern living. This not only creates too much demand on too few outlets, it also poses a hazard when the extension cords are run under rugs and furniture.
Is there rust on the main electrical service panel?
Even permanent fixtures wear out or suffer the ravages of time. When rust appears on the metal service panel it often indicates a moisture problem or that deterioration has reached an advanced stage.
Do the lights dim when appliances turn on?
High-demand appliances such as air conditioners, clothes dryers, refrigerators and furnaces need extra power when they start up. This temporary current draw can be more than just a nuisance; it can damage sensitive equipment.
Do electrical switches or outlets feel warm or tingly? Loose or deteriorating electrical connections, such as the wiring junctions in switches and outlets, impede current flow and create resistance. This may create a dangerous condition that can result in shock or fire.
Do your electrical outlets need accessory plug-strips?
Too many things plugged in at one location can create more current demand than a single outlet or electrical line can safely handle. Adding multiple plug-in strips won’t solve the problem. What you need are additional outlets, and possibly new wiring runs to service them.
Do your outlets not accept three-prong plugs?
The third, or grounding, prong on a typical appliance plug provides an extra measure of safety against electrical shock. Older two-prong receptacle outlets, installed in homes before this innovation, may not be adequately grounded and should be upgraded.
Is the wiring in your outlet boxes old and crumbling?
If you look at the wiring to your home’s light switches or outlets, do you find wires wrapped in cloth sheathing or bits of black rubber in the electrical box? Very old homes often have antiquated wiring that should be upgraded to ensure your safety.
Have you never upgraded your electrical service?
If your home is over 25 years old, you could have an inadequate and possibly hazardous electrical system-and not even know it. To be safe, call in an electrician for a thorough inspection, and if necessary bring your home up to today’s electrical code standards.
Will my electrical panel need replacement?
The current National Electrical Code recommends a minimum 100-amp incoming electrical service. If your service panel provides less, it should be upgraded to this level or better to meet today’s home requirements.
Most new homes are wired with 200-amp service.
Will I have to apply for a permit?
If a permit is required, the electrician often will make the application for the homeowner. Some municipalities allow homeowners to do minor electrical repairs and installations if they first secure a permit and have the work inspected when complete.
Is my home’s electrical system adequately grounded?
Ground-wiring protects a home and its occupants in case of an electrical fault, such as a short-circuit. But grounding also protects expensive electronic equipment like computers and many appliances. An electrician can quickly check and add grounding capacity if needed.
Are there any hidden costs for the work?
The electrician should do a thorough preliminary inspection and provide you with a firm, accurate estimate of the work involved, along with the cost of fixtures or wiring that will be installed. If additional work is necessary, it can be negotiated and billed separately.
Will you use all-copper wiring for any new installation?
Solid copper wiring is the material of choice for new homes or renovations. Although 14-gage wire is allowed for many circuits, it’s smart to install heavier 12-gage wiring, which costs a little more but can handle more electrical current, making it safer and more energy-efficient.
If my service needs upgrading, will the entire house have to be rewired?
Unless you live in a very old home with antiquated wiring, you probably won’t have to replace your existing electrical lines. However, if you require more electrical capacity in certain rooms, new wiring runs and additional outlets are likely to be needed.
What is an arc fault?
An ARC FAULT is an unintentional electrical discharge – a problem that even the most safety-conscious homeowner can’t always avoid. That’s because arc faults are usually caused by undetected problems: Damaged extension cords. Improperly installed wall receptacles, electrical cable pierced by picture-hanging nails.
Why is an arc fault dangerous?
An arc fault may ignite combustible materials and cause a fire – a threat to any home and its occupants. Furnaces in attics are a common problem.
What can I do to prevent arc faults?
You can’t prevent arc faults from occurring. However, there is a device that can stop them–by interrupting the electrical current before any damage is done. It’s called the Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI), and it electronically detects any arc fault and stops the flow of electricity in a fraction of a second. No electricity, no heat, no fire. And, by tripping on a specific circuit, the GE AFCI helps you identify the source of the problem right at the load center.
Do fuses and circuit breakers serve the same purpose as AFCI’s?
No. Fuses and circuit breakers cannot detect low-level arcs. Only AFCIs are specifically designed for that purpose.
Are AFCIs required by the National Electrical Code?
Yes. As of January 2002, arc fault circuit interrupters are required by the National Electrical Code on all new bedroom circuits. But, you can protect you existing home too! By installing GE AFCIs now, you can get peace of mind from their added fire protection.
A POWER LOSS may be caused by a winter storm, an energy shortage, a summer brownout, a downed tree falling on a power line – any unforeseen event that cuts off the power to your electrical system.
How can I prepare for this type of occurrence?
You can install a backup power system, consisting of a generator connected to a generator panel. Pacific Coast Electric Heating and Air, Inc. locations carry Generac and many other Emergency Home Generators.
How does a generator work?
When the power goes out, a generator creates electrical power without using a utility’s electrical source. Typically, a generator is run on fuel, like natural gas or LPG.
When a generator is installed in your home, one main breaker is connected to your home’s load center and the other main breaker is connected to your generator. The generator panel is then connected to circuits for critical electrical loads – furnace, refrigerator, lights, sump pump, etc. – that you designate need to remain on during a power loss.
What do I do when I lose power?
Emergency standby generators operate automatically and simultaneously switch OFF the main circuit breaker connected to your load center and switch ON the main circuit breaker connected to your generator. The generator senses the utility power loss and makes this switch even if no one is home. It also knows when the power comes back on and will automatically switch power back on through your home’s main load center.
What type of generator is right for my home?
The first step in purchasing a generator is to identify the things you absolutely cannot live without during a power outage. Usually high on the list will be the refrigerator and the freezer, a well pump, the furnace fan if you have natural gas or oil heat, or maybe some lighting.
Pacific Coast Electric Heating and Air, Inc. can share more details with you, just give us a call to find out how you can protect yourself against power losses.
Call us Today Pacific Coast Electric Heating and Air, Inc. 408-212-0230 or click below for an appointment on line.
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