Frequently Asked Questions
- What should I do when my lights go out?
- How can I save money on my electric bill?
- Is there a safety issue between having the round fuses instead of circuit breakers?
- How do I reset a 'tripped' circuit breaker?
- What is a GFI?
- Should I take any special precautions during the holidays?
What should I do when my lights go out?
Patience is a virtue – utility companies generally know when outages occur and promptly begin the restoration process. However, if you notice that you are the only house on the block without power, please call our 24-hour emergency electrical repair service immediately. In either case, safety is first and foremost. Only use a flashlight for emergency lighting, never use candles. You should always keep fresh batteries in a battery-operated radio for use in extreme weather. Turning off any electrical equipment you were using when the power went out will minimize surges in your lines. Avoid opening your refrigerator or freezer. Leaving one light on will help you know when power has been restored. If you are using a generator, never operate it inside the home or garage.
How can I save money on my electric bill?
Most of the electricity in your home is used by the heating and air system and water heating. Make sure your heating and cooling systems are running efficiently and central systems are checked twice a year. By installing the most energy-efficient rated equipment, you will save money over the lifetime of the equipment. You could also install a programmable thermostat that will operate your systems more effectively, thus saving run times of your system and saving money. You know those long showers you love so much? Well, they cost you dearly when it comes to heating the water. Cutting back on your shower duration can affect your bill. Another thing that could cause increases in your electric consumption would be a bad breaker or loose connections at the breaker box. Having trained professional check it could minimize some costs. To keep your equipment running efficiently, keep heating and cooling air ducts clean and outdoor equipment free from dirt and other debris. Energy conservation not only saves our resources, but saves you money.
Is there a safety issue between having the round fuses instead of circuit breakers?
No, it is not a safety issue unless the fuse box is damaged or deteriorating. Fuses are actually more sensitive than circuit breakers; therefore they are safer than circuit breakers. There are two main issues with fuses. First, after a fuse protects your home from an overloaded circuit, you have to throw it away. Therefore you may go through many fuses. Secondly, the majority of insurance companies now require that fuse boxes be replaced with circuit breakers. We'll check the local electrical codes for your particular situation.
How do I reset a 'tripped' circuit breaker?
Go to your main electrical panel, usually located in a garage or carport area on the opposite side of the wall from your electric meter. If you are in an apartment setting the panel is usually in a closet or storage room. Open up the panel to reveal the various circuit breakers. The 'tripped' breaker will not be in either the on or off position, but rather in between. Sometimes a small red portion of the breaker will be exposed to show you the tripped breaker. To reset it, just push the switch to the off position and then back to the on position. You should hear a snapping sound and feel some resistance. In the event that the circuit continues to trip, there may be an excessive load on the circuit. Correcting the overload should solve your problem. If that doesn't work, contact Mister Sparky for an evaluation.
What is a GFI?
A GFI is an abbreviation for a Ground Fault Interrupter. It is a specially designed outlet normally used in locations where moisture can accumulate, such as kitchens, baths and laundry areas, to protect you from electrical shock. A GFI measures the resistance on the "positive" and "negative" loads connected to it, and if there is more resistance in either of the 2 loads, the GFI trips. The GFI has a built-in circuit breaker to reset once the problem has been resolved.
Should I take any special precautions during the holidays?
Frayed electrical cords are the primary cause of electrical fires during holidays and celebrations. By maintaining your holiday lights you can minimize the risk. You should inspect them each year for fraying, bare spots, gaps in the insulation, broken or cracked sockets and excessive kinking or wear before putting them up. You should use only lighting listed by an approved testing laboratory. Do not overload electrical outlets. Do not link more than three light strands, unless the directions indicate it is safe. Make sure to periodically check the wires - they should not be warm to the touch. And, do not leave holiday lights unattended.