2310 Upper Turnpike Road
Whitehall, NY 12887
Rolleston Electric Insured Electrician serving the Saratoga NY area Providing Emergengy Service. Service Calls, Panel Upgrades, Data Wiring, Telephone, Cable TV and Network Wiring. Code violation repairs
HOME ELECTRICAL FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT IS A GFCI AND WHAT DOES IT DO?
A ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) is a device that shuts off an electric circuit when it detects that current is flowing along an unintended path, possibly through water or through a person. It is used to reduce the risk of electric shock. It works by measuring the current leaving the hot side of the power source and comparing it to the current returning to the neutral side. If they are not equal, this means that some of the current is flowing along an unintended path, and the GFCI shuts the power off. When the problem is corrected, the GFCI can manually be reset by pushing the reset button. There is also a test button that can be used to verify that the GFCI works. It is recommended to test GFCIs at least once a month. GFCIs are required in kitchens, bathrooms, unfinished basements, garages, outdoors, and anywhere near a sink. GFCIs are available in two types for permanent installation, the circuit breaker type that installs in the panel, and the receptacle type that installs in a normal electrical box.
WHAT IS A AFCI AND WHAT DOES IT DO?
Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) Is a device that shuts off an electric circuit when it detects series or parallel arc's caused by a bad cord connection wire that may have been damaged by a screw or nail or damaged lead cord. An AFCI must distinguish between a harmless arc that occurs incidental to normal operation of switches, plugs and brushed motors and an undesirable arc that can occur, for example, in a lamp cord that has a broken conductor in the cord.
CAN WE SWITCH OUR UNGROUNDED RECEPTACLES TO GROUNDED TYPE RECEPTACLES?
This can be done two different ways.
#1. This option gives you a receptacle that is properly grounded. It requires removing all the receptacles and boxes and fishing new wires to the boxes that have a ground wire. This can many times be done with minimal damage to the walls and sometimes with no damage at all by fishing the wires through the wall.
#2. This option allows you to upgrade to a grounding type receptacle but does not provide any physical connection to provide grounding. GFCIs can be used to upgrade older two-prong (non-grounded) outlets to three-prong (grounded) outlets without installing any new wire. This is safer than using the two-to-three prong adapter. The GFCI is installed in the electrical box without connecting the ground screw (as there is no ground wire). A label that says "No Equipment Ground" must be placed on the GFCI outlet and all downstream outlets. Several of these labels are usually included with the GFCI.
One thing I have seen done many times is when someone tries to turn an ungrounded receptacle into a grounded receptacle by connecting the ground and neutral together. This is illegal dangerous and is not allowed. If this is done and a neutral connection is broken then the ground could become live and electrocute a person touching the appliance being used. This is what is commonly referred to as a bootleg ground.
CAN I REPLACE ANY CEILING FIXTURE WITH A CEILING FAN?
Yes you can but you first have to make sure the box in the ceiling is rated for a ceiling can. Not all boxes are able to hold the weight of a ceiling fan. There are boxes that can be installed in the same hole as the existing one that are rated for a ceiling fan.
WHY ARE MY SMOKE DETECTORS BEEPING?
Either they are past their useful life and need to be replaced or their batteries are getting low.
CABLE TV OR TELEPHONE NOT WORKING AND I AM TOLD MY OUTSIDE WIRING IS FINE. WHO DO I CALL?
Most cable TV or Telephone companies only cover the telephone wiring up to the demarc box this is usually the gray box on the inside or outside of your home. Sometimes it can just be a just a grounding block where the wire comes in from the overhead or underground cables and switch to inside wiring. The rates for the cable company to come out and work on the inside wiring can be expensive and is not always a free repair and long waits for repairs are common. Sometimes they won't be able to fix it at all. And you will have to contact an insured electrician to fix the problem.
MAIN OR BRANCH CIRCUIT BREAKERS TRIPPED! SHOULD I BE WORRIED?
Any time circuit breakers have tripped a number of times it should be checked out. And if a main breaker tripps it should always be checked out. I have seen a number of times where the main breaker wears out and causes arching inside the breaker panel melting vital parts in the breaker panel. When this happens it's actually the heat from the arching causing the breaker to trip.
BEWARE OF BACK STABBING! WHAT IS BACK STABBING?
Backstabed receptacle failure is very common.
I have found this problem more times than I can count. I go to a service call and either there is no power to a certain part of a home, there are flickering lights or no power to a light, receptacle gets so hot it melts. This problem is preventable and should never happen.
The problem we are talking about is improperly installed receptacles/outlets and switches. It's called "back stabbing. This is when wire is just inserted into the back of a device and it locks in there. I find these in new and old homes everywhere.
These practices are quick and easy. But over time the spring locking connection of the receptacle loose it's effectiveness with use. Sometimes it's just no power to a certain area of the home or a light fixture. This can also cause flickering lights or intermittent problems too. But there are also times when the connection heats up due to the high resistance of the bad connection. This can cause a fire and no breaker will prevent it from heating up.
It's recommended that the screws be used on the receptacles instead of back stabbing the device. Many electricians do this to save time and money. We don't believe it's worth the risk and don't do it..
If you are having flickering lights no power, intermittent power to certain areas, have receptacles getting really warm or hot you should call an electrician right away and stop using anything on that circuit.
BEWARE OF BOOTLEG GROUNDS! AND REVERSE BOOTLEG GROUNDS!
A bootleg ground is where the white neutral wire is also connected to the ground screw simulating a ground. This is a code violation because the neutral wire carries current and connecting the ground to the neutral could possibly cause the ground to become live and any appliance that is plugged in could possibly have the frame and all meter parts become live creating a possible shock hazard.
A reverse bootleg ground is where the person not knowing what they are doing connects the black hot wire to the neutral terminal and the ground terminal this is a code violation causing the ground to become live and any appliance that is plugged in will have the frame and all meter parts become live creating a shock hazard.
If you have experienced shocks around any of the receptacles in your home then it should be evaluated by an electrician.Flood Damage Water Removal Power Factor Correction Scam NYSEG National Grid Green Mountain Power Fuse Box Panel Box Federal Pacific Stab Loc Sub Panel Residential Electricians Electrician NEST Thermostat Inspector Granville NY West Pawlet VT Pawlet VT Hartford NY Glens Falls NY Poultney VT Fort Edward NY Queensbury NY Argyle NY Salem NY Fort Ann NY Whitehall NY Wells VT Hudson Falls NY Gansevoort NY Cambridge NY Saratoga NY Lake George NY
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