Frequently Asked Questions

You will find answers to all of your most common Electrical Services related questions located here.

When is it time to call an electrician?

When you are resetting circuit breakers or changing fuses too often. When you turn on your air conditioner, blow-dryer or microwave and the lights dim in the room. When your lights flicker or go on and off. When you smell electricity burning. If you are running extension cords to plug in electrical devices.

How much electrical work should I attempt on my own?

At the present time most states allow you to do whatever you want in your own home. But, doing electrical work yourself is dangerous and could result in costly repairs as well as making more problems within your home’s system. There is a reason why it takes so much training to become an electrician. Do not make a mistake by taking electricity lightly, even the small job could be a safety hazard.

What is the difference between a breaker panel and my old fuse panel?

Both devices, either breakers or fuses, are designed to trip (turn off) in the event of an electrical overload. For example – 20amps of electrical load on a 15amp 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. Breakers are more efficient and offer larger levels of operation.

There is a humming noise coming from my panel. What does this mean?

This could be the result of a defective breaker. Replacement should be immediate as this defective breaker could cause serious harm to electrical components.

Why is a breaker in my panel hot to touch?

This overheating is a serious defect and could cause arcing in the breaker. The breaker should be replaced immediately.

What does it mean when my fluorescent lights are flickering or cycling on and off or the lighting is slow to come on?

Flicking may indicate bulb failure, minor power fluctuation, and/or improperly installed bulbs. Cycling on and off is typically an indication of ballast and/or bulb failure. It is recommended when replacing the ballast to replace the bulb(s) as well.

What areas of my house should be GFCI protected?

GFCI’s should be installed in all wet location including garages and anywhere outside the dwelling, within 6’ of any sink, kitchens and bathrooms.

What are the buttons on my GFCI outlet for?

One button is the test button. When it is pushed, it should turn off the outlet and all other outlets that are tied to it. The other button is a reset button, which is used to turn the power back on to the outlet and any others that are tied into the outlet.

What size electrical service system do I install in my home?

Most states call for 100-amp minimum, but with all of the new electronic devices, air conditioning and electric heat, I would suggest 200-amps especially in new and larger homes. This will provide you some space for future additions. This is not a job for an unlicensed person to attempt. SDG&E is involved along with the city inspection department.

Tom Kennedy Electric