Some of your most frequently asked questions (FAQ) . . . Answered Here.
1. What is a GFCI?
A GFCI or Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter is a special breaker or receptacle providing extraordinary protection from shock. GFCI stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. When it senses the slightest increase in resistance resulting from ground fault, (i.e., the use of electrical devices in or near water), it trips off to protect you. These are the receptacles with the “test” and “reset” buttons found in many bathrooms and kitchens.
2. What is an AFCI?
An AFCI is a special breaker intended to provide fire protection caused by arcing faults by recognizing characteristics unique to arcing and by functioning to de-energize the circuit when an arc fault is detected. An AFCI shuts the power off to the circuit to protect against fire. AFCI’s have been required in all new work dwelling unit bedrooms effective January 1, 2002.
3. Why do circuit breakers trip?
Overload is the most common reason for tripping. Too many things are plugged in or turned on in the circuit. Short circuit is another reason; this may be caused by faulty wiring, appliances or fixtures.
4. A light fixture in my house is flickering, what should I do?
A flickering light could be the symptom of several problems. This should be checked. It could be a loose connection in the circuit. It could also be a problem outside your house especially if all the lights in the house seem to be flickering. In any case like this it’s best to not use the lights and call a licensed electrician to check it out.
5. Why do my light bulbs burn out so quickly?
You may be exceeding the maximum lamp wattage of the fixture. There should be a label inside the fixture. If the label is not there consider replacing the fixture. Do not exceed 60 watts for most ceiling fixtures. Many times vibration is the culprit in short bulb life.
6. Can I hang a paddle fan where a light is?
Yes, but first you must make sure the electrical box is properly braced and rated for the weight and torque of the paddle fan you are installing.
7. Why do I need so many receptacles on my kitchen counter back splash?
In a kitchen the code requires that no point along the counter top be more than 24″ from an outlet. Also any counter 12″ or more requires a receptacle.
These receptacles must all be GFI protected.
8. My smoke detector keeps chirping. What does this mean?
This could mean one of two things. An Intermittent Chirp is probably an indication of a defective smoke detector. A consistent chirp is probably an indication of a low battery condition and the smoke detector requires a new battery.
9. I have a new home. Why does my refrigerator or freezer, located in my garage, keep going off?
Unless you made provisions with the builder for a dedicated circuit, the outlets in your garage are GFCI Protected per National Electrical Code. This device will not tolerate the additional resistance load created by refrigeration equipment. The GFCI senses there is a fault, and therefore trips off. The only cure to this problem is to provide a dedicated, non GFCI circuit allowable by code.
10. I have a 110Volt outlet on the exterior of my home. Can I plug my Christmas lights into it?
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.