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Frequently Asked Questions


When is it time to call an electrician?

When you are resetting circuit breakers or changing fuses too often. When your lights flicker or go on and off. When you can smell electricity burning. When you have multiple electronic devices going into one receptacle in the back of your electronics center. When you have receptacles overburdened by multi-plug strips. If you have to run extension cords to plug in electrical devices. Any time you need to install a new appliance that requires an above average electrical load. If you have a question regarding the safety of any appliance or device connected to your home or building’s electrical system.

How long does an estimate take?

Usually we can visit you within 24 hours. The visit to your home or place of business will take anywhere between 15 minutes to many hours depending on the size of the job. Estimates are always free!

What size service do I install in my home?

Michigan Residential Code calls for 100 amps minimum and this is usually sufficient for homes in our area. There are different panel options to work with within the 100 amps. This is not a job for an unlicensed person to attempt. In almost all instances, it involves replacing everything from where DTE Energy attaches to your house and down. It also includes updating the bonding and grounding for the house.

How much should I attempt on my own?

Currently, most states allow you to do whatever you want in your own home. But doing electrical work yourself is a gamble. How much are you willing to risk to save money? 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 smallest job could be a safety hazard. Why take a chance? Get a professional to do this work. Also, in some states the homeowner can pull his own electrical permit for work in a single family home that he lives in. What he does not know is that in case of damage or fire caused by his work, his homeowners insurance will not pay, they will only pay if, the work is done by a licensed Electrical Contractor. You should check with your homeowners insurance company, and they should sign a document to acknowledge coverage when they pull a permit.

The most dangerous time is when you tell yourself “This is easy. I can do it myself. Why should I get an electrician?” Then when you don’t remember where all those wires went, or your hair is standing straight up, you say to yourself, “Well, maybe we better call someone to straighten up this mess”. Now it will cost you double what you thought you were going to save in the beginning.

How many convenience receptacles are required in each room?

In every kitchen, family room, dining room, living room, parlor, library, den, bedroom, or similar room or area of dwelling units, receptacles shall be installed so that no point along the floor line in any wall space there is more than six feet from a receptacle in that space. This is to prevent the use of extension cords.

How should receptacles be installed in a kitchen area?

All receptacles installed within 6 feet of water shall have GFCI protection. Receptacles in a kitchen used to serve counter tops should be supplied with at least two 20 amp branch circuits, for small appliances. Each fixed appliance (refrigerator, stove, dishwasher, microwave) should have its own dedicated circuit. On counter tops 12 inches or wider a receptacle shall be installed so that there is no more than 24 inches between receptacles. Receptacles installed to serve island counter tops shall be installed above, or within 12 inches below the counter top. No receptacle shall be installed face up on a sink counter top.

Where do you put GFCI receptacles?

Any receptacle within 6′ of water must be GFCI protected. The code also requires all kitchen receptacles for countertop use, exterior receptacles and basement receptacles to be GFCI protected. There are two types of GFCIs in homes, the GFCI receptacle and the GFCI circuit breaker. Both do the same job, but each has different applications and limitations.

The GFCI receptacle is actually a replacement for a standard electrical receptacle. It protects any item plugged into it, and can also be wired to protect other receptacles that are connected to it. The GFCI circuit breaker controls an entire circuit, and is installed as a replacement for a circuit breaker in your home’s service panel. Rather than install multiple GFCI receptacles, one GFCI circuit breaker can protect the entire circuit. There is a test button and a reset button on all GFCI units. If you press the test button, the reset should pop out. To reset just push the reset button in.

What is an AFCI?

Starting January 1, 2002, The National Electrical Code requires that all branch circuits supplying 125V, single phase, 15 and 20 amp receptacles installed in dwelling unit bedrooms be protected by an arc-fault circuit interrupter (AFCI). Eventually they will be in more areas but the NEC selected to require them on bedroom circuits first because a CPSC study showed many home fire deaths were related to bedroom circuits.

The AFCI breaker, will shut off a circuit in a fraction of a second if arcing develops. The current inside of an arc is not always high enough to trip a regular breaker. You must have noticed a cut or worn piece of a cord or a loose connection in a junction box or receptacle arcing and burnt without tripping the regular breaker. As you can guess this is a major cause of fires in a dwelling.

There is a difference between AFCIs and GFCIs. AFCIs are intended to reduce the likelihood of fire caused by electrical arcing faults; whereas, GFCIs are personal protection intended to reduce the likelihood of electric shock hazard. Don’t misunderstand, GFCIs are still needed and save a lot of lives.

Combination devices that include both AFCI and GFCI protection in one unit are available. AFCIs can be installed on any 15 or 20 amp branch circuit in homes today and are currently available as circuit breakers with built-in AFCI features. In the near future, other types of devices with AFCI protection will be available.
If a GFCI receptacle is installed on the load side of an AFCI it is possible for both the AFCI and the GFCI to trip on a fault if the current exceeds the limit for both devices. It is also possible for the AFCI to trip and the GFCI to not trip since the two devices could race each other. However, in no case is safety compromised.

What is involved in installing a ceiling (paddle) fan and why should I have one?

A ceiling fan needs to have an approved fan brace. The original box that was installed for a light fixture needs to be replaced because it is rated to only hold 6 pounds of weight – ceiling fans weigh from 20 – 75 pounds depending on the design. These braces normally can be installed without going into the attic crawl space. A properly installed ceiling fan should run on low 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. The use of a ceiling fan evens the distribution of air flow in a room, therefore lowering heating and cooling costs. Your furnace and air conditioner can run more efficiently.

How many appliances can I plug into the same socket?

It depends on the amp size of the circuit you are using. We recommend that you never plug more than 1 item into a single outlet. If you need to use power strips to increase the number of appliances an outlet can hold, ALWAYS use a UL rated strip that has a breaker switch included. In the event that you are blowing fuses or tripping a breaker, always call a licensed electrician to evaluate the situation.