What should children know about electrical safety when they
A. Assume overhead lines are power lines and stay away from
them. Do not climb trees,
or fly kites near power lines, and
never attempt to remove something that may be caught
on an overhead line.
touch anyone who is in contact with a
power line, call 911.
Get inside at the first sign of lightning. Do not seek
shelter under a tree.
How do we keep our pets safe from electrical hazards?
A. Make sure that your pet (s) do not use electrical devices as
toys. The same frayed electrical cord that delivers an
electrical shock to an adult, have enough voltage to kill a
dog or cat. Keep those electrical cords away from puppies
and kittens. If you have difficulty getting your pet to
stop chewing on the cord, you may want to wrap the cord in a
thick plastic sleeve.
Keep Halogen lamps away from play areas for pets and
children. Some Halogen bulbs can reach temperatures of 1,000
degrees. A fire can easily begin, if the lamp is knocked over
Q. My Smoke detector keeps beeping. What should I do?
start chirping when either of the following happens: 1. the
battery that is in the smoke detector is dying, or 2. The
smoke detector is dying. (This can happen in dusty
conditions more such as having your home painted etc.) Our
recommendations of the following is to have us replace your
smoke detectors throughout your home with Smoke / carbon
monoxide detectors with Lithium batteries installed. They
should last a good 5 years. The average life span of smoke
detectors is 5 years and it is recommended by manufacturers
to replace them every 5 years. The national fire protection
agency suggests every 10 years.
Q. Why do
my light bulbs burn out so fast?
You may be
exceeding the maximum lamp wattage of the fixture. (There
should be a label inside the fixture). Do not exceed 60
watts for most ceiling fixtures. Another reason may be
vibration. Vibration is the culprit in short bulb life.
There are vibration resistant bulbs for ceiling fans and
garage door opener and there are rough service bulbs for
portable lights. For lights such as recessed lights,
consider replacing the bulbs to bulbs that are rated 130VAC,
instead of the standard 120VAC bulbs you currently have.
Q. Can I
replace a standard wall switch with a dimmer?
A. A dimmer
easily replaces a standard wall switch and uses the exact
same wiring. Some light bulbs may not be suitable for
Q. Can a
dimmer control a ceiling fan?
A. A dimmer
cannot control a ceiling fan, it will damage the fan’s
motor. Only use a fan speed control to control a ceiling
fan. Fan speed controls have special circuitry that will
not damage the motor. For ceiling fans with a build in
light fixture, combination dimmer/fan speed control is
When I go to turn my dimmer off, it is very hot. Is this a
A. Dimmers are rated for how many watts they are designed to
handle. If a dimmer has to operate at or close to its full
capacity, it will heat up. Some dimmers have metal fins on
the front of them to enable proper heat dissipation. You can
either reduce the wattage connected to the dimmer to
alleviate the problem, or put in a larger-rated dimmer.
lights dim or flicker when the microwave or other appliance
normally only happens in older homes. Older homes were not wired for the
electrical usage of today’s homes and with all the modern
day appliances most branch circuits in older homes are just
overwhelmed, creating a draw that in turn momentarily dims
the lights. Today’s homes have several more branch circuits
to spread out the load on any given circuit and the main
panels handle double the amperage. The other reason is
generally associated with the neutral. A possible solution
would be to upgrade your panel but is the cost worth the
occasional dimming of your lights? Probably not.
causes a power loss?
A. Power loss
may be caused by any unforeseen event that disconnects the
power from your electrical system like energy shortage, a
winter storm, or problem with a power line.
Q. Why do
circuits breaker trip?
A. When too
many appliances are plugged in or turned on in the circuit,
you will experience an overload which makes the circuit
breaker trip. Other reasons are a faulty wiring or
appliances that cause a short circuit.
Causes A Power Loss?
loss may be caused by a winter storm, an energy shortage, a
summer brownout, a downed tree falling on a power line, an
earthquake or any unforeseen event that cuts off the power
to your electrical system.
Q. How can I prepare for Power loss?
A. You can install a backup power system, consisting of a
generator connected to a switching panel. NICK Electric
installs all sizes of emergency home generator systems
according to your home needs.
Q. How does a generator work?
A. When the power goes out, a generator creates electrical
power without using a utility's electrical source.
Typically, a generator runs on fuel, like diesel, natural
gas or LPG.
When a generator is installed in your home, one main breaker
is connected to your home's load center and the other main
breaker is connected to your generator. The generator panel
is then connected to circuits for critical electrical loads
- furnace, refrigerator, lights, sump pump, etc. - that you
designate need to remain on during a power loss.
Q. What type of generator is right for my home?
A. The first step in purchasing a generator is to identify
the things you absolutely cannot live without during a power
outage. Usually high on the list will be the refrigerator
and the freezer, a well pump, the furnace fan if you have
natural gas or oil heat, and maybe some lighting.
NICK Electric can share more details with you, just give us a
call to find out how you can protect yourself against power
My house does not have grounded outlets. Do I need to
rewire my house?
A. No, in home wiring, prior the 1960’s, it was quite common to
only have a 2 wire (not grounded) system. The NEC allows
the installation of GFCI outlets either at the first outlet
of the circuit or at every outlet. They must however be
labeled “ungrounded receptacle”.
My electric bill is too high. is my electric meter spinning faster then it should?
A. No, all electric meters are calibrated once
by their manufacturer. Your meter is designed to spin by the electrical
energy that passes through it. Therefore, it is not possible that the
meter is “over spinning”. In some cases mechanical meters may spin
slower then they should due to gear issues.
can I do to prevent arc faults?
can't prevent arc faults from occurring. However, there is a
device that can stop them--by interrupting the electrical
current before any damage is done. It's called an Arc Fault
Circuit Interrupter (AFCI). It electronically detects any
arc fault and stops the flow of electricity in a fraction of
a second. No electricity, no heat, no fire. And, by tripping
on a specific circuit, the AFCI helps you identify the
source of the problem right at the load center.
fuses and circuit breakers serve the same purpose as AFCI's?
A. No. Fuses and circuit breakers cannot detect low-level arcs.
Only AFCIs are specifically designed for that purpose.
Q. Are AFCIs required by the National Electrical Code?
A. Yes. As of January 2010, arc fault circuit interrupters are
required by the National Electrical Code on all new bedroom
circuits. But, you can protect you existing home too! By
installing AFCIs now, you can get peace of mind from their
added fire protection.
Q. What surge protector is right for me?
type of surge protector focuses on a particular type of
wiring: electrical, telephone or coaxial cable. There are
two AC power surge protectors, allowing you protection
regardless of the brand of load center in your home. Ask
your NICK Electric’s electrician what type of protection is
right for you and your home.
Q. What are
polarized electrical outlets?
different sized slots were developed to allow outlets to be
polarized as a safety enhancement. The larger slot connects
the common wire in the outlet to the common wire in a
device. The smaller slot connects the "hot" wires. By
forcing the smaller blade of the plug to always connect the
hot wires, the outlet is polarized. Devices, such as a table
lamp, are designed to minimize the risk of electric shock by
keeping the hot wire as short as possible by wiring directly
to the switch. The rest of the internal wiring connects to
the neutral wire. While this system does not eliminate the
possibility of electrocution, fire and electrical faults, it
reduces the risk by limiting the path of live current.
does the ground do?
improvement in safety came with the addition of a ground
wire to the outlet. This serves as an alternative return
path for electricity and is referred to as the equipment
ground. Ordinarily current flows from the hot wire and
returns via the common wire to ground. However, if the hot
wire comes in contact with a metal part of a device, the
cabinet housing of
a washing machine for instance, current could flow through
you to ground. The ground wire in a device connects to the
housing and provides a return path. The current could still
travel through you, but the ground wire probably has lower
resistance and so chooses that path over through you.
Q. What is
a GFCI outlet?
(ground fault circuit interrupter) outlet is a device that adds a greater level of safety by reducing
the risk of electric shock. Most building codes now require
that a GFCI outlet be used in wet locations such as bathrooms, kitchens,
and laundry rooms.
Q. I lost
power in my bathroom outlet, and all breakers are on. What
can I do?
when a house is wired and has two bathrooms, the master bath
has a GFCI outlet that protects both bathrooms. The kitchen
has one that protects the other plugs close to the sink and
there is typically one in the garage that protects the
outlets there and perhaps the outside plugs as well. Often
times the GFCI outlet will go bad or is faulty, affecting
the other plugs downstream as it were.
Q. What Causes an Outlet to Spark?
when you plug an electrical appliance into an outlet, you may notice a small blue spark. In most
situations, this is a normal event as the electrons begin to
flow into the appliance's power cord. At other times,
however, a spark from an electrical outlet could start a fire or severely damage the plug. It is
important for homeowners to understand why an electrical outlet may spark or short
out without warning.
Call NICK ELECTRIC today to schedule an appointment for a free estimate.
3640 Flagstone Circle Middleton, WI 53562