Frequently Asked Questions
If You Have a Question, Mister Sparky Has the Answer!
How can I save money on my electric bill?
Most of the electricity in your home is used by the heating and AC system and water heater. Make sure your heating and cooling systems are running efficiently by having your central air systems checked twice a year. By installing the most energy-efficient equipment, you will save money over the lifetime of the system.
You could also install a programmable thermostat that will operate your systems more effectively, thus reducing overall run times for your system and saving money.
You know those long showers you love so much? Well, they cost you dearly when it comes to heating the water. Cutting back on your shower duration can affect your bill. Another thing that could cause increases in your electric consumption would be a bad breaker or loose connections at the breaker box. Having trained professional check it could minimize some costs.
To keep your equipment running efficiently, keep air ducts clean and outdoor equipment free from dirt and other debris. Energy conservation not only saves our resources, but saves you money.
How do I reset a ‘tripped’ circuit breaker?
Go to your main electrical panel, usually located in a garage or carport area on the opposite side of the wall from your electric meter. If you are in an apartment, the panel is usually in a closet or storage room. Open up the panel to reveal the various circuit breakers. The ‘tripped’ breaker will not be in either the on or off position, but in between. Sometimes a small red portion of the breaker will be exposed to show you the tripped breaker.
To reset it, just push the switch to the off position and then back to the on position. You should hear a snapping sound and feel some resistance. In the event that the circuit continues to trip, there may be an excessive load on the circuit. Correcting the overload should solve your problem. If that doesn’t work, contact Mister Sparky for an evaluation.
What is a GFI?
A GFI is an abbreviation for a Ground Fault Interrupter. It is a specially designed outlet normally used in locations where moisture can accumulate, such as kitchens, baths and laundry areas, to protect you from electrical shock. A GFI measures the resistance on the “positive” and “negative” loads connected to it, and if there is more resistance in either of the two loads, the GFI trips. The GFI has a built-in circuit breaker to reset once the problem has been resolved.
Should I take any special precautions during the holidays?
Frayed electrical cords are the primary cause of electrical fires during holidays and celebrations. By maintaining your holiday lights you can minimize risk. You should inspect them each year for fraying, bare spots, gaps in the insulation, broken or cracked sockets and excessive kinking or wear before putting them up. You should use only lighting listed by an approved testing laboratory. Do not overload electrical outlets. Do not link more than three light strands, unless the directions indicate it is safe. Make sure to periodically check the wires – they should not be warm to the touch. And, do not leave holiday lights unattended.
What should I do if I need to hire an electrician?
It is always important to find the right company. If you are not from the industry how can you ensure that you are hiring the right company? Here are a few tips that should help.
- Look for an electrical license number on the invoice, vehicle, and any paperwork that the company shows you.
- Make sure they have insurance. Ask to see a copy of this.
- Make sure they have workers comp insurance. Also ask to see a copy of this.
- Research their online reputation.
- Make sure you get a price in writing before the job begins.
- Ask for all warranties to be in writing.
These are not all of the questions that should be answered, but it will help to point you in the right direction.
What should I do when my lights go out?
Patience is a virtue; utility companies generally know when outages occur and promptly begin the restoration process. However, if you notice that you are the only house on the block without power, please call our 24-hour emergency electrical repair service immediately. In either case, safety is first and foremost. Only use a flashlight for emergency lighting, never use candles. You should always keep fresh batteries in a battery-operated radio for use in extreme weather. Turning off any electrical equipment you were using when the power went out will minimize surges in your lines. Avoid opening your refrigerator or freezer. Leaving one light on will help you know when power has been restored. If you are using a generator, never operate it inside the enclosed space of a home or garage.
Is there a safety issue related to having round fuses instead of circuit breakers?
No, it is not a safety issue, unless the fuse box is damaged or deteriorating. Fuses are actually more sensitive than circuit breakers; therefore, they are safer than circuit breakers.
There are two main issues with fuses. First, after a fuse protects your home from an overloaded circuit, you have to throw it away. So you may go through many fuses. Second, most insurance companies now require that fuse boxes be replaced with circuit breakers. We’ll check the local electrical codes for your particular situation.