Please ensure that your home has smoke detectors on each level in bedrooms and hallways, and carbon monoxide detectors if you have gas or oil heat. Some cities/counties may require them to be interconnected, and one in an attached garage and basement. This sort of wiring guarantees that if one alarm in the house goes off, they all go off.
Electricity is one of the leading causes of house fires in the United States. This is a fact pointed out in an article by the National Fire Protection Association, the same agency that writes the National Electric Code (NEC), which all electricians are supposed to abide by. Every aspect of the NEC has been developed based on accidents and casualties and is designed to prevent further accidents and casualties.
GFCI stands for “ground fault circuit interrupter,” which is like a standard electrical outlet but includes its own built-in circuit breaker.
Electricity always seeks the easiest route to the ground, so the term “ground fault” means any time that the electric current departs from its intended flow. Water conducts electricity more easily than wire, so if an outlet gets splashed with water the current might change directions and follow the water to the ground — possibly going through you on the way. This is why GFCI outlets are often installed in kitchens and bathrooms. As with all circuit breakers, they’re designed to instantly interrupt the flow of electricity in order to protect against electrical shock. GFCI outlets look just like their traditional counterparts, except they have two small buttons at the center. One is labeled “test” and the other “reset.”
Usually, when a breaker shuts itself off, the cause is apparent. Whatever appliance you just turned on before the outage is probably the one that overloaded the circuit. Appliances like microwaves, hair dryers, space heaters, and vacuum cleaners can cause a sharp enough amperage spike to trip the breaker. Another common cause which may be harder to identify, is when the air conditioner kicks on while you have other appliances running on the same circuit. The switch on the tripped breaker should not be inline with the others. It should be in the tripped position, which is usually in the middle of the breaker switch position. To reset, simply switch to the off position first then switch to the on position. Make sure to firmly switch the breaker to the off position first. Note just because the breaker is in the on position it doesn’t mean that it is sending the electricity through the circuit. If problem persists call a qualified electrical contractor or electrician.
Electrical Outlet Doesn’t Work: First check the circuit breaker. If no breakers are tripped and the outage is confined to one outlet, it may have burned out. If an outlet shows any sign of blackening around the outlet plugs, it should not be used. Even if one plug is working, the entire outlet should be replaced immediately to avoid the possibility of starting a fire.
Electrical Outlets Spark: It can be scary when you see a spark fly from an outlet, but sometimes it’s normal.
For example, when power is suddenly diverted to an appliance, there will be a quick draw on the available power, causing a brief spark. Once the electrons are flowing freely, there should be no reason for a spark to form. This is normal, and it’s comparable to static electricity. However, if too much heat builds up in an outlet, it can actually melt the insulation that surrounds the wires. As the wires become exposed, the chance for an electrical fire increases. When a connection is made, the electrons can leap to the wrong area and cause a serious spark. This is known as a short-circuit and can actually case an electrical fire. Exposure to water can also cause an outlet to spark and short out. Installation of a special outlet known as a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) will cause the circuit to shut down if it comes into contact with moisture.
Flickering Lights: This is a sign of a poor connection — one that may lead to a broken connection. You will need to call an electrician to hunt down the source and correct it.
On-again/Off-Again Recessed Lights: These light fixtures contain a built-in mechanism to prevent overheating, which means they will sometimes turn themselves off. Once the fixture has cooled, it turns back on. This is usually the result of a bad match between your light bulb and fixture, or the ceiling insulation is touching the fixture.
Appliances Cause The Circuit Breaker To Trip: High-wattage items running at the same time can overload the circuit. The solution is to move the appliances to a different circuit, or to have an electrician install a separate circuit.
Frequent Light Bulb Burnout: If you find yourself constantly changing light bulbs, it might be the result of using a bulb with a higher wattage than your light fixture can handle. Check your light fixtures to make sure you are using bulbs with the correct wattage.