Q: What should I do when my lights go out?
A: Patience is a virtue – utility companies generally know when outages occur and promptly begin the restoration process. If you notice, however, that you are the only house on the block without power, please call our 24-hour emergency electrical repair service immediately at (484) 571-4088.
Remember: safety is first and foremost. Use only flashlights or electric lanterns for emergency lighting and never use candles, which can start fires. Always keep new batteries in a battery-operated radio for use in extreme weather, and turn off any electrical equipment you were using when the power went out to minimize surges in your lines when power returns. Avoid opening your refrigerator or freezer to preserve food longer, and leave one light on so you’ll know when power has been restored. If you are using a generator, never operate it inside the home, garage, or any enclosed space because of hazardous gases.
Q: How can I save money on my electric bill?
A: The heating, air systems, and water heater use most of the electricity in your home and have the greatest impact on your monthly bill. Make sure your heating and cooling systems are running efficiently by having all central systems checked twice per year. While installing the most energy-efficient rated equipment may be more costly up front, you will save money over the entire lifetime of the equipment. Installing a programmable thermostat will also generate savings by ensuring that systems run when you need them, and rest when you don’t.
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 positively 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 heating and cooling air ducts clean and outdoor equipment free from dirt and other debris. Energy conservation not only saves our planet’s resources, but saves you money.
Q: Does having round fuses instead of circuit breakers pose any safety issues?
A: No, there are no safety issues unless the fuse box is damaged or deteriorating. Fuses are actually more sensitive than circuit breakers, making fuses safer. There are two main issues with fuses: after a fuse protects your home from an overloaded circuit, you have to throw it away, so you may go through many fuses and secondly, the majority of insurance companies now require that fuse boxes be replaced with circuit breakers. If you’re worried about your fuses call us and we’ll check the local electrical codes for your particular situation.
Q: How do I reset a ‘tripped’ circuit breaker?
A: 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 setting 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 rather 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 Prime Electrical for an evaluation.
Q: 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 2 loads, the GFI trips. The GFI has a built-in circuit breaker to reset once the problem has been resolved.
Q: Should I take any special precautions during the holidays?
A: Frayed electrical cords are the primary cause of electrical fires during holidays and celebrations. By maintaining your holiday lights you can minimize the 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.