My smoke detector keeps chirping. What does this mean?
This could mean one of two things.
1. An intermittent chirp is probably an indication of a defective smoke detector.
2. A consistent chirp is probably an indication of a low battery condition and the smoke detector requires a new battery.
How do I reset my breaker when it has tripped off?
First, disconnect any additional devices that may have caused the breaker to overload and trip. Breakers are mechanical devices and must be turned all the way off before turning back on. Remember this is a mechanical device, so this may require several attempts. If this fails to reset the breaker, there may be a more serious problem.
What is a GFCI device or breaker?
GFCI stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. In layman's terms this device protects you from electrical shock. When it senses the slightest increase in resistance resulting from ground fault, (i.e., the use of electrical devices in or near water), it turns off to protect you.
What is the difference between a breaker panel and my old fuse panel?
Both devices, either breaker or fuse, are designed to trip (turn off) in the event of an electrical overload, i.e. 20Amps of electrical load on a 15Amp circuit would cause a trip. The only difference is that a breaker is mechanical and may be reset. Whereas, a fuse is one time only and must be replaced.
Please Note: Modern breakers are much more efficient and offer greater levels of protection.
I have an overloaded circuit, can I just put in a larger size breaker?
Each breaker is connected to a specific size of wire (ex: 20 amp for 12 gauge, 15 amp for 14 gauge, ect). Because of this, you cannot simply swap out a breaker for a larger size, because the wire will not be properly rated, and could cause many problems down the road, such as overheated wires, melted connections, and burned out appliances.
What are tamper resistant plugs?
A tamper resistant plug is a special type of outlet, that has added protection. The outlet is made with two spring loaded shutters that close off the hot and neutral sides of the outlet, unless both sides are pressed at the same time(ex: with an appliance plug). This stops anything from entering the plug, such as if a child tries to push something into it.
I am hanging a ceiling fan; do i need a special box to hang it on?
Yes. Most boxes in place in homes are only rated for light fixtures, or only 6 to 10 pounds. Depending on the weight of the fan that you are getting, you will need a "fan rated box", which is a box that is attached to a bar that connects to two studs on either side. These boxes are rated for up to 50-75 pounds, and ensure that if hung properly, your fan will not fall.
Why does my mounted microwave continue to trip my breaker?
This is happening because the microwave circuit is not dedicated, as it should be. The average mounted microwave pulls anywhere between 1,100-1,800 watts (9-15 amps). This is likely too much when connected to a circuit with other appliances, and will easily overload the circuit.
Why is there a small spark any time i plug in, or unplug something?
That is caused by what is known as a "arc", and is caused by power trying to rush into the appliance.
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