Got a question for an electrician? Ask Chuck.
- When should I get a panel change?
You should consider getting a panel change if you have a Federal Pacific, Zinsco, Pushmatic (Bulldog), or if your existing panel does not have adequate spaces for dedicated circuits you are looking to add and there is no space to use twin circuit breakers to create more space.
- What is a GFCI outlet?
A GFCI outlet is known as a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter and it is used to protect personnel in damp or wet locations. These should be installed or ahead of any receptacle within 6’ of a sink or basin, bathtub or shower stall and behind toilets. All kitchen receptacles serving the countertops should also be GFCI protected. Any outdoor receptacle, garage general purpose receptalce should also be GFCI protected. Receptacles within crawl spaces and unfinished areas of basements also require GFCI protection.
- My outside outlet is not working, and I really need my Christmas lights on ASAP?
This receptacle should have GFCI protection ahead of it or the receptacle itself could be. If the outdoor receptacle you are utilizing for power to operate your christmas lights is not the GFCI you should look around the perimeter of your home for a GFCI receptacle, garage, kitchen, bathroom, or inside the home on the walls around that location. Depending on the age of your home the GFCI can be located in these various locations. It could also be caused by a tripped circuit breaker or blown fuse at your main electrical panel or sub panel.
- How do I reset my breaker?
Most circuit breakers can be reset by taking the handle of the circuit breaker to the outside of the panel and then turning it to the inside of the panel. If you have a Pushmatic( Bulldog) panel you will need to push the face of the breaker into the enclosure like a button.
- How can I become an electrician?
The state of Oregon requires you to join a State certified apprenticeship committee, there are different programs that you can look into depending on your location. We utilize apprentices out of Area1 JATC, Area2 IEC, Area3 Mid-Oregon IEC, Area7 High Desert. The State of Washington look into L&I (Labor and Industries)
- I don’t have any more space for new circuits, what can I do?
It is a possibility that your electrical panel will allow circuit breakers called twins or quads to make room for more spaces, a twin breaker is the size of a single pole breaker but has 2 handles on it opposed to 1. A quad breaker is the size of a 2pole breaker but this breaker has different variations the 2 inner poles could be tied together and the 2 outside poles could be single poles they could also be tied together and this could be 2 2pole breakers in the opening of a single 2pole breaker.
- Why does my breaker keep tripping?
This could be caused by an overload of the circuit, short circuit, or it could be the breaker itself is failing and can no longer operate as designed. If the circuit breaker is a AFCI (Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter) GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) type breaker it could be tripping due to the breaker detecting an arc fault or ground fault.
- Why do my lights flicker?
This could be caused by various situations within your home and depending on the age of your home and wiring method used during that time period. If the lights flicker and they are on a dimmer and the bulbs are LED, it could be the bulbs or dimmer is not compatible to work with each other either by being non dimming capable on the bulbs or the dimmer is not compatible to dim LED bulbs. This is just one of the common situations we see while on service calls.
- What causes a short circuit?
A short circuit is when a current carrying conductor (hot, phase conductor) comes into contact with a non-current carrying conductor (neutral, ground, grounded)
- What causes a over load?
An over load is caused by drawing more ampacity on the branch circuit than what it is intended to carry, for example drawing 25amps on a 15amp circuit breaker. This is very common in the winter and summer months as households use space heaters and room air conditioners.
- My smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are not operating correctly, chirping?
This could be caused by a low battery, depending on the age of your detector it could alert you that the battery is getting low. If you have older detectors, they do not alert you. The detectors with the batteries should be replaced every 10 years per manufacturer instructions. Some detectors, if alarmed, will have a solid red LED light illuminated on them to inform you that it was the detector that alarmed. Some nuisance alarms for detectors are situations for instance, burning items in the kitchen, being too close in location to a bathroom or air return vent. During the winter when your furnace fires up for the first time there could be residual dust and debris that causes some air particles to float around and cause a nuisance alarm.
- I’ve signed my contract; how do I go about scheduling?
Our office should reach out to you, but if you haven’t heard from anyone you can always call in. 50% is required upon scheduling, you can pay with a card over the phone, but with any card payments there is a 3% processing fee. You can mail us a check or bring one in.
- What is a service call?
Service calls are for our straighter-forward jobs, troubleshooting outlets and lights. If you want someone there a bit faster, you can request a service call. Service calls do not guarantee an answer, if the call is trickier than a quick fix, we recommend getting a free estimate.
- How do I get an estimate?
You call in our office, we set you up with a date and time that our estimating team can meet you out there. They come and take a look and get more information. After that they still need to come back to the office and work on putting it together. After that we then type it up and send it out. This process can take 7-10 days (depending on the season). Once you get the DocuSign and accept it, you bring your payment in and we can get you scheduled.
- Should I get an estimate or a service call?
With an estimate there is a set price, and we know that we will be able to get the work done. If you schedule a service call and we must come back for multiple trips, we will have to charge multiple service call fees and fuel charges. We will also have to give you our next available date and will not just be able to come back the next day to finish.
- How do I make a payment or pay my deposit?
We recommend you mail us a check, or you can bring one in. You can pay with a credit or debit card but there will be a 3% processing fee.
- How far out are you booked?
It really depends on the job and time of year. It can range anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months. It’s on a first come first serve basis, we cannot hold spots for proposals with out a signed contract.
- How much will a service call cost me?
For service calls we bill on time and material (T&M). Our hourly rate is $180, our one-time service call fee is $120, and fuel charge is $20. The first hour is mandatory of these 3 components. After the first hour we will bill in increments of 15 minutes at $45. Plus, any material we will need to use, and any permit fees if applicable.