FAQ

Do you do Residential jobs?

Yes! There is no electrical job too big or too small.

Do you do service upgrades?

Yes.  We will come out and answer any questions prior to beginning service change.  Once the project begins we will work with the power company and/or city to efficiently change over your service.

Do you wire basements?

Yes, we do wire basements.

My garage outlets don’t have any power. Why?

Before you call an electrician, check and see if there is a GFCI that has tripped. Reset it, and if that doesn’t work then give us a call.

How do I reset my breaker?

1. First, take hold of the circuit breaker handle between your thumb and forefinger and firmly push to the “off” position. When it is reset, you will hear of feel it “click”.
2. Next, take hold of the handle, and move it to the “on” position.
3. Now your tripped breaker should be successfully reset.

What happens if is trips again? The circuit breaker may be doing its job, there may be an uncleared fault on the circuit, or the circuit may be overloaded.

If my breaker keeps tripping, why can’t I install a larger breaker myself?

THE DANGERS OF NON-LICENSED ELECTRICIANS…

Here are the most common dangers of non-licensed individuals attempting electrical work: Electrical installations are the most regulated part of any and all processes in the construction industry, and for a very good reason. If not done correctly you can have shocks, electrocution hazards, fire, and property hazards that can ultimately result in the loss of life. The National Fire Protection Association produces the “code” or National Electrical Code, every three years. The constant updating of this code is necessary because of the ever changing technologies, and new equipment that is constantly being manufactured.

Having a non-licensed person do electrical work is not only illegal, it is incredibly dangerous. Think about it for a moment, would you: have a legal assistant put brakes on the family car? Ask a dentist to perform a face life on you? Ask a butcher to fly a jumbo jet with you and your family on it, to save a few bucks on your vacation? No, of course not. The safety of your family and home is far more important than saving a few dollars. Why would you let anyone other than a licensed electrician, do any electrical work on your home or office? It’s your property, its you and your loved ones lives, get a professional

WHY USE OVER CURRENT PROTECTION?

The purpose of over current protection devices is to simultaneously open(disconnect or turn off) all current carrying conductors, upon an over-current condition. simply stated: When the fuse blows or circuit breaker trips, it opens the flow of electricity to prevent or limit damage to the conductors in a circuit. Over current protections devices protect the integrity of the insulation of the conductor, and aid in the prevention of fires. It is not a good idea to change an over-current device yourself. There is usually a good reason the fuse blew or the breaker tripped, in other words the device is probably doing its job.

WHAT ARE THE HAZARDS OF OVERLOADED CIRCUITS?

Here are some of the major hazards that occur with overloaded circuits. Overloaded circuits often cause electrical fires. Because they are constantly overloaded, the insulation on the wire is degraded. This allows the hot conductor to come in contact with combustible material such as wood, framing members, or paper backing on sheet rock and insulation. If you have a circuit that blows fuses or trips circuit breakers regularly, call now. It needs to be looked at.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO HAVE THE RIGHT SIZE OF WIRING, FUSES AND BREAKERS?

Properly sized wiring, fuses, and circuit breakers are just as important as landing gear on a plane. Without the right size, you’re out of luck. The fuse or breaker size is determined by multiple factors:
• Conductor or wire size
• Insulation type on the conductor
• Number of conductors in a cable or conduit
• Ambient temperatures surrounding the conductor. The “load” or the amount of equipment the circuit will operate determines conductor size.
So, if you have a friend or family member who just wants to “put in a bigger breaker”, please reconsider and call a professional.

What should I do if my panel is making strange noises and/or has strange smells?

Sizzling noises and strange smells could mean your home is in immediate danger of an electrical fire.

Give All Access Electrical Solutions a call right away.

What are ARC Fault Breakers?

WHY DO I HAVE ARC FAULT BREAKERS?

Electrical Arcing is a serious problem. Every year thousands of fires occur in homes as a result of electrical arcing. An electrical arc is extremely hot, and can cause electrical fires around the effected area. Several years ago, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) determined that the major cause of arcing based fires occurred in bedrooms. Now the NEC (National Electrical Code) requires that all single family homes (dwelling units) have arc fault protection installed for the entire bedroom circuit. This means that all bedroom outlets, switches, plugs, and light fixtures must be protected by an arc fault device for your safety.

HOW REAL IS THE THREAT OF ELECTRICAL HOUSE FIRES?

There are over forty thousand house fires related to electrical arcing every year. This statistic alone is reason enough for the introduction of the arc fault protective circuit breaker.

Are you available 24 hours a day 7 days a week?

Typically yes, but in some occasions it may be next day.

What is the difference between aluminum and copper wiring?

•Not all aluminum wiring is hazardous, aluminum wiring can be safe if properly utilized.
•Things like high voltage transmission lines and even the service entrance conductors feeding you home are usually aluminum.
•So whats the big deal with aluminum wiring?
•When used as smaller conductors (Like AWG#10 for a 20 AMP circuit or AWG#12 for a 15 amp circuit in a home) aluminum wiring can be hazardous.

WHAT MAKES ALUMINUM WIRING UNSAFE?

Here are some reasons why small aluminum conductors make a poor substitute for copper.
•Aluminum is not as conductive as other metals like copper.
•Because it has a higher resistance, and because of its metallic properties, aluminum expands and contracts under loads significantly more than copper.
•As the “load” or amperage increases on the conductor it begins to expand, and when the load decreases, the conductor contracts back to its initial size.
•The constant expansion and contraction or aluminum wire, combined with oxidation, cause terminations in wire connectors, and on devices such as outlets and switches, cause them to become loose.
•When the wiring becomes loose, it will arc, and arcing will eventually lead to a fire.

WHY?

For larger appliances and large “feeders” aluminum does not pose as big of a problem.
The connection methods for the larger wires take this expansion and contraction into account.
Additionally anti-oxidant compounds are required on these connections.

WHAT THE NATIONAL ELECTRICAL CODE  SAYS ABOUT ALUMINUM WIRING DEVICES:

•Receptacles rated 20 amps or less and designed for the direct connection of aluminum wire shall be marked CO/ALR.
•Switches rated 20 amps or less directly connected to aluminum wire shall be marked CO/ALR.
What is CO/ALR? CO/ALR is a device that has specific characteristics minimizing the effects of aluminum expansion and contraction. This makes the device safer for a direct connection to an aluminum conductor.

WHAT THE CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION SAYS ABOUT ALUMINUM WIRING DEVICES

An estimated 2 million homes have been constructed using aluminum wiring.

TROUBLE SIGNS ASSOCIATED WITH ALUMINUM WIRING:

•Warm switch or outlet plates.
•Strange or distinctive odor of burning plastic.
•Flickering lights.

If your home has aluminum wiring and you have experienced any of these occurrences, call now!

COPPER & ALUMINUM APPROVED DEVICES (CO/ALR)

•These devices were designed for the direct hookup of both copper and aluminum.
•Each device will be marked CO/ALR or CU/AL.
•Each device will also bear the UL listing symbol.

WHAT IS PIG TAILING? SHOULD I USE IT IN MY HOME?

Pig Tailing is achieved by attaching a short piece of copper conductor at the end of the aluminum conductor, made safe by using a UL approved connector designed to connect copper and aluminum wire. When copper is added, you may then attach the wiring to any copper approved device, outlet, switch, appliance, ground fault receptacle, etc. The National Electrical code only approves UL listed connectors for this application, but does discourage the connections of two dissimilar metals, due to electrolytic action.

The consumer product safety commission recognized and supports pig tailing when using the approved UL listed products. Pig tailing should be utilized when designer devices or ground fault devices are being installed. The alternative to pig tailing is simply installing CO/ALR devices. When installed by a professional, these devices are both safe and inexpensive.

LARGER CIRCUITS & ALUMINUM WIRING

Larger circuits, like feeder circuits for breaker boxes, are in most cases safe even when using aluminum wiring. These are safe because of the special methods used in the installation of these conductors and their respective connectors. Large circuits are desinged with aluminum wiring in mind.

ANTI-OXIDANT COMPOUNDS & WHAT THEY DO

Anti-Oxidant compounds, if properly used, minimize the effects of oxidation on the aluminum conductor. This results in a better, connection and an ultimately safer system.

Is it possible to overload a circuit?

WELL UNFORTUNATELY THIS CAUSES A PROBLEM

Electricity has enriched our lives. Despite the many benefits, electricity can also bring danger — the most common being house fires. It is estimated that over 40,000 residential house fires are caused by electrical systems every year in the United States. This article discusses overloading electrical
circuits.

First, we must understand some basics about typical home electrical systems. The electrical service enters the house and connects to a main electrical panel. From the main electrical panel, wires run in different directions throughout the house to power lights, outlets, ceiling fans, air conditioners, and various other direct-wired electrical appliances. These wire-runs are called branch circuits.

In home construction today, the typical branch circuit consists of three wires – the hot, neutral and ground wires. When a light or electrical appliance is turned on, electricity begins to flow in the hot and neutral wires of the branch circuit to which that light or electrical appliance is connected.

When electricity flows through a wire, the wire heats up because of its resistance to the flow of electrical current. Both the size of the wire (resistance increases as the wire diameter gets smaller) and how many electrical devices on the circuit are drawing electricity (more devices increase the electrical current) affect the amount of heat generated in the wire. To keep the wire from getting too hot and starting a fire, the designer of the branch circuit wiring does two things:

1. Attempts to size the wire large enough to handle the estimated electrical load on the circuit.
2. Attempts to contain the amount of electrical load on the branch circuit by limiting the number of potential electrical appliances that can be running at the same time on that circuit (i.e. places only so many outlets on one branch circuit or puts larger pieces of electrical equipment on circuits dedicated to that equipment only).

While the electrical codes help with the design assumptions, how the homeowner will use the outlets in the house is just a guess. The homeowner can plug in and run too many appliances on the same circuit at one time and overload the circuit.

This is why electrical fuses and circuit breakers are used in the main electrical panel. Their function is to sense the overloading of circuits (and short circuits) and shut off power to that branch circuit before the wires get too hot and start fire.

However, circuit breakers can malfunction and fail to trip. Homeowners can try to fix a “nuisance” fuse by placing a larger fuse in the electrical panel that allows more electrical current to flow in the branch circuit than what it was designed for. Homeowners can also use plug adapters and extension cords to plug in too many electrical appliances into one electrical outlet.

WHAT CAN HOMEOWNERS DO?

•If a fuse blows or circuit breaker trips frequently, have a qualified electrician determine what the problem is and fix it.
•If the main electrical panel has circuit breakers, flip them off and back on once a year. This will help keep them working. It is also a good idea to have a qualified electrician out to your home or office to help you test the circuit breakers to make sure they are functioning properly.
•If extension cords or plug adapters are being used to plug multiple appliances into the same outlet, have a qualified electrician install more outlets on a new or different branch circuit(s). It does not protect the more valuable in-home wiring such as your branch circuit wiring.The power strip and surge protector’s circuit breaker only protect the devices which are plugged in to them. Using several plug strips on outlets on the same branch circuit may overload the circuit and cause a fire.
•Never run appliance cords or extension cords underneath carpet. They are designed to be kept cool by movement of room air and around the cord.
•If any outlet or switch wall plated feel hot to the touch, have a qualified electrician determine the problem and fix it right away, as it could lead to a potential fire safety hazard.
•Circuits can only handle a specified total wattage of all electrical devices plugged into and running on a branch circuit at one time. Here is a guide from the National Electrical Safety Foundation (NESF) to follow: 15-amp branch circuit can carry 1500 watts
20-amp branch circuit can carry 2000 watts

Most home circuits are designed as 15-amp branch circuits. A hair dryer can draw 1400 watts, an iron 1000 watts, a portable heater 1200 watts, a vacuum cleaner 600 watts, deep fat fryer 1300 watts, and a portable fan 150 watts.
There are no hard-and-fast rules as to how often a home electrical system should be inspected. Here are the recommendations from the NESF:

IF YOUR LAST INSPECTION WAS:

•40 or more years ago, inspection is overdue.
•10-40 years ago, inspection is advisable, especially if substantial electrical loads (high-wattage appliances, lights, and wall outlets or extension cords) have been added.
•Less than 10 years ago, inspection may not be needed, unless problems are noticed.

It may be difficult to determine when the last electrical inspection was made. Look on the inside of the door to the electrical panel. The electrician performing the last inspection may have written the date there.

As a homeowner, be aware of your electrical system. Look and listen for problems. If you hear buzzing or crackling coming from outlets or light switches, don’t ignore it. If an appliance or extension cord are hot to the touch, you have potential problems. Contact a qualified electrical professional to assess the problem and make the necessary repairs.

Why does only half of the power in my house work?

This is a very common issue, sometimes you lose a leg of power. Most homes typically have two 120 volt feeders, giving you 240 volts between the two legs. If you lose one of the two hot legs, you will only have 120 volts of power to your house. Causing problems like ovens, dryers, and AC units to not function properly. This can damage or burn up 240 volt appliances.

I’m buying a new house, and would like an electrical inspection before I buy. Do you offer this service?

Yes, we can arrange a time to come out and give your house a complete electrical inspection.

My energy bill is too high, what can I do to save money?

ENERGY CONSERVATION TIPS…

First and foremost you can have a thorough check of your electrical system. Loose connections release large amounts of wasted energy, which you end up paying for in terms of additional wasted kilowatt hours. Often, A/C units cause unnecessary energy lost. If your unit is older, or seems to take more energy to start, you may want to invest in a hard start kit. When using a hard start kit, less energy will be demanded on the frequent start ups. One of the simplest ways to save money on y our energy bills is by turning your thermostat to 78 degrees in the summer and 68 degrees in the winter. An even better way to control your homes temperature is by investing in a digital thermostat, and setting a reasonable work schedule. This will allow your A/C to be turned off during the day, then automatically come on in the evening before you come home from work. Another way to ease your energy bills by balancing the electrical load in your home. Most watt hour meters for homes use the higher of the two phases to calculate your electric bill, if the load were in balance you might save as much as 15% off your electrical utility bill. If your average utility bill is $450 per month, that is a savings of $67.50 a month, or $810.00 a year!!

ENERGY CONSERVATION CALCULATOR

The U.S. Government provides this energy calculator. Want to save money on your energy bill? Click the link below.

Check this out: http://www.hes.lbl.gov/consumer/

AIR CONDITIONING MAKES HALF YOUR BILL!

Air Conditioning can sometimes comprise half of your energy bill. Here are some ways you can save money. Reduce this cost by –
1. Having an annual “tune-up” by a professional A/C technician.
2. Adding a hard start kit to older units.
3. Replace your old, worn out unit!

LIGHTEN UP YOUR LIFE WITH NEW FLUORESCENT

Lighten up your energy bill with the new generations of fluorescent, and light emitting diode (L.E.D.) lamps. Lighting in general only consumes about 10% to 20% of the average household electricity bill. However, If you could reduce that by 75% you would be saving some serious dough! For instance, if your average electric bill was $450.00 per month, and your lighting was 20% of the bill, that means that $90.00 of your bill was solely from lighting. Now reduce that by 75% or $67.50 per month. That’s an annual savings of $810.00.  Not bad! These lamps are available at home centers, or we can provide and install them for about the cost of what the home centers sell them for.

How do I fix my chirping smoke detector?

First off, check your batteries; they may need to be replaced. Most newer homes or those recently remodeled will have linked smoke detectors. These all sound off simultaneously, even when only one unit detects smoke. In most cases, replacing the battery fixes the problem. Many “hardwired” or 120 volt units will have a battery back up, so try this fix even for hard wired smoke detectors. If all else fails, give us a call!

What are arching hazards… Why should I worry about loose connections?

ARCHING HAZARDS; LOOSE CONNECTIONS

Loose connections and arcing hazards cause fires. If you have loose outlets that won’t hold the cord in, you need to seriously consider having the outlet replaced. The problem will only get worse with time, and may cause arcing resulting in a house fire.

How do I install a ceiling fan?

ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW WHEN INSTALLING YOUR CEILING FAN:

Remember: It is always our recommendation that you hire a licensed & trained electrician to handle all electrical jobs in the home.

1. Make sure your outlet box is UL listed for ceiling fan support.
2. Turn off all power to house.
3. Turn off fan/light switch.
4. Open ceiling fan box, read and follow all directions.
5. Attach green fan wire to bare house wire.
6. Attach white fan wire to white house wire.
7. Attach black fan wire to black house wire.
8. Slide canopy up, attach with screw provided
9. Attach blades. Turn on house power. Turn on switch.

Need help installing a ceiling fan, just give us a call.

Does All Access Electrical Solutions recommend surge protection?

YES!

TYPES OF SURGE PROTECTION…

Almost all surge suppressors are made up of single or multiple metal oxide varistors (MOV’s). They function similar to a capacitor. When an MOV receives a charge that exceeds the normal energy level, it drains it, or bleeds it back to the ground. Most surge suppressors are one-time units, meaning once they have performed their surge suppressing task, they need to be replaced. For a home, surge suppressors cost around $300.

Some three phase applications can require surge suppressors that will run up to $900. Several units that are available use parallel technologies allowing multiple uses and higher life expectancy, however these units usually do not offer any insurance for your electronics or appliances. The worst part is they usually cost $2900 and up! Our surge suppressors have a limited warranty, and cover up to $50,000.00 of damage to your electronics (depending on the model). Having coverage…good coverage is extremely valuable, because most home owner insurance policies have a 1% deductible. Say your home is values at $200,000.00 and you have a surge that destroys your plasma TV, and sound system. Your deductible – $2000.00! With our surge suppressors, that is picked up by the surge suppressor manufacturer!

RECOMMENDED SURGE PROTECTION LEVELS…

Level I: Whole house protection – This unit installs on the main breaker box. It provides protection from incoming surges occurring from the utility company.

Level II: Independent surge protection at point of use – Wherever you have sensitive electronics, plasma TV’s, sound systems, or computers, you should have additional surge protectors. These will provide another level of protection; protection from inside surges. That’s right, your home’s own electronics, motors, even your refrigerator can induce surges on the circuits that can damage or even destroy other electronics in your home. A whole house surge protector will not protect against this type of transient or surge. We can supply and install these levels of surge protection at your convenience.

GOOD SURGE PROTECTORS COME WITH INSURANCE

All surge protectors that we use come with insurance. Any surge protector manufacturer should be confident enough in their product to back it up. We figure that if they cannot back up their product, we don’t want to sell it!

What kind of payment options are available?

We accept cash, check, and all major credit cards.  Please note if using a credit card, a small convenience fee of  3% will be added to total bill.

How do I install/remove a light fixture?

REMOVAL OF ORIGINAL LIGHT FIXTURE

1: Turn off all power in the house.
2: Turn off the light switch.
3: Remove lens or glass shades.
4: Take out existing light bulbs.
5: Remove the canopy nut if present, if not remove the two screws holding the fixture base in place.
6: Remove the wire connections

INSTALLING THE NEW FIXTURE

1: Unpack the fixture and read all directions.
2: Assemble the frame or base.
3: Attach fixture strap if available to outlet box.
4: Attach wire connectors.
5: Attach fixture to box or strap.
6: Install light bulbs with the recommended wattage.
7: Install new lens or glass shade.
8: Turn on power to house. Turn on switch.

Need help installing/removing a light fixture? Give us a call.

Why did my heating and air conditioning technician tell me to call an electrician for my tripped breaker?

HERE’S WHY SOME MOTORS TRIP CIRCUIT BREAKERS…

Motors create inductive loads, which means their current lags behind their voltage. When a motor is started, large amounts of energy are used. However, much less energy is required to keep it running. In “E” style motors, the start up energy demand can exceed the normal working demand by as much as 1300 times! However, for most common A/C units the demand is about 150% to 300%. Most older A/C units require a longer start up time, often resulting in a tripped breaker. Older A/C units also may have weak or bad motors that often cause breakers to trip as well. A common attempt to remedy this is the installation of a capacitor to assist the motor on start up, commonly referred to as a hard start kit. Be aware, this does not correct the issue. Always consult a licensed, professional technician.

LOOSE BUS BAR CONNECTIONS MAY CAUSE OVERLOADS

Loose connections between the breaker and bus bar often are the source for breaker tripping. If this situation occurs frequently, it can cause a burn out where the breaker and bus bar meet. If this situation does occur the breaker box needs to be replaced. The bus bars that are damaged allow for tight electrical connections with the A/C or other breakers. This will eventually lead to a fire.

WHAT IS “LOCK ROTOR AMPERAGE” ON HOME A/C UNITS?
“Lock Rotor Amperage” refers to the amount of current that will be demanded if voltage is applied to a motor and the motor shaft seizes. This is very similar to the start up current required by a motor.