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Electrical FAQs

When I go to turn my dimmer off, it is very hot. Is this a fire hazard?

Dimmers are rated for how many watts they are designed to handle. If a dimmer has to operate at or close to its full capacity, it will heat up. Some dimmers have metal fins on the front of them to enable proper heat dissipation. You can either reduce the wattage connected to the dimmer by changing the wattage of the bulb to alleviate the problem, or have a certified electrician put in a larger-rated dimmer.

What is cloth wire/cotton wire?

Cloth wire is copper or aluminum wire with a cotton wrap around it. Cloth wire is outdated and can be dangerous if it has dried out due to heat from light bulb or basic use. Cloth wire should be check to see if it has deteriorated or is putting your home at risk.

My electrical wiring is made of aluminum, is this dangerous?

The problem with aluminum wiring is that it expands and contracts creating arcing problems. When it arcs, it usually does so without tripping the breaker. Aluminum wire has very limited use and is not allowed in most residential applications. It is a definite fire hazard.

I put new bulbs in my recessed lights and they turn on, stay on for a while, and they go back out. After a while, they will come back on again. What's going on?

Recessed lights are supplied with a thermal overload. Because the fixture is inside your ceiling, it is important that excessive heat from the bulbs do not cause a fire. Because of this, the thermal overload acts as a thermometer i.e. when the heat reaches a preset temperature, it will disconnect the electric. When the fixture cools down, the electricity is reconnected. To avoid this problem, lower wattage lamps will generate less heat, try changing them. The recessed can should have a sticker on the inside of it listing the lamps which are compatible with it.

We still have the round fuses instead of circuit breakers. Is this a safety issue?

No, it is not a safety issue if the fuse box is not showing any deterioration or stress ( rust, burn marks, or melted copper). Fuses are actually more sensitive than circuit breakers; therefore they are safer than circuit breakers. The problem with fuse boxes is twofold. 1. After a fuse protects your home from an overloaded circuit by blowing its contact (blown fuse), you have to throw it away. Therefore you may go through many fuses. Secondly, the majority of insurance companies and new home buyer inspectors now require that fuse boxes be replaced with circuit breakers.

Are our 2-prong outlets still ok to use in our home?

Most appliances and electrical devices today come with 3-prong plugs. The third prong is for grounding purposes. For safety issues, it is advisable to have everything in your home properly grounded. Having a properly grounded electrical system reduces the risk of electrocution and damage to your equipment; therefore, you should have them change.

What is GFCI or GFI?

A GFCI is an abbreviation for a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter or Ground Fault Interrupter. It is a specially designed outlet normally used in wet locations or children play areas to protect an individual from electrical shock. A GFCI measures the resistance on the “positive” and “negative” loads connected to it. If there is more resistance in either of the 2 loads, the GFCI trips and stops power from continuing. The electrical code requires that GFCI’s be installed within 6 ft. of sinks in all kitchens, baths, laundry areas and also all outdoor outlets.

What should children know about electrical safety when they play outside?

Assume all overhead lines are power lines and stay away from them.

Do not climb trees, or fly kites near power lines.

Never attempt to remove something that may be caught on an overhead line.

Never touch anyone who is in contact with a power line, call 911.

Get inside at the first sign of lightning.

Do not seek shelter under a tree.

How do we keep our pets safe from electrical hazards?

Make sure that your pets (s) do not chew on electrical devices or there cords.

 

*The same frayed electrical cord that delivers an electrical shock to an adult, may have enough voltage to kill a dog or cat.

 

*Keep electrical cords away from puppies and kittens.

 

*If you have difficulty getting your pet to stop chewing on the cord, you may want to wrap the cord in a thick plastic sleeve.

 

*Keep Halogen lamps away from play areas for pets and children. Some Halogen bulbs can reach temperatures of 1,000 degrees. A fire can easily begin, if the lamp knocked over during play.

 

*Discourage pets from curling up for a nap behind warm computer equipment. Can’t I just do my own electrical wiring repair work?

 

Do I need to have a permit pulled when I have work done?

Most major work performed on your home should have a permit pulled. Most small repairs and installations can be performed without a permit. The easiest way to find out if you should have a permit is to call your city/village to ask an inspector.

Do you have to be licensed to work as an electrical contractor in the Chicagoland area?

Yes, to pull a permit in Chicago and surrounding areas you have to be a licensed contractor but plenty of contractors out there are not licensed or even qualified electricians. For your family’s safety, MAKE SURE YOUR ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR IS LICENCED!!!!!!

Have a question we didn’t answer? Please call us at 708-361-1555 or fill in the contact form. One of our friendly specialists will be happy to assist you.

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