Electrical FAQ - Lighten Up Electric & Plumbing
How do I reset a breaker?
Sometimes a tripped breaker does not appear tripped. The breaker handle is in a Half on- Half off position. Push the breaker to the full off position, and then back to the full on position. If this does not restore the power, call us, 970-686-2055 or 303-651-3532.
What if I hear sounds coming from my panel or other electrical equipment? What if I hear frying or crackling sounds?
Sounds coming from your electrical panel should be taken seriously. A frying or crackling sound could indicate arcing between the breakers and the panel connection points. This is a serious condition that should be checked out right away. A loose breaker at the panel buss would cause this.
What if I smell a burning smell at my panel or electrical equipment?
This is also a serious problem. Most electrical burning smells will smell like a burning plastic or tar smell. You should turn off the power going to what you think the smell is coming from and call us, 970-686-2055.
How do I reset a GFI receptacle?
Push the test button (sometimes a black button, but always marked "test"). Then push the reset button (sometimes a red button, but always marked "reset"). If this does not restore the power, call us 970-686-2055.
My smoke detector keeps chirping. What does this mean?
1. A consistent chirp is probably an indication of a low battery condition and the smoke detector would require a new battery.
2. An intermittent chirp is probably an indication of a defective smoke detector.
3. Fort Collins smoke detectors 10 years or older should be checked out and replaced, if there are any questions of the detector not working correctly.
I have a 120 Volt Outlet on the Outside of my home. Can I plug my Christmas lights into it?
Yes. Within reason, if the quantity of lights creates a load greater than the capacity of the circuit breaker, the breaker will trip off. In this event, additional circuits may be required to accommodate your holiday display. Outside receptacles should be ground fault interrupter (GFI) type. Many December rainy days will cause the GFI receptacles to trip. You could use duct tape around each plug connection to protect that from happening.
If I have problems with TV or telephone wiring within the house, whom should I call?
With deregulation of the utility companies in most areas of the country, the cable or telephone companies are no longer responsible for the equipment or wiring in your home. This responsibility has fallen to you and your electrical contractor. Most TV and telephone utilities will still service within your home for a substantial fee. This service, as in the past, is no longer free.
What should I do if my lights, switches and receptacles don't work?
Check to see if the outlet is on a switch. Check and reset GFCI outlets and circuit breakers. Check light bulbs and replace if necessary. If none of these are the problem, call our office.
Why do I blow fuses or why does my circuit breaker trip?
Except in the case of ground fault interrupters, which are susceptible to moisture and/or weather conditions, fuses and/or circuit breakers, should not trip unless they are overloaded. Overloaded means too many lights and/or other items are plugged into outlets. This causes too many amps to travel through the circuit breaker and/or fuse.
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 Arc Fault?
Arc Fault breakers or outlets are a new type of safety devices that trip off if they detect the slightest arc or electrical spark. The newest code requires arc fault breakers on most circuits in a house. The requirement is not required in most businesses.