Frequently Asked Electrical Questions to ask Electricians

As an Electrician for over 30 years I have been asked many questions, I’ve been asked questions such as: how many light switches should I have?, why does my circuit breaker keep tripping?, and why do my fuses keep burning out?

In this article I will go over some of the most common questions electricians get asked. Let’s start with answering the questions I have listed above.

1. How many light switches should I have?

This question varies on the area you are in. You can never have too many light switches. There are certain requirements that must be met depending on the state. For example: Living rooms, dining rooms, and bedrooms must have a light switch as you enter the room, that way you can turn on the light before entering. For hallways for example they require a three-way switch for the two ends of the hallway.

2. Why does my circuit breaker keep tripping?

Circuit breaker trips are usually caused by three things.

  •      There could be too many items plugged into the circuit. Circuits can only handle so much electrical demand as that is how they are designed.
  • There could be a short in the wiring.
  • The breaker or fuses could be faulty. If the breaker keeps tripping, it is a good idea for you to call an electrician. An electrician will evaluate the problem and ensures there are no serious safety concerns.

3. What is the benefit of whole house surge suppressors?

Whole house surge suppressors protect everything in your home. Unlike surge protectors which only protect what is actually plugged in. The cost depends on the manufacturer of the electrical panel.

4. How many smoke detectors do I need in my home?

Per the National Electrical Code, you must have 1 smoke detector on every floor, 1 inside each bedroom and 1 outside each bedroom.

5. How do I properly dispose of fluorescent lights?

It is best to call your local garbage/recycling company to find out what facilities are available for disposing of fluorescent lights.

6. What do I do if I break a compact fluorescent light (CFL) or other fluorescent light?

Because these lights have a small amount of mercury within the glass tubing, to minimize exposure follow these steps:
Before Cleanup

  • Have people and pets leave the room.
  • Air out the room for 5-10 minutes by opening a window or door to the outdoor environment.
  • Shut off the central forced air heating/air-conditioning system, if you have one.
  • Collect materials needed to clean up broken bulb:
    • stiff paper or cardboard;
    • sticky tape;
    • damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes (for hard surfaces); and
    • a glass jar with a metal lid or a sealable plastic bag.

During Cleanup

  • DO NOT VACUUM.  Vacuuming is not recommended unless broken glass remains after all other cleanup steps have been taken.  Vacuuming could spread mercury-containing powder or mercury vapor.
  • Be thorough in collecting broken glass and visible powder.  Scoop up glass fragments and powder using stiff paper or cardboard.  Use sticky tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass fragments and powder. Place the used tape in the glass jar or plastic bag.  See the detailed cleanup instructions for more information, and for differences in cleaning up hard surfaces versus carpeting or rugs.
  • Place cleanup materials in a sealable container.

After Cleanup

  • Promptly place all bulb debris and cleanup materials, including vacuum cleaner bags, outdoors in a trash container or protected area until materials can be disposed of.  Avoid leaving any bulb fragments or cleanup materials indoors.
  • Next, check with your local government about disposal requirements in your area, because some localities require fluorescent bulbs (broken or unbroken) be taken to a local recycling center. If there is no such requirement in your area, you can dispose of the materials with your household trash.
  • If practical, continue to air out the room where the bulb was broken and leave the heating/air conditioning system shut off for several hours.

The steps above are taken directly from the website. EPA is the Environmental Protection Agency. The link to their website is below.

These are just some of the questions there are so many others which I will continue in a new article.

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