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  • FAQ

    FAQs: Superpower Electric’s Frequently Asked Questions

    If you’re looking for a practical and professional answer to your current electrical query, you’ve come to the right page. We’ve compiled a list of the most common electrical questions asked by our customers. Superpower Electric answers your most Frequently Asked Questions online or by phone.

    Warning: Consumers who are not qualified electricians should never attempt to address any electrical or wiring situations on their own. There is a very real possibility of serious or fatal electrical shock. Always consult an expert electrician for advice.

    Q: How do I reset my breaker?

    • 1. Take hold of the tripped circuit breaker handle between your forefinger and thumb, and firmly push it to the off position. You should feel or hear a click.
    • 2. Now, take hold of the handle and move it to the on position.
    • 3. Your breaker should now be reset.

    What happens if it trips again? There may be a fault in the circuit or too much electrical demand, which means the circuit isn’t doing its job or you need additional power. If you are experiencing frequently tripping breakers or your breaker won’t reset, call Superpower at (732) 851-8487.

    Q: My energy bill is too high. What can I do to save?

    Energy Conservation Tips – Most importantly, schedule an annual electrical inspection from a qualified electrician every year. Electrical problems can be dangerous and inefficient, which you pay for in terms of wasted kilowatt hours and medical bills.

    Lighten your life and bills with fluorescents and LEDs – Lighten up your energy bill with fluorescent and LED bulbs and lamps. Lighting generally only accounts for around 10%-20% of the average household electric bill. But, if you could reduce that by 75%, you’d be saving some serious cash! For example, if your average bill is $450 per month, and your lighting is 20% of the bill, that means lighting is $90 of your bill. Now reduce that by 75% or $67.50 per month. That’s an annual savings of $810!

    Energy Conversion Calculator – The US Government provides this energy calculator. Want to save money on your energy bill? Click the link to find out more: http://www.hes.lbl.gov/consumer/

    Q: Should you replace your old receptacles & switches?

    • 1. All receptacles have hot, ground, and neutral connections. Eventually the wiring inside your outlets can loosen, short, or become miswired. This creates dangerous exposed contact points on the plug and little or no contact with the receptacle blades which produces heat in the receptacle and the cord. The heat will cause damage to the wiring and likely lead to a circuit breaker tripping or a fuse blowing. As a safety measure, replace all worn out, non-polarized, cracked or damaged receptacles. Additionally, if any outlets feel warm to the touch or smell like burning plastic or rotten eggs, turn off power to the circuit and contact a professional electrician as soon as possible.
    • 2. As of 2008, the National Electrical Code now requires new and renovated homes to have tamper-resistant receptacles (TRRs). These are different from simple plastic caps, which can be easily removed by 100% of children ages 2 and older. TRRs contain spring-loaded shutters that automatically close off the outlet when anything other than a plug is inserted. Even if you don’t have children at home, it’s a good idea to make sure all of your outlets are outfitted with TRRs. This way, the only thing that can be inserted into your receptacle is an electrical plug. Anything else, such as forks, pins, or even damaged plugs will get blocked by the simple but effective TRR shutter system.
    • 3. How many times have you flipped your light switches off and on over the years? Chances are the switch has been flipped thousands of times. Over time the springs and contact points inside the switch wear out. When the spring lacks enough tension to ensure a tight connection resistance and heat will increase causing a potentially hazardous situation. Any switch that feels warm or ”sizzles” should be replaced immediately.
    • 4. A national survey conducted by Franklin Research Institute for the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) showed that homes built before 1972, and wired with aluminum, are 55 times more likely to have one or more wire connections at outlets reach “Fire Hazard Conditions” than homes wired with copper. Homes with aluminum wiring should have all the connection points cleaned and coated with an oxidation inhibitor and reattached to a new aluminum rated device, torqued to the exact specification, to minimize the risk of fire.
    • 5. Old, outdated, painted-over receptacles and switches just look bad. Give your home a ”facelift” by replacing all those worn out receptacles and switches, your home will look 20 years younger!

    Q: What are arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs)?

    AFCIs are electrical safety devices intended to shut off power when an electrical arcing situation is detected. Generally, ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) protect against shocks while AFCIs protect against overheating and electrical fires.

    • Sends test signals throughout the existing wiring in your home looking for any unexplained spikes in voltage or arcing conditions that could potentially lead to electrical damage or fire.
    • Shuts down the entire circuit BEFORE an electrical fire starts!
    • Will prevent 98% of electrical fires on protected circuits.
    • More than 50% of electrical fires today can be avoided by Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters.
    • Has been required in all new homes since the 1999 National Electrical Code. Newest NEC codes require them to be installed in almost every area of the home.
    • You can install directly into your receptacles or into the electrical breakers themselves. We recommend installing AFCI protection in your electrical panel for whole-home protection.

    Q: What makes aluminum wiring unsafe?

    Aluminum wiring is not necessarily unsafe, but it can be. When aluminum is used for smaller circuits and conductors, it can be hazardous. Since aluminum contracts and expands at much greater amounts than its counterparts, it can cause a problem with wiring in your outlets, switches, and other areas of the home. Aluminum wiring is not recommended for the home.

    Aluminum wiring is much more prone to loose wires and dangerous arcing situations. If you notice any of these problems associated with aluminum wiring, contact a professional electrician as soon as you can:

    • Switches and receptacles that are warm to the touch.
    • Burning plastic, rotten egg, or sulfuric smell near outlets, switches, or other electrical devices.
    • Buzzing and flickering lights, outlets, and switches that cannot be attributed to other causes.

    If you are experiencing any of the above electrical issues, contact a professional electrician immediately!

    An estimated two million homes have aluminum wiring. If your home has aluminum wiring and you have experienced any of these occurrences, call now!

    Q: What is pig tailing?

    The term “pigtailing” or “pig tailing” is used to describe a method of improving the safety of aluminum wiring that involves connecting a piece of copper wiring to aluminum wiring to improve the connection with the switch or receptacle terminals. While this technique can be safely accomplished with the right electrician and UL-approved electrical products, it’s generally not recommended.

    An alternative to pigtailing would be CO/ALR devices (copper-aluminum, revised). These devices help reduce the effect of aluminum expansion and contraction and can be used effectively for temporary solutions to aluminum wiring problems; however, they have been shown to fail in laboratory tests under normal conditions.

    We highly recommend permanent repairs for aluminum wiring situations. Contact a professional electrician for help rewiring your home in accordance with all codes and regulations!

    Have more questions? Need immediate electrical repair or replacement services in Central New Jersey? Call on Superpower Electric, for 24/7 Emergency Service.

    For “Power at the Speed of Light” call Superpower Electric at (732) 851-8487 or book online, day or night!