My house has aluminum wiring, is it dangerous?

Aluminum wiring During the 1970’s, aluminum (instead of copper) wiring became quite popular and was extensively used. Since that time, aluminum wiring has been implicated in a number of house fires, and most jurisdictions no longer permit it in new installations. We recommend, even if you’re allowed to, that do not use it for new wiring. But don’t panic if your house has aluminum wiring. Aluminum wiring, when properly installed, can be just as safe as copper. Aluminum wiring is, however, very unforgiving of improper installation.

What does an electrical service look like?

There are logically four wires involved with supplying the main panel with power. Three of them will come from the utility pole, and a fourth (bare) wire comes from elsewhere. The bare wire is connected to one or more long metal bars pounded into the ground, or to a wire buried in the foundation, or sometimes to the water supply pipe (has to be metal, continuous to where the main water pipe entering the house.

What are the signs of potential electrical hazards in the home?

Some things to look for: Room lights dim when the refrigerator or air conditioner kicks on; circuit breakers frequently trip; outlets or dimmer switches seem hot to the touch. These conditions indicate that there could be an electrical issue.

If I hire a licensed electrician, how does this protect me?

You are protected because Nello Electrical electricians carry an active general liability policy, automobile policy, and workman’s compensation insurance policy in order to perform business on your property.

My smoke detector keeps chirping. What does this mean?

This could mean a few things.

An intermittent chirp could be an indication of a defective smoke detector.
A consistent chirp could be an indication of a low battery condition, and the smoke detector requires a new battery.

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 breaker. Check light bulbs and replace, if necessary. If none of these are the problem, call us at Nello Electrical.

How can I tell when an electrical outlet isn’t safe?

There are three indicators of an unsafe outlet: If an outlet can no longer hold a plug snugly; if any parts of the outlet are broken; or if the outlet feels hot to the touch. If any of these conditions exist, we can come take a look and replace the outlet if needed.

What is a GFCI?

A ground fault circuit interrupter or GFCI, is an electronic device for protecting people from serious injury due to electric shock.

How does the GFCI work?

GFCI’s constantly monitor electricity flowing in a circuit. If the electricity flowing into the circuit differs by even a slight amount from that returning, the GFCI will quickly shut off the current flowing through that circuit. The advantage of using GFCI’s is that they can detect even small variations in the amount of leakage current, even amounts too small to activate a fuse or circuit breaker. GFCI’s work quickly, so they can help protect consumers from severe electric shocks and electrocution.

If an appliance continues to blow a fuse or trip a circuit breakers, what should I do?

Appliances that repeatedly blow fuses or trip circuit breakers should be unplugged and repaired or replaced. In addition, appliances that shock you should also be unplugged and repaired or replaced.

How do I reset a breaker?

In order to reset a breaker in your electrical panel, you must push the breaker firmly to the off position which then resets it, then you must push it back to the on position. Most customers do not push the breaker hard enough, past the off (tripped) position and assume it is reset. If you have reset the breaker correctly and still have no power, call Nello Electrical. If your breakers trip too frequently, it is possible that your breakers have been worn out or there is an underlying issue that one of our licensed electricians should investigate.

Can I add more outlets in the kitchen?

Most likely, yes. However, don’t forget the requirements for GFCI outlets and separate dedicated circuits in the kitchen.

Is an old-fashioned fuse box a hazard?

When fuse boxes were in widespread use, most homes had only 30 or 60-ampere service.

Today’s homes need at least 100-ampere service to safely supply power for major appliances. If you have a fuse box and you’ve added any large appliances over the years, it is recommended that you have your home wiring inspected to make sure it is still safe. The difference between a fuse panel and breaker panel, Both devices, either breaker or fuse, are designed to trip (turn off) in the event of an electrical overload, i.e. 20 amps of electrical load on a 15 amp circuit would cause a trip. The only difference is that a breaker is mechanical and may be reset. Whereas, a fuse is one time only and must be replaced. Please Note: Modern breakers are much more efficient and offer greater levels of protection.