Popular Home Electrical FAQ
Here are some popular questions and answers about your home’s electrical service. Learn more about home electrical service from AAA Home Services.
Why are lights in my home flickering often?
Your service panel might not be sufficient to handle your electrical load. If they flicker when your air conditioner or furnace kick on, that is normal. If they flicker on and off independent of any other devices, call AAA and we will test your system.
What is GFCI and do I need it?
GFCI is “Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter” devices. This prevents you from being shocked by shutting down the electric right at the plug when it senses small amounts of resistance. GFCI should be installed in bathrooms and kitchen outlets where moisture and standing water often exist.
What are the red and black buttons on the GFCI outlet.
The black button tests the unit by deactivating it from the system. The red button is the reset button to reactivate the outlet or string of outlets that are on it.
My fire detector keeps beeping, what do I do?
If it beeps in a consistent manner it’s usually an indication that it needs a new battery. If it is an intermittent chirp, it’s often a sign that the unit is bad. It’s better to replace the entire house’s batteries all at once every year to minimize confusion and insure that your units are functioning optimally.
Why do some of my bulbs burn out so frequently?
Using a bulb with too high of wattage can cause excessive heat in the unit and burn it out more quickly. Be sure to use the maximum wattage or less in your outlets. Power surges also cause bulbs to burn out more quickly than their life allows.
Why does my ceiling recess light turn on and off intermittently?
Newer recess can light fixtures are rated for a maximum wattage bulb and are equipped with a thermal device that does not allow a bulb larger than what it is rated for. If a larger wattage bulb is used, as the excess heat builds up, the thermal device will shut the can off until it cools as a safety option.
Can I plug my christmas lights into my 110 volt outlet?
Yes, however if the amount of lights exceeds what that outlet can handle, it will be tripped at the breaker. In this event you need to use additional outlets.
Do I need surge protection on my devices outlets if I have it on the main service line?
St. Louis has frequent lightening strikes so surge protection on your home devices like computers, televisions, stereos etc only makes sense. Outlet surge protectors are inexpensive and protect your devices
Is it normal for my lights to blink when my air conditioner kicks on?
Yes, when large compressors and motors kick on, it causes a minor momentary voltage drop in the overall home. This is normal and not a cause for concern.
Can I plug in a coffee pot and my other kitchen appliances into the same outlet?
Yes, if the overall load exceeds 20 amps your breaker will trip the box off. If this happens, one of the appliances must be moved to another outlet.
My refrigerator/freezer in my garage keeps tripping off, why is this?
Your outlets are likely GFCI protected. These will not handle the additional resistance load created by freezers or refrigerators. The answer is to install a dedicated, non-GFCI circuit allowed by code.
Can I dim fluorescent lights?
Yes, but it requires not only a special dimmer switch, but also a special fixture. You can’t use a typical incandescent dimmer in this situation.
Can I hang a ceiling fan where a ceiling light is?
Yes, as long as there is sufficient ceiling support for the fan and the brace can handle the weight and amount of torque the fan will create.
Why are my fluorescent lights flickering?
This might be from improperly installed bulbs. Try to maneuver the bulbs so the are properly inserted. It may also be because the bulb is about to fail or from minor power fluctuations from other devices in the home. If it is turning all the way off and on again, it’s often ballast failure.
How do I properly reset my breaker after it has tripped off?
Disconnect the devices that caused the trip. Then turn the breaker all the way off, wait a few seconds, then turn on again. This is a mechanical device, so this may require several attempts.
What should I do if my switch stopped working?
Check and reset all GFCI outlets in the home and check the circuit breaker first. Replace bulbs in they are on circuit to eliminate that variable. If this does not work, then call AAA.