Frequently Asked Questions
We’re committed to delivering the highest quality work and the best possible customer service on every single job. Below is our list of FAQs and tips from your local electrician. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, please send us a message or give us a call. We’d be happy to assist!
My Breaker Keeps Tripping. Should I Call an Electrician?
It isn’t normal for a breaker to trip on a regular basis. Occasionally, you may be asking for more electrical output than it can provide. But, once you reset it and address the overload, it should not keep tripping. If it does, there is likely something seriously wrong with your electrical system – something that could be a fire hazard.
It is easy to overload a circuit. Anything that produces heat tends to require a considerable amount of electricity. If you’ve got the dryer running, the iron on, and someone turns on a hair dryer, and they are all plugged into outlets attached to one circuit, that’s a good recipe for circuit overload.
Be aware, that appliances with a tendency to overheat can also cause a circuit overload. An overheated air conditioner, for instance, will continue to draw larger and larger amounts of electricity to maintain the same level of performance. Eventually, your HVAC system will die, or you’ll blow a circuit, or both. Have your appliances maintained and inspected regularly to keep everything running efficiently.
Take the risk of fire seriously. If you’ve got a short circuit, you’ve got a serious fire hazard. Outlets with loose wiring or improperly installed outlets overload when they touch, and cause the circuit to break. They also create sparks and can easily start a fire. If you smell smoke or see any discoloration around your outlets, call an electrician immediately.
A ground fault is similar to a short circuit, and occurs when a live wire contacts a ground wire. This is just as dangerous as a short circuit, and requires immediate attention.
Finally, a nearby lightning strike could cause your entire breaker to blow all at once. The power outage typically won’t last very long. But, if the rest of your neighborhood gets their power back, and your circuits keep tripping, get a professional out to take a look. You’ve got something else going on.
My Lights Flicker, Why?!
You may need to add a new line. If your lights flicker when you turn on the air conditioning, blow dryer, or other appliance that draws a lot of power, you’re overloading your system. Talk to a professional about possibly running all of your appliances that draw a lot of power to one circuit with enough power to keep them running.
Are Overloaded Surge Protectors Safe?
Do you have one, or two, or twelve outlets around the house with adapters plugged into them, and four or five appliances plugged into each adapter? You know you’re asking for trouble, right? There’s almost no chance that your outlets aren’t doing double-duty with this kind of load plugged into them. And, when your outlets are tasked beyond capacity, you run the risk of shock, sparks, and fire. Have a professional contractor install more outlets, and make any required changes to your electrical panel.
Can I Run Cords Safely Under Rugs Or Carpeting?
We feel like this one should be obvious. If you’ve run a bunch of wires under your carpet, including extension cords, because you don’t have enough outlets where you need them, and you don’t want to have to look at all of the ugly wires, stop doing that right now. Call someone and get some extra outlets installed. Upgrade your panel if you need to. It isn’t an expensive fix. And, what you’re doing can be very dangerous. You’re creating a serious fire hazard.
Are 2-Pronged Outlets Still Safe?
Do you have a bunch of old outlets with only space for two prongs? Those outlets are not properly grounded. Have an electrician come out and fix those for you. It is a fast, simple fix. You won’t have to fuss with adapters, and you’ll know that your electronics are safe and grounded.
My Breaker Box Is Rusty, Is It Time for a Replacement?
There are absolutely no exceptions to this rule. If rust is showing up in or around your breaker box, you have water seeping into or near your electrical system. There is almost nothing more dangerous. Call a professional immediately.
My Home Is 20+ Years Old, Is My Electrical System Still Safe?
If your home is more than 20 years old, the chances are pretty good that your wiring isn’t up to current standards. It’s worthwhile having an inspection done, even if it turns out that everything is okay. If your house was built before 1975 and you haven’t had your wiring inspected, you definitely should. You could have aluminum wiring, which could pose a fire hazard if it starts to deteriorate. Aluminum wiring should be inspected at least once a year. Better yet, have it replaced and have your home’s electrical system brought up to date.
How Do I Hire The Right Electrician?
We know that we are experienced, trustworthy, provide excellent customer service, and stand by our work. But, if you’ve never worked with us before, you don’t know that. We need to earn your trust.
That’s one of the reasons we’re putting this list of tips together for you, so you’ll have enough knowledge to know which electricians are trustworthy and which aren’t.
So, here are a few tips for hiring a reliable electrician
Hourly Rates Aren’t Everything
You may find a wide range of hourly rates when hiring an electrician. Choosing the lowest rate isn’t always going to save you money.
If you hire an inexperienced person to handle a complex job, it is going to take them longer to complete each task, and they may need to go back to correct mistakes. They’re basically learning on your dime.
Someone charging $50 dollars per hour may take 20 hours to complete a job that someone charging $75 per hour can complete in seven or eight hours.
So, make sure you do enough research to understand the level of professional experience your contractor has. And, get an estimate for how many hours they expect the job to take.
Check Reputable Reference Sources
You should expect your electrician to be able to provide references from past customers. Make sure they are recent customers, and that their project was of the same scope as yours.
If you are rewiring your home, and the reference is from someone who had a new ceiling fan installed, that reference isn’t really worth a whole lot. Just as important as customer references are professional and industry references. Are you hiring an electrician who specializes in new construction or remodels? Then, they should be able to provide references from the contractors they’ve worked with.
And, don’t forget to check sources like the Better Business Bureau. Any complaints filed against an electrician with the Bureau will be found on their website.
Check for Miscellaneous Charges
Does your electrician charge for travel time? If so, make sure it is a reasonable expense. One of the reasons that we recommend hiring a locally-owned and operated electrical contractor is because they likely don’t have these kinds of fees. And, if they do, you can usually negotiate with them.
An electrician working for a franchise or large, national company probably doesn’t have the authority to negotiate on travel charges, hourly rates, or anything else.
How To Spot An Electrical Emergency
No matter how handy or electrical capable you are, there are some electrical emergencies that are never safe for you to attempt to fix.
If you experience any of the following electrical problems, immediately remove yourself and your family from the home and call 911.
Only if it is safe to do so, cut the power to your home. If your family is safe and it is safe for you to do so, you can attempt to use a fire extinguisher to sweep the flames, but NEVER ever use water to put out an electrical fire. If there is no fire and you are able to cut the power, your next course of action is to call an emergency electrician right away.
You Smell Burning Wires
Burning wires emit a burning metallic or plastic smell. This is a very serious problem and if it is not corrected immediately, can become fatal. A burning smell is indicative of a pending electrical fire.
Immediately cut the power and call a 24-hour emergency electrician.
Loss Of Power
While being without power can be considered more of a nuisance than an emergency, if there is no known reason for a loss of power, it becomes an emergency.
The problem may be as simple as the power company shut off your electricity or as emergent as an injury to your breaker box which puts your entire electrical system at risk. If there is no good reason that your home lost power, call an emergency electrician just in case.
Buzzing Or Humming Breaker Box
Any loud noises coming from your breaker box means that something is attempting to trip and is unable to because of some fault.
This is incredibly dangerous. This poses big problems to your entire electrical system and needs to be corrected immediately!
An Electrical Fire Occured
Once the fire has been handled as we instructed at the beginning of this section and there is no longer an immediate danger to you, your family, or your home, then call your local 24-hour emergency electrician.
A licensed electrician can do an electrical assessment and figure out why the fire started in the first place and correct any hazards to prevent future fires.
Need An Emergency Electrician?
If you need an emergency electrician, no matter the time of day, Asbury Electric has your back! Call our friendly, local team of electricians, we are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week because we know emergencies don’t always happen during business hours.
How Can I Reduce My Electricity Bill?
Your home’s energy bill is directly related to the energy your home consumes. To help reduce your electric bill, you need to reduce the amount of electricity your home uses. This seems to be easier said than done, but there are things that you can easily do to help reduce your home’s energy consumption.
If you think your current electrical system is contributing to your high energy bills, call your local electrician to do an assessment and give you suggestions on where you can cut energy use. For an experienced electrician in Gloucester, you can trust, call Asbury Electric now!
Reduce Dishwasher & Laundry Cycles
Make sure that you have a full load in either your dishwasher or laundry machines before pressing start on either. Mother Nature will thank you!
Clean Out Your Dryer Filter
Make it more efficient so you can reduce the time and heat required to dry clothes.
Change Your Air Filter
Allowing air to flow without unnecessary restriction decreases the demand for energy in your appliances.
We’re not talking about that rectangle that tags along with you. Television, desktop computers, gaming systems, any electricity-consuming screens, and devices in your home.
Install Dimmer Switches
Don’t need the brightness? Reduce the amount of electricity your lights consume with a dimmer switch. Better yet, replace any long-lasting traditional bulbs with LED equivalents for a power-saving duo! (Tip: Double-check to make sure they’re dimmable LEDs when you’re shopping around.)
Install LED Lights
LEDs are the standard now. Why? They use far less energy than their preceding incandescent bulbs. Roughly 90% less! If you have any longstanding incandescent bulbs in your home, consider upgrading your home. The savings are far more valuable than the investment! Bonus tip: Check with your electric company for any existing promotions involving the switch to LED bulbs.
Purchase ENERGY STAR Applicances
ENERGY STAR-certified appliances meet strict energy standards, with clear easy to understand cost predictions. When shopping for your next residential or commercial appliance, consider looking for the big yellow ENERGY GUIDE tag!
Install Ceiling Fans
Did you know? Ceiling fans help circulate air and aid in the usage of the air conditioning systems in your home, doing some of the cooling down so your AC system does not have to. Plus, they consume far less power!
Install Curtains & Blinds
Help shield your home from the sun and decrease your dependency on your home’s air conditioning system in the summertime. Bonus tip: For added protection, consider blackout curtains for maximum darkness and protection from sun rays.
Turn Down The Temperature On Your Water Heater
Simply put, the hotter you keep your water, the harder your system needs to work – that is, If have an electric water heater in your home.
Keep Fridges & Freezers Full
What you store in either appliance helps to insulate and hold in the cold, reducing the frequency of how often it runs. Leaving for a long trip, or own a cabin? Unplug either appliance when you know they’re empty and won’t be serving their purpose but to cool any air inside.
Keep An Eye On The Thermostats
Especially your HVAC-controlling thermostat. An optimal middle-ground is what you should seek. Not too cold, not too hot. Running your system heavily in one direction for extended periods of time can not only result in a reduced lifespan for your system, but it can also cost you a fortune on your next electricity bill.
Ready To Call Asbury?
A member of our team is ready to be of assistance to you. Asbury Electric is proud to call Gloucester, Virginia home. We service in the following areas. Don’t see your city listed below? Give us a call, we might be able to be of assistance! Don’t know what you need? One of our trusty electricians will be happy to help. Call or message us today. We look forward to working with you and earning your trust!
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