10 QUESTIONS TO ASK ABOUT HOME ELECTRICAL SYSTEMS
The tolerance of data-processing equipment to voltage variations is often characterized by the CBEMA curve, which give the duration and magnitude of voltage variations that can be tolerated.
Ideally, voltage is supplied by a utility as sinusoidal having an amplitude and frequency given by national standards (in the case of mains) or system specifications (in the case of a power feed not directly attached to the mains) with an impedance of zero ohms at all frequencies.
No real-life power source is ideal and generally can deviate in at least the following ways:
Variations in the peak or RMS voltage are both important to different types of equipment.
When the RMS voltage exceeds the nominal voltage by 10 to 80% for 0.5 cycle to 1 minute, the event is called a “swell”.
A “dip” (in British English) or a “sag” (in American English – the two terms are equivalent) is the opposite situation: the RMS voltage is below the nominal voltage by 10 to 90% for 0.5 cycle to 1 minute.
Random or repetitive variations in the RMS voltage between 90 and 110% of nominal can produce a phenomenon known as “flicker” in lighting equipment. Flicker is rapid visible changes of light level.
Abrupt, very brief increases in voltage, called “spikes”, “impulses”, or “surges”, generally caused by large inductive loads being turned off, or more severely by lightning.
“Undervoltage” occurs when the nominal voltage drops below 90% for more than 1 minute. The term “brownout” is an apt description for voltage drops somewhere between full power (bright lights) and a blackout (no power – no light). It comes from the noticeable to significant dimming of regular incandescent lights, during system faults or overloading etc., when insufficient power is available to achieve full brightness in (usually) domestic lighting. This term is commonly used to describe a reduction in system voltage by the utility or system operator to decrease demand or to increase system operating margins.
“Overvoltage” occurs when the nominal voltage rises above 110% for more than 1 minute.
Variations in the frequency
Variations in the wave shape – usually described as harmonics
Nonzero low-frequency impedance (when a load draws more power, the voltage drops)
Nonzero high-frequency impedance (when a load demands a large amount of current, then stops demanding it suddenly, there will be a dip or spike in the voltage due to the inductances in the power supply line)
Each of these power quality problems has a different cause. Some problems are a result of the shared infrastructure. For example, a fault on the network may cause a dip that will affect some customers and the higher the level of the fault, the greater the number affected, or a problem on one customer’s site may cause a transient that affects all other customers on the same subsystem.
Other problems, such as harmonics, arise within the customer’s own installation and may or may not propagate onto the network and so affect other customers. Harmonic problems can be dealt with by a combination of good design practice and well proven reduction equipment.
#1: Are you Licensed in this Municipality?
Not all states, counties or towns regulate or require licenses for electricians, so it’s prudent to verify the status of your chosen electrician with your local building department. Also ask if electrical work in your municipality must adhere to standards established by the National Electrical Code.
At Clark Electric Company in Alpharetta, we employ only licensed electricians with the highest professional standards, all of whom always comply with the National Electric Code.
#2: Do Circuit Breakers in your Home Trip often or do Fuses keep Blowing?
A home electrical system has these built-in safeguards to prevent electrical overload. Too much current causes the breakers to open automatically or the fuses to melt. When a circuit shuts down repeatedly, it’s a warning that should not be ignored.
Clark Electric Co. of Alpharetta will quickly assess your needs and offer an on-the-spot Free Estimate of your solution.
#3: Are GFCI Outlets Installed Where Required?
The National Electrical Code now requires extra protection for outlets in specific areas of the home, such as kitchens, baths, utility rooms, garages and outdoors. Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs)—which are identifiable by their TEST and RESET buttons—are generally required in proximity to wet locations.
If your wiring has not been upgraded with GFCIs, you’re not protected and should call Clark Electric Co. of Alpharetta for your free estimate.
How do I Know if you’re the Right Electrician for Me?
Finding a Qualified Electrician You Can Trust to Implement and Complete your Project is… YOUR RIGHT AS A VALUED CLIENT!
At Clark Electric Co.:
We hire only licensed electricians with the highest standards of excellence.
You can always depend on our electrical technicians to look out for your best interests in regards to your electricity.
We never try to up-sell unneccessary services.
Your safety and satisfaction are our top priorities.
At Clark Electric Co. in Alpharetta, we’re just
Good, Honest Electricians who Care about our Clients and get the Job Done, Right!
#4: Is it Advisible to Use Extension Cords to Reach Outlets?
Electrical outlets, especially in older homes, are often spaced too far apart for modern living. This not only creates too much demand on too few outlets, it also poses a hazard when the extension cords are run under rugs and furniture.
Clark Electric Co. in Alpharetta can quickly install new outlets in the most convenient and widely used locations, eliminating the need for bulky extension cords, strengthening your electrical capacity and making routine activities more accessible.
#5: Is there rust on the main electrical service panel?
Even permanent fixtures wear out or suffer the ravages of time. When rust appears on the metal service panel it often indicates a moisture problem or that deterioration has reached an advanced stage.
Clark Electric Co. can help you determine if those old, rusted fixtures represent a hazard, and will help you install new fixtures if necessary.
#6: Do the Lights Dim when Appliances Turn On?
High-demand appliances such as air conditioners, clothes dryers, refrigerators and furnaces need extra power when they start up. This temporary current draw can be more than just a nuisance; it can damage sensitive equipment.
Clark Electric Co. in Alpharetta can install whole house surge protectors to alleviate the stress on your electrical equipment during power surges. The cost is minimal and the protection and money you could save in the long run is priceless!
#7: Do Electrical Switches or Outlets Feel Warm or Tingly?
Loose or deteriorating electrical connections, such as the wiring junctions in switches and outlets, impede current flow and create resistance. This may cause a dangerous condition that can result in shock or fire.
It is always best to call Clark Electric Co. of Alpharetta to conduct a complete safety inspection of your electrical connections to promote the welfare of you and your family.
#8: Do your Electrical Outlets need Accessory Plug-Strips?
Too many things plugged in at one location can create more current demand than a single outlet or electrical line can safely handle. Adding multiple plug-in strips won’t solve the problem. What you need are additional outlets, and possibly new wiring runs to service them.
If you have multiple plug-in strips throughout your home or business, it is time to call Clark Electric Co. in Alpharetta to free up those floors and put the outlets on the walls where they belong.
#9: Do your Outlets Deny Three-Prong Plugs?
The third, or grounding prong on a typical appliance plug provides an extra measure of safety against electrical shock. Older two-prong receptacle outlets installed in homes before this innovation, may not be adequately grounded and should be upgraded.
Clark Electric Co. of Alpharetta can help! Call us today and we will switch out your old, outdated receptacles and provide you with modern outlets that will accomodate your modern needs.
#10: Is the Wiring in your Outlet Boxes Old and Crumbling?
If you look at the wiring to your home’s light switches or outlets, do you find wires wrapped in cloth sheathing or bits of black rubber in the electrical box? Very old homes often have antiquated wiring that should be upgraded to ensure your safety.
If you have an older home, or have never updated your home’s electrical wiring, Clark Electric Co. of Alpharetta wants to help you become current. We never try to sell you something you don’t need, so it never hurts to have us inspect your home’s electrical components and give you a free estimate of any work we feel you need in order to protect your home and your loved ones.