Licensed Electricians
Serving Orange County CA

If you do find an answer to your question, call us to discuss. With you help, we will continue to post often asked questions to assist the residences of Orange County.

How do I test my light switches to see if they are working?

The preferred method is to use an electrical continuity tester. You can purchase one at your local home improvement center. First, shut off the electricity (circuit breaker) going to the switch and remove the switch. Touch the tester leads to both of the switch’s two terminals. If the switch is working properly, the tester will light up when the switch is on and go out when the switch is turned off.

What type of switches will I need to turn a light on from two different locations?

To do this handy task, you need a three-way switch at each location. Three-way switch will have three terminal screws on it.

What is the easiest way to test an outlet?

We suggest you use continuity tester. Leave the electrical power on, but remove any appliances plugged in. Plug the analyzer into the outlet. The test will show you if the outlet is working.

How large of a cord should I use when wiring an appliance?

Use electrical cords with 16-gauge wire for appliances requiring less than 15 amps and 12-gauge wire for appliances requiring up to 20 amps. Your appliance should have a tag showing he number of amps your appliance uses.

I am installing a ceiling fan; do I need a special electrical box?

We recommend you use special saddle electrical boxes that are designed for hanging heavy electrical fixtures-up to about 50 pounds. Since during normal operation a ceiling fan moves – vibrates, these boxes are good for about a 35-pound ceiling fan.

What is a ground fault interrupter?

A GFI is a safety device that immediately shuts off the power if a wire in an outlet develops a leak that could severely shock or electrocute someone. All currently electrical codes requires that all new homes be equipped with GFI devices in the bathroom, kitchen, workroom, outdoor, basement, garage and swimming pool circuits.

Is there a special receptacle I should install outside?

There are several types of special electrical boxes designed for outdoor use. In addition, the receptacle/plug you install in these boxes should have ground-fault circuit-interrupt protection.

I have some slots left on my circuit breaker box without breakers. Can I add more circuits?

The answer is Yes & No. Each main electrical panel is rated for with a maximum number of amps. Look at the existing circuits and add up the total amps are already being used. If you have not reached the maximum, then it is possible to add more. We strongly recommend that you have a professional electrician do the research and any work inside a main electrical panel.

What is a voltage tester?

This inexpensive tool could save your life. Every home owner and building manger should have a voltage tester. They are also called a electrical continuity tester. The tools tests for live current and the amount of electrical voltage. To use a voltage tester, simply plug its leads into a receptacle, or, if the cover plate is off, touch them to the screw terminals of the device. If current is present, the tester will light and the device should provide a read out of the voltage.

Do I need special tape for wiring?

Yes, you should use electrical tape to protect against electrical shocks and electrical shorts. Black is the universal color for electrical tape

What does it mean if my circuit breaker trips after I reset it?

Normally this mean you have an electrical problem. In rare cases it could be a faulty breaker, but first look for too large an electrical load or a faulty appliance or a shorted out electrical extension cord. Start your investigation by turning off and unplugging all electrical items on that circuit and then add back one at a time. Christmas and outdoor lights and that become wet, are common reasons. Never keep pressing the breaker in the on position as you could cause a fire.

Why does my GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) outlets trip repeatedly?

Your GFCI was designed to keep you from being electrocuted, so when it trips, determine why. We suggest you move appliance or tools plugged into the GFCI to another GFCI plug and test one at a time. If GFCI trips, appliance or tool is suspect. If GFCI does not trip, electrical problems are likely. Cut power and investigate for damaged wire insulation, a loose splice or a small length of exposed wire making contact with a metal electrical box. If you don’t find wiring or splice problems, replace the GFCI. If condition persists, contact an electrician.