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frequently asked questions

What are tamper resistant outlets?

A tamper resistant receptacle has a shutter that is spring loaded to prevent a child from sticking an item into the receptacle may result in electrical shock. It is common for it to be hard to plug cords into tamper resistant receptacles. A cord must be plugged into the receptacle square or the shutters may not open.

Why won't my circuit breaker reset?

The circuit breaker may be defective or there may be a fault within the circuit.

Why is there a popping sound in my light switch when I turn it on and off?

A switch is a mechanical device designed to turn power on and off with small points of contact. A popping sound may indicate that the switch is worn and needs to be replaced.

What is GFCI?

GFCI stands for GROUND FAULT CIRCUIT INTERRUPTER. GFCI receptacles and breakers are designed to trip quickly enough to prevent electrical shock. GFCI receptacles are commonly found in areas where moisture may be present like bathrooms, kitchens, garages, unfinished basements, or outside receptacles.

Why does my dimmer switch get hot?

It is normal for a dimmer switch to be warm to the touch because it is using electronics to decrease the electrical load. It is not normal for a dimmer switch to be hot. If the dimmer switch feel hot to the touch, it may be overloaded and should be evaluated by a licensed electrician. Most incandescent and halogen dimmer switches are rated for 600 watts and CFL and LED dimmers switches have a rating of 180 watts.

Why are my lights flickering?

There may be a loose wiring connection in the electrical panel or overhead service line. Flickering lights may also be observed when a large appliance starts, such as an air conditioner or clothes dryer.

What is knob and tube wiring?

Knob and tube wiring is an electrical wiring method that was practiced from the 1880’s to the 1930’s. The method is achieved by running a single conductor wire. The wire is secured with a porcelain insulator and covered with a porcelain sleeve where it passes through a stud. Connections are made by twisting the wires, soldering together, and securing with rubber tape. Knob and tube should not he covered by isolation. It needs to be exposed so the heat can dissipate from it.

What is the difference between a AFCI and a GFCI?

AFCI stands for ARC FAULT CIRCUIT INTERRUPTER. AFCI receptacles and breakers are designed to help prevent electrical fires by sensing an arc. GFCI stands for GROUND FAULT CIRCUIT INTERRUPTER. GFCI receptacles and breakers are designed to help prevent electrical shock by sensing ground faults.

What causes my outlets and light switches to get warm?

A switch, with the exception of a dimmer switch, or an outlet should not feel warm to the touch. If the switch or outlet feels warm to the touch, it may he overloaded or there may be a loose wiring connection.

Why doesn't my doorbell work?

The doorbell chime or the transformer that decreases the voltage from 120 volts to 16 volts may have failed. Or, the electrical wire connected to the doorbell button may be broke or disconnected.

How do I reset my breaker?

Push the handle of the beaker in the electrical panel to the off position and then back to the on position.

Why does my circuit breaker keep tripping?

There are a couple reasons that a breaker may trip. The circuit may be overloaded because there is more load on the breaker than it is rated for. Or, there may be a direct short with the circuit.

For more information about our commercial and Industrial  electrical services, or to schedule an estimate or request service, give us a call today at 715-384-4131. We look forward to working with you!

McMillan Electric in Marshfield and Medford, WI.