FAQs

Ely Electric & Property Solutions

What is a GFCI and why do I need them?

GFCI stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. It is an electrical device (usually a circuit breaker or receptacle) that is installed to prevent electrocutions. They are designed to protect people from severe or fatal shocks. Because a GFCI is designed to detect ground faults, it can also prevent some electrical fires by stopping the flow of electricity when a problem occurs. 
 

Where are GFCI's needed?

The National Electrical Code REQUIRES GFCI protection for all 120 volt receptacles installed in any of the following locations:
Outdoors
Bathrooms
Garages
Kitchens
Unfinished Basements
Crawl Spaces
* Homeowners who do not have GFCI protection in these areas should consider having them installed.


What is an AFCI and why do I need them?

AFCI stands for Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter. It is an electrical device (usually a circuit breaker) that is installed to prevent fires caused by an electrical arc, which is caused by a problem in a home's electrical system.
* Problems in a home's wiring such as arcing/sparking are associated with more than 40,000 home fires each year. These fires claim over 350 lives and 1400 injuries annually, along with millions of dollars in property loss and damages. 
* Typical household fuses and circuit breakers do not respond to early arcing and sparking conditions in a home's wiring. By the time a fuse or breaker opens the circuit, a fire may have already begun.



Where are AFCI's needed?

The National Electrical Code REQUIRES AFCI protection for all circuits that serve the following areas:
Bedrooms
Family Living Rooms
Studies
Dens
Any Room in Which a Person May Sleep
* You may want to consider adding arc fault protection to older homes to benefit from the added protection against the possibility of an electrical fire. 
* The US Consumer Product Safety Commission conducted an extensive study of residential fires with an electrical origin and concluded that the majority need not have occurred, and that conditions that caused the fires probably could have been detected by an electrical inspection. Many of the homes studied were between 40 and 100 years old, and have NEVER had any type of inspection since they were built.


How much can I put on an individual circuit?

Fifteen (15) amp circuits should not be loaded above 1440 watts; and Twenty (20) amp circuits should be held under 1920 watts.
Fifteen (15) amp overcurrent protection is used for 14 gauge wire, and Twenty (20) amp protection for 12 gauge wire.  
* Increasing the size of the overcurrent protection (fuse / breaker) should never be done. The fuse blows or the breaker trips for a reason... too much load, or a fault somewhere on the circuit. Determine why immediately!
 
Watt Ratings for Common Household Items: 

Blow Dryer 
1800 Watts

Electric Space Heater
1500 Watts 

Clothes Iron  
1000 Watts

Coffee Maker
1500 Watts

Computer
800 Watts

Microwave
1200 Watts

Television
500 Watts

1/3 HP Sump Pump
1000 Watts

Ceiling Fan
800 Watts

Window Air Conditioner 
2200 Watts



Is surge protection necessary, and is it effective?

The Cooper Dev. Assc. study determined that the average residence receives almost 2000 transient electrical surges annually. These variances in current shorten the life of many electronic appliances, and slowly degrades them. These losses are estimated to be 26 billion per year.
Surge protection, when correctly applied, is very effective. Most experts agree that a layered approach is the best method. This involves the use of "Whole House" surge protection installed at the point of entry, the breaker panel, and then at the point of use, using the plug in strips. The type of arresters I install have indicator lights that display their status, and have a $10,000 equipment warranty.



What type of energy Efficiency upgrades could I have installed for My existing Home ?

There are many Lighting upgrades such as CFLs, LEDs, or any fixture that has the "Energy Star" rating, along with the use of occupancy sensors to insure lights are not used in unoccupied areas.
Programmable thermostats also provide the opportunity for energy savings, and can pay for themselves very quickly.