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How to Check For and Reset a Tripped Breaker

March 5, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Category: Electrical Tips

Often, I’ll get a call from a customer (usually in a panic) that the lights in their living room and a couple of bedrooms aren’t working. Or, maybe it’s a room full of outlets that don’t work. After asking if there are any tripped circuit breakers they’ll usually be quite confident that they checked already and there’s nothing wrong. Unfortunately, after driving all the way out there it will usually be just a circuit breaker that needs to be reset! Here’s how to check for yourself:

1. Locate your electrical panel. Please note that you home many have multiple panels and it’s imperative that you check each one, not just the biggest one in your house!

2. Pull the panel door open. If you’re lucky enough to have a Square D QO panel (the breakers will all have little clear windows on them) it’s easy to find a tripped breaker. Just look for the breaker that has a red-orange window. That’s the tripped breaker.

3. With most other major electrical panels tripped breakers will either be all the way in the off position (which is extremely easy to spot and you probably wouldn’t be reading this article now) or more commonly, in a “tripped position” neither on or off, but floating in the middle. It’s this position that gives must homeowners a problem because the breaker looks as if it’s on. Here’s how you test for this: Simply go up and down your panel trying to push each breaker in the “on” position. There should be little to no play because the breaker is already on. When you come across the tripped breaker there will be a lot of excess play. Now you’re ready for the next step.

4. Turning the breaker back on is a step that sounds easy (and it is) but most people don’t get quite right. Nine times out of ten someone with zero electrical knowledge will simply flip the breaker towards the on position and when nothing happens assume there is a bigger problem. Here’s why this doesn’t work: with most manufactures you MUST flip the breaker fully off THEN flip the breaker back on.

5. That’s it! Now check for power and make sure that there’s nothing else still off in the house as you may have multiple breakers that could have tripped.

6. If there is no evidence of a tripped circuit breaker you should consult a licensed electrician immediately.

Legal Note: These instructions will cover most electrical panels out there, not all. As always, consult your licensed San Francisco electrician before proceeding or if you have any questions.

 

All San Francisco Families Need a Home Security Lighting System

August 12, 2010 at 8:01 pm | Category: Security Lighting, Uncategorized

Well lit San Francisco homes, whether it is indoor or outdoor lighting, are an important safety measure against thieves and burglars. Dipping into the psychology of a thief, darkness and shadows create a perfect cover for skulking and hiding. Home security lighting provides the home owner protection against these law breakers along with other necessary security measures.

Break-in’s do happen during the day. But most of the time the thieves will choose the cover of night since most of the San Francisco homes will be plunged into darkness and their inhabitants asleep and vulnerable. The street lights are insufficient since the light filtering through casts shadows that are convenient for the thief.

Using flood lights is an option for people concerned about their security. But having the lights turned on all night is not very economical or environmentally friendly. It may even bother your neighbors if they are angled incorrectly. The lights themselves come with protective covers so vandalizing the lights would be hard for intruders and will buy you precious time if you find yourself a victim of a break in.

Home security lighting is now advanced enough to offer a variety of more viable options that are considered “green” and economical. These options include a heat sensing lightning system that lights up when it senses a foreign warm body passing through. They are sensitive enough to differentiate between an animal and a human so that they light up only if there is an actual intruder passing through. The sudden illumination will surprise the intruder and hopefully your neighbors or passer-by will spot the person in time.

Motion sensing lighting systems are another progressive advancement in technology. Every time an intruder dares to cross your home boundaries the motion detectors will instantly light up catching the intruder by surprise. Some of motion detectors sound an alarm accompanying the illumination. This should thwart the intruder for good.

A number of other security steps need to be taken along with the San Francisco home security lighting system. Talking to an expert with help you figure out the most efficient security lighting system. Do not opt for a manual control system since you may forget to turn it on every night. The automatic controls are timed to switch on every night even if you are on a vacation, allowing you to keep your property safe while you’re gone.

Keep the control panels of your security system hidden and out of easy reach of intruders. A number of thefts nowadays are committed in homes with tight security systems, but changing the settings on your system is fairly easy for an intruder so keep the panel in a well concealed place. Be sure to add the necessary alarms and locking system as well to alert you in case of a break in. Also, keep the necessary numbers at hand to call the emergency services in an instant.

A home security lighting system is not very expensive in the long-term. And when you consider that you are ensuring your family’s safety, it is a good investment. It is fairly easy to install – as long as you make sure the company offering these services is reputable. In addition, ensure that along with the lighting system you do have other protection systems installed as well.

Major Remodel – Upgrade Your Electrical Service!

July 29, 2010 at 3:03 pm | Category: Electrical

If you are contemplating a major remodel, the addition of a room or garage, or a new kitchen you should consider upgrading your Bay Area home’s electrical service.

Thirty years ago, the average new home was equipped with a 60 amp electrical service connected to a screw-in fuse panel with two fuse blocks. The common distribution was a fuse block for the stove and one for the hot water tank. The balance of the homes electrical needs were served by six, 15amp screw-in fuses.

Twenty years ago the average new home was equipped with a 100 amp electrical service and some of them used the latest in technology, circuit breakers.

Now the average home is equipped with a 200 amp electrical service with a distribution panel handling up to 40, 15amp circuit breakers serving the electrical needs of the home.

North American’s are electrical power hungry. Today our air conditioning systems take more power than an entire home did 30 years ago. A kitchen, in a new home, will usually be equipped with a number of receptacles capable of supplying more than 60 amps just to counter top appliances.

Adding receptacles does not increase the available power if they are looped from other receptacles. To get more power to a location the circuit should run directly from the distribution panel.

Old style distribution panels, those with screw-in fuses are generally considered fire hazards. The contact between the base of the fuse and the buss bar oxidizes or charcoals from poor contact. In order for the current to continue to flow heat is generated. In many areas, insurance companies will not renew homeowner insurance if the home is equipped with an electrical distribution panel that has screw-in fuses.

If your current San Francisco electrical service to your home is less than 200 amps, and/or if it has a distribution panel that uses screw in fuses, you should consider replacing it as a top priority in any major renovation project.

If you are looking for a professional electrician in the San Francisco area, then please call us today at 800-944-2252 or complete our online request form.