FAQ


We know that you have a lot of questions about services, home projects, and every day electrical maintenance. We usually recommend using a professional for electrical diagnosis, repair, and installations, but have listed some of the more frequently asked questions below.

All breakers are designed to prevent the wire in your home or business becoming overloaded. All breakers are designed to automatically turn off if the circuit is carrying too much load or if there is a short circuit present. Arc Fault breakers have the additional ability to sense arcing in a circuit. Arcing is the sparking you might see between 2 damaged conductors, and is a fire hazard as this arcing is extremely hot. An arc welder uses electrical arcing to weld steel. A regular breaker may not sense that because it does not always create the load needed to trip the breaker, but an Arc Fault breaker will sense it and shut the circuit down before it can cause a fire. These devices are designed and required to be tested on a monthly basis to ensure proper and safe operation.
Aluminum wiring was used in the late 1960s and into the mid-1970s in many homes across North America. Aluminum wiring itself is not dangerous to have in your house. The issue with aluminum wiring is in faulty terminations either in receptacles and switches, or light fixtures and equipment. Due to expansion and contraction of the conductor itself and the fact that aluminum will oxidize over time, heat can be generated at points where the aluminum wiring is improperly terminated. One of the main issues with aluminum wiring is that while everything may appear fine with your wiring, it could be deteriorating behind devices, creating a dangerous fire hazard. If you have concerns about aluminum wiring in your home or business you should have it inspected by a licensed electrician who has experience working with aluminum wiring. Contact us (link to contact page) today to schedule a free in-home estimate so one of our licensed technicians can assess your aluminum wiring and identify if it is a fire hazard for you and your home.
Whole Home Surge Protection provides protection to all of your electrical equipment in your home from surges and spikes that can be created outside or even inside your home. It acts just like the high quality power bars we often buy for our entertainment systems or our computer systems, but instead it protects all the devices in your home. This means it protects the electronic components of refrigerators, freezers, washers, dryer dishwashers, coffee makers and anything else that wouldn’t traditionally have protection. We recommend whole home surge protectors be installed by an licensed electrician in all homes to protect all of your electronics and save you money for replacement items in the future.
A Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter is a receptacle that is designed to protect against electric shock when using electrical devices near water. It senses when power is going where it should not, and if it senses a problem it shuts off. This is why most codes specify that they be used in bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms and outdoor areas. One thing many people do not realize is that these devices are designed to be tested once a month to ensure proper operation. This is done by pressing the test button on the device to make sure it turns off, and then pressing the reset button to make sure it turns on. If either of the test or reset buttons do not work it is time to replace the device.
  1. Locate the proper GFCI breaker for the outlet that is not currently working
    • Four commonly overlooked GFCI locations: rarely-used main-floor guest “powder room,” an entryway closet, a walk-in closet, and the garage.
  2. If any appliances are plugged into the GFCI breaker, TURN THEM OFF OR UNPLUG THEM. This ensures no appliance damage when re-engaging the circuit.
  3. Locate the button next to the “Test” button that says “Reset” on it, and press it. It should remain pressed in.
  4. Push the “test” (bottom) button
    • This will cause the reset (top) button to pop out. You should hear a sharp “click” upon pressing the test button.
  5. Press the reset (top) button again, turn appliances back on (or plug them back in) and check to see if all your kitchen plugs are now working. Be aware, most kitchens have two separate GFCI receptacles that protect a number of other plugs in the kitchen.

You should be good to go!

If your GFCI outlet continues to trip then you may have a short or a defective GFCI outlet and replacement is not a DIY job! Contact a licensed electrician to address the problem for you – someone’s life depends on it.

Sounds like you have a bad battery! If one battery is bad, it can cause all the units to beep or chirp in your home, which is why we recommend replacing all of the batteries in all of your smoke detectors at the same time, usually around daylight savings time in both the spring and fall. Sometimes, resetting older smoke alarms is required. Disconnect the power, remove the battery and then press the test button to discharge the residual power before installing the new battery.
Dirt, dust or even high humidity levels inside the smoke detectors are very common reasons for false alarms. Small bugs or spiders crawling around in the smoke detector unit can interrupt the sensor beam, and is more common at nighttime. Disconnect the power and then use a can of compressed air (keyboard cleaner) or your vacuum to clean/remove foreign particles from the smoke detector(s).
Over time hair spray, perfumes, paint fumes, greasy cooking smoke, candle smoke, cigarette smoke, dust and other airborne contaminates build up on the sensor causing nuisance false alarms. Replace dirty units with a new smoke alarm/detector(s). It’s recommended to replace all your smoke alarms or fire detectors every 10 years or sooner with new units. Even quick air temperature changes can result in random false alarms

Caution: DO NOT try to rinse out or wash any electrical sensor, device or smoke detector!

Many areas allow a home owner to do their own electrical work, provided they take out the proper permits and have the work inspected by the proper authorities. The safety of your family and your home should always be considered before you undertake any electrical work. Attempting to do the work yourself, sometimes leads to unsafe or incomplete electrical work, and may cause you to spend more money to fix the problem after the fact, rather than to have it completed by an experienced, licensed electrician from the beginning. Apple Electric suggests to call a professional unless you have the proper training, and we provide free quotes for all electrical work.
The InterLock kit is a device that creates a mechanical interference between the main breaker and a generator back feed breaker so that both breakers cannot be turned on at the same time. The ‘interlocking’ of these breakers protects the public power system by insuring that your generator does not accidentally put power on the utility power grid.
Utilizing the kit also improves safety in the home while using a portable generator by eliminating the need for extension cords to be run throughout the home. One simple connection between the generator and the generator convenience outlet allows the generator to provide power to all the circuits in the home; up to the capacity of the generator. Remember, when a light is turned off it uses no power, but with the InterLock kit, all the lights in the home will be available as you move from room to room.
InterLock kits are intended to be installed by qualified electricians. The kits are designed, manufactured, and tested by Wyle Labs are to meet the National Electrical Code and the National Fire Protection Code. Wyle Labs is a nationally recognized testing laboratory that test to UL and other standards.
Batteries contain a range of metals which can be reused as a secondary raw material. There are well-established methods for the recycling of most batteries containing lead, nickel-cadmium, nickel hydride and mercury. For some, such as newer nickel-hydride and lithium systems, recycling is still in the early stages. Batteries should not be placed in your home’s recycle bin and should be recycled at a participating facility (see below).The Mercury-Containing and Rechargeable Battery Management Act was passed in 1996 by the U.S. Congress which requires regulated batteries such as Ni-CD batteries and sealed lead-acid batteries to:

1. be easily removable from consumer products to make it easier to recover them for recycling
2. include in the label the battery chemistry, the “three chasing arrows” symbol, and a phrase that instructs users to properly recycle or dispose the battery
3. provide national uniformity in collection, storage, and transport
4. phase out the use of certain mercury-containing batteries

Retail stores provide easy access for customers to drop off their used batteries and cell phones for recycling. Participating retailers may include (in the U.S.): AT&T, Best Buy, Black & Decker, DeWalt, The Home Depot, Lowe’s, Milwaukee Electric Tool, Office Depot, Orchard Supply Hardware, Porter-Cable Service Centers, RadioShack, Remington Product Company, Sears, Staples, Target, US Cellular, and Verizon Wireless.

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