Frequently Asked Questions

These are the most frequently asked electrical-related questions that we get from our customers. We thought providing a page for these questions would be beneficial. We offer answers to many questions such as When is it time to call an electrician?  and Can I do electrical work on my own? . Simply scroll down to find your question! Can’t find the answer to your question? Call us today at (781) 858-8545!

When is it time to call an electrician?

No one wants to call in professional help when they’re not needed. there are a lot of homeowners who think that their electrical issue is no big deal and that they can get bu if they ignore the problem, hoping it will eventually sort itself out, or they decide to take matters into their own hands.

Under no circumstances should you ever attempt to conduct your own electrical work. Even if it’s just a small problem, unqualified repairs won’t meet safety standards and could sow the seeds of more serious problems down the line.

So, when should you call an electrician? Whenever you have an electrical problem! It’s of no inconvenience to us to provide the reassurance you need. Besides, more often than not more frequently tripping circuit breakers, flickering lights, faulty wiring, etc., warrant our immediate attention.

Can I do electrical work on my own?

Under no circumstances should you ever attempt to do your own residential electrical work. It is guaranteed to be a recipe for disaster. You wouldn’t do your own dental work, would you? Our electricians are highly trained professionals who can guarantee a safe solution.

Furthermore, if you do your own electrical work and it causes a fire or another type of injury, you will be liable for the damage. It’s not worth the risk when TC Reilly Electric’s excellent electricians are only a phone call away.

How do I know what size electrical service system I need for my property?

Figuring out the electrical loads of homes is essential. And to determine the size of the electrical panel involved an audit of your appliances and a little bit of math as well. Your circuits should only be loaded up to 80% of the total circuit capabilities. So, if you have a 15-amp circuit, the safe operating amperage would be no greater than 12 amps. Confused yet? If so, give TC Reilly Electric a call and we’ll be happy to assist you in your energy load audit.

What should I do if my breaker panel is hot?

If you can safely turn the power off, do so and give us a call immediately. You might need an upgrade or some maintenance. Either way, this is a job for professionals.

What is a surge protector and do I need one?

A surge protector is a piece of equipment that suppresses the excess voltage in your system to prevent it from causing harm to your appliances and devices. You should get some to protect your appliance and devices from power surges.

Is there a difference between a fuse and a circuit breaker?

They both perform the same function, disrupting the flow of electricity when a fault is sensed. A fuse will have to be replaced once it is tripped, whereas a circuit breaker won’t need replacement. It is for this reason that circuit breakers are more commonly used.

What does the term “short circuit” mean?

When a wire carrying an electrical current comes into contact with the grounded conductor wire or the equipment ground wire, excessive heat is created. If you see sparks in your electrical panel, you’ve likely witnessed a short circuit and you should have it checked by an electrician.

What is a GFCI outlet?

This type of electrical outlet is designed to protect you from electrical shock if moisture is present. They are commonly found in bathrooms, kitchens, outdoor outlets, and garages. They feature test/reset buttons. Depress the “test” button to turn off the GFCI. The “reset” button turns it back on after it has tripped. If it doesn’t reset, you’ve got a problem and will need an electrician.

Why do my light bulbs blow out frequently?

There are several reasons this could be occurring. However, one particular reason that should be ruled out, for the sake of fire safety, is overheating. A light fixture with a poor airflow design will result in excessive heat buildup around the bulb. Having to replace bulbs, again and again, is not just an inconvenience, it’s also a fire hazard. Have your light fixtures inspected by an electrician if you notice that bulbs are constantly blowing out.

Is my electrical panel unsafe?

An outdated electrical panel, often found in older homes, isn’t designed to meet the electricity demands of modern living. Today’s families love their appliances and electronics. If your home’s electrical panel is less than 200 amps, it’s time to enter the modern age with an upgrade.