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Office: 631-361-7474  •  Email: ScecaElect@gmail.com  •  Fax: 631-285-7474

GENERAL MEETING 9/21/17

Dine & Learn Topic: Landscape Lighting by WAC LIGHTING

7pm at The Clarion Hotel & Conference Center - 3845 Veterans Hwy, Ronkonkoma, NY

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q. Why do my fuses blow?

A. Fuses protect the wiring from an overload (excessive current) if your fuses or circuit breakers blow, this is an indication that circuit has been overloaded. This could be caused by too many appliances plugged in, or too many rooms (outlets & lights) on 1 circuit.

 

 

Q. Why do my lights flicker?

A. The most common cause of flickering light is major appliances on the same circuit as the lighting. Lamps flicker when the appliances start up. This is caused by the appliance drawing a lot of power momentarily and basically robbing power from the rest of the circuit. Lighting will also flicker if there are any loose wiring connections, defective lamp sockets or defective bulbs.

 

 

Q. Why is my dimmer hot?

A. One of the by products of lighting dimmers is heat. Dimmers have built in heat sinks to dissipate the heat energy safely to the atmosphere. Dimmers are rated as to the amount of watts they can safely dim (ie: 1 300w, 500w, 1000w 1500w). Dimmers will get warm to the touch but should never get hot. A hot dimmer indicates the dimmer may be overloaded (to many watts).

 

 

Q. Why can’t I control my lights/ separately from my fan?

A. To control your ceiling lighting fixture separately from the fan, you would need to have 3 wires between the switch and the ceiling outlet box.

 

 

Q. What is 220?

A. 220 refers to voltage. Without getting into too much detail, modern residences are supplied by the utility with (2) power wires. (Service conductors) and (1) ground conductor. Each of the two conductors has 120 volts (when measured to ground) When both of these two conductors are present, it is said to be 220 volts. This can refer to the house “having 220” or an appliance (an A/C, Hot tub, etc) needing 220 volts.

 

 

Q. What are amps?

A. Amps is an abbreviation for amperes. Amperes is the technical term for the amount of current flowing through wiring. A good analogy has always been to think of amps as water pressure through a pipe. Low pressure, the water trickles out but high pressure and that hose can, knock the socks off you. Wiring is sized to handle different amperes, therefore your circuit breaker / fuses are rated for different amperes. Circuit breakers protect wiring.

 

 

Q. Can a 2 prong plug be changed to a 3 prong?

A. Yes and no, it all depends on the type of wiring within your home. Older wiring did not contain a ground conductor regardless of the box being metal or not. The wiring needs to have the ground in the cable* otherwise if a 3 prong (grounded) receptacle is installed without the ground conductor in the cable you’ve created a dangerous condition. Electrical appliances that have 3 prong plugs will no longer be safe to use. If there is a fault such as a short circuit within these appliances, the safety (the ground systems) has been by passes and a potential shock hazard exists.

It is difficult for the average homeowner and even home improvement contractors to determine if they have grounded cables.

Seek the help of a qualified electrician who can easily answering this question as well as other options to easily upgrading your receptacles

*Some cables have the equipment ground as the metal jacket or the cable.

 

 

Q. Why does my ceiling fixture (recessed High hat) go off by itself?

A. All recessed lighting fixture such as high-hats are required to have thermal protection. Recessed fixtures have a wattage limit. When a bulb that has either too many watts or is not the correct type ( an “A” rather than a “R”) the fixture will shut down until the thermal probe is cool and then turn on again to start the process all over again. This will cause the lamps to go off and on by themselves.

This may also indicate that the fixture was installed in an environment that is trapping in the heat, such is insulation. There are special recessed fixtures designed for contact with insulation. Some one familiar with lighting fixtures can identify which are installed in your home.

 

 

Q. My fixtures say to replace lamps with type R – What does that mean?

A. What is an “R” lamp? What’s and “A” lamp?

Are there 26 types of lamps? – No there’s many more.

An “R” lamp is a “Reflector” lamp. Most high-hats or recessed fixtures require “R” lamps to get the most efficient lighting. The reason is simple, any light that doesn’t go straight down is wasted light Reflector lamps reflect the majority of the lighting down where you want it. Although some recessed fixtures can use “A” lamps (standard light bulbs) you have to lower the wattage due to heat build up and waste energy.

 

 

Q. My panel box is full, Can I add more?

A. Switches have a set of contacts within them. These contact points open and close when operated. Upon opening, a small electric arc will occur. Under a normal load (within the switches tolerances) the arc is small unnoticeable. However if the load is high, the arc is stronger. Sometimes these contacts will develop “Hills and Valleys” due to this excessive arcing. These “Hills and Valleys” may cause the points to stay close enough to allow arcing to occur even in the open position. This is the crackling sound you hear. The switch should be replaces as well as the load checked by a qualified electrician.

 

 

Q. Do I need a special outlet for my bathroom?

A. Outlets (receptacles) in bathrooms are required to be GFCI (Ground fault circuit interrupters) type or GFCI protected. These GFCI receptacles are designed to protect the appliance user from electrical shock due to defective equipment or equipment/ users coming in contact with water or other grounded means. GFCI devices (receptacles and GFCI circuit breakers) are mechanical devices that can fail. These devices should be tested periodically, by pressing the test button, to ensure they perform as specified (they turn themselves off). If not they should be replaced. Since it is possible to install them incorrectly, it should be done by qualified personal.

 

 

Q. My home improvement contractor is burying electrical boxes behind the sheetrock is this allowed?

A. NO – NEVER

Not only is burying electrical boxes behind sheetrock a NEC violation, it is shoddy workmanship, costly, and down right dangerous. All electrical boxes must be accessible. For repair, maintain and renovation it’s important to have access to the splices within the box. Splices can become loose and arcing develops if electrical boxes are buried within your walls, you would never know there was a serious problem until it was too late.

The worker that buried the box is taking the cheap and easy way out and is ripping you off. You paid to have electrical work done safely and to code. Shoddy workmanship can lead to expensive repairs finding and elimination these boxes buried in your walls

 

 

Q. Why can’t I use an extension cord?

A. Extension cords are designed for temporary use. The NEC (National Electric Code) does not permit the use of extension cords as a permanent wiring method. The wire used for most extension cords is usually smaller size (gauge) than the wiring for your receptacle circuits. The circuit breakers will not protect the cord if it’s overloaded.

This can cause melted cords, short circuit and even fires. If you need an outlet, have one installed by a qualified electrician. Don’t use and extension cords.

 

 

Q. My power strip has a circuit breaker but house breaker keeps tripping?

A. Power strips have become very popular these days. People see 6 to 8 outlets and a small circuit breaker and assume it’ s ok to plug in the works. First off, the small breaker in the power strip protects only the power strip from overloading itself. It does nothing to protect the household wiring. Plug an 8 outlet PS into a 15 amp receptacle circuit with 8-10 outlets already on it and now you’ve got 12-15 outlets on a 15amp receptacle circuit. This is why your circuit breaker in your panel trips, it’s overloaded. An additional circuit would be required to resolve this problem.

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