All posts tagged circuit breaker

What You Need to Know About Your Home’s Electrical System

circuit breaker

When it comes to our homes, we often know just enough to be able to make small changes or do minimal maintenance. This is especially true of our homes’ electrical systems. Most of us aren’t electrical engineers, and so the idea of getting comfortable with our homes’ electricity can be more than just daunting: it can be frightening. But if you are going to own a home, being familiar with this system is more than just important. It’s necessary. Let the experts at Rose Brothers & Sons, Inc. of Northern Kentucky help you get acquainted.

 

The Electrical Meter

A main electrical line usually comes off of an electrical pole, although it can occasionally be buried underground, and is connected to a meter where it connects with your home. This meter is generally placed outside of the home, and measures the electricity that is moving into your home. Particularly energy conscious homeowners can also purchase “smart meters,” which measure electricity both ways: flowing into and out of your home.

 

The Breaker Panel

Most of us are only familiar with our homes’ breaker panels once a breaker gets flipped and we lose power. But, in actuality, a breaker panel does more than that. The amount of electricity that a home can use at any given time is determined by the size of the main breaker, which is why a power surge can blow the power to your home. Below the main breaker, you will have smaller breakers known as “circuit breakers,” which control individual circuits of electricity in your home. Each of these circuit breakers are designated for specific uses in your home, such as the air conditioning. Within these circuits, you will have wires that are sending electricity through those particular circuits. There are three kinds of wires in each circuit: “hot” wires, which carry electricity directly from the circuit breakers, insulated neutral wires, and uninsulated “ground” wires. If you are doing any electrical work on your own, be wary of the “hot” wires, as they could pose a potential danger to you.

 

While being familiar with your home’s electrical system is important, it can also be dangerous if you don’t have sufficient training with electricity. Ultimately, you should entrust your home’s electricity needs to trained professionals, like those at Rose Brothers & Sons, Inc. of Northern Kentucky. We are located in Walton, Kentucky, but we proudly serve all of Northern Kentucky, Cincinnati, and Southern Indiana, including  Florence KY, Ft. Mitchell KY, Villa Hills KY, Union KY, Ft. Wright, Hebron KY, Burlington, Covington KY, Erlanger, Independence KY, Ft. Thomas, Newport, Owenton, Park Hills, Cold Spring, Edgewood, Walton, Dry Ridge, Verona, Crittenden, Sparta, Alexandria, Glenco, and Williamstown.

 

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The Difference Between a Short Circuit or Ground Fault?

short circuit or ground faultWhat’s the difference between a short circuit or ground fault and do I need to know? You may have heard the terms short circuit or ground fault used and wonder what they mean to you and your electrical system. If you have a blown fuse or tripped circuit breaker, you may have a faulty breaker, a short circuit or  ground fault or a problem with one of your appliances.

Why Does My Circuit Breaker Trip?

If you have a fuse box or circuit breaker box, it is put in place to protect you and your home from too much electricity. Circuit breakers or fuses are designed to work with a certain amount of electricity or AMPS. When that amount is exceeded because too much electricity is required, the fuse will blow or the breaker will trip to off. For example when you have a 20-amp fuse and your appliance starts using 30-amps you will exceed the amount of electricity and your circuit breaker will trip or your fuse will burn out.

Short Circuit or Ground Fault

What Is A Short Circuit?

A Short circuit is when a wire gets exposed or is open to touch another wire. When the wires are connected wrong or insulation wears away so that wires touch, you can end up with a hot wire touching a neutral wire and this can result in a short circuit. Often you’ll see a spark or smell smoke. Sometimes you cannot detect where the problem is. Your electrician can help determine the cause of the short circuit and rewire any areas that have trouble. A short circuit will draw more electricity and cause a short. Sometimes the hot wires melt the insulation on the wires and could potentially cause a house fire.

What Is A Ground Fault?

A ground fault occurs when the hot wire is exposed and touches either the ground wire or it touches metal in the junction box or in the appliance. For example if your air conditioner compressor has a ground fault it means a wire in the compressor broke and is touching the sides of the unit. This will also cause a surge in power that will trip the breaker or blow the fuse.  Another term for ground fault is a short to ground connection.

What Should You Do If Your Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping

If you notice a problem with your circuit breaker, you need to have it checked out. The circuit breaker is there to keep you safe and notify you if there’s a problem. Sometimes the only problem is a loose wire at the circuit breaker box. Other times, you have either a short circuit or ground fault causing the breaker to trip or the fuse to blow. Your electrician at Rose Brothers & Sons Electric can help you determine where the problem is and make the necessary repairs. Rose Brothers serves the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky area and we are ready to help you with all your electrical repairs.

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Appliances That Require Dedicated Circuits

appliances that require dedicated circuitsThere are many appliances that require dedicated circuits. In fact, if you are constantly experiencing your circuit breaker tripping or lights dimming, you may have a problem with how your breaker box is set up. This can cause not only damage to your appliances but it’s also a fire hazard. You owe it to yourself and your family to keep your electrical system safe and working properly.

What Is A Dedicated Circuit?

A dedicated circuit is a circuit breaker in your electrical box that is used for only one appliance. It in effect is dedicated to doing only that one thing. Some major appliances that draw a lot of electricity will require more than one switch we usually refer to these as double pole circuits as opposed to single pole circuits. This configuration keeps you and your home safe from fires. Double pole circuits are for appliances requiring 30-50 amps and single pole circuits are for appliances requiring 20 amps.

The Appliances That Require Dedicated Circuits

Heating and Air Conditioning Equipment

Electric Ranges and Ovens

Refrigerators and Freezers

Dishwashers

Washers and Dryers

Microwaves

Electric Fireplaces

Garage Door Openers

Car Charging Stations

Garbage Disposals

Water Heaters

Sump pumps

Jacuzzi, hot tubs and Pools

Upgrading Your Electrical Circuits

If you are adding a new appliance or an older used appliance, you need to make sure your electric is set up to handle the new addition.   You can check the rating on the new appliance or electrical equipment to determine how much electricity it will use. Many appliances are compliant with Energy Star ratings and use less electricity than older models. If you experience fluctuating power, dimming light or you are constantly throwing a breaker switch, you should call your professional electrician in Cincinnati or Northern Kentucky and have your electrical system checked out. Rose Brothers & Sons Electric can help you with fast, dependable electrical repairs and upgrades. Call today to speak with a professional electrician or to schedule a repair or estimate.

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Should I Upgrade Electrical Wiring In My Home?

upgrade electrical wiringWe often are asked, “Should I upgrade electrical wiring in my home?” Many people who are looking at a house to buy or who live in an older house ask this question.   If you have older wiring, or you buy a house built in the 60’s or 70’s it may be a question you should be asking because your safety may be at risk. Also if you notice problems with your electricity, you should have a licensed electrician in Northern Kentucky look over your electrical system for any potential problems.  There are many reasons to get electrical upgrades.  Here are just a few:

Safety Concerns

Many of the reasons to upgrade electrical wiring revolve around safety concerns. If you have problems with circuit breakers tripping, you probably have a bad connection somewhere that needs addressed. Likewise, if you have multiple power strips in your home because you don’t have enough outlets, you could be creating a fire hazard. Homes built between 1960 and 1975 may be wired with aluminum wiring which can oxidize over time and create another fire hazard. These are some of the reasons why you should upgrade electrical wiring.

New Appliances

When you purchase a new appliance, you may need to upgrade electrical wiring to accommodate the new appliance. This is especially true when switching from gas to electric appliances in your kitchen. Many new appliances require heavier gauge wiring and a dedicated circuit breaker. You should never attempt to run a new appliance on insufficient electricity. This is unsafe for the appliance and also can be hazardous.

Surge Protectors

If you notice your lights flickering during a storm, this could be an indication you need better surge protection. Surge protectors can be included in your outlet strip or you can install a surge protector that works at the source of electricity for a whole house affect. Most electrical appliances can handle small surges that are considered normal. Large surges however can ruin appliances and electronics and have the potential to be unsafe.

Help To Upgrade Electrical Wiring In Your Home

Rose Brothers and Sons Electric is a licensed and insured electrical contractor who can help you upgrade your electrical system. We are experienced and trustworthy. Contact us today to answer any questions you have or schedule a estimate for electrical upgrades. We service Cincinnati and the Northern Kentucky area.

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When It’s Time To Call For Emergency Electrical Repairs

when it's time to call for emergency electrical repairsHelp my power is out! When it’s time to call for emergency electrical repairs, Rose Brothers and Sons Electric is here!

This is the call we get quite often. You can lose power to your home for several reasons. If it isn’t a planned interruption from your utility company and you’ve paid your electric bill, it could be a switch tripping or a fault with your wiring or electrical appliance.

Losing Power

If you lose power and you’re not aware of why, check the neighborhood to see if anyone else on the street has a power outage too. If the rest of the street appears to have power you may have tripped a circuit breaker. This usually doesn’t result in losing power to the whole house. If you have some areas of the house still working, then it’s probable you need to flip your circuit breaker switch. There are a number of reasons why your home could be without power. You should first check with your utility company in Northern Kentucky to see if they are aware of the outage. If not it is time to call for emergency electrical repairs.

Checking the Circuit Breaker

Your circuit breaker box is often beside your meter. It’s always a good idea when you move into a new house to locate your circuit breaker box before you have a need to. On the box, each switch relates to a different area or appliance in the home. If one of the switches is tripped, it is usually appears as opposite of the other switches (in the off position). You can flick it back to restore the power supply to that area or appliance. If the circuit breaker flips off again, you have a problem with the wiring or one of the appliances. You can turn the appliances off and test each one to see which one is causing the problem. If you cannot find the problem, it’s time to call for emergency electrical repairs.

When It’s Time to Call For Emergency Electrical Repairs

If you have a faulty appliance, there might be a fuse blown in the cord to that appliance. As with most electrical repairs in Northern Kentucky, if you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s time to call for emergency electrical repairs. You don’t want to keep turning a faulty appliance or lights on when they keep tripping the circuit because it can cause more damage. The circuit breaker is there to protect you and your appliance. Rose Brothers and Sons Electric is available 24/7 for help with electrical repairs. We provide fast affordable service on all electrical systems and small electric repairs. Call Rose Brothers and Sons Electric when it’s time to call for emergency electrical repairs.

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Properly Labeling Your Circuit Breaker Box

labeling your circuit breaker boxLabeling your circuit breaker box properly may not seem like a big deal. The problem is that in an emergency it can be very important. Most homes in Northern Kentucky don’t have properly labeled circuit breakers. Unless it is a new installation or a new home, over time people have worked on their breaker box and changed or removed labels.

Why Labeling Your Circuit Breaker Box Is Important

Besides being a safety issue, a properly labeled circuit breaker panel is part of the National Electrical Code. This is because in an electrical emergency you want to be able to shut power off to the item or appliance without having to shut power off to the entire system. If you wanted to shut off the circuit breaker to your dryer, would it take a few seconds or a half hour? If you have a problem with one of your appliances or electrical devices, it is important to keep you and your family safe that the circuit breaker can be found quickly.

How To Label Your Circuit Breaker Box

A well-labeled circuit breaker box has stickers with one item on it. These stickers can be replaced without scratching off an item or trying to write over it. It is uniform and easy to read. If you need help labeling your circuit breaker box, Rose Brothers and Sons Electric can help you run through your circuit breakers and label your box properly. If you get into a situation where you have to turn off all electricity, you will end up being without power until an electrician arrives to figure it out. This could end up costing extra for time sorting through your circuit breakers during off hours

Electrical Inspections and Circuit Breaker Repair

If you would like to have an inspection of your electrical system or need electrical repairs, Rose Brothers and Sons Electric will be happy to help you. We are a full service electrical company with master electricians available for every electrical job. If you need a dependable, experienced electrician, call Rose Brothers and Sons Electric today.

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Protecting Your Electrical System During a Storm

protecting your electrical system during a stormIt is hard to imagine, March is right around the corner and Daylight Saving Time will soon begin. Winter and early spring storms often cause power outages. Your local power company will resolve many of these power outages, but more often than not, the power outage can cause home electrical problems. You can protect your electrical system before a major storm to prevent the need for emergency electrical repairs in Northern Kentucky.

Protecting Your Electrical System During A Storm

Although you may experience many storms in your lifetime, it only takes one storm to damage your electrical system, appliances, electrical wiring, wall outlets and other electrical gadgets in your home. Another problem can occur if lightening strikes.
According to the National Geographic, lightening can travel phone lines and electrical wiring. You should unplug appliances and never use the phone when lightening or a thunderstorm is near. Your washer and dryer is a triple threat because it has electrical wiring, plumbing and a vent that connects it to the outside. Most people don’t go around unplugging appliances but caution should be taken if a storm is close. Turning the power off at the circuit breaker or using a good surge protector can help.  Surge Protectors do not protect against direct lightening strikes.

Types of Surge Protectors

• Surge Arrester – This is a whole-house system that is installed in or near a home’s main electric service panel and offers protection against voltage surges up to 20,000 volts (such as a lightning strike).
• Surge Suppressor – This surge protection device is a power strip that can handle up to 6,000 volts. A surge suppressor protects only the electrical equipment that is plugged into it.
Both types of surge protectors will also protect your appliances from electrical surges as the electricity is turned back on.

Emergency Electrical Services in Northern Kentucky

Most people who experience a power outage will begin to wonder if their neighbors are experiencing the same thing. They will either look across the street to see if lights are on or they’ll call their neighbor down the road. If you notice your neighborhood has lost power and then when it comes back on you still have no power, you may want to call for 24 hour a day emergency electrical service. You may also notice that the power is back on but one or more of your appliances are not working properly. This type of damage should be considered serious and an electrician should investigate to make sure your home is safe. For your safety and the safety of your family, you are better off erring on the side of precaution and having an electrical inspection to make sure there is no potential for house fires later on. For electrical repairs and service, call your electrical contractor in Northern Kentucky, Rose Brothers and Sons Electric and they will be happy to help you.

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Hanging Outdoor Christmas Lights

hanging outdoor christmas lightsWith Thanksgiving just a week away, it’s time to talk about electrical safety and hanging outdoor Christmas lights. Many people begin decorating for the holidays during Thanksgiving weekend. Make sure you follow these simple rules from your electrician in Northern Kentucky,  to ensure your holidays don’t include a house fire or electrical repairs.

Choose The Right Decorations

When it comes to buying decorations for outdoors, safety should be first on your list. Make sure you check for a UL rating and that all your decorations are intended for outdoor use. To save on energy and ensure your lights burn cooler, consider buying LED light bulbs and light strings that use energy efficient LED lights.

Hanging Outdoor Christmas Lights

When hanging Christmas lights, make sure you don’t damage the cords with nails or staples. This can produce holes in the wiring that can leave the wires bare or cause the wires to short. Avoid putting too many lights on one extension cord. You can easily overload your circuit with too much electricity being used on one circuit breaker.

You may have noticed your kitchen and bath use GFCI outlets because the electricity is near a water source. This prevents electrocutions. These same outlets should be used with your outdoor lights. Rose Brothers and Sons electric will be happy to help you install the GFCI outlets or extra outlets to help ensure your electrical safety when you are hanging outdoor Christmas lights.

Make sure your lights are clear of doors and other tight areas. Door jams can cut the insulation on your wiring too. Also, keep pets and small children away from the outdoor lights and outlets.

Discard Older Decorations

If you have heirloom decorations that you enjoy, make sure the wiring is new. Older wiring is a hazard. Discard any decorations that need repair. Don’t use frayed or damaged cords.

Use A Timer

Keep your lights on a timer so that they turn off when you’re sleeping. This is safer and will help you save on your electric bill. Lights can be expensive to run.

If you are planning on decorating your house by hanging outdoor Christmas lights, play it safe with these simple suggestions. Rose Brothers and Sons Electric your electrician in Northern Kentucky is here to help with all your electrical needs.

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How Circuit Breakers Work

Ever wonder why there aren’t more accidents with all the electricity in your house?  Circuit breakers.  They protect the wiring in your house from ruining appliances and starting fires.  Without a circuit breaker, we would be in a world of danger and here’s why.

How Electricity is Designed

Electricity is designed to flow in a closed circuit.  Electricity enters a house from the electrical plant through the hot wire and goes into ground or the neutral wire.  These wires should never touch.  Electrical current flows through a house and meets resistance when it goes into appliances.  The resistance slows the current down and makes sure it flows at a safe level.

What Circuit Breakers Do

circuit breakers

Circuit Breaker

Circuit breakers monitor the flow of electrical current in your house.  Their job is to stop the electricity any time the level of electricity is not safe.  Any spike or fluctuation in the current and the circuit breaker will stop the electricity from flowing.  This can happen when you have a short in the wire and the hot and ground wires are touching or maybe when an appliance overheats and melts the wires causing them to touch.  Faulty wiring, appliance malfunction and many other things can cause your circuit breaker to trip.

Before modern circuit breakers, the circuit breakers were fuses which were nothing more than wires encased in a capsule.  When a current was too high, the fuse would disintegrate, and stop the flow of current.  Each time this happened, it had to be replaced and a new fuse had to be purchased.

Today circuit breakers come in a few electric designs that use either an electromagnet, bimetallic strip, or explosive charge to throw the switch.  After they have been switched off, you just flip the switch back and they are ready to protect again the next time.

The picture on the right is a central circuit breaker panel in the circuit breaker box.  The circuit breakers can go to a group or area in your house, such as, your bedroom.  Circuit breakers can also be used for large appliances like your air conditioner.  The circuit breakers are usually marked so that you know what they are for.  They should all be switched to the same side, in the on position if they are all in use.

More advanced circuit breakers use electronic components and circuitry.  One of these is the GFCI (Ground fault circuit interrupter), These are used in homes to prevent electric shock.  They are commonly seen in kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms at the wall socket.  The GFCI monitors the hot and ground wires to make sure they have the same flow.  As soon as the hot wire is slightly different then the ground, the circuit in interrupted.  This happens quickly at the site to prevent electrocution.

If you have any questions about your circuit breakers please call Rose Brothers & Sons Electric. If you are constantly having problems with your circuit breakers tripping it is a good idea to have your wiring checked and the problem repaired.

 

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When to Replace Your Circuit Breaker

When to Replace Your Circuit Breaker

When you are experiencing electrical problems in your home

the first thing to check is your circuit breaker box. A circuit breaker can trip when there is too much of a load on one circuit, which will cut off the electrical flow going to that circuit. If the electrical problems you are having do any damage to the breaker, than it will have to be replaced. When you do find the breaker and reset it, watch it to see if it trips again. If it goes off again immediately, this is a good indication that you might have to replace the switch as long as the wiring is alright and nothing else is causing the problem.

When the circuit Breaker is Worn out

A circuit breaker will generally last a long time, but they can become broken, worn out or just become malfunctioning. As mentioned, a big clue to this is when a specific breaker trips very frequently or it will not remain reset. If the breaker is hot to the touch or is giving off a burning smell, looks burnt or black, or has frayed wires, this is the biggest indication that it needs to be replaced. If needed, you can always use a mulitmeter to test the circuit breaker in question to see if there is power flowing to it. If you do not detect any sign of power, than the breaker is faulty and needs to be replaced.

Older wiring may need to be replaced

Older homes may not be up to code.  Electrical codes are in place to insure your home is safe and problem free.  Older circuit breakers should be replaced with a more modern unit.

When you do need to replace a breaker, your best option is to call an electrician to do this for you. Dealing with electricity can be dangerous and difficult if you are not properly trained. Plus, a professional will be able to tell you if the problem is larger than the circuit breaker itself, such as a problem with the circuit box or the wiring in your home. Using a trained electrician will keep you and your family safe, and make sure that the job is done correctly the first time. Rose Brothers & Sons Electric can help you with all your electrical needs.

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