Service Q&A

Typical “TOP 20+”
Service Department
Questions & Answers

1. What is a GFCI device or breaker?

GFCI stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter.

In layman’s terms, this device protects you from electrical shock. When it senses the slightest increase in resistance resulting from ground fault, (i.e., the use of electrical devices in or near water), it trips off to protect you.

2. What are the Red and Black buttons on my GFCI outlet?

The black button is a test button and when pressed, should deactivate the outlet and any other outlet fed from it – indicating a properly functioning device.

The red button is the re-set button that you depress to reactivate the outlet or outlets in case of deactivation resulting from a fault.

3. What is the difference between a breaker panel and my old fuse panel?

Both devices, either breaker or fuse, are designed to trip (turn off) in the event of an electrical overload, i.e. 20Amps of electrical load on a 15Amp circuit would cause a trip. The only difference is that a breaker is mechanical and may be reset. Whereas, a fuse is one time only and must be replaced.

Please Note: Modern breakers are much more efficient and offer greater levels of protection.

4. How do I reset my breaker when it has tripped off?

First, disconnect any additional devices that may have caused the breaker to overload and trip. Breakers are mechanical devices and must be turned all the way off before turning back on. Remember this is a mechanical device, so this may require several attempts. If this fails to reset the breaker, there may be a more serious problem. Contact Gaudette Electric, Inc..

5. What does it mean when my fluorescent lights are flickering or cycling on and off?

Flickering may indicate impending bulb failure, minor power fluctuation, and/or improperly installed bulbs. Cycling on and off is usually a clear indication of ballast and/or bulb failure. It is recommended when replacing a ballast to replace bulbs as well.

6. Can I hang a paddle fan where a light is?

Yes, but first you must make sure the electrical box is properly braced and rated for the weight and torque of the paddle fan you are installing.

7. Can I dim fluorescent lights?

Yes. Dimming fluorescent requires not only a special dimmer, but also special fixtures. You cannot place a typical incandescent dimmer on existing fluorescent.

8. I have a new home. Why does my refrigerator or freezer, located in my garage, keep going off?

Unless you made provisions with the builder for a dedicated circuit, the outlets in your garage are GFCI Protected per National Electrical Code. This device will not tolerate the additional resistance load created by refrigeration equipment. The GFCI senses there is a fault, and therefore trips off. The only cure to this problem is to provide a dedicated, non GFCI circuit allowable by code.

9. Can I plug my coffee pot and toaster oven into the same kitchen counter outlet?

Yes. Though, if the two loads exceed 20amps, your breaker will sense overload, do its job, and trip off. Under this condition, you must plug one of the appliances into a different kitchen outlet on a different circuit, in order to balance the load.

10. Can I plug any 110Volt device I wish into my regular 110Volt outlets throughout my house?

Yes. Though, if the device exceeds the capacity of the circuit, the breaker will trip off.

11. When my air conditioner cycles on, I notice my lights blink. Is this normal?

Yes. This is a common occurrence when large motor/compressor loads start. These devices cause a minor momentary voltage drop, demonstrating itself as the blinking in your lights. This has no negative effect on the electrical equipment within your house.

12. I have surge/lightning protection on my home. Am I totally safe from lightning strikes?

No. Surge/Lightning Protection only offers additional levels of protection. Nothing can guarantee completely against mother nature and where she chooses to strike.

13. If I have surge/lightning protection on my main service should I use point-of-use surge plugins at my TV, stereo, computer, etc.?

Yes. Main line surge is no absolute guarantee and any additional surge protection down stream in the system offers a greater level of protection; though, nothing is absolute when it comes to the power of Mother Nature.

14. I have a 110Volt outlet on the exterior of my home. Can I plug my Christmas lights into it?

Yes. Within reason; if the quantity of lights creates a load greater than the capacity of the circuit breaker, the breaker will trip off. In this event, additional circuits may be required to accommodate your holiday display.

15. I Have a 110Volt convenience outlet at my dock. Is this enough to power my new boat lift?

No. With few exceptions, i.e. davits, a boat lift requires at least a 20Amp dedicated 110Volt circuit and possibly as much as several 30Amp dedicated circuits.

16. Why does my recess can light cycle on and off since I put a larger wattage bulb in?

Modern Recess Cans are rated for a maximum wattage bulb and are equipped with a thermal device that does not allow a bulb larger than that rating? If a larger wattage bulb is used, as the excess heat builds up, the thermal device will shut the can off until it cools. This is a safety device to protect your home against fire.

17. I have a new home. If I have a problem with TV or telephone wiring within the house, who should I call?

With deregulation of the utility companies in most areas of the country, the cable or telephone companies are no longer responsible for the equipment or wiring in your home. This responsibility has fallen to you and your electrical contractor. Therefore, when a problem arises, we would recommend you Email our Service Department. Most TV and telephone utilities will still service within your home for a substantial fee. This service, as in the past, is no longer free.

18. I have two telephone lines in my home. Why, when I’m on the phone and the other phone line is in use, do I hear the other conversation in the background?

This is commonly called bleed-over and usually results from one of three conditions:

  • Excessively long runs of wire within the home of non-twisted pairs.
  • Loop wiring from phone station to phone station.
  • A nick in the phone wire somewhere within your residence causing a weak interconnect between phone lines.

Phone wiring installation today should be done as a home run system, each phone station being a dedicated run back to a common terminal block.

Please remember if you have a problem with your phone wiring within your home, it is today the responsibility of the electrician rather than the phone company as in the past.

19. Why do the bulbs in my exterior fixture burn out so often?

This is usually caused by several factors:

  • Use of non brandnamed bulbs.
  • Larger wattage bulbs which cause excessive heat build-up shorting the life of the bulb.
  • Power Surges.

Helpful hints in the solution to this problem should be to use only brand named bulbs and try to buy 130Volt rated bulbs instead of the normal 120Volt rated bulbs. This should significantly extend the life.

20. My smoke detector keeps chirping. What does this mean?

This could mean one of two things.

  • An Intermittent Chirp is probably an indication of a defective smoke detector.
  • A consistent chirp is probably an indication of a low battery condition and the smoke detector requires a new battery.

Gaudette Electric, Inc.
PO Box 2820 | Homosassa Springs, FL 34447-2820
Phone (352) 628-3064 | Fax (352) 628-3064
Florida State License #EC0001149