AFCI Breakers

This is Part 6 of a six-part series to help you better understand your home’s electrical system components.  You can see the other parts here.

The electrical code requires arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) to be installed on all bedroom electrical circuits.  An AFCI looks for a unique arcing condition then turns the circuit it is protecting off.  Arcing conditions are often concealed and are almost always a fire hazard.  Arc fault circuit breakers are located in your service panel.  They will have a unique test button and will be identified as protecting bedroom electrical circuits.

GFCI Receptacles

This is Part 5 of a six-part series to help you better understand your home’s electrical system components.  You can see the other parts here.

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter Receptacles (GFCIs) will be located in your kitchen, bathrooms, garage, basement, and outdoors.  The GFCI is a safety device designed to shut off should it detect even the slightest variance in current between the “hot” side of the receptacle and the neutral side.  A variance would mean the electricity is going somewhere other than where it is supposed to, which could be dangerous.  That is why you’ll find these near possible wet locations – i.e. sinks, tubs, or outside.

There may be other regular receptacles protected by a GFCI.  If a GFCI receptacle shuts itself off, you can reset it by pushing the reset button on the receptacle.  You will find two buttons on the GFCI: the previously mentioned reset button and the trip button.  The trip button is used to test the GFCI.  By pushing it, the GFCI should shut off.  Then, reset it by pressing the reset button.  This test is recommended to be done monthly.

Half-Switched Receptacles

This is Part 4 of a six-part series to help you better understand your home’s electrical system components.  You can see the other parts here.

Your home may have half-switched receptacles.  Half-switched receptacles have one half controlled by a wall switch, while the other half remains “hot” at all times.  These are most commonly found in bedrooms and family rooms.

Light Bulbs

This is Part 3 of a six-part series to help you better understand your home’s electrical system components.  You can see the other parts here.

All lighting fixtures will have light bulbs that match the wattage and type specified on the fixture.  It is important that you do not lamp a fixture with anything other than the appropriate lamp type.  There are many light bulb and fixture options available.  Depending on how you use the space in your home, we can design a lighting plan to accomplish the effects you’re looking for.  We’ll also educate you on why we make the recommendations we do.  Call us at (810) 329-9700 or contact us so we can help you plan your next project.

Smoke Detectors

This is Part 2 of a six-part series to help you better understand your home’s electrical system components.  You can see the other parts here.

Your home may have electrically operated smoke detectors.  If so, when one detects smoke and sounds the alarm, all detectors in the house will ring with it.  They are electric with a battery back-up.  The batteries should be changed annually or as directed by the manufacturer.

The detectors have an indicator light and a button that is used to test the system.  When the button is pushed on a detector, all the detectors in the house should ring.  It is recommended that this test be done monthly to insure the system will work if needed.  The expected useful life of a smoke detector is ten years.

Circuit Breakers

This is Part 1 of a six-part series to help you better understand your home’s electrical system components.  As other parts are published, you can find them here.

Electricity comes into your home through the electric meter and into your circuit breaker panel.  This panel is the heart of the whole home system and from here, the electricity branches out through the house like the veins in your body.  Each “vein,” or circuit, begins at the circuit breaker in the panel.  When a circuit gets overloaded, the breaker will trip, not letting power go out to the circuit.  Should this happen, you can reset the breaker and restore power to the circuit.  A “tripped” breaker will be about halfway between the OFF and the ON position.  Turn the breaker all the way off and then to the ON position.  It’s that simple!