Monthly Archives: August 2019

Electrical Grounding Wiring Techniques & Methods of Earthing for Safety in Your Darien, CT Home

Your entire home’s electrical safety depends on whether or not it is properly grounded. The electrical grounding is used in every home and building that has electricity to ensure the building’s overall electrical safety. Electrical design and installation of the electrical grounding is a priority, and in most cases, is done with preciseness. However, there are those occasional flaws or issues that can occur over time. Sentry Electric will explain what electrical grounding is, why it is essential, and how to know if your home is properly grounded.

What is Electrical Grounding?

Electrical grounding is the point in the circuit that has zero voltage, which basically connects to the earth. Electrical connections that connect to the earth allow for safe pathways for electricity to travel and also disperse. Power surges happen all the time and that excessive energy needs somewhere to go and disperse. If the energy doesn’t have anywhere to go, it will discharge in an appliance, light fixture and in outlets when used. Without the grounding system there will be more damage, electrical shocks, and fires.

Common Wiring & Grounding Problems

Improper grounding seems to occur in large dense cities where houses are tightly built together. High rise apartments are some of the worst buildings with grounding designs. Design flaws can be revealed when the electrical wiring comes in contact with the plumbing systems. Older homes also are known not to have proper grounding. Detecting improper grounding in older homes is easy to detect. If you have a home with a two pronged outlet, those outlets are not grounded. All homes, by code, must use three pronged outlets. The center prong is the ground line.

Dangers of Improper Electrical Earthing & Grounding

There are many risks when there isn’t proper electrical grounding present. Two pronged outlets will lead to electrical damage to any device that is plugged into them. Since the electrical grounding isn’t present, the power surge will discharge in the plugged-in device. Other dangers are electrical shocks that can be deadly. When plugging in a blow dryer or a charger you can risk being electrocuted. Another terrifying scenario is a fire. Sometimes the power surge will discharge in the circuit leading to overheating or a spark that is powerful enough to start a fire. These fires can strike without warning and spread very quickly.

How to Tell if Your House is Grounded Properly

Grounding designs are usually standard as they are the electrical safety system. However, in older homes or homes that may have had rodent activity, often it is recommended to have the home electrical system inspected. There are a few red flags such as two pronged outlets to let you know that there isn’t proper electrical grounding. Another sign is frequent tripping from the same circuit lines. As power surges occur and overloads the system, the circuit will trip to shut off power to that line. Another clue that there may be a problem with the grounding system is when appliances and other electrical items keep breaking or become damaged due to power surges.

Electrical Inspections & More in Greenwich, New Canaan, Darien, Norwalk, Westport, Southbury, Stamford, CT & Fairfield County, Connecticut

If you are concerned about your home’s electrical system and its grounding design, contact Sentry Electric for an electrical inspection, repair and more. Contact Sentry Electric today.

How to Find What is Tripping My Circuit Breaker Without Load & How to Reset in New Canaan, CT

The circuit breaker tripping is something many homeowners have experienced. The circuit breaker is a fail-safe that cuts off power to certain areas or the whole house once it trips. Though most of the time all it takes to restore power is to push the breaker switch off than back on, there are some things that you should know about a tripping circuit breaker. We at Sentry Electric would like to take the opportunity to discuss the circuit breaker tripping.

How to Reset a Tripped Circuit Breaker

The breaker switch will shut off when a surge of energy overloads a circuit, such as when a heavily stressed outlet drawing too much current or from a lightning strike for instance. Take account the following steps to restore the power from the circuit breaker if such an event occurs.
1) For safety concerns, switch or unplugged the power devices that was shut off when the circuit breaker tripped. If your TV, or other appliance or equipment, does not have manual switch, simply unplug until you deal with the circuit breaker. When the breaker is reset, it can potentially damage to these devices if the left powered on and plugged in.
2) The breaker switch will be in the middle when it trips. Be sure to push the switch fully in the off position and then back on. The circuit breaker may also be color-coded to help identify if the power is off if you see a red or orange color. The breaker switch, back on, will restore the power to the lights, appliances, and outlets once you have plugged them back in. Usually isolated instances are not a concern, but if they persist, hire an electrician as quickly as possible.

Why Does Circuit Breaker Keep Tripping

A replacement may be highly likely, but when a circuit breaker that continues to trip, it either stems from age and the wear and tear that happens over the years, or from something more serious. Though the reasons are quite a few, the most common causes of a tripped circuit breaker are listed below.
1) Ground Fault: Within the metal box housing, a hot wire and bare ground wire are both touching producing an effect known as a ground fault. The circuit breaker will continue to trip because of a chain reaction is set off that pushes more electricity through the circuit than it’s supposed to hold that will burn the outlet out.
2) Short Circuit: Though common, short circuits can be potentially dangerous. An overload of current flows through the circuit from an electrical outlet with a hot wire” that is contacting a neutral wire, creating heat. The circuit breaker automatically shuts off to prevent electrical fires in these situations as a safety measure.
3) Overloaded Circuit: Overloaded circuits are fairly common, but they can lead to damaged electronics or electrical fires. An overloaded circuit is when amps coming through the circuit from an electrical system or certain circuits can’t handle it.

Electrical Inspections & More in Greenwich, New Canaan, Darien, Norwalk, Westport, Southbury, Stamford, CT & Fairfield County, Connecticut

If you are dealing with a circuit breaker that continues to trip, call in the certified electricians of Sentry Electric for an inspection and our experts can determine the issues and safest and most efficient solution. Contact us today!

Why Do My Light Bulbs Keep Burning Out in Greenwich, CT? Loose Electrical Connection & More

The light bulbs in your house are something that has to be replaced occasionally. They are not meant to last forever. Although they will burn out they have made major strides in how long they last and how much energy they consume. That does not mean you cannot end up with problems. You should not have to constantly change out light bulbs and if you do it could be a sign of other issues. If you start to notice that your bulbs are going out even when you have purchased the better and longer lasting bulbs you want to talk to an electrician. Knowing what the problem could be is a good start. Sentry Electric outlines what could be causing your bulbs to burn out quickly.

Lights Overheating

The light bulbs that you purchase at the store are intended for a particular fixture and should match the wattage. The fixture has a specific watt of bulb that it is able to use and if you use the wrong size it can start to overheat the filament that is in the bulb. This will then burn it out and the filament will burst. When the filament bursts the bulb will go out. You want to make sure you are getting the correct bulb for your particular fixture. Another problem you might have is that the insulation in the fixture is not sufficient. This will create heat that is coming from the fixture but is too hot for the bulb to handle. Overheating a bulb is a sign there is a problem and you want to adjust the type of bulb of call an electrician.

Are Ceiling Fans Supposed to Rock?

Another problem that you might have is with a ceiling fan and the light fixture that is attached to it. The ceiling fan should be installed so that it is balanced and that it is not vibrating and moving. The problem is that many times the fan has become out of balance and that can mean that it is vibrating. When the light fixture is moving and vibrating it can cause the bulb to burn out. That means that you will be stuck replacing them too often. The best thing you can do is to have the fan repaired by a licensed electrician.

Loose Electrical Connections

When you have a fixture installed in your home it is wired in place and often times attached to a light switch. If you notice that a wired in fixture is not able to last a normal amount of time it can be due to bad wiring. The wiring that is in the fixture needs to be done properly and securely. If it is not done or has become loose it can cause the bulb to burn out. You want to make sure that you stop using the fixture until it has been inspected by an electrician.

Electrical Inspections & More in Greenwich, New Canaan, Darien, Norwalk, Westport, Southbury, Stamford, CT & Fairfield County, Connecticut

Sentry Electric can come out and inspect your electrical fixtures to ensure that they are in good shape. Call us today to meet with our expert electrician.

Voltage Surge Causes in Fairfield County, CT; Lightning Strikes, Power Outages, AC Unit & More

The most basic level of a power surge is when the voltage in an electrical circuit spikes to a higher level than the circuit was designed to handle. These surges are a hazard. For mains power, the United States uses 120v AC (alternating current). The AC indicates the electricity moves in a sine wave pattern. The waves crest at 169 volts as the 120 volt label is actually an average with the assumption that the voltage in the lines will never exceed 169 volts for electrical systems designed. Many older appliances are designed to safely operate within the assumption that the power from a wall outlet won’t exceed 170 volts. The miniature wires and contacts in computers and televisions overheat when a surge of power exceeding the design goes through the system. Since the surge of electricity will exceed what the wires can carry, the large-scale components like wall outlets can’t handle the surge either. The surge can cause arcs to nearby metal surfaces, where it can short-circuit appliances or even start a fire. Bearing all this in mind, we at Sentry Electric would like to list the common causes of power surges.

Lightning Strikes Cause Power Surges

A common and destructive cause of power surges is from electrical storms. The power grid is designed to move electricity as efficiently as possible and when lightening strikes it can surge through easily. An errant lightning bolt can be withstood from a glass insulators and inch-thick wires of an electrical substation. Home appliances are usually affected. Millions of volts will temporarily surge through lines designed to carry 120 in the event lightning bolt strikes the power lines near your house. Unprotected circuits are instantly severely damaged.

Power Outages Can Cause Voltage Surges

Power going out with no warning can be dangerous, however, more damage is done when the power is restored. Power comes back as a jolt before the sine wave evens out again, whether it’s a backup substation or an emergency generator kicking in. Sensitive electronics are a risk especially.

Can an Air Conditioner or Shop Tool Cause a Power Surge?

When you notice the lights dim for a second when the A/C blower kicks in, a power surge is occurring. The sudden demand for power causes a voltage drop and while the system normalizes by a surge after. Like air conditioners, the shop tools like table saws and heavy lathes can cause surges. They can cause a temporary power outage should they trip a circuit breaker.

Whole House Surge Protector

Unplug seldom used devices. Power surges cannot affect a device that is not plugged into the main power. For the easiest solution, avoid plugging in the sensitive electronic equipment and devices that are infrequently used. This prevents them from being exposed to power surges. Invest in surge protectors. Power strips or outlet covers with built-in surge protection functions and circuit breakers. Adding these to every outlet can prove to be a bit expensive and a bit of an eyesore but at the very least, make sure they are used where TVs, computers and other heavy-duty electronics. Whole house surge protection is a great idea!

Electrical Installation, Troubleshooting, Repairs & More in Greenwich, New Canaan, Darien, Norwalk, Westport, Southbury, Stamford, CT & Fairfield County, Connecticut

Another option is to upgrade old appliances. If you need installation of whole house surge protection, emergency repairs or any other electrical services, call Sentry Electric and let our certified electricians take care of your electrical needs with quality and efficiency.

How Does an Electrical Panel Work in Stamford, CT? Main Breaker & Other Wiring Components

There are lots of parts of the house that a homeowner needs to have some knowledge in. Whether you need to know what it means when there is a problem or when you need to have a repair. A homeowner has to be able to manage a house and keep it running smoothly. One area of the house that will need to be understood is the electrical system. This is what is needed to run anything that is being plugged in or wired in the house. The system needs to run smoothly and often times when there is a problem it can be solved with the electrical panel. The panel is often outside the house or in the garage and is accessible by the homeowner. You can keep it locked to secure it from being messed with by anyone else. The panel that is outside can seem intimidating but it is a good idea to understand it and know what goes in it. Sentry Electric outlines what you need to know about your electrical panel.

Purpose of Electrical Panel in Your Home

There is a panel that is on the outside of the house or in the garage that all the wiring to the home is sent through. The panel has a door on it that when opened you will see a bunch of numbers as well as switches. This is actually a safety precaution for your home and your electrical system. You want to know what is in it and how they each work so that you can adjust a problem in your house when there is a problem.

Main Breaker in Service Panel

When you look inside the box you will see that there is one main breaker that looks like a large switch. The largest switch is the main breaker that means that if you were to switch it off you are essentially blocking all electricity to the home. Each of the wires that are going into the house can have the circuit stopped by this one switch. This is important to know if you have an emergency and you are not sure which switch the emergency is coming from.

Double Pole Breaker Wiring

The other type of switch that you will see happens to be the double pole that has two switched that are attached with a bar. There is no way to switch them off unless you do them both. They are attached because they are responsible for larger appliances that need more amps to run. These can be tripped when there is a problem with the appliance that it is running energy to.

Single Pole Breaker

The rest of the switches that you will see in the box happens to be single pole breakers. They are the standard switches that are attached to a room or an area of the house. If you find that an outlet in your master bedroom is not working it can be due to the single pole breaker being tripped. You will need to reset it by switching it back on.

Electrical Panel Repairs, Upgrades, Replacements & More in Greenwich, New Canaan, Darien, Norwalk, Westport, Southbury, Stamford, CT & Fairfield County, Connecticut

Sentry Electric can come out to inspect your panel to ensure that it is working right. Call us today!