Outdoor lighting for style and safety

Outdoor lighting allows you to boost your outdoor space creatively and functionally. There are lots of great ways to update and improve your outdoor areas using different types of lights and features. From accent lighting to uplights and motion-sensored lights, you can create a more appealing and safe space with just a few well placed bulbs.

Sidewalk with outdoor lights illuminating for style and safety

What do you want to improve? There are two primary ways to look at how outdoor lighting can work for you. One is the most obvious, aesthetics. The other is safety. And you can do both, but make sure you know what you are trying to achieve before you get started on a lighting project. That way you’ll save money, time and frustration by trying to do too much at once.

Outdoor Lighting for Aesthetic Appeal

Want to use outdoor lighting to highlight and bring beauty to your

space? Lighting is excellent because it can work anywhere, in any kind of outdoor design. It can be the primary focus, or just highlight areas of your outdoors that you particularly love.

  • Accent lights can highlight the spaces you love most in your landscape. Choose from lamps, pendant lights, and uplights to feature the most attractive aspects of your landscape. These lights can create a striking look in the evening hours.
  • Driveway and path lighting creates a more welcoming feel. One of the most common mistakes homeowners make outdoors is they have beautiful, well-designed, and well lit home exterior lighting, but only darkness throughout the yard. One simple fix of using path/drive lighting can fix this.
  • Uplighting is a great way to highlight trees and hardscapes. Do you have a beautiful tree or fancy gazebo? Uplighting adds nighttime visibility and a stunning look.
  • Like to entertain? Give guests safety and an appealing view with carefully planned patio or pool lighting. You’ll host the best parties and allow people to spread out instead of huddling up around one outdoor lamp or fire pit.

Outdoor Lighting for Safety & Security

Adding lighting for security can also bring many benefits. Done correctly, security lighting can also add beautiful aesthetic value at the same time.

  • Motion lighting is an excellent way to deter vandalism. Set near entryways and windows, these lights can surprise intruders and send them running!
  • Flood lighting also adds to your outdoor safety. Not only do flood lights near buildings or areas you tend to frequent in the evening reduce tripping hazards, they also help you navigate your yard safely. Adding path lighting can also give you additional safety and offer aesthetic beauty.

For expert assistance, call Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 800.461.3010.

Installing a Hot Tub

Unwind, soak your muscles, decrease stress and relax – all in your own hot tub! Spending time in a hot tub is a great way to unwind. You can soak to soothe your mind and body, spend time and reconnect with your family, and even get some great health benefits, too. Soaking regularly may even improve your sleep. Installing a hot tub is not difficult, but you need to check your homeowners’ association rules and local zoning laws. Once you have all the requirements, just follow these steps to create your own spa setting right in your backyard.

Follow these five easy steps for installing a hot tub:

1. Find a location.

Hot tub on patio

Choosing the best location to install your hot tub is the most essential step. Try to envision your new oasis in your yard. Take into consideration neighbors, traffic flow, and anything that may disrupt a peace time. Also consider these questions:

  • How will you move the tub off the delivery truck to the location you selected? Will you need tools, more manpower or even a crane? Be sure to plan ahead so you don’t end up spending unnecessarily.
  • Do you want your hot tub in the shade or in the afternoon sun?
  • If privacy is an issue, do you need a fence or gazebo? If you are in the sun do you want to block it out with an awning?
  • Are you creating a space to be a focal point or do you prefer privacy in a quiet corner of your yard?

Remember, your space will need:

  • Easy access via a walkway from the house. You won’t want grass, dirt or sand in the tub.
  • Flat, firm ground or surface.
  • Easy access to a water source and a dedicated GCFI electrical circuit for power.
  • An area that doesn’t collect leaves, limbs or excess rainwater.
  • A space that is at least 10 feet away from overhead trees and power lines.

2. Select a foundation to build on

It’s not advised to install a hot tub directly on the ground. When the tub is filled with water the weight may cause the tub to shift and become uneven. If you are installing on an existing deck be sure of the weight limits and strength of the foundation. A concrete slab is a good long-term choice. If you are pouring a new slab be sure the concrete is fully dried before installing the tub. You can also use a foundation of paver stones, gravel or hot tub pad. Just make sure that the ground underneath is on hard-packed dirt and that materials are level.

3. Use upgraded, dedicated electrical outlets

Check that the electrical system you are using can safely power the unit. A lot of electricity is used when running heating components and pumps. Installing the hot tub circuit and GCFI outlet should only be done by a licensed electrician.

4. Place the tub in the desired position

Orienting your hot tub on the foundation is a crucial step. Steps or entry ladders should be placed away from obstacles. Make sure the tub is in a position that provides quick, easy access to control panels. You will also need plenty of room to easily remove the cover. If you have children, add safety measures locks on covers or alarm

5. Just add water!

Once your tub is in place, follow manufacturer instructions to begin operating. Turn off electricity that powers the tub at the circuit breaker. Check that the drain valve is closed, the filters are in place and that the tub is clean by using a non-foaming cleanser. Use the garden hose to fill the tub with cold, clean water. to the fill line. Once filled to the fill line, check for leaks. When you are certain everything is holding up properly, turn on power at the breaker. You’ll then set the controls for the unit and treat the water with chemicals. About eight hours later the water will be warm and ready to enjoy!

Don’t be afraid to call the professionals at Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 800.461.3010 for expert assistance.

Light bulbs keep burning out? Here’s why.

Not only is it frustrating, but even worse, in some cases, it can mean there’s a fire hazard. Finding out why your light bulbs keep burning out too soon is crucial.

How long should bulbs last?

Incandescent bulbs should last for about a thousand hours. Compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs and LEDs (light-emitting diode) typically last much longer – about 10 thousand usage hours for CFLs and 25 thousand hours for LEDs. Still, if your bulb is burning out before it should, it’s time to find out why.

Why do my light bulbs keep burning out too soon?

There are many possible reasons, here are the main ones:Light bulb that is not working

  1. You may be using the wrong type of light bulb in a certain fixture.
  2. A bulb may be loose or incorrectly connected.
  3. The bulb’s power supply voltage may be too high.
  4. The dimmer switch may require a different bulb.
  5. Recessed lighting may be causing overheating in the insulation about it.
  6. Filaments in the bulb could be broken due to excessive vibrations.

Wrong bulb type

If a lamp is rated for 40 watts, placing a 1o0-watt bulb in the fixture creates excess heat. This can shorten the bulb’s life, and possibly even cause a fire to start. Always make sure the bulb’s wattage is not more than the fixture’s wattage recommendation. Another possible problem is that the bulb is not right for its location. LED bulbs are better to light fixtures that have frequent on/off usage throughout the day, but CFLs are not.

Loose bulbs

You may notice a bulb flickering if it is loose. Check to make sure that the bulb is correctly connected into the socket and if it’s loose, turn it until it’s snug. Ideally, the fixture’s tab and the bulb solder should be roughly the same size. This will create a good connection between them. If they are not, try switching light bulb brands.

Wrong power supply voltage

In the United States, 120-volt electrical outlets are standard in homes. Be sure that the light is connected to a standard outlet. If it is, use a multimeter to check if the reading is more than 120 volts. If you are having electrical supply issues, contact a licensed electrician right away.

Dimmer switch with incompatible bulb

Using CFL or LED bulbs can damage the bulb or circuitry in an older dimmer switch. Those were made to be used with incandescent bulbs. Be sure your dimmer switch and light bulb are compatible.

Recessed lighting overheating

“Can lights” hang inside the ceiling. Newer models may be designed to be in contact with insulation (IC-rated) and not cause any problems with overheating, but older recessed lighting fixtures can overheat. If they are not, this situation poses a fire risk. Be sure to install IC-rated fixtures so that they don’t overheat insulation.

Broken bulbs due to vibration

Excessive vibrations like ceiling fans or automatic garage doors can crack or prematurely cause incandescent bulbs to burn out. If the problem bulb is near an entrance, in a ceiling near heavy upstairs foot traffic, or in other places where there are vibrations you may want to switch to an LED bulb. They are better designed to handle vibrations.

If you’re concerned about your home’s electrical system, call Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 800.461.3010.

Windowless bathroom? Add light for function and style

It’s not uncommon to have a windowless bathroom in many different sizes and styles of homes. Sometimes these bathrooms are used for guests, are only half bathrooms, or the layout of the house was built with the bathroom in the interior. A windowless bathroom doesn’t have to be dreary with only dim light. We will tell you how to light your windowless bathroom for function and style. Brighten things up, it can really make a difference!

Ambient & Task Lighting

If you bring in ambient light and task lighting into a bathroom with no windows you create a bright, functional space. Start with overhead lighting that’s bright and projects throughout the room. Add focused lighting directly over the vanity or mirror to make bathroom tasks like washing your face, applying make-up or shaving a breeze.

Light Bulbs

Knowing the lighting options you have will help you choose the best bulbs for the right location. Making a good decision is more than just choosing a high watt bulb. Light quality is based on a few factors so take a look at different options that are available.

For bathrooms there are two main types of bulbs available – you do not want to use a compact fluorescent light (CFL) in this space. You can use halogen incandescent or light emitting diodes (LEDs.) Many pros use LEDs for windowless bathrooms. Incandescent bulbs will work fine, but LEDs are much more energy efficient, lasting 25 percent longer than incandescent bulbs.

The measurement for bulb brightness is lumens. For a windowless bathroom, the ideal total lighting is 2,000 lumens at a minimum. Most household bulbs emit about 800 lumens, or the equivalent to a traditional 60 watt incandescent bulbs. A light fixture that is centered overhead and takes two or three bulbs will get you the lighting you need and makeup for not having natural light.

Color Options

Add light to a windowless bathroom

You also want to consider the color of the light you want to shine. Color temperature is measured in Kelvins. It rates the color or tone of light. All you need to know is lower color temperatures are warm tones – yellow to soft white – and higher temperatures indicate cool, bright light with blue undertones. Consider something in the 3000K to 4000K for general lighting in a windowless bathroom.

Also, the color rendering index (CRI) tells you how an object’s color appears under the bulb’s light when compared to how it appears in natural lighting. A higher value indicates a more true representation of color, like incandescent bulbs. For bathroom lighting look for a CRI of 90 or higher. This will work well for task lighting that provides light over the bathroom mirror. Try LED for optimal lighting for makeup application.

Light Fixtures

Many different types of light fixtures work well in bathrooms. If it’s a small space you may want to avoid low-hanging lights. Choose clear or white shades so the light shines through. Moisture accumulation is common in bathrooms, so recessed lighting may not be the best choice. It can allow moisture to escape into spaces above the ceiling.

If you are lighting a vanity sconces on each side of the mirror will minimize shadows from overhead lights and add an elegant touch. For a more contemporary look check out Hollywood style kits where globe sets or rope lights are placed all around the mirror.

Dimmer Switch

There may also be times you want to relax in lower light at the end of the day. Installing a dimmer switch to control the brightness for overhead lighting will allow you to adjust lighting. You can get a dimmer switch for all types of bulbs. Always check the dimmer’s label for information about what light bulb it’s compatible with.

If you need the assistance of a licensed electrician, call Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 800.461.3010.

 

Electrical upgrades that add value and safety

Making electrical upgrades in your home can give you peace of mind that safety hazards are minimal and your electricity is reliable. You also want to add electrical features that add to your home’s value. Consider modern upgrades that make your home look and feel brand new and that are a positive investment to the home.

New wiring

Updated wiring is attractive to future potential homeowners and it gives you security knowing your home’s electrical system is safe and secure for many years to come. If you are considering an electrical project hire a professional for an evaluation.

Electrical panel

An electrical panel that is old and worn can contain damaged wiring. This can leave your home unprotected from fire hazards and cause an electric shock. If your home was built more than 30 years ago, it’s advisable to hedge your risk and upgrade your electrical panel.

More outlets

Broken outlets usually get all the attention, but if you are running a bunch of extension cords through your home it might be time to install additional outlets. Not having enough outlets is not only a hassle, it’s dangerous. Evaluate your home to identify where more outlets could improve safety and convenience.

Surge protection

Whole-home surge protection prevents the need for many individual surge protector strips attached to your electronics. Installing a single system to protect your home during a lightning storm or unexpected surge saves you worry and unsightliness of a bunch of extra wires.

Lighting under cabinets

Kitchen prep, cooking, cleaning and entertaining in the kitchen is better with under-cabinet lighting that include fixtures installed on the underside of cabinets. They make working in the kitchen easier by lighting countertop surfaces that are usually in the shadows. Also consider other rooms where you have cabinets such as the living room, bedroom and laundry room. This upgrade makes a huge difference in the look of a room with a warmer, more contemporary appeal.

Laundry room lighting

Most laundry spaces use 4-foot fluorescent tube lighting. When the light isn’t flickering or buzzing it’s still probably not serving you or the space well. Recessed lighting is a better option that fills the space with warm, comfortable light. Overall it’s directed well for the the tasks at hand.

Ceiling fans

Ceiling fans are one of the most-wanted decorative home features. They are extremely efficient and can save energy dollars in every season. In the winter, setting a ceiling fan to work in reverse draws down the warm air from the ceiling. In the summer, you reverse the direction to create a cooling effect. Ceiling fans are also an attractive addition in most rooms.

Landscape lightingLandscape lighting can add safety and value to your home

When considering electrical upgrades don’t forget the outdoors. Outdoor lighting creates a more inviting look and adds a layer of safety around your home. There are many types of landscape lighting options including up lights that are installed below a tree or structure and down lights installed at a high level to highlight objects below. Accent lights are another option to highlight a specific landscape feature, and path lights illuminate walkways or steps for safety and security purposes.

If your electrical upgrades require a professional, call Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 800.461.3010.

Best Electric Fireplace Benefits

Electric fireplaces are an attractive, much more cost-effective alternative to a wood-burning fireplace. Some of the best electric fireplace benefits are their safety features, impressive heat output and energy efficiency.  Electric models provide a significant amount of heat for small spaces.  They also reduce the need to run the furnace at full speed and save money on energy bills.

Person operates electric fireplace with remote control

What is an Electric Fireplace?

An electric fireplace is an electric heater that has the look of a fireplace, with realistic-looking flames.  They are much sturdier than your average space heater. They work by drawing in the cool air in a room, heating the air using internal heating coils, and then forcing the warm air back out using a fan system.

Are Electric Fireplaces Safe?

There is no need to worry! While improper use and other safety issues can arise with any electric appliance, these units are actually very safe. In fact, many people choose an electric fireplace over traditional gas and wood-burning options.

Electric fireplaces require virtually no maintenance. Since there is no real fire, you don’t have to worry about dangerous smoke or fumes. This makes them an ideal choice for the safety-conscious and for anyone dealing with allergies or breathing sensitivities. If any troubleshooting is required, it won’t involve climbing on the roof or calling a chimney sweep.

Electric Fireplace Safety Tips

When it comes to electric fireplace safety, it’s a little less intimidating than traditional space heaters. Electric fireplaces are sturdier than space heaters, making them nearly impossible to knock over. However, it’s important to follow safety guidelines.

For instance:

  • Keep surrounding objects at a safe distance – Your electric fireplace heater should be clear of objects such as blankets, electronics, furniture or toys. Leave at least three feet of clear space in all directions. Never place anything on top of your electric fireplace.
  • Avoid touching the surface – The surfaces of your electric fireplace can become hot to the touch during use. It’s best not to touch it at all when in use.
  • Do not leave children or pets unattended – Accidents can happen when it involves small kids or animals. Don’t leave them unattended when your electric fireplace is in use.
  • Use your unit inside – Electric fireplace heaters are designed to be used indoors only.
  • Make sure your outlets are safe – Never plug your electric fireplace into an outlet you suspect is unsafe, nor use a cord or plug that is frayed or damaged. If you’re unsure of the safety of your electric system, consider an electrical safety inspection.
  • Unplug the unit when not in use – For precautionary reasons, always unplug your electric fireplace heater when it’s not in use.
  • Never modify the unit – Modifying an electric fireplace can be very dangerous. Always consult the owner’s manual when problems come up. Hire a qualified electrician to do any repairs or modifications.

Installation Options

In most cases, you can put your unit anywhere in your home you want to enjoy the best electric fireplace benefits. Depending on the model you choose, the unit can be mounted to the wall, set on a TV stand or installed into the wall. You can use electric fireplaces on most types of flooring, including carpet. Because it’s an electric appliance, keep it away from liquids, especially while the unit is turned on. Overall, these units are safe.

If you are unsure if an electric fireplace is right for your home contact an electrical professional from Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 800.461.3010!

Best Water Heater Temperature

Whether you’re taking a shower or doing dishes, being stuck on the wrong water temperature is no fun. If you’re frustrated that you can’t seem to get the shower as warm enough, or because it feels like the water is at a painfully scalding temperature, you can do something about it. Achieve the best water heater temperature safely and correctly—whether you have a gas water heater or an electric model. You don’t have to settle for a water heater that runs too hot or too cold.

When setting the temperature – know the risks.

Yes, something as simple as a water heater can be dangerous! There are risks in both the process of adjusting the water heater and the problem of water temperature that isn’t right. Any time you are dealing with electricity and water there is risk. To protect yourself, be sure to follow any instructions for adjusting the temperature carefully and call on  professionals if you aren’t sure what to do.

As for the water heater setting, it’s important to have the correct setting to avoid the following risks:

  • Bacterial contamination – If the water isn’t hot enough, it can be a breeding ground for bacteria.
  • Burns to the skin – If the water is too hot, it can result in scalding injuries to which children and the elderly are especially susceptible. At 150 degrees Fahrenheit, it takes less than two seconds to suffer third-degree burns. Anyone can be burned, but infants, young children, older adults and people with disabilities are more likely to experience burns, and require serious care and recovery.

What is the right temperature setting for your water heater?Hot water and shower faucet

The recommendation from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is to set the temperature of your residential water heater at 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Bacteria are unlikely to survive at that temperature, and it is not hot enough to cause scalding. Also, at 120 degrees, your water heater will be able to supply enough hot water for your family while promoting energy efficiency.

However, depending on your home’s needs, you may require hotter water. Check with a plumbing professional for a recommendation if you aren’t sure.

Steps for how to set water heater temperature

1.  Turn off the power to the water heater at the circuit breaker panel.

2.  Find the dial or thermostat for your water heater. The location will vary depending on the model and type of  water heater you are using.  In most cases, you will find the dial behind an insulated panel. For an electric model, there are often two—one at the top of the tank and another at the bottom.

If you are trying to determine how to set a gas water heater temperature, you should find the dial near the bottom of the tank. The temperature for gas water heaters is easier to adjust because you only turn the knob counterclockwise to increase the temperature, or clockwise to decrease it.

For an electric model, you will need to access the dial behind the insulated panel. To do this, open the access panel using a flat-head screwdriver. Then, push aside the insulation covering and use the screwdriver to lower or raise the temperature to the desired range.

3.  If the water heater has two thermostats, make sure both are set to the same temperature.

4.  Replace the insulation and access panel once you are satisfied with the water temperature adjustment and restore power to the water heater.

5.  Always test the water temperature after adjusting the dial to ensure it is at a safe and appropriate temperature. Allow the water to heat to the new temperature setting, then run water from the tap at a sink or tub until it is hot. Catch some water in a cup and test the temperature with a cooking thermometer.

Next Steps

Keep in mind it may take as long as an hour for the water to reach the new temperature after having the unit shut down.  Again, working with water and electricity can be dangerous, so it’s a good idea to call an expert.  Call the professionals at Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 1.800.461.3010. for assistance.

Home Electrical Safety Checklist

Electricity is a modern convenience that most of us could not live without.  But along with the convenience, also comes some risk.  How much do you know about home electrical safety?  According to the National Fire Protection Association, “electrical failures or malfunctions were the second leading cause of U.S. home fires in 2012-2016.”  Below is a checklist to help ensure your home’s electrical safety.

Cords and plugs

  • Check all cords, plugs, surge protectors and extension cords for frayed casing, exposed wire or broken parts. Replace right away.It can be dangerous to overuse power strips and extension cords
  • Never run extension cords under carpets or over door thresholds.
  • Don’t use an extension cord as a permanent fixture. If you need additional outlets, contact a licensed electrician to install some wherever you require.
  • Do not overload one outlet with several high-wattage or heat-producing devices, for example a space heater or coffee maker.
  • Plugs should fit snugly into outlets. So, if yours do not, contact a licensed electrician.
  • Major appliances – washers, dryers, refrigerators, stoves, air conditioners, hot water heaters, etc. – should be plugged directly into a wall outlet. Do not use surge protectors, plug strips or extension cords.

Lighting

  • Only use light bulbs at or below the maximum wattage listed on your lamp or light.
  • Always place lamps on a flat, level surface and at least a foot from anything flammable like curtains.

Appliances

  • Place heat-producing appliances such as the toaster, heater and coffee maker away from flammable or combustible goods.
  • Unplug kitchen countertop and bathroom appliances when not in use.
  • Keep your kitchen exhaust fan clean and free of grease, lint and other blockages.
  • Never use a portable heater in the bathroom. The only safe options are a ceiling unit or strip heater placed up high.
  • If you use portable or space heaters, make sure they receive a seal of approval from a nationally-recognized testing laboratory.

Extra Safety Considerations

  • If you have young children, consider installing tamper-resistant electrical outlets. Always use a licensed electrician.
  • Ask a licensed electrician about installing arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) in your home. They are a special type of circuit breaker that shuts off the current when dangerous conditions arise.
  • Ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) are another type of circuit breaker, and these help reduce the risk of electric shock by switching off the circuit if it becomes hazardous. Most importantly, a licensed electrician should install GFCIs in your garage, basement, kitchen, bath and all outdoor outlets.
  • Test AFCIs and GFCIs at least once per month.
  • If you need to dig, always dial 811 to have your underground lines marked.

Contact a licensed electrician if you have any concerns about the electrical safety of your home or are planning home improvement projects.  Call Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 1.800.461.3010.

Why an Electrical Safety Inspection is Important – and Lifesaving

Have you ever considered scheduling an electrical safety inspection for your home?  You don’t often think about your electricity working. It runs behind the scenes and gives you all the modern comforts you want in your home. However, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), electrical problems are the largest cause of property damage in home structure fires across the US.

In addition, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) identifies small appliances plugged into inadequate or improper wiring as the leading cause of accidental electrocutions.  These safety hazards can be easily addressed and prevented with an electrical home inspection.

What Is an Electrical Safety Inspection?

An electrical safety inspection gives a full examination of your entire electrical system.  This ensures that electrical wires, systems, and appliances meet legal safety standards.

When Do You Need an Electrical Safety Inspection?

There are specific times when homeowners should schedule an inspection of their home’s electrical system. The Electrical Safety Foundation recommends that homeowners make an appointment for one when:

  • Purchasing a home
  • A home is 40 years or older
  • Adding an appliance
  • A home has had a major renovation

Benefits of an Electrical Safety Inspection

An inspection is important for the safety of your home and everyone in it. Getting your home’s electrical system checked by a professional will offer you peace of mind. An inspection will:

  • Ensure the safe operation of electrical components in your home
  • Identify common electrical mistakes made by contractors and previous homeowners
  • Recognize outdated wiring
  • Identify electrical wiring and components that may have degraded over time
  • Spot oversized fuses or breakers that could lead to fire
  • Allow for the correction of fire and safety hazards
  • Help you save energy and reduce costs
  • Meet insurance risk assessment inspections requirements
  • Let you know the electrical in a new home is safe before you purchase it

Warning Signs

If you experience any of these warning signs call a licensed electrician right away:

  • You feel a tingling sensation when you touch a plug or light switch
  • Your circuit breaker flips frequently or fuses blow regularly
  • An appliance gives off a faint rubbery or burning smell
  • Your outlet plates are warm to the touch or discolored
  • An electrical appliance has been waterlogged or submerged in any liquid
  • An outlet sparks
  • Your lights dim or flicker

To schedule a safety inspection with a professional electrician, contact Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 800.461.3010.

Why Is My Electrical Outlet Not Working?

A common electrical problem that homeowners face is dead outlets. Dead outlets happen in almost every house and for a number of reasons regardless of the home’s age. Identify why an electrical outlet is not working so you can decide if you can fix it yourself or if you need a professional electrician to do the job.

Start with troubleshooting the electrical outlet that isn’t working. Here are some ways to identify the problem.

Flip the light switch

Yes, it seems too obvious. But, this is the first place to start troubleshooting. Some outlets are controlled by a switch on the wall. The purpose of this outlet is to allow you to plug in a lamp, turn it on, and then have the ability to control the lamp from the light switch. Try flipping a few switches to see if this makes outlet live again.

Plug in different items

Test the outlet by plugging in multiple other items to the electrical outlet not working. If none of the devices power up, you can move on to other troubleshooting techniques.

Reset GFCI outlet

GFCI Outlet

The law requires installation of a GFCI outlet (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) in any area of a home where there is a faucet or other water source near an outlet. This is designed to protect against electrocution, but it can be temperamental.  It will cut off the electricity in an area in response to a power surge. Make sure that there is no water in contact with your GFCI outlet before pressing the small rectangular “Reset” button.

If the power did return to the outlet after resetting the GFCI outlet, test

to see if other nearby outlets also lost power. If the other outlets are dead you’ll need to inspect the breaker panel.

Check circuit breaker panel

If the electricity cuts off in only a portion of the house, then a circuit breaker has been tripped. The circuit breaker is meant to detect excess current and stop the flow of power to different circuits in your home to prevent damage. If this occurs, unplug everything from the problem outlet and turn off all appliances in that area of the house to avoid overloading the circuit.

Go to your breaker panel, which is typically located in a utility room, garage or basement, and look at the different switches. Each breaker switch controls the power to a different circuit in the home. If a breaker flipped to the middle between “ON” and “OFF” then it has been triggered.  Flip it to the “OFF” side first, and then flip it to the “ON” side. That will reset the breaker. Go back to the problem outlet and test it again.

Check for short circuit

A short circuit occurs when the flow of electricity is obstructed. This could potentially lead to a fire. If the breaker flips again after you’ve reset it and you don’t have anything plugged in, then leave the breaker “OFF” and call an electrician.

Check connection of electrical wiring

Loose connecting wires can cause an outlet to not give off electricity. Make sure the breaker to the outlet is switched “OFF” and then remove the face plate from the outlet. Pull the outlet a few inches out from the outlet box and check to make sure the ends of the wires that attach to the outlet are securely fastened beneath the outlet screws.

The black wire attaches to the gold screw on the side of the outlet, and the white wire connects to the silver screw on the other side. A copper or green wire attaches to the bottom of the outlet. If any of the wires have come loose, reattach them by positioning the wire beneath the corresponding screw and then tighten the screw securely to hold it in place.

Replace the outlet

Although rare, the outlet might be faulty. An outlet can reach its useful life, burn out and quit functioning. Home wiring is complex and can be dangerous. Certified electricians are the best at locating signs of electrical problems at home. If the problem is still occurring, then call a professional.

Remember that electrical repairs can be dangerous, possibly resulting in shock, electrocution, or fire if you are unsure of what you’re doing.  Call Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 1.800.461.3010 for professional assistance.