Priority Electric FAQ and Blog

805 409 7060

Priority Electric

805 409 7060
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Why Do GFI Plugs Trip?

GFI plugs also call GFCI outlets, trip usually in 5 thousands of a second when the Hot oscillates with the ground. What that means is sometimes when small appliances heat up or overload they ground out this causes the GFI to trip. This happens very often with Outdoor Fountains after they clog up or go empty. Once they go empty or clog up once and trip a GFI they will inherently do so again and again.
Hair dryers when cords become tangled and stretched over time also cause GFI's to trip. Replacing the hair dryer will have to happen.
Sprinklers outside or rain that gets an outdoor plug wet can also cause GFI's to trip. Every rain we receive around 5 calls that morning because plug cover is open or got wet outside. Sprinklers also cause the same problem when pointed at the house where a plug is located.

Why Do Breakers Trip?

Breakers trip when they are overloaded. Most breakers in homes are 15 or 20 amp breakers. This means when you use around 1500 watts of electricity on one 15amp circuit, labeled 15 in the panel, for around 3 - 5 minutes the wire and breaker will heat up and the breaker will trip. If you use a curling iron and a hair dryer for a few minutes, you may run into this.
20 amp breakers ( which is around 2000 watts ) are usually in kitchens and dining rooms. Homes are designed this way as for years many used toasters in the dining room at the table. Small kitchen appliances also can be a load such as a refrigerator on average uses around 10 amps give or take.
A microwave uses around 15 amps by itself but usually isn't on all that long.
A Coffee Machine uses 13-15 amps by itself.
This may help you to understand why Breakers trip and how easy it is to overload a circuit.

Is a burn mark on my outlet a problem?

YES! Recently We have had numerous calls for Flickering lights, A few outlets stopped working, my TV and Stereo Flickers, and I have an outlet that stopped working.

burn mark on outlet

Doesn't look too terrible does it?
Think Again.

Burnt outlet

and again

burnt wiring

What were more than likely the causes on some of these?

On one call the outlet had been added by a handyman and appeared to have loose connections on every box that the handyman had worked on.

On another call it appeared that the outlet had been overloaded with too much wattage plugged into including a portable heater.

On yet another the outlet suffered damage and when I saw how the homeowner unplugged the vacuum from 15 feet away swinging and yanking cord,... well what would you expect?

My Lights Flicker, Why?

The main reason Lights or power flickers is usually a Loose connection somewhere in the electrical system. This can be on The Utilities side or on your side. Either way you should get it checked out as quick as possible.

Loose connections in the home can and do cause fires!

There are also some known older electrical panels that are also nightmares when it comes to loose or burnt connections.
Those electrical panels are Federal Pacific, Bulldog, and Zinsco ( sometimes named gte Sylvania )
If you happen to have one of these panels I would suggest having an electrician check it out at least once a year and pull the breakers out and look closely. Look for burns or loose connections and correct amperage on the breakers. Be very prepared to replace the panel. Here is a picture of a Zinsco panel as they have a very unique look.

ZInsco Panel

Zinsco Panels were installed on many homes between 1965 and 1974. Consult a Licensed Electrician If you have one.
Another brand to beware of if you happen to have one is FPE or Federal Pacific Electric which have orange painted tips on the breakers. Here again Consult a Licensed Electrician regarding your electric Panel. Many Electricians share the opinion that FPE electric panels are probably the worst electric panel in many homes across America. They have a terrible contact with the buss bars and create a loose connection at best.

Always hire a state Licensed Electrician

CA Licensed Insured Electrician

Priority Electric Electrician Electrical Contractor

Priority Electric
983 Via Colinas Westlake Village, CA 91362
( Mailing Address ) P O BOX 7028 Thousand Oaks, CA 91359
(805) 409-7060
California State Contractors License # 939273

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