Common Electrical Myths

There are a lot of myths out there about electricity and electrical safety in your home. Let’s see if we can wade through a few of them and help you keep your home safe.
We’ll start with the circuit breakers. If a breaker trips in your home the first thing you should do is don’t overreact, it just means your circuit breaker, a piece of electrical safety equipment, is doing what it’s supposed to do by keeping you safe. The myth is that a tripped breaker means you’ve done something horribly wrong to create an electrical hazard, but that’s not the case. Just about everyone overloads a circuit. It’s how you react to it that is more important.
If, for example, you know the breaker tripped at the same time you plugged in an appliance of some sort, you know the circuit can’t handle that particular appliance without being an electrical hazard. You will need to move it to another circuit, or unplug something else, then reset the breaker.
If the breaker tripped for no obvious reason the first step is to reset it, and that brings us to another myth, that you can rapidly “flip” the breaker off and back on. You’re much better off to be more deliberate, meaning you strongly switch the breaker to the Off position, pause for a couple of seconds, and then strongly push it to the On position. That’s the best way to make sure the breaker has actually reset.
If the breaker trips again within 5 seconds it almost certainly means you have an electrical safety problem. To be clear the mechanical parts of a breaker almost never fail, so if it keeps tripping you need to call us at Dixie Electric, Plumbing & Air to keep your home safe.
Most modern homes have GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) outlets, or GFI, in several areas, most notably kitchens and bathrooms. One myth about GFI’s is that they will trip if the circuit is overloaded. That’s not true. They only trip when they sense a short circuit which is how this electrical safety device protects you from being electrocuted.
Also, remember that a GFI outlet can protect several other outlets that are connected to it. If you suddenly find outlets that aren’t working, but you don’t have any tripped breakers, a likely culprit is a GFI on that circuit. If the GFI continues to trip, it’s time to get professional help.
No matter how much you think you know about working with electricity you always have to remember the dangers involved. You may think you’re capable of doing your own repairs and wiring, but is it really worth saving a few bucks?
Call a professional electrician who knows electrical safety, knows the electrical regulations, and can make sure your home has the proper electrical safety devices.
Our Safe & Sound Service can assess your home to ensure you are up-to-date and safe with all things electrical. When it comes to electricity, think of your electrician as the “Myth Buster”. Call Dixie, and it’s done!