Superior Electrical - Frequently Asked Electrical Questions

Frequently asked Meanings:

Below are definitions to some standard terminology in the electrician business. If you have further questions, contact us

Circuit Breakers / Fuses: Devices installed in the service panel of a home to limit the flow of electricity through a circuit. The breaker rating determines the maximum flow.

Circuit Extensions: To extend or add-on to an existing circuit to provide an additional power source.

Code Corrections: Procedure designed to eliminate wiring conditions that do not meet National Electrical Code requirements and safety conditions.

Distribution Equipment: A device designed to provide electricity to multiple connections.

Energy Saving Devices: Devices utilized within a dwelling designed to more efficiently make use of energy sources while providing heating, cooling, and light.

Heater: A heat source (gas or electric) used to adjust the temperature inside a dwelling from a cold to a warm condition.

High-Tech Troubleshooting: A procedure performed by a trained technician for the purpose of locating and identifying electrical problems within an electrical system.

Load Center: Source for all power to the home. All circuits originate from the "Load Center" or "Service Panel." Circuit breakers are located within this panel.

Low Voltage: A wiring system that provides power to some electronic devices operating on a voltage level much lower than the standard 110 volts. Such devices might be doorbells and thermostats.

Motors: Electronic device used to move, switch, or adjust one or more of the systems within a dwelling.

Receptacles: Power sources located throughout a building to provide electricity where needed.

Smoke And Carbon Dioxide Detectors
: Wall and ceiling mounted sensors located throughout the home used to alert occupants of deadly gasses and smoke inside the home.

Switches: Circuit interruption devices used to control the flow of electricity to lights, appliances, and outlets.

Thermostat: A low voltage electronic switching device that monitors temperatures inside the home and turns on and off the heating or cooling system in the home.

Track And Accent Lighting:
Condition specific lighting that meets special lighting requirements, providing variable lighting degrees of light and may distribute light in multiple directions.

Transfer Switch: An electronic device that under certain conditions will disconnect from one power source and connect to another power source.

Wiring: A distribution network of wire that conducts electricity to receptacles, switches and appliances throughout a building/home to provide electricity where needed.

Frequently asked Questions:

Arc Faults

What is an arc fault?
An ARC FAULT is an unintentional electrical discharge - a problem that even the most safety-conscious homeowner can't always avoid. That's because arc faults are usually caused by undetected problems: Damaged extension cords. Improperly installed wall receptacles, electrical cable pierced by picture-hanging nails.

Why is an arc fault dangerous?
An arc fault may ignite combustible materials and cause a fire - a threat to any home and its occupants. Furnaces in attics are a common problem.

What can I do to prevent arc faults?
You can't prevent arc faults from occurring. However, there is a device that can stop them--by interrupting the electrical current before any damage is done. It's called the General Electric Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI), and it electronically detects any arc fault and stops the flow of electricity in a fraction of a second. No electricity, no heat, no fire. And, by tripping on a specific circuit, the GE AFCI helps you identify the source of the problem right at the load center.

Do fuses and circuit breakers serve the same purpose as AFCI's?
No. Fuses and circuit breakers cannot detect low-level arcs. Only AFCIs are specifically designed for that purpose.

Are AFCIs required by the National Electrical Code?
Yes. As of January 2002, arc fault circuit interrupters are required by the National Electrical Code on all new bedroom circuits. But, you can protect you existing home too! By installing GE AFCIs now, you can get peace of mind from their added fire protection.

Power Loss

What Causes A Power Loss?
A POWER LOSS may be caused by a winter storm, an energy shortage, a summer brownout, a downed tree falling on a power line - any unforeseen event that cuts off the power to your electrical system.

How can I prepare for this type of occurrence?
You can install a backup power system, consisting of a generator connected to a generator panel. Mr. Electric locations carry Generic Emergency Home Generators.

How does a generator work?
When the power goes out, a generator creates electrical power without using a utility's electrical source. Typically, a generator is run on fuel, like natural gas or LPG. When a generator is installed in your home, one main breaker is connected to your home's load center and the other main breaker is connected to your generator. The generator panel is then connected to circuits for critical electrical loads - furnace, refrigerator, lights, sump pump, etc. - that you designate need to remain on during a power loss.

What do I do when I lose power?
Emergency standby generators operate automatically and simultaneously switch OFF the main circuit breaker connected to your load center and switch ON the main circuit breaker connected to your generator. The generator senses the utility power loss and makes this switch even if no one is home. It also knows when the power comes back on and will automatically switch power back on through your home's main load center.

What type of generator is right for my home?
The first step in purchasing a generator is to identify the things you absolutely cannot live without during a power outage. Usually high on the list will be the refrigerator and the freezer, a well pump, the furnace fan if you have natural gas or oil heat, or maybe some lighting.

Superior Electrical Service can share more details with you, just give us a call to find out how you can protect yourself against power losses.

Surge Protection

What are electrical surges?
Surges and transients are momentary spikes in electrical voltage. These surges or transients can enter a home through the incoming electrical line, telephone line, and even the cable TV or internet line.

Where do they come from?
At one extreme, a surge can be generated by a nearby lightning strike. At the other, transients can come from the motors in your electrical appliances when they turn on and off during everyday operation. Harmful surges also are produced by electric utility power switching designed to meet changing energy demands.

What can they do?
While a lightning strike can cause immediate and severe damage, low level surges will, over time, degrade electronic components and shorten the life of computers, home entertainment systems, telecommunications devices and, increasingly, even kitchen and laundry appliances.

What can you do?
You can protect the investment in all of your electronic devices with a family of surge protectors. While surge strips protect one electronic device, there are many products that can protect all the connections in a home - and this is what Mr. Electric recommends. When whole-home devices are used in combination with surge strips, your electrical devices receive maximum protection.

How do surge protectors work?
Once in place and connected to your load center, telephone service or cable service, surge protectors redirect surges to ground and dissipate the energy. The surge protection selected must be UL rated on response time (where lower clamping voltage is better) and surge rating (where the greater the surge current rating, the longer the surge protector will last).

What surge protector is right for me?
Each type of surge protector focuses on a particular type of wiring: electrical, telephone or coaxial cable. There are two AC power surge protectors, allowing you protection regardless of the brand of load center in your home. Ask your local Mr. Electric what type of protection is right for you and your home.

Note: While surge protectors will protect against surges generated when lightning strikes nearby, no surge arrester can guard against a direct hit. The energy is too great.

Serving Central Maryland, Northern Baltimore County, Carroll County, Howard County & Montgomery Counties. MD, & Northern Virginia


Lite Industrial
Stand-by Generators Installed

Licensed & Insured - Est. 1992
Montgomery County Business Electrical license: EB3707
Maryland State license # 8389
Virginia State License # 2710-032051

Superior Electrical Service, LLC
E Main St, Middletown, MD 21769
(301) 371-3772