Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are seasonal tips for using less electricity in the summer?
    • You can reduce your electricity use during the summer months to save energy and lower your bills by:

      1. Running the air conditioner in the evening and during the morning hours when electricity is cheaper.
      2. Turning off your air conditioner during the afternoon.
      3. Using ceiling or portable fans in place of your air conditioner.
      4. Keeping your home cooler by shading sunny windows.
  • What are the effects of electrical shock on humans?
    • Electrical shock can cause injury and death. 1,000 milliamperes will light a 100-watt lightbulb. Yet, 900 will cause severe burns to human skin.
      A light shock will occur with contact to 1 milliampere of electricity; a mild shock will occur at 2 milliamperes. After contact with 10 milliamperes, you will be unable to release from the electrical source. At 20, muscle contraction will occur. At 30 milliamperes, suffocation is possible, and at 100, a person’s heart will stop beating. At 300, breathing is likely to stop.

  • What should I do if someone near me is electrocuted?
    • If you believe some has experienced electrocution, follow these steps.

      1. Be sure the person is not in contact with the source of electricity. If they are, do not touch them.
      2. Call 911.
      3. Turn off the electrical source if possible. The best thing to do is move the source of electricity using cardboard, plastic, or wood to avoid shock.
      4. Check the person’s pulse. Begin CPR if needed.
      5. Lie the person on their back. Place their head lower than their core, and elevate the legs while waiting for emergency medical help. Do not touch any open wounds.
  • What voltages are dangerous?
    • For larger appliances or electrical equipment, it is best to hire a competent electrical contractor for the best  safety check.  Contact with a range of voltages can be dangerous.  A very low voltage can produce a powerful spark ––one strong enough to ignite an explosion.  Batteries, for example, can overheat and explode when shorted.  A voltage above 50 volts can cause breathing problems, heart failure, and severe burns.

  • When the power goes out, what should I do?
      1. When your property’s power goes out, it’s important to remain calm and follow these steps:
      2. Switch any electronic devices to “off”. This will prevent a fire when the power is running again.
      3. Unplug all electronics.
      4. Do not try to power your house with a portable generator. The generator will back feed electricity to the neighborhood and create a severe safety hazard.
      5. Use flashlights, candles, and oil lamps.
      6. Keep your refrigerator closed.
      7. Conserve water.
      8. Open windows for ventilation.
  • How does a surge protector work?
    • Like a GFCI, a surge protector protects electrical devices from voltage spikes.  A surge protector, or surge suppressor, allows you to plug many electronics into one power outlet.  When a power surge or spike occurs, a surge protector prevents high voltage from damaging your equipment.

  • What is a GFCI device or breaker?
    • GFCI stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. A GFCI is an automatic device that protects a person from electrical shock.  They are often located in areas that have high risk of electrical shock.  These areas include outdoor outlets, bathrooms, and garages.

  • How do I know if my electrical equipment is safe?
    • To ensure that your electrical equipment is safe, it is best to carry out suitable inspections and testing. For equipment used in a clean and dry space, a simple visual inspection will be enough.

      • Unplug the equipment before you begin.
      • Check that the plug wired the right way and that there are no visible wires.
      • Check the electrical cable is not damaged. If it is, use insulting tape to repair the damaged cable.
      • Check the outer cover of the equipment and make sure there are no points of overheating.

      For larger appliances or electrical equipment, it is best to hire a competent electrical contractor for the best safety check.

  • Why are the NEC regulations important?
    • The NEC regulations are the benchmark for safe electrical design, installation, and inspection.  They are set in place to protect you and your property from electrical hazards.

  • What are the NEC regulations for California?
    • NEC is short for National Electrical Code. Each states has their own NEC regulations. California’s NEC regulations address the design, installation, and inspection of electrical conductors and equipment. These focus on:

      1. Public and private premises, including buildings, structures, mobile homes, recreational vehicles, and floating buildings;
      2. Yards, lots, parking lots, carnivals, and industrial substations;
      3. Installations of conductors and equipment that connect to the supply of electricity;
      4. And installations used by the electric utility, such as office buildings, warehouses, garages, machine shops, and recreational buildings.
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