LEARN MORE ABOUT RESIDENTIAL ELECTRICITY
With electricity, you can never be too careful! The Electrika team has gathered some important concepts about residential electrical installations that you should know. Our goal is to summarize the points we consider most important to help you understand and respond to certain situations.
In Montreal and Laval, you can count on our experienced electricians for any electrical installation project, from lighting to home automation, electrical panel upgrades and rewiring. Contact us also for any repairs.
TROUBLESHOOTING COMMON ELECTRICAL PROBLEMS
Electrical gremlins can be frustrating, especially if you can’t determine where they are coming from. the Montreal and Laval areas are prone to a few common electrical problems due to a combination of climate and aging wiring.
LIGHTS THAT FLICKER WHEN IT’S WINDY
Often when electricity usage is high or on windy days, you will see lights flickering or dimming. This frequent phenomenon is usually caused by one of these 3 reasons:
- The cables in your home are connected to incoming Hydro-Québec lines through compression crimps. These crimps wear out over time and the connection slowly deteriorates. Blinking is a sign that these connections are faulty.
- There is a problem with the equipment that Hydro-Québec provides for your home.
- Your service wiring is old, damaged or frayed.
In all cases, the procedure is to call Hydro-Québec at 1-800-790-2424. They will advise you to call a master electrician such as Electrika, if necessary.
LIGHTS DIM WHEN AN APPLIANCE IS TURNED ON
This is often due to a circuit that provides more current than its capacity allows. If your fridge is on the same circuit as your kitchen lights or outlets, you may see the lights flicker when the compressor is activated- particularly in older homes. Other causes of randomly dimming lights are improper wiring, loose/damaged/corroded wiring, or problems with the power grid beyond your control.
CIRCUIT BREAKER IS CONSTANTLY TRIPPING
Many people reset their circuit breaker when they jump and continue to go about their business. However, you should never ignore this situation! A circuit breaker trips when it is overloaded. If this happens, evaluate the circuit to make sure this is not the case. An overloaded circuit with no breaker can overheat (especially seen with old wiring, very common in Montreal and Laval), which constitutes a real fire hazard. If you can’t find what overloads the circuit, call us!
PLUGS FALL OUT OF OUTLETS
This is likely due to one of two reasons:
- The prongs on the plug are bent or damaged. Damaged prongs should never be put into an electrical outlet.
- The outlet is damaged. If so, replace the outlet as soon as possible. This is a relatively simple and inexpensive process. We would be happy to help you if you prefer us to take care of it.
THE IMPORTANCE OF ELECTRICAL SAFETY
At Electrika, we know more than anyone the capability and power of electricity. That is why we are quick to stress the importance of adhering to electrical safety best practices.
ELECTRICITY CAN BE DANGEROUS
Even if all electric shocks are not deadly, be aware that the wiring that runs through your home is 240 volts and that the intensity of the current is sufficient to seriously hurt you, burn you or even kill you.
OVERLOADED OUTLETS CAN BE FIRE HAZARDS
Electricity produces heat as it passes through an object that provides resistance (such as a metal plug). The greater the strength of the resistance, the higher the temperature may be. Therefore, the more devices connected to a single circuit, and especially a single outlet, the greater the draw will be on that particular spot. Overloaded electrical outlets have caused many fires. Check your connections!
ALWAYS FOLLOW THESE 3 SIMPLE RULES
Never approach an exposed wire, sparking outlets, or any kind of electrical device that appears to be damaged.
Whenever you need to work on something electrical, such as changing a light switch or replacing a light fixture, always disable the circuit from the electrical panel. Be sure to test that the circuit is disabled before beginning any electrical work.
Make sure all electrical work done at your home is done by an electrical contractor who is a member of the Corporation of Master Electricians of Quebec and who holds a license from the RBQ.
ELECTRICAL PANEL BASICS
Your electrical panel is the heart of your residential electrical system. It contains live electrical connections to voltages that are dangerous. You should never touch it and the lid should never be removed by anyone other than an electrician. If you suspect that your electrical panel is damaged, call us immediately.
WHAT DO ELECTRICAL PANELS DO?
An electrical panel controls the amount of electricity coming into your home from Hydro-Québec. Then the panel controls the electrical flow to the individual circuits through the residence. These circuits provide power for the operation of electrical appliances. Your panel may use fuses, though all modern electrical panels found in Montreal & Laval homes use breakers.
Mainly, the electrical panel manages the flow of electricity through individual circuit breakers. These allow us to power off the circuits for maintenance purposes as well as to facilitate the wiring of new circuits. The most important function of your electrical panel is to ensure your safety; if an electrical failure occurs, the circuit breakers will trigger and disable the circuit.
ACTS RESERVED FOR ELECTRICAL CONTRACTORS
You should never attempt to do work on your electrical panel: this is extremely dangerous. Any manipulation on your part could lead to electric shock, fire or even death. In Quebec, it is illegal for anyone to work on a residential electrical panel except for a contractor-electrician.
At Electrika, we get a lot of service calls, but the most common comes from unskilled people trying to perform tasks that should be done by electricians. We cannot stress enough the importance of proper electrical safety, and how important it is that all electrical work is done by a qualified electrician. It is therefore essential to thoroughly educate yourself before undertaking an electrical project!