Zapp Electric Inc -
Here are answers to our customers’ most frequently asked questions. If you don’t see an answer to your question or would like to ask another question, please don’t hesitate to call us. Also, call us if you’d like to schedule a service call.
Why is the power out in half of my house, but not the other half?
You can lose a “leg” of 220 power coming into your home, but not the other. When you lose that wire, only half of your breakers go off.
Why can’t I reset my breakers?
When the breaker tripped, it went to the half off position. You need to turn it all the way off, and then all the way on again.
The power has gone out of my bathroom and will not come back on.
What is the problem?
Your Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) probably tripped. Today’s homes contain GFCI outlets in bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms—places water might come in contact with electricity. All you have to do is hit the reset button and you should be up and running again.
What is that chirping noise?
If you hear a chirping noise similar to a cricket in your house look towards your smoke detectors.  This noise is used as an indicator for a bad battery.  Most smoke detectors contain a 9-volt battery that may need to be replaced.
What are Arc Fault  Circuit Interrupters (AFCI)?
According to the Electrical Safety Foundation, over 73,000 home fires are caused by faulty electrical wiring and arcing each Year in the United States. This device is currently available in circuit breaker form.
It detects the unique characteristics of an electrical arc, the frequency and "bounce" of the Harmonics, and after about 1/10th of a second, it shuts off the power to the entire circuit.
This invaluable device is saving a lot of home owner's lives and property.
Whats wrong with using Extension Cords?
Extension cords should only be used as a temporary circuit "extension" for work or tool use. For example, using an extension cord for a weed eater or power saw.
They are not intended to replace permanent wiring methods and are a serious life safety issue if used improperly. If you use extension cords in your Home or Office, because there are not enough outlets, you are risking a lot. That is why the NFPA National Fire Protection Association has published the NEC or National Electrical Code. This Code prohibits the use of cords in place of permanent wiring methods.
For good reason,read on.
Cords can and do heat up, generally the wiring in the cord is smaller than the proper Home or Office wiring , and not capable of handling significant current. They can easily overheat and can catch fire.
Let's say you have a #12 AWG (American Wire Gauge) conductor in Your Home, now you use an extension cord of lets say # 16 AWG, this is smaller wire, and Your Circuit breaker is rated at 20 amps, you could put 20 amps on the cord, and it would overheat and possibly start a fire.
Additionally cords are not concealed like proper wiring and are subject to physical damage. We've all thrown out a few extension cords because they have gotten cut or ripped or pinched. This means you are exposing yourself or loved ones to a potential shock or electrocution.
So if you are using extension cords in place of proper outlets call us and we'll get it fixed and make it safe for You and Yours.
Should I be concerned about my home's Aluminum Wiring
Things you should know about aluminum wiring in houses.
First off, aluminum wiring can be safe if properly utilized. The conductors from high voltage transmission lines to the service entrance conductors feeding your home are usually aluminum.
So what's the big problem with aluminum wire?
When used as smaller conductors such as awg#10 for a 20 amp circuit or awg#12 for a 15 amp circuit in a home, these conductors can be hazardous if not installed correctly.
Aluminum is not as conductive as say copper or gold or silver. Because it has a higher resistance, and because of its properties, aluminum expands and contracts under loads significantly more than copper. As the "load" or amperage increases on the conductor, it expands. When the load decreases, the conductor contracts back to its original size. This constant expansion and contraction, combined with oxidation, cause the terminations in wire connectors and on devices such as outlets and switches to become loose. When loose, they will arc.  Arcing can eventually lead to a fire.
That is why small aluminum conductors make a poor substitute for copper.
For larger appliances and large "feeders", this does not pose as big a problem.
The connection methods for the larger wires take this expansion and contraction into account. Additionally, anti-oxidant compounds are required on these connections.
Are FPE Circuit Breakers Safe?
Federal Pacific electric was a large manufacturer of electrical breaker boxes or load centers and panel boards from the 1960 to 1980 era. Problems arose from these products culminating in lawsuits in the early 1980's and the withdrawal of the product line from the market by its producer. The consumer product safety commission has produced several case studies of the products and their hazards.
After nearly 30 years in the electrical construction and service industries, I highly recommend if you have FPE (Federal Pacific) breakers, breaker boxes or load centers or panel boards, that you get these replaced immediately. They are well documented fire hazards and have been proven to "lock on" during an overload condition, just the opposite of what a breaker should do.
The following links may be of assistance:
Are Sylvania/Zinsco Circuit Breakers and Load Centers Safe?
Zinsco circuit breakers have issues with improper heat dissipation, which can lead to burning of the circuit breaker itself.
Further, Zinsco breaker boxes use an un-anodized or un-plated aluminum bus bar arrangement. In moist climates, this can lead to excessive oxidation, whereby the bus bars actually reduce in size as the oxidation process continues. This can lead to loose connections, which may result in arcing or burning at the bus bar/circuit breaker connection point. I highly recommend, if you have a Zinsco breaker box, that you replace it immediately.
The following link may be of assistance:
If you have other electrical questions please try this link
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