Frequently Asked Questions

Q: My bathroom outlets don't work. What should I do?
A: Many times it's simply the GFCI outlet on the circuit that has tripped. To repair this problem, locate the GFCI outlet that controls the circuit and press the "Test" Button and then push the "Reset" button. You should feel the button reset. Sometimes the GFCI outlet is just outside of the bathroom like in the adjacent hall or bedroom. If every bathroom has a GFCI outlet, reset all of them. In addition, check the circuit breaker in the panel to ensure it is not tripped.

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Q: Why do my lights blink or dim sometimes?
A: This condition is more common in older electrical systems. This is normally caused when an air conditioning unit, refrigerator, freezer, furnace or other high energy consuming appliance starts. Starting a motor requires 3 to 5 times more power than when it runs so it takes a lot of power to get a motor up to full speed quickly.

Sometimes a circuit may be at or near capacity or may be overloaded and can cause the lights to blink. If this happens only once in a while, the wiring may be okay. If it happens more often we recommend that you give North Shore Electric a call to help diagnose the problem.

Balancing the electrical loads, upgrading your wiring or upgrading your electrical breaker panel and service to handle more capacity are some other possible fixes to this problem.

If you notice the lights get brighter than normal, this indicates a potential wiring hazard and should be looked at immediately.

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Q: I keep blowing the circuit. Can't I just put in a bigger breaker or fuse?
A: Do not do this! The reason your breaker is tripping is exactly what it was designed for. A tripping breaker is telling you the circuit is overloaded or is worn out and needs to be replaced with the same size and type of as the original. If you turn your electrical devices on and the breaker trips, you probably overloaded the circuit. Many times an electric heater or window A/C unit will overload an existing circuit if not properly sized.

Replacing the existing breaker with a higher capacity/size simply exposes your circuit to a heat/fire hazard. The best fix is to limit the number of electric devices you use on a given circuit to avoid tripping the breaker or have additional circuits installed. If a breaker continuously trips and you feel you are not overloading the circuit, North Shore Electric can help solve your overload problems or to assess other conditions that the breaker or circuit may be experiencing.

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Q: What if I have no power at all?
A: If all of the power is off or what seems like at least half the power is out, check the following:

  1. Check your breaker panel and see if any breakers are tripped. Closely look at your main breaker.
  2. Reset the main breaker by turning it all the way off and then back on.
  3. If this does not work, you can reset all of the individual breakers in the same manner as above.
  4. If still no power look outside to see if anything looks out of place where the utility wires from the power company connect to the house. Please be careful to watch for any downed lines from the utility.
  5. Check your neighbors to see if they are also have no power.
  6. Once you've check all of the above and nothing out of the normal was running in your house, it will more than likely be the utility company who is responsible for the outage. Give you local utility company a call and they will give you information if they are experiencing an outage in your area or will contact one of their servicemen to come out for an emergency repair.
  7. If the utility determines there is a different problem please give North Shore Electric a call and we will send out an electrician to fix your problem today.

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Q: Some of my circuit breakers keep tripping. What should I do?
A: A circuit breaker is designed to trip off when it detects too much power running through the wire it's protecting. There are two main reasons circuit breakers trip off:

  1. There is a short circuit.
  2. There is an overloaded circuit.

Short Circuits
Short circuits occur when the "Hot" wire touches ground or two electrical wires touch each other. A short circuit will immediately cause one of your circuit breakers to trip off or one of your fuses to blow.

To try and fix a short circuit, ask yourself "What was happening right before the circuit shorted?". If you had just plugged something into a receptacle (outlet) or turned on a light or an appliance, then this gives you a clue as to what caused the short.

If you just plugged in an iron, for instance, you can simply un-plug the iron and then re-set the circuit breaker or replace the fuse. If everything is now OK, then your electrical system is fine - and it's time to get a new iron!

If, however, you can't find anything plugged in which is causing the problem, then it's time to call North Shore Electric to locate and repair your short circuit.

Overloaded Circuit
An overloaded circuit can occur when too much power is running through an electrical wire. To protect the wire, the circuit breaker does its job by detecting the overload and turning off. The solution to this problem is to remove some of the appliances that are connected to the overloaded wires.

The best solution in a overload situation is to have North Shore Electric come out and add new circuits to split up the overloaded wiring. If the wiring is the older cloth covered wiring, it may be a good time to remove the older wiring and install new modern wiring for a long term solution.

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Q: I want to be more energy efficient in my home. What is the best way to go green?
A: There are many things, including inexpensive ones, that you can do to be more energy efficient in your home.

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