Q. What is a GFCI outlet?
A. GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlet is a device that adds a greater level of safety by reducing the risk of electric shock. Most building codes now require that a GFCI outlet be used in wet locations such as bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms.
Q. I lost power in my bathroom outlet, and all breakers are on. What can I do?
A. Typically when a house is wired and has two bathrooms, the master bath has a GFCI outlet that protects both bathrooms. The kitchen has one that protects the other plugs close to the sink and there is typically one in the garage that protects the outlets there and perhaps the outside plugs as well. Often times the GFCI outlet will go bad or is faulty, affecting the other plugs downstream as it were.
A. Sometimes, when you plug an electrical appliance into an outlet, you may notice a small blue spark. In most situations, this is a normal event as the electrons begin to flow into the appliance's power cord. At other times, however, a spark from an electrical outlet could start a fire or severely damage the plug. It is important for to understand why an electrical outlet may spark or short out without warning. homeownersQ. What is an Electrical Outlet?
A. An electrical outlet is an opening or series of openings connected to a wired power source meant to power electrical equipment and components. The electrical outlet is one of the most commonly used items in a home or building. Electrical outlet provides power to an electronic component by using a wire to take power to the outlet. The plug of the component then transfers power to the device requiring it. Another wire then takes the electricity back to its original location. For simplification, in a home environment, this is the electrical panel. Due to this round-trip routing, it is often called an electrical circuit.
Q. Do LED light bulbs save energy?
A. Light Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs have revolutionized energy-efficient lighting.
LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) are solid light bulbs which are extremely energy-efficient. When first developed, LEDs were limited to single-bulb use in applications such as instrument panels, electronics, pen lights and, more recently, strings of indoor and outdoor Christmas lights.
Manufacturers have expanded the application of LEDs by "clustering" the small bulbs. The first clustered bulbs were used for battery powered items such as flashlights and headlamps. Today, LED bulbs are made using as many as 180 bulbs per cluster, and encased in diffuser lenses which spread the light in wider beams. Now available with standard bases which fit common household light fixtures, LEDs are the next generation in home lighting.
A significant feature of LEDs is that the light is directional, as opposed to incandescent bulbs which spread the light more spherically. This is an advantage with recessed lighting or under-cabinet lighting, but it is a disadvantage for table lamps. New LED bulb designs address the directional limitation by using diffuser lenses and reflectors to disperse the light more like an incandescent bulb.
Q. Do dimmers save energy?
A. Dimming a bulb by 25% uses approximately 20% less energy, and it will help extend bulb life by up to 4 times as well.
Q. How can I reduce my energy bill?
A. There are a few things you may do to lower your electrical energy consumption.
1. Unplug seldom used appliances, like an extra refrigerator in the basement or garage that contains just a few items. You may save around $10 every month on your utility bill. Unplug your chargers when you're not charging. Keep them unplugged until you need them.
2. Enable the "sleep mode" feature on your computer, allowing it to use less power during periods of inactivity. Configure your computer to "hibernate" automatically after 30 minutes or so of inactivity. The "hibernate mode" turns the computer off in a way that doesn't require you to reload everything when you switch it back.
3. Set your thermostat in winter to 68 degrees or less during the daytime, and 55 degrees before going to sleep (or when you're away for the day). During the summer, set thermostats to 78 degrees or more. Ceiling fans can make a room feel much cooler without using nearly as much electricity. This allows you to keep your thermostat a little higher in the summer. During the winter, you can reverse your ceiling fan, which will push the warm air back down.
4. Set your refrigerator temperature at 38 to 42 degrees Fahrenheit; your freezer should be set between 0 and 5 degrees Fahrenheit. Use the power-save switch if your fridge has one, and make sure the door seals tightly. Don't preheat or "peek" inside the oven more than necessary. Check the seal on the oven door, and use a microwave oven for cooking or reheating small items. Wash only full loads in your dishwasher.
5. Don't forget to flick the switch when you leave a room. Use motion sensor lights inside and outside of your home. Use LED energy saving light bulb where possible.