These are the most FREQUENTLY ASKED ELECTRICAL QUESTIONS presented by our clients in the Toronto area. Contact us today at (416) 520 – 0157 so that we can discuss your electrical needs; since each electrical configuration and design is different our licensed Electrician / Electricians will study your case and provide an array of electrical solution options along with the recommendation.

When is it time to call an electrician?

Here are some examples of when to call CROATIAN ELECTRIC 416 520-0157. Resetting the circuit breakers too often / Changing fuses too often; Turning on the air conditioner and having the lights in the room dim; Lights flickering on and off; Smell electricity burning; Having six or more electronic devices going into one outlet in back of an electronics center / media entertainment centre (best not to have outlets overburdened by multi-plug strips0; When a three-prong plug needs a two-prong adapter or when you have to run extension cords to plug in electrical devices; the reasons to call for a licensed Electrician are many. Call CROATIAN ELECTRIC in Toronto: 416 520-0157

What size service do I install in my home?

Most provinces call for 100 amps minimum, but with all the new electronic devices, air conditioning and electric heat, I would suggest 200 amps especially in new homes. This also gives you some space for future additions. This is not a job for an unlicensed person to attempt: you will want a licensed Electrician do this work. In most cases it involves replacing everything from the service loop (this is the wire that extends from the top of your meter to the utility tie in) up to and including the main electrical panel.

Where do you put G.F.I.’s?

Any bathroom or garage outlet within 6′ of a sink must be GFCI protected. The code also requires all kitchen outlets for countertop use to be GFCI protected. GFCI outlets must be installed in any area where electricity and water may come into contact, including basements, pools, spas, utility rooms, attached garages and outdoors. At least one GFCI outlet is required in an unfinished basement and for most outdoor outlets.
There are two types of GFCIs in homes and workplaces: the GFCI outlet and the GFCI circuit breaker. Both do the same job, but each has different applications and limitations.

As a replacement for the standard electrical outlet the GFCI outlet is not dependent of a ground to work. It doesn’t measure shorts to the ground but rather the electrical current difference between the hot wire and the neutral wire. A sudden difference of 5 ma. or more trips the device by letting it know that there is another path for the electricity to travel through. The only downside to this is there may be some nuisance tripping in highly inductive loads like large motors or even fluorescent lamps or fixtures on the same circuit. But the newer models seemed to have corrected this somewhat.

A GFCI outlet will protect appliances when they are plugged into it. In this sense the GFCI outlets can also be can also be wired to protect additional outlets that are connected to it. The GFCI circuit breaker controls an entire circuit, and is installed as a replacement for a circuit breaker on the building’s main circuit board. Instead of installing many GFCI outlets, one GFCI circuit breaker can protect an entire circuit. There is a test button and a reset button on these units. If you press the test button the reset should pop out. To reset just push the reset button in.

Putting lights on GFCI outlets isn’t such a great idea: you’ll want protected circuits so as not to be left in the dark should the electrical circuit trip. For much the same reason equipment that can’t go without electrical power for an extended time should not be placed on a GFCI protected circuit (refrigerators, freezers, sump pumps and other machines that without electrical power might cause costly losses or property damage). GFCIs are very sensitive and are subject to nuisance tripping and the GFCI outlets outside often don’t last even under the best of conditions. Be sure to test the device using the “test” button before you use one.

How much should I attempt on my own?

In Ontario Canada any electrical work done in the home or workplace must be inspected by an Electrical Safety Inspector with the ESA. Doing electrical work yourself can be a gamble, especially when one is not a licensed electrician or trained in the dangers of electricity and extreme voltage. How much are you willing to risk to save money: To fully understand electricity and become an electrician requires much training: to make an error for even the smallest of jobs could become a safety hazard. One it comes to electricity, don`t take a chance and `think` it is right: Hire a licensed Electrician to do this work such as those with CROATIAN ELECTRIC.

Where a property owner does not abide by the provincial regulations it is important to highlight that in case of damage or fire caused by the electrical work, the insurance most likely will not pay, they will only if the work is done by a licensed Electrical Contractor. It`s a good idea to check with the Insurance provider e.g. homeowners Insurance Co., and they should sign a document or something to this effect to acknowledge this when they pull a permit.

The time to be cautious is when you tell yourself: `This is easy. I can do it myself. Why should i get an electrician?` Avoid paying more than what it originally would cost and not having to endure the frustration of not knowing or remembering how all the wires get connected, perhaps having the hair on your head stand up and then coming to the realisation that perhaps an Electrician is a good idea to figure out the mess.

How many convenience outlets in each room?

In every kitchen, family room, dining room, living room, parlor, library, den, bedroom, or similar room or area of dwelling units, receptacle outlets shall be installed so that no point along the floor line in any wall space there is more than six feet, from an outlet in that space. This is to prevent the use of extension cords. It is best to place the outlets 18 inches above floor level. Switches are usually 48 inches from floor level. For convenience outlets each single receptacle in a single branch circuit is usually figured for 1.5 amps, duplex outlets for 3 amps in estimating total amperage for that circuit. Air conditioners should be on a single dedicated circuit.

How should outlets be installed in a kitchen area?

All electrical outlets installed within six feet of a kitchen sink or wetbar shall have G.F.C.I. protection. Kitchen outlets on the countertops should have a minimum two 20 amp branch circuits that can be used for small appliances. It is strongly recommended to have each fixed appliance (refrigerator, stove, dish washer) on its own dedicated circuit. For countertops 12 inches or wider an outlet should be installed so that there is no more than 24 inches between receptacles. For island countertops should be installed above, or within 12 inches below the countertop. There shall be no more than 24 inches from center line of countertop. No receptacle shall be installed face up on a sink counter top.

What is an AFCI?

Starting January 1, 2002, The National Electrical Code, Section 210-12, requires that all branch circuits supplying 125V, single phase, 15 and 20 ampere outlets installed in dwelling unit bedrooms be protected by an arc-fault Circuit interrupter. Eventually they will be in more areas but the NEC selected to require them on bedroom circuits first because a CPSC study showed many home fire deaths were related to bedroom circuits.

The AFCI (Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter) breaker, will shut off a circuit in a fraction of a second if arcing develops. The current inside of an arc is not always high enough to trip a regular breaker. You must have noticed a cut or worn piece of a cord or a loose connection in a junction box or receptacle arcing and burnt without tripping the regular breaker. As you can guess this is a major cause of fires in a dwelling.

There is a difference between AFCIs and GFCIs. AFCIs are intended to reduce the likelihood of fire caused by electrical arcing faults; whereas, GFCIs are personnel protection intended to reduce the likelihood of electric shock hazard. Don’t misunderstand, GFCIs are still needed and save a lot of lives.

Combination devices that include both AFCI and GFCI protection in one unit will become available soon. AFCIs can be installed in any 15 or 20 ampere branch circuit in homes today and are currently available as circuit breakers with built-in AFCI features. In the near future, other types of devices with AFCI protection will be available.

If a GFCI receptacle is installed on the load side of an AFCI it is possible for both the AFCI and the GFCI to trip on a fault if the current exceeds the limit for both devices. It is also possible for the AFCI to trip and the GFCI to not trip since the two devices could race each other. However, in no case is safety compromised.