Frequently Asked Questions

What Should I Know Before I Hire an Electrical Contractor?

First, make sure that any electrical contractor you hire is licensed. The CSLB (California State License Board) issues a C-10 license for Electrical Contractors and regulates the business. You can check licenses online–not just for electricians, but for any contractor.

Read 10 Tips to Make Sure Your Contractor Measures Up for more good advice.

With All These Codes, Is There Any Room for My Personal Standards?

Complying with safety codes is important, but there’s still plenty of room for personal choice. Everyone has a different perception of light intensity and color. Some people prefer lighting automated; others want everything under manual control. You might need your outlets higher or your switches lower on the wall. As long as your safety and the law are not compromised, everything else is up to you.

What About Electric Vehicles?

You can learn more about Plug-in Electric Vehicles (PEVs), Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs), Battery Electric Vehicles, and Fuel Cell Vehicles, including their effect on your electric bill, on PG&E’s website.

We can help you install either a 120-volt or a 240-volt charging station for your PEV.

Is It Safe to Blow Loose Fill Insulation over Knob-and-Tube Wiring?

If you have an older house with knob-and-tube wiring, you need a “Notice of Survey by Electrical Contractor” certifying that the wiring is in good condition before you can hire an installer to blow loose-fill insulation into your walls on top of the wires.

What Is Title 24 Compliance?

Title 24 is California’s Building Energy Efficiency Program, which sets energy-efficiency requirements for new construction. Since 2008, for example, energy-efficient lighting has been mandatory in kitchens and bathrooms. New standards were adopted for 2013, including solar-ready roofs and whole-house fans.

What Are CCT and CRI?

CCT (correlated color temperature in Kelvin degrees scale) and CRI (color rendering index) are numbers used to identify properties of light.

CCT determines the color perception of the light and varies from 2700 K (yellowish),  to 7500K (bluish white).

CRI determines the ability of a light source to accurately reproduce colors, on a scale of 1 to 100, when compared with daylight. Halogen and incandescent light are rated almost the same as daylight.

What Are LED Lights and Why Should You Use Them?

Also known as solid-state lighting, LEDs (light emission diodes) are electronic devices that produce light when electric current crosses through them.

LEDs can be controlled by software to change colors and intensity and turned on and off by sensors.

LED technology is well advanced now and there are reasonably priced fixtures in the market. The bulbs use much less power to produce light than either incandescent or fluorescent bulbs, and last a long time.

Read more on the U.S. Department of Energy website.

What Are Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCI)?

Conventional circuit breakers protect against overloads and short circuits. Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters also protect against unwanted electrical arcs by shutting down both hot and neutral wires. The National Electrical Code has required Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters for circuits in bedrooms since 1999.

Why Do I Need GFCI Outlets in My Kitchen and Bathroom?

GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) devices measure the flow of current. When there is a discrepancy, a GFCI outlet shuts off the current before you receive an electrical shock.

This is most important in wet areas where electrical conductivity is greater than normal, so the building code requires GFCI outlets near sinks and tubs.

Why Upgrade Ungrounded Electrical Services?

Any appliance with a three-prong plug requires a grounded outlet to protect the user from electrical shocks. Without the third (grounding) wire in the receptacle, attached to a grounding rod at least 8 feet deep, surge protectors provide no protection to delicate electronic devices or to the people using them.

Are FPE (Federal Pacific Electric) Panels Safe?

The circuit breakers in Federal Pacific Electric panels were never tested against UL safety requirements. They may fail to trip when overloaded, causing electrical shorts and fires. Read more at “Is My Panel Safe?