Our team has gathered some important facts about electricity — a great way to know more about it. With electricity, one can never be too safe! Keep in mind that this isn’t a complete resource, but rather a collection of articles that we deem important.
Electrical gremlins can be frustrating, especially if you can't determine why they are occurring or where they are coming from. The Montreal area is prone to a few common electrical problems due to a combination of climate and aging wiring.
Lights That Flicker When It's Windy
This is likely due to frayed wiring in your weatherhead (the connection between the power lines and your home).
Do not attempt to fix this on your own. This has a strong potential of starting a fire and should be dealt with by the utility ASAP.
Lights Dim When an Appliance Is Turned On
This is most often due to a circuit that is forced to supply more power than it was rated for. If your fridge is on the same circuit as your kitchen lights or outlets, you may see the lights flicker when the compressor is activated- particularly in older homes.
Other causes of randomly dimming lights are improper wiring, loose/damaged/corroded wiring, or problems with the power grid beyond your control.
Circuit Breaker Is Constantly Tripping
Many people simply reset the breaker and carry on- you should never ignore when your circuit breaker trips.
A breaker trips when it is overloaded. If this happens, assess the circuit to ensure that it is not overloaded. Overloaded circuits can overheat (especially true with older wiring, common in Montreal and Laval) and can be a real fire hazard. If you can't find what overloads the circuit, call us!
Plugs Fall out of Outlets
This is likely due to one of two reasons:
The prongs on the plug are bent or damaged. Damaged prongs should never be put into an electrical outlet.
The outlet is damaged. If so, replace the outlet as soon as possible. This is a relatively simple and inexpensive process, though we are happy to help if you'd prefer to leave the electrical stuff to us.
We know more than anyone the capability and power of electricity. That is why we are quick to stress the importance of adhering to electrical safety best practices.
Electricity Can Be Dangerous
Because of the nature of electricity, it can be hard to observe a dangerous situation until it is too late. Unfortunately, very rarely will you receive a warning if you are about to short circuit a device or touch an electrified object.
Electrical Shocks Can Kill You
While not all shocks are fatal, know that the wiring running through your home is 240 volts and of sufficient amperage to seriously harm or kill you.
Overloaded Outlets Can Be Fire Hazards
One characteristic of electricity is that, when run through an object that provides resistance (such as a metal plug), it generates heat. The greater the resistance, the higher the potential temperature.
The more devices connected to a single circuit, and especially a single outlet, the greater the draw will be on that particular spot. Overloaded electrical outlets have caused many fires.
Always Follow These 3 Simple Rules:
Never approach an exposed wire, sparking outlets, or any kind of electrical device that appears to be damaged.
Whenever you need to work on something electrical, such as changing a light switch or replacing a light fixture, always disable the circuit from the electrical panel. Be sure to test that the circuit is disabled before beginning any electrical work.
Ensure all electrical work in your home meets appropriate codes.
In short, applying some proactive thinking towards electricity is a great way to ensure that you remain safe from electrical hazards.
Your electrical panel is designed to be easy to use and understand. However, many people do not realize the potential danger that exists as a result of the misuse or abuse of an electrical panel.
Always Practice Safety, and Never Operate a Damaged Electrical Panel
Your electrical panel contains live electrical connections at voltages that are very dangerous. If your electrical panel is damaged, do not touch it. Contact us right away.
What Do Electrical Panels Do?
An electrical panel manages all of the individual circuits throughout your home. Your panel may use fuses, though all modern electrical panels found in Montreal & Laval homes use breakers.
Electrical panels primarily act as a way to manage electrical states in your home. It allows you to activate/disable circuits as needed, as well as to facilitate wiring in new circuits.
Their secondary and equally important function is safety: if an electrical fault or power surge occurs, the breakers on the panel will “trip” and disable that circuit (or, if your panel uses fuses, the fuse will burn out). Only an electrician should be manipulating your electrical panel.
In Quebec, only electricians are legally allowed to carry out work on your electrical panel.
Your electrical panel is not a toy. We have seen instances where homeowners have attempted to add new circuits to their electrical panel. The results are often disastrous.
We cannot stress enough the importance of proper electrical safety, and how important it is that all electrical work is done by a qualified electrician.