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  • What do fuses and breakers do, and how are they different from each other?"
    Electrical circuits become overloaded by plugging in too many appliances and devices, which can lead to a fire. Fuses and breakers detect this overload and cut the power to that circuit. Fuses work only once and then must be replaced. Breakers operate via a switch that requires resetting. Always replace blown fuses with one of identical capacity or you can overload the circuit without knowing it. The real question, however, is what caused that fuse or breaker to activate? It might point to a bigger problem.
  • How do you troubleshoot electrical problems?
    Electricity is complex and the problem can be well-concealed, but there are somethings you can do. Isolate the problem. If your hairdryer stops, plug it into another outlet on the circuit. If it works, then you might have loose wiring or a bad outlet. If other outlets don’t work, then the problem lies in the circuit. Check fuses and breakers. Determine if you overloaded the circuit. If the fuses and breakers are intact, the problem is someplace else, perhaps wiring that was damaged by pests, or a tripped GFCI outlet.
  • As an electrician, do you specialize in any particular area?"
    Constellation Lighting and Electric is a licensed general contractor, fully capable of addressing any electrical problem. Our passion, however, is lighting. We have spent decades studying lighting and how just a few well-placed lights can make all the difference in the look, mood, and functionality of your home. Every room has a purpose. The type of lighting you choose can make your home a treasure, or just another shadowy living space.
  • Is wiring in older homes safe? When should I consider rewiring my older home?
    Building codes change all the time in the light of technology updates and new knowledge. If your home is older than 25 years, chances are that there is an element of your electrical system that is out of code. Here are some signs: Loose or discolored outlets. A burning smell or buzzing or sizzling sounds. Melted insulation, or insulation gnawed by rats or other pests. Wiring that has cloth insulation. “Knob and tube wiring,” commonly used in homes in the East Bay area of California up until the early 1900s. Planning to remodel or expand your home? Chances are that your current electrical system might not be able to accommodate the added load.
  • When do you know it's time to replace an electric panel?
    Electrical panels routinely last 25 to 40 years, but like anything else, they do wear out. Fuses—Fuses indicate an older electrical system that might need updating. Repeated problems—Breakers and fuses that repeatedly trip, even when you have made changes to the circuit. Signs of work to the electrical panel—Additional wiring, melted components, or other evidence of repeated maintenance indicates your electrical system might have reached its lifespan. Again, remodels or expansions—Your current electrical panel may not be able to accommodate the extra demand. Electricity is a specialty field, and some problems can be complex and difficult to solve. The experts at Constellation Lighting can diagnose problems and help you avoid more costly repairs.
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