Frequently asked questions about electrical services

Q: How long has Lemberg been in business?

Lemberg Electric was founded in 1928 and offers a variety of services that include electrical, data communications, energy technology and signs.

Q: Is Lemberg licensed, bonded and insured?

We carry an active license for the state of Wisconsin which allows our electricians to register and perform work in all jurisdictions in the state. Lemberg also exceeds the amount of state required general liability insurance as well as worker’s compensation insurance. We are bonded through a nationally recognized bonding and insurance company.

Q: Does Lemberg perform insurance work?

We will carry out various kinds of insurance and restoration work. We do request payment from the client upon services rendered.

Q: How much do electrical service estimates cost?

Our estimates are free.

Q: Will I get the same electrical technician each time I call?

Every client has different needs. Some clients need a single point-of-contact through which a long-standing relationship can be established. This one-on-one relationship helps establish trust, allowing for efficient maintenance and emergency service. That means less downtime for you.

Q: What is a GFCI device or breaker?

GFCI is an abbreviation for a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. It is a specially designed receptacle normally used in wet locations (ex. bathrooms) to protect an individual from electrical shock. A GFCI measures the resistance on the positive and negative loads connected to it. If there is an imbalance in either of the two loads, the GFCI trips.

Q: What are the buttons on my GFCI outlet?

One of the buttons is a test button. When pressed, it should deactivate the outlet and any other outlet fed from it. This indicates a properly functioning device. The other button is a reset button that, when depressed, should reactivate any connected outlets in the event of a deactivation that results from a fault.

Q: What should I do if my lights, switches or receptacles do not work?

Below is a checklist to run through at the first sign of an electrical problem. If the problem persists, please contact us and we will be happy to assist you. If the outlet is controlled by a switch, check the operation of the switch.

  • Check to see if any circuit breakers are tripped or if any fuses have blown.
  • Check to see if any GFCI receptacles have tripped.
  • Check light bulbs and replace if necessary.

Q: Why does my circuit breaker trip or fuses blow?

Except in the case of GFI/AFI circuit breakers, which are susceptible to moisture and weather conditions, the fuses or circuit breakers should not trip. This is a sign of an overload or short circuit condition. The problem may be resolved by plugging appliances into different receptacles (ones that are connected to different circuits). Check to see if a plugged in appliance or power cord has any signs of damage and is causing the problem. One possible solution may be to install a new circuit in order to split the circuit load.

Q: How do I reset my breaker when it has tripped off?

First, disconnect any additional devices that may have caused the breaker to overload and trip. Breakers are mechanical devices and must be turned all the way off before turning back on. Remember this is a mechanical device, so this may require several attempts. If this fails to reset the breaker, there may be a more serious problem.

Q: Why do the light bulbs in my fixtures burn out so often?

This can be caused by any of the following:

  • Use of generic bulbs
  • Use of large wattage bulbs
  • Power surges
  • Loose wiring connections
  • Corrosion

Q: Do my kitchen receptacles need to be different than receptacles in other rooms?

Generally speaking, all outlets within six feet of a sink or above the countertop in a kitchen should be protected, either by a GFCI receptacle or GFCI circuit breaker. There are other specific requirements for safe wiring in the kitchen, so be sure to consult your electrical contractor when the occasion arises.

Q: Can I plug my Christmas lights into the 120 volt outlet on the exterior of my home?

Yes. Within reason, if the quantity of lights creates a load greater than the capacity of the circuit breaker, the breaker will trip off. In this event, additional circuits may be required to accommodate your holiday display. All exterior receptacles should be GFCI.

Q: What is an arc fault?

An arc fault is an unintentional electrical discharge. This is a problem that even the most safety-conscious homeowner can’t always avoid, because arc faults are usually caused by undetected problems such as damaged extension cords, improperly installed wall receptacles and electrical cables that have been pierced by picture-hanging nails. An arc fault can be extremely dangerous because it can ignite combustible materials and cause fires. Though arc faults cannot always be prevented, installing an AFCI (Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter) can ensure that arc faults are stopped and prevent any damage that may result from one.

Q: What is an AFCI?

AFCIs (Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters) are electrical devices that are designed to protect against fires caused by arcing faults in electrical wiring. The AFCI resembles a normal circuit breaker that is placed in the electrical panel except that it contains a reset button. In the event that a trip occurs power is disconnected until the arc problem has been fixed.

Q: Do fuses and circuit breakers serve the same purpose as AFCIs?

No. Fuses and circuit breakers are not capable of detecting low-level arcs. Only AFCIs are specifically designed for that purpose.

Q: Is an AFCI required by the National Electrical Code?

Yes. Combination type AFCIs are required by the National Electrical Code on many circuits in newly constructed homes, and it is a good idea to update your existing electrical system to include AFCI breakers or receptacles in accordance with the National Electrical Code recommendations.

Q: What is a surge protector?

A surge protector is an appliance that protects an electrical device from voltage spikes. A surge protector is designed to limit the voltage flow to an electric device by blocking any unwanted voltages above a safe threshold.

Q: How does a surge protector work?

Once the surge protector is in place and connected to your load center, telephone service or cable service, it will redirect surges to the ground and dissipate the energy. The surge protection selected must be UL rated on response time. A point to remember is that the greater the surge current rating, the longer the surge protector will last.

Q: How can I protect expensive electronics in my home from power surges?

For our residential clients, we recommend a “Whole House” surge protection system. These devices are easily installed with minor interruptions to service. The devices we install include simple to understand monitoring lights to make sure they are operating.

Q: If I have surge and lightning protection on my main service should I use point-of-use surge plug-ins at my TV, stereo, computer, etc.?

Yes. Main line surge protection is not an absolute guarantee and any additional surge protection downstream in the system offers a greater level of security.

Q: I have surge and lightning protection on my home. Am I totally safe from lightning strikes?

No. Surge/lightning protection only offers protection in levels as each component is installed and cannot completely eradicate risk. Additionally, once they have been utilized, they must be replaced.

Q: Can I perform my own electrical work?

Electrical work is complex, potentially dangerous and requires a good deal of training, and for good reason. Furthermore, every municipality has its own set of electrical regulations and codes. It may be tempting to troubleshoot your own electrical system, but if you are the least bit unsure of how to address problems or how to install electrical components in conformity to regulations, it’s best to call a professional electrician.

Q: How can I spot potential electrical hazards in my home?

Among the most frequent and easily detected electrical hazards is an overloaded electrical system. The signs and symptoms of this are usually pretty clear. If your lights temporarily dim or flicker when an appliance (dishwasher, air conditioner, refrigerator, etc.) kicks on, if the light switches in your home are hot when you touch them, or if you find that your circuit breaker is tripping very frequently, it is important to address the situation with a professional. An overloaded electrical system is very dangerous, and can lead to injury or cause a fire.

Q: Can a ceiling fan be installed anywhere?

A ceiling fan must be installed using an outlet box capable of handling the weight and motion of the fan. Fan rated boxes are generally designed to hold up to 71lbs. whereas a typical fixture box is designed for light fixtures up to 30lbs.

Q: Can I hang a ceiling fan where a light is?

Yes, but first you must make sure the electrical box is properly braced and rated for the weight and torque of the ceiling fan you are installing.

Q: The kids are always leaving the lights on – What can I do?

A simple solution is to install motion activated switches. These devices are self-timed and can be adjusted for length of operation. The devices can replace an existing wall switch.

Q: How often should I test my electrical equipment?

Electrical equipment should be visually checked to spot early signs of damage or deterioration. Equipment should be more thoroughly tested by a competent person often enough that there is little chance that the equipment will become dangerous between tests. We typically recommend annual inspections.

Q: We still have round fuses instead of circuit breakers. Is this a safety issue?

It is not a safety issue unless the fuse box is damaged or deteriorating. Fuses are actually more sensitive than circuit breakers. Although it is not necessarily a safety issue, you may consider updating to a circuit breaker considering that fuses are used once and then thrown away, and insurance companies require circuit breakers for most home policies.

Q: Are our two-prong electrical receptacles still ok to use?

Many appliances and electrical devices today come with three-prong plugs. The third prong is for grounding purposes. For safety reasons, it is advisable to have everything in your home properly grounded. We strongly recommend that they be changed to grounded receptacles.

Q: My smoke detector keeps chirping. What does this mean?

An intermittent chirp is probably an indication of a defective smoke detector. A consistent chirp is usually an indication of a low battery.

Q: When my air conditioner cycles on, I notice my lights flicker. Is this normal?

Yes. This is a common occurrence when a large motor/compressor load starts. These devices cause a minor momentary voltage drop, demonstrating itself as the blinking in your lights. This has no negative effect on the electrical equipment within your house.

Q: Can I plug any 120 volt device I wish into my regular 120 volt receptacles throughout my house?

Yes, but if the device exceeds the amperage capacity of the circuit, the breaker will trip off.

Q: Can I plug my coffee pot and toaster oven into the same kitchen counter receptacle?

Yes. However, if the two loads exceed 20 amps, your breaker will sense overload, do its job and trip off. Under this condition, you must plug one of the appliances into a different kitchen receptacle on a different circuit in order to balance the load.

Q: Can I dim fluorescent lights?

Yes. Dimming fluorescent lights requires not only a special dimmer, but also special fixtures with dimming ballasts. You cannot place a typical incandescent dimmer on an existing fluorescent fixture.

Q: What does it mean when my fluorescent lights are flickering or cycling on and off?

Flickering may indicate impending lamp failure, minor power fluctuation, and/or improperly installed lamps. Cycling on and off is usually a clear indication of ballast and/or lamp failure. It is recommended to replace lamps when replacing a ballast.

Q: Do I need to replace a receptacle if the plug is loose?

Yes. A loose plug in a receptacle results in high electrical resistance. Electrical resistance causes overheating, which often results in fire. An overheating receptacle may also damage the connected device or appliance.

Q: If a circuit breaker trips, is this dangerous?

Frequent breaker trips could be a sign that the circuit is being overloaded somewhere in the property. A wire, socket or appliance could be overheating, which could eventually cause a fire.