Buhl Service Line: 703.450.2100
Buhl Emergency Line: 571.722.5170
The electrical system in your new home has a limited warranty period from the date of settlement. If you experience receptacles or lightning not working throughout your home, please check your panel box to be sure that all breakers are in the on position. If a breaker has tripped and will not reset, please call the number below for service. For additional problems, please check the following items below before placing a service call.
For your protection, all outlets in your bathrooms, unfinished basement areas, garages, kitchen countertops, and all outlets on the outside of your home are connected to several G.F.I receptacles located throughout your home. These G.F.I receptacles are different from normal receptacles in that they have a test and reset button on the face of the outlet. These G.F.I receptacles could be located in any of the locations listed above. Should an outlet in one of these areas not work, unplug all items on the corresponding G.F.I circuit and push in the reset button on the G.F.I circuit. (The kitchen and bathrooms are separate from the basement and outside outlets).
You must clean and vacuum openings of your smoke detector at least once per month. Should your smoke detector(s) sound for no apparent reason, try vacuuming the openings. Your smoke detectors are equipped with a battery back-up. In the event your home is without power, your smoke detectors will still operate. When those batteries need replacing, the smoke detector(s) will emit a chirping sound. Batteries should be replaced once a year as a safety precaution. The battery replacement is a 9-volt and is not covered by warranty.
Light bulbs have no guarantee from the manufacturer or Buhl Electric Company.
Please see the additional included pages for information on LED lighting and GFI protection.
The Benefits of LED Fixtures and Bulbs, and Troubleshooting
Today’s LED bulbs can be six-seven times more energy efficient than conventional incandescent lights and cut energy use by more than 80 percent.
On average, the homeowner will save $75 per bulb on the lifetime operation of an Energy Star LED bulb vs. a traditional incandescent. Multiply that times the number of bulbs in the home, and the years the home is occupied and that can add up to a considerable savings.
In addition, the life expectancy of an Energy Star LED bulb is a minimum of 15 times longer than an incandescent with the same light output. This leads to less replacement costs.
Today’s LED bulbs behave differently than conventional incandescent lights, so please see below as a reference for easy trouble shooting in your new home:
#1 – Time for Replacement / Flickering
With incandescent bulbs, knowing when to replace your bulb is easy: it simply goes out. With LEDs, the bulb may go out, but typically it will flicker instead when it is time for replacement. LEDs are designed to do this, so don’t be concerned about your electrical wiring or fixture when this occurs, simply replace the LED bulb!
#2 – Dimming
With incandescent bulbs, dimming is simple, since the brightness of the bulb is directly related to the voltage applied. Adjust the voltage applied by raising or lowering the dimmer and the brightness of the bulb will change accordingly.
The same isn’t always true with LEDs. If you use an LED bulb or fixture with an incandescent dimmer switch, you may find that the bulb:
- Doesn’t turn on at all.
- Only works at 100 percent brightness.
- Turns on but hums or buzzes loudly.
- Flickers at specific or all dimmer levels.
If using a dimmer switch, make sure your LED fixture or bulb is labeled as “dimmable” before installing. If it’s still humming or buzzing, check that you’re using the right dimmer switch for the LED.
#3 – Choosing a dimmer
LEDs feature a complex circuitry inside, referred to as the driver. This driver determines how the LED will react to different types of dimmers — and there are A LOT of different types: incandescent phase control, leading-edge, trailing-edge, three-wire Lutron, or 0 to 10V dimmers. An LED might dim just fine with one type of dimmer, but that doesn’t ensure it will work with others. Integrated LED fixtures should indicate which type of dimmer is required; LED bulb packaging should do the same.
NOTE: Not all LEDs are dimmable
The manufacturer decides whether to add a dimming capability to the circuitry of an LED bulb or fixture. Often, this means cost savings for consumers who don’t need dimming capabilities. See Kichler dimmable products.
#4 – 5 Tips for LED & Dimming
- Be sure to choose an LED bulb that the packaging describes as “dimmable”.
- Choose bulbs or integrated fixtures from established lighting manufacturers. Aside from dimming considerations, established brands are also more likely to offer better product warranties, longer lamp life and more customer support.
- Read the label and select the dimmable LEDs with the highest maximum lumen output specified for the fixture, for a greater dimming range.
- Check manufacturer websites for dimmer compatibility recommendations.
- Don’t use a standard dimmer – choose a dimmer specific for LED.
For additional information, please see below for a trusted resource on electrical troubleshooting:
GFCI Outlets and Troubleshooting
A Ground Fault Circuit Interrupt (or GFCI outlet) is a relatively new piece of technology, but an important new safeguard for your house. A GFCI outlet prevents electric shocks by sensing power surges and shutting down the flow of electricity to the plug accordingly. New homes have GFCI outlets installed in every room. Older houses may have none at all. In this case, it’s vital to your home and family’s safety that you have outlets in the kitchen, bathroom, basement, and outdoors with GFCI plugs. Appliances can short out without warning, but a GFCI outlet will quickly protect you and your home from shock and damage. A GFCI plug will immediately recognize that excess current is flowing and stop it before serious damage can be done. GFCI outlets work around-the-clock to keep your home safer.
But if you already have GFCI plugs, what should you do when one of them stops working correctly? How can you tell if the problem is in the plug, the appliance, the wiring inside your wall, or the circuit breaker box outside? Here’s a quick GFCI outlet troubleshooting guide to help you get to the bottom of things:
Possible Causes if a GFCI Outlet Frequently Trips
- Just like so many other devices around your home, GFCI outlets can wear out over time. So if your house is getting up there in years, you may simply have a worn-out plug that needs to be replaced.
- The problem could be within a device you have plugged into the outlet. Unplug everything, reset the outlet, and then plug each device into the outlet and see if it trips again.
- There are typically three wires connected to a GFCI plug: they are white, black, and a bare metal grounding wire. If the black wire touches bare metal, it can cause the outlet to trip almost constantly.
Possible Causes if a Tripped GFCI Outlet Will Not Reset
- The outlet may be worn out to the point where it no longer functions. If this is the case, replacement is the only option.
- The circuit breaker connected to the outlet may have tripped. If you notice other plugs, lights, and appliances in the area have lost power, go check out your breaker box to see if one of the switches needs to be reset.
- There could be a short in the lines somewhere between the outlet and the breaker box. This situation definitely calls for a qualified electrician.
- The GFCI outlet’s wires may have been installed incorrectly. This is another job for an electrician.
Possible Cause if a Device Plugs Fall Out of the Outlet
- Outlets rely on tension to keep plugs inside the socket and maintain connection between metal parts. If a plug falls out of a socket with no effort, the outlet is old and worn out. Time for a replacement.
Possible Cause if a GFCI Outlet is Singed, Smoking, or Smells Acrid
- All of these are additional symptoms that the GFCI outlet has failed for the last time. Turn off the circuit breaker corresponding to the affected outlet, and call an electrician to replace the receptacle. If the smoke or smell persists, call the fire department to make sure there isn’t something more going on inside the wall.
- Smoke or an acrid smell could also be caused by melting wire insulation. If you can remove the plug plate and take a look inside, examine the receptacle for melted wiring. Call an electrician if you see any insulation or wires melting.