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Frequently Asked Questions About Electrical Services & Electrical Repairs

electrical repairs maryland

At F.H. Furr, we know that you likely have many questions about your home’s electrical system and the residential electrical services we offer throughout northern Virginia, Fairfax, and Montgomery County.


FAQs: Electrical Services

My smoke detector keeps making noise. What is going on? 

An intermittent noise is an indication of a defective smoke detector, and a consistent noise could be a low battery, which needs to be changed.

Can you move my plug to the middle of my wall behind my TV, so I won’t see my cords running down the wall?

The short answer to this question is, generally, yes! Electrical outlets can often be relocated elsewhere in your wall to eliminate unsightly cords. However this process does involve cutting a new hole in your wall for the new outlet placement and patching the wall where the outlet once sat. Additionally, there are a few constraints on outlet placement, such as stud location—your residential electrician will be able to give you more details, once he sees your home.

I want to know more about the logistics of your electrical services—can you come at night or on weekends? Is there a minimum time/cost required?

F.H. Furr’s regular business hours include evenings and weekends; our electricians are on the job from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm on weekdays and 7:00 am to 5:00 pm on weekends. We also maintain an emergency service line, which you can call at 1 (800) 401-2980 for help with immediate issues after hours. F.H. Furr does not charge hidden fees or make you pay for service you are not getting.

What can I do to lower my electric bill?

Your electric bill is based upon many factors, including how often you use electricity and how much of it you use. The simplest way to reduce your electric bill is to switch lighting, ceiling fans, and appliances off when you don’t need them. If you’re ready to take further steps toward greater energy efficiency, your options include replacing incandescent light bulbs with CFLs, upgrading your home’s lighting systems to use LEDs for even greater energy savings, and upgrading your current appliances and HVAC equipment to high-efficiency models. 


FAQs: Electrical Repair/Replacement

What is a “short” or a “short circuit”? 

A short circuit occurs when the wire carrying the electrical current comes into contact the grounded conductor or equipment ground.

My exterior fixture burns out frequently. Should I get it repaired? 

Power surges can cause this as well as larger wattage bulbs that build-up heat fast and shorten the life of the bulb. If it’s becoming too frequent, you should get it repaired as soon as possible.

Why doesn't my light switch work for my lighting fixture?

There are many reasons your light switch may not work for your lighting fixture. The simplest explanation is a tripped circuit, which affects the flow of power from your switch to your lighting. Other possibilities include burned-out or corroded contacts, damaged wiring, or a problem with the wiring or light sockets in your light fixture.

If I use my toaster, turn on my microwave, and have one more thing plugged in, I blow a fuse! Can you fix that?

If you find yourself constantly blowing fuses at home, your residential electrician can definitely solve the problem. In most cases, constantly blown fuses are due to older electrical panel boxes that are simply not capable of carrying the load required for modern electronics and appliances. A heavy up pane box upgrade is the best way to eliminate this pesky problem; this electrical service will also improve the safety of your home’s electrical system and make it easier to add appliances and fixtures in the future.

Can I change an existing switch to a dimmer switch? 

Replacing any existing light switch with a dimmer switch is a simple task—as long as you’re an electrician. Installing a dimmer switch properly requires more than simply removing the old switch and replacing it with a new one. During this process, your electrician will also check the condition of the wiring, make sure the switch is properly grounded, and ensure the box is large enough to safely contain the new wiring associated with your dimmer switch. Any time you want to replace an existing switch with a dimmer switch, just call your residential electrician in Alexandria to handle the job.


FAQs: Electrical Maintenance 

How often should I test my electrical equipment? 

You should visually check for any damage or deterioration to your electrical equipment at least once a month.

How often should I get my electrical system maintained? 

Call about every year to get your electrical system tested out for better maintenance.

Why should I replace my Zinsco panel?

Zinsco electrical equipment was primarily produced in the early 1930s. Thus, by today’s standards, these electrical panels are woefully out of date. Furthermore, Zinsco panels have a known design flaw that can cause arcing and overheating in the electrical panel, which is a significant safety risk. If your northern Virginia home still employs a Zinsco electrical panel, you should schedule a panel box upgrade for both safety and convenience.

I have fuse panels running my electricity. How safe is that?

In theory, a properly-installed and maintained fuse panel can be as safe as a circuit breaker. However, in the vast majority of homes, fuse panels are not considered safe. This is because any electrical system that uses a fuse panel is undoubtedly old, and older electrical systems suffer from both wear and tear and an inability to keep up with modern electrical needs. In short, if your home’s electrical system relies on a fuse panel, it’s likely unsafe—contact your residential electrician for a panel box upgrade to a modern circuit breaker system.

Can I double tap my electrical panel?

No—double tapped electrical panels are not only considered a defect, they are considered a serious fire hazard. Double tapping means that a single circuit in your breaker is attached to two separate wires. This is a fire hazard because circuits are not meant to handle multiple connections and these wires can easily come loose, causing sparks that will lead to fire. If your electrical panel is double tapped, contact your electrician for electrical repair immediately.

Why do my smoke detectors chirp?

There are two main reasons that smoke detectors chirp: low batteries and a mis-wired or defunct detector. If your smoke detectors are chirping, change the batteries to see if this solves the issue. Smoke detectors that continue to chirp after battery replacement have sustained internal electrical damage or have reached the end of their functional lifetime; your residential electrician can repair the writing or replace the defunct detector to ensure your home’s smoke detection system remains intact.