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Can I change all of the outlets in my house that are 2 prong (have 2 slots) to 3 prong (3 slots).

3 prong outlets require a 3rd wire (ground wire) as oppose to 2 prong outlets which only require 2 wires. Most modern appliances come equipped with a 3 prong male plug. The 3 prong plug is far safer than the older 2 prong.

  • In some older homes all wiring is inside of a metal pipe called conduit. This pipe or conduit can be used as the 3rd wire. This makes installing new outlets pretty easy
  • We can install a new ground wire if one does not exist. This requires fishing new wire through your homes walls
  • A GFI receptacle can be installed in place of your old 2 prong outlets.

If you are working on your homes electrical outlets and notice a “jumper” wire between the green ground screw and the silver neutral screw, call an Electrician and have him check out all of the outlets in your home.

My home inspection report says that my house has Knob and Tube wiring. What is that?

Many houses constructed pre 1950's have what is called knob and tube wiring.  To determine if your home is wired " knob and tube", look for ceramic knobs or tubes in which the wire gets attached to, or passes through, joists or studs.  Home owners with knob and tube wiring may find it difficult or impossible to obtain insurance on their home because most insurance companies are reluctant to insure a house they perceive as risky.

Knob and tube wiring is most dangerous when it comes into contact with insulation. If you plan to insulate the walls or attic of your home and you have knob and tube wiring, call an Electrician first!

I was reading online about Home Power Factor Correction devices. I guess they are installed at your electric meter and can save you money on your electric bill. Can you install one for me?

If you've seen an Internet ad for capacitor-type power factor correction devices, you might be led to believe that using one can save you money on your residential electricity bill. However, a team including specialists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have recently explained why the devices actually provide no savings by discussing the underlying physics.

Half of my house is wired with aluminum wire. I’ve heard that this is unsafe?

Aluminum wiring, used in some homes from the mid 1960's to the early 1970's, is a potential fire hazard. If you notice any of the following problems, call an electrician immediately:

  • warm switch or receptacle face plates.
  • strange or distinctive odor or the smell of burning plastic in the vicinity of a receptacle or switch.
  • flickering of lights not traceable to appliances or obvious external causes.

What is a gfi outlet? What does it do?

The National electric Code insists that Gfi (also known as gfci) outlets need to be installed kitchens, bathrooms, outdoors, garages, and anywhere near water. Gfi receptacles are important because if there is the slightest electrical problem, the GFI immediately shuts off the power. This is an important safety feature.

Simply put, GFI's save lives. In the event of an electric shock, current runs through the victim away from the source. GFCI's sense this and shut off automatically.

I have a Federal Pacific Brand circuit breaker panel in my garage. Are these breakers safe?

Federal Pacific Stab-Lock panels and their breakers are trouble prone and unreliable. Problems not only include breakers that fail to trip, but also arcing at the bus bars. The connections between the bus and the breakers sometimes loosen with age, and use, this can cause arcing. This arcing is on the back of the breakers and can’t be seen without removing the breakers.

My circuit breaker tripped when I turned on too many appliances in my kitchen. I turned some of them off and then reset the breaker but the outlets are still not working. What is wrong?

Circuit breakers can be in the “on” position, “off” position, and in the “tripped” position. A tripped breaker will usually look like it is stuck in between on and off. To reset a circuit breaker you must turn the breaker all the way to the off position and then return in to the on position. Many times we are called out to homes because the circuit breaker was simply turned to the on position without being turned to the off position first!

What is a whole house surge protector?

Most people are familiar with surge protectors that are used for computers and home entertainment equipment. These are important because they protect expensive equipment from being destroyed by power surges. The “whole house surge protector” is available now at a fairly low cost and can protect your entire electrical system in the case of a power surge.  They are installed at your main electrical panel.


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Mission Electrical Service
CA License #934069
4629 Cass Street #75
San Diego,
CA 92109


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