Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some frequently asked questions, which we have answers to, that can help you determine when it is necessary to call on the services of a professionally trained electrician.

How do I know I need an

  • Lights flicker.

  • Outlets or switches do not function properly.

  • Outlets sparks when you try to use.

  • Older home with wiring prior to 1975.

  • Outlets not grounded.

  • Breakers tripping.

  • Old electrical meter and breaker panels with outdated breakers.

FAQ image
What do I need to consider when re-wiring my home?
  • We will be glad to come out and assist you in planning.

  • Our staff can guide you though all the steps for a successful project.

  • We will make sure all systems meet electrical codes.

  • Upgrade the main service panel to at least 200 amps.

  • Install dedicated circuits in the service panel for each of the home’s major appliances.

  • Space electrical outlets six to eight feet apart throughout the house that will eliminate the need to run extension cords that could be a fire hazard.

  • When installing new outlets, install only the three-prong type to avoid electrical shocks.

  • Install outlets with ground-fault circuit interrupters in the kitchen, bathrooms and outdoors. These outlets will shut themselves down to prevent an electrical shock if they get wet.

I have an older home.  How do I know I need to upgrade the electrical?
  • Older homes build prior to 1975 were not required to have a ground wire ran to each outlet and light. In 1971, the NEC published a new requirement that ALL receptacles in homes have a ground slot and be properly grounded. This became widely adopted by building codes by 1974, which solved the problem in new work, but didn’t do much about the millions of homes built with two slot receptacles. The purpose of a ground wire is to give excess electrical charges a safe place to go.

  • Frequent blown fuses or tripped breakers.

  • An over-amped or over-fused electrical panel.

  • Dimming or flickering lights, indicating the circuit is overloaded or has a loose connection.

  • Hot or discolored switch plates, cords, or plugs.

  • Light bulbs that frequently burn out in a socket, signaling a fixture that cannot handle the bulb wattage.

  • Buzzing or sizzling sounds.

  • A burning smell.

  • Arcs or sparks from an outlet when you plug or unplug a cord.

  • Loose outlets.

  • Cracked, cut, or broken insulation.

  • Electrical shock when you plug in or touch a cord.

Can you run electricity to my pool or shed?
  • Starnes electricians have many years of experience wiring pools and outbuildings. We will be glad to come out and give a free estimate for your project. Give us a call, we will be glad to help.

What materials are best for outdoor lighting?
  • Stainless steel – steel with a chromium oxide layer that lets it shine.

  • Red metals (brass, copper, bronze) – luxury metals for the fancy.

  • Aluminum – common in outdoor fixtures and more.

When should you get a new electrical panel?
  • You Live in an Older Home.

  • Lights Often Flicker, Even Turning Off for a Few Seconds.

  • Breaker Trips Whenever You Turn on an Energy-Hungry Appliance.

  • Frequent Tripping of the Breaker.

  • Touching Light Switches or Outlets Gives You Electric Shocks.

  • Blackened or Burned Spot on the Breaker Box.

  • Burnt Smells from the Breaker Box or Wall Outlets.

  • Hissing or Crackling Sounds from the Breaker Box.

  • Overheating Appliances.

  • Sparks Come Out of Wall Outlets When Plugging in an Appliance.

When should you get a new electrical panel?

Keep in mind that all it takes for a fire to become life-threatening is two minutes. Three minutes more and an entire house can go up in flames.

Bring your risks of house fires down by getting your old or faulty electrical panel replaced. If you are still unsure of what’s causing your flickering lights, please feel free to ring us up. We will gladly answer all your electricity-related questions!

What is the benefit of hiring an electrician over a handyman?
  • Our electricians are up to date on all electrical codes for our area.

  • Our Team undergo extensive training to learn how to manage electricity safely. And while a handyman may say they abide by safety standards, without a permit, there is no way you can know. Shoddy repairs and faulty wiring can cause electric shocks and house fires. Electricians have liability insurance in addition to their safety training, so if anything goes awry as a result of their error, they will be held responsible.

Other Questions:
  • 1

    How much does it cost to re-wire a 1500 square foot house?

  • 2

    How much does it cost to install a ceiling fan?

  • 3

    How much does it cost to install a light fixture?

  • 4

    How much does it cost to install recessed lighting?

Every home is different, call Starnes Electric and schedule your free assessment.