February Electrical FAQs | Milton Electric, Baltimore

February FAQs

As Baltimore’s trusted electric company, we hear lots of questions from homeowners. This month, we shed some light on some of your most common concerns.

Man on cellphone covered in soot holding smoking electrical wires

Why do I need to hire an electrician? Can’t I do my own repairs?

DIY is common for homeowners, but when it comes to electricity, it’s best left to professionals. Your home’s electrical system is complicated—and do-it-yourself mistakes could be deadly.

I have two-prong outlets, can I just replace the outlets?

Well, yes and no. Some two-prong outlets have a ground present. Have an electrician check to see if that’s the case. If it is present, you can replace it with a three-prong outlet. If not, a new wire will need to be run.

Close up of GFCI Outlet showing test and reset buttons

What is a GFCI, and where should they be installed?

GFCIs are ground fault circuit interrupters. They prevent thousands of accidental shock injuries and electrocutions each year. A GFCI looks like a normal outlet, except it includes a “Reset” and “Test” button. GFCI’s cut off the flow of electricity from current that has strayed from a circuit, preventing electrical fires. The new 2020 Electrical Code mandates GFCI’s should be installed at all outlets in the home.

How do I know when an electrical outlet needs to be repaired or replaced?

There may be a buzzing sound coming from the outlet, especially when plugging in appliances. If outlets spark, have loose-fitting plugs, or outlet faces have burn marks, you’ll also know it’s time.

Man showing holding 9V battery and smoke detector

Why is my smoke detector chirping?

This is happening to alert you that the battery is low. You should either replace the battery or consider replacing the whole smoke detector with a new smoke detector that has a 10-year built in lithium battery. That way, you’ll never have to worry about changing the battery, you just replace the device once per decade!

What should I consider when choosing a ceiling fan?

  • Where it is to be installed
  • The size of the room
  • Whether you’d like a remote control
  • If you’d prefer it to come with a light kit or without

There is a buzzing sound coming from inside my panel. What should I do?

This is often the first indicator of an electrical problem. Your panel may need to be replaced.

There is a breaker in my panel that is hot to the touch; is this normal?

No. Breakers should not get hot. If a breaker is overloaded, it will begin to lose electricity in the form of heat. Have it checked out by an electrician.

Bottom line: When in doubt – call a professional

It’s not worth risking an electric fire or other hazards by waiting too long or trying to fix yourself. Our electricians are licensed and bonded and specialize in both residential and commercial work. We’re here to help! Give us a call at 410-276-3420.