Frequently Ask Questions

What should I know about electrical panels?

Electricity enters your home from your Local Distribution Company through the service entrance at the main switch. From the main switch, the panelboard or fuse box splits power into circuits that distribute electricity throughout your home or business. Each circuit is protected by a fuse or circuit breaker. Fuses and circuit breakers detect short circuits and overloading, which causes a fuse to blow or a circuit breaker to trip.

What do I do if I have reset the breaker but my power is still out?

The first thing to do is find out what the cause of the trip is and correct it. In order to reset a breaker in your electrical panel, you must push the breaker firmly to the “Off” position, which then resets it. Then you must push it back to the “On” position. Most customers do not push the breaker hard enough past the off (tripped) position, and assume it is reset. If you have reset the breaker correctly and still have no power, call one of Hotwire Electric’s licensed electricians to fix the problem. If your breakers trip too frequently, it is possible that your breakers have been worn out.

Why do some outlets and lights work intermittently in a room?

Electrical outlets and lights could be working on a separate circuit than those that do not work. It is also possible an outlet is faulty. Some outlets and light switches simply wear out and may just need to be replaced. Make sure you check your electrical panel’s breakers to ensure there are no tripped breakers. If all the breakers are reset and on and you still cannot get power, call a licensed Hotwire Electric electrician today.

If a light fixture is flickering in my house, what should I do?

A flickering light could be a loose connection in the circuit or it could also be a problem outside your house—especially if all the lights in the house seem to be flickering. In this type of situation, we recommend not to use the lights and immediately call a licensed electrician to check it out.

How does hiring a licensed electrician protect me?

You are protected because Hotwire Electric electricians carry an active general liability policy, automobile policy, and workman’s compensation insurance policy in order to perform business on your property.

Can’t I just do my own electrical wiring repair work?

If you need to pull a permit, you’ll have to be licensed by the province. Other things to consider include: Do you know what the load calculation is for your homes electrical usage? Do you know what it takes to make the electrical repairs up to Ontario Electrical Safety Code? Did you know that when you sell your home, your electrical system has to meet current codes and inspections? If you answered no to these questions you’d be better off calling HOTWIRE ELECTRIC Electrical Services.

Do you have to be licensed by the province to work as an electrician in Ontario?

Yes. Even if you’re just working as a helper, you must carry an apprentice license. Before starting any electrical installation you should check with the city to see if a permit is required. One of the benefits of using Hotwire Electric is that we handle the permit process for you. Our electrical wiring jobs are done according to Ontario Electrical Safety Code. This is the governing body when it comes to call city inspectors and city codes.

Do you install temporary power poles?

Yes, we do install temporary power poles. We make arrangements once permanent power has been placed to pick up the poles for future use.

My electrical wiring is made of aluminum, is this dangerous?

The problem with aluminum wiring is that it expands and contracts, which creates an arcing problem. When it arcs it usually does so without tripping the breaker. This is a definite fire hazard.

What are the signs of potential electrical hazards in the home?

Some things to look for: Room lights dim when the refrigerator or air conditioner kicks on; the television screen shrinks; circuit breakers frequently trip; outlets or dimmer switches seem hot to the touch. These conditions indicate that the electrical wiring in your house is overloaded.

Is an old-fashioned fuse box a hazard?

When fuse boxes were in widespread use, most homes had only 30 or 60-ampere service. Today’s homes need at least 100-ampere service to safely supply power for major appliances. If you have a fuse box and you’ve added any large appliances over the years, We recommend that you have your home wiring inspected to make sure it is still safe.

There’s an important difference between a fuse panel and breaker panel. Both devices are designed to trip (turn off) in the event of an electrical overload, i.e. 20 amps of electrical load on a 15 amp circuit would cause a trip. But a breaker is mechanical and may be reset. A fuse, however, is one time only and must be replaced. Note that modern breakers are much more efficient and offer greater levels of protection.

How can I tell when an electrical outlet isn’t safe?

There are three indicators of an unsafe outlet: If an outlet can no longer hold a plug snugly; if any parts of the outlet are broken; or if the outlet feels hot to the touch. If any of these conditions exist, we can replace the outlet for you.

Can I add more outlets in the kitchen?

Most likely, yes. However, don’t forget the requirements for GFCI outlets in the kitchen.

What should I do if my lights, switches, and receptacles don’t work?

Check to see if the outlet is on a switch. Check and reset GFCI outlets and circuit breaker. Check light bulbs and replace, if necessary. If none of these are the problem, call us at Hotwire Electric 416-553-5533.

My smoke detector keeps chirping. What does this mean?

This could mean one of two things.
1. An intermittent chirp is probably an indication of a defective smoke detector.
2. A consistent chirp is probably an indication of a low battery condition, and the smoke detector requires a new battery.

Why do I blow fuses or why does my circuit breaker trip?

Except in the case of ground fault interrupters, which are susceptible to moisture and/or weather conditions, fuses and circuit breakers should never trip during normal operation. Check to see if some type of plugged in appliance is causing the problem.

What is a GFCI device or breaker?

GFCI stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. In layman’s terms, this device protects you from electrical shock. When it senses the slightest increase in resistance resulting from ground fault, (i.e., the use of electrical devices in or near water), it trips off to protect you.

The black button is a test button and when pressed, it should deactivate the outlet and any other outlet fed from it – indicating a properly functioning device.

The red button is the reset button that you depress to reactivate the outlet or outlets in the event of deactivation resulting from a fault.

How do I reset my breaker when it has tripped?

First, disconnect any additional devices that may have caused the breaker to overload and trip. Breakers are mechanical devices and must be turned all the way off before turning back on. Remember, this is a mechanical device, so this may require several attempts. If this fails to reset the breaker; there may be a more serious problem.

Why do the bulbs in my exterior fixture burn out so often?

This is usually caused by several factors.
1. Use of non-brand name bulbs.
2. Larger wattage bulbs, which cause excessive, heat build-up shorting the life of the bulb.
3. Power Surges.


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