Frequently Asked 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 fusebox 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.

How do I reset a breaker?

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 Janbar Electric. If your breakers trip too frequently, it is possible that your breakers have been worn out or there is an underlying issue that one of our licensed electricians should investigate.

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 call a Janbar Electric licensed electrician to check it out.

If I hire a licensed electrician, how does this protect me?

You are protected because Janbar 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?

First, you will need to pull a permit and you will have to have your work inspected by ESA. 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? If you answered no to these questions you’d be better off calling Janbar Electric.

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

Yes. Even if you are just working as a helper you must carry an apprentice license. What should I know about electrical permits & codes? Before starting any electrical installation you will need to apply for a permit through ESA. One of the benefits of using Janbar Electric is that we handle the permit process for you. Our electrical wiring jobs are done according to Ontario Electrical Safety Code.

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

The problem with aluminum wiring is that it expands and contracts creating 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; circuit breakers frequently trip; outlets or dimmer switches seem hot to the touch. These conditions indicate that there could be an electrical issue in the home.

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, it is recommended that you have your home wiring inspected to make sure it is still safe. The difference between a fuse panel and breaker panel, Both devices, either breaker or fuse, 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. The only difference is that a breaker is mechanical and may be reset. Whereas, a fuse is one time only and must be replaced. Please Note: 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 come take a look and replace the outlet if needed.

Can I add more outlets in the kitchen?

Most likely, yes. However, don’t forget the requirements for GFCI outlets and separate dedicated circuits 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 Janbar Electric.

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

The red button is the reset button needs to be pushed to reactivate the outlet or outlets in the event of deactivation resulting from a fault/test.

My smoke detector keeps chirping. What does this mean?

This could mean a few things.

  1. An intermittent chirp could be an indication of a defective smoke detector.
  2. A consistent chirp could be an indication of a low battery condition, and the smoke detector requires a new battery.

How to Choose an Electrician

Questions to Ask Before Hiring an Electrician:

Do They Protect The Customer?

Our electricians go through stringent schooling and on the job training before they are sent to work with a customer. When we complete a job, we leave it clean and free of hazards with a 100% guarantee.

Do They Have Fully Stocked Trucks?

Having a truck fully stocked with all the tools and basic materials needed to do the job enables an electrician to do your job more efficiently. This will usually save you both time and money.

Do They Have A Good Reputation?

The best way to check this is to ask for references. A contractor with a good reputation will be glad to provide references and possibly even have customer testimonials for you to review.

Do They Have Liability Insurance?

To adequately protect your property, all contractors should carry a minimum of one million dollars in liability insurance.

Get the Best Electrician for a Great Price

Hiring the right electrician can make a big difference in the price and quality of your job. Before you hire any electrician, we suggest that you ask them the eight questions listed above.

At Janbar Electric, we'll do our best to help you make an informed decision about any electrical work you may need. Please feel free to call us any time.

To schedule service call us today – 613-392-1406

Is Janbar Electric licensed and insured?

Yes, all our vehicles include at least one fully licensed electrician and we meet the full Licensing Requirements of the Electrical Contractor Registration Agency (ECRA) and electrical safety authority (ESA). We also carry a liability coverage of $5,000,000.00 (Industry standard is $2M) we also carry a full WSIB plan. Our electricians guarantee both quality and safety. We supervise each project to ensure this.

Why is it important to hire a properly licensed electrician?

Electrical work is very specialized. It takes over 5 years to get an Electrician’s License. An unlicensed electrician may not be up to date on code regulations or even aware of some safety codes, they may also not have the proper tools. All of this can lead to future problems in your electrical system which could result in a fire or put people in danger of injury or death. Electrician is a very precise and potentially dangerous profession, untrained electricians are more prone to work accidents and you may become the subject of a lawsuit. They might also lead to having to hire a licensed electrician to fix the problems left by an inexperienced electrician resulting in extra costs. If you do develop a problem, insurance companies do not cover damages associated with unlicensed contractors. Basically electricians are licensed to protect you, your co-workers, and your property.

How much experience does Janbar have?

Janbar Electric has the resources, equipment and over 40 years of business experience to efficiently deliver the electrical services you need. We are proud of our professional service, and industry knowledge. we offer strong consulting services, which result in having the right tools and expertise for every situation Always at a competitive price.

What area does Janbar Electric service to?

We give you convenience and accessibility by servicing the Quinte area and also Coburg to Kingston, Picton to Madoc and Tweed. Janbar Electric serves the commercial, industrial, residential sectors and we also serve property management companies.

How can I pay?

We accept Visa and Mastercard, as well as cheque and cash.

What kind of guarantees do you offer?

All our work is fully insured and comes with warranty. We have a standard 1 year warranty on all work performed. If you have any questions, please give us a call.

My “Brother-in-law, neighbour, Handyman, Guy-Down-the-Hall”, etc., says he can probably ‘do this’ for a lot less.

Like anything in life, you get what you pay for. Janbar Electric pays top rates to be sure we have above average staff. You won’t really save that much and you could lose A LOT! Remember, not all electricians are equal. Go with the best.

Ontario Electrical FAQ

These are the most common electrical questions asked by our clients in the Quinte and surrounding area. Contact us today at 613-392-1406 so that we can discuss your electrical needs, since each electrical configuration and design is different we will study your case and provide the best options for your configuration.

When is it time to call a Janbar electrician?

  • When you are resetting circuit breakers or changing fuses too often.
  • When you turn on your air conditioner and the lights dim in the room.
  • When your lights flicker or go on and off.
  • When you can smell electricity burning.
  • When you have six electronic devices going into one outlet in back of your electronics center.
  • When you have receptacle outlets overburdened by multi-plug strips.
  • When a three-prong plug needs a two-prong adapter. If you have to run extension cords to plug in electrical devices.
  • If you have knob and tube wiring/aluminum wiring/old, ungrounded wiring
  • When you want to request installation of a generator, alarm system, home theatre system
  • When you have any other electrical questions or concerns

What size service do I install in my home?

Most provinces call for 100 amps minimum, but with all the new electronic devices, air conditioning and electric heat, we suggest 200 amps, especially in new homes. This also gives you some space for future additions. A service upgrade is not a job for an unlicensed person to attempt. In most cases it involves replacing everything from the service loop (this is the wire that extends from the top of your meter to the utility tie in) up to and including the main panel.

Are G.F.C.I. receptacles important?

Found generally in bathrooms, the ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) is there to protect people from electrical shock. A GFCI monitors the amount of current flowing from hot to neutral. If there is any imbalance, it trips the circuit. It is able to sense a mismatch as small as 4 or 5 milliamps, and it can react as quickly as one-thirtieth of a second.

How much should I attempt on my own?

Presently in Ontario, a home owner is able to obtain permits and do their own electrical work. But doing electrical work yourself is a gamble. In Ontario if a homeowner does his own work and it results in damage of fire, his homeowners insurance may not pay, they may only pay if the work is done by a licensed Electrical Contractor. How much are you willing to risk to save money. There is a reason why it takes so much training to become an electrician. Do not make a mistake by taking electricity lightly, even the smallest job could be a safety hazard. Why take a chance? Get a professional to do this work.

The most dangerous time is when you tell yourself "This is easy. I can do it myself. Why should I get an electrician?" Then, when you don't remember where all those wires went, or your hair is standing straight up, you say to yourself. "Well maybe we better call someone to straighten up this mess". Now it will cost you double what you thought you were going to save in the beginning.

What are Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCI)?

An Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) is a circuit breaker designed to prevent fires by detecting a non-working (i.e., non-intended/non-useful) electrical arc and disconnecting the power before the arc starts a fire. An AFCI should, but may not always, distinguish between a working arc that may occur in the brushes of a vacuum cleaner, on operation of a light switch, on insertion / removal of a plug into an electrical receptacle, or during the operation of other household devices and a non-working arc that can occur — for example a lamp cord that has a broken conductor in the cord from overuse. Arc faults in a home are one of the leading causes for household fires.

What is the purpose of home surge protection?

By recognizing electrical hazards that may be present in your home, you can protect your family, home and assets from damage caused by electrical surges.

Electrical 101

Refrigerator Power

If the power goes out to your refrigerator or freezer, you need to fix it fast! Here are two tips to help you quickly restore power:

If your refrigerator is plugged into a Ground Fault Interrupter (GFI) receptacle, you can re-set the GFI and see if you now have power. If this works, that's great! Now that it's working again, you should make arrangements to replace the GFI with a regular receptacle as soon as possible. Refrigerators should never be plugged into a GFI receptacle because GFI's are very sensitive, and you don't want to be on vacation and lose power to your refrigerator just because the GFI accidentally shut off. So if your refrigerator is plugged into a GFI receptacle, you should replace the GFI with a regular receptacle.

If you can't restore power to the receptacle that your refrigerator is plugged into, you should call an electrician who is good at troubleshooting to locate and fix the problem. But while you're waiting for the electrician to arrive, you can plug the refrigerator into a heavy-duty extension cord and plug it in to a receptacle that has power.

This will keep your food cold and safe until your electrician arrives.

Light Dimmers

You might notice that sometimes a dimmer seems warm when you touch it. The good news is, THIS IS NORMAL. Dimmers naturally get warm when they are in use, especially if there is more than one dimmer in the same location.

However, if a dimmer is REALLY warm or hot to the touch, this indicates a safety problem, and you should call an electrician who is knowledgeable about lighting issues.

Dimmer Warning - Two things to be careful about with dimmers:

Never connect a regular dimmer to low-voltage lights, paddle fans, or any kind of motor. These devices require special dimmers.

Never exceed the recommended wattage of the dimmer. Regular dimmers are rated for a maximum of 600 Watts. This is equal to ten 60-Watt light bulbs, or six 100-Watt bulbs.

NOTE: You can also buy higher-wattage dimmers for connecting more than 600 Watts to one dimmer. 

Most CFL bulbs are not compatible with dimmers.

Ground-Fault Interrupters

According to the Ontario Electrical Code, in all kitchens, bathrooms, garages, or any area in which water may be present, instead of regular receptacles, GFI (ground fault interrupter) receptacles should be used. These are for your safety.

Hint - Sometimes, you may have a receptacle that is located in a kitchen, bathroom, garage, or outdoor area, which has no power, which is not a ground-fault interrupter. However, even though it looks like a regular receptacle, it can still be "protected" by another GFI that has tripped off somewhere else. The only way to check for this is to go into your kitchen, bathroom, garage, and outdoor areas to make sure all the GFI's are working properly.

Garbage Disposal Power

If your garbage disposal stops working you should:

  • Clear out anything inside the garbage disposal, which might be jamming up the motor and stopping it from working.
  • Briefly flip on the switch to the garbage disposal. Do you hear a humming noise? If you do, then there is power going to the disposal and the problem is that the disposal is broken or there is something stuck in it.
  • If you turn on the switch to the garbage disposal and you do not hear any humming noise, locate the small button that is somewhere on the disposal and press it to "re-set" the disposal. Then try turning on the disposal again.
  • Finally, try re-setting all the circuit breakers in your electrical panel to see if you can get power back. To learn how to do this, go to How to Reset Circuit Breakers.

If none of this works, it's time to call Janbar Electric.

Fuses

When a fuse detects too much power running through a wire, a tiny piece of metal inside the fuse will break, thereby stopping the power from continuing to run through the wire.

When the top of the fuse is made of glass, many people think that they can look at the metal piece inside and see if it is broken. THIS IS NOT ALWAYS TRUE.

The best way to handle a suspected blown fuse is to simply replace it. If the power comes back on, great! If it doesn't, then you should call an electrician who is good at troubleshooting.

Telephone Power

When power goes out in your home, remember, YOUR CORDLESS PHONE WILL NOT WORK IF THE PHONE'S BASE UNIT HAS NO POWER. If this happens you can still use any telephone that can plug directly into the wall.

Whole House Surge Protectors

The need for surge protection has increased dramatically. This is because many electronic devices can be damaged by surges. Electronic devices sensitive to power surges occur in: security systems, computers, printers, FAX machines, telephones, small appliances, microwave ovens, refrigerators, stereos, garage door openers, and low voltage lighting systems.

Anytime there is a power outage, there is the possibility of a power surge upon turning the power back on. Unfortunately, the cost of replacing electronic components can be monumental.

Finally there is a solution to the problem: "whole house" surge protection. Whole house surge protection is now available to the general public at a reasonable cost. Give us a call and we'll be happy to discuss whether installing a whole house surge protector would be a good option for you.

Lights Are Dimming

Lights will sometimes dim for a few seconds and then come back to complete brightness again. This can happen when a light is connected to the same wires that provide power to something that takes a lot of power, like a refrigerator, a microwave oven, or an air conditioner 

Humming Lights

Humming lights can be caused by:

  • A bad ballast or bad transformer.
  • A dimmer being used with CFL bulbs.
  • Non brand-name CFL bulbs 

Bulbs Burning Out Too Quickly

Here are the three reasons this can happen:

  • The wattage of the bulb is too high. This is very common. Most light fixtures with glass covers have a maximum rating of 60 watts per bulb. It is very common for people to put in 75-watt or even 100-watt bulbs into these fixtures. The result is bulbs burning out much too quickly. Use the correct wattage bulbs in all your light fixtures.
  • Poor-quality light bulbs. Use only major-brand light bulbs.
  • Mysterious light fixture problem. It's mysterious because the light fixture looks perfectly fine, and even electricians can't find anything wrong with it. Nevertheless, after checking #1 and #2 above, if the bulbs keep burning out ... Replace the light fixture.

Flickering Fluorescent Lights 

There are three reasons fluorescent lights sometimes flicker:

For a few moments when they first turn on, the bulbs will flicker until they warm up. You will notice this more on colder days. Just wait a few moments for the bulbs to warm up.

  • The fluorescent bulbs are old. Replace them.
  • The fluorescent ballast is old. Replace it.

Lights Not Turning Off

Here are reasons lights don't turn off:

  • The switch to the light fixture is broken. Replace the switch.
  • The time clock for the light is broken or out of adjustment. Set the time clock to the right time. If it won't stay adjusted, replace it.
  • If the light fixture is activated by a photocell, the photocell is either out of adjustment or broken. Adjust or replace photocell.

Lights Not Turning On

Lights don't turn on for several reasons:

  • The bulb is bad. This is more common than one might think. Try replacing a questionable light bulb with a new one. If that doesn't work, before giving up, try using a bulb from another light fixture that you KNOW is working.
  • The switch to the light is bad. The switch will need to be replaced.
  • The light fixture is broken. Usually it is easier and less expensive to simply replace the light fixture. However, many light fixtures can be repaired if this is what the owner desires.
  • No power.
  • Time clock for the light is broken or not set for the correct time. Re-set the time on the clock or replace the broken time clock.
  • If the light fixture is activated by a photocell, the photocell is either out of adjustment or broken. Adjust or replace photocell.