Light Bulb

Your frequently asked electrical questions, answered!

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How electricity works is a mystery to many people, and it’s common for us to have a lot of questions about electricity because of the potential dangers involved. Here we’re going to answer some of the most frequently asked electrical questions.

What’s the difference between a circuit breaker and a fuse?

Both have the same function – stopping the electricity from flowing when a fault occurs. Once a fuse trips it has to be replaced, but a circuit breaker can simply be reset. That’s why circuit breakers are a lot more common.

What does short circuit mean?

Excessive heat is created when a wire that is carrying electricity touches the grounded conductor wire. This sometimes creates sparks, and if you witness these then a short circuit has definitely happened. In this situation, you must consult a professional electrician for help.

I’ve seen an outlet say GFCI. What does that mean?

This is an electrical outlet that has been specifically designed to protect people from a potential shock if there is moisture present. Usually you will find these outlets in kitchens and bathrooms. Many will feature reset buttons because when moisture is present it automatically trips.

Why do I have frequent light bulb blowouts?

There could be a number of different reasons your bulbs are blowing. However, one reason may be because they’re overheating, which is a fire risk. If you’re having to replace a lightbulb frequently, you need to call in a trained electrician.

Is my electrical panel dangerous?

Most electrical panels aren’t dangerous as long as you know what you’re doing. If you don’t, it’s best not to touch them. Many homes have an outdated electrical panel which will need replacing to be able to power modern electronics and appliances.

Smart Home

Making your home smart

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Virtually everything in your home, including lights, thermostats and power sockets, can be connected to your WiFi and controlled remotely through a mobile device. But making your home smart can be a little mind-boggling, as there are so many accessories that work in tandem with others, and some are superior to others. Here’s a little help sorting the wheat from the chaff in finding products to make your home smart.

Choosing your assistant

Virtual voice-controlled assistants include Google Home, Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri, and they help you control smart home products through simple voice commands. These tools are all quite similar but have different strengths that will appeal to different people, so it is worth exploring the options to find your ideal home assistant. Here is the hardware that’s available to you:

Amazon’s Alexa: Echo, Echo Dot and Echo Show

Apple’s Siri: iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch

Google’s Assistant: Google Home, Google Home Mini, Android smartphones/tablets

You can put your smart assistant to work controlling other parts of your home, but you’ll need to purchase the necessary smart equipment. Here are some popular choices:

Lighting

There is a wide range of smart lighting to choose from. Some systems require a ‘bridge’, while others include a built-in WiFi connection. The latter type is simpler to set up but will cost a little more.

Smart plugs

Many plug-in appliances like fans, coffee makers and electric kettles can be made smart with the installation of a smart plug. This enables you to set a specific time for something to be activated, or to power it on/off remotely.

Thermostats

Smart thermostats like Nest connect to your WiFi so you can control them remotely with your smartphone or assistant. This means you can shut off heating when you’re not at home to save on energy or even turn the heating on when you leave work so the house is warm when you get home.

There are other things you can take control of remotely in a smart home, like your doorbell, security system, entertainment, alarm clocks and more. If you’re struggling with adding smart features to your home in Swindon, contact EJS Electrical and we’ll help you get started.