FAQ's

  • What is a GFCI?

    GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter), is an electrical outlet or device that protects you from electrical shock by detecting hazardous ground faults and instantly disconnects power from the circuit. GFCI's should be installed in potentially wet areas such as kitchen, bathroom, garage and outside outlets.

  • What is an AFCI?

    AFCI (Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter) is a circuit breaker designed to prevent fires by shuting off a power quickly if arcing develops. An AFCI can distinguish between a harmless arc that occurs in switches, plugs and brushed motors and an undesirable arc that can occur from a cut or worn cord or a loose connection in a junction box or receptacle. This undesirable arcing can occur without tripping the regular breaker potentially cause a fire.

     

    The difference between AFCIs and GFCIs is that AFCIs are intended to reduce the likelihood of fire caused by electrical arcing faults; whereas, GFCIs are intended to reduce the likelihood of electric shock hazard. Don't underestimate the importance of the GFCI, they are still needed and save a lot of lives.

  • How do I reset my breaker when it has tripped off?

    First, disconnect or shut off any additional devices that may have caused the breaker to overload and trip.  Find the circuit breaker that is pointing towards the OFF position and not in the ON position like the others. Tripped circuit breaker switches don't move all the way to the OFF position. Some breakers will show a bit of red or orange (on the switch or in a window) if they’re tripped. To properly reset the breaker, you must turn it all the way to the OFF position (this will be a stiff click). Then turn it back on.

    If this fails to reset the breaker, there may be a more serious problem. Call Puget Sound Electric Company of Tacoma (253) 777-2737 or visit our Contact page right away to schedule an appointment.

  • One of my circuit breakers keeps tripping; can I have the next highest circuit installed?

    No, The breaker size/rating is determined by the size of the wiring. If there is an overload and the breaker does not trip because it is oversized/overrated, then the wiring on that circuit can easily start a fire in your home.

    If you have a breaker that has tripped more than once, or would not reset, you should have the circuit evaluated by a trained electrician. Call Puget Sound Electric Company of Tacoma at (253) 777-2737 or visit our Contact page to schedule an appointment as soon as possible.

  • How do I know when an electrical outlet has become unsafe or should be replaced?

    An electrical outlet has become unsafe or should be replaced if an electrical plug can no longer hold tightly in the outlet or part of the outlet is broken or chipped and finally if it's warm to the touch.

    If any of these conditions exist you should call Puget Sound Electric Company of Tacoma at (253) 777-2737 or visit our Contact page to schedule an appointment to have the outlet evaluated.

  • I want to install a ceiling fan where there is currently a light fixture, can I do this?

    Yes, in most cases but there are several things you should consider first. It is imperative that the fixture box is properly rated and supported for a ceiling fan. Also is the wiring that is currently run to the fixture box correct for the ceiling fan? Will you need to have an additional switch installed so that you can control the lights independently of the ceiling fan?

    Puget Sound Electric can help you with this installation and make sure that everything is rated correctly. If you have any questions or are unsure please call Puget Sound Electric Company of Tacoma at (253) 777-2737 or visit our Contact page to schedule an appointment with one of our licensed technicians.

  • I have a receptacle or light switch that does not seem to be working what should I do?

    First check to see if any circuit breakers are tripped at the main panel. If the circuit breaker was not the fault and your outlet does not seem to work, make sure it's not on a switch. If the receptacle is not on a switch and is a GFCI type receptacle (an outlet with two little buttons on it), try pushing the button that says RESET. If a light is the problem, sometimes lights in the same room as GFIC receptacles may also be protected by the GFIC. Resetting the GFIC may remedy the light not working. If a light is plugged into the outlet check to insure the bulb has not burned out.

    If none of these solve your issue then we recommend calling Puget Sound Electric Company of Tacoma at (253) 777-2737 or visit our Contact page to schedule an appointment.

  • Do we accept credit cards?

    Yes! We accept all major credit cards.

I had an old FPE panel for my house and I wanted to run a sub-panel to my shop. I’d called a few other electricians, but found them to be condescending and unprofessional. The bids they gave (when they actually showed up), were very high and vague.

I called Puget Sound Electric, and left a message that I wanted to get a bid. Within two hours, the owner, Charlie Clark, called me back and went over what I was looking for. I made the appointment and received a courtesy call from Charlie, letting me know he was going to be a bit late due to traffic. Once he arrived, I found him to be a friendly, down to earth guy. He listened to my needs, addressed the concerns I had and gave me suggestions on how to set up the additional electrical in the garage. As promised (before the weekend ended) he emailed me a very detailed bid Sunday afternoon. The bid was competitive and everything was covered (labor, materials, permit fees). I decided to have the work done about two weeks later, and it was to take two days.

Although the agreed start time was 8 am Thursday, I was pleasantly surprised when Charlie and his other electrician showed up at 7:45, and got started within minutes. I have to say, they probably picked two of the worst days to do the electrical, as it was pouring rain most of the time. I’d check on them from time to time, amazed at how quickly things were moving along. By mid afternoon Thursday, the main panel had been replaced and I had power again to my house. A few hours later, they finished up their work for the day, and would return early Friday to finish the garage. I wasn’t home on Friday, and had a friend stay at the house for the day. By early afternoon, Charlie and his guy were finished, and had the inspector sign off on the work, passing of course.

The work? Great! Charlie did a lot of work in the garage, installing the sub-panel, adding several circuits, and outlets throughout, placed where we’d discussed. I finally had plenty of power to work on projects without worrying about tripping a breaker or worse, due to only having one circuit on the main panel. Charlie also installed an exterior motion light, something he’d suggested for security reasons, and is really nice to have.

I can’t say enough good things about Puget Sound Electric. I like the fact that they are a small company, not some giant place that cares only about getting your money. Charlie has made me a customer for life, and I’m looking forward to having him add some lighting to the inside of my home.

Tom L.Tacoma, WA