Frequently Asked Questions

You will find answers to all of your most common Electrical Services related questions located here. 
What types of electrical services does Gray Electric offer?

We offer a variety of services including residential, commercial and industrial lighting & installation, generator installation, electrical repair & installation, custom lighting, GFCI & AFCI protection, grounding and surge protection, replacing or installing smoke detectors, broken outlets & electrical switches, electrical panel & service replacement, and troubleshooting & repair planning. If you have an electrical need, we can help!

Are you licensed, bonded and insured?

Yes, we are properly licensed, bonded, and insured to offer the best care to our clients.

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

A ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) is a circuit-breaker designed to shut down electric power to prevent serious harm from an electrical shock. They need to be installed around places with water, such as your bathrooms, kitchen, and laundry room. You need to have them within six feet of your sinks, washing machine, and water heater for sure.

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

There are a lot of home projects which can easily be completed DIY style. Electrical work is not one of those. If you DIY paint a room, the worst that can happen is the room not looking aesthetically pleasing. If you DIY electrical work, you will be putting yourself, your family, and your home at risk. You could electrocute yourself or catch your home on fire with one simple misstep. Electricians are trained professionals with the tools, education, and experience to complete your electrical project without any dangers to you or your home.

Additionally, according to Wisconsin State laws, Per Wis. Stats. § 101.862, no person may install, repair or maintain electrical wiring unless the person is licensed as an electrician by the Department or unless the person is enrolled as a registered Electrician by the Department.

Per Wis. Admin. Code § SPS 305.40, a person who holds a registration as a Registered Electrician shall perform electrical wiring activities under the direct supervision of a person who holds a license either as a licensed Master Electrician or a licensed Journeyman Electrician. 

How many years of experience do you have?

We have over 60 years of experience in business, with a team of talented professionals, so we can be trusted for any size job.

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

There are several signs that an electrical outlet should be changed, including the outlet being hot to the touch, the presence of burn marks, noticeably chipped/cracked, plugs fall out easily, and the outlet stops working. If you have noticed any of these issues with your outlets, call Gray Electric to have them evaluated. Sometimes, small electrical issues can grow into big problems.

My exterior fixture burns out frequently. Should I get it repaired?

If your fixture burns out frequently, this is most likely due to faulty wiring or defective bulbs. We can examine your fixture and give you a clear explanation as well as a solution.

Why doesn't my light switch work for my lighting fixture?

There could be a couple possible problems causing your fixture to not work. First off, flip the switch to off and try changing the bulb. If the switch still does not turn on the fixture, check your circuit breaker box to see if the fixture has been tripped‌ ‌or blown. Lastly, the issue could be a wiring issue. We can address the problematic fixture and get your switch working properly.

My smoke detector keeps making noise. What is going on?

The most common reason for a chirping smoke detector is a battery issue. Even if your battery is electrically powered, you still have a backup battery so your family will be notified of problems even during a power outage. If your backup battery is burnt out or about to die, it will chirp to alert you. If you have changed the battery, try resetting the smoke detector manually.

Why do my smoke detectors chirp?

Smoke detectors are designed to chirp to alert homeowners when they need batteries. Even if your smoke detector is wired and uses electrical power, it will still have a backup battery for emergencies. If this battery is burnt out or running low, your smoke alarm will chirp until you address the problem. Once you change it, reset the smoke detector manually otherwise it will keep chirping even after the battery change.

Why do my lights dim when I turn on the microwave in the kitchen?

This situation happens when you are overloading a circuit. In a kitchen, there are so many appliances running often at once. Your circuits can be overloaded easily when running appliances. You may need to relocate your microwave to another spot to alleviate the load.

What is Whole Home Surge Protection and is it necessary in my home?

Basically, whole home surge protection is a device which protects your appliances and home from electrical surges. Not only does this device keep your appliances from being damaged, but it can also prevent a fire in your home. Surge protection plays a vital role in keeping your home safe.

How do I reset a tripped breaker?

Go to your main electrical panel, usually located in a garage or carport area on the opposite side of the wall from your electric meter. If you are in an apartment setting the panel is usually in a closet or storage room. Open up the panel to reveal the various circuit breakers. The ‘tripped’ breaker will not be in either the on or off position, but rather in between. Sometimes a small red portion of the breaker will be exposed to show you the tripped breaker. To reset it, just push the switch to the off position and then back to the on position. You should hear a snapping sound and feel some resistance. In the event that the circuit continues to trip, there may be an excessive load on the circuit. Correcting the overload should solve your problem. If that doesn’t work, contact Gray Electric for an evaluation.

My breaker keeps tripping, what do I do?

Turn off all switches and unplug all appliances in the affected room. Move the tripped breaker switch all the way to “off” then back to “on”.

There is a humming noise coming from my panel. What does this mean?

If it is a very low hum which you only hear when right next to the breaker box, this may not be an issue. Breaker boxes often give off a low hum from the vibrations of electrical currents. If you hear a loud buzzing sound, a crackling sound, or a sizzling sound, these are signs of a potentially dangerous problem. Please call us right away before it becomes dangerous for you and your home. Do not try to DIY breaker box repairs.

Why is a breaker in my panel hot to touch?

This could be a sign that your overheated breaker is loose because electrical resistance increases near a loose breaker and heat is generated as a result. We can easily help you address the breaker.

How long will it take to complete a re-wire and will I need to move out during the process?

The timeline depends on the size of the home, but generally speaking a whole house rewire can be completed in 1-2 weeks. You will not need to move out while we work.

Do I need to have my gas meter upgraded before installing Generator?

Possibly! This would be something to consult with your utility company about before installing your generator.

Where can the generator be located?

Ideally, your generator should be placed somewhere in between your gas meter and electric meter. Also, plan to place it 5 feet away from doors, windows, vents, and flammable material.

Can I install the generator myself?

Installing your generator yourself is not advised for your safety and for regulatory reasons. There are standards which are mandated by the local, state, and national government. We can ensure that your generator meets the expected standards. Also, generators are not typically kept under warranty if not installed by a licensed professional.

How can I save money on my electric bill?

Most of the electricity in your home is used by the heating and air system and water heating. Make sure your heating and cooling systems are running efficiently and central systems are checked twice a year. By installing the most energy-efficient rated equipment, you will save money over the lifetime of the equipment. You could also install a programmable thermostat that will operate your systems more effectively, thus saving run times of your system and saving money. You know those long showers you love so much? Well, they cost you dearly when it comes to heating the water. Cutting back on your shower duration can affect your bill. Another thing that could cause increases in your electric consumption would be a bad breaker or loose connections at the breaker box. Having trained professional check it could minimize some costs. To keep your equipment running efficiently, keep heating and cooling air ducts clean and outdoor equipment free from dirt and other debris. Energy conservation not only saves our resources, but saves you money.

Should I take any special precautions during the holidays?

Frayed electrical cords are the primary cause of electrical fires during holidays and celebrations. By maintaining your holiday lights you can minimize the risk. You should inspect them each year for fraying, bare spots, gaps in the insulation, broken or cracked sockets and excessive kinking or wear before putting them up. You should use only lighting listed by an approved testing laboratory. Do not overload electrical outlets. Do not link more than three light strands, unless the directions indicate it is safe. Make sure to periodically check the wires – they should not be warm to the touch. And, do not leave holiday lights unattended.

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