Frequently Asked Questions

What size service do I install in my home?
Most states call for 100 amps minimum, but with all the new electronic devices, air conditioning and electric heating, we suggest 200 amps, especially in a new home. This also gives you some space for future additions. This is not a job for an unlicensed individual to attempt. In most cases, it involves replacing everything from the service loop—which is the wire that extends from the top of your meter to the utility tie in—up to and including the main panel.
How do I choose the proper size for a generator?

The size generator that best fits your needs is based on the level of comfort you need. At Klostermann Electric we will send a trained representative to your home or place of business and conduct an assessment. Once you are satisfied with your level of protection, we will size the proper generator. There are two options to consider when purchasing your generator:

Option 1: Portable generator with a 6 to 12 circuit transfer switch or Interlock Kit

To use a portable generator without the hassle of running extension cords, hire Klostermann Electric to install a manual transfer switch or Interlock Kit. Connected to your main circuit panel, this setup gives you the advantage of powering select circuits in the house, not just individual appliances. The drawback is that you still must start and maintain the gas-powered generator, and unless you buy a large generator, you are still limited in what you can power.

Option 2: Stand-by generator with whole house protection.

Stand-by generators automatically turn on when the power goes out—you don’t have to do a thing. This is the best option if you frequently lose electricity and want to keep all or most of your appliances running. Most stand-by generators are powerful enough to run a central air conditioner, kitchen appliances and other large items simultaneously. They are also quieter than portable generators and you do not need to worry about running cords or storing gasoline. A transfer switch constantly monitors power. If you lose electricity, it starts the generator automatically—even if you’re not home. When power is restored, the transfer switch shuts off the generator. Standby generators connect to your home’s fuel supply (natural gas or propane). If you do not already have one of these fuel lines coming into your house, you will probably need to install a propane tank for fuel.

Option 3: Stand-by generator with select circuit protection.

Whole-house coverage may not fit every budget. With a power management system, your generator can work smarter. This is a popular option when protecting 8 to 16 selected will do. This application protects all your home’s essential circuits and provide endless power without the hassle of dealing with a portable generator.

Whole-house coverage may not fit every budget. With a power management system, your generator can work smarter. This is a popular option when protecting 8 to 16 selected will do. This application protects all your home’s essential circuits and provide endless power without the hassle of dealing with a portable generator.

What is a GFCI and where are they needed?
Any bathroom, basement, outside or garage outlet must be GFCI protected. The code also requires all kitchen outlets for countertop use to be GFCI protected. GFCI outlets must be installed in any area where electricity and water may come into contact, including basements, pools, spas, utility rooms, attached garages and outdoors. At least one GFCI outlet is required in an unfinished basement and for most outdoor outlets.

There are two types of GFCIs in homes—the GFCI outlet and the GFCI circuit breaker. Both do the same job, but each has different applications and limitations.

The GFCI outlet is a replacement for a standard electrical outlet. A GFCI is not dependent on a ground to function. It does not measure shorts to the ground, it measures the current difference between the hot and neutral wires. A sudden difference of 5 ma. or more, indicating that there is another path for the electricity to flow through, will trip this device. The only downside to this is there may be some nuisance tripping in highly inductive loads, such as large motors and even fluorescent lamps or fixtures on the same circuit. However, the newer models seemed to have corrected this somewhat. It protects any connected appliance and can also be wired to protect other outlets that are connected. The GFCI circuit breaker controls an entire circuit and is installed as a replacement for a circuit breaker on your home’s main circuit board. Rather than installing multiple GFCI outlets, one GFCI circuit breaker can protect the entire circuit. There are test and reset buttons on these units. If you press the test button, the reset should pop out. To reset, push the reset button.

Surge Protection
A new section, Section 230.67 requires a certified/listed Type 1 or Type 2 SPD for all services for dwelling units—located within or immediately adjacent to the service equipment.

This requirement recognizes the growing need for reliable surge protection to safeguard sensitive, mission-critical electronic equipment, minimizing the potential for damage and downtime—as well as the greater exposure to surges, transients and other power threats inherent to today’s distributed power architectures.

How many convenience outlets should be installed in each room?

Outlet Spacing Code for Walls in General Areas

Generally, receptacle outlets in habitable rooms shall be installed so that no point along the floor line (measured horizontally) in any wall space is more than 6 feet from an outlet in that space. An outlet shall be installed in each wall space 2 feet or more in width.

How should outlets be installed in the kitchen?
All 15 and 20 amp receptacles installed within 6 feet of a kitchen sink or wet bar must have GFCI protection. Receptacles in a kitchen used to serve small countertop appliances should be supplied with at least two 20 amp branch circuits. Each fixed appliance (refrigerator, stove, dish washer) shall have its own dedicated circuit. On countertops 12 inches or wider, a receptacle shall be installed so that there is no more than 24 inches between outlets. Receptacle outlets installed to serve island countertops shall be installed above, or within 12 inches, below the countertop. There should be no more than 24 inches from center line of counter top. No receptacle shall be installed face up on a sink countertop.
When is it time to call an 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 randomly.
  • When you can smell something burning from an electrical component.
  • 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.
What is an AFCI and where are they needed?
Arc-Fault Circuit-Interrupter Protection. Dwelling Units. All 120-volt, single-phase, 15- and 20-ampere branch circuits supplying outlets or devices installed in dwelling unit kitchens, family rooms, dining rooms, living rooms, parlors, libraries, dens, bedrooms, sunrooms, recreation rooms, closets, hallways, laundry areas, or similar rooms or areas shall be protected by any of the means described in 210.12

There is a difference between AFCIs and GFCIs. AFCIs are intended to reduce the likelihood of a fire caused by electrical arcing faults; whereas, GFCIs are personnel protection intended to reduce the likelihood of electric shock hazard. Don’t misunderstand, GFCIs are still needed and save a lot of lives.

Combination breakers that include both AFCI and GFCI protection are becoming a more common solution when it comes to providing ARCI and GFCI protection. AFCIs can be installed in any 15 or 20 ampere branch circuit in homes today and are currently available as circuit breakers with built-in AFCI features.

Have Questions?

If you have questions or need a quote, please contact us an we will be happy to serve you!
Your browser is out of date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now