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George Brazil Plumbing & Electrical

What to do When a Circuit Breaker Trips

A circuit breaker tripping happens pretty often if you have a lot of things plugged in and operating at once. When a circuit becomes overloaded, your system has a function in place to protect from damage or fire that will automatically cut power to that circuit. When this happens, you may hear a pop at the same time the electricity is disconnected.

The first step is to turn off all the lights and unplug items that are not always in use. You do this in order to reduce the strain on the circuit, otherwise if you restore power, the circuit will just trip again and you could cause damage.

If the circuit trips again you will want to plug some items into another circuit. If you do not have another circuit, you can have an electrician install additional or dedicated circuits for your home to handle additional amperage.

You will want to find your electrical panel. The array of circuit breakers should be labelled indicating which rooms or appliances they control.Be sure that you are wearing shoes, that the floor or ground you are standing on is not wet, and that your hands and clothing are dry before you open the electrical panel box. Electricity can be dangerous but basic precautions will keep you safe.

Look at the direction that most the circuit breakers are in, and look for one that is in the off position or pointed in the opposite direction as the rest of them. The circuit breaker you tripped may not be all the way to the opposite “off” side.

When you have found the circuit breaker that tripped and move that circuit breaker completely over to the “off” position. Wait a moment and then move it all the way over to the full “on” position. You should find that the power has been restored to the room or area where you were when the power went off.

Carefully plug items back in and try to avoid overloading the circuit again. However, if you have reduced the number of items running off that circuit and it continues to trip, you may have bigger problems. Big offenders for overloading a circuit can include hair dryers, portable A/C units, old appliances, toasters, coffee pots, microwaves, and power tools. Check cords often to be sure they are not frayed, all items are plugged completely into the outlets, and nothing is coming loose.

If you have plugged items into another circuit, checked the condition of all of your appliances and everything plugged in and the breaker continues to trip, especially immediately after you turned it back to the full “on” position, you may have a short in your system. Faulty switches, receptacles, shoddy wiring, damaged cords or plugs, or a malfunctioning appliance may cause a short circuit. Carefully check outlets and switches to see if they smell or feel hot to the touch but do not disassemble them!

A short circuit is a fire hazard, and a licensed electrician will be able to locate the source of the short and make any repairs needed to make your home or office safe again. For your personal safety, you should always use caution when working around electricity and never attempt to repair cords or equipment yourself. If electrical equipment has been flooded or exposed to water, always have a licensed electrician inspect it first before energizing it.

While it may be frustrating to have a circuit breaker trip, these systems are in place for safety and to protect you and your family. Most major problems in the home can be detected early and corrected by paying close attention to the warning signs long before damage occurs.

Be sure to always seek the advice of a licensed electrician if you have concerns.




George Brazil

George Brazil Plumbing & Electrical

Check Your Pipes Before It’s Too Late

When was your house built? Do you know what type of pipes were used for your plumbing? There is a strong chance that if your home was built anytime in the 1950’s or 1960’s and maybe as late as the 1970’s, Orangeburg pipe was used.

What is Orangeburg? Where did Orangeburg come from? How durable is it? These are some of the questions that will be answered along with a resolution to any potential issues that may arise from Orangeburg. What is Orangeburg? In short, it’s tar paper rolled up about 10 layers thick to create a tube. Orangeburg is a pipe that is made of ground cellulose (wood) fibers that are bound together with a special water resistant adhesive and then impregnated with liquefied coal tar pitch – the result is tar paper.

Where did Orangeburg come from? Tar paper was made by quite a few manufacturers but the best known manufacturer was from Orangeburg, New York and eventually became the Orangeburg Manufacturing Company. Orangeburg became the common name similar to how Kleenex became the common term for facial tissue. Orangeburg came into demand during World War II and post-war due to the fact that there was a building boom and types of pipe and metal were at a high demand, very expensive, and limited.

What is Orangeburg used for? Interestingly, Orangeburg was originally used for water transmission and conduit for electrical lines. It had uses in the early 1900’s but from about 1943 through the 1970’s it was commonly used as pipe for sewer and drain applications as an inexpensive alternative to metal. The height of its use happened in the 50’s and through the mid-1960’s. Orangeburg joints were made with couplings, no gaskets or joint sealant. The pipe was lightweight and could be cut or even torn by hand. For these reasons, it was commonly used in Arizona and it is estimated that well over 25,000 homes in the Phoenix area still have Orangeburg pipe today.

Why is Orangeburg not used today? Even though the construction of Orangeburg served its purpose in the time of need, Orangeburg was replaced when cast iron became more available and plastic piping became prevalent. It was found that after years of use, Orangeburg was a slowly self-collapsing sewer line when subjected to concentrated pressures over long periods of time. Additionally, it is susceptible to roots cutting through the paper. To simply put it, when roots become desperate for nutrition in the hot months, especially here in the desert, the roots break through the tar paper and feed off the nutrient rich water running through Orangeburg. Eventually all Orangeburg will deform and collapse after years of soil pressure and water running through it. If you have Orangeburg, it’s almost 50 years old or older and at the end of its design life. Don’t let this scenario of a collapsed Orangeburg line happen to you. One of the top 5 common claims in the Phoenix area is water damage. It can be vital to call as soon as you see any signs of possible leaks or flooding. The time it takes to clean up after a flood can depend on several different factors such as the type of flood (standard pipe leaking or sewer), how much water collected in the home and how long the water was standing in the home. How can we help you? First, if you call because you are having a sewer backup, the plumber will attempt to clear the line by running a drain machine. Then, they will run a camera down the line to visually inspect the pipe and determine the cause of the blockage or improper flow. The plumber will attempt to identify the type of material used for the sewer system, including specifically if it is Orangeburg. Remember, Orangeburg pipe has joints that were made with couplings of tar paper making it nearly impossible to perform a permanent spot repair due to the deterioration of the pipe. If Orangeburg is found, replacing your entire sewer line is recommended. This can potentially be done using a conventional dig it up and replace method or a more modern trenchless method called pipe bursting. The options for replacement change with the condition of the pipe. For example, if a line is collapsed the only option for repair would be a standard dig up and replace. If the issues are caught in time additional options could be used to make the repair.

What is the next step? Call George Brazil Plumbing and Electrical. Let them know you have read this article about Orangeburg and you would like to have a technician come out to your home to receive a FREE upfront written quote.


George Brazil