How do I reset my breakers?

Turn the breaker completely off and then completely on. Some breakers will look like they are not tripped, but could be in the neutral stage, which still does not allow them to function as if they were completely on. A way to help determine this, is to turn every breaker completely off and then on. 

Do I need a permit?

Yes!  When any product (plug, switch, light fixture) is being installed, altered or replaced by a licensed electrician, they must have an electrical permit to do the work.  The cost of the permit varies by town.   A permit can cost anywhere from $50 to over $250 depending on where you live and how much work you are having done.  If you have a long list of electrical items to be done in your home, it is generally best to do as much as possible at one time so you can avoid having to buy multiple permits.  It costs less to add to an existing permit than to close one and then open another one a few months later to do more work.  

Permits are not required for ordinary maintenance such as:   replacing an existing receptacle, switch or lighting fixture rated at 20 amps or less, repairs to doorbells and communication systems, repair or replacement of existing smoke or carbon monoxide detectors, replacing motors or fans in existing heating and air conditioning equipment, repair or replacement of control equipment or thermostats.  If you have any doubt, please call the building department of your town.

Why are electrician's hourly rate so high?

It is completely understandable that it seems like electricians charge a high hourly rate.  A reasonable explanation for this is that electricians in the State of  NJ are required to complete an apprenticeship of about 4 years, then needs to apply for a journeyman electrician license. According to New Jersey law,  the electrician needs around 8 000 supervised hours to be eligible for a license, which will be accumulated during their apprenticeship. It is also stated that 4 000 of those hours need to have been obtained within five years preceding the date of application. In addition, the applicant will have to prove that they have amassed a minimum of 576 hours in a classroom to qualify for their license. 

The National Electrical Code is updated every three years therefore every journeyman electrician must complete many hours of continuing education and stay up-to-date with the local and national code changes.  Electricians carry a large amount of responsibility with the service they provide and it comes at a higher expense to have someone working in your home who is properly trained and educated to complete electrical work in your home.  Someone who is not properly licensed as an electrician does not have the same training and education and there is a good chance they will do work in your home that does not meet local and national codes.  Also, you want to make sure that the person who does your electrical work pulls an electrical permit because you could have issues in the future when you want to sell your home if work has been done without the proper permits.  The bottom line is that despite the seemingly high price for a licensed electrician, you will be better off in the end by having the work done by a professional. 

What is a ARC Fault Protector?

An AFCI breaker looks like a GFCI breaker, but its function is different.  GFCIs were designed to protect persons and AFCIs are to protect the structure/building.  An Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) is a circuit breaker that breaks the circuit when it detects an electric arc in the circuit it protects to prevent electrical fires.  An AFCI will trip due to arcing on an electrical circuit.  Arcing can occur when something has pierced a wire or when there is a loose connection anywhere along a circuit.  This is the main cause of electrical fires and the AFCI breakers were designed to better protect homes from fire.  If arcing is detected, the breaker will trip and shut down the entire circuit.  A licensed electrician can inspect your home and that particular circuit because the issue can be anywhere along a circuit.  

What is a surge protector?

A surge protector (or surge suppressor or surge diverter) is an appliance or device designed to protect electrical devices from voltage spikes. A surge protector attempts to limit the voltage supplied to an electric device by either blocking or shorting to ground any unwanted voltages above a safe threshold.  Usually, surge protectors are used for electronic devices such as computers and flat screen televisions. If you appreciate your electronic devices and want them to perform efficiently without having to worry about replacing them, you may want to consider protecting your devices with a surge protector 

I want to save on costs, should I buy the parts & have the electrician make the installation?

The electrician will not warranty the parts you buy yourself.  If you buy the parts and have the electrician install them & something goes wrong with the part within the first year, it will be your responsibility to buy a new part and hire the electrician to install the new part.  If you let the electrician purchase the parts from the beginning of your project, they will warranty the parts so if something goes wrong in the first year they will come out and replace the part free of charge.