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Frequently Asked Questions

Are you licensed to work in Virginia?

Robert D. Samuels Inc. is a registered contractor in the State of Virginia. (Lic# ). Robert D. Samuels is bonded in accordance with Virginia State contractor requirements. Our insurance includes $1 million business coverage, with General Liability and Worker’s Compensation policies.

Can you provide proof of General Liability and Worker’s Compensation Insurance?

If an electrician representing him or her self as a business causes damage to property or persons while at your address, you need to know you are covered by their General Liability insurance Policy. Otherwise, you may be left held holding a sizable repair or medical bill. If the electrician is uninsured, you cannot collect on damages without incurring the additional expense of court costs. If an electrician is injured on your property, you are protected by his or her Worker’s Compensation insurance. Worker’s Compensation may not be carried by all electrical contractors. Individuals operating as an electrical contractor may legally elect not to be covered. Vehicle and Liability Insurance is required in all cases. Ensure you are covered by asking if they are… and most importantly – ask for proof! Robert D. Samuels Worker’s Comp Premium Status account is current. Our firm has voluntarily reported and paid our premiums.

Do you have references?

Yes, please visit our testimonials page for our customer references by service. Additional references are available upon request.

Do I need to get an electrical permit?

Depending on the scope of your job you will almost always need a permit. Labor & Industries performs most inspections throughout the state, but some cities do their own electrical inspections. Please be aware that electrical contractors must purchase their own electrical permits for work they do on your property. If your contractor is resistant to or unable to pull a work permit this should send a red flag to you. It will usually be that they are not insured or licensed to work in your area. Robert D. Samuels will pull a permit for most of the work that we do.

I have reset the breaker but my power is still out, what do I do?

In order to reset a breaker in your electrical panel, you must move (push) the breaker handle firmly to the off position, and then push it back to the on position. Most people fail to push the breaker firmly past the off (tripped) position and assume it is reset. If you perform the correct reset procedure and still have no power, call us today. Breakers can wear out over time if they are tripped too frequently.

The outlets in my kitchen, bathroom, garage or outdoors are not working, what is the problem?

The most likely scenario is that the GFCI outlet has tripped. To remedy this, locate the GFCI outlet that controls the circuit and press the “Reset” button. Keep in mind that the GFCI outlet may be located in a cabinet. Also check the circuit breaker in the electrical panel to ensure it is not tripped.

My lights dim every time an appliance or other things are turned on, what is going on?

This condition is more common in older homes, but may also be found in homes that were not wired with an adequate amount of circuit breakers. Dimming of lights is normally caused when an air conditioning unit, vacuum, refrigerator, freezer, furnace or other large appliance starts. This instantaneous start of a motor is what causes the momentary dimming of your lights. Near capacity or overloaded circuits can also affect lights on the loaded circuit. There is little need to worry if this only happens when a motor driven device/appliance cause a momentary fluctuation. Over time, motor controlled device/appliance electrical components can wear down causing your breaker to trip frequently. Balancing the electrical load, adding new circuits, or upgrading your electrical service panel will typically fix the problem.

I have a breaker that keeps tripping; can I replace it with a bigger breaker?

No. The circuit breaker is designed to trip when it senses an overload or is beginning to wear out. This breaker needs to be replaced with the exact same size and type breaker as the existing. Replacing the breaker with a larger breaker defeats this purpose and will increase the chance of overheating. The best fix is to limit the number of electrical appliances that you use on that circuit, or have an additional circuit installed by a licensed electrician. If a breaker continuously trips and you feel you are not overloading the circuit, contact us today to further assess the condition of the breaker and circuit.

What is an arc-fault circuit breaker?

The arc-fault circuit breaker or “AFCI” are newly-developed electrical devices designed to protect against fires caused by arcing faults in your homes electrical wiring. Annually, over 40,000 fires are attributed to home electrical wiring. These fires result in over 350 deaths and over 1,400 injuries each year. Arcing faults are one of the major causes of these fires. When unwanted arcing occurs, it generates high temperatures that can ignite nearby combustibles such as wood, paper, and carpets. Arcing faults often occur in damaged or deteriorated wires and cords. Some causes of damaged and deteriorated wiring include puncturing of wire insulation from picture hanging or cable staples, poorly installed outlets or switches, cords caught in doors or under furniture, furniture pushed against plugs in an outlet, natural aging, and cord exposure to heat vents and sunlight.

The AFCI circuit breaker serves a dual purpose – not only will it shut off electricity in the event of an “arcing fault”, but it will also trip when a short circuit or an overload occurs. The AFCI circuit breaker provides protection for the branch circuit wiring and limited protection for power cords and extension cords. Single-pole, 15- and 20- ampere AFCI circuit breakers are presently available.