Your electrical service questions answered

Are Port City Electrical Contractors insured?

Yes. We are fully insured and bonded, so you can feel completely safe as we work around your home.

Are you licensed?

We hold an Unlimited Electrical License, which is the highest level of license offered by the State of North Carolina.

What types of payment do you take?

We take all major credit cards, cash, or check. Once the job is complete, we will invoice you and you can make your payment easily online.

What is your warranty or refund policy?

We offer a full one year warranty on parts, and a three year warranty on labor.
All payments are final. We do not offer refunds.

What areas do Port City Electrical serve?

We proudly serve New Hanover and Pender County, working at homes and businesses in and around Wilmington and Hampstead.

How do I get a free estimate?

You can fill in our quote form, and Daniel will be in touch to give you a quote for your work. Alternatively, call or email us today!
(910) 620-3458 | lamb@portcityelec.com

Do you handle residential work?

We specialize in all types of residential electrical work, including all types of repairs and installation.

Can you handle commercial or industrial jobs?

Yes. We can handle business electrical systems, both large and small.

How long have you been in business?

Daniel has ten years of experience working and supervising electrical installation and repair projects in the U.S. before settling here in North Carolina at the start of the year. He established Port City Electrical Contractors in May of 2018, and is already getting a strong local reputation for dedicated service and professionalism. If you’ve been frustrated with other contractors, give Danial a call on (910) 620-3458.

Do you offer energy saving advice?

Yes. Daniel can take a look at your home and after discussion of your current outlay, can show you clear ways to reduce your bill and your impact on the environment.

Where are you located?

We are located in Hampstead, but serve all areas of Pender and New Hanover County.

How do I get a broken bulb out of a socket?

Always turn off the power because this is a dangerous situation. A good trick is to use a new light bulb to back-out the old socket. Just press the new bulb in and turn counterclockwise. Don’t press to hard. If the bulb does not come out, call a licensed electrician.

Why is my light humming?

Check the light bulbs; they may be going bad. If it is a fluorescent light, your ballast may be causing the humming. Be sure to use the correct type of bulb for your fluorescent fixture to avoid this problem.

Why do my light bulbs keep burning out?

Most of the time, it is because the bulb is too big for the application. In these cases, the light gets too hot and the element burns. Check the fixture for the appropriate size light bulb. If the light bulb size is correct, there may be a loose or faulty electrical connection.

What is an LED light?

LED stands for Light Emitting Diode. LED lights emit energy in the form of light when current passes through them. These lights are very energy efficient and represent the next wave in lighting. LED lighting is standard in electronics but is now making headway in household lighting.

What is a Xenon light bulb?

Xenon Lights are similar to halogen but contain Xenon gas. They are generally brighter and clearer than halogen lights. Xenon lights are relatively new but can be found in under cabinet and art lights.

What is a Fluorescent bulb?

Fluorescent light bulbs have gas inside of them that “excites” when electricity runs through the bulb. This causes the bulb to glow. These lights are more efficient than Halogen or regular light bulbs and come in different colors. Because the light bulbs are gas based, fluorescent lights generally require a ballast to control the flow of electricity through the light bulb. This is why many dimmers to do not work with fluorescent lights.

What is a Halogen bulb?

Halogen bulbs are light bulbs with tungsten filaments (the part that glows) and filled with halogen gas. They burn much hotter and brighter than normal bulbs which makes the light appear clearer or whiter. Halogen bulbs generally last longer and are more efficient than regular bulbs. Because Halogen lights burn much hotter, they are compromised of grease or dirt gets on their surface. Handle with care.

My GFCI trips very often. Is it bad?

Maybe, but it’s probably just doing its job (protecting you from ground faults). Get the circuit checked out to make sure there is not a ground fault or leak somewhere in the wiring. Often appliances that have ground faults (electrical leaks) will cause a GFCI to trip. Its a good idea to have any appliance that is tripping a GFCI checked out.

How do I know if my GFCI is working?

On the GFCI there is a button labeled “test.” Hit the test button and you should hear a snap as the outlet shuts off. Hit the “reset” button to restore power. If your GFCI does not shut off when tested, get it replaced. The only way to really know if a GFCI is working is to test it with a GFCI tester (you can get one at your local hardware store). GFCI testing is standard in our whole house electrical safety checks.

Where should I have GFCIs installed?

Kitchens, bathrooms, and outdoor locations, especially near water, are a must. Garages, unfinished basements, and crawlspaces are also required in most jurisdictions. These are places in the home where ground faults commonly occur and people are the most susceptible to electrical shock. Did you know that only half the homes I inspect have GFI’s in the kitchen (shocking…isn’t it!).

What is a GFCI Device?

A GFCI is a “Ground Fault Circuit Interrupting” device. (Pretty fancy, huh?) This means it interrupts power to the outlet when it senses any electricity leaking out of the circuit. Basically, this means the device shuts off power when its senses that electricity is going somewhere other than back to the power grid. Which is good, because sometimes that electricity is escaping into a person!

Why have GFCIs?

Simply put, GFCI’s save lives. In the event of an electric shock, current runs through the victim away from the source. GFCI’s sense this and shut off automatically. Since their inception in the National Electrical Code, GFCI’s have saved hundreds of lives. The US Consumer Safety Committee found that two thirds of the 300 household electrical deaths that occur every year could have been prevented by the proper installation of a GFCI device.

My panel is missing screws for the cover. Where can I get new ones?

Most home improvement stores carry panel screws. Be sure to get the screws for your panel only. The wrong type or length of screw can damage wires inside you panel.

I have a breaker that is hot. Is this normal?

No. Breakers should not get hot during use. If a breaker is overloaded or bad, it will begin to lose electricity in the form of heat. Have any breaker that is hot to the touch checked out by an electrician.

Half the power in my house is out. Why might this happen?

Your home is probably only getting one leg of power from your power provider. Call your power company and ask them to investigate your meter.

My panel is full. What are the best options?

We can install a sub panel to create additional space or upgrade your panel to provide more room. Adding circuits to an overloaded panel is not recommended and can lead to major panel damage.

My panel is buzzing. What can I do about this?

Call us. Buzzing, Humming, or Sizzling sounds are often the first indicator of an electrical problem. The sound you hear could be your panel melting. Get an electrical safety check before your panel needs to be replaced.

I’ve replaced the bulb, but my light is still not working. What can I do?

The light needs to be checked out. Regular recessed lights contain thermal sensors that can go bad and shut off the light. Low Voltage type recessed lights contain transformers that can go bad over time. Also, we find that many low voltage lights have damaged or corroded sockets.

One recessed light keeps burning out. What can I do?

Get the light checked out. There is probably a loose wire or connection that is reducing the bulb life.

Does my house need to be rewired?

Generally, we recommend a whole house safety check before making that decision. The most important factors are age of wire, condition of wiring, and the safety of the home. Homes with cloth wiring or without a grounding system are examples of homes that we recommend for rewiring.

How can I tell if I have cloth wiring?

Generally, homes built before the 1960’s contain cloth wiring. Cloth wiring deteriorates over time exposing the live wires inside the cloth coating to your home. A whole house safety check will reveal the type and condition of your wiring system. You can also see your wiring by looking in the crawlspace or attic. Look for your electrical wires running through the studs and rafters.

Do I need to move out during major electrical work?

No, we will work around you and your schedule. We will keep the power to your home on and your air conditioning working. It is a little uncomfortable having electricians working in your home but the future increase in comfort and safety is well worth it.

How long does it take to rewire a house?

Usually, we can rewire an entire house in about a week. This includes the necessary inspections and work. Larger homes can take two weeks or more.

What are the benefits of rewiring a property?

The first major benefit is safety. A complete rewire removes any doubt that there is any electrical problem with your home. Plus, it includes looped smoke detectors, a new panel, GFCI outlets, grounded outlets, and plastic coated wire that will last a lifetime. Did you know that home insurance companies give better rates to homeowners with new wiring systems? They know the danger of old wiring better than anyone.

The second major benefit is comfort. We install additional outlets in every room including bathrooms, new outdoor outlets, switches, bathroom exhaust fans, ceiling fan boxes in all the bedrooms, closet lights, a new electrical panel that is completely labeled, and dedicated circuits to all your major appliances and outlets. Basically, your old home gets all the conveniences of a new home. Plus, this is a great time to get recessed lighting and dimmers at a really great rate. Whole house rewires come with a lifetime warranty which means you don’t ever have to worry about your electrical system again.

The third major benefit is resale value. A completely rewired home adds thousands of dollars in actual value to your home and makes potential buyers more interested in your home than others. Every home buyer gets an inspection report full of pictures and opinions before buying a home. An old and unsafe electrical system is a big red flag for potential buyers. A home with a completely new electrical system signed off on by your county inspector is really attractive to buyers.

I have two prong outlets. Can I just replace them?

No, just replacing the outlets will not help. The third prong is the most important – the ground. Without a ground wire to attach to, the new outlets are illegal. The only way to improve your outlet is to run new wiring to each outlet. This provides a ground wire to connect to your new outlet.

My smoke detector is chirping. What can I do?

Smoke detectors chirp to alert the homeowner that the battery is low. If your smoke detector chirps, replace the battery with a brand new battery. If your smoke detector still chirps after installing a BRAND NEW battery, remove the battery and check the polarity. Note that smoke detectors will still chirp after the “silence” or “hush” button has been pushed. This chirping should end within 10 minutes of silencing the alarm.

What type of lights should I buy?

Recessed lights come in several types and sizes. We install 6″, 5″, 4″, 3″ and even 2″ recessed lights.

6″ recessed lights are the most common type and are great for kitchens, hallways, and sitting rooms.
4″ lights are great for theaters, bar areas, small kitchens, and fireplaces.
3″ lights are great for dramatic lighting around artwork, arches, curtains, and cabinets.
2″ recessed lights are great for showcases, cabinets, nooks, and arches.
Call us and we will schedule a lighting consultation with an expert who can answer all your questions and help you make a great decision.

Can I use recessed lights in a sloped ceiling?

Yes, you can. It may be a bit more difficult and can be messy (according to our standards) in some cases, but we do it on a regular basis. They even make recessed lights specifically for sloped ceilings.

My recessed lights are ugly. What can I do?

Many recessed lights have interchangeable trim pieces (the part of the light you can see). That means we can change the whole look of the recessed light, just by changing the trim piece. This is a great option in rooms with cheap trims that have started to yellow.