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How do I trouble shoot GFI outlets, lightbulbs, and light fixtures?




While electrical problems can happen, many can be avoided with the right precautions. If you have an electrical problem in your Van Metre home, please take a look at this checklist before calling for service:

  • Smoke detectors—You should clean and vacuum the openings of your smoke detectors at least once a month. If your smoke detector sounds for no reason, vacuum the openings around the detector to see if that remedies the issue. Don't worry. Your smoke detectors will be equipped with a battery backup and will continue to operate in the event that your home is without power. And if you hear a chirping sound, then that means that your batteries need to be replaced. Batteries should be changed once a year. Perhaps pick one of the time changes to help you remember.


  • GFI outlets—These are found throughout your Van Metre home and are designed for your protection. Dampness, split cords, or defective equipment may cause a GFI to trip and that, in turn, will cut power to the receptacle. Please refer to our how-to videos to learn how to properly care for these outlets.


  • Light bulbs—Light bulbs are not guaranteed by the manufacturer or by the electrician and may last from one day to one year. This includes the light for the doorbell. 


  • Recycling fluorescent light bulbs—The EPA recommends you recycle your fluorescent light bulbs, known as CFLs, instead of just tossing them in the trash. Recycling CFLs prevents the release of mercury into the environment. And when you recycle them, other materials in those light bulbs actually get reused in other products. Many hardware supply stores and other retailers offer in-store recycling. Visit earth911.com to find stores in your area. Here are a few that participate: Ace True Value Hardware, Home Depot, IKEA, Lowe's, and Orchard Supply.


  • Light fixtures—Any light fixtures furnished by the electrician in your Van Metre home are guaranteed for one year. If you find an outlet where the top socket isn't working but the lower is, most likely that top socket is attached to a wall switch. Sometimes these are easy to recognize if the top socket is upside down and are commonly found in family rooms, living rooms, and bedrooms when no overhead lighting is installed. 


  • Ceiling fan pre-wires— If you have purchased a ceiling fan pre-wire, please note that the electrician is responsible for the prewiring that is necessary to operate the fan and light kit separately. We recommend hiring a licensed electrician to install the fixture for you. The electrician can show you how to operate it using the switches on the wall.