Cary Electric Company


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This page addresses common questions handled by our support staff, along with some tips and tricks that we have found useful and presented here as questions.

Have your Electrical System checked at least once every 5 years


Your electrical system should be maintained and basic precautions should be observed to protect your home, personal property and the lives of your family.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that about 45,000 fires can be attributed to potential problems with your Home Electrical System. These fires result in approximately 440 deaths, over 1400 injuries and over 430 million dollars in property loss each year.

The cheapest insurance a property owner could get is to make sure the Home Smoke Detector system is in proper working order, batteries replaced, detectors cleaned or replaced when needed. You should also have your electrical system checked every few years. You should develop a routine for checking your heating, cooling and electrical system every few years, just like people an electrical system may break down, become over burdened and not operate properly or not be of sufficient capacity to handle the power

  •  When  should I call an electrician immediately, or wait until a scheduled appointment can be made?

If you hear a sizzling noise or feel heat near or around any electrical outlet or apparatus or have lights flickering or see an arc or sparks from any electrical source, call an electrician immediately. If you smell anything that you feel smells like smoke, plastic burning then also call your local fire department immediately. If you know which fuse or breaker controls the circuit effected turn the breaker off or remove the fuse, It is better to have an electrician do a emergency call when experiencing any of the above issues than to potentially have a fire.

  • Where do I find if my home has been properly inspected?

There should be a sticker posted on your electrical panel outlining when and what inspections have been done to your home, In Montgomery County Md. you may also call the Office of Permitting Services to get the list of permits and inspections done for any home in Montgomery County MD. Some homes were inspected prior to the county maintaining records, call 240-777-6230 to find out what your permit status is on your home or visit at

Also when buying a home ask seller for any maintenance records he may have on your electrical system.

  • Why should I upgrade my electrical panel?

There are many reasons to upgrade your electrical system, sometimes you simply do not have enough electrical capacity to support a modern day home with appliances like microwaves, hot tubs, Jacuzzi, toaster ovens, Air Conditions and other high power consuming appliances. Please visit our blog to learn more about Heavy Ups, AKA service or panel upgrades.

  • Who is responsible for the service cable running down the outside of my house to the electric meter?

In Montgomery County, most homes use the Potomac Electric Power Company (PEPCO) and they require the homeowner to be responsible for the service cable to be in good condition. If you see damage to the outer cable insulation or covering have it checked immediately, Water can travel down these cables into your panel and water is a major reason for an electric panel or circuit breaker failure. Whenever you do a heavy up and increase the load to your home you must always replace the service entrance cable running down your home to the electric meter.

  • When should I replace batteries in Smoke and Carbon Dioxide Detectors?

You should make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in working order each year, it should be part of your spring cleaning. Check twice a year and replace batteries each spring whether the detector works or not and vacuum dust around detectors, remember smoke detectors are ionization detectors and may be affected by tar residue from cigarettes, hairspray, grease from cooking. It maybe necessary to replace detectors that shows signs of excessive exposures to these conditions.

  • Can I use extension cords for lamps and other household electrical appliances?

We do not recommend the use of extension cords, however sometimes extension cords are used by homeowners. Extension cords should only be used on a temporary basis; if you need an outlet have one of our electricians install one for you. Always make sure your cords are the newer cords which are polarized, make sure that you use a properly sized cord for the apparatus (lamp, clock etc) never use a cord smaller than a # 16 gauge, and never over-load a extension cord. More can be found:

  • Can I replace a ceiling light with a ceiling fan in a bedroom or living room in our home?

Yes, however the support box may have to be replaced with approved fan safe box. Ceiling fans are heavy and rotate the National Electric Code requires that ceiling fans be adequately supported by UL approved ceiling fan boxes. We always recommend you use a qualified electrician to do any modifications in your home. Remember your insurance company requires that all work be done by licensed and qualified people otherwise they may not be required to cover any losses.

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