Frequently Asked Questions

These are questions I am often asked as an electrician, electrical contractor.
An arc fault is a high-power discharge of electricity between two or more conductors. This discharge generates heat, which can break the wire’s insulation and trigger an electrical fire. Arc Fault protection is a wiring protection and Fire prevention required by the National Electrical Code. Either a special type of receptacle or circuit breaker that can sense certain types of arcing that are known to cause fire. In most parts of a home, if you change out even one receptacle the code requires Arc Fault protection. Also, in many cases, in a home, if adding or replacing wiring Arc Fault protection is required.
We do Residential and light commercial electrical work. We always welcome new clients and cater to all electrical jobs, both big and small, panel upgrade, new wiring, old work, trouble shooting, remodel, ceiling fans, spa & hot tub etc. just reach out to see how we can help you with any and all of your electrical needs If you need an electrician or have questions regarding your electrical project give us a call.

Usually it would take a day to survey your existing panel, check which materials are available locally, then price the job and time to fix it .

When we have a contract and payment the “first day” is what I call a “preps day”. This includes getting materials, getting permit, labeling panel, in general getting ready for the panel change.

The next day is the panel change out day. I have been an electrician since 1988 and have never failed to get the power back on the same day in an occupied residence when doing a main electrical panel upgrade.

Yes! I believe it is in the best interest of the homeowner to have a main panel upgrade permitted. I will not do a main panel upgrade or change out without a permit. So yes, I firmly believe this work should be permitted. But do not let anyone talk you into you pulling a “homeowner’s permit” as any qualified electrical contractor would do that, not you.
If you need any more circuits then, yes you would have to upgrade your panel. Even if you were not planning to add any circuits the fact that your panel is full usually indicates it is old and marginal. Upgrading would be a very good idea.
Yes. If your electrical is fuses it is very old. Often it would have some kind of corrosion or overheating of metal parts. You could have an electrician do an inspection on the panel, but even if there is no sign of damage, based on age it is time to upgrade to an electrical panel with circuit breakers.

There are more reasons, that you should hire a certified electrical contractor to upgrade your electrical panel, such as:


  • Burning smell from panel.
  • Known problem brands of electrical panel: Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) Stabloc, Zinsco.
  • The panel is a split busbar.
  • The panel is damaged, corroded, rusty, burnt etc.

Assuming the lights had originally been wired correctly and were working properly, usually the problem can be found and fixed by an electrician, well trained in trouble shooting, in one to four hours.

In troubleshooting it has been my experience that the majority of the time is in finding the root cause of the problem. Often once the problem is found a connection needs to be tightened, a switch replaced etc. So, determining the time and cost before finding the actual problem is not possible.

The above answer is based on the following assumptions:

  • You have already replaced the light bulbs.
  • The lights that need replacing are not fluorescent lights (as they may need ballast…)
Yes, I have been working as an electrician since 1988, a part of that has been lighting design. If you hire us, I would be glad to work with you in designing your lighting.

I would break down outdoor lighting into two parts.

  1. Attached to the house lighting:

This is sometimes for security, sometimes aesthetics, sometimes both.  More toward security, often motion sensor lights are used. These lights are almost always done with 120 volts.

  1. Not attached to the house lighting:

This could be in a garden, yard, walkway, around a driveway, around a deck, etc. These lights are simpler and saver to do with 12 volts.

It takes Usually 1 to 2 hours.
  Here are variables:

  • The first variable, is the existing electrical box rated to support a fan? If not, additional time will be needed to address this problem.
  • Some unique fans take longer to install. But usually if simple, one hour to one and a half hours. Can be longer based on variables but rarely over 3 hours.

Most of the time, yes.


  Here are some of the main variables:


  • Is there an available existing circuit that is Arc Fault protected?
  • Is there attic access above where you want the new fan?
  • Do you want the fan to be controlled by a wall switch, the fan’s pull chains, a remote controller?
  • Did you know that adding a wall switch would increase the cost of the project?



In general, to install a fan in a new location, without a switch, and is a simple install, could take around four hours and require Arc Fault protection which will add some to the expense.

Doing more than one fan as part of the project should save some expense.

  There is a good chance we could use the wall switch to control the fan.

  Some variables are:

  • Is there attic access above the switch and new fan location?
  • Are you willing to have the plug with constant power- not switched?
  • Did you know that using this switch would increase the cost of the project?

Work with your electrician, electrical contractor to determine whether a wall switch is the best solution for you.

 No, it is much better for the homeowner, not the electrician, to select a fan that is best for the home or business owner.

Yes, usually.

There are some fans (few) that cannot take a separate remote controller.

Not as simple as you would think. 

 Arc Fault Protection; In most areas of a house the National Electrical Code requires, when changing out even one plug, for it to be Arc Fault protected. This is allowed to be done with a special plug (if there is room in the electrical box) or at the breaker (if there is space in the panel, etc.).

But there is a way to change out a plug or plugs, it might be more work than you had thought. Changing out plugs, when and how to add Arc Fault protection is important. Check with a qualified electrician, electrical contractor.

First as above, when changing out plugs in a house they need to be Arc Fault protected.

The code does allow 3 prong plugs to be put on ungrounded systems if they are ground fault protected and labeled “GFCIed Protected” and “No Equipment Ground.” So, in this case they would need to be both Arc Fault protected, and ground fault protected.

It is good to note though, that if a plug is not actually grounded, then surge protection strip plugs will not function.

When feasible it is best to get the plugs actually grounded, but often this can be cost prohibitive.

 In a lot of case, yes we do .

 In almost all cases we need to have attic access. There have been 2 or 3 times we managed to get a bathroom exhaust fan without attic access, but usually this is not the case.

We usually install a new bathroom exhaust fan from an existing light. This means that fan will turn on and off with the light. We have always exhausted the fan to the outside, usually the eves.

Yes. For many years now, when I have read the specifications for above the range microwaves, they have all required their own circuit. In my many years of practice as an electrician, electrical contractor, I have sometimes seen that some unqualified electrician has removed an old range exhaust fan and used that wire, but it was not dedicated.

This is not good. So, yes, you do need the above the range microwave on its own circuit breaker from the electrical panel.

Usually yes.

In addition to the electrical requirements (see above) there are space or dimension requirements. Is the cabinet space the correct width? In the specifications for the above range microwave there will be a minimum distance from the oven to the microwave. So, if there is not proper clearance, I cannot install it. But usually I can.

Temporary Generator Hook Up What are Some Things I Should Know?

The simplest way to get some temporary power is to get a small generator and run some extension cords. This does not require hiring an electrician, electrical contractor. Many people do not like this option.

A second option is to set up a manual way to put your generator outside and run a cord to a temporary panel hookup. The way I usually like to do this is to put a special set up on the main panel so that the utility power (usual electricity source) and generator cannot deliver power to the panel at the same time (this is often referred to as “interlock”).

This system allows the homeowner to turn individual circuit breakers on and off and manage the electrical power. Yes, this requires both some knowledge of how to deal with gas engines- generator- and an ability to think with math- not use more watts than the generator supplies.

Some other things to know on this are:

  • You need a 120/240 generator.
  • You are likely to want a generator perhaps around 5000 watts. Perhaps a little higher or lower if you know the load you will be using. (This is not a tutorial on how to size a generator.)
  • You will not have enough power to run the central air conditioner. Could run a window A/C.
  • The generator must be run outside, not even in the garage.
  • Montgomery Electrical Services does not buy the generator or cord for the customer.

A third option is to have a large generator constantly on standby, ready to start itself and automatically power your house.

This may require tens of thousands of dollars, scheduled maintenance, and buried fuel. Montgomery Electrical Services Inc does not offer this generator service.

Over the years as an electrician I have seen pool panels deteriorating faster than other panels. This could be because they are around water, chlorine, and other corrosive elements more than other panels. When your pool panel has corrosion, it should be replaced.


The current code requires ground fault circuit interruption protection on most pool equipment- be sure your electrician addresses this as well.


Tony LearyTony Leary
17:33 10 Dec 23
While not actually hiring, just them answering AND following up on a Sunday had me willing to hire them if needed. They advised I check with Duke first and that was indeed the issue.
Robert MooreRobert Moore
17:04 04 Dec 23
We have used Montgomery Electric on numerous occasions. The work has always been performed professionally and reasonably priced in my estimation. Charles is a Master Electrician so you can have confidence that the job is done correctly, no shortcuts. Arrives on time as scheduled and leaves no trace, with the exception of his fine work, behind. I Highly recommend Montgomery Electric for your electrical needs.
Ted JuhlTed Juhl
19:51 17 Nov 23
exceptional service . explains everything that he does very thoroughly. would highly recommend this company for any of your electrical needs
John HeatherlyJohn Heatherly
16:14 13 Nov 23
We have used Montgomery Electric for several jobs both big and small. Charles was very professional and efficient with the jobs. Chris in the office is available when called and has always given advice on jobs that we need taken care of.
Dr KT ErwinDr KT Erwin
16:20 07 Nov 23
Montgomery Electrical Services provides top quality professional service. Charles Montgomery, a Master Electrician, is skilled and efficient.
Fred WatkinsFred Watkins
15:57 18 Oct 23
We've used Montgomery Electric for years! They are very professional and honest. Recently we had some surge problems and found that our surge protector had blown up. We called Montgomery Electric and Chris (in the office) suggested some troubleshooting steps to take. We called her back to report the results and she immediately diagnosed the problem as being a Duke Energy "dropped neutral" issue. We contacted Duke Energy, they dispatched a truck and he confirmed the issue and repaired. Thank you Chris at Montgomery Electric for always being helpful.
J DineenJ Dineen
18:12 15 Sep 23
Montgomery Electrical did a good job. I would recommend them and I would call them again.
Barry TosdevineBarry Tosdevine
18:56 15 Jun 23
Charles recently did a lot of electrical work in my house involving the master bathroom, garage, kitchen, outside lights and outlets to bring everything up to code.Apart from being a perfectionist in his work, Charles arrived on time every day and cleaned everything up when finished.I have no hesitation recommending Charles for any electrical work you may need to have done.
Larry HLarry H
17:51 14 Jun 23
I have used Montgomery electric exclusively for the past several years. Charles (a master electrician) is extremely knowledgeable and never takes any shortcuts. His attention to detail and code ensures he job done properly every time. My highest recommendation is well deserved by Montgomery Electric
Chadwivk RhondaChadwivk Rhonda
12:22 29 Apr 23
He was very thorough, did not do any extra work to drive his price up gave me explanation of why I was having problems with an outlet. He was very helpful with determining what was important now and what can be added laterI would definitely be using him for any other electric service in the futureGreat price too, I was expecting a huge out of pocket expense, I was delighted to pay that bill.
Chris BuchananChris Buchanan
18:56 05 Apr 23
Charles of Montgomery electric is fantastic. I needed some outlets modernized and he did an excellent job. He was able to come the week I called, showed up promptly and was very courteous. He is a perfectionist and everything looks so clean and professional. My son has also used his services and referred him to me. 6star review!