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Electrical FAQs and Resources
These are some of the Frequently Asked Questions we get. If you're a homeowner or builder, Pete Gonzalez Electric can help you plan for the most efficient electrical solution. In our 18 years of experience, we've seen it all and probably wired it!

Q: When is it time to call an electrician?
A:  When you are resetting circuit breakers or changing fuses too often. When you turn on your air conditioner and the lights dim in the room. When you have six electronic devises going into one outlet in back of your media center or you run extension cords to plug in more devices.

Don't wait until you can smell electricity burning. Call an electrical pro whenever you have questions. Your safety is the most important consideration.

Q: How much should I attempt on my own?
A:  Currently, California is one of the many states that allow homeowners to do most home improvement projects in their home themselves. The homeowner can pull his own electrical permit for work on his single family home, but he should be cautious. Any damage or fire caused by his work will not be covered by most homeowners insurance companies; only work that is done by a licensed Electrical Contractor is covered. Check your homeowners insurance policy.

Due to the potential high risk of working with electricity, an electrician must undergo extensive training to become licensed. Do not make a mistake by taking electricity lightly, even the smallest job could be a safety hazard.

​Q: What size service do I install in my home?
A:  Most states call for 100 amps minimum, but with all the new electronic devices, air conditioning and electric heat, we suggest at least 200 amps. This also gives you some space for future additions. This is not a job for an unlicensed person to attempt. In most cases it involves replacing everything from the service loop (this is the wire that extends from the top of your meter to the utility tie in) up to and including the main panel.

​Q: How many convenience outlets should I have in each room?
A:  In every room, receptacle outlets shall be installed along the floor line in any wall space with six feet. This is to prevent the use of extension cords. Outlets are usually placed about 18 inches above floor level. Switches usually go about 48 inches from floor level. For convenience outlets each single receptacle in a single branch circuit is usually figured for 1.5 amps, duplex outlets for 3 amps in estimating total amperage for that circuit. Air conditioners should be on a single dedicated circuit.

Q: What about outlets in a kitchen area?
A: All electric receptacles installed within 6 feet of a kitchen sink or wetbar must have G.F.C.I. (Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupters) protection. Kitchen counter tops should be supplied with at least two 20 amp branch circuits, for small appliances. Each fixed appliance (refrigerator, stove, dish washer) should have its own dedicated circuit. On counter tops 12 inches or wider, outlets should be installed so that there is no more than 24 inches between them. Outlets installed to serve island counter tops shall be installed above, or within 12 inches below the counter top. No receptacle shall be installed face up on a sink counter top. 

Electrical codes exist for safety reasons. Violating them can be costly. Utilizing the knowledge and experience of a licensed electrical contractor can save you time and money, as well as give you peace of mind in your home or office. Contact Pete Gonzalez Electric for an FREE initial consultation, phone 252-7383 or email at


Here are some Resource Links you might find useful. Pete Gonzalez Electric is not paid to endorse these firms or individuals and we make no guarantee or warranty of their services or products.

State Licensing Board (CSLB) 
Check your contractor's license and status 

Napa County Building Department
Find permit information

Sonoma County Building Department
Find permit information

General Contractors 
Richard Graham Contracting

Interior Design
Chambray Design