Electrical System and Fixtures
The electrical system and fixtures in your home have been installed by a licensed electrical contractor. Each phase of construction has been inspected and approved by the local municipality and has met all applicable requirements and electrical standards. During your Homeowner Orientation, we will confirm that the electrical fixtures are in acceptable condition and functioning properly.
For safety reasons, it is vital that you have a complete understanding of the proper use of the electrical system.
In the event of a partial (such as half of the house) or complete power failure, call your local electrical utility supplier. If only one room or small area is without power, check the appropriate circuit breaker(s). If a circuit breaker continues to trip, make sure you have not overloaded the circuit.
Modifications to your electrical system made by others not contracted by D. R. Horton may void portions of the Limited Warranty.
Before digging in your yard, you must contact JULIE (Joint Utility Locate Information for Excavators) to identify the location of underground/buried electrical lines.
Some appliances, such as your dishwasher, garbage disposal, whirlpool tub, etc. may be plugged into an outlet or operated by a separate switch. The switch location will be discussed at your Homeowner Orientation and should be checked in the event your appliances are not operating.
Circuit breakers are the safety device of your electrical system. Located in the main electrical panel, they protect wiring and appliances by turning off (TRIPPING) when a circuit overloads. Each breaker is labeled according to the area of your home it supplies power to. Circuit breakers have three positions: ON, OFF and TRIPPED. In the event you are not receiving power to an area in your home, you should first check the appropriate circuit breaker. If the circuit breaker is TRIPPED, it must first be turned OFF before it can be turned ON. Switching the breaker directly from TRIPPED to ON will not restore power. If a circuit TRIPS frequently, unplug all items connected to it and reset. If the circuit stays on, one of the items you unplugged is defective. Typically, circuit breakers trip due to overloads caused by plugging in too many appliances, worn cords, defective appliances or operating an appliance with too high of a demand requirement for the circuit.
The electrical system in your home is designed to accommodate a specific electrical demand. Typically, small appliances can be used or added on most circuits; however, excessive electrical demand may overload the circuit. This may cause the breaker to trip. Prior to purchasing and installing any electrical device or appliance, we recommend having a licensed electrical contractor check the appropriate circuit to ensure sufficient capacity.
Arc fault interrupters are installed in bedrooms (as required by municipal requirements). Arc fault interrupters are a safety precaution to prevent electrical shock if an item, other than a plug, is stuck into an outlet. The arc fault interrupter is located on the circuit breaker and resets similar to GFCI outlet. Appliances that have a large demand such as air purifiers, vacuums, computers, printers etc. will trip the outlet. If an outlet trips during normal use, it may be an indication of a faulty appliance.
The EPA has made drastic changes in the electroplating industry. One of the reasons for these changes is to lessen the negative impact the electroplating process has on the environment. Because of these modifications in the manufacturing process, the resulting plating is far more susceptible to pitting and tarnishing than in previous years.
All exterior fixtures installed on your home have been covered with a clear coating to help retard what is known as the “oxidation process”. This coating is not impervious to wear and tear. The “oxidation” is brought about by dirt, atmospheric conditions and ultraviolet light.
Eventually these contaminants will break down the clear coating and begin corroding the surface of the plating. This process will eventually tarnish any fixtures on the exterior of your home and there is currently no known way to prevent this from occurring. As such, exterior fixtures are excluded from the Limited Warranty.
It is not uncommon to experience slight dimming of the lights or buzzing when your air conditioner, furnace or other large appliance starts. This equipment demands a large amount of electricity at start up. Once this equipment has started, the electrical current flow will return to normal. This is not considered a defect and therefore not covered by the Limited Warranty.
It is not uncommon for florescent fixtures to make a buzzing sound during operation. This is considered normal for this type of fixture, not a defect and therefore is not covered by the Limited Warranty.
If you have fixtures that are not working, first check to see if the bulb is good and screwed in all the way. You may occasionally have to tighten light bulbs. Replacing light bulbs is a homeowner maintenance responsibility. If the bulb is ruled out, check all switches for that particular fixture and then check the circuit breaker for that particular area.
Occasionally check to make sure all fixtures are tightly mounted and secure.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for maintenance and cleaning.
At least one side of one outlet in each bedroom, living room and family room is operated by a wall switch. Therefore, if there is no power to an outlet in one of these rooms, check to make sure the wall switch is in the ON position. If the wall switch does not provide power, next check the circuit breaker for that area. If the circuit breaker is TRIPPED, remember to reset the breaker by switching the breaker to OFF and then ON. Switching the breaker directly from TRIPPED to ON will not restore power.
Your home is also equipped with ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets. Quite simply, the (GFCI) is a circuit breaker. Building codes require installation of these outlets in bathrooms, kitchens, garages, exteriors, and basements (areas where an individual may come into contact with water while operating an electrical device). They are designed to trip with the slightest moisture contact to eliminate the possibility of electrical shock. Appliances that have a large demand such as refrigerators, freezers, countertop microwaves, power tools, etc. will trip the GFCI outlet. Do not plug these appliances into GFCI controlled outlets. If a GFCI outlet trips during normal use, it may be an indication of a faulty appliance.
If you do not have power to a (GFCI) outlet, simply RESET the outlet. Each (GFCI) has a TEST and RESET button located on the outlet cover. Once each month, we recommend that you press the TEST button, which will trip the (GFCI). To return service, press the RESET button. Please note, in certain home configurations, the (GFCI) TEST and RESET buttons may not be located on the actual outlet which is experiencing power failure. Since one (GFCI) can control multiple outlets, check the RESET button on the nearest (GFCI) outlet. This will be discussed at your Homeowner Orientation.
It is not uncommon to experience air infiltration through outlets and switches located on exterior walls. The depth of the electrical box that contains this switch and/or outlet, limits the insulation behind it. This is not considered a defect and is therefore not covered by the Limited Warranty.
For the safety and protection of your family, smoke alarms have been installed (per municipal requirements) on each level of your home.
These devices are a warning signal in the case of smoke and should always be kept in proper working order as they have been proven to save lives. The smoke alarms are designed to sound an alarm when smoke is present. Therefore, they may go off when cooking, broiling, excessive smoking, etc. Although this may become an irritant, DO NOT ALTER OR REMOVE any part of the detector which would render it inoperable, as this practice could prove to be fatal.
The smoke alarms in your home are wired directly into the electrical system but also include a battery back-up, in the event you should experience a loss of power. These batteries should be replaced per the manufacturer’s recommendations
The main purpose of your smoke alarms is to detect the presence of smoke and activate a warning signal. Having said this, there are other factors which may cause the smoke detectors to activate. You should always ensure your home is free from smoke or fire prior to investigating other causes such as:
- Cover or sensor chamber is covered by dust, dirt or insects. Not uncommon after very windy conditions. Gently vacuum smoke detectors regularly using the soft brush attachment.
- Power interruptions to smoke alarms. Smoke alarms may alarm briefly when power has been interrupted.
- A loose electrical connection. Care should be taken when replacing batteries.
- When furnace is turned on for first use of season. First use of the furnace can cause oil, dust and residue particles to be blown through the home possibly settling on the cover or sensor chamber.
- Humidity. Excessive humidity in your home may cause moisture to collect on the cover or sensor chamber. Proper humidity levels in your home should be maintained (refer to Condensation section).
- Chirping. Chirping is often the result of a low battery. Other factors may be that the battery pull tab is still in detector or that the battery drawer is open.
- Cooking, broiling toasters, excessive smoking, etc. can all cause a smoke alarm to activate.
Carbon Monoxide is an invisible, odorless gas. Carbon Monoxide can be produced by gas or oil appliances such as a furnace, clothes dryer, range, oven, water heater or space heater. When appliances and vents work properly, and there is enough fresh air in your home to allow complete combustion, the trace amounts of Carbon Monoxide produced are typically not dangerous. The following conditions can cause Carbon Monoxide levels to rise quickly:
- appliance malfunction
- vent, flue or chimney is blocked by debris or even snow
- fireplace, wood burning stove or charcoal grill is not properly vented
- vehicle is left running in an attached garage
- several appliances are running at the same time, competing for limited fresh air. This can cause incomplete combustion and produce Carbon Monoxide even if all appliances are in good working condition.
For the safety and protection of your family, Carbon Monoxide detectors have been installed (per municipal requirements) in your home. These devices are a warning signal in case Carbon Monoxide is present and should be kept in working order as they have been proven to save lives. These devices are typically installed in the hallway outside the bedrooms and may be a combination smoke detector/carbon monoxide detector. Although these may be combination units, they will have different sounding alarms. It is important to be familiar with the difference in tones between the two alarms.
The Carbon Monoxide detectors (and/or combination smoke detector and Carbon Monoxide detector) are wired directly into the electrical system but also include a battery back-up, in the event you should experience a loss of power. These batteries should be replaced per the manufacturer’s recommendations.
The main purpose of your Carbon Monoxide detector is to detect the presence of Carbon Monoxide and activate a warning signal. It is important that you establish an action plan and educate all family members on what to do in case the alarm sounds. Should the Carbon Monoxide alarm sound, immediately move everyone to fresh air outdoors and contact your emergency services (911). Do not re-enter the home until emergency services have arrived and deem the home safe to re-enter.
It is important to note that Carbon Monoxide detectors do not detect gas leaks, only Carbon Monoxide. To detect a gas leak, a gas detector is required. Should you suspect a gas leak, turn off the gas to the appliance in question and contact the gas supplier immediately. They are equipped with the proper gas detector equipment.
If your home selections included a ceiling fan rough-in, you will receive an electrical box (in the ceiling) with three wires and a single pole switch (unless another switch option was chosen). The threewires consist of one neutral wire, that could either be the color white or gray, and two switch legs/wires that are two different colors. The two colored wires run from the ceiling fan box to the switch box. This will enable you to control either the fan or a light kit with the switch (or both at the same time). In order to control both the fan and a light kit separately with switches, a different (dual) switch will need to be purchased and installed. These switches are available at your local home improvement store.
Note: There are no set colors for switch legs/wires, they can be various colors. The colored wires travel from fan box to switch box.
When installing a fan make sure the white neutral wire from the fan connects to the neutral wire (white /gray) in the fan box. One colored switch leg/wire is connected to the fan motor. The other switch leg/wire is connected to the light. Additionally, make sure your fan is properly grounded. Note: if using a fan/light switch be sure to connect the correct colored wires coming from the fan box.
- Before calling for service, check to confirm:
- The main circuit breaker and individual circuit breakers are in the ON position.
- The applicable wall switch is in the ON position.
- The GFCI outlet is not TRIPPED.
- The item you want to use is plugged in properly.
- The item you want to use works in other outlets.
- The bulbs are operable.
- Before starting any electrical project remember to turn off all power to that location.
- Do not use dedicated outlets for any purpose other than their intended use.
- Test and reset GFCI outlets on a monthly basis. Large appliances such as refrigerators, freezers, power tools, etc. will trip GFCI outlets. Do not plug these types of appliances into GFCI controlled outlets.
- Surges in the electrical supply are normal. If you own sensitive equipment such as a computer, you may want to purchase a surge protector. Surge protectors are available at home improvement and electronics stores.
- If your neighborhood experiences a power outage, unplug appliances and items such as TV’s, stereos, etc. This will protect them from a possible electrical surge when the power is restored.
- Use care to not damage the low voltage wiring to your doorbell when installing a storm door. Test the doorbell both before and after storm door installation to ensure it operates properly.
- Avoid using abrasive cleaning agents on fixtures.
- Apply spray silicone to screws on exterior light fixtures to provide easier access for maintenance (light bulbs, cleaning, etc.).
Always consult a licensed electrical contractor when addressing any electrical component in your home.
Turn off the applicable power source at the main electrical panel when working on anything electrical.
Before digging in your yard, contact JULIE (Joint Utility Locate Information for Excavators) to identify the location of underground/buried electrical lines.
Test your smoke and Carbon Monoxide alarms periodically. Change batteries per the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Replace smoke and Carbon Monoxide detectors per the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Care should be taken when handling fixtures to replace bulbs.
Check the permissible wattage of fixtures (usually stamped somewhere on the fixture’s body). Using a higher than recommended wattage of bulb could overheat and damage the fixture or possibly cause a fire.
Never use electrical devices with worn cords. Never overload any circuit.
We will confirm that all electrical fixtures are in acceptable and working condition during your Homeowner Orientation. We will repair noticeable surface damage noted on the Orientation form.
We will repair any electrical wiring that does not conform to local municipal electrical requirements.
We are not responsible for alterations, modifications or additions to electrical components or the electrical system as originally installed in your home.
Exterior finishes are not covered by the Limited Warranty.