SERVICE AND SUPPORT

Technical Frequently Asked Questions

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Electrical Basics
Circuits and Circuit Breakers
GFCI Outlets
Dimmers
Dimming CFLs and LEDs
LED Lights
Dark Sky Regulated Lights
Energy Star
Smoke Alarms
Carbon Monoxide
Attic Fans
Exhaust Fans
Ceiling Fans
NuTone Central Vacuum

Electrical Basics

What is electricity?

Electricity is simply a flow of electrons. Electricity is seen in nature in the form of lightning or in static electricity, such as you might experience by touching a metal doorknob after shuffling your feet on a carpeted floor. Electricity that we use in our daily lives is produced from a variety of sources, including the burning of fossil fuels like coal and natural gas, or increasingly from wind turbines and photovoltaic solar arrays. The power is then distributed through a nationwide grid that balances production capacity with power demand.

What is the relationship between current, voltage, resistance, and wattage?

Voltage pushes current through a resistance, using power (wattage).

What is the relationship between amperes, ohms, watts, and volts?

W (volts) push X amperes (current) through Y ohms (resistance), using Z watts. Amps times ohms = volts. Amps times volts = watts.

How do I know if the wiring in my home is safe?

If the wiring in your home was 1) installed by a professional electrician, 2) inspected and approved by your local electrical inspector, and 3) has not been modified or damaged, then your wiring should be safe. But, if for any reason you suspect that some of the wiring in your home is not safe, contact a professional electrician to identify and correct the problem.

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Circuits and Circuit Breakers

What is a circuit?

A circuit is the actual or intended path of current between points of differing voltage. In the case of a conventional household 120 volt circuit, the path runs from the "hot" wire from the circuit breaker in the electrical panel, to an outlet or fixture and through a device or appliance that is using the electricity, then back to the breaker in the panel via a "neutral" wire connected to the grounded neutral bar in the panel. A typical home has many circuits, with each individual circuit supplying power to a number of outlets or fixtures. A single room may receive power from two or more circuits. Technically, each loop that current makes (through a single light and its switch, for example) is a circuit, but the most common meaning is the "branch circuit", that is, everything fed (or interrupted) by a given breaker or fuse.

Do circuit breakers ever go bad or wear out?

Yes, but not very often. When a breaker will not reset, the cause may be a short that is retripping it immediately or you may not be resetting it properly. Circuit breakers have toggle switches with three positions: on, off, and tripped. When the breaker is tripped, you must move the toggle switch all the way to the off position before moving it to the on position.

If the breaker will not reset , it is best to call a professional electrician.

How much area can be served by one circuit? How many outlets can be wired on one GFCI?

A 15-amp circuit should not serve over more than 600 square feet of a home. A 20-amp circuit should not serve more than 800 square feet. Some GFCI manufacturers recommend no more than eight outlets downstream. A lengthy series of GFCI loads can trip the GFCI. If that is suspected, each such load outlet could be given its own GFCI receptacle, connected to protect only itself.

What is the difference between hot, neutral, and ground wires?

Typical electrical cable includes a minimum of three wires: hot, neutral, and ground. The “hot” wire, which is usually black in color, carries current from the power source, such as a home’s electrical panel, to a switch, outlet or fixture. The neutral wire, which is usually white in color, carries current back to the electrical panel. (Recall that electricity needs to flow in a circular path.) The ground wire, which is usually bare of insulation, carries no current at all under normal circumstances. The ground wire is there for safety. It provides an alternative route for current and allows the current to be discharged into the ground in case there is a short circuit.

Why would a neutral wire read live on a circuit tester?

When a neutral wire is not continuous back to the panel as it should be, the current of the hot wire goes through anything that is ready to run (but won't) and shows up on the normally-neutral wire.

What is the difference between an open, an overload, a short, and a ground-fault?

An open is when a circuit's path is disrupted. An overload is when current on a circuit is excessive. A short is when current takes an unintended path to ground (usually with very little resistance). A ground-fault is when such a short does not use the neutral as its path to ground.

What is an open ground? An open neutral? Reverse polarity, etc.?

Measured at an outlet's receptacle, the path (wire continuity) to the ground point in the panel can be disrupted or missing for the ground wire (open ground) or for the neutral (open neutral). When the path between the outlet and its circuit breaker is disrupted, this is an “open hot.” Reverse polarity (hot and neutral reversed) means neutral wires are connected to the side of the receptacle that is supposed to be for the hot, and vice versa.

What is voltage drop?

Voltage drop in an electrical circuit normally occurs when current is passed through the wire. Even the best conductors of electricity, such as copper wire, offer some resistance to the flow of current. This resistance causes a drop in voltage. The greater the resistance of the circuit, the higher the voltage drop.

How much voltage drop is acceptable?

A voltage drop of 5% at the furthest receptacle in a branch circuit is acceptable for normal efficiency. In a 120 volt, 15 amp circuit, this means that there should be no more than a 6 volt drop (114 volts) at the furthest outlet when the circuit is fully loaded.

At what percentage voltage drop does a circuit become hazardous?

That depends on several factors:

  1. The amount of current flowing through the high resistance connection
  2. The amount of resistance of that connection
  3. Proximity or contact with combustible materials
  4. Available air flow to dissipate heat

What causes excessive voltage drop in a branch circuit?

Excessive voltage drop is usually caused by:

  1. High resistance connections at wiring junctions or outlet terminals, including:
    • Poor splices anywhere in the circuit
    • Loose or corroded connections anywhere in the circuit
    • Inadequate seating of wire in the slot connection on push-in type receptacles and switches
  2. The wire does not meet code (i.e., not heavy enough gauge for the length of the run).

What are the consequences of excess voltage drop in a circuit?

Excess voltage drop can cause:

  1. Inadequate power, causing improper, erratic or no operation—and damage to the equipment being powered.
  2. Poor efficiency and wasted energy.
  3. Build-up of heat at the high resistance connection or splice, which may be a fire hazard.

What is the difference between a switch and a circuit breaker?

A switch is a device that interrupts the flow of electricity. A breaker is a switch that automatically cuts the flow of electricity when the amount of current is too high for that circuit.

What is a “3-way” switch?

A 3-way switch enables one or more light fixtures to be operated from two different locations, for example, at opposite ends of a hallway or at the top and bottom of a stairway. The term “3-way” refers to the fact that there are three terminals on a 3-way switch, instead of the two terminals found on a standard on-off switch.

What is the difference between an outlet and a receptacle?

These terms are sometimes used interchangeably. Technically, an outlet is where a light or appliance is connected to the circuit's wires. A receptacle is the device that is often called an "outlet," the cords for lamps, appliances, or other electrical equipment is plugged into.

What is the difference between a device, a fixture, and an appliance?

These terms are sometimes used interchangeably. A fixture usually refers to a light that is permanently installed in a ceiling or a wall. An appliance refers to almost any electrically powered machine or apparatus that uses electricity. A device (e.g., switch, breaker, receptacle) is used to allow or interrupt the flow of current through the circuit to fixtures, appliances, or lamps.

If some things are not working, where is the best place to begin looking for the problem?

First check to see that the light or appliance in question is plugged in securely and that no bulbs are burned out. Then reset any breakers and GFCIs that may have tripped. You may need to look for an open (loose, corroded, broken) connection.

What is happening when lights or appliances will go out for a while and then come back on their own?

This usually indicates a loose connection that makes contact intermittently, as when a wire is moved or pressure is applied to the connection. Loose connections can generate heat and may present a fire hazard. You can isolate the problem by moving the lamp or appliance to a different outlet to see if the problem lies with the lamp or the outlet.

How can I tell if a circuit is overloaded?

The most obvious indication that a circuit is overloaded is where the circuit breaker trips and then trips again after resetting it. If you are running several lights or appliances on the same circuit, first try shutting some of them off to see if that corrects the problem. If you are running several appliances on a surge strip or extension cord, check the label for the maximum number of watts that should be run on it. If the surge strip or extension cord is hot to the touch, stop using it immediately.

What should I do if a circuit breaker trips when I am using a vacuum, hairdryer or other appliance?

Appliances such as vacuums or hair dryers can draw a lot of power and may trip a circuit breaker. The simplest remedy is to turn off other appliances while using one of these appliances. If the problem persists, it may indicate that additional circuits should be added to handle the load.

What should I do if I get a shock when touching a faucet or pipe?

If you live near high-voltage power lines, those lines may create voltage in your pipes; the power company may or may not be able to help. Otherwise, the particular circuit responsible can be identified and the stray wire located. The grounding of those pipes should be checked.

What causes lights to flicker?

Flickering lights usually indicate a poor connection in the light or contact somewhere in the circuit or in the panel. Finding the exact source of the problem-point can be difficult.

It can be caused by a bad light socket or a poor electrical connection somewhere in the wires leading to the light (most likely right at the fixture). Flickering can cause the bad connection to get hot and may start a fire. If you cannot locate the cause of the flickering and it affects many or all lights, this could indicate a bad neutral connection, which can also be dangerous. Another indication of a neutral problem; as larger appliances (washing machines/dishwashers) cycle lights will get noticeably brighter or dimmer (minor changes in intensity are normal). If you suspect this problem have either the electric company or an electrician check it out.

What causes the lights to sometimes go dim or get extra bright?

It’s not unusual for the lights to go dim or get bright when an appliance or motor goes on or off.

What causes a light, switch, or breaker box to hum?

Some dimmer switches will cause light fixtures to hum. At the breaker panel, the 60 cycles per second of your alternating current can set up a vibration or slight buzz or hum in some components. Fluorescent lights, transformers, and an electric water heater can also hum. All these are fairly normal, but if the hum is loud, it may mean that the component is loose or close to failing. If a circuit breaker gets wet, it can cause a buzzing sound as the moisture is boiled off. A loud buzzing at a breaker could indicate that the breaker overloading without tripping as it should.

Should I be concerned if a switch or outlet gets hot?

Yes. An outlet that is hot to the touch likely means that wires connecting to it are loose or that the outlet needs to be replaced. You should contact a licensed electrician immediately. A hot switch is usually a dimmer switch (it may or may not still be able to dim lights). If more than 600 watts of light bulbs are controlled by a single dimmer, it is probably overloaded. In that case, install a switch rated to handle more watts or replace the bulbs in the fixture with lower-wattage bulbs.

Normally dimmers perform best when they control 80% of their rated load. A dimmer rated at 600 watts, means 480 watts is all the more load that dimmer should control. For example 8- 60 watt bulbs is all that should be connected to that dimmer.

What causes a circuit breaker to get hot?

It is normal for circuit breakers to be warm when current is running through them, but if one is hotter than the others, it may indicate a poor connection. If you have been running an appliance that draws a lot of current, (a space heater, for example) for an extended period, this would be normal, but the excess heat may trip the breaker.

If there is a smell like burning plastic what might be happening?

If you smell burning plastic from something electrical, it may indicate a poor connection that is creating heat, and melting the plastic housing of the outlet. Turn off whatever is plugged in and remove the plug. This presents a possible fire hazard and you should contact a licensed electrician immediately.

Why do some light bulbs burn out more quickly than others?

There are several factors that may cause light bulbs to burn out quickly. Light bulbs that are used more often will, of course burn out faster. If the lights are left on a lot, such as an outdoor light that is left on all night, then the bulbs will have to be changed more often. Turning a bulb on and off frequently also reduces the life of the bulb. When a fixture cannot dissipate the heat of its bulbs, it takes a toll on the bulbs and on the fixture's sockets and wires. Or there may be loose connections in the wiring of a circuit.

The packaging of any light bulb should have an average life expectancy printed on it. A typical light bulb will last roughly 900 hours. At 10 hours a day, that’s three months. Less expensive bulbs may be of lesser quality and not last as long.

If you compute the average life of your bulbs and discover it’s clearly less than the manufacturer’s rated life, this may be caused by:

  • Over-voltage in your house. Occasionally this causes more serious problems. You can check the voltage in your home with an inexpensive multimeter available at most hardware or electronics stores. If the voltage is 125V or higher, contact your power company about it. 7 or 8 extra volts on a 120V line can dramatically reduce the life expectancy of a light bulb. If it’s a slight over-voltage, you can buy special 125V bulbs, though they may be hard to find. The life expectancy of a bulb will also be affected by the quality of power from the power company. This includes the little surges and spikes that are better known for their effect on computers. But it also includes the basic voltage level coming to the home from the utility. Many homes receive more than the average 120 volts that most bulbs are designed to handle and this shortens their stated life. A good solution to this is to look for the same bulb but with a "130v" rating stamped on the bulb instead of "120v". The light output of these won’t be quite as bright, but you will spend time changing bulbs.
  • Too high a wattage bulb in too small an enclosed fixture (such as a globe). Because the heat cannot escape, the bulb will burn too hot, shortening bulb life.
  • Recessed lighting fixtures covered by insulation, which blocks ventilation. Heat can build up around the bulb, causing short bulb life.
  • Vibration bulbs in use under a stairway, on or near an out of balance bathroom or ceiling fan, or near a door that gets slammed, or any activity that sends vibration through the building can shorten bulb life Shock resistant, or “rough service” bulbs are one solution for this situation. .

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GFCI Outlets

What is a GFCI outlet?

The initials “GFCI” stand for ground-fault circuit interrupter. A GFCI (or simply “GFCI”) outlet is a safety device that prevents dangerous electric shocks by cutting power to an outlet immediately when it detects a short circuit. For example, if water from a nearby sink is splashed on a GFCI outlet, the power would be cut to the outlet before a person could be shocked or electrocuted. In the home, GFCI outlets and breakers are typically found in kitchens, bathrooms and other locations where water is present.

What does the light on a GFCI outlet indicate?

Some newer GFCI outlets have lights, which may indicate different things on different brands. On some brands the light indicates that the GFCI is tripped and needs to be reset. On other brands, the reverse is true, and the light indicates that the outlet is live.

Can a circuit fail without tripping a breaker or a GFCI?

Yes. A circuit can fail if a connection at the breaker or at the circuit's neutral wire in the electrical panel comes loose or deteriorates. More often these "opens" involve less than the entire circuit because a connection somewhere on the circuit—at another outlet box for example—has failed.

Why won't a GFCI reset?

A GFCI may fail to reset because of a ground-fault occurring at another outlet that is wired in sequence with the GFCI. A single GFCI device can protect as many as three additional outlets that are wired “downstream” of the GFCI. It could be the GFCI itself has no power reaching it because of a short or an open or another GFCI that is tripped upstream from it. Tripped GFCIs made after 2002 cannot be reset if power is not reaching their line terminals.

If a GFCI will not reset, should it be replaced?

Possibly, but it is more common for a GFCI receptacle to retrip (or to not reset) for reasons other than a bad GFCI. A new GFCI installed in the same location may not reset either. There may be a ground-fault at some "downstream" wire or receptacle or electrical device. Your GFCI that won't reset could have been installed incorrectly recently; since 2002 GFCI receptacles have had a feature that won't let them reset if they are hooked up wrong or if power is not on. The typical service life of a GFCI is 6-10 years. GFCI outlets should be checked regularly to make sure they are functioning properly.

How can you tell when a GFCI goes bad?

The most common way for a GFCI device to fail is that it will continue to supply power after you push the test button. When a GFCI fails, it no longer provides protection from dangerous electric shocks. GFCI devices made after 2002 will not reset if they are not receiving power. GFCI devices made before 2002, whose reset stays in, can fail to operate for the same reason — not receiving power. If a GFCI will not reset and/or retrips immediately after resetting, it may indicate a fault condition “downstream” from the GFCI, rather than a malfunction of the GFCI.

What is the difference between a surge arrester and a transient voltage surge suppressor (TVSS)?

These terms are often used interchangeably and rather loosely. However, the two terms have different meanings as defined by the National Electrical Code® (NEC®) (www.nfpa.org), their UL listing, and applicable IEEE/ANSI standards.

A secondary arrester refers to a surge protective device (SPD) that is listed for use ahead of the primary disconnect to a facility (the service entrance panel), while a transient voltage surge suppressor (TVSS) is only listed to be used after this primary disconnect. An SPD listed under UL1449 as a TVSS device must not be connected ahead of the primary disconnect to a facility. However, secondary surge arresters can be connected either upstream or downstream of the main disconnect

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Dimmers

What is the function of a dimmer?

A dimmer provides the flexibility to vary the amount of light in a room depending on the size of the space, the time of day, and the task or activity being performed. Dimmers may be used almost anywhere: bathrooms, bedrooms, conference rooms, dining rooms, family rooms, game rooms, hallways, kitchens, living rooms, media rooms, or office or commercial spaces.

What makes the lights dim?

An electrical component in the dimmer, called a “triac” turns the light on and off very rapidly—120 times per second. But with a dimmer, the human eye perceives a steady level of dimmed light. The longer the light is “on” versus “off,” the brighter the light appears. Conversely, when the light is “off” more than “on,” the lights are dimmer.

If the lights are being turned on and off, won’t the lights seem to be flickering?

No. No matter how bright or how dim, the light level is constant and smooth. The human eye sees things after they go away. An example of this is in movies where the film is projected on the screen many times a second.

Doesn’t turning the lights on and off so quickly decrease bulb life?

No. Switching the bulb does not decrease bulb life. Heat decreases bulb life, and by reducing heat, bulb life is increased.

Do dimmers save electricity and/or increase lamp life?

Yes. The longer the triac is off, the lower the light output, and the greater the energy savings. Dimmers can save electricity, save money and help increase the life of the lamps (light bulbs) being controlled. Dimmers can increase the life of incandescent bulbs and halogen bulbs (which are a type of incandescent bulb.) The table below shows the energy savings and increase in life of the lamp (light bulb) that can be achieved with dimmers.

Percentage dimmed Energy savings Lamp life increase
10% 10% 2x
25% 20% 4x
50% 40% 20x
75% 60% >20x

What light sources can be controlled by dimmers?

Most standard dimmers can control standard incandescent lamps that use 120 volts. Other dimmers can control low voltage xenon or halogen light sources that use 12 or 24 volts. Low voltage lighting systems use either an electronic or a magnetic transformer and there are dimmers specifically designed for each type of transformer. If the wrong type of dimmer is used, it will cause the low voltage light fixtures to flicker.

Can one dimmer control both a line voltage light fixture AND a low voltage lighting system?

If the low voltage lighting system uses an electronic transformer, then a dimmer designed for this type of transformer should be used. Likewise, if the low voltage lighting system uses a magnetic transformer, then a dimmer designed for this type of transformer should be used.

Does dimming affect halogen bulb life?

Yes. Dimming increases incandescent lamp life. Halogen lamps are incandescent lamps with a tungsten filament. Lutron’s pilot test data suggests the halogen lamps will have an expected lamp life similar to other incandescent lamps when dimmed. As an example, one type of halogen lamp with a rated life of 2,000 hours dimmed to 80 V has a life extension of at least five times.

Can neon/cold cathode lamps be dimmed?

Yes. Neon/cold cathode lamps can be dimmed using the proper equipment. Lutron Nova low voltage dimmers and GRAFIC Eye controls are UL listed for neon/cold cathode loads.

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Dimming CFLs and LEDs

Dimming saves energy while setting the right light level to improve mood and ambiance. Screw-in compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and screw-in light emitting diode bulbs (LEDs) are a great energy-saving alternative to incandescent or halogen light sources; however, dimming them may be difficult. Lutron’s new CFL•LED (C•L™) Dimmers with HED™ Technology help alleviate your CFL and LED dimming challenges.

Challenges of dimming CFLs and LEDs with standard dimmers

Energy-saving CFLs have been in the marketplace for many years but a broad range of dimmable bulbs has only recently become available. LEDs are even newer to the market and dimmable versions are also only recently available. These dimmable bulbs, especially CFLs, have historically presented problems when used on standard incandescent dimmers.

Common problems include:

  • Reduced dimming range: Incandescent/halogen bulbs will typically dim lower than CFL or LED bulbs. Most dimmable CFLs will dim down to 10% to 30% measured light output. Early versions of dimmable LEDs on the market have the ability to dim lower than CFLs and can reach levels as low as 5% to 15% measured light. The actual dimming range is dictated by the bulb’s circuitry.
  • Lights dropping out: As CFL or LED bulbs are dimmed, they will sometimes turn off before the slider reaches the bottom. Referred to as “drop out,” this makes it extremely difficult to set the dimmer at the right level without bulbs turning off.
  • Lights not turning on: After being dimmed to a low light level and switched off, sometimes CFL or LED bulbs will not turn on until the dimmer’s slider is moved up. This is referred to as “pop-on,” which is especially challenging in 3-way situations where lights can be turned on/off from different locations, not just using the dimmer.
  • Lights turning off unexpectedly: Dimmable CFL and LED bulbs can be influenced by line voltage fluctuations. As your incandescent bulbs will sometimes dim or flicker when a device such as air-conditioning or a hair dryer is used, a dimmed CFL or LED can actually turn off or flicker excessively in those situations.

Note: Actual performance of any CFL or LED will vary from bulb type to bulb type and among different manufacturers. It is important to note that only bulbs that have been designed as dimmable should be used on a dimmer. To find out if your bulb is dimmable, please check the package, the bulb itself, or call the bulb manufacturer directly.

Why do dimmers get warm, and is this safe?

During normal operation, solid-state dimmers generate heat. A solid state dimmer is roughly 98% efficient—2% of the power is dissipated as heat, which causes the dimmer to feel warm to the touch. The closer a dimmer is run to full output and the higher the load (watts) on the dimmer, the warmer it will feel.

This is perfectly normal and safe. Lutron dimmers are designed to the strictest UL safety standard, and can handle their full rated load (a 600 W dimmer can handle a full 600 W of power without overheating. (Dimmers that are ganged together in a common wallbox may need to be derated.)

What is “common neutral interaction”?

Common neutral interaction occurs between at least two dimmers that share the same neutral wire. When solid-state dimmers are operating, voltage spikes occur and are transmitted onto the neutral wire. Normally this is of little concern.

When the neutral wire is common (to 2 or more phases of a 3-phase, 4-wire system) the voltage spikes may feed back to the dimmers. The common neutral wire can cause interaction between the dimmers that are on different phases.

The following are symptoms of common neutral interaction:

  • Lights flicker at certain dimmer settings
  • Lights flash to full output at certain dimmer settings
  • Light level of a dimmer on 1 phase inadvertently changes when a dimmer on another phase is adjusted.

Lutron recommends the following methods to avoid common neutral interaction:

  • Run separate neutral wires for each dimming circuit, from each dimmer’s load to the distribution panel
  • Install a lamp debuzzing coil

What is radio frequency interference (RFI)?

RFI is a buzzing noise that may occur in some audio and radio equipment when solid state dimmers are used nearby. Although every Lutron dimmer contains a filter to suppress RFI, additional filtering may be required in some applications. Typical examples of RFI sensitive equipment are AM radios, stereo sound systems, broadcasting equipment, intercom systems, public address systems, and wireless telephones.

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LED Lights

What is an LED light?

LED stands for Light Emitting Diode. A diode is a semiconductor that allows current to flow in only one direction. Semiconductor diodes are a junction of two materials, one with a positive and the other with a negative charge. When this PN junction is applied with a forward voltage, electrons and holes are brought together releasing light energy. Hence: Light Emitting Diode.

What is the difference between an incandescent bulb and an LED bulb?

Incandescent bulbs creates light when current is run through a filament. Resistance in the filament generates heat, which causes it to glow and produces light. LEDs create light when power is applied to semiconductors (usually gallium, arsenic and phosphorous), which are stimulated by the movement of electrons, creating visible light.

How does the brightness of LED lighting compare to incandescent lighting?

LED light bulbs are much brighter than incandescent or halogen bulbs of the same wattage, but LED bulbs are not available in very high wattages. Thus, when replacing incandescent or halogen lamps with LED lamps, more LED lamps are often needed. For example, replacing one 100-watt incandescent bulb may require two 5-watt or 6-watt LED bulbs. Nevertheless, LED lights can save up to 85% of the electricity used by a traditional incandescent bulb.

How bright are LED light bulbs?

The brightest LED bulbs produce light comparable to a 120-watt incandescent bulb while only consuming the electricity of a 25 watt incandescent bulb. LED bulbs available for standard fixtures vary in brightness from less than 50 lumens up to about 1200 lumens. The brightest LED bulbs for standard fixtures are floodlights and spotlights.

The brightest LED bulbs with approximately the same size and shape as ordinary incandescent bulbs produce up to 600 lumens.

Are bulbs with more LEDs brighter than bulbs with less?

Different types of LEDs vary greatly in size and light output and the number of LEDs does not determine brightness. The most accurate indicators of the brightness of LED bulbs are the measured lumens or lux. Lumens measure the total amount of light output from a bulb. Lux measures how bright the light is on a surface at a specified distance.

How efficient are LED bulbs compared to incandescent bulbs?

Newer LED light bulbs are more than five times as efficient as comparable incandescent bulbs. In addition, because LED bulbs direct a larger percentage of light where it is needed, in some applications they are as much as ten times as effective as incandescent bulbs, reducing energy use by 90%.

Why do LEDs use such little power?

LEDs do not use a filament where a conductor is heated and light is created. Filament based lighting consumes more power than the light produced. LEDs produce very little heat and do not use filaments, making them far more efficient in consumption and output. In addition, incandescent bulbs project light in every direction (omni directional) as opposed to LED lights which project light in specified directions (such as 20, 50 and 120 degrees) due to their package design and layout.

What is the useful life of LED bulbs?

High quality, white LED bulbs typically last for 50,000 hours. By contrast, most traditional incandescent bulbs have a useful life of 1,000 hours and halogen bulbs typically last about 3,000 hours. And an average compact fluorescent bulb typically lasts for 10,000 hours. In an average home, if an LED bulb burned from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. 365 days a year, it would last more than 25 years. But unlike other types of lights, LED bulbs slowly decrease in brightness over time, rather than burning out suddenly. Near the end of its service life, an LED bulb will typically put out only 70% of its original light. Higher quality LED lights have design features that enable them to burn brighter, longer.

Can LED lights be used with a dimmer?

LED lights that are dimmable indicate on the package or website. Make sure you check with the manufacturer of the LED for dimmer compatibility.

What is an LED driver?

An LED driver is a self-contained power supply that has outputs matched to the electrical characteristics of the LED or array of LEDs. Drivers should be current-regulated (deliver a consistent current over a range of load voltages). Dimmable LED drivers may also offer dimming by means of pulse width modulation (PWM) circuits. Drivers may have more than one channel for separate control of different LEDs or arrays.

Are outdoor LEDs affected by extreme weather conditions?

LED lights are designed to function in temperatures from -40F to 180F, exceeding the conditions where most incandescent and florescent bulbs will fail. In addition, while florescent bulbs need to warm up to achieve full brightness in cold weather, there is no warm up time needed for LEDs.

Is it true that LED lights do not attract insects?

Generally, yes. Most insects cannot see the spectrum of light produced by LEDs.

Are LED diodes inherently directional?

LED diodes are not inherently directional. One way to boost light intensity is to focus the beam more tightly. This is accomplished with a lens that directs light. MR and PAR series LEDs have a beam angle of 15 to 60 degrees. This does not change the light output, only the direction of the light.

Do LEDs produce heat?

LEDs ordinarily produce only a fraction of the heat produced by incandescent bulbs. If LEDs are hot to the touch, they are poorly designed being overpowered due to improper circuitry.

What does CRI stand for?

The color rendering index (CRI) (sometimes called color rendition index), is a quantitative measure of the ability of a light source to reproduce the colors of various objects faithfully compared to a natural light source.

Why are LEDs different colors?

The color of an LED is a function of the material used to make the junction. There are two main materials used in visible light LED junctions:

  • Indium gallium nitride (InGaN): used to make up the blue, white, true green, and UV types
  • Aluminum gallium indium phosphide (AlGaInP or AlInGaP): used to make the red, yellow, and orange types

Are LEDs available in “warm” and “cool” light output, like traditional lights? How do you make a white LED?

Yes. LED lights can be “tuned” to look warm or cool by adjusting the amounts of colors in the mix or by using a blue LED with a phosphor coating. The coating emits a yellow light when the blue light from the LED shines on it. The mix of the yellow light with the blue light forms a white light. Inefficiency in the phosphor conversion is one reason that a white LED is less efficient overall than a colored LED. Some of the light energy is lost in the conversion to yellow.

What is the difference between an LED floodlight and a spotlight?

LED spotlights put out a narrower beam of light than a floodlight, typically less than 45 degrees wide. LED floodlights put out a wider beam of light, up to 120 degrees A spotlight is more suited to illuminating objects and a floodlight is more suited to illuminating areas.

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Dark Sky Regulated Lights

What are Dark Sky Regulated Lights?

Growing populations have increased the need for lighting ten-fold in the past 25 years.

“Dark sky” regulations are intended to reduce “light pollution” caused by the over-lighting of various places in the city such as streets, parking lots, and decorative lighting.

What is light pollution and why is it important?

Light pollution indicates wasted energy. Light pollution blocks the view of stars and other celestial bodies. Light pollution is not limited to big cities, and is a concern beyond astronomers and dark sky enthusiasts. You experience light pollution when you can’t sleep at night because of a neighbor’s outdoor light, when a driver’s headlights are too intense for your dark-adjusted eyes and the glare becomes blinding, and can also have an adverse effect on wildlife.

Dark sky regulated lights cut glare and prevent light trespass that will reduce sky glow and thus waste less energy. Glare, light trespass and sky glow are those components of wasted for outdoor lighting.

What is glare?

Glare affects motorists at night when the high-beam lights of an oncoming car makes it difficult to see. Resolve this by aiming lights down or using a visor to shield the light from people’s eyes.

What is light trespass?

Light trespass refers to bright light that intrudes on neighboring property. An example would be light from a commercial parking lot that shines into a window or back yard, limiting the use of the yard in the evening. Dark sky regulations require the lights to be aimed down or shielded so the light is limited to a specific spot, or motion sensors. This also affects wildlife.

What is sky glow?

People living in large cities rarely see the dark night sky because of sky glow. Sky glow can adversely affect wildlife and limit the enjoyment of the night sky. Sky glow, virtually always indicates wasted energy. Properly installed outdoor lighting will prevent this. (For more information on dark sky regulations, visit www.darksky.org).

What is being done to address the problem?

Many neighborhood associations and community leaders are trying to preserve our natural dark skies, especially in areas near wildlife and state parks. Many communities are passing legislation to regulate the use and design of outdoor lighting.

Such lighting equipment is often referred to as Dark Sky Compliant, Cut-off Lighting, Friendly Lighting or Good Neighbor Lighting, Dark Sky Regulated. These names all refer to fixtures that are designed to reduce upward light reflection, glare, trespassing light, inefficient energy use and urban sky glow. The lighting industry has responded by creating light fixtures that consumers can easily install with little modification to their existing systems. This response has allowed dark sky compliance to be more accessible to the general public.

Simple technologies and modifications to outdoor fixtures like motion-sensor activated flood lights, timers; hoods and reflectors even using focused lights in lower wattages can help.

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Energy Star

What is Energy Star?

Energy Star is a government program dedicated to awareness and the promotion of energy efficient products for both consumers and manufacturers. The Energy Star program is administered jointly by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Energy Star identifies and recommends products with the highest industry standards of quality and low-energy consumption. Products with the Energy Star label use less energy and therefore save the user money on electricity.

For example, on average, fluorescent lights use only 2/3 as much energy as their incandescent counterparts, and some last up to 10 times longer. The extra accost of compact fluorescent bulbs will be exceeded in cost savings over the life of the bulb. In addition, because Energy Star products use less energy, they also help reduce air pollution from power generators. (For more information visit: www.energystar.gov.)

Doesn’t energy efficient equal ugly, industrial and bulky?

No. More efficient lighting does not mean less light or less attractive lighting. New lighting technology provides both equal illumination and the choice of “warm” or “cool” light available in traditional lighting. Some early models of efficient lights featured large, bulky bulbs and humming ballasts, but these problems are all in the past. Energy efficient lighting is now available in almost any style and for any application, and new technologies such as LED lights are becoming more common and more affordable every day.

Is energy efficient lighting as safe as traditional lighting?

Yes. In addition, fluorescent and LED lights are much cooler to the touch than regular halogen and incandescent lights and thus are less of a fire hazard.

What else can I do to be more energy efficient?

Research energy efficient solutions available in your community. Many communities now issue rebates or other incentive including free upgrades to switch over to more energy efficient fixtures. Many local environmental agencies provide consumer tips on saving energy and money.

Small modifications such as timers, motion-sensors, photo-cells as well as solar energy can help the environment. Simply shutting off a light when you leave the room makes a great difference if a million people do it. Especially in the summer and winter months, there are high demands on electricity. Small things like installing a ceiling fan and reversing the fan’s direction during the winter months to distribute trapped heat from the ceiling. In the summer, cool only those areas of the house that are actually in use.

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Smoke Alarms

Why should my home have smoke alarms?

In the event of a fire, properly installed and maintained smoke alarms provide an early warning so people can escape in time. Smoke alarms are one of the most effective safety devices you can buy and install to protect yourself, your family and your home.

What types of smoke alarms are available?

There are many different brands of smoke alarms on the market but they fall under two basic types: ionization and photoelectric.

Ionization alarms sound more quickly when a flaming, fast moving fire occurs. Photoelectric smoke alarms are better at sensing smoldering smoky fires. There are also combination smoke alarms, called dual sensor smoke alarms, that combine ionization and photoelectric into one unit.

Because both ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms are better at detecting distinctly different yet potentially fatal fires, the U.S. Fire Administration recommends the installation of both ionization and photoelectric or dual sensor smoke alarms.

In addition to alarms that provide an audible warning, there are alarms people with hearing disabilities. These alarms may use strobe lights that flash and/or vibrate to alert those who are unable to hear standard smoke alarms when they sound.

Where should smoke alarms be placed?

Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions on placement. Since smoke and many deadly gases rise, smoke alarms are usually installed on the ceiling or high on a wall close to the ceiling. Smoke alarms should be installed on every level of the home, including the basement. For extra safety, install smoke alarms both inside and outside of sleeping areas.

Are smoke alarms hard to install?

If your smoke alarms are hard wired, that is, wired into the home’s electrical system, you will need to have a qualified electrician do the initial installation or install replacements. Battery-powered smoke alarms can usually be installed with simple hand tools. Some models can even be installed with adhesives.

For all smoke alarm installations, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation. In some localities, fire departments will help install a smoke alarm in your home for you. Call your local fire department (on a non-emergency telephone number) if you have questions about installing a smoke alarm.

How do I keep my smoke alarm working?

  1. In standard-type battery powered smoke alarms, It’s important to test every smoke alarm monthly and replace the batteries with new ones at least once a year. The whole unit should be replaced every 8-10 years. Helpful tip: Choose a day that is easy to remember, such as a holiday or birthday and replace the batteries each year on that day. Most smoke alarms make a “chirping” sound to signal that the batteries need to be replaced.
  2. Smoke alarms powered by long-lasting batteries are designed to replace the entire unit according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  3. Hard wired smoke alarms may or may not have battery backup. For hard-wired, battery back-up smoke alarms, just as with a battery-only model, the batteries should be checked monthly, and replaced at least once per year. The entire unit should be replaced every 8-10 years.

How long do smoke alarms last?

Most alarms installed today have a life span of about 8-10 years. After this time, the entire unit should be replaced. It is a good idea to write the date of purchase with a marker on the inside of your alarm so you will know when to replace it. Some smoke alarms have the date of manufacture printed on a label inside the unit. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for replacement.

What if the alarm goes off while I’m cooking?

Do not disable the smoke alarm if it goes off because of cooking or other non-fire causes. Instead, fan the air near the smoke alarm, leaving the batteries in place. If this happens often, the alarm may need to be moved to a new location. Some of the newer models have a “hush” button that silences nuisance alarms. Also consider a photoelectric smoke detector for this area.

The U.S. Fire Administration recommends the following fire safety and prevention practices.

  • Plan and practice escape plans several times a year and designate a safe meeting place. Never change your meeting place.
  • Make sure your whole family knows when and how to call emergency telephone numbers from outside the house or neighbors.
  • Install a fire extinguisher on each floor of the house and learn how to use it.
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors.
  • If you are building a new home or planning a major remodel, consider installing residential fire sprinklers.

Contact your local fire department on a non-emergency phone number is you need help or have questions about fire safety in your home.

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Carbon Monoxide

What is carbon monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, tasteless, invisible gas that is produced by the incomplete combustion of fuels such as natural gas, propane, wood, charcoal, gasoline, kerosene, and oil.

In the home, carbon monoxide can be formed from the incomplete combustion from any flame-fueled (i.e., not electric) device, including ranges, ovens, clothes dryers, furnaces, fireplaces, grills, space heaters, and water heaters. Furnaces and water heaters may be sources of carbon monoxide, but if they are vented properly the carbon monoxide will escape to the outside. Open flames, such as from ovens or ranges, are the most common source of carbon monoxide. Vehicles are the most common source of carbon monoxide poisoning. Running a car in a closed garage—especially an attached garage—can be extremely dangerous. If you are doing mechanical work on a car in a garage, leave the overhead door open or attach an air hose to vent the exhaust to the outside.

How do carbon monoxide detectors work?

Carbon monoxide detectors trigger an alarm based on an accumulation of carbon monoxide over time. Carbon monoxide can harm you if you are exposed to high levels of carbon monoxide in a short period of time, or to lower levels of carbon monoxide over a long period of time. Carbon monoxide detectors require a continuous power supply, so if the power cuts off then the alarm becomes ineffective. Models are available that offer back-up battery power.

Why is carbon monoxide dangerous?

When carbon monoxide is inhaled, it interferes with the oxygen transport and gas exchange abilities of red blood cells. Low levels of carbon monoxide poisoning cause symptoms similar to those of the flu or a cold, including shortness of breath on mild exertion, headaches and nausea. Higher levels of poisoning lead to dizziness, mental confusion, severe headaches, nausea, and fainting on mild exertion. Ultimately, carbon monoxide poisoning can result in unconsciousness, permanent brain damage and death. Carbon monoxide detectors are set to sound an alarm before the exposure to carbon monoxide would present a healthy adult. Babies, children, pregnant women, people with circulatory or respiratory ailments, and the elderly are more sensitive to carbon monoxide than healthy adults.

Where should I place a carbon monoxide detector?

Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions on placement. Because carbon monoxide is slightly lighter than air and also because it may be found with warm, rising air, detectors should be placed on a wall at least five feet above the floor or on the ceiling. Do not place the detector near a fireplace or flame-producing appliance, such as a gas stove. A carbon monoxide detector should be installed on each floor of the house, especially near sleeping areas.

What do I do if the alarm sounds?

The alarm is designed to go off before you experience symptoms. Silence the alarm, get all members of the household to fresh air, and if anyone is experiencing symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, call 911. If no one has symptoms, ventilate the building, identify and remedy the source of the carbon monoxide before returning inside and have appliances or chimneys checked by a professional.

How often should a carbon monoxide detector be replaced?

The average life span of many carbon monoxide detectors is about two years. Be aware that the “test” feature on many detectors checks the functioning of the alarm but not the ability of the detector to detect carbon monoxide. Some detectors last longer than others, indicate when they need to be replaced, and have power supply backups. When purchasing a carbon monoxide detector, consider not only the number and type of possible carbon monoxide sources, but also the construction of the building. Newer buildings may have more airtight construction and may be better insulated, which makes it easier for carbon monoxide to accumulate.

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Attic Fans

How do I calculate the size fan I need for an attic?

Measure the square footage of your attic (length X width) and multiply that figure by 0.7. This will give you the minimum CFM (cubic feet per minute—the measure of air volume moved by the fan) rating required for your attic. Add 15 percent for dark covered roofs. Choose a fan with a CFM rating appropriate for your attic size to ensure adequate ventilation.

How much free area air intake is needed for an attic fan to work properly?

Divide the CFM required by 300 and then multiply the result by 144 (one square foot, in inches) to give you the square inches of free air area required.

How do I calculate the existing free air in my attic?

If you have eave vents or gable vents, multiply the length by width of each vent to get the square inches, (if the opening is covered with a screen, divide by 2) The net free area may be stamped on the frame of the vent. Add up all the totals from all of the vents to get your total existing free air area. If there is not enough free air area in the attic, additional vents should be added to ensure that the attic fan is working at optimal efficiency.

Do attic exhaust fans come with a thermostat?

Yes. All attic exhaust fans are equipped with a thermostat.

What temperature should the thermostat of an attic fan/ventilator be set on?

Attic fan thermostats are usually set at about 110 degrees F., depending on the climate. If the fan seems to be running too much, raise the thermostat setting by 10 degrees.

Can the dome of an attic ventilator be painted? If so, what kind of paint should be used?

Yes. The dome may be painted with any latex-based exterior house paint.

Can a variable speed control switch be used with an attic exhaust fan?

The Broan model 72 variable speed control can be used with the Broan model 350, 353, 355, and 350 attic fans. (The model #356 cannot be used with a variable speed control.)

Can a gable exhaust fan be installed on a roof?

No. Gable fans are designed to be installed only on vertical locations.

Do roof fans have bird guards installed?

Yes. Bird screens are incorporated into the individual roof exhaust fans.

Can a roof fan be installed on a vertical surface?

No. Roof exhaust fans are designed to be installed on horizontal or sloping surfaces. Broan-NuTone gable fans are designed for vertical installations.

Can an attic exhaust fan be installed on a flat roof?

Yes. Note that a waterproof curb will need to be built so that the housing is higher and snow and water levels would not affect product performance.

Can I install a dehumidistat to the attic ventilator?

Yes. Use model DH100W by Broan.

What is a “sone,” and how is it measured?

A sone is a unit of measure for sound that refers to a comfortable hearing level for an average listener. The lower the sone value, the more comfortable the listening environment. One sone is the equivalent of a quiet refrigerator. Sones are not decibels or volume, but rather how sound is "sensed," including factors such as pitch and frequency. For example, the sound of a car equipped with speakers that produce very low bass notes can be extremely disagreeable more because of the vibration, than because of the actual volume of the music.

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Exhaust Fans

What is continuous ventilation?

Continuous ventilation provides today’s tightly constructed homes with a relatively constant and controlled level of ventilation. Broan QT Series ventilators are very quiet and efficient and are ideally suited for these applications.

Can Broan fans be mounted directly above a tub or shower?

Most Broan fans are rated for use over a shower or bathtub when used with a GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter).

Can a ceiling fan be surrounded by insulation?

Yes. Broan bath fans are designed to provide adequate cooling for motors and lighting, as well as products with integral heaters.

Will Broan fans work in wall-mount applications?

Some Broan bath and utility fans may be wall mounted. See the spec matrix for specific models.

Can a ceiling fan or wall-mount utility fan serve as a kitchen range hood?

No. Range hoods are specifically designed to handle grease and high temperature environments. Ventilation provided by NuTone fans is only a supplement for odor and moisture removal in the kitchen.

What is "static pressure"?

Static pressure is a measure of resistance to airflow as it is pushed through ductwork. Static pressure reduces the effectiveness of the fan. Static pressure increases with the length and the number of turns in the ductwork. Learn more on the Home Ventilation Institute web site www.hvi.org.

How long should a bath fan run after a shower is used?

The Home Ventilation Institute recommends that a fan should run for 20 minutes to clear humidity adequately and to minimize moisture and condensation in the fan body and ducting.

Is there a timer available that will turn off a fan automatically after 20 minutes?

Broan has sensing fans that detect the humidity rise caused by a shower and turn on automatically. When moisture has cleared it turns off. Some wall controls also give you the option of humidity sensing or timer control.

What are the timer features?

Delay-off timers automatically shut your fan off after a specified time interval. This is a useful feature in high traffic bathrooms where you may wish to let the fan run to clear moisture adequately. A timer counts the minutes of fan operation selected by the user.

Where should the bathroom exhaust fan be located?

Exhaust fans should be located in or near the shower or tub, and in any enclosed room with a toilet. Keep exhaust points opposite the supply air source to ensure that the fresh air is drawn through the room. Bathroom doors should not be sealed too tightly at the bottom in order to allow replacement air to enter the room when the door is closed.

Where is the exhaust outlet on a ventilation fan?

The exhaust outlet is the point where air is discharged through the body of the fan housing into the ductwork. During installation, the fan should be oriented with the exhaust outlet pointing toward the exit vent on the roof or wall to minimize turns in ductwork that impede airflow.

Why do windows and mirrors fog up even when the fan is running?

If windows and mirrors are cold, condensation can still form on these surfaces. If a bathroom is sealed tightly, replacement air may not be entering the room fast enough to displace the moist air. Fan placement can also be a factor. Fans should be located far enough from the source of replacement air to ensure the moist air is drawn out first. Too many twists and turns in the ducting will significantly reduce the ability of the blower to remove moist air. Make sure that ductwork is as short and straight as possible, with gradual turns rather than tight corners where necessary.

Why is water dripping from the grille of the fan?

Dripping water can be caused by either condensation (usually due to cold ductwork or improper duct installation), or a problem with the seal on a wall or roof vent. Insulated ductwork can help solve condensation problems, and running the fan longer will ensure that moisture is completely removed from the duct. If possible, ductwork should slope down toward a wall vent to direct condensation out of the exterior vent opening rather than back into the fan housing.

Can I install a heater directly over the bathtub or in a shower?

No. Heaters are not UL listed (Underwriter's Laboratory) for installation over bathtubs or in a shower.

Can I use an inline or multi-port fan in one large bathroom?

Yes, this works the best for large rooms because you can install the ports over the areas where the ventilation is needed the most (source control). The size of the multi-port would be determined by the size of the room.

Does a duct-free bath fan expel air?

No. A duct-free fan only circulates the air in the room. It is not a ventilating device and does not remove air from the room.

What type of exhaust fan is recommended for indoor sauna or hot tub areas?

A high-CFM rated device is normally recommended for this type of application.

Can I use a smaller diameter duct than what the fan is designed for?

This is not recommended. Undersized ductwork will cause the fan to run harder, greatly reducing the CFM performance of the fan and create excess noise.

Can larger diameter ducting be used with my bath fan?

Yes, larger diameters ducting will improve the performance of your fan.

What type of duct is recommended, rigid or flexible?

Rigid ductwork is recommended, where possible. Rigid ductwork has less resistance to air flow and allows the fan to operate much more efficiently. If flexible ducting is used, be sure the duct is as straight as possible.

Can a bathroom fan be vented into an attic instead of out the roof or wall?

Never direct exhaust air into spaces within walls, ceilings, attics, crawl spaces or garages. The humidity may damage the structure and insulation.

Can I use a fan in a steam shower?

No. Since these are normally sealed chambers, a vacuum will be created.

Can more than one bath fan be vented out of a single roof or wall cap?

Usually not. Always follow the manufacturer's recommended ventilation requirements.

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Ceiling Fans

How high should ceiling fans be mounted from the floor?

Typically want to install them 8 to 9 feet off the ground

Ceiling Height 9’ 10’ 11’ 12’ 13’ 15’
Down rod Length 12” 18” 24” 36” 48” 72”

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NuTone Central Vacuum

What size power unit should I use?

Power units are designed for different applications and for varying square footage requirements of residences. For greatest efficiency, place the power unit as low as possible in the system.

How many inlets may be installed in a system?

It is recommended to keep the number of inlets to the minimum needed for convenient use. But you may install as many as you require, assuming all are in proper working condition with tight seals and gaskets.

What inlets should be used?

Depending on the application and the power unit model will dictate which inlets are utilized for the installation. Things to consider are styling and color. The Advantage Series offers a status indicating feature and Broan-NuTone also offers a direct connect electrified inlet.

Where should I locate my wall inlet valves?

If you are using one of Broan-NuTone's current carrying hoses the wall valve inlets should be located within six feet of a household power receptacle. We suggest that you take a 25 foot length of cord or a measuring tape set to 25 feet then walk though your home and locate your wall inlets so that they cover all the areas you wish to vacuum.

Are Broan-NuTone Vacuum components compatible with other makes?

Some Broan-NuTone's components may be compatible with other makes. Call Broan-NuTone Technical Support for verification before you buy any component.

What are “air watts”?

“Air watts” refers to a combination of air flow and vacuum water lift created by the power unit. The greater the air watts, the greater the cleaning ability of the system.

Is it necessary to exhaust the power unit to the outside?

For the best indoor air quality, Broan-NuTone recommends venting the exhaust to the outside. This is not mandatory, but is recommended for a complete installation. One advantage of a central vacuum system is its ability to vacuum up all items and microscopic particles that may not be captured by the primary filter (bag). The remaining particles will then be vented to outside through the exhaust duct.

Can regular PVC plumbing be used for central vacuum tubing?

No. Broan-NuTone uses special thin wall tubing that must be used to ensure proper fit of inlets, hoses and other components, and for proper operation of the system.

What is cyclonic action?

Cyclonic action is a special feature that forces dust and debris to the bottom of the power unit's canister, allowing the power unit to operate at peak effectiveness.

What is the difference between Turbo powered vacuum cleaning heads and electric powered cleaning heads?

Turbo powered heads use some of the power unit's suction to operate the cleaning head. The electric cleaning heads use all of the power unit's suction for cleaning. In order to use the electric cleaning heads you must use one of Broan-NuTone's current carrying hoses.

When is a power brush or power head required?

Broan-NuTone recommends using a power brush to clean carpet. The power brush loosens dirt for proper cleaning and separates and lifts the nap of the carpet to keep it in top condition and proper appearance.

Are the turbine air brushes operationally equivalent to the power brushes?

Yes. The air-driven turbine is a uniquely designed, non-electric brush for cleaning with the central vacuum system. The electric power brush maintains constant brush action by using of the motor used to run the unit.

Is a dedicated electrical circuit required for a central vacuum power unit installation?

Yes. The central vacuum system requires its own 15 or 20 amp circuit, depending on the specific power unit you are installing.

My central vacuum has lost a lot of its suction. What is the most likely cause?

A dirty motor filter may be the cause of poor system performance. Other problems that cause poor system performance are leaky wall valve inlets, blockages in the intake or exhaust piping, or a blockage in the hose. Consult your owner’s manual or call Broan-NuTone Technical support for assistance.

How do you remove the power unit’s motor filter?

First remove the dust collection canister. After locating the motor filter, grasp the flexible band that holds the filter in place and then pull it to the center of the filter, and it should come free. If you have trouble call Broan-NuTone Technical Support.

How can I clear a blockage in the vacuum system?

Clearing a blockage in the system can be quite a challenge. You can rent a plumber's snake and then work it through the system piping. Sometimes a small diameter hose worked through your piping may clear a blockage.

Why does the system keep running even when the hose is removed and the power unit's switch is turned off?

The most likely cause is incorrect wiring to your wall valve inlets. Disengage one of the system wires on the front of your power unit and if the system shuts down then you need to verify that the wiring to your wall valve inlets is correct. If the problem persists, call Broan-NuTone Technical Support.

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