The Lights Work But is the Wiring Safe? Or How Do You Know They’ve Improved the Taste of Dog Food?

How do you know the electrical work you just had done was done correctly? Because the lights work? Because the receptacle outlet works? Not true! Anyone with a screw driver and a wire stripper can install a wall socket or a light switch and a light! Anyone can stick a wire in a wall and connect it to live power and tell you it’s finished. If it works, it must be done right. Right? Not necessarily. I have spent a lifetime repairing or replacing the cheaper guy’s electrical installations. I’ve always wanted to see that van running down the road with a sign that reads “Cheap, Non Licensed, Crappy Guy Electric” in big bold letters on the side! And under that, “Non Licensed, Non Bonded & Never Insured”. And it would be hand painted! And after you write him a check, you have to give him a jump start! But hey, you got a good deal, right? Well, did you? How do you know?

What constitutes poor workmanship? Sloppy wiring comes to mind. When my wires are exposed, say for example, in a garage, I staple them across the joists or down the studs without any twists in them and keep them as straight as possible. This is not necessary, but the way I see it, this is an example of my work, in plain sight. When someone sees my work, I want them to be impressed. This is called “Pride in Your Work”. When the same wiring is going to be covered with drywall or some other wall board, I still keep the wires straight and neat, but a few twists here and there don’t matter so much. It doesn’t affect the quality of the installation or the flow of electricity. Another example (and this is a pet peeve of mine), receptacles that have no side termination screws. The cheap, cheap ones. The only way to connect this type of receptacle is by sticking the wires in holes in the back of the receptacle. And 99 times out of 100, if the electrician or handyman (unlicensed contractor) uses this type of receptacle, he also does not splice his wires together first and tail off the splice with one lead wire to the device. He uses the holes in the back of the receptacle as a means to splice the wires through to the next outlet. This is called “Speed Wire” and has been used on every new home, apartment and townhouse since I began my apprenticeship in 1971. This method of using the device holes to continue the circuit wire to the next outlet box is my number one cause for service and repair calls. I was taught by my father to physically splice all the hot wires together and all the neutral wires together first by twisting them. Then, off the twisted splice, add a lead wire about 8″ long (pigtail) and connect it to the SCREWS on the side of the more expensive switches and receptacles. By doing it this way, the receptacle can be removed from the wires, but because the wires are spliced together, the circuit still continues to the end of the line. When the speed wire holes are used as a splicing means, removing the receptacle opens the entire circuit. Everything beyond that point is without power and all the lights and plugs go out! And that’s why I get so many calls. It only takes ONE wire in ONE speed wire hole to become loose causing the rest of the power to go out throughout the house!

Do you ever go up into your attic / crawl space above the ceiling and look at what the electrician did up there? Do you ever go under the house into the dirty crawl space and see what he did down there? I do. Whenever I send my employees up there or down there to do any wiring, I go and check the work. If the wires are not stapled and supported to the joists, someone’s in big trouble. Especially under a house. Electrical wires cannot be laid on the ground. They have to be stapled to the floor joists. I am amazed by how many electricians do not bother. Did you know that any electrical wires 120 volts or higher, that are to be buried in the ground, have to be buried at least 18″ deep? Did you know that to bury an electrical wire, it has to be a very specific type of cable? Did you know that by burying PVC conduit instead of “direct bury” wire you can replace the wire whenever you wish by pulling the old wire out of the PVC conduit? Did you know that electrical conduit, which is used primarily on the exterior of a structure, or under the ground, with no other way of getting a wire under, over or through the walls from point A to point B, can be bent no more than 360 degrees total bends? If more than 360 degrees of bends are required, then a junction box must be installed. Then, you can begin again up to 360 degrees of bends. I have seen conduits with six 90 degree bends, a 45 and a few other small bends in 10 feet of conduit. The guy had to have run the wire in the straight conduit first and then bent it. A wire will not go through a conduit that is bent more than a full circle. Did you know that an electrical outlet box, no matter what the purpose, cannot be covered over? Every single electrical outlet box has to remain accessible. If there is ever to be an electrical problem, it will be in the outlet box that was dry-walled over and nobody remembers where it was located. Did you know that indoor electrical wire, called Romex, cannot be installed below 7 feet unless it is to be covered by wallboard, or has been put inside a protective conduit? I see exposed Romex wire often running through closets or book shelves and cabinets. This rule applies only to living areas. Did you know that when you had your meter box upgraded to 200 amps, and the electrician left the old sub-panel active inside that closet, that your electrical system is still only limited to the size of that old panel in the closet? Did you know that? The easy, slam-dunk meter upgrades involve putting the new meter / panel box outside and hooking it to the power lines. Then, the old feed wire going back to that old fuse box or ancient breaker panel is placed on a circuit breaker in the new panel, usually 30 or 40 amps, and simply re-feeds the old fuse box. You now have 170 unused amps (in a way of looking at it) outside. I eliminate that old closet panel and extend the old circuits in it out to the new box. It defeats the purpose of the meter upgrade if you don’t.

To the average homeowner, if the lights are on, the electrical work must be ok. Unfortunately, just because your lights are on, you cannot be sure that your home is properly wired or safe. Once again I ask the question:

How do we know they’ve improved the taste of dog food? How do you know your wiring was done properly and meets electrical and safety codes?

Purchasing a Home Power Generator – Five Things You Need to Consider

If you want to buy a home power generator and are not sure where to start then this guide will be useful. There are many things you need to consider when buying a home power generator – the following list provides five things to get you started.

How much power do your need?

The first thing you should determine before you purchase a generator is how much power you will need to run the devices you want. To calculate this you must determine the number of watts each item consumes when running as well as the number of watts each item consumes at its peak (electric devices often consume more watts when starting or during certain peak operations). Add all the running watts together then add the largest number from the peak usage. This calculation gives you your maximum wattage needs.

What is your budget?

You must determine what the total cost of the generator is including additional costs such as having it installed by a professional and accessories such as a weather cover. Once calculated, you will have to determine what is available for the budget you have.

Portable or Standby?

When buying a home power generator you need to understand what tasks you want to achieve with it.

Portable generators can be easily moved around from place to place. This gives you the freedom to move the generator to any location where you need power. Portable generators tend to be smaller and so don’t produce as much power for as long.

Standby generators are permanently installed and connected to your house. This limits the use of the generator to just powering your house.

What features do you want?

There are many features offered by generators. Here are some of the main things to look for when deciding on a generator:

  • Run time – how long does the generator run for before it needs refueling?
  • Power output – how much power does the generator provide? Will it cover your needs?
  • Price – how much does it cost?
  • Installation – what is involved in installing the generator? Will you need to hire a professional to install it?
  • Fuel – what kind of fuel does it consume?
  • Accessories – what accessories are included in the product? What will you need that isn’t included?
  • Warranty – what warranty comes with the generator?
  • Support – what kind of support is available for the installation and maintenance of the generator.

Extras

Many generators come with extras included in the initial purchase. Some common extras are a warranty or maintenance package, oil, power cord, wheels, and funnel.

Some generators may require you to purchase extra items for it to do what you want. For example, if you decide to purchase a portable generator, you may also need a transfer switch to connect it to your home.

Deciding on a new home power generator can be a daunting task but hopefully this list will give you a good start. Make sure you shop around and ask lots of questions before making your final decision.

What is Electrical Transformer Used For?

The electrical energy has become one of the important things in people life. This energy is supplied to all houses and industries. But sometimes voltage fluctuation can cause problems. So to avoid these kinds of problems electrical transformer are installed near your place. Transformer is device which changes current voltage from one circuit to another electric circuit through electromagnetic induction. These are for increasing or decreasing the voltage which comes from substation. There are many varieties of transformers which supplies electricity to houses. Some of the transformers are custom current transformer, high transformer voltage, flyback transformer, electrical transformer, audio, isolation, step up and step down and power transformer.

Electrical transformer:

Switching of voltage from one point to another is known as electrical transformer. These consist of two types of coil conductors known as primary and secondary conductors. These are mainly used for transferring current from power plants to residential and commercial places. Generally it consists of high voltage at the power plant. Now there is a substation between the power plant and residential place. The voltage is reduced a bit when it reaches the substation. Same way the voltage is even more reduced when it reaches to the transformer. This process is repeated till the power comes down to usable level. The current here travels through coils which are covered by core. Now you can find out whether it act at your place gets high voltage or low voltage. Its simple enough, if the transformer has more coils then its high voltage and if it is less then low voltage.

These also have different types of transformer which helps in controlling the voltage level. There are step up electrical device which helps in increasing the voltage level and step down electrical transformer which reduces the voltage level. Generally the houses are run by electricity at limit amount of voltage. The voltage coming from power plant can be either high or low. So for leveling voltage the above transformers are used. These are convenient, efficient and easy way of transferring electric energy to residential and commercial places.

Electric power is used more efficiently than before and therefore, it help in transferring these powers to houses. These transformers can transfer power to far places in easy and efficient manner and they are also cost effective. Now these transformers have become a necessity in people lives. In fact these are inexpensive way of transmitting current all over the world.

Electrical transformers are the most inexpensive but high quality transformer for supplying electricity to houses. The advantage of these device is they store the energy given by a source and then it transfer to the other source. This transformer supplies efficient current to its users at very less and competitive prices.

Ceiling Fans – Unconventional Home Decors to Intensify Your Home Interior

Ceiling fans along with other interior decors are our homes’ best friend. Nearly all housekeepers have this tendency to continuously enhance interior decoration to make the house more relax and accommodating.

There are myriad of things which can be made into real exciting home decors. Sometimes there are items which are use to add more accents to the interiors. Some others are solely considered normal house objects. However, these things which are often taken for granted at home can become superb decorations. This could include that boring ceiling fan you might not have taken a glance for a long time.

Most people pass over fans when it comes to the probabilities of using them as a decorative item. Seldom do people think that these fans can become nice home decors too. This is because most of the housekeepers think of these appliances as merely functional and never as decorative items. But in this modern generation it is no longer the case. Things have changed and modern technology has helped a lot to revolutionize the uses of them.

Ancient fans were simply mounted or put in homes for its functionality. They are simply there to help in ventilating room. It moves stale and warm air, while creating cool and comforting artificial breeze. This is really cool especially in the summer.

Nowadays they no longer exist merely for that purpose. With the fashionable designs it is obvious that these fans are now part of interior home decors. More and more people realized the real essence of having wonderfully designed fans. Hence, there fans are widely used not solely because of its function, but additionally of their ability to intensify the beauty of a room or the entire house. Ornamental ceiling fans are popularly used by interior designers especially for themed rooms. Not all of them can be used as decors. You need to identify the theme of the room where it shall be mounted before you decide to purchase one.

If your area or house incorporates a contemporary style, you need to select for a ceiling fan that has lines that will match an up to date stylish or retro décor. Though, up to date fans were not used as decors before, they are now starting to fill the bareness of certain home décor schemes in most contemporary designed homes.

For the nature-themed residences, natural patterns, like trees and leaves, integrated in their designs would be perfect. If the entire space is inspired by a certain period or era, designs which are period-inspired are good to go to take you back in time. Sleek and retro-trendy ceiling fans are currently created with additional functionality.

To assist you decide how much ceiling fan to put in your house, you can consult an interior designer. Even if it will cost you much it is worth spending on it to ensure getting the right one. Now, more than ever, ceiling fans are quite in demand as an essential part of home interior.

Why Purchase a G9 Bulb?

Wandering into a dark room can not only lead to broken items, but also to serious injury as well. Not being able to see where one is going can be very dangerous; but one thing that is more dangerous is trying to do things in light that is not bright enough. When one is reading, or playing video games, even just looking at pictures; the eyes are in constant use. Reading in the dark is one of the best ways to slowly irrevocably damage the eyes. Eyestrain is very common in youth and adults that like to read in the dark or darker lighting. Even those that are on a computer, just because a computer is lite don’t mean that the eyes aren’t being inadvertently damaged. Eyes should be allowed to go with age, that’s why purchasing brighter light bulbs will go a long way.

When driving on the road at night, many might have noticed a car light that is slightly purple in color, but very hard to look at. That’s a halogen light and they become very bright indeed. They last just as long at the regular lights that come standard with most of today’s cars, yet give off a brighter light in general. Wouldn’t one want to be more easily seen in the dark? For most that question is yes; so if having brighter light on the road is good, wouldn’t having brighter light in the home be a good thing as well?

There actually is a halogen light bulb that can be used in the home. The G9 bulb is a halogen light that brightens up a room much more than the typical fluorescent bulb. On average G9 bulbs last as long as or slightly shorter than the fluorescent types. In fact, G9 bulb is a very popular brand that has it’s bulbs listed around many online shops like next tag,com or amazon.com. When sites start to list them at discounts, it’s because there’s a high demand for them. But before going out to buy these bulbs there are a few things that should be considered.

G9 bulbs are more expensive than the other common household bulbs. It’s because of the parts that they are made out of. But when one considers the added brightness, with around the same and sometimes more lifetime to the G9 bulb, the better deal would be with the latter. The last thing that needs to be considered is where to buy the G9 bulb. If buying from an online store, make sure that the seller has a good reputation. Even if money is refunded, there is nothing more aggravating than being sent a box of broken light bulbs!

How to Find a Reliable Electrician

All electricians are not created equal. Finding a reliable electrician is paramount in keeping your home’s electronic systems running smoothly. Poor electrical systems are not only a nuisance, they can also be deadly. With this in mind, it is in your best interest to find a reliable electrician in the event of an electrical failure or issue.

To locate a reliable electrician you need to look for experience. The best electricians are those who have been working in the field for years. The more experience one of these professionals has the more likely they will be to help you with your issues. The first thing you should look for when searching for an electrician is experience and a proven track record of successful fixes.

The second thing you should keep in mind when searching out one of these specialists is price. The fee you pay for electrical services can vary greatly, so make sure you are getting the best service at a price you can afford.

The third thing you must look for in an electrician is punctuality. We all have busy lives and waiting around for the electrician to show up can be very frustrating. You can learn about any professional’s punctuality habits by asking friends for referrals or asking about any guarantees on time.

Finding an electrician you can trust takes a little work, but it well worth it. Follow the advice given above and you will be on your way to finding a professional that can help solve your electrical issues.

Electricians to the Rescue

Several years ago we did a big remodel in our kitchen. I decided to be the contractor to save money, I did save a lot of money and I learned a lot about tiling, dry wall, demolition, electricians, plumbers and various other contracted people. The first step was demolition; I gave each of our four boys a hammer and let them start taking out the wall between the living room and kitchen.

I knew this was going to make a big mess, and it is easier to take out the dry wall in sheets using razors and tools, but I wanted to boys to remember the project and figured this would be the best way. First we had a magic marker party covering the kitchen and living room walls with drawings. I was amazed at the kids creativity. Maybe we should have done that years ago. After the kids were done, my husband and I finished taking the wall out. Then came three layers of old linoleum, stuck on top of each other. We used crow bars and pancake turners, what a mess.

Things went along pretty smoothly, we got it all gutted, framed, drywalled, tiled, the cabinet people did a beautiful job, installation was perfect, the island amazing, there were glitches of course but it went along on schedule and for much more than we had anticipated so we knew all was well. It all went well until the electrical. There I blew it. I should have called a licensed electrician in Portland who specialized in the process. What I did instead was use someones brother in law who does electrical on the side.

It was a nightmare, nothing was wired where I wanted it, the lights over the island hit my husbands head almost everyday. He left a wire sticking up in the kitchen and the tilers not knowing any better, tiled around it. That part of the kitchen is still, years later not completely fixed. I learned, get the right electrician for the right job, you don’t save money trying any other way! Electricians in Portland know their stuff!

Emergency Power Services After a Disaster

Has your home area recently gone through a tornado or other natural disaster? When a natural disaster strikes, your family is left without a lot of the basic essentials. Your whole life can be turned upside down in the turn of a second. There are all types of disasters and all different types of emergency services to help get your home back on track.

Hurricanes can be deadly force in all different types and regions of the world. They bring all different sorts of weather and can truly terrorize your home. This can leave you without electricity. Luckily there are people who can help you out when a situation like this happens. Emergency power services are designed to help restore electricity immediately following a storm to ensure you comfort and safety.

Tornadoes are another natural disaster that can leave you without electricity. They can tear apart your home as well as leaving your whole neighborhood in a blackout. The first step is to call your local electrical company so while you are taking care of your family, emergency power services are able to come in and restore your home to its original self as quickly as possible. This can be a true lifesaver when you are truly in need for it.

Disaster can strike at anytime. And it is your responsibility to make sure that when this happens that you are ready for it. Having a backup plan for emergency power services is your best chance of preparing yourself as well as those around you for when disaster strikes. It is smart to store your local emergency electrical company in your phone so you aren’t left in the dark.

Choosing Your Ideal Electrician

Hiring the right electrician for your home or business can initially be somewhat confusing. With so many options to choose from, the search can be quite tedious and stressful. However, with the right set of resources on your side, the process can end up being much easier than you think. In this article, we will provide a few standard tips to help you weed through the mess and find your ideal contractor.

Step 1 – Start out by speaking with friends and family member who have used an electrician in the past. Word of mouth can be a great way to find professionals in all lines of work, and this is certainly not an exception. Ask questions in regard to the performance, rates, specialties, and whether they would work with the individual again if the need were to arise again.

Step 2 – Head on down to your local chamber of commerce. In most cases, you will be able to obtain a list of certified contractors in the area where you live. You will also likely be able to view past complaint histories in order to help you make a decision.

Step 3 – Hop online and check out local review sites regarding electrician companies. A basic search will typically yield a number of sites in which past customers can write critiques and reviews while providing rankings for other consumers to check out. This is a very helpful tool, not only to find new candidates, but also to check out the ones you have already added to your list.

Step 4 – Once you have your list of candidates, choose the one whom you feel is best suited for the job and give them a call to set up an appointment. During your meeting, make sure that they are legally able to perform the task you need them for. Many areas place regulations on the amount and type of work contractors can perform based on their experience level. In addition, you will want to be sure your candidate is licensed and insured, just in case something goes badly.

Step 5 – Obtain a quote from your contractor. Once you have a quote, shop it around to other potential candidates in order to obtain the best price. Make certain each candidate is offering the same services as you were originally quoted and can complete the required workload in the time allotted.

Step 6 – Finally, make your decision. Base your choice on the positive factors you have gathered, avoiding making the final choice based on price alone. Remember, in many instances, you will get what you pay for. Go with your gut, and get the job done right.

What You Need to Know About GFI Outlet

There is absolutely no doubt about the fact that you need to take special care when getting in contact with electrical outlets. Electricity can hurt you badly, which is why you should take precautionary measures. This is when you can think of using Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter or simply GFCI or GFI outlet.

When you opt for this, you can save yourself from getting an electric shock. It is due to this particular characteristic that it is quite different from “fuse”. The biggest function of a fuse is to protect your home from fire: an electrical fire, to be precise. This usually happens when neutral wire gets in contact with the hot wire. When this happens, a huge amount of current transfers through the circuit and produces heat.

On the contrary, GFI outlet works quite differently, and in more subtle way actually. Its major function is to monitor the amount of electricity flowing through each circuit in your home. It gets activated when it feels any loss of current. If it notices any change in the flow of the current from a hot wire, it trips the circuit and saves you from dealing with bigger issues.

The great thing about these outlets is that they are not only good to protect your electrical appliances but they also save you from getting a shock. It is due to its amazing benefits that most people use it for kitchens, bathrooms, and garages. Not only this, you can also place it by bathtubs, sinks, spas, hot tubs, Jacuzzis and other water sources where an electrical outlet is used.

Using a GFI outlet is quite beneficial, but you need to educate yourself about a few important things. For instance, one very important thing is to install it correctly. If there is some issue in installation, you will not get to see it working at all. That’s one big reason why you need to contact a professional electrician to help you with proper installation. However, if you have installed it on your own, you can do one thing. There is a test button on it, and once you are done with the installation process, you can press this test button. When you press it, a correctly installed gfi outlet will be shut down. To turn it on one again, you will have to use the reset button.

The bottom line is that GFI outlet has specific benefits, but to reap maximum benefits, you need to ensure that it is installed correctly.