3 Great Reasons To Get Your Generator Serviced Now

Posted by on 8:18 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3 Great Reasons To Get Your Generator Serviced Now

Some people own generators, but they do not get them serviced. This could result in them not being able to rely on their generators during an emergency. If there is severe weather in your area, electricians may get inundated with generator service call requests. This could leave you without power for an extended amount of time. The following are three circumstances that should prompt you to understand the importance of generator service.  You live in or near a hurricane prone area. If you live in a hurricane-prone area, you likely got a generator for your home because it is the norm for people in your area to have one. However, it may have been several years since you have needed to use your generator, or you may have never used it due to issues never arising to cause a need. This can create a false sense of comfort, and it is one reason why people skip generator service calls. Perhaps you live near an area that has had severe weather and evacuations in the past. You should also take generator servicing seriously because a time may come when evacuees come to your area for refuge. There have been cases of some storms extending their damage into nearby areas that weather forecasters initially thought would be safe.  You live in a remote area that is not considered part of the city limits in your jurisdiction. This situation would warrant routine generator service because living in a remote area could mean that you have to go longer without electricity than other people. Sometimes accessing remote areas is more difficult for power company workers, and they may resort to restoring power in these areas last due to other issues such as the number of people affected by the outage in the remote area. Having a working generator would ensure that you have power during the waiting period.  You have a family member who has medical issues. Sometimes power outages occur even if there is not inclement weather. For example, an old tree could fall on a power line and cause an outage. People with certain medical illnesses may not be able to go for long periods of time without working electricity. Some of the machines they rely on require electricity to operate. This is one reason why most healthcare facilities have backup generators. Keep in mind that healthy elderly people and children may also be negatively impacted by power outages during extreme temperatures. Getting your generator serviced may protect your loved one from a dangerous situation.  You own a generator, and it needs to work when you need it. An electrician, like one from Powell’s Electric Service, Inc., is a good resource to use for more information on the importance of generator servicing. They can advise you of the appropriate maintenance schedule and likely send reminders when you are due for your next generator...

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Troubleshooting Common Problems with Residential Solar-Panel Systems

Posted by on 12:34 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Troubleshooting Common Problems with Residential Solar-Panel Systems

If you want to break away from a heavy reliance on residential electricity, solar-panel systems are definitely the way to go. You can work with a contractor to have a system installed and then immediately see a drastic difference in how much electricity your home uses on a day-to-day basis. The best part is, installing a solar system in your home is now easier than it ever has been because of the rise in popularity. Once your solar system is installed, you will likely get years of use out of it. However, occasionally, you may run into problems. Here are a few of the most common issues that can come up with solar-panel systems. Problem: You’re suddenly not able to collect as much solar power. Cause and Solution: If you suddenly notice a drastic reduction in the amount of solar energy available, this is a surefire sign that something has changed. While a failing solar panel will usually just gradually stop being as efficient, sudden damage or a change in available sunlight will be much more likely to cause a major change suddenly. Therefore, you should check your solar panel for signs of damage, such as a fallen limb that has landed on the panel itself. Also, make sure the solar panel is not covered with fallen leaves or snow, because if the surface of the panel is covered, that will prevent energy collection.  Problem: You are still gathering energy, but it is depleted quickly. Cause and Solution: Just like a vehicle, solar-panel systems rely on battery terminals to convert the energy into power, and these terminals can and do ail eventually. If the energy you are collecting is depleting at a faster rate than usual, you could be in need of a replacement terminal. Check for oxidation around the connectors of the battery terminals, as this is a good indication that they indeed need to be replaced. Problem: Your solar-panel system seems to be not functioning at all. Cause and Solution: Because sudden failure with a solar-panel system is such a rare thing, if your system suddenly stops working, you are likely merely dealing with a wiring problem. In some cases, older wiring will be damaged over time, and it is also easy for wiring leading from the panels to the terminals to get knocked loose. Check the wiring out and make any necessary repairs or adjustments. Consult a company like Oak Electric for more information about solar-system problems you may be...

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When You Decide To Do Your Own Electrical Work, Make Sure Safety Comes First

Posted by on 3:54 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off on When You Decide To Do Your Own Electrical Work, Make Sure Safety Comes First

If you have an electrical project around the home that needs attention, it’s often possible to handle it yourself — provided that it’s minor enough. While you might feel a little anxious about making sure that you’re doing everything correctly, you need to be vigilant about making safety your chief priority. Electrical work can be dangerous if you let your guard down, so it’s imperative that you focus on safety in a variety of ways. If you’re concerned about the depth of the job, especially where safety is concerned, you’re always better off stepping away and calling a licensed electrician. If you do proceed on your own, here are some safety tips to focus on. Don’t Trust The Breaker Box Labels If you’re even thinking about doing electrical work, you should already know about the importance of shutting off the electricity to the area in which you’ll be working by flipping a breaker in your home’s breaker box. What you might not know, however, is that you shouldn’t fully trust the breaker box labels. They’re not always correct, which means that flipping the breaker for the upstairs bathroom could actually kill the power in the hallway, but the bathroom could be on a different circuit. If there’s any doubt, it’s best to shut off power to the whole house. Invest In A Current Tester One of the best investments you can make when buying tools for an electrical project is to get a current tester. This handheld device allows you to see if there is current running to any electrical outlet, switch or fixture — after you think you’ve cut off the power. While a current tester is also valuable as a diagnostic tool for checking current in a fixture that appears to be broken, it’s impossible to overstate its value in keeping you safe during electrical work. Use Non-Conducting Tools It’s always smart to make sure that the tools you’ll be using for electrical work do not conduct electricity. For example, a screwdriver with a rubber handle is ideal because even if you touch something that is live and sparks shoot out, the rubber handle should protect you from being electrocuted. Make sure all your tools fit this criteria. Similarly, you should always make sure that your tools are dry. If you’re sweaty during hot working conditions, tools can get wet — and moisture increases the conductivity of an object. Don’t ever hesitate to dry a wet tool off on a towel before using it, and always keep your hands dry, too. For more tips, contact a company like McDonald...

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How To Care For Your LED Lights

Posted by on 7:21 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How To Care For Your LED Lights

The great thing about LED lights is that they do not require as much maintenance. However, to make sure that your LED lights continue to function property, you will need to take a few measures to keep them well-maintained. They will also need to be protected from further damage. Avoid Bumping LED Lights Avoid having too much contact with the LED lights. These lights can be very delicate, and too much contact makes it easy for them to become damaged. For example, do not place the LED lights near the stairs. The lights should not be stored in locations that have a high amount of traffic. The more that the LED system is touched or bumped, the more likely that it will experience a fault. If you must place your LED lights near a high traffic area, you must have a way to protect them from being bumped. Limit Contact With Moisture Like with all lighting, you must limit the exposure to moisture. LEDs can occasionally be exposed to moisture, but too much exposure can cause the system to fail and will also cause the adhesives to fail to stick. Quickly dry the LED when it comes in contact with moisture. Some manufacturers design LED that is resistant to moisture. These are ideal for outdoor locations where your LED lights can get wet. However, these should not be submerged in water. Dust The LEDs Periodically LED systems need to be dusted periodically. This will require a soft and dry microfiber cloth. This ensures that there are no materials that will be caught on the microfiber cloth and will scratch the LED. Dusting the LED lights is essential because the dust that coats the LED would otherwise gradually corrode and ruin them. Check The Connection Points Regularly The connection points need to be checked regularly to make sure that they have not come loose. When the LED is failing to turn on or is flickering, this is a sign that the connector is not securely fastened. If so, simply screw the LED so that it becomes more secure. Do Not Use Corrosive Cleaning Agents If any corrosive cleaning agents come in contact with the LED lights, it will potentially damage them. Therefore, you only want to use gentle cleaning agents to clean your LED lights. Each of these steps can be performed weekly when performing your regular cleaning activities. Doing so will ensure that they last a long time before having to be replaced. For more information and tips for LED light care, contact local electricians, such as those at JF Electrical Contractors,...

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Problems With Your Ceiling Lights? 3 Things That Can Cause This

Posted by on 5:53 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Problems With Your Ceiling Lights? 3 Things That Can Cause This

Problems with ceiling lights, such as not working at all or flickering on and off, is likely an electrical problem.  When you call a residential electrician to come to your home they will check all connections at the light switch, at the light itself, and in the breaker panel. If none of these things are the problem, below are some other things that may be causing this to happen. Too Much Spray On Insulation If you have recently had spray on insulation installed in your attic, the contractor may have accidentally covered the wiring that is used for your ceiling lights. When installed, professionals spray on the insulation to seal out all drafts in the area, including around the base of your ceiling lights. Once the insulation is sprayed on, it immediately expands. When it covers up the electrical wiring, it cuts off the wire’s conductivity. If this is the problem, the electrician will remove the hardened insulation that is covering the wires, and then replace the wiring if it is faulty. Rodents You may have rodents in your home, such as mice and rats. If so, they often chew on the plastic that covers the wires. They use this plastic to make nests in your attic or inside your walls. Your electrician can tell very quickly if you have this problem, as they will see holes in the insulation and rat/mice feces.  The electrician will replace all wiring that the rodents have chewed on. You may also have rodents somewhere in your home, such as the kitchen, as they will come down looking for food. Put some mouse/rat traps wherever you suspect you have them, including in the attic. Check the traps every few days, discard any dead rodents, and reset the traps again. If you continue to have this problem, hire an exterminator to remove the rodents for you. Roof Leaking Because the ceiling lights are right below the roof, there will be some wiring that is not covered by insulation. This is why the problem could be due to a leaky roof. When water comes in contact with the electrical wiring, it will short circuit the lights and cause them to not work at all. This problem is very dangerous, as when the wires short circuit, they will spark, which could cause a fire. You may be able to fix the leaky roof yourself, or you can hire a roofing contractor to do this for you.   Do not use the ceiling lights that you are having problems with until you have an electrician determine what the problem...

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Important Reasons To Hire An Electrician To Inspect A House

Posted by on 2:28 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Important Reasons To Hire An Electrician To Inspect A House

Are you currently in the process of buying your first home? Do you want to make sure that the home is safe for you and your family to move into? While getting a standard home inspection is useful, it may not tell you the whole story. Here are some reasons why you should consider hiring an electrician to inspect the place as well: Grounded wiring:  Modern electrical receptacles have three holes. Two of the holes are for the electricity, while the third hole is a grounding wire. If your potential home was built before the 1970s, chances are good that it didn’t originally have grounded plugs because they weren’t required until that time. However, the home may now currently have three-prong outlets. Unfortunately, this may not actually mean that the wiring has been improved since the house was built. A prior owner may have added three-prong outlets, without adding the necessary grounding wire. Even if a grounding wire was added, it may not have been done correctly. Whether or not the wiring was added safely is outside the purview of most standard home inspections. An electrician can take a look at the electrical system in the house and tell you if it’s properly grounded or if you’ll need to sink additional money into the electrical system in order to make it safe. Crumbling insulation:  Until relatively recently, most wires inside the walls of a home would be coated with rubber insulation. If you’ve ever left something rubber laying around for a while, then you know how quickly it can age and how easily it can be damaged once it becomes brittle. As a result, rubber-coated wires could pose a shock danger to a home. An electrician can inspect the wires in the house, letting you know if they are coated with modern PVC or if they are older rubber-coated wires that may need to be replaced soon. Knob and tube wiring:  If the house you’re thinking about buying is an antique, built before the 1930s, it may have pieces of an old knob and tube wiring system still in place. Because the system still works, the previous owners may not have considered replacing it. Although the system may still be legal, depending on the state the house is located in, it may be impossible to find an insurance company that is willing to cover a home containing such antique wiring. An electrician can search the entire home to confirm whether or not there is knob and tube wiring still in place. If there are bits of knob and tube wiring, but they aren’t actually connected to anything, your electrician can certify that they are no longer in use. By doing this, you’ll find it much easier to get reasonable home insurance rates, if you decide to buy the...

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4 Telltale Signs Your Home Is In Need Of Electrical Attention And Upgrades

Posted by on 11:00 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 4 Telltale Signs Your Home Is In Need Of Electrical Attention And Upgrades

Whether you have lived in your home for years dealing with its quirks or you have just moved into a place, an outdated electrical system can be a really big deal. Not only should your home be able to cater to your modern lifestyle, it should not leave you concerned that you are dealing with electrical components that could be considered a fire hazard. You may be a little suspicious about the electrical components in your home being outdated and in need of attention, but there are a few signs that you can look for that will assure you that you need to call an electrician for advice.  1. You don’t have enough electrical outlets in the house.  Years ago, the general population did not rely on electricity in the same way that it now does. Therefore, homes that were built in this era will not have enough electrical outlets available. If you are constantly having to rely on extension cords and extenders, it is a good indicator that your home’s electrical platform could use an upgrade.  2. You cannot run some appliances at the same time.  You turn on the dryer and try to cook some toast in the kitchen and the breaker throws or you cannot use the blow dryer if the air conditioner is running. These are perfect examples of a home that needs an electrical panel upgrade because you likely do not have sufficient space in the panel to provide current to all of the modern demands that you have.  3. The lights flicker or dim without a known or logical cause.  Unless it happens during a storm, lights that flicker and dim without a known cause are never a good sign. These issues come from electrical current interruptions, which means that there could be problems with your home’s wiring.  4. The electronics and appliances you own act strangely.  Even though many modern appliances use a lot less energy than those models from a few years back, many of these appliances use far more electricity than models that were developed way back when electricity was still in its growing phases. If your appliances don’t do what they should do, such as if your dryer will not heat or your microwave will not run at full wattage, it could be a sign that the current to that specific appliance is not as much as it should be.  For more information, contact an electrician like those at Central Heating and...

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4 Signs Of Home Electrical Problems

Posted by on 10:05 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 4 Signs Of Home Electrical Problems

As a homeowner, you may not think about your electrical system at all until there is a problem. If you have an older home or problematic wiring, though, it’s important to pay attention since electrical problems can quickly turn into a dangerous fire hazard. According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, an average 51,000 electrical house fires occur every year. Luckily, there are clear signs of electrical problems at home if you know what to look out for: Electrical Shocks It’s normal in the winter to sometimes shock yourself when you touch an appliance, especially after walking across carpet, as this is a typical side effect of static energy. If you frequently shock yourself at home, however, and this happens regardless of the time of year, you may have a more serious problem on your hands. Frequent electrical shocks are often related to a grounding problem or loose wiring. Call an electrician to check things out, and in the meantime, try wearing rubber-soled shoes at home as a safety precaution and to save yourself the annoyance of being shocked regularly. Flickering Lights Sometimes a flickering light just means you need a new lightbulb or the light itself needs repaired. On the other hand, if  lights throughout your home flicker and dim frequently, especially when you plug in an appliance, it may be a sign you are overloading your electrical system. If your home is older and has the original electrical wiring, it may not be set up to handle today’s modern electrical needs. In this case, you may need to have your electrical system upgraded and modernized. Scorch Marks on Outlets If any of your electrical outlets are hot to the touch and have scorch marks, it’s a sign that you have bad wiring, at least near those particular outlets. An electrician will need to determine the extent of the wiring problem and suggest the best course of action. Frequently Tripping Circuits Having to constantly go reset your circuits is annoying and time-consuming, but it’s also a sign that you have electrical problems. Like flickering lights, frequently tripping circuits can be a sign that your electrical system is overloaded, possibly because it’s outdated and needs to be upgraded. If you notice any of these things occurring in your home, it’s time to call a qualified electrician. They will be able to determine the cause of the issue and make repairs before it becomes more...

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How To Add An Electrical Outlet For A Stair Glide Chair Lift

Posted by on 9:41 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How To Add An Electrical Outlet For A Stair Glide Chair Lift

If you intend to install a chair lift for a loved one who can no longer ascend or descend stairs unassisted, you’ll need an electrical outlet within ten feet of the upper or lower end to power the lift. Even if you use a battery operated chair lift, you’ll need an outlet to recharge the battery. Luckily, you don’t need a dedicated outlet, because these units will not require a separate or higher powered line. You can wire an outlet from an existing outlet that is just out of range for use with the chair lift. Here’s what you’ll need An outlet, outlet box, and cover plate  The outlet will be placed inside the outlet box, which fits inside the wall. Purchase an outlet box that has an upper and lower screw for attaching the box inside the wall, not the type with two sideways nails for attaching to a wall stud. The cover plate will hide the outlet from view. Wire  You’ll need fourteen gauge wire for a fifteen amp line and twelve gauge wire for a twenty amp line. Check the breaker that controls the line for the amp rating. The wire you will need will be in a three wire bundle, with a hot wire, a neutral wire, and a grounding wire inside a plastic sheath. Determining the length of wire needed will require measuring the distance from the existing outlet to the location of the new outlet. Add a few feet for connection purposes and for compensating for a possible indirect pathway between outlets.If you’re connected to a close existing outlet, a twenty five foot roll of wire will suffice. Wire cutter/ stripper tool Screwdrivers (flat and philips head) Pry bar Utility knife Preparing to install the outlet Place the open end of the outlet box against the wall in its intended location, and trace an outline of the box. Cut along the trace mark with a utility knife until the rectangle of drywall can be removed. You will need to use a pry bar to remove the bottom molding along the drywall between the existing outlet and the proposed outlet to run wire. When the molding is removed you can begin the connection of the outlets. Connecting the outlets First, turn off the breaker to the existing outlet. If its not marked on the breaker box, plug something into the outlet and flip breakers individually until power is turned off to the outlet. Remove the center screw holding the cover plate, then the upper and lower screws that attach the outlet to the outlet box. Pull the outlet from the wall. Remove the outlet box by loosening the upper and lower diagonally placed screws until the box can be pulled from the wall. Knock out one of the lower punch out tabs on the back of the outlet box, then place the box back inside the wall, tightening the screws until it is secure. Begin feeding the sheath of wire through the punch out hole in the outlet box until you reach the floor. If there is no gap between drywall and floor, cut a small hole in the drywall at floor level so the wire sheath can be pulled through. Feed the wire gradually as you pull it along the wall from which...

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Three Things You Need To Know About Extension Cord Safety

Posted by on 2:47 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Three Things You Need To Know About Extension Cord Safety

Now that autumn is in full swing and the holidays are on the horizon, homeowners are beginning to decorate both the inside and outside of their homes to match the spirit of the season. This often means using extension cords for things like exterior lighting, but many people also use extension cords indoors, but this isn’t always the best practice. Extension cords are meant to be used temporarily instead of acting as solutions for inadequate household electrical wiring. Following are three extension cord safety tips that you need to know. Inspect Extension Cords Thoroughly Before Using Whether the extension cord you’re about to use is new or an old standby that comes out of the drawer every year for seasonal use, be sure to inspect it thoroughly before plugging it in. Look for cracks, loose or frayed wires, and loose connections, and replace any cords that show these obvious signs of damage. Check all cords periodically after you plug them in to make sure they don’t feel hot to the touch — if they do, discontinue their use immediately. Use the Right Cord for the Job Don’t use an indoor cord to do an outdoor job. If you’re placing holiday lights on and around your home, be sure to use a heavy-duty outdoor extension cord designed to stand up to outdoor weather conditions and heavy usage. You should never allow outdoor extension cords to lie in standing water or snow. Look for the wattage rating on the object that you’re planning to power with an extension cord and use a cord with the same or higher wattage rating. You should also never use an extension cord to power space heaters. Always Purchase Quality Cords Extension cords and other electrical products aren’t the place to cut costs. Faulty electrical products have been on the market for years and are usually available from dollar stores and other discount retailers. Even when you buy an extension cord from a reputable home and garden retailer or other trusted outlet, always make sure that the cord has been approved by a testing lab such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL). Approved products will carry the UL’s trademark red log consisting of the initials UL inside a circle. If you find yourself using extension cords indoors on a regular basis, that’s probably a sign that you need to contact your local electrician to determine whether your home’s electrical system needs an...

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