Monday, July 27, 2015

Friday, July 24, 2015

Can I Maintain Electricity Wires, Should I Hire Residential Electricians?

Residential Electricians maybe the most important technician you employ. The construction of your home may be complete. Now, what will happen during the life of your home. Every home has basic devices and appliances. Some homes are built to custom specifications. Usually, everyone undertakes some type of remodeling. The question is can you maintain the electricity wires in your home, or should you employ a residential electrician to make upgrades and changes during the life of your residential investment?
Maintaining electricity seems like it would be easy. Regular safety checks can ensure elimination of fire hazards. Everyone should regularly check smoke detectors and turn off lights and appliances when not in use. Strip surge protectors can be installed generously around the structure. This provides minimal protection of electrical devices. You should test all ground fault circuit interrupters once a month. So this will be a great start to maintaining the electricity wires in your home. A residential electrician can also suggest energy saving tips. They can also help with installation of faulty devices.
Other areas that should be considered are continual load calculations. When your electrical contractor designed the wiring for your home he performed a load calculation. As your appliances change or even as they wear out, the performance will change. The panel and the circuit breakers also behave differently over time. These components heat and cool over the years and eventually begin to not work as efficiently as they did when originally installed. Any licensed electrical contractor can help you perform a load calculation of your residential wiring. When devices begin to fail it is time to replace them. You may be comfortable with replacing these parts. It may be difficult for the novice to decipher wiring methods. Arcing wires in plastic devices are a fire hazard. Breakers that don't trip can lead to fire in the electric panel.
Ultimately protection of the system will depend on the maintenance you perform. All the before mentioned factors can contribute to longevity of your system. Failure to act in a timely fashion can cause serious damage to your greatest investment, your home. Your local contractor can help you perform these maintenance tasks. They can also provide valuable experience. The investment into prevention could save you thousands of dollars in the life of the property. I would never suggest that you are not capable of performing these tasks. What I am suggesting is the fact that your electrician is trained and insured. Why not let him do the figuring for you?

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Replacing Your Electrical Panel? Use a Licensed Electrician

Replacing your electrical panel is a good idea if you own or are purchasing an older home, especially if you are planning to bring along a truckload of modern appliances and electronics. The fuse box or circuit box that brings electricity into your home may not be big enough to accommodate your lifestyle and will soon exhibit some telltale signs that call for a visit from a licensed electrician.
Signs You Should Consider Replacing Your Electrical Panel
Inadequate Power - In order to accommodate the basic kitchen appliances, plus a home computer network, TVs, your HVAC system, and all other electronic conveniences found in most modern homes, homeowners typically need about 200 amps of power servicing the home. Most electrical panels only have 100 amps, so if you want to charge your cell phone, watch TV, and cook breakfast while you are drying your hair, you may have a problem such as flickering lights or a tripped breaker or blown fuse.
Still have Fuses - You may still need to consider replacing your electrical panel, even if you have no problems, if you still have fuses. Some older systems with fuses only have 60 amps coming to the house or may be improperly wired. To prevent a fuse from blowing out when it is overloaded, some homeowners put in larger fuses, which create a fire hazard. Circuit breaker systems are the safer route when replacing your electrical panel.
Age of Electrical Panel - Electrical panels are meant to last 20 to 30 years, so an upgrade is often necessary on a home that is older than that. You should have one circuit breaker or fuse for every wire or circuit to be in line with modern building codes.
Costs of Replacing Your Electrical Panel
Typically, when you upgrade service, the power company will bring new wires from the pole, add a new meter, and run any new wires to your main panel without charge to you; but, your electrician has to take some steps before and after the upgrade. Replacing your electrical panel can be a costly endeavor for several reasons:
  • Depending on the area of the country, wage rates for electricians vary.
  • Work permits and electrician licensing fees mandated by local law also vary.
  • The amount of work it takes to remove the old box and put in a new one can affect costs, especially if it is hard to access or requires demolition and replacement of walls, floors, or baseboards.
  • Replacing the panel can uncover other problems, such as obsolete wiring, that add to the cost. This is also true if the work is done in conjunction with remodeling.
When all costs are considered, the project for upgrading the panel might range from $900 to over $4,000. While there is no way to estimate the cost of panel replacement without a licensed electrician evaluating your particular situation, you can request multiple estimates from different electricians. The estimate should be detailed enough for you to get an understanding of the steps necessary in the upgrade.
Using a Licensed Electrician
Replacing your electric panel is not a job for amateurs. When you make a decision on which electrician to use, make sure to consider workmanship, quality of materials, and the extensiveness of the job, as broken out on the estimate. The supplies alone for the job are costly, so you do not want to waste materials on a job that will be unsafe or fail to pass local codes.
Replacing your electrical panel can be a smart, and safe, decision based on the age of your home and your power consumption.

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Saturday, July 18, 2015

Project of the Month - USB Charger Devices

Declutter, redesign, and charge up with the Leviton line of powerful USB Charger Devices.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Danny Lipford - Leviton Humidity Sensor

Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford. Danny is an expert in home improvement. Today, Danny is speaking about the Leviton Humidity Sensor.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Electrician Shopping - 6 Steps to Choosing the Right Electrician

When you're looking for an electrician, look for someone with whom you can form a long-term relationship. It's going to save you a lot of time and money if you can find someone whom you trust to get the job right the first time and give you the right price.
Step 1) Find Recommended Companies
You can get recommendations for electricians from friends and neighbors. You can also search on-line for electrician Los Angeles or electrician Burbank, and so on. If you add the word reviews to your search, you can look through company reviews.
Another approach is to search websites that feature reviews. Reviews appear on many websites including Google Places,,, and is an excellent source of recommendations for contractors but requires a small annual membership fee. On AngiesList, you can see how customers rated their contractors, including electricians, and details of how their jobs went.
When looking at customer reviews, take a look at the big picture. Is there one bad review among the many good ones? Is it just a grumpy customer? Is there a company reply that clears things up or says that it has corrected its employee?
Once you have three or so recommended electricians, take a look at their websites.
Step 2) Check the Electrical Company Website
· Is it presentable and well-maintained?
· Easy to find what you're looking for?
· Friendly, helpful, and not cluttered with hard-sell advertising?
· How many good testimonials?
If the website checks out, it's time to interview the electrician.
Step 3) Interview
When you talk with the electrician, pay attention to how comfortable you are, including your trust level. I've listed questions that you can ask. If you've already gotten glowing recommendations or it's a small repair job like fixing a broken light switch, you probably wouldn't want to ask them all. But if you aren't talking with a recommended electrician and you're planning a remodel, ask away.
· Experience with your type of work
· Years in business. Most companies which have stayed in business a long time have managed to keep their customers satisfied. They've also gathered a lot of useful experience and competence.
· Contractor's License Number
· Liability Insurance and Workers Comp Insurance. It's desirable that the company carry at least $1 million in liability insurance to protect your home should their work create property damage. Workers Comp provides for medical care for the electricians should they be injured on your job. Again, this protects you from liability.
· Guarantees. Some companies offer a lifetime guarantee on their work. This wouldn't generally include the electrical parts that they install - that's covered by the manufacturer's guarantee. However, the electrician should give you at least a several-year guarantee on labor. A guarantee up to the life of your home is best.
· Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating. Ask for the exact company name that you should look and in which city. Sometimes, the BBB will use a slightly different name, possibly the formal legal name of the company.
· Pricing
· Website address if you don't already have it
· Names and contact info for five clients
Take notes on all this, particularly the License Number. If you decide to go ahead, you may wish to check some of what the electrician has said. If you decide not to go ahead, no need to proceed any further with this electrician. But save the notes so that you can remind yourself later of which companies you've already ruled out.
Step 4) Look and Listen
While you're gathering this information, listen to what is said but also pay attention to how the electrician acts and makes you feel. If you meet with the electrician, keep your eyes open, too.
· Do you like the electrician?
· Do you feel comfortable and not under pressure?
· Does the electrician inspire your trust?
· Do the electrician and company employees seem to know what they're doing?
· Do they seem to operate legally and behave ethically? Are they acting the way that you would want them to act towards you?
· Do they return phone calls promptly?
· Are they timely when meeting you for appointments?
· Do they listen to your questions and concerns and answer them in a way that is forthcoming and that you can understand?
· Does the electrician dress neatly and have a vehicle and tools that look well-maintained?
Electricians who are bidding jobs are on their best behavior. If you already notice that an electrician treats you or others in ways that concern you, better to find another with whom you feel more comfortable.
Step 5) Check It Out
· If you haven't already, check customer reviews. The first section of this article gives details.
· Enter the Contractor's License Number into the Contractor's License Board website for your state. See if there are any "black marks."
· Check the company's rating at the Better Business Bureau at Ratings run from A+ to F based on customer complaints made to the Bureau. As a note, an "A" reflects the same level of customer satisfaction as an "A+." The "A+" is earned by an "A" contractor becoming a paying member of the Better Business Bureau, which supports the Bureau in its work.
Step 6) Call References
Don't hesitate to call references. Customers are usually happy to give a good recommendation to help a deserving electrical contractor. You can return the favor later should a homeowner call you. Ask:
· How did your job go?
· Was your job done right the first time?
· If a return visit was needed, was the electrician easy to work with and prompt?
· Was company pricing competitive?
· Was the electrician within budget and schedule?
· Would you be happy to continue to use this electrical company?
Speak with at least three references. Listen carefully for enthusiasm or lack of enthusiasm about the electrician. Clients, past or present, may not feel comfortable saying anything negative. If they express little enthusiasm or say something negative, take this into consideration when making your decision.
A Final Tip: Don't Automatically Choose the Low Bid
A bid may be too low. How can that be? An electrician may intentionally omit items that the job requires, only to come back later saying that additional work needs to be done. On the other hand, some electricians may unintentionally bid low through inexperience. Either way, the electrician may ask for more money to finish the job or may leave you with an incomplete project.
Price is important, but judge the entire picture an electrician is showing you -- character, expertise, the ease of working with him or her, and overall value. A large part of an electrician's value is that he/she gets the job done right and safely without taking too much of your time and inconveniencing you. A very competent electrician can save you money by suggesting more efficient ways to do a job or to save on electricity. When you enjoy a good relationship with your electrician, it can save you both time and money.

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Monday, July 6, 2015

Project of the Month: Upgrade Outlets for a Safer Home

Nothing is more important than the safety of your family and home. Upgrading standard outlets to GFCIs and Tamper-Resistant outlets helps reduce the risk of electrical shock.