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Top Dallas Electrician | Helpful Tips for Three-Way Switch Installation and Wall Outlet Replacement

Editor’s Note: This article has been edited and updated from its original content with permission from National News Today. To view the original article please visit www.nationalnewstoday.com

A good number of the calls I get during an average day at work fall into two categories;   customers who call to have something installed in their electrical system, and customers who tried to install it themselves and are calling me to come and fix the mistakes they made.  There’s certainly nothing wrong with trying to perform basic electrical work yourself if you have a good grasp on proper electrical safety techniques and what you’re doing.  On the other hand, there’s nothing wrong with calling a top Dallas electrician to do the work for you either.  The best way to ensure the job is done right every time is to hire an honest, hardworking professional electrician who’ll stand behind his work.

Even tasks that can seem quite simple can be treacherous if you’re not sure what you’re doing.  This comes into play a lot when a homeowner is trying to perform a three-way switch installation.  It seems a lot easier to install than it really is; I generally recommend homeowners not attempt to install three-way switches without at least a electrician on the phone to walk you through the process.  Keep the following in mind:

  • Identify the wires before you remove the switch. There are three wires hooked into your three-way switch.  One is the switch leg (or power), and the other two are called travelers.  Identify the travelers before you remove the switch.  This is important because the design of three-way switches isn’t standardized; the leads may not go in the same place on the new switch that they went on the old switch.  Knowing this ahead of time will save you from lengthy rewiring and a lot of heartache.
  • Know what switches you have installed. Because of the way they work, you can never have just one three-way switch; they are always installed in pairs.  If you’re having a problem with a three-way switch, you may want to go ahead and replace both of the three-way switches to ensure you get the faulty one.  “But what about that light in my house that is on three-switches?” you’re no doubt asking yourself.  Whenever you see a light or appliance that’s controlled by an odd number of switches (usually three), one of the switches will be a four-way switch.  Four-way switches are a totally different animal than a three-way switch and are hooked up in a completely different way.  You should NOT try to wire a four-way switch where a three-way switch used to be without contacting a top Dallas

There are tasks well suited for the do-it-yourself minded homeowner, though.  The easiest is wall outlet replacement, which is usually a very simple, straightforward procedure.   That doesn’t mean the haystack isn’t free of the odd needle that you can hurt yourself on, though.  Here are some of the more common problems I run into, along with some typical solutions or hints to keep them from happening to you: 

  • Replacing a simplex (single-plug) outlet. If you have a simplex outlet (these are typically found in garages), it was probably designed to have one specific appliance or device plugged into it; usually, this is something like a refrigerator or AC unit.  As such, it’s usually on a different circuit than the rest of the room (especially in a garage, where a refrigerator could easily trip the GFCI installed on the other circuits) and is rated specifically for that device.  If you plan to replace this with a duplex (dual-plug) outlet, you may need to rewire the circuit to allow the circuit to handle the additional item that can now be plugged in there. If you are not adding another appliance to this yet still installing a duplex outlet please consult a electrician to discuss safety issues.
  • Replacing a duplex outlet. Duplex outlets are generally pretty easy; the black wire is the power in, and the white the power out.  If your outlet is controlled by a switch, this isn’t so easy, though.  These outlets will have two powers in wires; one that connects it to the switch and the other that provides constant power and is attached to the bronze screw inside the outlet.  The metal tab between the screw and the connector must be completely broken off to complete the installation; if you get stuck, a good-hearted electrician can walk you through this over the phone.
  • Replacing a GFCI outlet. Notice that the back of the outlet has connections that say Line and Load.  Line controls the power in; the power lead and neutral should be hooked up here, with the power out line connected to load.  If you don’t wire these leads correctly or if any of the outlets are wired into the Line side of the outlet, they will not be properly protected by the GFCI.

For more information and other tips Electric Man to the rescue. We’re available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so don’t ever hesitate to give us a call! Visit our website to learn more or connect with our online community on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google Plus.

 

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Best Dallas Electrician | Save Money with Digital Timer or Mechanical Timer Installation

Editor’s Note: This article has been edited and updated from its original content with permission from National News Today. To view the original article please visit www.nationalnewstoday.com

Saving money sometimes means coming up with an unconventional idea to make your life more efficient.  As such, one of the ways the best Dallas electrician can help you make your electrical system more efficient is also one of the more overlooked ways:  installing timers to control your lighting. Timers are great tools; they can be used to turn your lights on and off at any time, whether you’re home or not.  Besides keeping your house lit when you’re on vacation or controlling your Christmas lights or other holiday displays, there are plenty of other applications for timers too.  For instance, why not set a timer to control all the lights in your house? By setting the lights to turn off after you’re normally in bed, lights that you might have mistakenly left on will turn off, saving you money. You can also set your lights to come on when you wake up in the morning, making it easier for you to wake up!  (This makes a great backup alarm clock, by the way.)  You can turn your lights off when you’re gone at work, or turn them on during the day to give your pets light. There are two kinds of timers commonly used in home systems:  mechanical and digital timers.

Digital timers are a great tool for the modern home. They fit elegantly into your wall and are automated in a lot of ways; some even adjust themselves for daylight savings time automatically!  Even better, digital timer installation is pretty straight forward even for the do-it-yourself electrician.  However, remember that a digital timer is not a switch; because of the sensitive electronics inside, digital timers require a neutral wire that switches do not.  When I get called to deal with digital timer issues, they’re largely caused by the homeowner neglecting this fact or not considering it.  Some do-it-yourself electricians think they can just wire the neutral on the timer into the ground wire.  Let me be clear here, folks:  a ground wire is NOT a neutral, and wiring it into the timer that way will create an electrical shock hazard potential and damage the timer.

The other concern with digital timers is more of a design issue than a wiring issue, thankfully.  Before you go through with the timer installation, consider where it will be located and what kind of switches you have at the site.  This is important when the time comes to finish the work; most switch assemblies (and the switch plates that cover them) are rectangular.  But digital timers are pretty uniformly square objects, and they don’t always play nice with your existing switch plates.  If you don’t plan ahead, you might wind up having to make multiple trips to your hardware store or home improvement warehouse of choice to get the plates you need to make everything fit together.  This is actually one of those times where a professional installation can make your life easier:  the best Dallas electrician will carry multiple types of plates in his service truck, which saves you the time and effort of going back to the store over and over.  Even though a professional installation may be more expensive than doing it yourself, the time and effort you save may well more than cover the difference in price.

Mechanical timers are also really useful tools, although they’re a bit less common than the digital timers.  Mechanical timer installation generally occurs in one of several places.  Mechanical timers are most often found controlling swimming pool equipment to ensure it only runs for a given amount of time.  Make sure the timer is set to allow the equipment to run more often in summer than winter; this will help reduce the amount of algae in your pool.  Electrical timers are also pretty common for outdoor lighting; since they can be set to only turn lights off, you can make sure your outdoor lighting is off before sunrise to conserve power.  One of the best and most overlooked uses for mechanical timers has nothing to do with lights, though.  Attaching a timer to your water heater means you can keep the heater from running when you’re not home and don’t need hot water;  this can be a HUGE savings (though don’t forget to override the timer if you’re home from work for the day!).

What’s the difference between the timers?  Not as much as you might think, actually;  they both work the same way, and can perform the same functions.  Mechanical timers tend to be larger, last longer, and can handle more electrical load than a digital timer.  However, electrical timers tend to be designed as large, grey, metal boxes, which may stick out quite a bit in your home decor.  Digital timers can be built right into the wall, and their smaller size and more aesthetic designs may make them a better fit for your home.  Either way, timers are a great asset, and one you should consider installing in your home electrical system.

For more information and other tips Electric Man to the rescue. We’re available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so don’t ever hesitate to give us a call! Visit our website to learn more or connect with our online community on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google Plus.

 

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Top Dallas Electrician | Avoid Christmas Light Wiring Problems with these Tips

Editor’s Note: This article has been edited and updated from its original content with permission from National News Today. To view the original article please visit www.nationalnewstoday.com

Christmas is upon us again and more than any other time of year, it’s the time of year where people put strain on their electrical system.  The lights on your house and the beautiful decorations you’ve been storing in your attic finally are brought out and plugged in for your friends and neighbors to view and appreciate.  And, of course, the vast majority of homes you visit have at least one Christmas tree.  Since most of these things are electrical, it’s probably not a surprise to you that, as a top Dallas electrician, I start getting a lot of calls this time of year.  Though it’s always nice to have the business with Christmas so close, I thought it’d be great to share with ways to avoid wiring problems with your Christmas decorations this year:

  • Avoid a ho-ho-hoverload! When wiring Christmas lights, the natural thing to do is to plug all of them in, one after the other.  We don’t stop to think about how much power the circuit can actually handle.  A standard 20-amp home circuit runs at 120 volts, which means it can handle up to 2400W.  How many strings of lights is this?  It really depends on the type of lights you’re using; LED lights tend to use less power than incandescent lights.  Always check the package the lights come in; the packaging is required to tell you how much power the lights use.  Add up the wattage on all the lights you’re planning to plug into the outlet, and you’ll get an idea of how close you are to the overload point on the circuit, and whether you can add more lights to the circuit you have or need to find another circuit.  But that’s not the only thing to think about, either.  Many people plug their Christmas lights and decorations into the external outlet near their front doors;  often, though, these outlets are on the same circuit as the outlets in your garage, meaning anything that draws power in your garage counts just as much as your lighting.  If your home is old enough, that external outlet may even be on the same circuit as your bathrooms!  I’ve answered more than one call from a customer who was getting ready to attend a Christmas party only to suddenly have the breaker trip, shutting off all the power in the bathroom!  “But it’s never done that before!” they tell me.  Of course not, you don’t normally have thousands of watts of lights plugged in at the same time as a hair dryer!
  • Beware of rain and ice storms! December is in the middle of winter in Texas, and while we don’t get a lot of snow, we do generally get quite a bit of rain.  Those yard lights with the big glass globes may be pretty, but they do tend to hold rain water pretty well. If they try to turn on, whether they’re on a timer or not, they’ll short out the circuit every time.  When the weather gets colder, we sometimes get freezing rain;  this just means that instead of holding the water, it’s holding it as ice, which still conducts current well enough to short circuit your lighting.  Be sure to inspect your lighting after your home gets rain of any kind to make sure your light fixtures are dry and ready to be used safely.
  • Older doesn’t always mean wiser! I get a lot of calls from homeowners this time of year complaining that the lights they’ve been using for years suddenly don’t work anymore.  They assume the problem must be with the electrical system, since the lights haven’t ever had a problem before.  But this really isn’t the case. Lighting and decorations degrade over time.  Even when they aren’t in use, the lights are still adding wear and tear.  Think about what those lights are doing the other eleven months out of the year. Some people leave external lights on their homes all the time, leaving them to fall prey to the elements.  Even lighting that’s put in storage have to deal with radically shifting temperatures, especially the summer heat that tends to make your attic boiling hot.  It’s not surprising that lighting breaks down under those circumstances.  Be prepared every year to replace older, worn-out strings of lights.

 In general, there are a few important tips that can help you avoid wiring problems.  If your lights look frayed or dangerous, they should always be replaced or repaired before using them, frayed wiring are hazardous.  You should take care that your electrical source is safe before you even begin the installation process.  To avoid the potential for overloads, you should have dedicated circuits installed for your holiday decorations.

Most importantly, you should never try to supply power for your lights without contacting a top Dallas electrician to help you install the necessary equipment and make the necessary safety precautions.  Short cuts are potentially dangerous. I can remember one example where a customer had supplied power to their lights by splicing an extension cord directly into their circuit breaker box!  Even worse, they’d shut the breaker box door, pinching the cabling!  Left unchecked, even if this hadn’t started a fire, damage from a power surge or overload could have easily destroyed their whole breaker, meaning they’d have to spend thousands to repair the damage at the absolute worst time of year!

For more information and other tips Electric Man to the rescue. We’re available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so don’t ever hesitate to give us a call! Visit our website to learn more or connect with our online community on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google Plus.

 

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Top Dallas Electrician | Avoid Christmas Light Wiring Problems with these Tips

Editor’s Note: This article has been edited and updated from its original content with permission from National News Today. To view the original article please visit www.nationalnewstoday.com

Christmas is upon us again and more than any other time of year, it’s the time of year where people put strain on their electrical system.  The lights on your house and the beautiful decorations you’ve been storing in your attic finally are brought out and plugged in for your friends and neighbors to view and appreciate.  And, of course, the vast majority of homes you visit have at least one Christmas tree.  Since most of these things are electrical, it’s probably not a surprise to you that, as a top Dallas electrician, I start getting a lot of calls this time of year.  Though it’s always nice to have the business with Christmas so close, I thought it’d be great to share with ways to avoid wiring problems with your Christmas decorations this year:

  • Avoid a ho-ho-hoverload! When wiring Christmas lights, the natural thing to do is to plug all of them in, one after the other.  We don’t stop to think about how much power the circuit can actually handle.  A standard 20-amp home circuit runs at 120 volts, which means it can handle up to 2400W.  How many strings of lights is this?  It really depends on the type of lights you’re using; LED lights tend to use less power than incandescent lights.  Always check the package the lights come in; the packaging is required to tell you how much power the lights use.  Add up the wattage on all the lights you’re planning to plug into the outlet, and you’ll get an idea of how close you are to the overload point on the circuit, and whether you can add more lights to the circuit you have or need to find another circuit.  But that’s not the only thing to think about, either.  Many people plug their Christmas lights and decorations into the external outlet near their front doors;  often, though, these outlets are on the same circuit as the outlets in your garage, meaning anything that draws power in your garage counts just as much as your lighting.  If your home is old enough, that external outlet may even be on the same circuit as your bathrooms!  I’ve answered more than one call from a customer who was getting ready to attend a Christmas party only to suddenly have the breaker trip, shutting off all the power in the bathroom!  “But it’s never done that before!” they tell me.  Of course not, you don’t normally have thousands of watts of lights plugged in at the same time as a hair dryer!
  • Beware of rain and ice storms! December is in the middle of winter in Texas, and while we don’t get a lot of snow, we do generally get quite a bit of rain.  Those yard lights with the big glass globes may be pretty, but they do tend to hold rain water pretty well. If they try to turn on, whether they’re on a timer or not, they’ll short out the circuit every time.  When the weather gets colder, we sometimes get freezing rain;  this just means that instead of holding the water, it’s holding it as ice, which still conducts current well enough to short circuit your lighting.  Be sure to inspect your lighting after your home gets rain of any kind to make sure your light fixtures are dry and ready to be used safely.
  • Older doesn’t always mean wiser! I get a lot of calls from homeowners this time of year complaining that the lights they’ve been using for years suddenly don’t work anymore.  They assume the problem must be with the electrical system, since the lights haven’t ever had a problem before.  But this really isn’t the case. Llighting and decorations degrade over time.  Even when they aren’t in use, the lights are still adding wear and tear.  Think about what those lights are doing the other eleven months out of the year. Some people leave external lights on their homes all the time, leaving them to fall prey to the elements.  Even lighting that’s put in storage have to deal with radically shifting temperatures, especially the summer heat that tends to make your attic boiling hot.  It’s not surprising that lighting breaks down under those circumstances.  Be prepared every year to replace older, worn-out strings of lights.

             In general, there are a few important tips that can help you avoid wiring problems.  If your lights look frayed or dangerous, they should always be replaced or repaired before using them, frayed wiring are hazardous.  You should take care that your electrical source is safe before you even begin the installation process.  To avoid the potential for overloads, you should have dedicated circuits installed for your holiday decorations.

Most importantly, you should never try to supply power for your lights without contacting a top Dallas electrician to help you install the necessary equipment and make the necessary safety precautions.  Short cuts are potentially dangerous. I can remember one example where a customer had supplied power to their lights by splicing an extension cord directly into their circuit breaker box!  Even worse, they’d shut the breaker box door, pinching the cabling!  Left unchecked, even if this hadn’t started a fire, damage from a power surge or overload could have easily destroyed their whole breaker, meaning they’d have to spend thousands to repair the damage at the absolute worst time of year!

For more information and other tips Electric Man to the rescue. We’re available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so don’t ever hesitate to give us a call! Visit our website to learn more or connect with our online community on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google Plus.

 

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Licensed Dallas Electrician | Avoid Electrician Scams and Phony Electricians, Save Money

Editor’s Note: This article has been edited and updated from its original content with permission from National News Today. To view the original article please visit www.nationalnewstoday.com

As a licensed Dallas electrician, I see a lot of the work other electricians do.  A lot of it is good, high-quality work similar to the work I and my employees do but not all of it is, unfortunately.  Just like any other industry, there are plenty of bad deals and scam artists preying on customers looking for a good deal.  The slow economy doesn’t get rid of these phony electricians either.  If anything, it makes them come out of the woodwork as people try to save money by using less expensive services.  So, how do you avoid electrician scams?  Obviously, it can be really difficult to detect some scams, but here’s some important tips that can help:

  • GET 3 ESTIMATES. I can’t stress enough how important this step is.  If one of the estimates is much lower than the others, it may not be a great deal; it might be the first step to a scam.  Like my grandfather always said, “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.”
  • Make sure you’re getting what you’re paying for. This is one of the most common types of scams; charging you for something you’re not getting. It’s not just the small, fly-by-night electricians who do this, either; even larger services can be crooked and try to scam you. For instance, I once serviced a customer who had an electrical service company install three dedicated circuits in his home, but was still having problems with them. Imagine his horror when we pulled the wiring and discovered they’d only installed one and charged him for three! This happens a lot in business electrical work, too: some companies know that businesses are often too busy to check their work right away, which leads to things like a company being charged for eight fluorescent ballasts when only three were installed. It’s ok to ask the electrician to show you the work he did once he’s finished, and don’t be afraid to ask questions when he presents his bill to you.  Which brings up another great way to avoid electrician scams:
  • Watch the electrician while he works. A reputable, honest electrician doesn’t mind you watching him work; in fact, it gives them an opportunity to show you how your system is functioning, and to explain any problems that might be developing with your home or business before they get worse.  If an electrician won’t let you watch him work on your home, he’s probably either unsure of his skill or planning to scam you.  Either way, find another electrician.
  • Check the license of the electrician when he arrives. All electricians in the state of Texas are required to keep their state license on them when working and to present it to a customer upon request.  You should always do this when the electrician arrives; a reputable electrician will not take this personally and will happily show you what you need to see.  If the electrician at your door refuses to show you his license or makes excuses to avoid doing so, close the door on him and call for another electrician.  Trust me:  this will pay off in the long run.
  • Don’t get desperate. Sometimes there are legitimate electrical emergencies in your home or business, but that doesn’t mean you should make your decision in a panic mode.  Desperation is the lifeblood of scam artists; they survive because people don’t always have time to make the proper decision, and in their rush to get things done make a poor choice of electrician.  How do you get around this?  No matter how bad things are, it is ALWAYS best to use a reputable, established contractor to fulfill your needs.  You should always take the time to do research and pick a good, honest electrician.  This is especially true if it’s not an emergency; if you don’t absolutely need the service right away, waiting an additional day or two for a quality electrician isn’t going to affect you very much.  I mean, you’re living without whatever he’s going to install right now, right?
  • Keep your head. Some electricians try to plow through you, confusing you with technical terminology and making you think they’re better than they are, when all they’re really good at is talking.  Don’t be afraid to slow the electrician down as he explains it to you and ask questions.  Make him explain it to you in a way you can understand; if he can’t, maybe he doesn’t know what he was doing!

Above all, remember that taking risks with your electrical work isn’t a good thing.  You wouldn’t tell your friend or boss to use a shifty electrician.  So why put your own loved ones through it. Don’t use a service company you wouldn’t recommend to others?

For more information and other tips Electric Man to the rescue. We’re available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so don’t ever hesitate to give us a call! Visit our website to learn more or connect with our online community on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google Plus.

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Dallas Electrician | Finding Quality Electricians and Spotting Bad Electrical Contractors

Editor’s Note: This article has been edited and updated from its original content with permission from National News Today. To view the original article please visit www.nationalnewstoday.com

Competition is a wonderful thing. It makes us want to strive to be better, and keeps us working hard.  But competition isn’t perfect; there’s always another option, and you can’t always tell right away what option is the best deal or the highest quality. It is easy to determine the quality when it comes to something inexpensive; if you don’t like a brand of motor oil or breakfast cereal, you can always buy something different next time. But what happens if you pick a bad electrician?  Failing to spot bad electrical contractors, could mean you’ll wind up paying way too much for your service. Paying too much might actually be the best-case scenario; shoddy electrical work done by “electricians” is a safety hazard, and one you might not even know about until it’s too late.

So how do you find quality electricians? As a Dallas electrician myself, I’ve learned over the years how to make sure the electrician you use is knowledgeable and high-quality:

  • Check the company’s reputation and references. Years ago, you had to rely on word of mouth and your own knowledge to find a good electrician.  With the Internet, there are more ways than ever to get feedback:  the Better Business Bureau, Angie’s List, and tons of websites devoted to customers sharing feedback on the services they use.  You should always check these before you start calling for estimates. Don’t just rely on one source, either:  some contractors plant fake feedback on websites hoping to lure customers. Check as many different sources as you can. This will give you the best possible picture of the contractor you’re considering.
  • Look for companies with a long history of quality. Electricians generally stay with the same employer longer than the national average, but the poor economy the last few years has meant there’s a lot of turnover in the industry.  As a result, lots of electricians have closed their doors, with new companies without track records opening to take their place.  It’s entirely possible that these new companies do quality work, but there’s not a good way to know for sure.  That’s why how long the company’s been around is important.  If a contractor’s been around a long time, they’re probably a good choice; they wouldn’t have survived if they did shoddy work.  It also means that they’re likely to continue to be around in the future, and that they’ll likely stand behind their work and fix any problems that might pop up.  That contractor that opened up last month might well have the lowest estimate, but will they still be around next month?
  • Don’t be afraid to call and ask! Just because a company advertises “experienced electricians” doesn’t always mean they know what they’re doing.  During the housing boom a few years ago, demand for electricians was so high that a lot of housing companies would use under-qualified electricians just because the bids were low. Sometimes they’d make simple mistakes that caused serious problems; for example, in one home I serviced the low-bid “electrician” the housing contractor hired put a staple right through a wire, causing a short circuit that nobody discovered until the homeowner smelled the smoke from the wire melting!  Yet, the individual who made this obvious and dangerous mistake could legally hire themselves out as an “experienced electrician!” The best way to avoid electricians like this is to always call and ask the company some questions about their employees before you commit.  How do they find their electricians?  Does the company perform background checks and drug tests on them?  How are they trained? How much experience do they have?  Questions like these are a great way to spot bad electrical contractors. If the contractor you’re talking to won’t answer questions about their employees, there’s probably a reason, and not a good one.  Take it from me:  if this happens, take your business somewhere else as fast as you can.
  • Check the company’s insurance coverage. In Texas, electrical contractors are only required to carry insurance that covers up to $300,000.  Faulty electrical work can cause a lot more damage than the minimum required insurance will cover.  Quality electricians will generally have more insurance to protect themselves and their customers;  make sure that the amount of insurance they have could cover your losses if a worst-case scenario like a catastrophic electrical fire were to happen.

For more information and other tips Electric Man to the rescue. We’re available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so don’t ever hesitate to give us a call! Visit our website to learn more or connect with our online community on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google Plus.

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Dallas Electrician | Save Time and Money By Troubleshooting Common Power Problems via Phone

Editor’s Note: This article has been edited and updated from its original content with permission from National News Today. To view the original article please visit www.nationalnewstoday.com

Electricians exist because of problems with your electrical system. But not every problem requires an electrician to come to your house for a service visit. Often, a simple phone call and a few questions can fix the problem!  Troubleshooting common power problems like this not only lets you get on with your life, but it saves time and money! Not every electrician is willing to tell you this, of course. Too many electricians, even legitimate ones, are motivated only by the money they can get from piling on charges from a service call, instead of being interested in helping their customers. Customer service and caring for families’ situations is more important than money. Remember that gets you better friends, employees, and customers.  I really do wish more electricians remembered that.  Having said that, here are some of the most common problems I solve without scheduling a service appointment and have successfully helped repair over the phone:

  • My air conditioner’s not working! This is always one of the most frustrating problems you can have with your electrical system, and it’s hard to think of anything worse than being stuck going an extended period of time without your air conditioner in the middle of the summer.  Your air conditioner or heater is a very complicated system, so there are a number of things that could be causing the failure.  One of the most common reasons an air conditioner stops working is because the circuit breaker it’s on was tripped by an incoming power surge;  this can be fixed over the phone!  If the problem is more complex, a good-hearted electrician can still walk you through a number of steps to determine whether the problem requires an electrician or an AC technician to repair.
  • My outside outlets aren’t working! I get this call at least once every Christmas, when people putting up their Christmas lights discover that they can’t get anything plugged into an outside outlet to work.  Again, calling a Dallas electrician saves time and money in the long run.  As I mentioned in one of the other articles available here, external outlets are fitted with a GFCI for safety reasons.  (And if they aren’t, they should be!)  If the GFCI has tripped, none of the external outlets will work until the GFCI is reset. The GFCI which controls external outlets is located inside, often on the wall of your garage. Many times a homeowner doesn’t even realize what it does or where it is, and proceeds to stack boxes or tools right in front of it!  Resetting the GFCI can be done by anyone, and an electrician doesn’t need to be in your garage to help you locate the GFCI.
  • The ceiling fan I installed isn’t working! Most ceiling fans have four connections (wires) that hook them into the wiring in your ceiling, which has 3 leads.  So which wire gets hooked up to which lead?  When you combine that with instructions that are usually insufficient, poorly translated, or just plain confusing, it’s not really a surprise that people have so much trouble with the installation.  A good electrician should always be willing to explain over the phone what to connect where, and in what order (and yes, order DOES matter in electrical installations).
  • The lights on my ceiling fan flicker! This is almost always something that can be fixed without a home visit.  As strange as this may sound, the problem isn’t generally with your wiring or electrical system; the problem is light bulbs.  Many ceiling fans have been installed on lighting dimmers, which do NOT work with compact fluorescent bulbs; the reduced current causes them to flicker, not dim.  Putting an incandescent bulb in the socket can fix the problem immediately!  Also ceiling fans should not be installed on lighting dimmers but on a three speed fan dimmer or single pole switch. A separate switch should be supplied if you want to control the light from a dimmer.

For more information and other tips Electric Man to the rescue.  We’re available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so don’t ever hesitate to give us a call! Visit our website to learn more or connect with our online community on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google Plus.

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Best Dallas Electrician | Help with Electrical Safety Do’s and Don’ts for Appliance Installations

Editor’s Note: This article has been edited and updated from its original content with permission from National News Today. To view the original article please visit www.nationalnewstoday.com

There’s something exciting about making a large purchase: the rush of buying, the nagging fear that you can’t afford it, the anticipation of it making your life better or easier.  This feeling is especially true when it comes to a new appliance; it’s an investment in saving you time and effort. What if the investment you just made turns out to be a dud because of overlooking the impact it would have on your electrical system?

A lot of the work of an appliance happens within the machine, we tend to not think about the fact that an appliance is really a very complicated electrical machine. In addition, we ignore that they require a lot of electricity to operate. They can really strain your electrical system. This is especially true of modern appliances; it seems like they’ve found a way to computerize everything, and that only makes the power needs of an appliance grow even when they are “Energy Star” rated. Installation of these complex modern appliances seem as easy; some almost seem like they only need to be plugged in and forgotten. This approach neglects the fact that there are important things to keep in mind with regards to appliance installations that can cause serious problems for you down the line.

Obviously, you don’t always need to call an electrician whenever you install an appliance. With that being said, there’s nothing wrong with doing so if you’re not sure what you’re doing. The Best Dallas Electrician you can hire can help you avoid a lot of potential hazards and costs down the line. If you’re still planning on installing your new appliance yourself, keep in mind the following electrical safety do’s and don’ts:

  • Don’t assume your installation was done with safety in mind. This is especially true in older homes, where the wiring may not be up to modern specifications.
  • Do turn the power off whenever you change out an appliance. It may seem a bit excessive, but it can save you from a nasty shock or from shorting something out.
  • Do be careful when removing older, hardwired appliances. Back in the old days, most large appliances were just wired directly into the electrical system, without any sort of protection other than the breakers in your electrical panel.  Just pulling these kinds of appliances out can short out the appliance or other parts of your wiring, to say nothing of other potential damage. When removing an older appliance, you should either be extremely careful not to damage the wiring or hire a professional electrician to help you remove them. That electrician can also help you with the next step: replacing that wire with a properly rated outlet and cord so that you can simply plug or unplug the appliance in future.
  • Don’t put a large appliance where you can’t move it or clean behind it! I see this way more than I should, especially in new home construction.  People have lovely custom cabinets built around their ovens, making it impossible to replace the oven or access the outlets behind it without tearing out all the cabinets around it!  There’s a safety issue in play here, too:  flammable dust and lint build up behind appliances over time.  You should always install a new appliance in such a manner that you can remove it to clean behind it, at the very least when you’ve pulled it away from the outlet to replace it with a new one.
  • Do check the electrical requirements of your new appliance. This is especially true if you’re upgrading to a new appliance. Like I said before, many of these are now partially computerized, and draw a lot more power than a similarly sized older appliance as a result.  If your new appliance draws more power than your wiring and circuit breakers are rated to handle, you can easily overload the circuit without realizing what you’ve done. If you find that this is the case, you should call an electrician before you try to plug the appliance in; often the problem can be solved just by rewiring the outlet or modifying your electrical system to handle the increased load.

For more information and other tips Electric Man to the rescue.  We’re available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so don’t ever hesitate to give us a call! Visit our website to learn more or connect with our online community on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google Plus.

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Licensed Dallas Electrician Tips | Making Your Home Safe From Electrical Warning Signs of Faulty Wiring

Editor’s Note: This article has been edited and updated from its original content with permission from National News Today. To view the original article please visit www.nationalnewstoday.com

Over time, things can go wrong with any electrical system. It’s part of the nature of wiring:  wires deteriorate and connections can break down.  But what if the problem that develops is because of something that happened when the electrical system was installed, something you didn’t have any control over?

There’s nothing so treacherous to the safety of your home as faulty wiring. Mistakes in the initial wiring of your home can lead to serious safety hazards and property damage.

So what can you do about faulty wiring?  A licensed Dallas electrician can help you find the problem areas in your wiring and repair them, but we generally don’t get called in until the faulty wiring causes a serious problem.  Nobody really has the time or money to deal with these problems, so it’s better to not have to suffer through them in the first place. The best way to do that is to be aware of the electrical warning signs that your wiring might be faulty.

  1. If your wiring doesn’t work, it’s probably faulty.  Since it’s the most obvious sign, it’s also usually caught in new homes before it has a chance to become more serious, but that’s not always the case if you live in a house with previous owners, especially if only part of the wiring is faulty.  If that outlet in the living room has never worked, it’s probably the result of poor wiring.
  2. Your lights flicker.   This happens because the connections between the wires are poor or in the process of breaking down.  The flickering comes from voltage spikes as the current tries to overcome the poor connection; if you’ve read some of my previous articles, you won’t be surprised when I tell you that this can lead to arc faults and is a potential fire hazard.
  3. Your wiring is stapled on the outside of the wall.  Even if there doesn’t appear to be any damage to the wire, this still qualifies as faulty wiring.  Why?  Because wiring should NEVER be exposed on the outside of a wall; it’s subject to damage when installed like this.  If, for some reason, wiring must be outside of a wall, it MUST be placed inside a metal conduit to protect it.
  4. You smell something that smells like burning or melting plastic.  Wires that are carrying too much current or have poor connections tend to heat up.  This melts the plastic shielding all wires are coated in.  This plastic emits a toxic gas when it melts, which has a very distinct scent.  If you smell this in your home and can’t identify a source, you should call a licensed Dallas electrician IMMEDIATELY.  If discovered and dealt with quickly, this can prevent your next call from being to the fire department.
  5. Your outlets and switches feel hot to the touch.  A switch or outlet properly rated to handle the current going through it should not heat up.  If they do, it’s a sign that they may be improperly wired, or that the outlet or switch itself is faulty, and should be replaced as soon as possible.

If you suspect faulty wiring, don’t ignore these electrical warning signs! We’re available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so don’t ever hesitate to give us a call! Visit our website to learn more or connect with our online community on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google Plus.

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Choosing an Eco-Friendly and Affordable Back-Up Electricity Generator | By Dallas Electrician

Editor’s Note: This article has been edited and updated from its original content with permission from National News Today. To view the original article please visit www.nationalnewstoday.com

With all the bad weather we have been hammered with this winter, our electric power stations have been maxed out trying to keep up with the demand for electricity.  With the cold, another problem has been water pipes freezing at the electric generating stations causing them to have to shut down for repairs.  Long story short, over 55 million people in America this year have dealt with power shortages.  Either being rolling blackouts, or simply no power for days.  I have received multiple inquiries from customers wanting to know if there is an alternative means to keeping the electricity on in their home without using a gas-powered generator.  Their reasons for not being able to use a gas powered generator ranged from “I live in a HOA where generators are not allowed on the outside of our home and I can’t put it on the inside due to noise and fumes,” to “I don’t have any place outside to put the generator that guarantees it won’t be tampered with or stolen.”  Some of my customers that live in condos or town homes only have a balcony which really “limits them on space.”Affordable back up generator

Having these problems and questions brought to me, I started to look for a solution to help people in their time of need.  What I found was the IndoorGenerator.  This product was Eco-Friendly and addresses the needs of a growing population using an old electricity infrastructure.  As a Dallas Electrician, I found the IndoorGenerator to be an affordable, gas-free, rechargeable, silent power supply unit that you can use indoors when you lose power.  This is 24/7 protection for your computers, refrigerator, TV, lights, and much more.  This protects you for at least 2 hours and up to 7 days, not just minutes like traditional UPS’s.  It is simple with “plug and play” installation and usage.  The more units you put in series gives you the possibility of endless power supply!

These units come packaged in either dark wood cabinets, or light wood cabinets.  They also come in DuraRock or metal enclosures.  These different enclosures make it possible to set these units either inside, where they will still look good, or outside on a patio.

To charge these units, you just plug them into your existing power supply and they start charging immediately.  As soon as the power goes out, they automatically transfer over to stored energy without any interruption.  Another neat feature is that there is a solar accessory that can be used to recharge these power supplies.  These solar screens are collapsible and easy to store when not in use.  So if the power goes off, and you use your stored power, it can be replaced with simple sunlight.

When considering  an affordable back-up electricity generator, by an eco-friendly Dallas Electrician or just a top Dallas electrician for your home wiring installation or Troubleshooting Electrical Repair needs you can trust ElectricMan to get the job done right. We’re available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so don’t ever hesitate to give us a call! Visit our website to learn more or connect with our online community on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google Plus.

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