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Top Richardson Electrician | Learn How to Handle Power Overloads and Electrical Troubleshooting

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

In my last few articles, I’ve been talking about the importance of safety, and how best to keep your home safe.  But I know you don’t typically call an electrician just to make sure that your home electrical system is safe (although it’s an EXCELLENT reason to do so). Generally, you call an electrician because something’s going wrong with your electrical system. With that in mind, I wanted to share with you some of the electrical troubleshooting that my electricians and I do on a daily basis, to help you avoid some of the most common problems we see on the job.

I’ve found throughout my years in this industry that a lot of the most common problems are caused by something that’s easily avoidable with a little planning and forethought, power overloads. A power overload is exactly what it sounds like, when an outlet or wire fails because there are too many devices being used at one time. Think of it like adding more and more weight to the end of a tree branch; there’s only so much weight (load) it can handle before it breaks.

Although ultimately one overloaded circuit is more or less the same as another, overloads have a number of different causes, and can even have different symptoms depending on where in your home they occur.  No matter how or where they happen, though, overloads are serious fire hazards. Overloaded wires melt, causing electrical shorts and conducting heat to potentially flammable materials like the wood in your walls.  Repairing the damage from these overloads often requires the electrician making the repair to simply pull the wires out and rewire the circuit, which can be expensive.  It’s in your best interest to know how to avoid overloading your electrical system in the first place but also be aware that an overload has occurred.

The most common sign of an overload I run across tends to go something like this, half of the room will be getting no power, while the other half is receiving power as normal. Even more out of the ordinary, the breakers that connect the room to the electrical panel haven’t been tripped.  So, what’s causing the issue?  If this happens in your living or media room, it’s surprisingly easy to diagnose:  60 to 70% of the time, the problem is the outlet behind your entertainment center melting down (in some cases, literally melting down) from being overloaded.  When your entertainment center was installed, you might not have even considered that you were in danger of overloading the outlet. The combination of your TV, DVD player, video game systems, stereo system, huge speakers, and cable or satellite receivers can quickly overwhelm any outlet, and they add up quickly.  This is why a top Richardson electrician will always suggest that your entertainment center be set up on a dedicated circuit with a separate power source from the rest of the room; it’s the best way to ensure you’re not overloading your circuit.

Other overloads occur because of the changing weather. I’ve seen plenty of people who’ve overloaded a wall outlet just by plugging a window air conditioning unit into it. These window AC units draw a ton of power; in fact, they can typically max out the circuit just by themselves, meaning anything else you have plugged into that circuit is overloading it!  Similarly, most space heaters require 1800 watts to operate. This is exactly how much power a typical 15A electrical circuit breaker should allow.  Even plugging in something as simple as a light bulb alongside it overloads the circuit.  Window air conditioners and space heaters should always be placed on dedicated circuits to avoid this problem.

Another all-too-common overload occurs quite often in older homes.  A family getting ready for the day suddenly discovers that they no longer have any power in any of the bathrooms in the house!  This is the result of an overload, too, even worse, it’s a hard overload to detect unless you know a bit about how homes used to be wired.  You see, years ago when homes were being wired up, they tended to wire all the receptacles in all the bathrooms on the same circuit. This means that they’re all typically running on the same 15A electrical circuit.  This leads to one of the most notorious causes of overloads.  Remember how I mentioned that a space heater typically needs 1800 watts to run?  Well, most hair dryers typically require 1850 watts, meaning that if your wife or daughter are drying their hair at the same time as someone else is using power in the other bathroom, the circuit is overloaded.  And if your wife and daughter are BOTH using their hair dryers at the same time, it won’t take long for the whole circuit to fail or shut off.  Thankfully, electricians wiring newer homes always put multiple bathrooms on separate circuits to help minimize this problem.

Again, I want to stress that events like these are completely avoidable, as long as you take the time to think about how much you’re plugging into one circuit.  With a little thought, and the helping hand of a caring electrician if you’re unsure, you can save yourself a lot of pain in the long run.

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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Keeping Ghoulish Halloween Decorating Safe This Season

halloween-decorating-SafetyHalloween is no doubt one of the most festive times of the year and decorating for the season is a fun and cherished pastime enjoyed by many families. Unfortunately, as almost all Electrical Companies In Dallas will tell you, Halloween can also be one of the most dangerous holidays of the year. The electrical experts at Dallas Electrician, ElectricMan Inc. would like for you and your family to enjoy the ghoulish festivities while practicing electrical safety, so here are a few tips for making the most out of decorating for this exciting time of year.

The Hazards of Halloween Decor

When people talk about Halloween decorations, they’re often thinking about lots of lights combined with smoke machines, spiderwebs and paper decorations, all of which can be cheaply made. The down side of these homemade special effects is that many of these decorations are made of highly flammable material which, if left unattended and in close proximity to electrical lighting, can be anything but fun.

Another problem that often arises from Halloween decorating comes from using electrical lighting and components with electrical wiring that has become cracked and damaged over time. Any cracks in the insulation or damage to the wires can prove frightening and sometimes even deadly. Furthermore, heavy usage of lighting and decorations that require electricity can put a strain on extension cords, power strips and electrical outlets in your home, straining your home’s circuits.

Tips for Safe Decorating

You don’t have to leave the Halloween spirit behind to celebrate safely. Follow these easy-to-remember safety tips when Halloween decorating with your family for the ultimate ghoulish celebration:

  • Use common sense when plugging multiple electrically powered decorations into extension cords or outlets. If possible, try to plug decorations that use a lot of electricity into separate circuits in your home to reduce the load on any one circuit.
  • Route wiring, extension cords, etc. away from foot traffic to avoid wearing out wiring insulation. Also, keep your pets away from wires to discourage any chewing that may damage wiring and harm your pet.
  • If you must use extension cords or power strips, keep it down to just one power strip per outlet. Attempting to double-up on the electrical outlets by adding multiple extension cords and power strips on the same outlet increases the odds for overloading the circuit and possible fires.

Electrical Companies In Dallas That You Can Trust

In over 27 years of electrical experience, ElectricMan Inc. has seen too many families in danger as a result of careless and unnecessary oversights in the use of lighting and electronics. With a little care, a little caution, mixed in with some common sense, your family can enjoy the candy and the costumes and not have to be worried about electrical fires.

For more information on electrical safety and how you can protect your home and your family, or if you need local Electrical Companies In Dallas to help you with any electrical issues you may have,  call ElectricMan Inc. at 972-792-7270 or read more of the wealth of information at the ElectricMan Blog!

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