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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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Richardson Electrician | Helpful Electrical Safety Tips for Home Chandelier 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

Part of my job as an electrician is not only to help fix an electrical system when something goes wrong, but also to help my customers make sure that the fixtures are correctly installed. Installation is the most important phase for an electrical fixture or appliance; following the proper procedures can help ensure the maximum life for the electrical device, minimize its upkeep, and save you from costly repairs.

One of the most popular fixtures I am called to install are chandeliers, and with good reason.  As beautiful and elegant as they can be, home chandelier installation can be extremely tricky, even for those with experience.  If you have recently purchased a chandelier, I strongly encourage you to call a skilled Richardson electrician to have it installed; a talented electrician knows how to best hang, wire, and secure your chandelier to the ceiling. With that in mind, here are some important electrical safety tips to ensure you get the most out of your new light fixture:

  • Wiring: The best reason to hire an electrician to install your chandelier has to do with how it’s wired into your electrical system.  Most do-it-yourself homeowners can’t tell which wire in the chandelier connects to which ceiling wire, risking damage to your chandelier.  If you find yourself with this problem, remember that the side of the chandelier wire with the ridges or bumps (you can feel them clearly if you run your fingers along the wire) is the neutral or power “out”, while the opposite smooth side is the power “in” wire.
  • Proper order of installation: It’s really important that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions when installing the chandelier.  I can tell you from personal experience that people skip steps or go out of order all the time, which can be a real problem, especially for crystal chandeliers. I’ve arrived at an installation before to find all of the crystals already attached to the fixture, even though the instructions on ANY crystal chandelier tell you to install the fixture before you hang the crystals!  Crystal chandeliers with their crystals attached are incredibly heavy and extremely fragile. It is almost impossible for even a professional to install the chandelier properly in this state without breaking something.  Before you hang those crystals on an uninstalled chandelier, ask yourself this question:  do you want to show off your chandelier with its crystals broken?  Or worse, with your back broken?
  • Proper hanging procedures: Chandeliers are designed to hang from their chains. They are absolutely NOT designed to hang from the wire that connects them to your ceiling.  These wires are not designed to support any part of the fixture’s weight. Making it do so will inevitably stretch the wiring, leading to damage to the chandelier’s internal wiring, potential damage to your ceiling as the weight pulls the wiring out, and will stretch your wire, which is very dangerous and a severe fire hazard.  Always make sure the wire is loose, has a bit of slack, and isn’t being pinched by the chain links as it winds through them.
  • Ceiling Mounting: The canopy cover (the part that covers the hole in the ceiling the chandelier hangs from) should always be assembled and adjusted to the proper depth before you hook up the chandelier’s wiring. Do-it-yourself installers tend to try to screw the canopy cover in to get it flush to the ceiling, which can twist the wiring inside and lead to serious hazards.  If you’re having trouble getting the installation right, call a professional.
  • Weight Limits: If your chandelier weighs more than 100 pounds, your chandelier manufacturer requires additional wood bracing to be installed in your attic across the trusses to handle the load.  This has to be done carefully and in accordance with specifications, because the bracing will include a special high-tension braided steel safety wire that is connected to the chandelier in case of chain failure. (Obviously, I hope you’ll never need this.) Since this is a change in the engineering of your house, this sort of bracing should NEVER be self-installed or performed by a handyman or light fixture company installer;  only a licensed professional electrician can ensure the bracing will not fail, causing the chandelier to fall and destroy itself, along with anything underneath it:  flooring (even marble!), stairs, banisters, or your furniture.

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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