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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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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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Plano Electrical Service Tip | What You Need to Know About LED and Fluorescent CFL Lights and Saving 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 http://www.nationalnewstoday.com

Everyone wants to save money.  With the economy, still slow and unemployment high, family and business budgets are tight.  Thus, we’re all looking for ways to lower our bills, and there aren’t many bills more devastating to budgets than the electric bill.  Not to mention those bills during a brutal Texas summer.

At the same time, people are finally beginning to understand that the damage we do to our environment is harmful in the long run, and are trying to find a way to reduce our impact on the planet.  A lot of the time it seems like we must choose between saving money and helping the earth.  That is simply not the case when we’re talking about options for lighting your home or business.  The employees of my Plano electrical service tell you that you can acElectrican-LED-and-Flourescent-lights-Saving-Moneytually do both at the same time, and that it‘s as simple as changing a light bulb!

Light bulb shopping has changed a lot in the last ten years.  Our choices are no longer limited to the incandescent (and sometimes halogen) bulbs we all grew up with.  Today fluorescent CFL lights are available in almost every store, and LED lights are starting to become more widely available as well. These bulbs use far less energy to create the same amount of light, which ultimately means less energy you have to pay for.  The savings can be seen with a single bulb.

For example, if you replace just one 60-watt incandescent bulb you use four hours each day with a 12-watt LED equivalent, you’ll wind up saving almost $10 a year on average! These bulbs can save you money and hassle in ways you might not think of at first.  For instance, LED and CFL bulbs produce very little heat when compared to an incandescent bulb which means that they don’t attract insects, and that your air conditioner doesn’t have another heat source in your house to cool down.

There are electrical benefits to having cooler bulbs too: less heat being generated by light bulbs means that there’s less heat stress being placed on the sockets and fixtures they’re attached to.  Less stress on the fixtures means that they have a much longer life, and that you’re saving money you’d otherwise have to spend on repairing or replacing them.

All these choices beg the question of which type of bulb is better.  From an electrician’s view, they’re both superior to the old kind of bulbs.  Personally, I think LED lights are superior to fluorescent CFL lights right now.  The technology that makes CFL bulbs work is still primitive.  Think of what cell phones looked like in the 1980‘s compared to today; right now, the CFL bulbs you can buy are the fluorescent bulb version of those old brick phones. LED lights have very distinct advantages:

  1. LED lights don’t need time to warm up like CFL bulbs do.
  2. Dimmer switches don’t work with CFL lights, but LEDs dim just like an incandescent bulb.
  3. Probably the biggest issue I have with CFL bulbs right now is their impact on the environment. They’re full of toxic mercury and lead compounds which can be very hazardous to the water supply, which means you can’t just throw them away.
  4. Fluorescents can’t be changed while warm, either.  They’ll break off at the base, and cleaning up a broken CFL bulb can be a nightmare, with the potential threat of mercury poisoning of you and your loved ones if you’re not careful.

These reasons are why I generally recommend LED bulbs; they’re more earth-friendly, easy to dispose of, use less energy than even CFL bulbs, and last a very long time.  They can be more expensive than other bulbs, but you’ll save enough money on your power bills in the long run to come out well ahead!

For Plano, electrical service or questions about what type of lights are best for your needs you can trust ElectricMan to help and 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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5 Ways Homeowners Can Save Energy and Money

If you’re a homeowner, you’re probably looking for ways to save energy and money. There are so many hidden costs involved in home ownership, and if you’re not careful, your electrical consumption can be a big factor in those costs. However, it’s easier than you might think to save on energy if you just follow a few simple tips.

  • Look for ways to cut your energy costs. Use compact fluorescent light bulbs instead of incandescent bulbs and turn off lights that aren’t in use. Wash your clothes in cold water and hang them to dry instead of using an electric dryer. Perhaps the simplest way to save energy is to turn things off when you’re not using them because there is less electrical consumption involved in turning things back on than in leaving them running.
  • Increase your family’s safety in a cost-effective way. First, install ground fault circuit interrupters, especially in your kitchen and bathroom. These are simple, effective devices that prevent accidental electrocution. Install arc fault circuit interrupters too, because these innovative circuit breakers cost less than $100, detect electrical problems and can prevent electrical fires. Other simple, cost-effective safety measures include child safety outlets, whole house surge protectors and smoke detectors.
  • Find easy ways to update an older home. It may sound daunting to update the electrical system in your home, and in fact, it does require an investment and professional workmanship to bring your home into the modern era. However, there are simple things you can upgrade without breaking the bank, including the installation of outdoor motion sensor security lights and a dedicated grounded circuit to protect your electronics. Once your home is better able to handle the electrical load you’re asking of it, you’ll not only be safer, but you’ll also save energy.
  • Plan for shifts in technology. Knowing how much more electricity we use now than we did in the past, we can assume we’ll need even more energy in the future. It’s good to think ahead and prepare for this, and one way to do it is to install a power conditioner, which cleans the electrical signal entering your home in order to provide more reliable energy. Another good idea is to hire a qualified electrician to help you identify shortcomings in your current electrical systems, as well as provide you with information about innovations that can help you save energy.
  • Choose wisely when shopping for a technician. How do you find such a qualified electrician? Look for referral based companies with a reputation for integrity, reliability and a commitment to putting the needs of their clients first.

If you’re ready to save energy, ElectricMan wants to help you figure out how to do it! We want to be your go-to source not only for electrical service but also for advice and information on all things electrical. A family owned business, we offer quality electrical services at low prices, and we only employ professional, licensed, certified electricians. We’re here to fix any electrical repairs you may need and if an electrical emergency should happen, we’re available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! Visit the ElectricMan website to learn more, or connect with our online community on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google Plus.

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Hidden Household Expenses Associated with Homeownership

When you own a home, it’s easy for household expenses to spiral out of control. Every year, the average homeowner is in the unenviable position of spending thousands of dollars on owning and maintaining a home- and that’s just when everything is going well! If an emergency hits, many homeowners have to make sacrifices they can ill afford just to keep the home up and running. The best strategy to avoid disaster is to work on cutting down the everyday household expenses associated with owning a home.

So where does the money really go? On average, American homeowners spend about 34 percent of their income on home expenses. Paying for the house itself, of course, is the largest chunk of that expenditure, but does it surprise you to know that utilities make up the next largest amount? Most Americans spend about seven percent of their income on utilities; that’s more than what they spend on entertainment, clothing for the family and even health care! Obviously, that’s an area where it makes sense to find ways to scale back. If you live in Texas, it’s even more important than it is for people in other states as Texas electricity rates are 30 percent higher than rates elsewhere.

To save money on electricity, you need to understand it. Electric companies measure energy usage in kWh, which is a measurement of the hours you spend using 1000 watts. By lowering your kWh, you will, of course, lower your electricity cost, but where do all those kilowatt-hours go? Appliances can be huge energy hogs but so can game systems, televisions and computers. Older homes are often ill-equipped to handle the energy demands of a modern lifestyle, and this can be not only costly but dangerous, as faulty electrical systems can lead to house fires. Modernizing your home can save on more than just household expenses- it might also save your life.

Fortunately, there are some easy ways to save on energy (and its associated costs). If your home is more than 20 years old, get your electrical system checked out by a professional to determine if you need any upgrades. Buy ENERGY STAR compliant appliances whenever possible, and turn off anything you’re not using, from lights and appliances to your Xbox 360.

Are you ready to lower your household expenses? It helps to find a company such as ElectricMan, committed to providing low-cost electrical services without sacrificing high-quality service. A family owned business, we offer quality electrical services, and we only employ professional, licensed, certified electricians. And we’re available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Whether it’s a general electrical repair or an electrical emergency, ElectricMan has you covered! Visit the ElectricMan website to learn more, or connect with our online community on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google Plus.

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TOP FRISCO ELECTRICIAN | TOP TIPS FOR HOMEOWNERS

As the top Frisco electrician provider in North Texas, we want you to enjoy your home as much as possible, without costly or dangerous electrical problems. Electrical issues or repairs can zap your time, patience, wallet and, in some cases, your health.

ElectricMan is committed to helping you make the most out of your electrical system, appliances and usage, which is why your top Frisco electrician is giving homeowners some tips on how to take good care of your electrical systems and how to get the most out of your home.

 #1 Turn off the lights and lower your bill.

Electric bills these days can give you headaches in and of themselves. However, there are a Top-Tips-Home-Ownersfew things you can do to lower your bills and still enjoy your electricity. Turning off the lights when you’re not in a room; consider installing a motion sensor switch for the outdoor lights you may forget to turn off.  Unplugging an appliance that you’re not using, or even installing alternative power sources like wind turbines and solar panels can significantly reduce your power consumption without infringing on your everyday usage. You can also use indoor generators to power your home without needing to be connected to the power grid.

#2 Keep up with electrical maintenance in your home.

Doing regular electrical maintenance in your home every two years can mean the difference between a happy, powered home and a mess of molten wire and old circuit breakers that don’t work. Hire your local electrician to come take a look at the entire electrical system in your home, and act upon his recommendations as soon as possible to give your home’s electrical wiring a long life.

#3 Take care of your smoke detectors and your smoke detectors will take care of you.

Smoke detectors are an invaluable and potentially life-saving part of any home. Keeping them in good working order and supplied with fresh batteries might just save your life. Be sure to swap the batteries of your smoke detectors every year (coinciding with the time changes is a good way to remember), and change out detectors every five to seven years.

#4 Protect your home with the right equipment.

Another important aspect of being safe and secure in your home to ensure your home is properly equipped with surge protectors, AFCI breakers and GFCI outlets wherever they are needed. These pieces of equipment not only can protect and preserve valuable appliances or expensive wiring, but they can keep you out of harm’s way in case of an electrical emergency in your home.

#5 Hire a professional for electrical remodeling jobs.

Whether you love hanging lamps or dimmer lights, homeowners who are fond of ambient lighting and are in need of some remodeling should always remember to call their top Frisco electrician to carry out the lighting installation. Installing lighting is a very intricate process that can get difficult and dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing.

ElectricMan has been a trusted local electrician for over 27 years. For more helpful tips about your electrical system, check out our blog at blog.electricmaninc.com. You can also contact us today by visiting our website at www.electricmaninc.com or calling us at 972-792-7270. Don’t forget to connect with us on our social media sites!
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Best Garland Electrician

Save Money with Digital Timer Installation or Mechanical Timer Installation

In the current economic climate, in which everyone is trying to save money, you might not know that the best Garland electrician can help! Sometimes, saving money is as simple as finding a simple idea that makes your life run more efficiently. When it comes to electricity, one of the best and least utilized ways to save money and energy is by putting your lights on a timer.

Top-garland-electricianAs any Garland electrician can tell you, timers are extremely useful! You can use them to turn lights on and off, whether or not you are at home. This makes it easy for you to appear as though you are home when you are on vacation, or control your Christmas lights, but those are not the only instances in which timers are a good idea. For instance, you can set a timer to make your lights turn off after you go to bed, and come back on in the morning. This makes a great backup alarm clock, and also ensures that you don’t accidentally leave lights on all night. You can also set them to turn off lights when you are at work, in case you forget.

There are two types of timers for home systems: mechanical and digital. Digital timers look good and are very useful, with several automated features. Even though they can be installed by someone who is not an electrician, Garland homeowners may feel more secure hiring a professional, because digital timers have sensitive electronics inside that require a neutral wire that switches do not. The best Garland electrician will be able to choose the right digital timer for your needs, competently install it, and even change out the switch plates if necessary.

Mechanical timers are less common than digital, but are very useful. They are often used to control swimming pool equipment and outdoor lighting. In addition to controlling lights, they can be attached to a water heater to keep it from running when you don’t need hot water. This can make a huge difference in your electric bill!

The main difference between mechanical and digital timers is that mechanical timers are typically larger and sturdier, and can handle a larger electrical load. Digital timers are more aesthetically pleasing, and will fit better into your home’s décor. A competent Garland or Rowlett electrician will advise you as to which timer best suits your needs.

Whether you have an electrical problem, or are just looking for ways to save money on your electric bill, ElectricMan, Inc, can help!  Visit our website or the social sites for more information. If you would prefer, you can always call us at (972) 792-7270 to schedule an appointment or consultation today!

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