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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.


The Dangers Of DIY Electrical

DIY-Electrical-2As a Dallas Electrician with over 27 years of experience, ElectricMan Inc. has seen many of the dangers of DIY Electrical first hand, and has often been called in to make repairs after a DIY home improvement project has gone wrong, or the home owner realized that they were in over their head. The experience to take on any electrical home improvement project is something that is obtained by years of professional training and experience under a Licensed Master Electrician. That kind of experience isn’t something that the average Do-It-Yourselfer has, even if you do consider yourself a Jack-Of-All Trades.

One of the biggest dangers of DIY Electrical work is simply the fact that electricity can be deadly when not handled properly. Many DIY home improvement projects are often done in a hurry, and without proper planning. Something as simple as forgetting to switch off the breaker, using the wrong tools for the job, or even accidentally brushing up against the wrong wire can send high voltage coursing through a human body, easily causing burns, ventricular fibrillation (uncontrolled movement of the heart muscles), and death. We are so accustomed to being able to flip a switch and use electricity in our daily life that we often forgot how powerful it truly is.

One of the major causes for DIY Electrical accidents is unfamiliarity with the electrical circuits in your home. Due to shoddy electrical workmanship in many older homes, it is often difficult to tell which outlets, appliances, and lighting fixtures are on a given circuit, especially if your breaker box was improperly labeled, or if the labeling has faded over time. Most home owners will simply switch off breakers until they see the lights turn off in the area that they will be working, and assume it is safe to start working. This is an incredibly dangerous practice since it is not always the case that all outlets and lighting fixtures in an area will be on the same circuit. A Licensed Dallas Electrician will be familiar with standard wiring practices and will know the proper way to test the circuit that they will be working on to ensure that it is safe.

DIY-ElectricalAnother huge benefit to using a licensed electrician for your home electrical work is that they will be well versed in all of the building and safety codes required to make sure the job is done right. The reason that this is important is two-fold. First, it is legally required to adhere to all building and safety codes, and if you ever intend on selling your home or having it inspected for any other reason, a DIY Electrical repair or addition will cause your home to fail inspection if building and safety codes are not followed to the letter, generally costing you more money later down the line to have an improperly performed job repaired. Secondly, and even more important, is the fact that building and safety codes are put in place for a reason. If you are not familiar with these codes or do not follow them, you are putting yourself and your family at risk of electrical shock, electrical fires, and injury or death due to a faulty repair.

A reliable Licensed Dallas Electrician such as ElectricMan Inc. will ensure that any home improvement project involving electricity in your home is completed correctly, in compliance with all of the proper safety and building codes, and will guarantee their work to ensure a successful outcome, and the safety of you and your family. If you would like to learn more about the capabilities and experience of ElectricMan Inc. or discuss a project or repair that you are planning for your home, reach out to us today by phone at 972-792-7270, or visit us at our website at www.electricmaninc.com!


Older Home Electrical Safety With A Licensed Dallas Electrician

With over 1 million homes in the Dallas area over 20 years old, older home electrical safety is a major concern that should be assessed by a licensed Dallas electrician. Many homes in the 70’s and 80’s were built with electrical wiring and breaker panels that have been known to be a fire and electrical shock hazards. If you live in one of these older homes, and it has not been updated, it is very important that you have a licensed Dallas electrician come out and take a look at the electrical system in your home, to ensure your family’s safety.