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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 | Dimmer Switch Installation and DIY Electrical Tip

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

Everyone is looking for ways to save power.  Whether to save money or the planet, one of the best and most popular ways to save power on lighting is by installing dimmer switches to control your lights.  Besides saving power, they’re also great for setting the mood in your home.  More and more dimmer switches are being installed in American homes every year.

Dimmer switches are easy to install, even for an everyday person. Of course, even an easy installation can be problematic, so you should always contact the best Dallas electrician to ensure that you’re doing things right, or to perform the dimmer switch installation for you if you don’t want to take a chance of making a mistake.  Either way, here are some important do-it-yourself electrical tip to keep in mind about dimmer switches:

  • How many lights does the dimmer control? As simple as they may be, dimmer switches are a piece of electrical equipment just like any other, and there are limits to the amount of load they can handle.  Depending on which switch you buy, your dimmer can handle up to 600, 1000, 1500, or even 2000 watts of power; you can add up the wattage of all of the lights to make sure you’re not in danger of overloading the dimmer you’ve purchased.  It’s not a good idea to have the dimmer running as many lights as it can, either; running a dimmer switch at more than 80% of its load output (480W, 800W, 1200W, and 1600W, respectively) can dramatically shorten the lifespan of your dimmer switch.
  • How do I know if something’s wrong with the switch? Dimmer switches that are overloaded heat up as the excessive current heats the wires.  It’s OK for a switch to be warm, but if your dimmer switch is hot to the touch, it’s overloaded and is a potential hazard.
  • What other switches are connected here? If you’re installing a dimmer switch on a circuit that already has dimmers or other kinds of switches installed, the potential load the dimmer can handle will be decreased. It’s easy to overload the switch without realizing you’re doing anything wrong.  Always check the documentation included with the dimmer switch for more information before completing the installation.
  • What kinds of lights am I running with the switch? The best Dallas electrician knows that when a call comes in about a dimmer switch not working, I save a lot of time by first asking what kind of bulbs the switch is running.  Because of the way they work, fluorescent light bulbs can NOT be run by dimmer switches!  (Fluorescent bulbs that work with dimmers do exist, but are generally really expensive.)  You can save yourself a lot of time and effort by remembering never to use fluorescent bulbs in any fixture a dimmer switch controls.
  • What other kinds of devices are being run by this switch? A standard dimmer switch should never run any device that has a motor in it.  This includes things like ceiling fans that don’t always have obvious motors.  Motors can’t run on dimmer switches because all motors are designed to operate at a specific voltage at all times, which your electrical system is normally very good at providing to it.  A dimmer, on the other hand, works by slowly progressing through voltages from low to high as you turn the dimmer up.  This is fine for lights, but a motor running at an incorrect voltage will have a much shorter lifespan and will make a loud whining noise.  If you have a motor-driven device that you want to run with a dimmer, ask your hardware store or part supplier for a specialty dimmer switch, like those designed to run ceiling fans.
  • Do I have sensitive electrical equipment? Dimmer switches, especially older styles, can affect your sensitive audio equipment, even if they’re not on the same circuit.  The dimmer will cause the equipment to produce a humming or whining noise.  If this is happening to you, you basically have two options:  replace the dimmer switch or install a noise filter.  If it’s installed correctly at the audio equipment, the filter can eliminate the noise.  Try to buy a noise filter that covers as many frequencies as possible. If you try to go the cheap route with noise filters, you may discover that the interference is occurring on frequencies the cheap filter won’t cover, and the sound may suddenly return without warning over time.

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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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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Licensed Dallas Electrician | Tips About Electrical System Maintenance & Standard Home Inspections

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.

We’re finally through another summer in Texas. Our air conditioners are being turned off for the first time in months, and we’re all looking forward to watching that power bill drop. Now that your electrical system is under less stress, it’s the perfect time to make sure that the system is working the way it should.

Nobody should go years without performing maintenance on their vehicle. It just makes no sense to throw away the investment you made on a vehicle. And yet, people regularly go years and years without having their electrical system inspected on their home. Typically you spend a lot more on your home than a vehicle, yet both can be dangerous if you don’t do regular maintenance!

With this in mind, I wanted to share some important Electrical System Maintenance with you that can help keep you safe and even keep your power bill low! Keep in mind that the things I’m going to share with you aren’t really things you can do on your own; you should always contact a Licensed Dallas Electrician to implement any of these tips.

With that in mind:

  • Have your wiring checked for potential unseen damage. This happens more often than you think; rats and other vermin can get into parts of your home you never see, and they love to chew on wiring.
  • Have power conditioners installed. I can’t say enough about how useful power conditioners can be. When properly installed in your system, a conditioner helps keep the voltage running through your lines constant, preventing dips in the line voltage or line static from being transmitted into your appliances, which can extend their life. If you have sensitive electronics like a home theater system, you absolutely NEED one of these on that line to keep the equipment working like new and protect it from damage.
  • Have surge protectors installed at your main electrical panel. One of the bad things about power surges is that they aren’t just isolated to one part of your system; they can spread through your home like a wildfire, causing untold damage and heartache. Properly installed surge protectors can prevent this from occurring, and will save you a lot of trouble down the road.
  • Have standard home Iispections Don’t be afraid to ask for it by name; any reputable electrician will know what you’re looking for. These inspections are a really good deal, and can stop a huge number of electrical problems before they start. Though the exact details of the inspection can be a little different depending on what electrician you deal with, the inspection I perform (for a very reasonable price, no less!) involves the following:
    • Opening the electrical panel and tightening every wire and screw
    • Checking every breaker for overheating
    • Ensuring your panel is properly grounded; a poorly grounded panel is a power surge waiting to happen
    • Checking the connections at your meter site, where the power flows in from the power lines
    • Checking that your electrical safety equipment, particularly your Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) and smoke detectors are properly installed and working correctly
    • Inspecting your lights for overheating and flickering that could be signs of poor wiring or wiring failures
    • Checking your attic for chewed wiring and dangerous open wire splices left by disreputable “electricians”
    • Confirming the voltage and polarity of the electrical current throughout the house
    • We can even pull every single outlet to check that it’s put together tightly and that the wires are in good condition! (This isn’t a requirement for every time you have your home inspected, but it’s a good idea to have this done every so often.)

For more Electrical System Maintenance tips or information about power conditioners and surge protectors, or to contact Electric Man! 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 Free Money Saving Tips | Save Energy And Lower Your Home Electric Bill

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 the 30 years I’ve been an electrician, I’ve had a lot of time to think about what qualities make the best Dallas Electrician the best.  Obviously, there are a whole lot of factors that go into something like that:  quality of service, friendliness, willingness to help.  But let’s face it; at the end of the day, the best electrician is the one who can save you money.  So, I’d like to share some money saving tips with you.  And I‘m going to start with the biggest, most effective tip of all.  Ready?  Here it comes.best-dallas-electrician-save-energy-tips

Turn your stuff off

That’s it!  Turning your electrical devices off when you’re not using them is the best way to lower your home electric bill now, I know what you’re thinking:  “That’s not a very fun answer.”  Well, you’re right:  there are certainly more interesting ways to save money on your electric bill (and I’m going to share a few of them with you right now), but it’s important to start with the basics.  So, what can you do to save money without turning things off?

  1. Schedule routine electrical system maintenance.  Some business and home owners go decades without having their electrical system checked.  These checks help make sure that your fixtures are properly installed, and that all your connections on your electrical panel (and everywhere else) are correctly installed and tight. Something as simple as a loose screw can cause sparks and surges.  Even if these surges don’t cause fires or other damages, they waste electricity. You should have routine maintenance performed every year or two to ensure the best results.
  1. Install a power conditioner. The dishwasher.  The refrigerator and freezer.  Your pool equipment.  The air conditioner.  Your washer and dryer.  The garage door opener.  What do they all have in common?  Well, they all make up a good chunk of your electricity usage, but they also all have motors.  These motors draw a lot of power as they start up, which can put a lot of strain on your electricity usage.  Having power conditioners installed helps balance out those big surges and saves you money in two ways;
    1. It means your total consumption goes down since you’re not drawing a ton of power at once for that motor,
    2. It reduces the wear on the motor, which means they need to be replaced less.  As anyone who had an air conditioner motor break down this summer can tell you, this can add up to a lot of savings in the long run.
  1. Install solar panels and/or wind turbines. We’re living in a great time for alternative energy sources; the technology behind solar and wind power have made them more efficient and useful than at any point in history.  Alternative energy isn’t just for power plants, though.  You can actually install these energy generating devices, with help from a licensed electrician, in your home and business to help generate your own electricity, which is less power you have to pay for.  Even better, you can use solar panels and turbines to help power another generator.
  1. Buy an indoor generator. People talk a lot about living “off the grid”.  There’s no way I can think of to make yourself less dependant on the grid than to start generating your own electricity, especially if you can do it without pollution.  A good indoor generator can make you money, by sending the electricity it generates that you don’t use back to the grid.  Wouldn’t it be great to not only lower your home electric bill, but turn it into a payment from the electric company?  What better money saving tips could there be than giving you a way to get paid what you were once paying out?

If you’re interested in purchasing an indoor generator, or for the best Dallas electrician to save you money 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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Electrical System Protection Tips | Avoid Lightning Strike and Power Surge Damage By Top Dallas Electrician

Editor’s Note: This article has been edited and updated from its original content as written on the National News Today website. To view the original article please visit http://www.nationalnewstoday.com

Every summer, more and more homes experience outages in their electric systems. As a top Dallas Electrician, my electricians and I see the effects of these outages every day. They can be devastating, and cause a lot of damage.  In fact, the insurance industry pays out over $1 billion in damages annually in claims caused by outages and power surge damage. Most outages are caused by the weather, but there are different kinds of weather can cause an outage. This even includes weather that doesn’t produce lighting damage like the massive ice storms we saw during Super Bowl week this year that left hundreds of thousands without power (and, more importantly, without heat!) during one of the worst winter storms in years. Summer storms can produce devastating tornadoes that can knock out power for miles around the area they touch down in, and many hurricanes begin to build in the summer and early fall, causing catastrophic results even outside of the disaster zone. Hurricane Ike left over two million people without power when it hit southeast Texas in 2008, and not all of them were in the impact zone.

Not every outage comes from something as dramatic as a hurricane or tornado.  A lightning strike, even as far as half a mile away, can potentially cause damage to your delicate electrical equipment and appliances. Often, large-scale outages can occur when lightning strikes a transformer.

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Learn how to protect your home and appliances from lightning strike and power surge damage.

Outages don’t just occur because of bad weather:  many outages are caused by power equipment switching to accommodate the heavy load people put on the power grid.  Our power grid is already having trouble with its current load, and the problem only grows as more and more people use more and more electricity.  Summer in Dallas and Fort Worth is the perfect examples.  It’s when people are running their air conditioners constantly. This puts an incredible load on local and state power grids.  This leads to government agencies putting out warnings almost every summer about potential power outages, threatening brownouts and blackouts unless people conserve energy.

These outages aren’t damaging in themselves, but they leave open the possibility for electrical power surge damage.  You’ve probably noticed that when the power comes back on after an outage, it often flickers on and off quickly as the power grid attempts to get the electricity flowing back into your lines.  This stop-and-start action creates surges that can easily damage unprotected electronics or appliances.  Having a nice TV damaged like this is a very expensive hassle, and you can imagine how much more expensive and uncomfortable it could be if the surge takes out your air conditioner and refrigerator!

So, what can you do to keep power outages and power surges from affecting you?

  1. It’s extremely important that you use surge protectors on outlets with electrical equipment to help protect from the effects of outages and lightning damage.
  2. It’s also important that your electrical panel is wired correctly with a built-in surge protector at the panel, and that your wiring is up to code. Top Dallas Electricians can make sure your home or business is prepared for the effects of these outages, and that your valuables are protected.
  3. Even better, there are generator options that can allow your home and business to keep their power on even when the grid fails, avoiding the problem of outages and surges entirely!

Some of these options can even help you save money on your electric bill without the hassle of gas, fumes, or noise pollution.

For more information about a generator solution for your home or business, check out ElectricMan’s blog post on indoor generators.  When needing to know how to prevent power surge damage or electrical assistance with power 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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