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.
Each season comes with its set of reasons to call an emergency electrician. While you hopefully won’t be affected by all of these problems this year, there’s always the possibility that you’ll need to phone a 24-hour electrician to take a look at one or two emergencies on this list.
Air conditioner stops working: Check to see if the breaker is tripped. If the breaker is tripped, go to the thermostat and turn off the cooling unit. After you have turned off the thermostat, go back to the breaker and turn the breaker all the way off before resetting it to the ‘on’ position. If the breaker trips again, call an emergency electrician. If it doesn’t trip, turn the thermostat back on. If the breaker trips once the AC is on, you will need to contact an AC repairman.
Window AC unit trips circuit breakers: Air conditioning and refrigeration consumes a hefty amount of electricity. Running a hair dryer or vacuum on the same circuit as the window AC unit may be enough to trip the circuit breaker. To prevent overloading the circuit, use the labels in the breaker box to connect high electricity-consuming devices to outlets on a circuit other than the one the window AC unit is on.
Trees fall on the electric meter boxes and risers: The weather is unpredictable in the spring and fall, which can lead to a downed tree on your property. Even if it barely scrapes your home, this could be enough to rip the electric meter base and riser off of the outer wall of your house. An emergency electrician is the person you trust to get things sorted out and fixed in order to get the power turned back on to your home.
Ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) replacement: The spring and fall are as good a time as any to test GFCIs. If you have old outlets in your bathrooms or kitchen, replace them with GFCI receptacles as soon as possible to prevent potential shock. Don’t wait until it’s an emergency; call an electrician for this task.
Learn what common seasonal electrical emergencies call for an emergency electrician to come take a look.
Portable electric heaters trip circuit breakers: Portable heaters consume quite a bit of electricity. If they are plugged into an outlet on a nearly maxed-out circuit, perhaps one poweringChristmas lights, they could overload it and trip the circuit breaker. Circuits trip to prevent damage to the wiring of the electrical system, but knowledge of which outlets are on a circuit can prevent this from happening.
Wet electrical connections could cause your GFCI to short out: Electricity and water don’t mix. If any electrical device in or outside your home gets wet it could cause part of your home to short out. Knowing where your GFCIs are located and which outlets they control, can remedy this problem. If not, an emergency electrician is your best bet for pinpointing and correcting the problem.
If you’re experiencing an electrical emergency, please contact ElectricMan today. ElectricMan is a trusted, local emergency electrician with 27 years of experience. For more information visit the ElectricMan website, and don’t forget to ‘like’ us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
Sometimes, an electrical emergency can’t wait; sometimes, you need a 24-hour electrician to stop in as soon as possible. Here’s a look at some electrical emergencies that require immediate attention.
Learn what common emergencies need to be fixed immediately by a 24-hour electrician.
Air Conditioning/Heating Stops Working
On sweltering Dallas summer afternoons or chilly winter nights, you just can’t wait for regular service hours to have your malfunctioning HVAC system examined. If the air conditioning or heating stops working, it could be an electrical problem, not an A/C or furnace problem.
Before you call a certified electrician, check to see if the breaker is tripped. If the breaker is tripped, go to the thermostat and turn off the heating and cooling unit. After you have turned off the thermostat, go back to the breaker and turn the breaker all the way off before resetting it to the ‘on’ position. If the breaker trips again, call a 24-hour electrician. If it doesn’t trip, turn the thermostat back on. If the breaker trips once the AC is on, you will need to contact an AC repairman.
If the power goes out in your home, the problem could be on your side or with the power provider. A good 24-hour electrician can discuss with you which one is the case. If your entire block loses power, it’s undoubtedly a problem with the provider. If power goes out only in your home, there’s a greater possibility that the problem is on your end. This is where a certified electrician can discuss which specific parts of your home are out and determine if you need an electrician or if you need to call your power provider.
Sparks and Flames
No matter the fire’s cause, your first call should be to the fire department. If an electrical malfunction caused the fire, your second call should be to a 24-hour electrician.
ElectricMan to the Rescue
You know you can count on ElectricMan as your certified electrician of choice. We’re always on call 24/7 to help solve electrical problems. For example, a few years back, during Super bowl week in Dallas, the American Red Cross’ power to their refrigeration system where they store their emergency blood supply went out. ElectricMan tackled the snow and ice storm and were able to fix the issue within 40 minutes of being on site; crisis diverted!
The Red Cross retweeted their appreciation to ElectricMan calling them their ‘heroes.’
If you’re experiencing an electrical emergency, please contact ElectricMan today. ElectricMan is a trusted, local 24-hour electrician with almost three decades of experience. For more information visit the ElectricMan website, and don’t forget to ‘like’ us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. You can also find us on YouTube and Pinterest.
Have you recently had a home inspection completed or are you getting ready to purchase a home and don’t understand the inspection report? A certified electrician at ElectricMan can help you figure out exactly what the inspector found and what it all means. Having your home inspection deciphered by ElectricMan can save you time, money and a lot of stress.
No ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) around all outdoor, garage, kitchen and bathroom areas
Inoperable or missing smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors
Wires resting on ductwork or pipes
Frayed, brittle, melted or chewed wiring insulation that is a safety hazards
Any ungrounded old style wiring from the 1920s or earlier
These problems may be eyesores, or perhaps you don’t notice them at all, but almost all of them can be hazardous and require immediate attention by a certified electrician. Before you start worrying about your latest home inspection and get knee-deep in all the repairs at once, ElectricMan can help you decode each project and give you a quote on needed repairs. Remember, it’s about your family’s safety, so it’s always best you pick your electrician based on the quality of work and his reputation rather than letting the seller pick the repairman.
If you suspect your home is subject to some of these problems, or for help interpreting your home inspection contact a certified electrician at ElectricMan today. ElectricMan is a trusted, local Dallas electrician with 27 years of experience. For more information visit the ElectricMan website and don’t forget to ‘like’ us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube.
Choosing a great electrician doesn't have to be difficult!
Solving electrical problems and doing electrical repairs can be risky things to do if you don’t know exactly what you are doing. Sometimes it is absolutely necessary to hire a certified electrician to do these things for you so that you don’t put yourself or your property at risk. Here are some key things you should keep in mind when choosing an electrician.
Certifications: You should always feel free to ask an electrician about their certifications; if they aren’t willing to answer your questions about it, they probably aren’t the right electrician for you. There are different levels of training that an electrician must go through before earning certifications. Typically, they start out as an electrician apprentice working under the direct supervision of a journeyman and the general supervision of a master electrician. A master electrician has the highest level of certification and more experience than an apprentice or a journeyman.
References: A good electrician should always be able to give you references if you ask for them. Any hesitation in this area is not a good sign. It is a good idea to check with the references that the electrician gives you before hiring them.
Insurance: It is very important to hire an electrician that carries the proper insurance. Without proper insurance, you could be responsible for any damages they happen to cause, such as an electrical fire or other accidents. Did you know that electricians are only required to have $300,000 worth of coverage? Be sure to confirm that you are hiring an insured electrician.
Communication: It is also important for the electrician you hire to have great communication skills. They should be friendly, courteous, interested in your problem, and listen to your concerns. They should also be upfront about costs and give you an estimate of how long the project should take.
Keep all of these things in mind as you seek out someone for electrical consulting. For Dallas electrical repairs, www.ElectricManInc.com offers 27 years of industry experience, and they are open 24 hours a day. They have a master electrician on staff, they are properly insured, and they offer free estimates.
About ElectricMan Inc.
ElectricMan Inc. is one of Dallas’ most trusted electricians. Nick Schaeffer, Mr. ElectricMan himself, has quite the resume for a master electrician. He started the company by himself in 2004 and hasn’t looked back since! For more information about Electricman’s list of electrical repair services, please visit www.ElectricManInc.com
Top 5 Things you should know about Smoke Detectors
Smoke Detectors are essential to have installed in your home in order to alert you and your family to a fire. More than 90% of homes have at least one. ElectricMan electricians professionally install smoke detectors in peoples’ homes, and we want you to know how to properly maintain them. Your chances of dying in a fire are cut in half if you have a working smoke detector.
Location – Smoke alarms should be on every level of your house and near the bedrooms. They should be installed on the ceiling or on the wall 6-12 inches below the ceiling. Don’t put them too close to fireplaces or kitchen appliances.
Batteries – Batteries should be changed annually or when a chirping noise indicates the power is low. It’s easy to remember if you schedule it yearly around the time change in the spring or the fall. You should test your alarms monthly. Some alarms (mandated in newly build homes) are hardwired into the electrical system and interconnected so that if one goes off, the rest do also.
Replacement – The National Fire Prevention Association recommends you replace your alarms every ten years, even if the monthly tests indicate it’s still working. Smoke alarms do lose sensitivity and eventually fail. It’s a small price to pay compared to your life. Two-thirds of home fire deaths occur in homes with no smoke alarms or older, non-working, smoke alarms.
Cleaning – Dust, cobwebs and insects can reduce a smoke alarm’s sensitivity. Vacuum them occasionally or follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to clean them.
Types – There are two types of alarms: ionization and photoelectric. Both are adequate protection for your home, but one senses flames quicker and the other smoke quicker. To be extra safe, you can buy a combination unit or both kinds.
All the electricians at ElectricMan are highly trained, licensed, insured, background checked and drug-tested for your best interests and safety. Being family owned and operated, this is important to us in our mission to provide quality service. Call us today for the very best Dallas electricians!
ElectricMan’s motto is “Quality Electrical Services”, and to achieve this, we feel like it’s our duty to inform our customers of the importance of home and electrical issues that might affect them. One of these dangers is Carbon Monoxide.
Carbon Monoxide is a toxic gas that is odorless, tasteless, colorless, and non-irritating, so it is very difficult to detect unless you have a carbon monoxide detector. It’s often produced by older motor vehicles and other gasoline-powered tools, heaters, and cooking equipment such as furnaces, heaters, wood-burning stoves, electrical generators, and propane-fueled equipment like portable stoves. Simply put, carbon monoxide is produced whenever gas, oil, kerosene, wood, or charcoal is burning.
Carbon Monoxide - The Silent Killer
Carbon monoxide is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in America. The Centers for Disease Control estimate that carbon monoxide poisoning claims nearly 500 lives and causes more than 15,000 visits to the hospital emergency departments annually.
Symptoms of mild poisoning include headaches, vertigo, and flu-like effects, but larger exposure can lead to severe heart and central nervous system problems and even death. If you do suspect poisoning, get fresh air immediately. Open windows and doors, turn off combustion appliances, and leave the house. Take your pets outside too! Go to an emergency room and tell the doctor. A blood test is the best way to make the diagnosis. Treatment usually involves high doses of oxygen using a facemask.
Prevention is the key to avoiding carbon monoxide poisoning. Have your fuel-burning appliances inspected by a professional at the beginning of every heating season. Don’t idle your car in the garage, even with the garage door open, don’t use a gas oven to heat your home, don’t ever use a charcoal grill indoors, don’t sleep in a room with an unvented gas or kerosene space heater, and don’t use gasoline-powered engines in enclosed spaces. Have carbon monoxide detectors installed.
The National Fire Protection Association says that 93% of homes have smoke alarms but the Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that only 15% have carbon monoxide alarms.
Here at ElectricMan, we can professionally install smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in your home, because carbon monoxide poisoning is no small matter, and we care about your safety. We’re a family business and we put family first, including yours! We’re also available 24 hours, 7 days a week.
At ElectricMan Inc, we can professionally install smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors, because carbon monoxide poisoning is no small-matter, and we care about your safety. We’re a family business and we put family first, including yours!
For 27 years, Electricman has been providing electrical repair services to the Dallas Ft. Worth Metroplex. Their technicians take a craftsmen-style view of the services they provide such as electrical diagnostics, repairs, updates, and remodeling.