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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.

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Best Dallas Electrician | Help with Electrical Safety Do’s and Don’ts for Appliance Installations

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

There’s something exciting about making a large purchase: the rush of buying, the nagging fear that you can’t afford it, the anticipation of it making your life better or easier.  This feeling is especially true when it comes to a new appliance; it’s an investment in saving you time and effort. What if the investment you just made turns out to be a dud because of overlooking the impact it would have on your electrical system?

A lot of the work of an appliance happens within the machine, we tend to not think about the fact that an appliance is really a very complicated electrical machine. In addition, we ignore that they require a lot of electricity to operate. They can really strain your electrical system. This is especially true of modern appliances; it seems like they’ve found a way to computerize everything, and that only makes the power needs of an appliance grow even when they are “Energy Star” rated. Installation of these complex modern appliances seem as easy; some almost seem like they only need to be plugged in and forgotten. This approach neglects the fact that there are important things to keep in mind with regards to appliance installations that can cause serious problems for you down the line.

Obviously, you don’t always need to call an electrician whenever you install an appliance. With that being said, there’s nothing wrong with doing so if you’re not sure what you’re doing. The Best Dallas Electrician you can hire can help you avoid a lot of potential hazards and costs down the line. If you’re still planning on installing your new appliance yourself, keep in mind the following electrical safety do’s and don’ts:

  • Don’t assume your installation was done with safety in mind. This is especially true in older homes, where the wiring may not be up to modern specifications.
  • Do turn the power off whenever you change out an appliance. It may seem a bit excessive, but it can save you from a nasty shock or from shorting something out.
  • Do be careful when removing older, hardwired appliances. Back in the old days, most large appliances were just wired directly into the electrical system, without any sort of protection other than the breakers in your electrical panel.  Just pulling these kinds of appliances out can short out the appliance or other parts of your wiring, to say nothing of other potential damage. When removing an older appliance, you should either be extremely careful not to damage the wiring or hire a professional electrician to help you remove them. That electrician can also help you with the next step: replacing that wire with a properly rated outlet and cord so that you can simply plug or unplug the appliance in future.
  • Don’t put a large appliance where you can’t move it or clean behind it! I see this way more than I should, especially in new home construction.  People have lovely custom cabinets built around their ovens, making it impossible to replace the oven or access the outlets behind it without tearing out all the cabinets around it!  There’s a safety issue in play here, too:  flammable dust and lint build up behind appliances over time.  You should always install a new appliance in such a manner that you can remove it to clean behind it, at the very least when you’ve pulled it away from the outlet to replace it with a new one.
  • Do check the electrical requirements of your new appliance. This is especially true if you’re upgrading to a new appliance. Like I said before, many of these are now partially computerized, and draw a lot more power than a similarly sized older appliance as a result.  If your new appliance draws more power than your wiring and circuit breakers are rated to handle, you can easily overload the circuit without realizing what you’ve done. If you find that this is the case, you should call an electrician before you try to plug the appliance in; often the problem can be solved just by rewiring the outlet or modifying your electrical system to handle the increased load.

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 Plano Electrician | How Arc Fault Circuit Breakers Can Save Lives And Improve Home Safety

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 Top Plano Electrician, I know better than anyone how powerful and useful electricity is. It also makes me more aware of what most people tend to ignore or forget: electricity is dangerous. Electricians are required by law to carry insurance, and for good reasons. Electric current is capable of starting fires and destroying your property and equipment in a matter of moments. The proper safety precautions really can save lives, and there‘s always something we can do to improve home safety.

One of the most important precautions is located in your electrical panel: the circuit breaker. It is designed to keep you from using more electricity than the wiring or receptacle can handle at one time, what we refer to as overcurrent protection. This protects your wiring from taking on too much current, which can cause the coating around your wiring to melt, the leading cause of electrical fires. Circuit breakers serve another purpose as well; not only to protect from surges coming from outside your home, but from potential hazards within it as well. Current flowing through a failed piece of equipment or appliance can cause sparks, which have the potential to start fires or damage other electrical devices. A properly functioning circuit breaker can shut off the power to this device. It’s very important, however, that you use a circuit breaker of the proper size for the circuit to ensure that your wiring is properly protected.

Circuit breakers come in specialty varieties as well; the most important are ground fault circuit breakers (GFCI), for wet locations, and arc fault circuit breakers (AFCI). AFCI’s, in particular, can help prevent some of the most common dangerous situations in your home.

I’ve dealt with plenty of cases where electrical fires have started because people ran an extension cord under the carpet, so that they can power the lamp in the center of the room. Over time, people walking over the cord stretches out the wiring, making it so thin that the current overloads the thinly stretched wire, creating an arc fault; the electricity “jumps” the wire, completing the circuit in a way the cord can’t handle and generating heat that starts a fire. Arc fault circuit breakers prevent this by shutting the circuit down when the arc fault occurs.

So what do you need to know about arc fault circuit breakers? To start with, by code AFCI’s should be installed on any circuit that isn’t protected by a GFCI or directly wired into an appliance. It’s in your best interest to have your safety devices routinely inspected to maintain their optimum performance and capabilities; in particular, your circuit breakers should be inspected at least once a year. The inspection process is quick and relatively inexpensive, and something that simple really can save the lives of you and your family.

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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A Look At Old Home Wiring With A Licensed Dallas Electrician

There are a lot of reasons to love your older home.  Whether it’s a part of history or simply more cost effective than buying a brand new home, older homes can be just as nice as a newly built home with the right care.  Unfortunately, that level of care is often overlooked when it comes to old home wiring.  As technology has progressed in the home building industry, especially when it comes to home electrical, we have learned many safer ways to provide power to all of your appliances and gadgets.  We have also learned that many of the techniques that were used on older homes can lead to a dangerous situation for you and your family.

Here are a few things that you can look out for to help make sure your home’s wiring is up to date and safe:

•Do your electrical outlets have only two prong capabilities?

•Do plugs frequently fall out when you don’t want them to?

•Do you have Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) protection for your outlets?

•Is your garage door opener plugged in to an extension cord?

•Do you frequently “trip” the breaker when using several appliances at once in your kitchen?

•Is your electrical breaker panel located in a closet?

Each of these issues can be a sign that your home has out of date wiring, and if you notice any of them in your home, you should have it checked by a licensed Dallas electrician to ensure that your home is as safe as possible.

For more information on  older home electrical issues, or to find out how to contact ElectricMan Inc. to discuss your own home’s electrical system, please visit us at www.ElectricManInc.com

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