tips Archives - Electricman Inc.

All Posts tagged tips

Best Dallas Electrician | Save Money with Digital Timer or Mechanical Timer Installation

Editor’s Note: This article has been edited and updated from its original content with permission from National News Today. To view the original article please visit www.nationalnewstoday.com

Saving money sometimes means coming up with an unconventional idea to make your life more efficient.  As such, one of the ways the best Dallas electrician can help you make your electrical system more efficient is also one of the more overlooked ways:  installing timers to control your lighting. Timers are great tools; they can be used to turn your lights on and off at any time, whether you’re home or not.  Besides keeping your house lit when you’re on vacation or controlling your Christmas lights or other holiday displays, there are plenty of other applications for timers too.  For instance, why not set a timer to control all the lights in your house? By setting the lights to turn off after you’re normally in bed, lights that you might have mistakenly left on will turn off, saving you money. You can also set your lights to come on when you wake up in the morning, making it easier for you to wake up!  (This makes a great backup alarm clock, by the way.)  You can turn your lights off when you’re gone at work, or turn them on during the day to give your pets light. There are two kinds of timers commonly used in home systems:  mechanical and digital timers.

Digital timers are a great tool for the modern home. They fit elegantly into your wall and are automated in a lot of ways; some even adjust themselves for daylight savings time automatically!  Even better, digital timer installation is pretty straight forward even for the do-it-yourself electrician.  However, remember that a digital timer is not a switch; because of the sensitive electronics inside, digital timers require a neutral wire that switches do not.  When I get called to deal with digital timer issues, they’re largely caused by the homeowner neglecting this fact or not considering it.  Some do-it-yourself electricians think they can just wire the neutral on the timer into the ground wire.  Let me be clear here, folks:  a ground wire is NOT a neutral, and wiring it into the timer that way will create an electrical shock hazard potential and damage the timer.

The other concern with digital timers is more of a design issue than a wiring issue, thankfully.  Before you go through with the timer installation, consider where it will be located and what kind of switches you have at the site.  This is important when the time comes to finish the work; most switch assemblies (and the switch plates that cover them) are rectangular.  But digital timers are pretty uniformly square objects, and they don’t always play nice with your existing switch plates.  If you don’t plan ahead, you might wind up having to make multiple trips to your hardware store or home improvement warehouse of choice to get the plates you need to make everything fit together.  This is actually one of those times where a professional installation can make your life easier:  the best Dallas electrician will carry multiple types of plates in his service truck, which saves you the time and effort of going back to the store over and over.  Even though a professional installation may be more expensive than doing it yourself, the time and effort you save may well more than cover the difference in price.

Mechanical timers are also really useful tools, although they’re a bit less common than the digital timers.  Mechanical timer installation generally occurs in one of several places.  Mechanical timers are most often found controlling swimming pool equipment to ensure it only runs for a given amount of time.  Make sure the timer is set to allow the equipment to run more often in summer than winter; this will help reduce the amount of algae in your pool.  Electrical timers are also pretty common for outdoor lighting; since they can be set to only turn lights off, you can make sure your outdoor lighting is off before sunrise to conserve power.  One of the best and most overlooked uses for mechanical timers has nothing to do with lights, though.  Attaching a timer to your water heater means you can keep the heater from running when you’re not home and don’t need hot water;  this can be a HUGE savings (though don’t forget to override the timer if you’re home from work for the day!).

What’s the difference between the timers?  Not as much as you might think, actually;  they both work the same way, and can perform the same functions.  Mechanical timers tend to be larger, last longer, and can handle more electrical load than a digital timer.  However, electrical timers tend to be designed as large, grey, metal boxes, which may stick out quite a bit in your home decor.  Digital timers can be built right into the wall, and their smaller size and more aesthetic designs may make them a better fit for your home.  Either way, timers are a great asset, and one you should consider installing in your home electrical system.

For more information and other tips Electric Man to the rescue. We’re available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so don’t ever hesitate to give us a call! Visit our website to learn more or connect with our online community on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google Plus.

 

More

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.

More

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.

 

More

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.

More

Top Garland Electrician | How Installing A GFCI Can Help Protect Your Family And Make Your Home Safer

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 I’ve said before, I’ve spent years in the electrical business working hard to help people save money and keep safe.  But I’m not really any different from any other American.  At the end of the day, I get to lay down my work for a while and come home to my wife and children, and I want nothing more in all the world than for them to be happy and safe.  For me, that’s one of the places where being a parent and being a Top Garland electrician can come together.  I have the expertise from my trade to do what any parent would want to do; make your home safer for your family.  Which makes this story I’m about to share with you hit me even harder than it would otherwise.  I can’t think of anything worse than something like this befalling the people I love.

Not so long ago, a mother in Texas was bathing her five and six year-old children when disaster struck.  A hair dryer, plugged into an outlet nearby, was accidentally pulled off a nearby counter, and wound up falling into the bathtub.  The current from the hair dryer quickly passed into the bathwater.  Neither child survived.

What makes the story even more tragic is that the deaths of these children could have been prevented with an investment of less than sixty dollars in equipment and labor costs.   Specifically, installing a GFCI or Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter, could have saved the lives of these children. The home the family lived in was an older home, and as a result the circuit in the bathroom wasn’t equipped with this simple yet incredibly important piece of equipment.

A GFCI is designed to quickly interrupt the flow of electric current when it detects that the current is imbalanced, which is a sign that current’s passing through something other than what it’s supposed to, like a person.  This can be a danger when we’re dealing with outlets close to water; the composition and chemical structure of water make it an extremely effective conductor of electric current.  It doesn’t take very much water, either; unplugging an appliance with your hand in a small amount of spilled water on a counter top can cause you to suddenly complete a circuit to the ground, giving you a very nasty shock.

As you might expect, this means that a GFCI should (and by code, must) be installed anywhere there’s a electric device close to water. This isn’t limited to kitchens and bathrooms either; GFCIs should also be installed on outlets located in garages, near any counter top, near pools and hot tubs, and on any external outlets.

We don’t always think of external outlets as needing a GFCI, but they do; remember, any electronic equipment you use outside interacts with the elements.  Using an electric lawn care device, like a weed whacker or electric mower on wet grass can be dangerous, especially if you happen to run over the cord, which could create a circuit between the electricity and the ground through your body.

One of the most common issues I see where GFCIs are lacking, and could be potentially dangerous, lie where there is plenty of water:  your swimming pool.   Older pools, like older homes, may not have a GFCI installed on the pool light located under the surface.  Over time, the seal that keeps water out of the pool light can break down; if and when they do, it can turn your pool from a fun place to spend time to a place to get to get your goose cooked in the blink of an eye.

Although all outlets like the ones listed above must be equipped with GFCIs according to code, this hasn’t always been the case.  Older homes, like the one where those two children were killed, may have been built before these regulations were put in place.  If you have any question whatsoever I strongly recommend that you contact a Top Garland electrician as soon as possible to perform an inspection.

For more information on installing a GFCI, tips or if you need a Top Garland Electrician ElectricMan 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.

More

Licensed Dallas Electrician Tips | Save Money By Using Solar PV, Wind Power And Power Storage

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’ve learned (and shown you) that it’s easy to save money on your electric bill if you think ahead and put some consideration into the choices you make.  But saving money sometimes means making a trade-off. Far too often, that trade-off has been the environment.  More coal and gas power plants produce more electricity when we want it, but the price is pollution. It’s not a price we always have to pay ourselves, so we tend to ignore it. But our children aren’t going to have that luxury.  Thankfully, people are starting to really think about the effects our choices will have on our descendants. That being said, a lot of “green” initiatives are really expensive, and with the economy like it is, people are stretched too thin to really make an impact.  But what if there were ways to not only help save the environment, but save money too?

That’s the best news of all: there are ways to do exactly that. Solar PV and Wind Power have been around a very long time, but they’ve always been impractical and difficult to apply for your own use. For instance, wind farms may generate a lot of electricity, but they’re expensive, huge and mostly benefit electric companies.  Most people don’t have millions of dollars to spend on a huge windmill, after all.  But technology has improved rapidly over the last year or so, and renewable energy sources are not only finally available to individual consumers, but are quite affordable and efficient.  Anyone can now buy a solar panel or a small wind turbine with Power Storage to help power their home or office.  These power sources provide freedom from the power grid. No more outages when the rest of your neighborhood goes dark or spikes in your power bill.

Wind turbines are much better designed than they used to be.  Unlike the old models, which had motors designed to turn them into the wind, these turbines spin no matter which way the wind blows, which means they’re much more efficient and less prone to motor failures. They don’t have to be powered exclusively by natural wind either; turbines can be powered by wind coming from man-made objects. In fact, in the future you might well drive down the highway past a long line of wind turbines, spinning with the wind your car makes as you pass!

Of course, there are still a few limitations to Solar PV and Wind Power.  Despite the great advances in technology, the sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t always blow. Of course, at times like these there are other options.  The energy produced by your solar panel or wind turbine can be stored in an indoor generator Power Storage unit. A quality indoor generator can help you not only be free you from outages, but can even generate extra electricity – electricity the electric company will pay YOU for!  A wide variety of these generators are available to meet your needs, but any of them can help you save money, help provide better power options for you, and leave behind a better, cleaner planet for future generations.

If you’d like more information in purchasing an indoor need a licensed Dallas Electrician.  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.

More

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.

More