Wiring Old Homes

3 Considerations Before Choosing A Portable Generator

Portable generators are a wise investment, especially if you live in an area that is prone to hurricanes or blizzards and a whole-home generator is out of your budget. Before you make the investment, there are factors you need to consider to make your investment safer. Plan A Location You need an open area to safely run a generator. Without thorough planning before an emergency, it is easily to make a costly mistake. Never run your generator in an open garage because there may not be enough ventilation to ensure carbon monoxide is not backing up into your living areas. You also need to be cautious about outdoor spaces where you will run your generator. Make sure it is not located near any type of air intake for home ventilation systems, which would cause carbon monoxide to be pulled into your home. If possible, you may want to have a location where your generator can be covered by a large umbrella. You will want just enough protection to help keep debris or rain from causing problems. When you select the appropriate location, make sure the generator is placed on a hard surface, such as concrete or bricks, and cannot be easily tipped over. Find A Safe Place For Fuel Your ability to store fuel will depend on the fuel source you use, with propane being safer to store than gasoline. If you are preparing for a severe weather event, purchase your gasoline two to three days before the weather event. Try to store gasoline as far away from the main living space as possible, such as in a shed. Additionally, gasoline should not be stored anywhere near appliances, such as hot water heaters. Even when the gasoline does not come into contact with an open flame, any fumes could be ignited and lead to a fire that will spread quickly. Propane can simply be stored in its prospective tank for later use. Choose Fuel Sources Wisely If you are considering a portable generator, the most common options are gasoline or propane for your fuel source. Gasoline may be a better option if your generator is used for more than emergency situations, such as camping or other recreational activities. Since gasoline is readily available, you should face fewer problems finding fuel. Unfortunately, the converse is true during emergency situations. When bad weather approaches, you are more likely to face problems finding […]

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Things To Consider When Installing Electric Car Charging Stations In Your Parking Lot

The more value you can offer to your customers, the larger your customer base is likely to grow. With nearly 500,000 plug-in electric cars on the road in the United States as of June 2016, that’s a rapidly growing customer base you can’t afford to overlook. If you want to offer a plug-in charging station in your parking lot, you should talk with a commercial electrician from a company like Craftsman Electric Inc right away. Here are a few things that you should know about deciding to install a system like this. How Much Power Do You Need To Offer? One of the first things you need to consider is how much power you need to offer for your customers. The level of power your charging stations offer will depend on how long customers stay in your parking lot. If you have a large lot with plenty of space, consider investing in an affordable station that provides sufficient power to charge a battery in about 2 hours. This gives customers time for leisurely shopping or to take full advantage of the services you offer. However, if your lot is smaller or you need faster turnover in your parking area, you may need to invest in a more expensive system that charges car batteries within 20-30 minutes. Do You Need A Payment System? You also need to determine whether or not you’ll have customers pay to charge their cars. In most cases, the electricity charge per car is insignificant enough that you can’t justify charging for the service. However, if you’re investing in rapid chargers or networked charging systems, you’ll want to think about instituting a pay-to-charge system or even a monthly subscription service for local customers to charge their cars in your lot on a regular basis. Even if you do charge, you may want to consider offering the first hour for free to encourage more customers to visit your location. Where Should You Install The Stations? Have your electrician evaluate your parking area and the electrical infrastructure of the property to help you determine the best places to install charging stations. You don’t want to put them closest to the building and have customers with gasoline-driven cars wonder why all of the best spots are catered to electric-car drivers. However, you don’t want to place them too far away to be convenient to use. Instead, have your electrician route wiring […]

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Three Common Household Objects And How To Best Integrate Motion Lights With Them For Extra Security

Although they don’t provide the same kind of direct protection that motion sensors do, motion lights require less effort to maintain and will succeed in intimidating all but the most determined burglars. While choosing where to place your motion lights is relatively easy if your front and backyard are almost entirely empty, fences and other kinds of obstacles make your task more difficult. Check out these three common household objects and how to integrate motion lights with them for extra security. Wooden Fence When you don’t have a fence, it’s often a good idea to strew your motion lights throughout your backyard so that no area of it is unaccounted for. However, if a burglar has already taken the trouble to scale your fence, there’s little chance that he’ll be deterred by lights further into your property’s interior. In this case, instead of concentrating your lights in the interior of your backyard, put some on the corners of your fence and some right on top of it. The burglar is much more likely to abandon your home if a light suddenly shines right at him while he’s in the process of climbing over the fence. Swimming Pool Since the water and the pavement around the water take up so much space, a swimming pool drastically limits your options for security light placement. During the day, you could end up tripping on a clumsily placed pavement light while you’re moving in and out of the water. One way to mitigate this problem is to construct tall platforms on the swimming pool pavement to keep your feet far away from the lights. Installing these platforms right on the corners of a rectangular pool pavement layout will improve your backyard’s aesthetic appeal in addition to its security. Children’s Playground Set It’s important to deprive the burglar of any cover from your security lights. Even if you’re not at home, the psychological security provided by cover will significantly reduce the effectiveness the lights. If your backyard includes a large obstruction, such as a children’s playground set, think about setting one of your lights right in the midst of it. In order to ensure that no one trips on the light, you can install it on the top of a swing set bar or on the underside of a slide. If connecting the light to the rest of your home’s electrical system via wires proves […]

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Pet Care & Power Outages: Standby Generator Benefits For Keeping Tank Animals Healthy

When a power outage occurs, we can typically outlast the issues with some bottled water and dried foods. The tank pets that we take care of do not have the same versatility. Whether it’s a fish living in a salt-water tank or a snake ready for its next meal, it’s important to have proper back-up solutions for when the power goes out. One of the more ideal options is a standby generator. These generators are permanent installations on your home and can offer solutions for any power issues that may occur. When taking care of your pets, there are multiple advantages to using these generators. Instant Power Transfer When you’re not home, you may not know the exact time that the power goes out. If this is the case, then your tank pets can lose out on the proper lighting, heating, and filtration needed to keep them alive and healthy. When a standby generator is installed, it is automatically turned on when a power outage occurs. The generator is connected to natural gas lines or a propane tank. This allows you to have instant power without needing to go out and purchase gasoline or other supplies. When you arrive home, you can feel comforted knowing that your pets are still getting the proper tank care and treatment that they need. Direct Connections A standby generator is connected to a sub-panel on your home’s main electrical grid. This will make a power outage easier to manage because your home will use the same outlets and electrical connections that it already has. There is no need to move or transfer your animal to another location. You also do not need to run extension cords or set-up an elaborate system just to have extra power for your home. Your tank pets can remain undisturbed and follow their usual routines. Food Sources A standby generator can also keep power maintained for freezers and refrigerators. This can make a huge difference on food sources available for your pet. Many tank pets require refrigerated foods as a part of their proper diet. For example, many types of snakes feed on frozen mice or rats. By supplying generator power to the refrigerator, you can ensure that the food does not spoil and your pets have plenty to eat during the power outage. Generators can handle different amounts of wattage, so when looking for different models, ensure that […]

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Baseboard And Radiant Floor Heating Systems Are Just Two Of Your Choices

If you are redoing your house and looking for a new way to heat your house, there are many different options you can choose from. Two of them are baseboard heating and radiant floor heating.    Baseboard Heating Unlike a forced air furnace, a baseboard heating system doesn’t blow air out into your house. Each heating unit is placed along the baseboards just above the floor. They aren’t placed on all of the baseboards, but will be on some of the walls. Inside the baseboards are some kind of heating elements. Those elements are generally surrounded metal fins. The fins help to radiate the heat out from the element out into your room.  The heating elements can be different things. One option is forced hit water. Those heating elements are made of water pipes. Hot water is forced through the pipes and then is radiated out to the room. There are also electric baseboard heaters. They are the same basic thing. Instead of a water pipe, the element is electric, but the construction is the same.  Radiant Heating Radiant heating and baseboard heating have some things in common. For example, they both use heating elements to reflect heat up into the room instead of blowing air into the house. In the case of radiant flooring, the heating elements are run under the floor. The floor absorbs the heat and radiates out to the air in the room. That heat rises up through the rest of the house. Since the heating coils and heating elements run under all the floors, there are no cold spots because the air isn’t being disturbed by heated air being forced out into the room.  Like baseboard heating, the heating elements for radiant heating can either be electrical elements or hot water tubes.  One good thing about both of these heating systems is that they are both fairly energy efficient. That’s because there is relatively little heat loss like there is with a forced hot air system. The heat is more evenly distributed with both methods. The pipes that run through a baseboard system will hold heat even after the right temperature has been reached, and the pipes will still radiate that heat out into the room. With a radiant floor heating system, the floor will hold and radiate heat up as well.  If you are looking for a new heating system, whether you are renovating […]

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What Causes A Circuit Breaker To Shut Off?

There are various reasons for a circuit breaker to switch off and cut off power to an electrical circuit. Circuit breakers are designed to shut off power to a line when there is danger of an overload of the circuit or when a irregularity in connectivity is present. Although It may not seem so at the time power is lost, the tripping of a circuit breaker can prevent fires from overheating of electrical wiring and shocks or electrocution from loose wires or improper wiring. Troubleshooting a circuit breaker issue Overloading a circuit The primary reason for the consistent tripping of an individual circuit breaker is overloading. This occurs when too many electrical appliances are powered by a single circuit. This s caused by the ever increasing number of electrical appliances that are been added to homes, coupled with the use of power strips to multiply the number of appliances that can be plugged into a single circuit. Overloading can also be caused by the addition of a single high consumption appliance such as a portable air conditioner. These types of appliances may only trip a breaker when a surge of power is needed, such as when the compressor of an air conditioner turns on. However, this brief surge of power usage is enough to trip a breaker. Compensating for an overloaded circuit If you are experiencing repeated tripping of a specific breaker, you may choose to attempt to lessen the load on the circuit by moving some appliances to a different circuit. When the breaker shuts off power to a line, check other outlets in various rooms to see if they are still powered and transfer some of the more portable appliances such as phone chargers to the powered outlets. If all of the outlets in each room are on the same circuit, which is common in older homes, you may choose to have a home electrician upgrade a 15 amp circuit to a 20 amp line, or run additional lines from the breaker box to supplement  your current power supply. Adding a line is usually the best choice for a single higher powered appliance, which often require a dedicated line to handle their power requirements. Checking for loose or improper wiring You can check your outlets and overhead lights yourself for wires that may have become loose over time or that have been connected improperly in the past. You […]

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Tips For Spotting The Source Of Your Lighting Fluctuations

If the lights inside your house are flickering or dimming, even if it’s brief or intermittent, it’s something you need to be attentive to. There are many reasons for things like this to happen, including some potentially serious electrical issues. If you’ve seen this type of fluctuation happen more than once, it’s time to start narrowing down the source of the problem. Here are a few things to consider. Loose Wiring One of the most common causes of a lighting fluctuation like this is a loose connection on a wire. Whether it’s the circuit breaker or the outlet itself, a loose connection won’t be able to transmit the power consistently, which causes that fluctuation or flicker in the lights. The good news is that it’s easy to fix. If you shut off the main power breaker, you can remove the circuit breaker panel from the wall and tighten the loose connection. Outdated Wiring Systems If your home’s wiring is older, it increases the risk of surges and other fluctuations. If you purchased an older home, there’s a chance that the original wiring may still be in place. That can lead to excess power demand on those older electrical circuits, because they weren’t designed to support the kind of draw that subject things to. Most of the electronics and household appliances that we use every day will put greater strain on an older wiring system than you’d think. If you see those fluctuations more often when you’re running multiple appliances or electronics at one time, that’s a key indication that you have system overload. You’ll need to have the wiring system upgraded right away to avoid a potentially dangerous short or fire. External Power Supply Problems In some situations, the fluctuation has nothing at all to do with your wiring or anything else inside your home. It can be the result of fluctuations in the actual power feed that’s supplying your home. If your local electrical company is having surge problems, it can cause fluctuations and flickering in your home’s lighting. You can rule this out by calling your local power company to see if there have been any recorded issues in your immediate area. If you aren’t comfortable troubleshooting your home’s wiring issues, reach out to a local electrician, like O Toole Electrical Services Inc, who can test all of the wiring and help you determine the source of the issue. […]

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Troubleshooting Tips For Flickering Lights

It can be both annoying and mildly concerning to have an overhead light fixture that flickers. It can also be easy to ignore if the flickering isn’t constant but only happens occasionally. In some cases, a flicker can indicate a major or even dangerous problem. The following guide can help you troubleshoot and determine the cause. Check for external causes first Sometimes the flicker is completely normal. For example, if the flickering or dimming only occurs when the refrigerator compressor or furnace kicks on, then it is simply a momentary lapse in power when the new device began to draw electricity. It can also be normal for lights to flicker if there is a storm, especially one that involves wind or lightening. Inspect the bulb The light bulb can also be a cause of flickering lights. Begin by switching out the bulb to verify that there was no defect in the original bulb causing the flicker. If the new bulb continues to flicker, check that the wattage of the bulb is correct for the fixture rating – sometimes using too high of a bulb watt can lead to flickering. Another common bulb issue is using a CFL bulb with a dimmer fixture, since most CFLs aren’t rated for use in a dimming fixture. Switch it out for a dimmable bulb to see if this solves the flickering. Look for moisture One somewhat dangerous cause of flickering is moisture in the light fixture. Begin by shutting off the circuit breaker to the light. Next, remove the bulb and check for moisture in the bulb housing. Humid conditions, such as a steamy bathroom, can lead to moisture. Wetness in an overhead fixture could also be indicative of a roof leak, which has lead to wet wiring and a possible short and electrical fire risk. The flickering is caused by the electrical current arcing through the water droplets instead of through the bulb properly, which causes power surges to affect the bulb and lead to flickers. You will need to find the cause of the moisture and repair it before turning the fixture back on. You may also want to have an electrician check the fixture to make sure it isn’t damaged. Consider wiring issues Wiring issues are the most difficult to diagnose on your own without electrical training. Generally, if the flickering is only affecting the one fixture and there are no […]

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The ABCs Of Staying Safe During A Nighttime Power Outage At Home

With a sudden pop in the middle of the night, the power goes out and you and your family are left in the dark. Even though power outages are a fairly common thing, being stuck in the dark when it happens at night can still be a dangerous thing if you’re not careful. If you are stuck in your house with no power in the middle of the night, there are a few simple safety rules to keep in mind that will ensure the safety of your household.  Avoid using candles for light.  Candles should really only be used during a power outage if you have no other form of light. This is especially important at night when there could be a chance that someone could fall asleep with a candle burning, which is a leading cause of house fires across the country. It is much safer to rely on flashlights, which can often provide light for hours with one set of batteries. If you must use candles, make sure they are stable and burned only under a watchful eye.  Bring everyone into the same room.  When there is no power in the house, it will be much easier to keep tabs on everyone if they are in the same room. Additionally, keeping only one room lit with your flashlights or battery-operated lamps is much more feasible than trying to give everyone some form of light. In the winter, there is an advantage to bringing everyone into the same room during a power failure because you will stay warmer.   Call a 24-hour electrical service for advice.  If your power goes out suddenly and you are the only house on the block without electricity, make sure you turn off your main breaker and call a 24-hour electrical service (such as Direct Current) for advice. Not only will they be able to give you helpful advice over the phone, they will most likely dispatch someone right away who can take a look and make the necessary repairs. Some electricians even have a policy for overnight customers in which they promise to be at your home within an hour or two if you need help. Don’t forget to lock your doors and windows.  During a power outage, your home is left more vulnerable to people who have ill intentions. Any home security system you have in place will likely be compromised and […]

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Replacing The LED Lights In Your Dishwasher’s Touch Panel: Three Reasons Why You Need An Electrician

If you own a dishwasher and it has a touch control panel, then you may notice that each touch button has a small light next to it or directly underneath it that lights up when a button is touched. If the light does not light up anymore, you may want to have it replaced. A non-working light will not be able to tell you if that feature of the dishwaser is working or not, nor will it alert you to the fact that you signaled the dishwasher to use that cycle for your dishes. To replace this light (or lights, if you have more than one non-functioning light) you will need an electrician and here are three reasons why. The Touch Control Panel Is Part of the Door The touch control panel is part of your dishwasher’s door, which means that the door has to be dissassembled down to its most basic parts to get to the LED lights. This is not do-it-yourself territory, as you probably do not own most of the specialty tools you will need to take the door off of the dishwasher and then take it apart. Additionally, you may encounter some parts of the door that should not be forced apart or you may have to replace the entire door and not just the LED lights in the touch panel. The LED Lights Are So Tiny That Only Precision Tools of an Electrician Can Get Them Once the door is off the hinges and taken apart, your electrician will need to use some of his or her precision tools to get to the LED lights and remove them carefully without breaking them. These same precision tools are used to put the new lights in. Tiny, thread-like wires connected to an electrical plug-in chip are positioned and then carefully plugged in. Incorrectly plugging in the new LED lights and wiring may lead to a second dismantling of your dishwasher door to fix the new problem, so it is best left to your electrician. He or she will double-check the installation of these tiny components to make sure they work before putting the door back together. There Is Something Else Wrong with a Control Button If your electrician gets inside the control panel only to find that there is something else wrong or something more serious, then you may be glad you called him or her in […]

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