Home Electrical Safety Inspection For Homes And Small Businesses

Ways to Be Safe Around Electricity: Electrical Safety Rules to Remember

We love electricity – it keeps us warm, makes our homes bright, allows us to access all of our entertainment, enables us to eat a warm meal whenever we want and so much more. Electricity has made our lives more enjoyable in so many ways– but that doesn’t mean it comes without its risks–we’ll walk you through some electrical safety tips that all homeowners should be aware of.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated annual average of 47,820 reported home structure fires in 2007-2011– all started by electrical malfunctions. The Electrical Safety Foundation International found that each day, seven children must be treated for injuries caused by electrical shock.

Gain some knowledge on basic electrical safety tips– these five tips will help you enjoy the devices and appliances you love while keeping everyone safe from harm.

Replace or repair damaged power cords

Exposed wiring is a danger that cannot go overlooked, the NFPA wrote. If you see the protective coating on a wire is stripped away, be sure to replace it or cover it with electrical tape as soon as possible.

 Don’t overload your outlets

Every outlet in your home is designed to deliver a certain amount of electricity; by plugging too many devices into it at once, you could cause a small explosion or a fire. If you have a lot of things to plug in, use a power strip (an energy saving one of course!) that can safely accommodate your needs.

 

Check that you’re using the correct wattage in all your fixtures and appliances.

Using the right bulbs can prevent electrical problems, so check all lamps, fixtures and appliances to ensure you’re using the correct wattage. If a light fixture has no wattage listed, use 60-watt bulbs or less. For unmarked ceiling fixtures, choose 25-watt bulbs.

Keep your used and unused cords tidy and secure to prevent damage.

Electrical safety rules don’t just apply to power cords when they’re in use—cords also need to be stored safely to prevent damage. Keep stored cords away from children and pets (who may chew on or play with the cords). Try to avoid wrapping cords tightly around objects; this can stretch the cord or cause overheating. Never rest a cord on a hot surface in order to prevent damage to the cord’s insulation and wires.

Unplug all your unused appliances to reduce potential risks.

One of the simplest electrical safety tips is also one of the easiest to forget: when an appliance is not in use, unplug it. Not only does this save you power by reducing any phantom drain (the amount of energy the device consumes even when not actively in use), but unplugging unused appliances also protects them from overheating or power surges.

 

Always be aware.

Never use metallic pencils or rulers, or wear rings or metal watchbands when working with electrical equipment. This rule is very easy to forget, especially when you are showing some electrical part pointing with metallic pencil.

Remember: gloves, clothes and shoes. 

When it is necessary to handle equipment that is plugged in, be sure hands are dry and, when possible, wear nonconductive gloves, protective clothes and shoes with insulated soles.

Like in previous rules – Always disconnect the power FIRST.

If an individual comes in contact with a live electrical conductor, do not touch the equipment, cord or person. Disconnect the power source from the circuit breaker or pull out the plug using a leather belt.

Tricky situation, and you must be very calm in order not to make the situation even worse.

 

Never try repairing energized equipment.

Always check that it is de-energized first by using a tester. When an electric tester touches a live or hot wire, the bulb inside the tester lights up showing that an electrical current is flowing through the respective wire. Check all the wires, the outer metallic covering of the service panel and any other hanging wires with an electrical tester before proceeding with your work.

Never use an aluminium or steel ladder

If you are working on any receptacle at height in your home. An electrical surge will ground you and the whole electric current will pass through your body. Use a bamboo, wooden or a fibreglass ladder instead.

Always check all your GFCI’s once a month.

A GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) is a RCD (Residual Current Device). They have become very common in modern homes, especially damp areas like the bathroom and kitchen, as they help avoid electrical shock hazards. It is designed to disconnect quickly enough to avoid any injury caused by over current or short circuit faults.

 

Avoid mixing liquids and electricity.

They should be kept as far apart as possible. Touch your appliances with dry hands only. Avoid placing water or other liquids on top of electrical appliances. Many of us use the TV top or microwave as a counter but that’s actually very dangerous if liquids spill into open slots and cause a short circuit. And while using a steam kettle, do not fill it up while it’s still plugged on

Make sure that your children do not walk in wet into the house directly from the rain or your swimming pool. Your home is a place that is full of electrical sources and could pose a threat to their safety. Get them to dry out completely before entering the house.

An Electrical Contractor Talks About Electrical Wiring

Examples of bad and dangerous electrical wiring systems

As a leader in fire damage restoration, MCH is often called to homes that have had an electrical fire. We have seen many dangerous electrical wiring systems that have failed and caused damage to the home. To keep you safe, we have pulled together some of the most common dangerous electrical wiring systems that we see.

General Bad Electrical Wiring

This doesn’t take much explaining! If your fuse box or electrical panel looks anything like this, it is time to call an electrician to get it sorted out. This many wires all over the place is a recipe for disaster.

Open Splice Causes Attic Fire

We came into this home after an electrical fire had occurred and knew immediately what happened. An open air splice in the electrical wiring systems caused a good sized fire in the attic of this home.

Wiring Issue in Ceiling

Wiring issues may not be where you can see them. We found this issue during an installation job, luckily we caught it in time!

Electrical Panel Issues

There can be issues in your electrical panel with the electrical wiring systems. Some are very noticeable while others are not

 

Electrical Wiring Basics

Home wiring is not something to fool around with. It is literally a life and death matter. Faulty wiring can lead to personal injury and electrically caused fires, both of which you want to avoid at all costs. In order to ensure your home wiring is done correctly, there are a few basics that you need to be aware of.

No Power = No Trouble

The key to safe basic house wiring is always keeping in mind that electricity packs a big, and deadly, punch. Even the most qualified electricians risk their lives if they don’t follow basic safety procedure. The best preventative measure you can take, whether you’re installing basic electrical wiring, or just examining the wiring you do have, is to always make sure the power is turned off from the get go. Whether you’re re-wiring your entire home or just replacing a faulty outlet, be sure to take a trip to the control panel and cut the power to the area you’re working on.

Know Your Electrical Code

With electrical work there is never an excuse not to follow rules and regulations. As mentioned before, electricity can be a dangerous animal if it isn’t treated properly. Your locality’s codes and regulations regarding residential wiring have been put in place for a reason: to protect you, the homeowner. Anytime you are working with basic house wiring, study up on standard procedures so you don’t put your family or yourself in jeopardy. And if you’re undertaking a major home wiring project, get familiar with your local inspector. Don’t view them as a hurdle to overcome, but as a valuable resource you can draw on to get the job done right.

Components of Basic Electrical Wiring

Besides safety considerations and regulations, the other thing you want to familiarize yourself with is the make up of your home wiring.

Service Entry. This refers to the point in your home where your electrical service goes from the main grid into your home. Your service entry is critical and there are a few things to keep tabs on. First of all, make sure any entry lines are at least 10 feet above the ground, inaccessible from windows, and free of obstructions such as tree limbs. Besides that, make sure your service entry is properly installed so no water can penetrate the access point.

Call in an Electrician

With most home improvement jobs you can do it yourself with a little elbow grease and patience. Electrical work is one of the exceptions. Unless you’re experienced in home wiring, you don’t want to do this job yourself. The safety risks are high enough that they greatly outweigh an electrician’s rate.

 

Home wiring

Homes typically have several kinds of home wiring, including Electrical wiring for lighting and power distribution, permanently installed and portable appliances, telephone, heating or ventilation system control, and increasingly for home theatre and computer networks.

Typical features

In new home construction, wiring for all electrical services can be easily installed before the walls are finished. In existing buildings, installation of a new system, such as a security system or home theatre, may require additional effort to install concealed wiring. Multiple unit dwellings such as condominiums and apartment houses may have additional installation complexity in distributing services within a house.

Power and telecommunication services generally require entry points into the home and a location for connection equipment. For electric power supply, a cable is run either overhead or underground into a distribution board in the home. A distribution board, or circuit breaker panel, is typically a metal box mounted on a wall of the home. In many new homes the location of the electrical switchboard is on the outside of the external wall of the garage.

Power point

Power points (receptacles, plugs, wallsockets) need to be installed throughout the house in locations where power will be required. In many areas the installation must be done in compliance with standards and by a licensed or qualified electrician. Power points are typically located where there will be an appliance installed such as telephone, computers, television, home theater, security system, CCTV system.

Light fittings and switches

The number of light fitting does depend on the type of light fitting and the lighting requirements in each room. The incandescent bulb made household lighting practical, but modern homes use a wide variety of light sources to provide desired light levels with higher energy efficiency than incandescent lamps. A lighting designer can provide specific recommendations for lighting in a home. Layout of lighting in the home must consider control of lighting since this affects the wiring. For example, multiway switching is useful for corridors and stairwells so that a light can be turned on and off from two locations. Outdoor yard lighting, and lighting for outbuildings such as garages may use switches inside the home.

 

Tricks for Running Wiring Through Your Walls

When it comes to residential electrical work, most people just call up an electrician without a second thought. And for good reason – working with electricity can be difficult and dangerous if not done properly. However, there are some simple jobs that amateur electricians can perform on their own if they have basic tools and experience. Read on for tips on how to run electrical wiring behind your walls without tearing up your home.

Get Started as a DIY Electrician

To get started, you’ll need a stud finder, a flex bit for your drill and a glow rod to pull the wiring through the holes you make. Before you start drilling any holes or messing with wires, you’ll need to decide where you want the wire to emerge from the wall or ceiling. Then, use the stud finder to ensure that you have a clear passage between the spots where you want the wire to enter and exit the wall. If you discover any crossbeams in the way, you can avoid a lot of work by adjusting your location to a more open area, unless it’s absolutely necessary that you pull the wire through to that exact spot.

Fishing the Wire Through the Wall

Now it’s time to actually fish the wire through the wall. If you tie a string to the drill bit, you can pull it back up to the entry point and use it to help thread the wire to its destination. This is where the glow rod comes in handy – you can attach it to the wire and help push or pull it through any tricky areas. As a bonus, the light from the glow rod helps you find your way behind the walls.

Expert Electricians to the Rescue

Once you have the wire where you need it, the difficult part begins – connecting your outlet or fixture, and adding the wire to one of the circuits in your home. If you are unsure about any step of the process, don’t hesitate to contact an expert electrician to come lend a hand

 

Common Electrical Problems Around The Home

FREQUENT ELECTRICAL SURGES

Electrical surges can be caused by anything from lightning strikes, damage to power lines, faulty appliances and bad electrical wiring in the house. While an actual surge only lasts a microsecond, frequent surges can damage the electrical components connected to your home, degrading their life expectancy significantly

SAGS AND DIPS IN POWER

Like electrical surges, sags and dips in electrical supply can often be attributed to devices connected to your power grid that are faulty or made with substandard materials, and draw a lot of power when they are turned on.

LIGHT SWITCHES NOT WORKING PROPERLY

Dimmer switches that don’t adjust light properly can often be attributed to shoddy workmanship or sub-standard products.

CIRCUIT BREAKER TRIPPING FREQUENTLY

High wattage items like microwaves and hairdryers can trip circuit breakers, particularly when other power consuming items are used on the same source. A circuit breaker is designed to protect you and your home, so when it does trip, that’s a sign it’s doing its job.

CIRCUIT OVERLOAD

One of the biggest causes of frequent circuit breaker tripping is the overloading of power boards. Most homes and apartments, even newer ones, don’t have enough power points to cater to, for example, a complete home entertainment unit setup. If circuit breakers in your home are tripping frequently

Make Sure Do Electrical Upgrades Routinly

Electrical Upgrades for DIYers

Many homeowners who think nothing of tackling painting, carpentry and plumbing projects turn timid when it comes to electrical work. A little fear isn’t necessarily bad when dealing with electricity — it could keep you from making a serious mistake. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t electrical projects you can handle. All you need is an understanding of how the electrical code applies to your project and some instruction on making proper wire connections

Installing an exterior floodlight — the first of three three simple, do-it-yourself upgrades we’ll be covering — can be done on virtually any house. To safely guide you through this upgrade, we enlisted the help of electrical contractor Peter Eng, owner of Electrical Enterprises Incorporated in Litchfield County, Connecticut. It took him a day to complete all three projects. To facilitate your work, we’ve included photographs that outline the basic steps and illustrations that show all the wiring connections. Consult with an electrician if your home is wired differently than the ways illustrated.

If you’re still not feeling confident, here’s an alternate approach: Run cables, install boxes, and wire in switches and outlets, then hire an electrician to make the final power hookups and check for any code violations. (Most municipalities allow you to do your own electrical work, though you’re never allowed to wire someone else’s home.) Also, get the proper permits from your local building department before starting. It’s the law, and you’ll also get the benefit of having your work checked both at the rough-in stage and when it’s completed

Before starting work, turn off the power at the main service panel. Plug a lamp or circuit tester into the circuit you’re working on to confirm the power is off. Finally, if you have any questions or concerns, always consult with a licensed electrician or building inspector before you proceed. Electrical work isn’t difficult, but the consequences for not doing it right can be serious

Installing a Floodlight

Light up your life — or at least your backyard — with a floodlight. Our installation solves a common problem: A deck without adequate lighting for itself, a staircase, or the adjacent yard. The solution called for installing a two-lamp floodlight ($12) high up on the house wall. As with most electrical upgrades, this one relies on tapping into an existing circuit. If you’re not sure whether or not a circuit can support the upgrade, check with an electrician. An overloaded circuit is a fire hazard.

 

FIXING UP A HOUSE? ELECTRICAL UPGRADES WORTH YOUR MONEY

If you are upgrading a house, whether it be a fixer upper you have just moved into, a potential real estate flip, or you have simply finally gotten around to upgrading your own home, some electrical upgrades will be much more worth your time than others. Here is a quick guide to understanding some basic electrical upgrades, and a few tips for ensuring that you get the most bang for your buck

When prioritizing upgrades, the first priority should always be safety. While it isn’t glamorous, a safe electrical system is not something you can afford to skimp on. Some older systems use components which have been found to be unreliable. Alternatively, they may have been exposed to damage as a result of weather or aging. Your first priority when dealing with an electrical system which is in an unknown condition should be to hire a competent electrician to come and evaluate the current condition of the system. They should be able to give you a breakdown of any potential safety hazards which they find

Safety is important for a number of reasons. Obviously, no one wants to have themselves or their family exposed to electric shock. But electrical fires can be just as deadly, and can strike when you least expect it. Additionally, insurance can be hard to procure, or significantly more expensive if you have a damaged or not inspected electrical system. If you can assure your insurance company that the electrical system is in excellent condition and has been inspected and repaired recently, you can guarantee that your dealings with them will be much easier

Once you are satisfied that the electrical system is using modern electrical components, fits within the safety guidelines of the electrical code, and is not a large risk for causing damage, you can begin to assess where upgrades will be most beneficial. As is often the case, this will depend on things like the location of the house, the priorities of the owner, and the current economic climate. For example, if you want to save money spent on power, common upgrades can increase the electrical efficiency of the home. Installing new refrigerators, HVAC, and other large appliance can allow you to benefit from recent technological developments which have increased the efficiency of the technologies behind them. Similarly, making sure all of your wiring is well insulated, and that the circuits are appropriate for the load upon them can help to prevent electrical loss. Furthermore, installing electrical metering tools can help you better understand where your power is going, empowering you to take charge of your electrical expenditure.

While some older features will need to be replaced as part of the safety inspection, other older parts of a system might be merely inconvenient, or might be a lower safety priority. One way to increase the value of your home while also increasing its usability is to upgrade your electrical sockets. An ancient two prong plug might be more than a bit of an eyesore. When people cut off the third prong of their electrical device, they create a serious electrical hazard. It is much better to hire a trained electrician to install an upgraded socket which can interface successfully with whatever electrical device you are using. Similarly, there are options for GFCIs ( which are mandated in some settings) and child safety electrical outlets. Depending on your situation, it might make sense to install these in different locations. Installing these can be more complex than you realize, and it should not be attempted without significant experience. Proper installation will involve running wires from your main electrical panel to the outlet, and is much more involved than simply changing out the cover on the outlet.

 

Reasons You Need to Upgrade Your Home Electrical System

The electrical systems in a home are usually ignored by most people—until something goes wrong, at least. When a home electrical system suddenly fails, that’s when people start to take notice and try to find ways to fix it. However, it can pay to hire electrician services to make some electrical upgrades to your home sooner rather than later.

To Bring Your Home Electrical System up to Code

Building codes may vary from one year to the next, and new safety standards may have been implemented since your home electrical system was installed or updated last. Performing an electrical upgrade can help bring your home’s wiring back in line with current building codes

To Prevent Fire Hazards

When electric system maintenance falls behind, there is a risk that frayed wires and other issues can create fire hazards. So, one reason to upgrade your home electrical system is to minimize fire risks

To Meet the Power Needs of New Appliances

The average household consumes a lot of energy—and that amount is likely to rise as more and more modern technologies rely on electricity. In fact, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), “In 2017, the average annual electricity consumption for a U.S. residential utility customer was 10,399 kilowatt hours (kWh), an average 867 kWh per month.”

To Add New Outlets for Added Convenience

Here’s a common problem: you want to move your TV to a different wall, but there aren’t any outlets near where you want to put it. Maybe the house is old enough that electrical outlets weren’t a major concern or the designer had a specific layout in mind that you don’t want to conform to. Either way, the lack of electrical sockets is going to be inconvenient for your plans.

 

Electrical Upgrade Tips from a Commercial Electrician

Remodeling a building is an expensive undertaking, so if you have an elaborate plan on how to give your property a fresh new look, or are simply making upgrades to ensure your building is running as efficient as it can, you will want to make sure you have a commercial electrician on your team. Between having to move around your building’s electrical wiring, and understanding how much power your updated building will require, a commercial electrician is essential. If you are looking for a commercial electrician in Thurmont, or the surrounding areas, read on to learn more from ALC Weaver Electric.

Commercial Electrician or DIY?

It may be temping to have a friend, or unlicensed contractor, work on your building to save money and move the project forward at a fast pace, but this can lead to major issues down the road. It is essential to find a licensed commercial electrician as you begin to plan your upgrades so that they can be involved during the whole process

Upgrade with Smart Systems for the Modern Business Owner

More and more, businesses are turning to smart systems to partially automate their buildings. From automated lighting to smart thermostats, there are endless opportunities for your business to become more automated. In addition to the money-saving benefits of smart systems, they can work together to give a building a unique, and custom, look. Want to soften the lighting as the sun begins to set? Lower the blinds to block reflections for your customers? All of this is available with smart systems

Don’t Have a Solid Plan? Lean on Your Commercial Electrician in Thurmont to Help Create a Custom Layout

Do you know you want to make some upgrades but don’t know where to begin? Do you have some ideas but are overwhelmed by the idea of putting them into motion? Meeting with a licensed electrician should help ease your mind. Since they are used to working with building contractors, they are familiar with the amount of time (and money) that certain projects involve. They can help you understand better ways to lay out your space based on your current wiring, and they can work with you to create a plan based on your current budget.

Get in Touch With a Commercial Electrician in Thurmont to Start Your Next Project

ALC Weaver Electric’s commercial electricians are experts at working on commercial properties in Thurmont, Maryland, and the surrounding areas. If you need a commercial electrician in Thurmont, or the surrounding areas, click here to receive a free estimate for your project

 

When It’s Time for an Electrical Wiring Upgrade

The lights come on when you flip the switch, the TV works, and the refrigerator keeps food cold. That means the electrical wiring must be fine, right? Not necessarily. There may be times, especially if your house is more than 40 years old, when you need to upgrade electrical wiring for safety, or because the existing wiring no longer meets your family’s power needs.

Safety Issues with Older Wiring

Faulty wiring is the leading cause of residential fires, according to a 2009 study by the National Fire Prevention Association. And the older your house is, the greater the chances that the wiring might be outdated or unsafe

Be on the Lookout for Aluminum Wiring

Instead of the standard copper wire, many houses built in the 1960s and early 1970s have aluminum wiring, which is considered a safety hazard. “Aluminum wiring connections often loosen up over time,” says Greg Fletcher, a master electrician, educator, and author of several books on wiring. “That can cause overheating and possibly fires at receptacles when appliances are plugged in to them.” An inspection can determine whether it’s safe to leave the wiring in place. Sometimes the addition of copper connectors, called pigtails, at receptacles and circuit breakers can resolve potential problems.

When You Need More Power

Sixty amps used to be the standard for household power. Today, houses often need 200 amps to run air conditioners, flat-screen TVs, computer equipment, and all the other gadgets our parents and grandparents hardly imagined

Prepare to Open Your Walls — and Your Wallet

Upgrading electrical wiring is a big job, for one simple reason: All the wires are behind the walls. Every house is different and prices vary by market, but for a whole-house rewiring job, you’re easily looking at a bill of several thousand dollars. The vast majority of that is the labor involved to get to the wires, run new ones, connect them to every switch and outlet, close up the holes, and clean up the mess.

Must Learn How To Switches Installation

Do it Yourself Light Switch Installation

Changing a Light Switch

Homeowners may choose to replace or upgrade a light switch for functional or for aesthetic reasons. Changing the light switch is a simple and inexpensive DIY project.

Understanding how the switch is wired is the most important part. When you turn on a light switch, power goes to the light through the “hot” (black) wire and then back through the neutral (white) wire to the ground. The bare or green-wrapped ground wires serve as a backup to divert the power safely away in case of an electrical fault.

In most cases, two black wires will be attached to the switch’s two terminal screws. The white wires will be connected to each other but not to the switch itself; this connection is typically secured by a plastic wire nut. The ground wires will be connected to each other and attached to the grounding screw on the switch.

Turn Off Power

Turn off the power to the circuit at the circuit breaker or fuse box. You can double check to ensure that it was turned off by flipping the switch in an attempt to operate a light, and by using a voltage tester once the switch plate is removed to confirm that the wires are not charged.

Remove Switchplate and Switch

Use a flathead screwdriver to remove the switch cover, and a Phillips head screwdriver to remove the existing switch from the box.

Remove Wires From Old Switch

Use a screw driver to loosen the screws holding the electrical wires on the side of the switch, and then disconnect the wires from the switch itself. Pay attention to the wire colors and where they had been attached on the old switch, as you will be duplicating their placement on the new switch. Using needle nose pliers will be helpful while working in this small space. Keep the wires separated by bending them to opposite corners of the box. If the switch is grounded, remove the grounding wire last.

Attach New Switch

There will be three wires: one black, one white, and a separate ground wire that may be bare copper or is sometimes wrapped in green. Inspect the quality of the wires. If any of the wires seem weakened, trim and re-strip the end of the wire to meet your needs.

Identify the three different colored wires, and attach the new light switch to the wires in the same way they had been attached to the old switch. If your wires are solid copper, create a loop in the end of the wire with the pliers and guide it around the screw on the side of the switch. Tighten the screw, ensuring that the wire is securely held beneath the screw and is not splaying to the perimeter of the screw. If your wall wire is composed of a group of smaller wires, use the pliers to gently twist the ends of the wires together to make them “whole,” and then follow the same direction.

Attach Switch and Reinstall Plate

Once the wires are attached, you can gently fold any excess wire and compress the dimmer into the electrical box. Move slowly to ensure the wires don’t loosen or break if you have to force the switch into position. Tighten the screws to secure the switch to the box, and fit the switch plate. You may find that tightening or loosening the switch in the box by a few small twists of the screw driver makes a difference with how well the plate fits over the box. Once the cover is in place, turn the breaker or fuse back on, and check your handiwork.

 

Switches vary in both the number of poles and the number of throws.

Most switches have one or two poles and one or two throws. This leads to four common combinations: Switches with more than two poles or more than two throws are not commonplace, but they do exist. Rotary switches lend themselves especially well to having many throws. For example, the rotary switch in a multimeter typically has 16 or more throws, one for each range of measurement the meter can make.Here are a few other points to ponder concerning the arrangement of poles and throws:

  • A common variation of a double throw switch is to have a middle position that does not connect to either output. Often called center open, this type of switch has three positions, but only two throws. For example, an SPDT center open switch can switch one input between either of two outputs, but in its center position, neither output is connected.

 

Replace an Outlet

Replacing an electrical outlet is just as easy as replacing a switch. In fact, it follow basically the same procedure and you don’t need to worry nearly so much about getting the right type of outlet. Outlets come in three types:

  • Ungrounded. An ungrounded outlet only has two holes. It doesn’t have the round third hole used for grounding. You typically only see these in older houses.
  • Grounded. This is the standard three-prong outlet you’re probably most familiar with.
  • Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFC or GFCI). This type of switch has a built-in breaker that automatically and instantly disconnects the switch, interrupting power in case of a short. You typically find them in areas that might be exposed to water or excessive moisture, like bathrooms, garages, and workshops.

When it comes to replacing the outlet, the procedure is pretty simple. Make sure the power is off. Remove the faceplate and remove the screws holding the outlet in its box. Pull the outlet and wires out from the wall enough that you have space to work. Note where the white (neutral), black (power), and green or bare copper (ground) wires are attached on the existing outlet. Remove them and attach them to the same place on the new outlet. Turn the breaker on to test the outlet and, if it works, turn the breaker off and secure the outlet back into the wall. It’s as simple as that.

 

How to Add a Second Light Switch Without Wiring

Once you get the new switch and your tools, you can get started. Go to your breaker box and turn off the power to the lights that you want to control. After yo udo this test to make sure there is no power to the lights or switch by trying to turn it on.

  1. Unscrew the wall plate.
  2. Unscrew the existing switch.
  3. Mark the wires before you remove them.
  4. Disconnect the wires from the current switch.
  5. Connect wires to the corresponding parts of the Lutron switch.

Once you have these steps done, you should secure the switch, but don’t reinstall in the wall yet. Turn the power back on and make sure the switch works. If it does, turn the power back off and screw the switch in place and put the wall plate on. If it doesn’t, you can troubleshoot.

 

Does it matter which black wire goes where when changing a light switch?

The black wire is the hot wire, the one you should never touch with the power on. Correction: never touch any wire with the power on, and use a meter to double check they are all off before touching anything.

Next, never do any wiring unless you completely understand the task at hand.

If you have two black wires in the box one may be bringing power in, and the other leading it out. If that is all that is there then the switch can go between them in either order. If you have anything else stop and get further help where you can post pictures and a better description of this spot. Properly you should have a black always hot wire bringing power in and a red wire going to the light. Red means the line may be switched.

Sometimes electricians go cheap and use black instead of red.

Make A Good Electrical Panel Upgrades

Should I Upgrade My Electrical Panel? 10 Reasons to do it.

Should I upgrade my electrical panel? The electrical panel remains one of the most essential components of the house. The electrical panel brings comfort and convenience to the residents in the form of electricity. This device is responsible for providing power throughout the entire house. After some time, the electrical panel becomes old or outdated. At this point, you are faced with the question: should I upgrade my electrical panel? There are various kinds of electrical panel upgrade. You can upgrade electrical panel to 200 amps. You can also replace fuse box with breaker panel. Continue reading to discover more about electrical panel replacement and upgrade.

Why Should I Upgrade My Electrical Panel?

Various reasons why you may need electrical panel upgrade include:

  1. Your Home is Old

Old residential apartments offer cozy and retro atmosphere. This is not present in a modern home. However, these older apartments with obsolete electrical panels may not be able to support your modern electrical needs. If your old home has a 60-amp electrical panel, you may need to upgrade electrical panel to 200 amps. This way, you can use modern electrical equipment you need.

  1. Introduce New Appliances

Furthermore, outdated electrical panels may not be able to handle the workload required to power an entire home of new major appliances. This includes your refrigerator, air conditioning unit, hot tub, dryers, water heaters, and washing machine. The majority of these electrical appliances require a 240V circuit. If you want to introduce new appliances, electrical panel replacement or upgrade will be a good idea.

  1. Replace Fuse Box with Breaker Panel

What’s more, fuses have become outdated. Circuit breakers are now more efficient. They do not trip off due to overload. An electrical panel replacement offers you an excellent opportunity to replace fuse box with breaker panel. In case you are wondering why should I upgrade my electrical panel? Then, you may need to do so to replace your fuse-based electrical system with circuit breaker.

  1. Prevent Potential Electrical Fires

Over time, over-crowded connections can turn to loose connections. Thus, causing a wiring fault which can potentially lead to electrical fires. Electrical panel upgrade can help prevent possible electrical fires.

  1. Ensure Steady Flow of Electricity

Additionally, a new electrical panel will help ensure the steady flow of electricity. With this, you don’t have to worry about issues of burnt out appliances and flickering lights. If you are still wondering why should I upgrade my electrical panel? This may be a good reason to.

  1. Add More Appliances

From time to time, you may need to add more electrical appliances to your home. If you replace fuse box with breaker panel, you can easily add even more appliances to your home. Also, you don’t have to worry about blowing any fuse, tripping your breaker, or damaging your current appliances.

  1. Expect Fewer Power Surges When You Upgrade Electrical Panel to 200 amps

Furthermore, electrical panel replacement or upgrade also prevents recurring power surges. If you upgrade electrical panel to 200 amps, you can anticipate fewer power surges. Thus, adding more years on your current devices.

  1. Reduce Homeowner Insurance

In addition, electrical panel upgrade can help in reducing your homeowner’s insurance bill. When you replace fuse box with breaker panel, your home becomes safer. Hence, you will qualify for a discount on your annual bill. You will also benefit from rebates and discounts from the local electrical company. In case you are wondering why should I upgrade my electrical panel? Then, a reduction in your homeowner’s insurance is a great reason to.

  1. Save Cost

Moreover, scheduling an electrical panel upgrade will help save cost. A new panel runs more efficiently. Hence, when you update your electric panel, you can save you money on your electric bill every month.

  1. Increase Your Home Value

Lastly, electrical panel upgrade can help increase the value of your home. These new breaker panel and switchboards are aesthetically pleasing. It will increase the value of your home. It will also give you the peace of mind that the electrical panel is not the hazard it once was.

 

 

Electrical Panel Upgrade Definition:

Electrical panels divide incoming electrical power from the grid into subsidiary circuits to distribute power throughout the building. With a 25-40 year lifespan and an ever-growing reliability on electricity, these panels need upgrading and replacement.

Breaking Down an Electrical Panel Upgrade:

When to Consider Upgrading Your Electrical Panel? There are two scenarios when you should consider upgrading your current electrical panel.

The first is if you are experiencing electrical problems in your home. If you notice flickering lights or you have to turn off one appliance to use another, then the circuit breakers on the electrical panel could be overloaded. This will lead to your breakers tripping often or eventually failing to trip and overheating. This can cause irreversible electrical damage from wires melting and potentially catching fire on the side of your home.

The second scenario when you should consider upgrading your electrical panel is if you are looking to expand your electricity demand in your home. Some examples of this include getting a hot tub, installing an HVAC system, or installing a solar system on your roof. During these home improvement projects is a good time to visit upgrading your electrical panel both from an efficiency and safety perspective.

 

Give Your Home An Electrifying Upgrade

What’s the capacity of your service panel?

Electrical panels are one of those things that just work until they don’t. Most homeowners know how to reset a circuit breaker that trips, but few people besides electricians give the industrial grey box in the garage or laundry room much thought until the lights go out.

Next time you’re near your service panel, take a look inside. There will be one large breaker separate from the others. It should be marked as 80 Amp or higher. This is the maximum capacity of your entire home’s electrical system, in amps.

Why do amps even matter?

Amps are a measure of how much electricity can flow through a circuit. Your home is divided into multiple circuits, which all meet at the service panel.

Both the individual circuits and the master service panel have a limit to how much electricity can flow through them before they overheat.

Circuit breakers in the main panel cut power to individual circuits if they start to draw more current than is safe.

But most older breaker panels can’t handle anywhere close to the sum of all your home circuits. So on an older breaker panel, when you plug in a hair dryer, a coffee pot, then somebody goes to make toast, it’s lights out. Too much power has been drawn from the whole system, even if no single circuit was overloaded. The culprit is a low capacity service panel.

Advantages of a 200 Amp Service Panel

Safety

An upgraded service panel can let your home electrical system use more power safely. Even if you aren’t tripping the breakers right now, a 100 amp panel in a modern home is running far too close to capacity to be safe for long term use.

As a rule, no electrical circuit should sustain loads of more than 80% the maximum capacity. The extra amperage capacity is a safety buffer electrical engineers build into home circuits so that a sudden power spike doesn’t dangerously overload wires and outlets.

This means that in a 100 amp system, you shouldn’t draw more than 80 amps. Out of this capacity, 15 to 20 amps will be used for home lighting. Another 20 amps will be used for an air conditioner or heater.

Before you’ve even turned a radio on, that’s halfway to your home’s safe capacity. Add a few computers , smartphone chargers, a television, and youre evening power draw will be easily over the safe limits of the system.

What happens then? A best case scenario is a breaker trips when the system hits the absolute limits of the system’s safe working capacity. In an older system, it’s also possible that an electrical fire could be sparked by an overloaded outlet or light fixture.

More Circuits

Even if your current system has a total capacity to meet your home’s needs, the individual circuits are often limited. Smaller service panels have less room for circuits, and those circuits are usually rated for lower amp draw than larger panels.

This can come in handy in a couple of ways.

By dividing your house into more circuits with less things attached, you can run more gadgets on the same electrical capacity.

This can really come in handy if you ever use power tools. Having your workshop split across two circuits can let you run larger tools, and if you ever work on projects with a friend or your kids, it can let you run multiple shop tools at once without overloading any circuits.

Room to Grow

If you’re considering any major home upgrades like a backyard pool  or a basement bar, upgrading to a 200 amp service panel will give your power to spare. It’s also a good starting point if you’re planning to upgrade your office or home theater, which can be major power sinks even with modern equipment.

Upgrade your service, not just your panel!

After your service panel is upgraded, there’s a step you can take to get even higher performance from your home electric system.

Just by upgrading to a 200 amp panel, you’ll be able to take full advantage of your 100 amp service without losing 20% to safety limits.

If you want even more power, most homes can be switched to higher amp service. This can give you a safe working capacity of 160 amps in your home, with a 40 amp reserve for high-draw situations like Christmas lights or an electric snowblower.

How much power do you need?

200 Amps is the minimum recommended service panel size in full size modern homes. Some situations will require significantly more. Larger homes or homes with a machine shop or car lift in the garage can require as many as 400 amps. It’s best to ask your electrician for advice on this, but this formula can give you a ballpark idea of what you need:

  • Multiply your living space in square feet by 3. This is your lighting and electrical outlet needs (in watts)
  • Add 1500 watts to that for each circuit that mainly runs appliances, like in laundry rooms and kitchens.
  • Add the real wattage of any dedicated circuits, like air condtioners and pool pumps.
  • Set aside the first 10,000 watts. Find 40% of what’s reamining, and add that to 10,000. This is how many watts your home will draw.
  • Divide your calculated watts by 230. The quotient is how many amps your service panel must provide to safely meet your energy needs.
  • Now, remember what we said about 80% being the maximum safe capacity. If you calculate a number higher than your current service panel, an upgrade is in order. But if that number is greater than 80% of your current panel’s maximum capacity, an upgrade will stbill be needed for safety purposes.

 

 

Understanding Your Home’s Electrical Load

You don’t need to be an electrician to know the capacity of your home’s electrical load. Brush up on some basic knowledge about fuse boxes and service panels that will help you use energy safely and efficiently.

A basic understanding of your home’s electrical load is important knowledge for homeowners. After all, there will certainly come a time in your home’s life when you’ll need to shut off or restore power. We’ll walk you through four key tools for working with electrical loads: how to evaluate your home’s load, how to add capacity, how to understand the size of your load, and how to inspect a service panel.

Evaluate Your Home’s Power Load

Different homes need different amp services. A 60-amp service is probably inadequate for a modern home. A 100-amp service is good for a home of less than 3,000 square feet that does not have central air-conditioning or electric heat. A home larger than 2,000 square feet that has central air-conditioning or electric heat probably needs a 200-amp service. Use the equation listed above to deduce exactly how many amps your home needs.

Add Capacity to Your Load

Installing a new circuit is not difficult, but before you begin, make sure your service panel can handle the extra load. A service panel with too many circuits is dangerous.

Fuse boxes rarely have space for new circuits. If you have a fuse box and need new service, replace the fuse box with a new service panel or install a subpanel.

If you see an available slot in a breaker box, either an open space or a knockout that can be removed, chances are you can simply install a new breaker there and run cable to it. If there is no open space, local codes may allow you to replace a single breaker with a tandem breaker, which supplies power to two circuits.

Make sure you do not overload your service panel. A panel’s total amperage is printed near or on the main circuit breaker, which controls all the circuits in the panel. Most breaker boxes are 100, 150, or 200 amps. Add the amperages of all the individual breakers in the box. The total may be more than twice the total amperage of the box. For example a 100-amp service panel may have circuit breakers that add up to more than 200 amps. This is normal.

Take your total amperages and the name of the service panel manufacturer with you to meet with the inspector to ask about adding another circuit. Or compute your home’s power needs.

Know the Right Size:

  • Small Fuse Box

It’s also important to know the size of your electrical load box. A small, 60-amp fuse box may be found in an older home that has not had its wiring upgraded. It can supply power to only one 240-volt appliance and is probably inadequate for a home of 1,200 square feet or more.

  • Medium-Size Service Panel

A 100-amp service panel provides enough power for a medium-size home, even if it has several 240-volt appliances and central air-conditioning.

  • Large-Capacity Service Panel

Many newer homes and some older large homes have a 150- or 200-amp service panel.

How to Inspect a Service Panel

A service panel should be located where adults can get to it easily but children can’t. Any exposed cables leading to it should be firmly attached to the wall and clamped tightly to knockout holes in the panel. If there are any open holes, cover them with a knockout plug (available at hardware stores).

If a 14-gauge wire is connected to a 20-amp circuit breaker or fuse, replace the breaker or fuse with one that is 15 amps to prevent the wire from overheating. In most cases, a 20-amp fuse or breaker should connect to a 12-gauge wire; a 30-amp fuse or breaker should connect to a 10-gauge wire.

Wires should run in a fairly orderly way around the perimeter of the panel. If you find a hopeless tangle, call in an electrician for an evaluation. Also call in a pro if you find melted or nicked wire insulation, any signs of fire, or extensive rust.

In an older home there’s a good chance that new wiring has been added to a service panel. It may have been done by a pro, but it could be amateur work too, so check all the connections.

 

Understanding Electrical Capacity

Calculating how much power your home needs is a matter of calculating the amperage load of all the various appliances and fixtures, then building in a margin of safety. Generally, it’s recommended that the load never exceeds 80 percent of the electrical service’s capacity.

To use the math, you need to understand the relationship between watts, volts, and amps. These three common electrical terms have a mathematical relationship that can be expressed in a couple of different ways:

Volts x Amps = Watts

Amps = Watts/ volts

These formulas can be used to calculate the capacity and loads of individual circuits, as well as for the entire electrical service. For example, a 20-amp, 120-volt branch circuit has a total capacity of 2,400 watts (20 amps x 120 volts). Since the standard recommendation is for the load to total no more than 80 percent of the capacity, this means that the 20-amp circuit has a realistic capacity of 1920 watts. So to avoid the danger of overloads, all the light fixtures and plug-in appliances together on this circuit should consume no more than 1,920 watts of power.

It is fairly easy to read the wattage ratings of all the lightbulbs, television sets, and other appliances on the circuit to determine if a circuit is likely to overload. For example, if you routinely plug a 1500-watt space heater into a circuit, and run several light fixtures or lamps with 100-watt bulbs on the same circuit, you have already used up most of the safe 1920-watt capacity.

The same formula can be used to determine the capacity of the house’s overall electrical service. Because a home’s main service is 240 volts, the math looks like this:

240 volts x 100 amps = 24,000 watts

80 percent of 24,000 watts = 19,200 watts

In other words, a 100-amp electrical service should be expected to provide no more than 19,200 watts of power load at any given time.