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Successfully Install a Light Fixture at Home in 5 Easy Steps

Install Light Fixture DIY

Replacing a light fixture proves to be a simple project. However, caution ensures it is not shockingly simple. With any electrical repair or installation, be sure to understand the steps to protect you and your home. We thought we would rundown a quick checklist of tips and safety precautions for the next time this shows up on your to do list.

First, turn off the power

Shutting off the light at the switch alone does not necessarily cut power to the wires. Head to the breaker panel to turn off power to the fixture you are working on. This important step ensures that power will be MIA in the box needing your attention.

For unlabeled panels, turn the light fixture on. Then, power off the circuits in the breaker panel one at a time until the source is revealed. Label the circuit, leaving it off. Turn the switch off in the room as well.

Remove the old fixture

Once the power is cut, you can remove the old fixture. Disconnect the fixture wires from the installed wires by removing the connectors and twisting the wires apart. Any remaining fixture parts can also be taken down.

Be sure to tighten the screws in the mounted electrical box, if they are loose. Also, be certain the box is suitable for the weight of the new fixture and is grounded. If not, install a new electrical box.

Connect the wires

You are halfway there. The three wires dangling from the electrical box should be white (neutral), black (current) and copper (ground). The manufacturer’s instructions provide further information on connecting the wires. Be sure to follow them carefully, even those of you who detest directions.

To get started, the black and white wires typically connect with their color matching counterparts. The copper, often green, wire connects to a grounding screw. Each wire attaches by twisting or wrapping its bare ends around the bare ends of its counterpart. The final step involves twisting on the wire connectors. And, tucking the wires back into the electrical box.

Attach the new fixture

The new fixture mounts to the electrical box with the provided hardware. In some cases, wisdom says to have an extra set of hands nearby. Heavy fixtures or those mounted on high ceilings may prove precarious for one installer. Mount any trims or covers, and adjust any chain lengths.

Once installed, locate the recommended, correct wattage bulb. LED bulbs are an efficient choice. Following both of these recommendations leads to greater bulb life, increased safety and decreased costs.

Turn on the power

While it may seem obvious, return to the breaker panel and turn the circuit on. Power is restored, and the switch should now be operational.

 

Enjoy the glow of a job well done! If you have any questions or concerns about this or other electrical happenings in your home, don’t hesitate to drop us a line.

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4 Tips & Tools for Preventing Electrical Fires

Preventing Electrical Fires

If the lights come on when you flip the switch, the refrigerator keeps food cold, and you’re able to watch your favorite shows on TV, that means that your electricity is working perfectly, right? Not necessarily. There are some not-so-obvious issues that could lead to potential electrical fires in your house. Here are four tips and tools you can employ to be sure that you’re actively preventing electrical fires at home.

1. Update home wiring older than 30 years
Faulty wiring is the leading cause of electrical fires, and the older your house is, the greater the chance your wiring is outdated or unsafe. Not only can you not be sure that your wiring is up to code, but it’s also possible that the wire insulation has deteriorated over time. It is well worth your investment to have a licensed electrician inspect your home’s wiring, especially if you’ve experienced any of the following:

  • Breakers that trip frequently
  • Flickering lights
  • Warm, discolored, or sparking outlets
  • Two-pronged, ungrounded outlets in your home
  • No GFCI outlets in areas like kitchens and bathrooms

Not only will your home be safer with updated wiring, but you may also receive a lower insurance premium as well.

2. Repair frayed electrical cords
You might think it’s ok to continue to use a charger or appliance that has a frayed electrical cord, but you put your home at risk of electrical fire by doing so. You also put yourself at risk of shock if you use a cord with exposed wires. Frayed cords can do damage to your appliances, so it can be a much cheaper option to repair damaged cords rather than continue to use them.

3. Install tamper-resistant receptacles
Tamper-resistant receptacles have spring-loaded shutters that close off the slots of your outlets unless a two-prong plug is inserted to cause both shutters to open. If you have children, we highly suggest that you have these receptacles installed. If your curious child inserts something like a key or hairpin into one opening of the outlet, there won’t be any contact with electricity. Not only will this protect children from shock and burns, but it’ll also prevent possible electrical fires.

4. Check your lamps
Light fixtures and light bulbs are common causes of electrical fires. Mainly, installing a light bulb that is too high of a wattage for the fixture is a major cause of fire. Placing flammable materials over a lampshade can cause a fire. Always check the wattage of light bulbs used in your fixtures and never go over the recommended amount, and keep your fixtures away from flammable materials.

Preventing electrical fire is a combination of vigilance on your part as a homeowner and finding a trusted, licensed electrician to make any repairs that are necessary. Contact the pros at Wire Craft Electric if you need an inspection or any repairs made to improve the safety of your home.

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Insider’s Guide to Common Home Electrical Problems

Common Home Electrical Problems

Electrical problems are really common, no matter where you live. There are some problems that are more common than others.

Problems with light bulbs and fixtures

Light bulbs can flicker and blink, which means that there is a poor connection somewhere along the circuit line. If the blink happens through a lot of the home, then there might be a bad connection in a main wire. Don’t worry, if you need someone to tell you if this is the case, we’re glad to help – just reach out.

Back to bulbs. Some lights get extra bright, while others run really dim. Bulbs might even be popping, which means that an electrical appliance could have died recently and maybe you don’t know about it. This is a condition that will continue to have negative effects in your home, so it’s best to get this checked out right away. Again, we’re happy to help and address issues like this all the time.

If a recessed light goes off sometimes, and it later works again, then this probably means that the wrong style or wattage of bulbs is being used, and that ceiling-space insulation is too close around the light.

Dead outlet problems

If a set of lights simply just went dead, then you probably have a very poor connection along a circuit. This is only a minor problem.

If half an outlet works and the other half doesn’t, then this probably means that one half might be energized by a wall switch. The other common cause of this is that that usage of this plug over time has loosened the hold that one half has on the cords you plug into it.

Tripping-breaker problems

If a circuit breaker or outlet has tripped off and it won’t reset, then it is probably responding to a condition elsewhere on the circuit that it is on.

If a circuit breaker often trips when the microwave or hair dryer is on, then these high-wattage items are probably too much for the circuit to handle. You might have to put these kinds of products on lower wattages in order to keep using them.

Problems with switches

If a wall switch gets really warm, this might be normal. It’s normal for them when running  600 watts worth of bulbs or less.

If a switch doesn’t seem to control anything at all, then you might have to replace some of the receptacles. They might have been disabled by how they were replaced at one time. This applies mainly to bedrooms and living rooms, though.

We hope this was helpful. Keep this saved so you can refer back to it when necessary. We’re also ready to answer specific questions if you still need something addressed, so contact us and let’s get started.

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7 Tips for Electrical Safety at Home

electrical safety

Electricity is an essential part of our lives, and using it safely is of vital importance. Every year, thousands of people in the U.S. suffer from injury and electrocution. As a result of electrical accidents and electrical fires in their homes. Preventing these injuries and fires will be easy by understanding basic electrical safety practices.

Here are seven tips for electrical safety at home.

Get to Know Your Electrical Panel for Electrical Safety

Your electrical panel is essentially a big switch with smaller switches that delivers electricity to different parts of your home. It’ll have a main breaker, which controls the entire panel, and smaller breakers that service specific rooms or appliances. If a breaker trips, you can identify it by it being in an off or nearly off position. Turn it completely off and back on to reset it. However, if it trips again right after it’s reset, that means there is potentially an electrical problem. Continuing to reset it can cause a fire, so contact an electrician to look into the issue for you.

Ground Older Appliances

A grounded appliance means that the appliance is connected to an electrical neutral, so the circuit breaker will be tripped if there is an electrical fault. This will protect you from electrical shock and injury.

Use Extension Cords Properly

Limit your use of extension cords if possible. If you need to use one, make sure it is the appropriate size for use, don’t connect cords, and don’t run it across doorways or under carpets. Instead of extension cords, consider having a qualified electrician add circuits or outlets.

Never Use Water on an Electrical Fire

Water conducts electricity, so throwing it on a fire could make the fire bigger. Use a chemical fire extinguisher instead. Make sure you always have one on hand.

Check Outlets and Switches

Wobbly switches or outlets that you should install properly. If it loose from the stud, you have to fix it. Faceplates that are warm to the touch could signify a number of electrical issues, as well. Always cut the power to outlets and switches before making any repairs or doing any investigation.

Practice Good Appliance Safety

Immediately unplug an appliance that isn’t working properly or is sparking. In addition to that, make sure to unplug appliances before cleaning or repairing. Turning off an appliance does not cut the electricity to it, only unplugging it does. If you’re using high-wattage appliances, make sure to only plug one into an outlet at a time.

Always Use A Qualified, Licensed Electrician

DIY electrical work can be dangerous and it is the best practice to contact a qualified and licensed electrician. They will help you to make any repairs or changes to your home’s electricity.

Contact the professionals at WireCraft Electric if you have any questions or concerns with your home’s electricity.

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Energy Efficient Tips for Your Home

Energy Efficient

There are many small steps homeowners can take to make their homes more energy efficient. Whether you’re looking to save on your monthly bill, make your house more green to do your part to protect the planet, implementing these quick and easy changes can add up to big savings and an even bigger environmental impact.

What is behind your walls?

Improving your insulation can make a significant difference on your home’s temperature… And in turn, your energy bills. Replacing the insulation in your ceilings, attic, walls, and basement can block the outside air from entering. 

Are you using the right power strip?

Newer power strips have the capability to help reduce wasted electricity from idle electronics. Advanced power strips have been designed to hold home entertainment and office equipment. 

Take a look out the window…

Windows can be some of the biggest culprits in letting in outside air, and allowing inside air to escape. Drafty windows can be drains that keep your home from operating at its maximum energy efficiency.

Switching to an upgraded grid is more energy efficient

Under the Recovery Act, homeowners across the country installed more than 15 million smart meters, which give consumers more direct access to the information about their home’s energy usage. The new electric grid has compatibility with software that allows homeowners to monitor their electricity consumption in smaller blocks of time, from between 15 minutes to one hour, and to pinpoint the exact source of electricity usage.

Bigger really is is better.

Installing a copper wire one size larger than the requirements has helped homeowners to see immediate savings. In addition to that, it also reduce the power losses, and more than make up for the investment of replacing the wire.

Call us at Wire Craft Electric when you’re ready to improve the energy efficiency of your Seattle-area home, 

Since 2004, we’ve been working to help homeowners make upgrades that will save them energy usage and money!

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5 Ways You’re Using Extension Cords Wrong

extension cords

Sometimes, you just need an extra outlet. Whether you’re trying to charge a device or gain some extra lighting, the first thought that usually crosses your mind is to grab an extension cord. Unfortunately, in more cases than we would like to see, homeowners are using extension cords incorrectly, which can cause several serious situations, like increased risk of shorts, fire hazards, and so much more.

Here are the top five wrong ways we’re seeing that people are using extension cords wrong:

The Wrong Size

Extension cords come in all shapes and sizes. While it may seem that these are more adaptable, different sizes are also indicators of the performance capacity of each extension cord. Each cord has a gauge that measures its size; a smaller gauge number indicates a larger wire. Large wires can safely transfer a higher electrical current. Likewise, longer cords aren’t able to handle as much current as a stronger cord that has the same gauge.

The Wrong Type

It’s best to buy the appropriate extension cord for your project: outdoor extension cords should be used for outdoor projects, because can withstand the elements. When you want to plug in appliances, choose round, thick, low-gauge extension cords, as they will allow for the best performance. Thin or flat cords of varying gauges are acceptable options for small appliances and electronics.

The Wrong Care

Certain habits can damage your extension cord and increase the risk of problems. When extension cords are in use, make sure they lay flat. Cords shouldn’t be coiled, bent, or twisted. Make sure that cords aren’t placed under rugs or furniture, and never adhere an extension cord to the floor or walls with nails or staples.

The Wrong Treatment

One bad habit we’ve seen is the removal of the grounding pin from a three-prong extension cord so that the cord fits in a two-prong outlet. Without the grounding pin on the ground, you’ll be more likely get sudden shocks. This can be from an appliance and electrical parts inside the chassis. It can become loose or move out of place and short-circuit the current. While both two-prong and three-prong extension cords are safe, removing components never is.

The Wrong Use

Attaching multiple cords together, or powering multiple appliances with one cord can cause a safety hazard. Make sure to always unplug unused extension cords. Use the plug to disconnect the extension cord. Remember that extension cords are only a temporary solution.

Give us a call today and we can help you decide if you need a permanent answer.

 

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Cool Your Home With 5 Efficient Ways (Seattle Summers)

 

cool your home

Summer’s coming, everyone. We’ve had a few gorgeous days of weather over the last couple of months, which has reminded us that now is the time to prepare for the season ahead. June and July is when the heat comes on full-blast in the Seattleland area, so we’ve compiled 5 helpful hints to cool your home, aside from the obvious solution of A/C or a multitude of fans taking up every outlet of your home. Even just following these simple steps can help immensely!

Lower the Shades

You can use the option to close your windows for the entire day to keep heat out, but if you miss the scent of fresh summer air, you can still cool your house down without going that drastic. Survey your home to determine when the sun hits the hardest and keep your shades and windows closed during that time. White window shades can be an added cooling aspect, but darker colors will absorb more heat. If you want to use air conditioning sparingly, this would be the best time of day to turn it on, using an energy-efficient setting. If you use a ceiling fan with your air conditioning unit, the air circulation will also increase the cool air flow.

Don’t Increase the Heat Load

Obviously, cooking creates a greater heat load in the house (summer is a great time for fresh salads and outdoor BBQ, or even an occasional set-it-and-forget-it crockpot meal, like this coffee-rubbed roast), but while we’re talking indoors: appliances such as washing machines, dryers and dishwashers can also generate a considerable amount of hot air. This can make it tough to cool your home for hours, even after they haven’t been in use. Keep appliances off during the day whenever possible, and if you must turn on the gas range or oven, only do it during the coolest times of the day.

Ventilate to Cool Your Home

Take advantage of the cooler days by using window fans. Window fans will maximize the cooling capacity by taking the cooler air from outside and bringing it inside. Keep all of your doors open and the fans situated on your house’s downwind side, facing out. When the temperature gets warmer, close the windows and trap the cooler air from earlier in the day inside.

Insulate

Make sure that your home is well-insulated around your windows and doors. Don’t forget to double check the insulation around air ducts in the basement and attic. If you have a fireplace, you should make sure that it is sealed. It may be allowing outside heat in.

Cast shade

Planting trees outside your house will cast large shadows on the sides of your house. It will significantly cool your home inside if you can invest the time it takes for them to grow. Keep in mind that even small trees can generate breeze. With that, you will experience some heat relief immediately upon planting.

Do you have any helpful tips for cooling down your home when the weather heats up? We’d love to hear from you. Feel free to leave a comment or your feedback on what’s worked for you. Also fee free to contact us if you need help with your home plans.

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Common Home Electrical Panel Problems

common electrical panel problems

Electrical problems are pretty common and sometimes these problems can be easy to fix. We thought it would be nice to do a little run-down of the most common electrical panel problems. You can expect to experience these problems in your home and it’s always better to know this.

Keep an eye out for these five issues with your electrical panel.

Corrosion

Corrosion is probably the most common problem, and it ranges from very minimal to very excessive. Any source of moisture, such as humidity or even a steady dripping of water entering from a main service wire, can do a whole lot of serious damage to electric panels.

If you can eliminate all sources of moisture in your home, you will do yourself a big favor and will avoid corrosion altogether. Once corrosion gets bad enough, electrical connections become compromised. You’ll probably have to get wires and other parts repaired or replaced.

Double taps

The term “double tap” refers to multiple hot or physical wires that are physically connected to a single lug.

This is most common on breakers, and is usually done because there are no more slots in the panel to add any new circuits. The only other option is to “tap” into an existing circuit at the breaker’s connection . While this is not usually a serious concern, double tapping is contrary to proper installation.

Oversized breakers or fuses

We call this problem as “overfusing”. This condition occurs whenever a load-carrying wire is obviously undersized when compared to the rating of the fuse or breaker to which it is connected. This condition can be very serious and has the potential to burn down a house!

Improper bonding

Box bonding is the best type of bonding to have inside a panel, but not all panels have it. Generally speaking, a typical interior main electric panel should have some type of panel enclosure. Any sub panel that resides within the same structure should not have any type of bonding in place.

Bad or missing handle ties.

A handle tie is the device which physically connects the two separate breaker switches on a 2-pole breaker. Take note you should not replace this tie with just any item. Most often, these ties are missing altogether.

Sometimes these materials are like a nail or a short piece of wire. This is a huge hazard and can cause many electrical problems.

If you have any further questions on these issues, request Wire Craft to check your electrical panel. Check out our website and request a service!

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Light Bulbs: Different Types and When To Use Them

light bulbsShopping for light bulbs seems like it should be a pretty straightforward thing to do, right? But, once you enter the light bulb aisle, it can become a bit overwhelming. Between lumens, energy savings, varying wattage, and more, it could be hard to know if you’re choosing the best bulb for your intended purpose. Different bulbs produce different lighting effects, and they can have varying performance, as well. Check out this short guide to give you a better understanding of light bulbs, so you’re well-equipped in determining how to choose the correct one.

CFL vs. LED

Compact Fluorescent (CFL) and Light Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs are both the most energy-efficient options. CFL bulbs do produce UV light and heat, while heat produced by LED bulbs is absorbed by a heat sink, so they stay cool to the touch.  CFL bulbs contain a small amount of mercury and last about nine years. LED bulbs contain no mercury and can last up to 20 years. Both can be used in standard light fixtures like table lamps, pendants, and ceiling fans, and CFL bulbs are a little less expensive than LED bulbs.

Halogen and Fluorescent

Halogen bulbs give off the light that is the most similar to natural daylight. They burn at a higher temperature and are most often used in under-cabinet lighting, pendant lights, or recessed lighting. Fluorescent bulbs are tubes filled with mercury vapor that emit UV light, and they contain a coating that turns the UV light into visible light. They are typically tube-shaped but also come in u-shaped and circular. They work well to light large areas like basements, attics, or garages.

Lumens and Watts

Lumens is the measurement of light emitted by a bulb. So, more lumens means a brighter light. Watts signify the amount of energy a bulb uses. Lower wattage means your energy bill will be lower, too. Even though CFL and LED bulbs use a lower wattage than standard incandescent lights, they emit the same amount of lumens. When choosing a bulb, you should never exceed the maximum recommended wattage for your light fixture.

Light Color Light Bulbs

Light color is measured by the Kelvin temperature scale. The lower the number means the more yellow the light while a higher number is a whiter – or, bluer – light. Warm white is great for bedrooms, dens, or living rooms. Bright, or cool white or cool white is ideal for kitchens, workspaces, and bathrooms.

Light Bulb Shape

LED, CFL, and halogen bulbs are available in a variety of shapes and bases to fit nearly any fixture. A good idea when lightbulb shopping is to bring in the old bulb, so you make sure you choose the correct base and size.

While the options for light bulbs can seem overwhelming at first, this guide should help you understand them a bit better – bookmark it so you can pull it up on your next trip to the hardware store. You can adjust light color, lumens, and light bulb shape depending on the room and the fixture, so the lighting in your home is always perfect for your needs. If you need light fixtures installed or have any lighting issues in your home, contact the professionals at Wire Craft Electric to help you out. You can submit your question or request on our contact form, and we’ll reach out right away.

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Top Electrical Problems in Older Seattle Homes

Purchasing an older home in Seattle often comes with many benefits – a great neighborhood, tons of character, and rock-solid construction. However, older homes come with their share of issues, too. Read on to learn about common electrical problems in older Seattle homes and how they can be solved.

top electrical problems

Top Electrical Problems – #1 Knob and Tube Wiring

Knob and tube wiring was the go-to method for electricians from the 1880s through the 1930s, and many continued to use the method all the way through the 1970s for new construction. If you purchase an older home, you might find “hidden” knob and tube wiring throughout the house.

The problem with knob and tube wiring is that it only has two wires:

A black or hot wire and a white neutral one.

There is no ground wire in the system. Knob and tube has restriction to a 60-amp service.

One of the biggest dangers of knob and tube is the fact that the insulation for the wires is from rubber instead of plastic. It worns down, leaving live wires exposed to air and moisture, which increases the chance of a short or fire. 

If you need to update the knob and tube system, add more circuits, or ground the electric, you’ll want to hire a reputable professional to do the job.

Top Electrical Problems – #2 Missing Junction Boxes

Some older homes in Seattle and the Puget Sound region don’t have a junction box. This is where they install a light fixture.

You’ll need to also install junction boxes if one of your home renovation plans is to install new fixtures. New light fixtures require them. Each installation needs individual execution. It may not be as straightforward even this may seem like a small job,

Wire Craft Electric can get junction boxes installation correctly for you. This will ensure you don’t have any issues with your new light fixtures.

Top Electrical Problems – #3 Moisture Intrusion

Seattle is not lacking in moisture, and sometimes that can pose a problem to your home’s electrical system. If your home’s electrical system has moisture, checking is a must. If any part of it is not rain-tight, you will not want to deal with that issues on your own and should contact a professional electrician.

Older homes hold plenty of charm and character. Problems can be visible or not.

If your older Seattle home has any electrical issues, contact the professionals at Wire Craft Electric.

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