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Helpful Information Electric Vehicles and EV Chargers

The Tax Benefits of Electric Vehicles

It’s true, electric vehicles can save you a lot of money in the long run! But, did you know that there are still tax benefits of purchasing an EV?

The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 changed the rules for EV credits from 2023 to 2032, giving consumers more time to take advantage of this credit and adopt trendy electric vehicles.

To qualify for the credit, you must:

  • Buy the EV for your own use, not for resale
  • Use it primarily in the United States
  • Your modified adjusted gross income may not exceed:
    • $300,000 for married couples filing jointly
    • $225,000 for heads of households
    • $150,000 for all other filers

For more information, visit the IRS website.

You need more than just an electric car, you need an EV Charger

The one small headache of buying an electric vehicle is charging it. You can charge electric vehicles with a standard wall outlet at your home but it will take a lot longer to get the car fully charged.

For those that live in a condo or an apartment, getting access to an outlet isn’t that easy to do. Luckily, some complexes will have designated parking spots with charging stations.

But the most ideal situation for homeowners is to setup a charging station with the help of an electrician. As we mentioned, a standard outlet will be enough but it could take 24 hours to full charge an empty battery.

So, we recommend looking into a Level 2 EV charger. These are the fancy chargers that you might have seen at a friends house. Level 2 EV Chargers require a 240 volt AC plug which isn’t your common household outlet. 

Most vehicle purchases do not come with this charger so you will need to purchase it separately. Once you do that, a company like Wire Craft can help you safely install it into your home. 

Are you curious about EV batteries?

Most manufacturers have a 5-8 year warranty on batteries but the industry is predicting that batteries will last from 1–20 years before they need to be replaced. EV batteries lose the amount of charge it can hold based on the number of times the battery undergoes the discharge and charge process.

Need an electrician to install an EV charger for your new car?

Are you all in on an electric vehicle? Get a fast and safe EV charger setup at your home with the help of Wire Craft. Request an appointment today!

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Electrical Needs of Your Home Office

COVID-19 has forced many businesses to transition their employees to remote work which implies some inquiries on what are the home office electrical needs must-haves. If you now find yourself working from home, it’s important to make sure the space that you are using as your home office is properly equipped. This goes beyond having the right computer, printer, and desk, but also includes making sure your home’s electrical system can handle the additional load. Here are some important points to consider when it comes to the electrical needs of your home office.

Getting Enough Power

When you start adding additional computers, displays, printers, and other office equipment you find yourself needing more and more plugs. Many times your first instinct is to pull out the power strip to get more plugs. However, many times this is not the best solution. Overloading a power strip can be a potential fire hazard (this includes plugging multiple power strips into each other). The more things you plug in, the more strain you are putting on your circuit.

This can be especially problematic when it comes to home offices since it is common for an entire room or wall to be on a single circuit. When your circuit becomes overloaded it can lead to tripped breakers and is again a fire hazard. If you find that you need additional plugs in your home office and it’s more than just a temporary solution, consider working with a professional to install proper outlets in your walls with higher grade wires and ensure your circuit will not become overloaded.

Dedicated Computer Circuits

If your home office setup is a more permanent one, consider getting a dedicated computer circuit. A dedicated circuit will ensure that your computer is getting the power it needs without putting additional strain on any other circuits in your office. In other words, using a dedicated computer circuit will help prevent overloading your existing circuits, blowing a fuse, or tripping a breaker (all events that take you away from your work).

Air Circulation

Just as important as having the power to run your work-from-home setup, is making sure it is running efficiently. When you set up your home office, it’s important to keep the need for air circulation in mind. Not giving electronics the proper ventilation and air circulation that they need can cause them to overheat. This can seriously damage or even destroy your electronics. While many times air circulation is a consideration with larger servers, it is important to keep in mind with your basic desktop and laptop too. Keep your computer vents free and make sure the room stays cool to keep your electronics from overheating.

Power Backup

To successfully work from home, you need to make sure you have a back-up plan for when things don’t go according to plan. This is one of the home office electrical needs that you should prioritize.

Unexpected power outages from summer storms or winter blizzards can wreak havoc on your productivity. To make sure that you can continue working and meeting deadlines. Despite unexpected power outages, consider purchasing an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) for your computer. Even a generator to supply power to your home office would be great.

A UPS is essentially a battery backup for your desktop computer. It will give you the few extra minutes you need to save documents, close programs, etc. You could even continue to use your desktop for up to an hour without power. If you opt to get a generator, a portable generator will likely be large enough to power your home office. Just be sure to take the necessary precautions. Properly use the generator with plenty of ventilation or even outdoors if possible.

Enlist the Help of a Professional for Your Home Office Electrical Needs

Do you find the suggestions overwhelming? Especially when you don’t have enough plugs or you keep tripping circuits. Do you need further guidance on you home office electrical needs?

Our team of professional electricians at Wire Craft Electric can help you. We will make sure your home office has the necessary power you need to keep your home office running smoothly. Call us at 206-542-0208 or request an appointment today!

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8 Ways to Save on Your Electric Bill When Working from Home

Have you ever wondered how to improve your electric bill savings during these trying times? While the economy is starting to open back up from the coronavirus pandemic, many people are finding themselves continuing to work from home. Chances are you’ve been working from home for a couple of weeks now and you have likely seen an increase in your electric bill. With spending more time at home you may be using more electricity than you anticipated.

Simple Changes for Electric Bill Savings When Working from Home

1. Unplug What You Don’t Need

Does unplugging really impact your electric bill savings? While it’s easy to leave your electronics plugged in, many times they are silently sucking electricity and driving up your bill. Even though it may not seem like a lot, over time the number of energy devices you are using, like your computer, monitor, printer, and TV, can account for an extra $5-10 per month on your electric bill. The easiest way to avoid this expense is to unplug your devices when you’re not using them.

2. Invest in Smart Power Strips

Another way to deal with devices silently sucking energy is to invest in smart power strips. Smart power strips do the work for you by cutting off power to devices that go into standby mode. Leaving devices plugged in to silently draw power can account for 5-10 percent of your home’s energy consumption, so investing in a smart power strip can save you money and even pay for itself within a year.

3. Open the Blinds

It’s easy to just flip on the light without much thought, but each time you do, you are adding to your electricity bill. Instead, opt for taking advantage of the natural lighting in your room. Open the blinds and curtains to let in as much natural light as possible. Not only will the natural light save you from turning on the overhead lighting, but it can also boost your mood.

4. Switch To A Desk Lamp

If you find that you don’t get enough natural light in your workspace, opt for a desk lamp or task lighting rather than simply flicking on the overhead light. Desk lights are more energy-efficient than lighting the whole room. For additional cost savings, make sure you use an LED bulb instead of an incandescent or halogen bulb.

5. Use Energy-Efficient Equipment

Let’s face it, some equipment simply uses more energy than others. This will not help with your electric bill savings goals. For instance, a desktop computer uses more energy than a laptop. Likewise, a dual-monitor setup is going to consume more energy. Think carefully about the equipment you need and how you can reduce your overall energy consumption. If you need to purchase new office equipment for your work-from-home setup, consider getting ENERGY STAR-labeled devices.

6. Turn On Energy Saving Features

Most devices have built-in features to improve energy efficiency. To save money on your electric bill go into your device’s settings and make sure they are turned on. This could simply be reducing your screen brightness, adjusting the time to go into standby mode, etc. Another simple way to improve efficiency is to turn off your screen saver. Once a useful tool to prevent a “ghost picture” from burning into your screen, it is no longer relevant since technology has improved and tends to keep your equipment from going to sleep or standby.

7. Adjust Your Thermostat

Working from home means you have sole control over the thermostat. However, this could also mean major spikes in your energy bill by keeping the AC on more than you normally would during the summer months. By opting for open windows and fans instead of AC, you can save significantly on your electric bill. If you need to use AC, limit the amount of time you use it or invest in a smart thermostat to make sure you are only cooling your office when you are using it. A good target temperature is 78 degrees in warmer weather and 68 degrees in cooler weather.

8. Track Real-Time Usage

There are many devices available on the market that allow you to monitor your home’s energy use. You can get a smart device that plugs directly into the wall or one that is installed on your electric panel. These devices will give you real-time updates about how much energy is being used. This is a great way to see where you are using energy and how you can cut back to save on your bill. Consider working with a certified electrician to install one of these real-time monitoring systems.

Reducing Your Electric Bill While Working From Home Is Possible

While you are working from home there are ways to have electric bill savings (despite the extra usage). These simple steps can save you money from the first month you try them, with even more savings in the long-run. If you’re considering installing a real-time monitoring system or are simply looking to improve your home’s overall energy efficiency, call Wire Craft Electric’s team of certified electricians at 206-542-0208 or set up an appointment online today.

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The Real Cost of Putting Hot Food in the Fridge

With your refrigerator being one of the most important appliances in the kitchen, refrigerator efficiency matters. You want to do everything you can to make sure it keeps working the way it’s supposed to. You want to make sure that your refrigerator temperature is working. There has long been a debate as to whether you should put hot food in the fridge. The FDA’s stance is that leftovers need to be refrigerated or frozen within 2 hours to prevent spoilage. This would mean that you would need to put leftovers away hot, or at best, warm. But, what is the real cost of putting hot food in the fridge?

Cost of Putting Hot Food in the Fridge

Impact on Your Refrigerator

One common misconception is that if you put hot food directly into your refrigerator you will damage the appliance. The reality is that with most modern refrigerators, you won’t actually damage the appliance. However, you will cause the energy efficiency of the appliance to go down while the food cools.

The energy efficiency of your refrigerator is affected as a result of the temperature spike that occurs by putting hot food inside. Because your fridge is warmer, it needs to work harder to bring it down to the set temperature. This puts stress on your refrigerator’s compressor. Over time your compressor can fail if you put hot food in the fridge repeatedly, leave the refrigerator door open for long periods, or overfill the fridge.

Older Models

Even though it’s safe to put hot foods in modern refrigerators, it’s not the case for every fridge. As mentioned, refrigerator efficiency also depends on the model. You should exercise caution when putting hot food in older refrigerators. Older fridges simply aren’t as powerful as modern ones. This means it can take them longer to cool back down and even cause them to reach unsafe levels. A warm refrigerator could mean trouble when it comes to food safety, essentially compromising the hot food you put into the fridge as well as anything else that was inside. Therefore, if you have an older fridge it’s still a good idea to cool leftovers before putting them inside.

Food Safety

Ideally, your refrigerator should be 35°- 38°F and your freezer should be 0°- 3°F. Keeping your refrigerator at these temperatures will help ensure your food remains safe. When you have temperature spikes, you run the risk of getting out of those temperature ranges. This is problematic as it puts food in the “danger zone.” The danger zone is between 40°-140°F, which is when bacteria can thrive. You want to minimize the amount of time (less than 2 hours) your food spends in the danger zone to minimize the risk of food poisoning. Remember to always consider refrigerator safety as it impacts your food safety.

How to Minimize Hot Food in the Fridge

Split Your Leftovers for Better Refrigerator Efficiency

So if you have hot leftovers what should you do with them? If you have a newer refrigerator, you could simply stick them inside. However, for the sake of its efficiency, consider splitting your leftovers into smaller containers. You could even go a step further and place these containers in an ice bath in the sink to cool off leftovers quicker to keep their time in the danger zone to a minimum.

Improve Your Kitchen’s Efficiency

Your kitchen is likely one of your most used rooms in your home, so it’s important to consider how you can improve the overall efficiency of your appliances used in the space. Simple steps like avoiding placing hot food in your fridge and leaving enough space inside for air to circulate can go a long way in easing the stress on your fridge’s compressor, improving its overall efficiency.

If you’re looking for more ways to save energy in your kitchen or have any other questions feel free to reach out to our team of qualified, professional electricians at 206-542-0208 or request an appointment today!

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Why Do My Light Bulbs Keep Burning Out?

A burnt out light bulb usually isn’t a big deal as long as you follow a correct light bulb installation. But, if you find that the same bulb keeps burning out repeatedly, then it’s time to investigate. The longevity of your light bulb will depend on the type of bulb you have installed. Incandescent bulbs will burn out more quickly than compact fluorescent or LEDs. However, any of these types of bulbs should last at least 1,000-25,000 usage hours. Having to replace light bulbs over and over can be both frustrating, expensive, and dangerous (due to fire risks). Therefore, it’s important to get to the bottom of why your light bulbs keep burning out. When it comes to bulbs that burn out frequently, here are some of the most common causes to guide your light bulb installation.

Improper Light Bulb Installation/ Loose Bulbs

If a bulb is not installed correctly, it could lead to fluctuations in voltage. This, in turn, can reduce the life of your bulb. You want to make sure your light bulb is screwed in until snug. You do not want a loose or wobbly bulb. On the other hand, You want to avoid over screwing the bulb so that the socket is not damaged. If you are installing your bulbs correctly and none of the other common causes are found with your fixture, try switching the brand of bulb you are buying.

Too Much Vibration

The filament in incandescent bulbs is delicate, making it susceptible to damage caused by vibrations. You may not even notice these vibrations, but they could be causing damage to your bulbs, reducing their life. For instance, excessive vibration from a ceiling fan, automatic garage door, or even heavy foot traffic above a light installed in the ceiling can lead to your light bulbs burning out quickly. One sign of excessive vibration is the light flickering. One solution to this problem is to switch to a bulb that does not have a filament, such as an LED bulb. Just make sure your fixture is compatible with LED bulbs.

Excessive Heat

If you find that your bulbs are burning out despite using the correct wattage, excessive heat may still be the cause of your bulb’s shortened life span. Using a bulb that is too big for your fixture or using the wrong kind of bulb in an enclosed fixture can cause heat to build up. The size of the bulb matters since it affects the way heat disperses throughout the fixture. If you are unable to find a smaller bulb that your fixture needs, try using a bulb with a lower wattage.

Excessive heat can especially be a problem in recessed lighting. Oftentimes with recessed lighting ventilation may be inadequate due to dust. The best way to tell if excessive heat is your problem is to look for signs of heat damage. If you find any signs of heat damage take immediate action. Lights that are getting too hot pose a fire risk to your home.

Wrong Type of Bulb

Every light fixture is built with a specific type of bulb in mind. If a different type of bulb is used, it can shorten a bulb’s life, cause excess heat, or even cause a fire. Therefore, you want to make sure you don’t exceed your fixture’s recommended bulb wattage. A lower wattage is fine, but a higher wattage will lead to trouble. If you want your room to be brighter, consider changing an incandescent or CFL bulb to an LED bulb.

While the recommended bulb wattage is important, it is equally important to consider how you use the fixture. For instance, CFL bulbs are prone to damage with frequent turning on and off, reducing their life. Another example is using a CFL or LED bulb with a dimmer switch. These dimmer switches are designed to be used with incandescent bulbs. Using the wrong kind of bulb with a dimmer switch can damage the bulb as well as the circuit, so always be sure to use the correct type of bulb for your fixtures and switches.

Loose Wiring During Light Bulb Installation

Another possible cause of light bulbs that burn out quickly is loose wiring. When your fixture’s wiring is loose it can cause current to fluctuate quite a bit. This fluctuating current can easily shorten the life of your light bulb, taking it from 1,000+ usage hours to burning it out in a couple of days. Additionally, loose wiring poses a significant risk of fire due to excessive heat. With loose wires, a fire could start even without tripping your breaker or blowing a fuse.

High Voltage

If you are finding that your light bulbs are burning out quickly in multiple fixtures, the problem may be your voltage. Time to avoid bigger electrical damage in the future. Having too much electricity coming into your home can significantly shorten the lifespan of your bulbs. Your voltage can easily be checked using a voltage tester. If you find that your home has a bit higher voltage you can try switching from 120V bulbs to 130V bulbs. However, a more sustainable solution is to simply get the voltage issue rectified with the help of a professional electrician.

Get It Checked Out

If you’re not able to figure out why your light bulbs keep burning out, consider enlisting the help of a professional. WOur team of professional electricians at Wire Craft Electric can help you get to the bottom of the issue so that you can stop wasting your hard-earned money on bulbs that burn out before they’re supposed to. We  can also help you do complex light bulb installation.

Give us a call at 206-524-0208 to talk to one of our team members or request an appointment online today for any electrical inspection.

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Malfunctioning Home Appliances Cause Electrical Damage

As we spend more time at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, our appliances are getting more use than ever before. This is evidenced in increasing utility bills across the country. The more use our appliances get, they begin to show signs of wear and tear. However, some appliances don’t just give up. While a malfunctioning appliance like a refrigerator, dryer, or dishwasher is an inconvenience, it can also cause electrical damage and other damage to your home.

It’s common to think that if your microwave is giving you trouble, it is only affecting that appliance. But, the reality is that a malfunctioning appliance can wreak havoc on your other appliances as well. To prevent damage to your home, it is important to get any malfunctioning appliance repaired or replaced right away. Here are key things to keep in mind when it comes to a malfunctioning appliance whether it is in your kitchen, laundry room, or anywhere else in your home.

How to Tell If A Home Appliance Is Malfunctioning

Your home appliance itself will likely give you some signs that it’s nearing its end. You’ll often find that it just isn’t working quite the way it’s supposed to work. For instance, your refrigerator may be getting a bit balmy and your microwave just takes longer than usual to reheat your dinner. Besides the signs your home appliance gives you, your home’s wiring may also be giving you warning signs that an appliance is causing damage. For instance, a tripped circuit breaker is often the first sign that something is wrong. If a breaker is tripping each time you turn an appliance on, your system is getting a surge of electricity from the appliance, putting your home at risk of a short circuit. Rather than continuing to turn the breaker back on, call an electrician to come and check it out.

Electrical Damage Caused By Home Appliances

A faulty or malfunctioning home appliance can cause minor to severe damage to your home. Three of the most common types of electrical damage caused by home appliances include surge protector damage, physical damage, and fire damage.

Surge Protector Damage

Just like computers and televisions, your appliances use microprocessors that are sensitive to power surges. If your appliance is malfunctioning and causing a surge in electricity, these microprocessors can easily become damaged. A surge protector only protects your appliance from surges that come from outside sources like a lightning strike or power outage, not from surges that come from within the appliance or on the same electrical circuits. Depending on the intensity of the surge your appliance’s microprocessor could be damaged instantly or slowly by small surges, essentially reducing the life of your appliance.

Physical Damage

If the surge caused by your malfunctioning home appliance is large, it can actually burn various electrical components in your electrical system such as switches and outlets. These components may burn, leaving visible scorch marks, or may simply melt. Either way, these components often become inoperable and will need to be replaced. This can happen even if the surge happens in an instance. If you find that you have melted or scorched electrical components it is always recommended to have an electrician come to find the exact source of the damage.

Fire Damage

Fire damage is the most dangerous type of electrical damage that is due to malfunctioning home appliances. These fires often start when an electrical short sparks. Depending on where the spark occurs will determine the extent of the damage. Some fires within the appliance itself. However, the spark could also ignite other things like insulation, wallpaper, curtains, cabinetry, etc. This is why it is extremely important to make sure you have working smoke detectors in your home.

Get Someone to Check It

The best defense against electrical issues and damage from malfunctioning appliances is a proactive approach. At the first sign of malfunction, look into the issue or call in a professional. The professionals at Wire Craft Electric will be able to assess your appliances. They will check your electrical system for signs of damage and make the necessary repairs. Call 206-542-0208 to talk to a professional or set up an appointment today.

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Home Grounded Properly For Home Safety

Is Your Home Grounded Properly?

As a homeowner, you may have heard an electrician or home inspector talk about how important home grounding is. Even though you may not know it, this is an essential piece of your home’s electrical system. While you don’t need to be an expert, it’s important to have a general understanding of what this means as a homeowner to help you keep your home safe. Here are the basics you need to know about having your home grounded properly to avoid electrical issues.

What Does It Mean to Have Your Home Grounded?

When your home is grounded your electrical system has a backup pathway or alternative route for electricity to go back to the ground in the case of a fault. Essentially, it gives your appliances and other electronics a direct route to the ground. All electrical circuits in your home there are three wires: an active or live wire, a neutral wire, and a grounding wire. Grounding wires are routed to the service panel where they are attached to a set of terminals designed for ground connections.

Why You Need Your Home Wiring Grounded

Electricity, by nature, always seeks out the shortest path to the earth. Having your home properly grounded means there is a direct path to the ground in the case the neutral wire gets broken.

Stabilizes Voltage levels

Having your home grounded also helps distribute power throughout your home. With the grounding wire giving excess electricity a way to the ground, the circuits are protected from overloading. This is because the earth serves as a common reference point for all voltage sources, thereby stabilizing the voltage in your home’s electrical system.

Protects Against Electrical Overloads

At any time your home is at risk of having a high influx of electricity through a power surge or by being exposed to lightning during a storm. The grounding wire allows the excess electricity to exit the home into the earth without damaging your appliances or electronics. Without grounding, the extra electricity will cause irreparable damage to the wiring of your appliances throughout your home.

Prevents Damage and Death

If your home is not properly grounded, electricity will continue to seek out the shortest path to the earth. The grounding wire acts as a path of least resistance. Without this path, high electrical voltage can pass through your appliances and electronics. This will fry its wiring and damaging it beyond repair. If you use an appliance that is getting high electrical voltage you could be severely shocked, which could even result in death. Moreover, high voltage puts your home and your family at risk of having an electrical fire.

How to Tell If You Home is Properly Grounded

Determining if your home is properly grounding is part of the home inspection process. However, you can also test whether your home is properly grounded without a home inspection as well. The easiest way to check if your outlet is grounded is by visual inspection. If an outlet has three prongs, then there should be three wires, with one being the grounding wire. To make sure the grounding is working as intended you can use a circuit tester.

If the tester does not light up then the outlet is not grounded and it is not safe to use. If you’re still unsure whether your home is grounded, our team at Wire Craft Electric can help you confirm that.

Request an appointment or give us a call at 206-542-0208 to have one of our professional electricians give you a hand.

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Outdoor Electrical Outlets Importance and Safety Tips

With summer around the corner, your days of social distancing and self-isolation are likely filled with dreams of barbecues and backyard parties. Get your home ready to entertain by making sure your exterior outlets are safe. Outdoor electrical outlets are exposed to the elements and therefore, extra precaution must be taken to prevent fires and electrical shocks. Here are some tips for getting your outdoor electrical outlets ready for summer.

Install Weather Resistant Outlets

Installing weather resistant outlets is an absolute must! The National Electrical Code requires that all outside electrical outlets be weather resistant ground fault circuit interrupters (WR GFCIs). This special type of outlet has a cover that helps keep out rain, snow, ice, and humidity when installed correctly. Additionally, WR GFCIs use components that are corrosion-resistant and are designed to protect users from getting an electrical shock by cutting off the current if there is a surge. While these outlets are standard in newer homes, you may want to double-check your existing outside outlets if you are in an older home. If you do not have weather-resistant outlets, you’ll want to get them installed ASAP.

Check Your Wires

Keeping your outdoor electrical outlets also means checking your wires regularly. This will help you spot potential problems. Always make sure you untangle any wires. Additionally, you want to examine your wires for any nicks, cuts, or grays. These can all lead to problems and possible injury.

Lay New Wires Carefully

If you are installing new outdoor electrical outlets you need to be cautious as to where you lay the wire. You want to avoid laying wires in areas with high foot traffic, such as walkways and sidewalks. You should also avoid laying new wires near trees as well.

Keep Outlets Clear

It is also important that you keep your outlets visible. This means keeping grass, landscaping, etc. away from the outlet box. When you keep your outside electrical outlets visible you are less likely to forget they are there, preventing injury.

Watch for Water

Just as you want to avoid mixing outlets and water inside your home, the same is true outside too. Obvious places to avoid placing exterior outlets include near swimming pools, jacuzzis, or fountains. However, you also want to consider areas of your yard that tend to pool water or flood. Avoid putting any electrical work in these areas.

Avoid Storms

Another important point to consider in keeping your outdoor electrical outlets safe is to not use them during storms or rain. Using electrical appliances during storms puts you at risk of electric shock. Therefore, it is best to avoid using electricity outside during a storm.

Double Check Appliances and Extension Cords

When using appliance or extension cords outside, you should always make sure they are safe for outdoor use. This means double-checking the manual warnings for appliances and extension cords. If an appliance says “not for outdoor use” keep it indoors and avoid using it outside.

Get a Professional Opinion for Your Outdoor Electrical Outlets

If you’re confused as to whether or not your existing outside electrical outlets are weather-resistant, don’t hesitate to get a professional opinion. Our electricians at Wire Craft Electric can help you make sure you have outside outlets that are up to code through an electrical inspection. They can even help you install new outlets or do some electrical outlet repair if you’re coming up short.

Request a services and give us a call at 206-542-0208 to schedule an appointment to get your outdoor electrical outlets summer-ready.

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Your Home Guide to GFCI Outlet to Keep Your Home Safe

If you’ve ever noticed that the outlets in your bathroom or near your kitchen sink are different from other outlets in your home, you’re not alone. Many people recognize that the type of outlet is different but don’t actually understand why. These outlets are GFCI outlets that automatically shut off power to the outlet to prevent electrocution. Here is a guide that will help explain what it is and why a GFCI outlet is important.

What is a GFCI Outlet?

GFCI is an acronym for ground fault circuit interrupter. The design of GFCIs interrupts the electricity’s flow to the ground to prevent electrocution. They look different from other outlets in your home because they have two additional buttons for “TEST” and “RESET.”

How GFCIs Work

Electricity will always try to reach the ground. When insulated wires are used, the flow of electricity can be directed. However, if there is faulty wiring or a damaged cord, electricity will find a path to the ground. In some instances, this can be a human being, which is when electrocution occurs. Because water is an excellent conductor of electricity, the combination of the two is especially dangerous (even deadly).

In normal circumstances, the flow of electricity remains steady. However, if there is a ground fault and electricity jumps to an unintended conductor there will be a surge in the flow of electricity. GFCIs have special sensors that monitor the flow of electricity. If a surge occurs, an internal switch in the outlet shuts off the flow of electricity. This prevents a prolonged surge, minimizing injury and preventing death.

Why do I need a GFCI Outlet?

Installing GFCIs is a smart decision since it is designed to protect you from getting hurt. However, there are several other reasons to consider putting in GFCI outlets in your home.

GFCIs are Mandatory by Law

Since the invention of and use of GFCIs fewer cases electrocutions are occurring. With evidence that they do work at preventing electrocutions, the switches are now included in the building code. This code mandates that builders only install GFCI outlets in any space within 6 feet of a water source. Over the years this has come to include more areas of the home including:

  • Bathrooms
  • Garages
  • Exteriors
  • Kitchens
  • Wet Bars
  • Crawl Spaces
  • Heated floors
  • Basements


GFCIs are only mandatory in older homes that requires wiring updates. Again it is still a good idea to install them anyways given their safety features.

Benefits of GFCIs

There are clear benefits to using GFCIs. These benefits include:

  1. Prevention of Electrical Shock. The automatic switch-off prevents you from the shock effect (preventing both injury and death).
  2. Prevention of Electrical Fires. A prolonged surge of electrical current can cause a spark, which in turn can cause a fire. Since GFCIs automatically stop such as surge from occurring, they help prevent electrical fires.
  3. Keeping You Up to Code. Installing these outlets is necessary for certain locations in the home and helps you make sure your electrical system is legal and meets all requirements of the building code.

How to Fix a GFCI Outlet that Isn’t Working?

It’s important to test your GFCI outlets regularly to make sure they are still working. This process is simple. All you have to do is push the ‘TEST’ button on the outlet itself. This will flip the internal switch and cut off electricity to the outlet. You should test your GFCI outlets once a month.

If you plug something into your GFCI outlet and find that it suddenly isn’t working there are a few steps you can take. The first step is to push the ‘RESET’ button on the outlet. This will flip the switch inside the outlet, allowing the electrical current to flow through the outlet again. In most cases, this will solve the problem.

If this does not solve the issue, then you’ll want to look at your breaker panel to make sure that you don’t have a tripped breaker. You can fix a tripped breaker by simply flipping the breaker. After doing this the outlet should start working again. However, if the outlet still does not work, it may be time to call in a professional to investigate.

Can I Replace a GFCI Outlet Myself?

Installing or replacing a GFCI outlet can be a do-it-yourself job. However, it is important to always remember that working with electricity is dangerous, so you must exercise caution on outlet installation.

To replace your GFCI outlet you’ll want to:

  1. Turn off power to the outlet at the circuit breaker panel.
  2. Remove the outlet cover.
  3. Make sure to remove also the old outlet from the outlet box.
  4. Remove the wires attached to the outlet, noting the color of the screws and color of the wires.
    • Black wire (HOT): connects to brass or gold screw
    • White wire (NEUTRAL): connects to the silver screw on the opposite side
    • Green/Copper wire (GROUND): connects at bottom of the outlet
  5. Attach the GFCI outlet in the same way you disconnected the old outlet. Leave the tape in place on the additional two screws on the bottom sides of the outlet since you only need it in advance for some other electrical setups.
  6. Attach the GFCI outlet to the outlet box.
  7. Install a new GFCI outlet cover.


If you are nervous or unable to figure out how to install a GFCI outlet, request for service and help from a professional electrician from Wire Craft Electric.

Give us a call at 206-542-0208 to talk to one of our team members to schedule an appointment today for some electrical inspection.

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Electrical Wiring 101: Do You Need to Update It?

Even though your home’s wiring may be the last thing on your mind, it’s important to stop and consider whether or not it’s time to update your electrical wiring. It’s easy to cover that your wiring may be out of date if your lights come on when you flip a switch. No one wants to update their wiring since it can be a costly and extensive job. However, you can minimize the pain of such a project if you get ahead of it with a bit of planning.

Why Update Your Electrical Wiring

Materials and building codes change with time to improve safety. Keeping your wiring up to date can keep your home from going up in flames given that faulty wiring is the number one cause of residential fires. It may be time to update your electrical wiring if:

  • Your home is 40+ years old
  • You don’t have GFCIs in your kitchen or bathroom
  • You repeatedly trip a breaker
  • Your lights flickering dim on their own
  • You have a lingering burning smell
  • Your outlets are warm or discolored
  • You get a light shock or tingle when using appliances
  • Your insurance refuses coverage or charges a higher premium for older wiring

Older Wiring

Older homes simply weren’t designed for the technologically advanced appliances that fill our homes today. This means that wiring in older homes is often only for 60amps, whereas newer appliances, like ACs, require upwards of 200amps. Not having enough voltage can actually damage your appliances, computers, and other electronics.

In addition to not having enough power, aluminum wiring was the standard wiring for homes built in the ‘60s and ‘70s. However, today we understand that this type of wiring is a safety hazard since it is prone to overheating and catching on fire. Older wiring is also subject to deterioration of materials such as wire insulation and damage from haphazard housework and rodents. To keep both your home and your appliances safe, it is advisable to upgrade to modern copper wiring. An inspection by one of the skilled electricians at WireCraft Electric can help determine whether your home needs its wiring upgraded.

Missing GFCIs

GFCIs, or ground fault circuit interrupter outlets, are designed to automatically cut off power if there is a spike in current. This helps prevent fires and electrocution. These outlets must be used with any outdoor electrical outlets, as well as in any other areas of the home where water is nearby. GFCIs are required in any home built in 1971 or later.

Tripped Breakers

Tripped breakers or blown fuses can quickly leave you in the dark. While it can be a pain, it can be especially problematic if it happens repeatedly. Breakers can trip for many reasons including electrical circuits overload, short circuits, or ground fault surges. This could indicate a loose wire, which if not addressed could cause a fire in your home. You want to get breaker issues looked at right away to keep your home and your family safe.

Voltage Trouble

Old wiring or damaged wiring can cause voltage trouble throughout your home. If you find that your lights are flickering or dimming when using a nearby appliance, it could be that your circuit is becoming overloaded. On the other hand, if you have a lingering burning smell in certain rooms of your home, you want to call an electrician right away to check your wiring. Even if you cannot physically see damage from your electrical outlets, your wiring could be close to causing a fire. The same is true if you feel a tingling sensation when using appliances. .

Home Insurance Coverage

It’s also important to carefully look at your homeowner’s policy regarding electrical issues. This applies especially if you are selecting a plan with a new provider. Many insurance companies will not provide coverage if your home has wiring that is 40+ years old. If they do offer coverage, they often do so at a premium. While upgrading your wiring can be an intensive job, looking long-term it can save you both time and money.

Planning to Update Your Home’s Electrical Wiring

Do you get overwhelmed at the idea of upgrading your home’s wiring? Take it as an opportunity to install wiring that will be long-lasting. With that, you can support the increasing electricity demands of our appliances.

The professional team at Wire Craft Electric will help make sure your home is safe and ready for the future. Call 206-542-0208 today to discuss your home’s wiring and to set up an appointment with one of our trusted electricians.

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