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Security Lights: Deterrent to Potential Robbers

Imagine waking up in the middle of the night, no security lights, and you found an intruder inside your home. The intruder’s risking their life and freedom to steal your valuable belongings, as well as putting you and your family in jeopardy. It sounds like something taken from a movie, but this isn’t as unheard of as you think. Home invasions and burglaries have been on the rise the past few years in the Greater Seattle area. Here’s just one case in Renton where multiple burglaries have gone on without any surveillance or deterrents. And just because you’re inside the house or have deterrents to keep robbers at bay, you could still be at risk. So what can you do to protect yourself from being a victim? Let’s start off with some facts.

Security Lights

The Seattle Facts

In recent years, the greater Seattle area has seen an average of 6,836 burglaries reported by Seattle Police Department. Though in the last few years it’s been on the rise. 2015 alone had just over 7,500 reports. This might not sound so bad, thinking there is probably million homes in Seattle right? Wrong. Around 283,610 occupied housing units in Seattle puts a staggering 2.41% chance of your home being burgled. But is the gamble worth it?

You Can Lose It All Before you Win the Lotto

We all probably dreamt one time or another about winning the lottery.  The Washington Lotteries statistics shows there are seven lottery games you could possibly play.  I’m going to use Match 4 as a reference. It costs $2 per ticket and could potentially have you win $10,000. Although, its winning percent is a mere 0.01%. This means if you put $482 every year into this lottery, you will have the same chance of winning versus being broke in Seattle.

Reduce Your 2.41% Chance with Security Lights

There are a lot of options in home security, but one of the easier and cheapest security updates is to add security lights around your home. It’s well-known that burglars despise lights, most steal in the dark and when a light suddenly comes on from their motion, most run in fear or stop in their tracks to assess their situation. Erin Raub did a write up at Safety.com about 8 burglar deterrents to consider (and 5 to avoid) and motion-actived security lights definitely fall into the list of deterrents. Of course, coupled with installing security cameras – you can become your very own vigilante Judge Dredd like this construction site in Mountlake Terrace and put crime at its knees with video surveillance to help solve crimes and help prosecution.

At the end of the day, it’s best to invest into some sort of deterrent or security system to keep your home safe. The more security you add, the less likely chance you have of being robbed. If you leave yourself wide open with no deterrents, you will be fed to the birds. On the contrary, the birds will be fed by you. If you are interested in motion-activated security lights, surveillance camera and/or alarm system, contact us today or give us a call to see what we can do to help keep your home safe.

If you need help, you can contact an electrician from Wirecraft to help you out.

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Electrical Upgrades to Increase Your Seattle Home’s Value

electrical upgrades to increase home value

Many of us know the basics to increasing the value of our homes. Electrical upgrades to the kitchen, bathroom and even the basement yield high valued investments. De-cluttering and a fresh coat of paint offer simple, cost-effective improvements with good return as well. While these value-laden upgrades remain the mantra of increased home worth, the electrical components of your home prove well worth considering in regard to value. Some of these updates will come with kitchen and bathroom spruce ups. However, several others offer value on their own.

Check out these 6 electrical upgrades to increase your Seattle home’s value.

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Hot Tub Wiring Done Right

The weather is cooling down and holiday season is looming just around the corner. Many people start looking forward to enjoying their hot tubs, especially as temperatures drop. When set up, operated and maintained properly, hot tubs can provide many hours of fun and relaxation. We’re happy to provide seasonal electrical tips for hot tubs. Especially when it comes to proper hot tub wiring and ensuring owner safety.

Hot Tub Wiring

However, before you start inviting guests over, it is your responsibility to make sure your hot tub is safe. Do not underestimate that hot tubs involve water and electricity, and we all know those two things can be deadly when put together. Because hot tub wiring comes so close to water all the times, if your wiring isn’t done properly you run the risk of shock or electrocution, which could result in death or serious injury. This is not a job for an amateur, but unfortunately, a lot of amateurs try to utilize whatever they may have learned from their friends or the internet to wire their own hot tub.

If you have recently purchased a home that has a hot tub, just because you turned it on and it seemed to be in proper working order does not mean you should jump right in before you have it checked out by a licensed electrician. Even if your home had a home inspection done prior to purchase, most home inspectors are not licensed electricians and do not examine hot tub wiring regularly, or even properly. People also frequently buy homes from owners who installed hot tubs themselves. Obviously, this is special cause for concern.

Not a new homeowner and have had your hot tub for years?  Inspection is a must by an electrician.

If it is off on for several months, new problems could have arisen due to inactivity… rodent damage or torn and frayed wiring, for example.

Improper wiring could possibly damage equipment resulting to manufacturer’s warranty issues. With that, it’s best to stay on top of regular maintenance throughout the years.

We Will Help You

As full service electricians, we are servicing many electrical needs.

Please give us a call at 206-855-5061, or visit our website to schedule an appointment or request a service.

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Best Lighting for a Basement Remodel

You’ve probably been thinking of ways that you can improve your basement lighting with a remodel. You’ve probably thought about waterproofing, finding ways to improve the laundry room flow, or whether or not you should go all out and build it into a man cave. But you might not be investigating the best basement lighting. It’s easy to overlook lighting, but it can make an enormous difference in a dark basement.

basement lighting

Saving Space

Lamps can add more light to your remodeled basement, but they’re not the most space saving idea. Plus, if you turn your basement into a rec room, do you really want to worry about lamps that could be knocked down? Lamps will also take up valuable power outlets that you could utilize for your entertainment equipment. Recessed lighting is a great way to save space yet provide a room with ample lighting.

Lighting Effects

Whether you’re planning on using your remodeled basement for a man cave, rec room, or entertainment space, your lighting needs will change. Dimmer switches are a great way to get the right amount of light. They give you better control of the mood and environment of your basement space. Movie night won’t need to be completely dark or light. No bruised shins trying to find your seat after a bathroom break or ruining the mood of a good scary movie with too much bright light.

Best Basement Lighting Options

When it comes to bulb type, you’ll pay a little more for LEDs and CFLs. However, they offer energy savings when in use along with lasting longer than incandescent bulbs. Plus, they give off less heat. Wattage is a term that most people are familiar with, but with the push for LED and CFLs, the packaging is going more towards listing lumens instead. You may think that you need the highest number of lumens, but really it’s going to depend on what the light fixture needs. Using a bulb with the proper lumen is the right call because you’ll get the light you need without using more energy than necessary.

Starting to think more about getting better basement lighting for your upcoming remodel? It’s a good idea to talk with a professional electrician. They can guide you where the best places are in your space to put your lighting. They will even help you get different rooms to have wiring in your basement.

Contact us today as we’d love to talk with you about your upcoming basement lighting project.

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A Guide For Kitchen Energy Savings

Everyone is looking to save money and help their dollar reach them a little further, and many are also environmentally conscious. Regardless of where you fall on the spectrum or what kind of energy your home uses, we waste a lot of energy in the kitchen. Here are some quick tips from our pros on how to save energy in your kitchen and money off of your electric bill.

kitchen energy savings

Use your stove and oven efficiently for better kitchen energy savings

Be intentional when possible

use a small pan and as little water as necessary on one of your smaller burners – they take less energy to heat.

Re-use the same burner when possible

When one burner is already hot, it takes far less energy to keep it that way than it will to light up a second burner.

Turn your burner off early

The metal will stay hot for a long time even after you’ve turned it off. You can turn it off a minute or two before you’re finished and it will still cook your meal.

Use a lid when bringing water to a boil and while cooking

The pressure and heat are contained that way, cooking without a lid can use up to three times as much energy.

Stop pre-heating

Excepting for a few cake and bread recipes, preheating the oven is unnecessary when cooking.

Make sure to clean your burners and reflectors

They will then reflect and generate heat better, saving you money, time, and energy.

Adjusting your Fridge and/or Freezer for kitchen energy savings

Location is important

Place your cooling appliances out of any direct sunlight and avoid putting them next to your stove. If you have temperature controlled rooms, keeping the temperature lower in your kitchen can help with the cooling efficiency of your appliances.

Avoid turning down the temperature

it is recommended to use 35°-38°F for your refrigerator and 0° -3°F for your freezer. If you don’t have a thermometer on the unit, buy a small one separate.

Test your door seals for air-tightness

You can do so by using a piece of paper and placing it halfway in and halfway out of the unit. If you can pull the paper effortlessly out of the door, you may need to make adjustments to the latch or consider a replacement.

Wait for food to cool before placing it into the refrigerator or freezer

Hot food makes the cooling systems work overtime.

Defrost your freezer regularly

The buildup of frost will decrease your freezer’s efficiency, try not to accrue more than a quarter-inch of frost.

Miscellaneous kitchen energy savings

Only run your dishwasher when full

Most dishwashing units will consume the same amount of energy whether they are full or only half-full. Only running a washing cycle when its full will cut down on the total number of loads you do and save energy used to heat the water and power the unit.

Fix dripping taps

Not only will they waste your water, but if it is the hot tap, it is also wasting energy. Don’t drop your money down the drain!

Consider using a pressure cooker for your next meal

The steam and pressure provide much of the cooking energy and can use far less power to cook your meal than a slow cooker or stove.

Have any electrical or kitchen energy saving questions? Contact Wire Craft Electric today!

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5 Steps For Wiring Your Seattle Home

If you’re looking to install or upgrade the wiring in your home, no doubt you’ve spent some time online researching the best ways to get this done. You might even be considering doing it yourself. What you need to remember, though, is that electricity is dangerous. Unlike a normal DIY construction project, where all your tools and materials are easy to see, working with electricity contains an element of the invisible; since you can’t see it, you are always at risk for hurting yourself and your loved ones.

wiring your seattle home | wirecraft electric

What you need to remember, though, is that electricity is dangerous. Unlike a normal DIY construction project, where all your tools and materials are easy to see, working with electricity contains an element of the invisible; since you can’t see it, you are always at risk for hurting yourself and your loved ones.

That alone should be enough to get you calling a professional. However, just like other housing projects, working with electricity also has legal ramifications as well. That’s why it’s important to take steps to make sure it gets done correctly. Here are five steps you need to take to ensure the proper wiring of your home.

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What To Expect From A Seattle Electrical Inspection

Seattle Electrical Inspection

Home Inspection 101

If you’ve just purchase a home, there are a lot of important things that you’re going to need to do. Few of them are going to be more important than having the electrical inspected. An inspection will reveal any dangerous conditions with electrical in your home and it can better protect you if there do happen to be any issues. All of the different electrical components such as service drops, grounding systems, service panels, devices, wiring systems and fixtures will need to be a part of the inspection. Additionally, all electrical components should be inspected by someone who is a professional and has gone through the proper electrical inspection training.

Common Issues Found Through Electrical Inspection

There are a lot of different electrical issues that are commonly found in a house. Almost every house is different, which means an inspection is important to find all of those issues. Some of the more common issues that are typically found include obstructed entrance wires, damaged or missing GFCI outlets, issues with wiring, missing smoke alarms, and missing or burnt light bulbs.

The plus side of most of this, is that these repairs are typically easy to rectify. However, electrical repairs can be very expensive and costly, and it’s not something you really want to ignore as the problem can linger and get worse. The sooner you get an inspection and make sure you’re up to code, the better off you’ll be.

In the Seattle area, there is a strict schedule for inspections that you should follow in order to make sure that your house, or the house you’re purchasing, is completely up to code and will not give you any problems. The city of Seattle requires a three-step electrical inspection with each step necessary at a different point of the electrical installation. The following information details what happens in each step of the inspection and what you can expect.

Cover Inspection

The cover inspection is the very first inspection that should take place when you are installing all of your new electrical wiring. This inspection should be completed when all new circuits are wired. This includes boxes installed, wires being run, grounding conductor connected or made up and nail plates installed wherever they may be needed. Until the inspector approves your work, make sure you do not cover it with insulation, wall switches or receptacles. This inspection also includes underground installation, so don’t cover any ditches, trenches or slabs until they have been approved.

Service & Feeder Inspection

After you’ve passed the first part of the inspection (or updated all of the problems that were found in the original inspection), then it’s time to move on to the next inspection. This is known as the services and feeder inspection and is to be scheduled only after certain work is completed. This inspection should be scheduled once the service electrical mast, service panels, meter base, grounding electrode conductors and branch circuits installation is done in the house.

Final Inspections

Once you’ve completed and passed the first two inspections on the list, you can move on to the third inspection! Scheduling of this inspection should only be once all of the electrical work are complete. Everything should be complete as if you were ready to live in the house that day. For this inspection, make sure to cove the panel boxes. Installation, grounding and energizing of equipment and appliances are necessary.

After each inspection, you’re going to receive comments from the inspector if there are any problems. There are a number of reasons for electrical work rejection. This includes the inspector could not get on site. This can also be your work is not complete and there are code violations within your work. If for any reason you fail an inspection at any step, then you will have to repeat the inspection. You may face an additional fee with this.

Do you need an electrical inspection in the Seattle area? You can call the 24-hour inspection request line at (206) 684-8900. You can also go ahead and schedule your inspection online by visiting here.

Make a request before 7am , then request fulfillment will be on the day too. Well, on rare occasions this is not possible. Any requests put in after 7:00 a.m. will be on the list for the next day. In order to request an inspection, you will need your permit number handy.

If you have any questions on this process, please feel free to drop us a line. We’re happy to help!

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Tips for Teaching Kids About Electrical Safety

electrical safety for kids

From the time we brew our first cup of coffee, to the time we kiss our kids goodnight and turn on the nightlight, our daily routines would look much different without the luxury of electricity. We’ve compiled some tips, tricks, and tools for teaching kids about electrical safety. 

It’s Never Too Early To Teach Electrical Safety

Kids love to explore and discover new things, so it’s never too early to teach your kids about electrical safety. Their natural curiosity may lead them to an electrical outlet down on their level, the whirring motor of a washing machine, or the bright picture on the television. It is important to connect with kids on their level, to get the conversation started.

Activity Pages

Activity or coloring pages are great for young kids who love hands-on projects. Word searches, mazes, and an age appropriate safety quiz add to the fun of learning something new, and get the conversation started.

Interactive Media

Websites and videos are great ways for kids to learn. Your local utility company may have a web portal designed specifically for kids to learn about electrical safety. Videos about electrical safety can be fun. These videos show other kids learning, or use animated characters to illustrate an important point.

Nothing takes the place of hands-on learning, but employing a few strategies to get your kids talking about electrical safety in your own home is a great place to start.

Hands-On Lessons

Children learn best when you engage all of their senses. Start a lesson about electrical safety with a family meeting. The family meeting lets your kids know the seriousness of the discussion. In a “family meeting”, everyone sits down at the dining room table or in the living room, together. There are no distractions allowed. This means everyone puts down their phones and talks to each other face to face to ensure there is engagement from the whole family, the whole time.

Explaining Electricity

Explain to your children what electricity is and how it works. Point out a power cord, the metal plugs on the end, and why a wire is made of rubber insulation. Consider buying an inexpensive cord you can cut into to show kids the inside of the cord – many kids love the hands-on experience of touching and feeling to really absorb this new information.

Once the wonderment abates, explain that the insides of the power cords must stay inside – electricity can hurt you if you touch it! Talk about how electricity travels from an electrical outlet and into the power cord. You could even shut off all of the lights in the room to demonstrate the tiny blue spark you might see as you plug and unplug a power cord. Kids would love to witness that firsthand!

Another important aspect of electrical safety is what to do in an emergency. Now would be a good time to teach your children how to call 911 in case of a medical emergency or fire.

Explaining Safety

Next, you must explain safety concerns. Show your kids the circuit breaker, and flip one of the switches to show them that the circuit breaker turns off electricity to an entire room. Walk outside and point out power lines, and your home’s electrical meter. Show the kids how a plastic safety plug prevents small children from putting fingers into electrical outlets. Explain why we avoid getting any water anywhere near wires or appliances. Writing out a brief list of “Electrical Rules” might be a great way to summarize all of the ways your family stays safe when dealing with electricity.

Assess Knowledge

Once you impart your knowledge of electrical safety, ask your children questions about what you just showed them. Walk back outside and ask them what a power line is. Ask them to explain what an electrical meter does, and how electricity travels from far away and into your home. Show your kids the circuit breaker again and ask them to explain in their own words what the device does. Point out a power outlet, and ask your child about safety near these outlets. You can then do the same with power cords, extension cords, and surge protectors.

Helpful and Harmful

Your kids don’t need to be afraid of electricity, they just need to know enough to stay safe. Show your children how electricity powers almost everything we use in our daily routines, so they become aware. Electricity lets us light our houses at night, play on the computer, watch television, and talk on the phone. Yet this important tool also comes with safety considerations and demands responsible usage.

At the end of the lesson, use positive reinforcement to make it stick. Kids love rewards. Take your family out to your favorite restaurant when you’re done, go see a movie together, or go for a walk in your favorite park. Post the activity or coloring pages on the refrigerator to proudly display what was learned that day.

Life is one big teachable moment. Make sure you teach your kids about electrical safety as soon as you can, because this seemingly minor lesson could someday save a life or prevent an accident from happening.

If you want to assure you and your kid’s safety when it comes on electrical issues, we can help you. Contact us now.

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Frequently Asked Electrical Questions

Understanding electrical and how it works can be a complicated process. There’s a lot of different information you should know, and it’s not feasible to expect you to know it all. Fortunately, that’s where this guide can come in handy for you. Below, you’ll find answers to some of the most commonly asked electrical questions to help you better understand how electrical works.

faq - frequently asked electrical questions

Here are some set of electrical questions:

What is a short circuit?

A short circuit is an electrical circuit that does not allow electricity to flow properly because it is often being diverted to a place where it isn’t supposed to. This usually will result in lower power coming from the circuit.

What is a GFCI outlet?

A GFCI outlet is short for a ground fault circuit interrupter outlet and it is basically a safety mechanism that shuts off the outlet when the power starts to go somewhere it isn’t supposed to go. This is the main device that stops people from being electrocuted and prevents damage in your house.

Why do my bulbs blow constantly?

There are actually a lot of reasons why your light bulbs can blow easily, and it’s usually an easy problem to fix, although more advanced problems will require you to contact an electrician. The first cause could be the fact that you are buying cheap light bulbs. If the light bulbs aren’t good quality, they aren’t going to last as long.

Secondly, this problem could be a result of the way the fixture was installed and how the light bulbs are screwed in. To light up, the light bulb makes contact with a brass tab at the bottom of the light socket. Over time, the tab will bend down if the light bulbs are screwed in too tightly and will cause the contact between the brass tab and the light bulb to go bad and eventually blow the light bulb. If this seems to be the problem for you, check to make sure the tab is bent at a 20-degree angle. If it is not, turn off all power to the light fixture and fix the tab to bend it at the proper angle.

Why can’t I reset my circuit breaker?

When your circuit breaker trips, the switch moves towards the off position. However, it may not move all the way to the off position. Make sure the switch is moved to the off position (You’ll hear it click) and then return it to the on position. If you do so without it tripping again, you’ve successfully reset it! If that doesn’t work, try unplugging some devices plugged into that circuit and try again.

Why do my lights flicker?

Typically, your lights can flicker for a wide range of reasons. Occasionally it can be your fault because of the type of light bulb you’re using, but it can also be the utility company’s fault as well. Typically, LED lights are the ones that flicker the most and they’re also among the most popular because of the energy saving technology. If the flickering is a persistent problem, try replacing it with a regular light bulb to see if that helps. If not, the problem could be a result of the utility company.

What exactly are tamper resistant plugs?

Tamper resistant plugs were introduced in 2008. Now, any plug that needs to be changed in a home is supposed to be changed to a tamper resistant plug. They look exactly like a regular plug except they have plastic guards in the openings that prevent you from being able to stick something in one of the opening. You have to plug something into both openings in order for it to work. This is meant to stop kids who may try to stick something metal into the socket and injure themselves.

I’ve noticed there’s 2-prong plugs and 3-prong plugs. What’s the purpose of the third prong on those plugs?

The third prong on those types of plugs is designed to prevent deadly electrical shocks. This is caused by the item you’re using. Essentially, the third prong acts as a ground. If a wire in the item you are using happens to come loose, the third prong can divert the energy. It will redirect it back into the home’s electrical system, rather than to the person using the item. Without the third prong, there’s a better chance of experiencing some sort of electrical shock when using the item.

Final Word About Your Electrical Questions

Have you read through this article and found answers to some of the most commonly asked electrical questions? Great because you’ll have no problem gaining a better understanding of electrical work. When it comes time to solve the next electrical problem you come across, you just may already have the answer! If you don’t, feel free to drop us a line with your question. Our team at Wire Craft Electric is happy to help.

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Under Cabinet Lighting Solutions For Kitchens & Bathrooms

under cabinet lighting

Want to up the ante of your Seattle home? Highlight counter-tops and brighten darker spaces with poor lighting by adding custom cabinet lighting to your kitchen. Under cabinet lighting is the easiest way to change the mood and add direct lighting to counter tops in your kitchen. You can create atmosphere and add functionality at the same time with LED lights that are attractive, affordable, and even energy-efficient.

Keep in mind that additional lighting isn’t restricted to under the cabinet. Wherever you need it, add it. Sometimes it is perched above the cabinets, or on the counter-tops… Don’t struggle to read a cookbook or recipe card. You don’t have to wash dishes in the shadows. Integrated kitchen lighting adds atmosphere, functionality and style to your kitchen. Lighting under the cabinets not only completes the look of your kitchen, it gives you a better look at what you’re making for dinner, too.

Cabinet Lighting Isn’t for the Kitchen Only

Under cabinet lights are nothing new to kitchens, but now they are showing up in bathrooms, too. You can find creative touches with LED lights in bedrooms, home offices, living rooms (behind TV’s) and everywhere else people believe additional lighting is needed or wanted. Grocery stores are even installing LED strip lighting inside their freezer doors that turn on as shoppers pass by. They know what looks good! You can talk to us about installing dimming under counter lighting, or lights that turn on automatically as you open the cabinet door – we’re happy to help you with the perfect lighting solution for what you’re seeking to accomplish in your home!

Kitchen Under Cabinet Lighting Ideas

You can choose between strip lights, circular lights, triangular, square lights and more. There are plenty of different shapes and sizes to choose from, and LED options add energy savings, too. You can purchase lights to install yourself or purchase everything needed for a professional to install it for you.

 Puck or flat LED lights
Small round disks that can be in mount individually or several that has wiring together.
 Tape LED lights
Come on a roll in a variety of lengths.
 Strip LED lights
Rectangular lights come with everything needed for an electrician to install.
– Rope LED lights
Simple, low-cost and easy to install yourself.

– LED Pad lights
With touch on/off or dimmable sensor switch built in

– In-cabinet LED lights
Illuminates cabinet interiors as you open the door.

– Color-changing LED lights

– Rechargeable LED in-cabinet lights

LED Lights Will Almost Last Forever and Save Money, Too

Again, LED lights are highly efficient. They consume very little energy. Because they last year after year, you won’t have to purchase replacements often, which will save you money in the long run.

Yes, you can install under-cabinet lighting yourself – or, you’re more than welcome to call Wire Craft Electric to install your lights for you. If you have any questions about choosing the right under cabinet lighting in your kitchen or bathrooms, give us call today.

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