The idea of buying an electric car can be very appealing. The savings on gas, less greenhouse emissions, and far fewer trips to the gas station. However, with that in mind, what about charging your electric car? You can't just go to a gas station anymore to "fill up." You either have to go to a charging station or have a licensed Lexington or Centerville Electrician install a home charging station. In regards to public charger stations the questions ultimately arise, do I bring my own cord? What style should it be? Is the amount of power correct?
So, let's be honest, it's much more convenient to be able to park your car in your garage and just let it charge overnight knowing it has the correct plug and power. Plus there's no waiting around for it to fully charge. Then of course there is the question, but can't I just plug my car into an outlet in the garage? Yes, with a lot of models you can but you run into a few issues.
First off, if any other equipment is plugged into the circuit or if there is lighting on the same circuit it can cause a breaker to trip due to the large amount of electricity required. It wouldn't be ideal to wake up for work, go out to the garage then realize that a breaker tripped and your car didn't charge overnight. Second off, the time frame which it takes to charge some electric cars with a 120 volt set up is a bit ridiculous. Some models can take over 18 hours to fully charge this way. By installing a dedicated 240 volt circuit you can guarantee that there is nothing else on the circuit that will cause the breaker to trip and the time frame to fully charge most vehicles drops to between 3-8 hours. A much more reasonable time frame.
We recommend having a Lexington or Centerville Electrician give you an estimate to install the charging station even before you buy the vehicle. If your electrical panel is not located near where you plan on having the station installed the cost of the charging station install could be more than expected. A licensed electrician can give you a price and recommendations in regards to placement
The holidays are a time when we decorate our homes and literally deck the halls with extra lights and other flammable materials. Thus the holidays are also the busiest time of the year for your local firefighters. All of the lights that are strung on both the outside and inside of your Lexington or Centerville home can be a potential fire hazard. Before switching on your lights it is very important to follow some safety tips:
1. If you decide to put up a real Christmas tree, it is very important to keep it watered. A dry Christmas tree can easily catch fire from an electrical short in your Christmas lights. Fire Safety tests have show that a tree can become completely engulfed in flames in seconds if the conditions are right. Also by keeping it watered you can preserve its freshness.
2. Check each strand of lights you install to make sure that neither the cord nor the sockets are damaged in any way. Make sure to check for damaged plugs and connections.
3. After checking over your lights and ensuring that they are not damaged make sure to plug them in and to replace any burnt out bulbs with a bulb of the correct wattage.
4. When hanging lights, make sure to use insulated hooks to prevent shorts. Never use nails, screws or tacks to hang your lights as they could potentially damaged the wiring.
5. Make sure that the plug ends of the lights are not laying on the ground. If they are on the ground, water or debris can damage the cords causing them to short out.
6. Make sure to plug your lights into a GFCI protected outlet. This will prevent further damage if a short is detected.
7. When purchasing new lights make sure that they have been UL listed. This means they have passed rigorous laboratory testing for safety.
8. Make sure outside lights are rated to be used outdoors.
9. If you must use an extension cord, make sure to properly secure it to prevent any sort of tripping hazard.
10. Do not leave lights on when you are sleeping or away from home.
11. Make sure your lights are plugged into a circuit that isn't already being exhausted by other electrical components.
12. Finally, when storing the lights for the year, make sure to put them into a hardened container to prevent any possible damage to them while they are in storage.
By following these safety guidelines and using common sense you can prevent electrical fires and damage to your house during the holiday season.
If you are in process of buying a vacant home in Lexington, Kentucky and many other areas you will be required to have a licensed electrician inspect the property (if it's been vacant/power has been off over a year), and then have the country electrical inspector follow up. A licensed electrician will let you know what, if any repairs need to be made before it will pass county inspection. County inspectors will look over the electrical system to make sure everything is safe and up to code per the year the house was built.
Once an electrician has deemed the house safe, a county inspector will also do a thorough inspection. If the county inspector deems everything safe he will turn in an order to the electrical company to restore power. The reasoning behind these inspections is that vacant homes are often times targets of vandals. They will break in and steal copper wiring, copper plumbing, etc. Sometimes they will badly damage the electrical service equipment while stealing wire. If the power company were to turn on power after electrical components have been damaged it could very easily cause an electrical fire. In 2013, 10.3% of house fires were caused by electrical malfunction. https://www.usfa.fema.gov/data/statistics/
Light is one of the most important elements to human survival and life. Our main source of light coming from the sun, but that only provides light for part of the day. At night and when we are inside we use electrical powered lighting to get by. However, it is important that the light that we use is adequate for safety, particularly eye safety. Too much light can cause a headache and too little light can cause eye strain. Accidents can also occur in poor lighting situations. It is easy to make a mistake when we have problems properly viewing what we are doing.
There are many ways to solve both of these issues in both work and home environments. If you are dealing with a lack of lighting causing eye strain you can hire a Lexington electrician to inspect your light situation and make suggestions to improve the situation. The obvious answer would be to add more lighting, but sometimes swapping out a light fixture with one that has more bulbs can do the trick. The light bulbs being used can also be causing the problem. If the fixture will allow it, brighter light bulbs can do the trick. Don't forget about CFL and LED bulbs that produce much more light while using a fraction of the wattage of an incandescent or halogen bulb. If light bulbs or a new fixture won't solve the problem Threewire Electric can offer some different options to supply adequate lighting.
When dealing with a surplus of light there are a few different ways to handle the issue. The first option would be to install a dimmer on the lights (if the bulbs are dimmable). Other options could be putting some of the lighting on a different switch so certain lights can be turned on together rather than all the lights at the same time. Lastly, fixture or bulb replacement could again solve this issue.
Don't let eye strain due to a lack or surplus of lighting negatively affect you. There are plenty of option
When you open up the door on your electrical panel cover is each breaker labeled as to what it controls? If I asked you to turn off only your microwave circuit would it be a 2 minute task or a 30 minute task? Not only is it important for safety reasons to have a properly labeled panel, it's also required as part of the National Electrical Code. Does your panel more so resemble the one on the left or the right?
The panel on the left is a properly labeled panel. Each breaker has a sticker next to that in good handwriting has the circuit listed that corresponds to the breaker. The panel on the right has stickers missing, a few different colors of sharpie and circuits scratched off and wrote over. In an emergency situation you could have a breaker turned off very quickly by going through the circuits on the left panel. A homeowner may be forced to turn off the main breaker in an emergency situation where the panel isn't properly labeled such as on the right. In this case the homeowner is left without power until an electrician can arrive on scene and make repairs.
It's very rare as an electrician to be working in someone's Lexington home with a properly labeled panel unless it is a new home or the service has been recently updated. It's not a long procedure to audit a panel and properly label it. A clean, labeled panel can also make a possible buyer feel safer about your houses electrical system. It will also make future work on the electrical and HVAC systems much easier and quicker.
An extension cord is a flexible, insulated electric wire fitted with one or more outlets on one end and a plug at the other end. It provides a convenient, way to use electrical equipment that can’t reach a wall receptacle.
Extension cords should only be used on a temporary basis. When not in use they should be unplugged, put away and properly stored.
Continual use over time can cause the insulation of the extension cord to deteriorate causing a potentially dangerous electric shock or fire.
Never use a cord that feels hot when in use. This is a tell tale sign that either the cord is damaged or that it's not rated for the equipment that is plugged into it.
Only purchase and use extension cords that have been approved by an independent testing laboratory.
Do not use an extension cord that appears to be damaged or burnt in any way. Doing so could cause an electric shock or burn.
Make sure your extension cord is rated for the equipment that is being plugged into it.
Never remove the grounding "3rd" pin to fit the extension cord into a 2 prong outlet.
Extension cords are the leading cause of electrical fires and if improperly used can cause injury or even death.
If you find yourself constantly using extension cords in your Lexington home you should consider calling a licensed electrician to install additional outlets in your home.
Perhaps in your home you have run into an instance where a light switch didn't work the first time you tried it. Maybe a receptacle didn't work when you plugged something in but worked after you unplugged and then replugged it in. You may have thought to yourself was it a fluke or do I have an electrical issue?
These issues are typically caused by bad or loose connections in your switch or receptacle. The bad connection can repeatedly arc over time eventually melting the switch or receptacle. If that's not bad enough, an electrical fire can start from the heat produced by the arcing.
A connection could be bad for a few reasons. The receptacle or switch might be back stabbed instead of being wrapped around the screw. Another instance might be that the screw wasn't tightened down well enough. Over time these connections can become loose due to continuous usage of the device and vibrations such as doors closing.
If the receptacles and switches are old in your Lexington home this could also be the issue. Over time, like anything else, switches and receptacles go bad. We recommend having a licensed electrician, such as Threewire Electric, come out and take a look at your devices. They will be able to determine if you have a bad connection or a different electrical problem before its too late. If your home has very old receptacles and switches they can provide a free estimate to replace these devices with new ones.
If you've ever had lighting strike your house or suffered from other electrical surges then you know the damage that can come from such a catastrophe. Electrical surges can kill all of the electronic devices plugged in to your homes receptacles, including televisions, computers, refrigerators, any anything with electronic components. When all of these electronic devices are added up, it can cost a homeowner or their insurance company $1000's of dollars to replace these units.
Whole home surge protection installed at the meter or panel can prevent these outside surges from coming into your home and damaging your electronic devices. It is also recommended to plug these electronic devices into surge protectors to prevent inside surges caused by equipment that cycles on and off inside of your home such as air conditioners, refrigerators and dryers.
Whole home surge protection devices, such as the one pictured by Intermatic, offer different levels of warranties based on the device. These warranties are just in case the whole home surge protector fails. If it does, the warranties cover damage to the devices in your home that are affected. These warranties have a wide range in regards to how long they last and how much they cover. Consult with Threewire Electric in Lexington to know which device would be best for your home.
You may or may not be aware that the US government began phasing out incandescent light bulbs for general lighting starting in 2012, in favor of more energy-efficient lighting alternatives. The ban affects standard incandescent bulbs between 40 and 100 watts.
Now you might be asking yourself what are the alternatives to the incandescent bulb for lighting my home in Lexington? There are 3 main alternatives, halogens, CFL’s (compact fluorescents) and LED’s (light emitting diodes). These different bulbs are pictured above in that order with a standard incandescent first.
Halogen bulbs are typically used in flood or recessed lights; however, they do make them in a standard bulb which looks just like a regular incandescent. Halogens use less power than incandescent bulbs and last longer, but they are more expensive and burn very hot. Generally the life of a halogen is about double that of a standard incandescent.
CFL’s use about a quarter the energy of an incandescent bulb and have a life that is about 7 times greater. However, they are more expensive and contain mercury which makes it dangerous if you break a CFL. They also do not turn on immediately as they have to warm up.
LED’s use the least amount of power and last the longest(between 3-6 times longer than CFL's). They contain no mercury and remain cool while operating. The downside to LED’s is the cost. Although they have come down greatly in price since their release they are still the most expensive option in terms of upfront costs. On the positive side, over time, LED’s easily pay for themselves versus the cost of the other bulbs due to the small amount of energy they use and how long they last.
So, once your standard incandescent bulb is no longer on the shelf at your local Lexington store you will need to make a decision on which type of bulb to start using. Threewire Electric recommends swapping out your current incandescent bulbs when they burn out with LED's. If you're only replacing a couple at a time, the extra upfront costs of the LED's is not that great.
The picture to the left is what’s known as a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter or GFCI for short. The purpose of the GFCI is to protect us from severe or lethal electrical shocks by sensing ground faults which are inadvertent electrical paths between a grounded surface and a power source. They can also prevent some electrical fires and can lessen the severity of others by disrupting the flow of electric current. In a home’s wiring system, the GFCI continuously monitors electricity flowing in a circuit to sense any loss of current. If the current flowing through the circuit fluctuates by a slight amount from that returning, the GFCI rapidly turns off the electricity to that particular circuit. The GFCI interrupts electrical flow faster than a blink of an eye to thwart a deadly dose of electricity.
Now you might be asking yourself, well what happens after a GFCI interrupts the electrical flow? In order to restore power back to the GFCI and each circuit that is connected to it the reset button must be pressed. Then, if the GFCI determines that there is no longer a hazard energy flow will be back to normal.
I bet you’re wondering what the purpose is of the other (test) button on the GFCI. By pressing the test button the GFCI, if working properly, will turn off power to the attached circuits. So, essentially the test button will “test” to see if you have a properly working GFCI. If nothing happens when the test button is pressed then it is time to call up Threewire Electric to have them replace the GFCI.
GFCI outlets are typically installed in kitchens, bathrooms and other areas near water. As you learned in science class, electricity and water do not mix. Thus, the responsibility of the GFCI is to keep you safe and prevent serious or lethal electrical shocks by turning off electricity immediately after detecting a disruption of electrical current.