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Tag Archives: Electrical

Home for the Holidays

In addition to making things merry and bright, take measures to maximize safety this holiday season. Photo: Megan Harris (2015)

In addition to making things merry and bright, take measures to maximize safety this holiday season. Photo: Megan Harris (2015)

While it’s fun to decorate and prepare for family gatherings and other festivities, one thing that’s easily forgotten amid the holiday hubbub is safety. In part one of our holiday blog series, we touch on a few seasonal safety essentials for your home and family.

Don’t take electrical safety lightly. As you prepare to transform your home into a quadrangular beacon of illumination for the entirety of December, make sure you take proactive steps to ensure electrical safety. Before hanging your holiday lights, inspect each strand and dispose of any that appear damaged or have lost their UL listing. Continue reading “Home for the Holidays” »

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Diamond Certified Experts: How to Restore Power to Your Home

Even if you don’t know the first thing about electricity, there are a couple of electrical issues you can solve without the help of a professional. Photo: Mulder Electric (2015)

Even if you don’t know the first thing about electricity, there are a couple of electrical issues you can solve without the help of a professional. Photo: Mulder Electric (2015)

Most people assume electrical work is best left to a professional, and for the most part, they’re absolutely right. However, in the instance of a power outage, there are a couple of things that even a novice can do to restore it. We’ve asked four Diamond Certified Expert Contributors to explain simple steps homeowners can take to avoid unnecessary service calls.

How to reset a GFI
Due to the presence of water, safety codes require the electrical outlets in bathrooms and kitchens to be equipped with ground fault interrupters (GFIs), which protect against electric shock in the event of a “ground fault,” which is an inadvertent electrical path between a source of current and a grounded surface. When a GFI detects a disruption in the current, it immediately shuts off power to protect the user. This means doing anything from using a hair dryer in the bathroom to using a blender in the kitchen can trigger a ground fault and cause that outlet to lose power. Continue reading “Diamond Certified Experts: How to Restore Power to Your Home” »

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Turn on the Bright Lights: Exterior and Interior Lighting Basics

When it comes to upgrading your home’s lighting, careful consideration will help you achieve your desired effect. Photo: Knights’ Electric, Inc. (2015)

When it comes to upgrading your home’s lighting, careful consideration will help you achieve your desired effect. Photo: Knights’ Electric, Inc. (2015)

Have you ever been in a seemingly well-lit room and suddenly found yourself straining to see? If so, you know how frustrating bad lighting can be. And yet, many people continue to regard lighting as purely one-dimensional, not realizing there’s a lot more to it than its most basic function. In reality, it’s not merely our ability to see in the dark that counts, but how well we’re able to see, as well as how lighting makes us feel. By comprehending the true complexity involved in achieving good lighting, you can make the most of illumination in both your interior and exterior living spaces. Continue reading “Turn on the Bright Lights: Exterior and Interior Lighting Basics” »

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Cool Tips for a More Efficient Refrigerator

You may not realize it, but your refrigerator might be consuming far more energy than normal. Photo: Earl Farnsworth Express (2015)

You may not realize it, but your refrigerator might be consuming far more energy than normal. Photo: Earl Farnsworth Express (2015)

Most people assume their refrigerators are working fine as long as they don’t notice any obvious problems, but few realize they’re paying far more than necessary to keep their food fresh. The reality is that an inefficient refrigerator can consume up to three times the amount of power used by a properly functioning unit, often without anyone noticing. That’s why it’s a good idea to periodically inspect your refrigerator and address any issues that may be causing energy loss.

The first thing you should check is the condenser coils, which, depending on your refrigerator’s design, will be located on the back or across the bottom front. When these coils are dirty or otherwise obstructed, it inhibits efficient operation and requires the unit to work harder to maintain the desired temperature. In addition to making sure there’s adequate room to facilitate proper air flow, you should clean your coils at least once a year. Continue reading “Cool Tips for a More Efficient Refrigerator” »

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Fire Away! 4 Hot Tips for a Fire-Safe Summer

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During the dry summer months, wildfires are a constant concern throughout California. Photo: American Ratings Corporation (2015)

So, you survived the 4th of July without any major fire-related catastrophes. However, just because the fireworks have subsided (for the most part—watch out for stragglers), it doesn’t mean you can cruise through the rest of fire season on autopilot. To make sure you have your bases covered in terms of fire safety, take a look at this checklist:

1. Make sure your smoke detectors are operational. If you’re like most people, you’ve probably been tempted to remove the batteries from a smoke alarm—especially by the 27th time you inadvertently set it off while cooking bacon. However, in the event of a legitimate fire emergency, having your smoke detectors out of commission can carry dire consequences. If you want to cut down on the frequency of accidental triggers, consider swapping out your old units for recently updated models. In addition to being equipped with built-in, tamper-proof batteries to ensure functionality, the new smoke alarms have a “hush” feature, so the next time you burn your toast, the mere touch of a button will restore tranquility to your home environment. Continue reading “Fire Away! 4 Hot Tips for a Fire-Safe Summer” »

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Do I Have to Replace All My Old Wiring?

Many old Bay Area homes were wired using a method called “knob and tube,” which was in common use until the 1940's. You don’t always have to replace it, according to Nick Courcoumelis, owner of Positive Electric, a Diamond Certified company. “Knob and tube can’t be used in places where it can’t supply enough power to a kitchen, bathroom, laundry room or outdoor wiring. Or anywhere you need surge protection because it doesn’t have a ground. However, if it’s in good condition, it can still be used in other parts of the house, like bedrooms.”
 
Mr. Courcoumelis explains that codes don’t allow electricians to install knob and tube wiring anymore. However, you can insulate over it in California, as long as it’s been inspected and in good condition. Tip: Don’t wait decades to have your home’s electrical system evaluated.  A bit of maintenance can increase your system’s reliability and longevity and even prevent a fire.
 

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