Electrical advice from our master electricians on our blog
Electrical advice from our master electricians on our blog
Minneapolis 612-587-2777
Lic. EA005137

Archive for the ‘Minneapolis Electrical Remodeling and Additions’ Category

Experience Makes Sense!

Monday, January 6th, 2014

e 200The electrical trade is filled with many talented individuals who specialize in their own particular area of expertise. For example, some electricians excel at bending conduit or wiring theatres or gas stations. Some electricians thrive in industrial settings or installing and repairing large electric motors. Many of my trade school instructors were Navy electricians who learned their craft working on nuclear submarines. I suppose it is much the same as doctors who specialize in one area of the human body; a plastic surgeon probably doesn’t perform open heart surgery.

At Edison Electric we specialize in residential electrical service. Our experiences in the hundreds of homes we visit every year have helped amass a wealth of knowledge about troubleshooting in residential homes. In some of our blogs we have discussed how using sight, hearing, feel and the sense of smell can help detect an electrical problem in your home. Our electricians use all of these senses everyday to locate electrical problems and make repairs. In addition to these senses, a good residential electrician develops a keen, instinctive “sixth sense” with respect to electrical troubleshooting.

When we encounter an electrical problem in a home, troubleshooting is often required to locate the problem. Finding the cause of a challenging electrical problem can take a bit of detective work, but in the end it is our past experiences which lead us in the right direction toward locating the problem. At Edison Electric we have performed difficult troubleshooting in both new and old homes. When your switches and outlets begin acting up, you are better served with a company who specializes in residential electrical service and only residential service. Troubleshooting in someone’s home is specialty work to be handled by a true professional. We have both the equipment and experienced professionals necessary to divulge your electrical systems deepest mysteries! Give us a call today! 651.587.5512

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Replacing Switches And Outlets In Older Homes

Monday, December 9th, 2013

e 200Replacing switches and outlets in an older home may sound like an easy task for a home owner to tackle but may be more difficult than expected. You should have this done by a licensed electrician. Some of the issues you may find while replacing these devices in older homes are listed here:

  1. Equipment grounding conductors or lack of. In the past not all circuits had equipment grounding conductors. Sometimes they used the conduit the circuit conductors were in as the equipment grounding conductor. Sometimes there was simply no equipment grounding conductor present. A licensed electrician will know what conduits can be used as an equipment grounding conductor and which may not be used anymore. It there is no equipment grounding conductor present then a 3-prong outlet should not be installed unless it is GFCI protected.
  2. Many outlets were split wired. This means there may have been two circuits on one receptacle. When replacing one of these receptacles you want to pay special attention so you do not damage any of your appliances or electronic equipment.
  3. Many times older switches may look similar to newer switches but they are not. When we replace switches we need to verify where each of the wires are going opposed to simply replacing a switch. This will ensure the switch works properly and does not blow a breaker. If 3-way switching is not re-installed properly the light may not turn on when it is supposed to.
  4. Other issues we have seen with switches, is sometimes the neutral conductor was switched opposed to the hot wire. This can be dangerous when replacing a light bulb or working in the light fixtures box. If this were the case you would also always have voltage on your the light fixture bulbs which would dramatically shorten the life of the light bulb.
  5. Wiring methods in the past were different too. You may open up a switch or receptacle box and see different color wiring than you see in today’s homes. This can sometimes confuse homeowners. Many times in the past, power was feed from the light fixtures down to the switch boxes. This is not typically done in today’s wiring methods. This can also confuse home owners when changing out a light fixture.

Give us a call at Edison Electric when you want to upgrade your light switches or receptacles. Our licensed electricians are experts in the wiring in all homes regardless of the age of the home. Call today at 612-385-7864

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Shine A Light On Electricity For Holiday Decorating!

Monday, November 25th, 2013

Edison Electric‘Tis the season for outdoor holiday decorating, falalalala! It’s time to treat yourself to that exterior electrical outlet you always wanted; check our coupons and specials!

Here are some basic safety tips when you install your outdoor holiday decorations:

  • Make sure all outdoor lights and cords are plugged into an outlet that is GFCI protected to reduce the risk of electrical shock.
  • If you use an extension cord, make sure it’s long enough to meet your needs; don’t extend the cord by plugging it into another cord.
  • Make sure the cord is situated so it will not get pinched by a sharp angle or object.
  • Make sure the prongs of the electrical cord are fully plugged in and are not exposed.
  • Remember, extension cords are for temporary use only.
  • Inspect your extension cords before every use.
  • Plug into an outlet protected by an in-use bubble cover…

GFCI outlets can protect other outlets in the house. In many older homes the bathroom GFCI receptacle protects the outside receptacles. So if your outside lights don’t light up, check the following after you replace missing lamps:

  • Make sure the outlet is not controlled by a switch
  • Make sure a remote GFCI isn’t tripped in the bathroom or garage
  • Make sure your circuit breaker isn’t tripped

Leave the rest of the troubleshooting up to us! 651.587.5512

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Astrological Logistics

Monday, November 25th, 2013

Edison ElectricAstrological timer switches are a cost effective, popular solution for energy savings and increased home security. Astrological timer switches are digital and easy to use timers that provide programming for up to 40 events per week. Our timers replace a standard wall switch and are often used for controlling outside lights although they can be used for interior lighting as well.

The digital in-wall timers we use have many features, here are a few:

  • Auto daylight saving time adjustment
  • CFL / LED compatible
  • Dusk to dawn features and settings
  • CR2 lithium battery backup can keep time for 2 years without power
  • Low battery indicator
  • Manual override for standard operation
  • Random setting

The random setting is an enhanced safety feature that can be used to give the appearance of people being home when you’re away visiting family for the holidays. We recommend utilizing a timer switch for exterior lighting as well as some interior lighting which can be seen from the outside. Astrological timer switches are easy to use and program. Call today for more details 651.587.5512!

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Tripping Circuit Breakers/Blowing Fuses

Monday, November 18th, 2013

e 200Is it common at your home to have to reset a circuit breaker or replace a fuse. Circuit breakers and fuses are designed to trip when there is an over load or short circuit. Most manufacturers recommend your breakers be replaced after 5-10 fault trips depending on the manufacture. If this is constantly happening in your home there is probably an issue. Many older homes have electrical systems that were designed to serve the appliances at the time they were wired. Today’s appliances have come a long way and have increased the demand of your homes electrical system. Here are some common problems we see.

  1. Microwave is not on dedicated circuit. Most standard microwaves require a dedicated circuit. You should be able to check your microwaves owner’s manual to see if the manufacture recommends a dedicated circuit for your microwave. Many times a new microwave replaces a range hood above a microwave. The microwave has a much larger demand than the range hood therefor the electrical to the range hood may not be adequate for a new microwave.
  2. Your kitchen appliance outlets are shared with lighting and power circuits that serve other areas in your home. Homes wired today have (2) dedicated 20A circuits to serve the kitchen counter top. Appliances used in your kitchen today use more electricity than they did 20 years ago.
  3. AC units do not have dedicated circuits. Window AC units typically draw between 1100-1500 watts. An appliance drawing this much should be on its own circuit so if other outlets and lights share this circuit you are probably over loading this circuit.
  4. Use of space heaters. These are similar to window AC units in what they draw. They typically draw between 1100-1500W. These should also be on a dedicated circuit unless they have multi-level settings and you keep it on low.
  5. Bathroom circuits shared with other lights and power outside of the bathroom. You will usually notice these circuits tripping when you are using your hair dryers and curling irons. Today bathrooms are required to be on 20A circuits and are not allowed to share the circuit with bedrooms, living rooms, or any other rooms other than bathrooms.

If you notice you are having problems with the same circuit’s tripping, pay attention to what you are doing and what is plugged in or in use when your breaker trips. It may be one large appliance your using that keeps over loading the circuit. This information will also be helpful for any electrician who is troubleshooting your circuit. If you have a circuit that is consistently tripping call Edison Electric today at 651-587-5512.

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The DIY Television Channels

Monday, November 4th, 2013

I enjoy watching the DIY home improvement channels as much as the next person. I’ll wake up on Saturday morning and watch a rerun or two while I eat breakfast and drink my coffee. In fact, Edison Electric took a run at national fame when we did the electrical installation for a bathroom in an episode of Bath Crashers a couple of summers ago in south Minneapolis. It was a fun experience. Turns out, many of these DIY shows are taped right here in Minnesota, so it makes it even more fun to watch when the neighborhoods are recognizable.

Being in the electrical trade it is easy to sit back from afar and nitpick the electrical segments of the shows. I realize there is an element of entertainment involved so I won’t be too harsh here. Here are two things which I would absolutely not recommend that I saw recommended the other day on two different shows.

Dumpster Diving for Light Fixtures:
Do not pull a light fixture out of a dumpster; spray the inside of the light bulb socket with black spray paint, throw two 100 watt bulbs in it and then turn the switch on. My questions: Is the light fixture is UL listed? What is the maximum wattage light bulb you can use in that fixture? Did the fixture get wet or damaged while laying outside in the dumpster? Are the fixture wires in good condition? Are the sockets in good condition?

The answer to my last question was answered when she recommended taking black spray paint and spraying the inside of the socket. If the socket was in good condition before, it wasn’t after she painted it. The operation of any light fixture depends on the contact between the metal parts of the socket and the bulb. Not a good idea. Yes the light fixture looked pretty. But how long would the installation last? How much extra heat was being generated from the poor contact inside the light socket?

Aluminum Wiring Repairs:
One of the shows had a tip segment just before a commercial which demonstrated how to repair an aluminum connection for a receptacle. Long story short, do not attempt to make repairs on aluminum wiring inside your home, and call an electrician if you discover your home has aluminum wiring. Aluminum branch circuit wiring in a home is very dangerous and should be repaired by a certified professional. If practical, it should just be replaced. Do not splice copper wiring pigtails to aluminum wires and assume it is a good repair just because it works, even if it was recommended on a DIY show.

I know electrical repairs shown on television appear easy and harmless and portray homeowners saving a buck by not having to call an electrician. In the real world, a safe and code compliant electrical installation is the safest bet you can make for you and your family. If you have the slightest doubts about the integrity of an electrical DIY project completed in your home, give us a call and we’ll come take a look. 651.587.5512.

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