Electrical tips & tricks to help you know the trade.

Label Your Circuit Panel

It’s always a good idea to have your circuit breaker panel accurately labeled for easy reference. The items needed for this project are a drop light with long cord, or a radio without batteries and a multimeter, available at most home improvement stores.

First turn on all the lights in the house, just like your parents always fussed at you for doing when you where a kid. Then use the drop light or radio by plugging it into an outlet. Now set the light up so you see it from the panel, or turn the radio on loud enough so you can hear it. Now go through all the breakers until the light or the radio goes out. After it goes out, go to that room where you had the light/radio plugged into and check to see what else went out. Use the multimeter on outlets that you do not have something plugged into to see if it still has power.

In most homes, the following items should be on dedicated circuits:

Single Pole breakers:

  • Two circuits for the kitchen counter outlets
  • Dishwasher
  • Garbage Disposal
  • Built-in Microwave
  • Washer (Laundry)
  • Smoke Detectors

Double Pole Breakers:

  • Range (Oven/Cooktop)
  • Dryer (Laundry)
  • A/C Unit
  • Electric Furnace
  • Electric Water Heater
  • Pool
  • Car Charger

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Bulbs That Often Burn Out

This can happen for a couple of different reasons. First, it might be that the wattage is too high for the type of fixture. Most completely enclosed fixtures only allow for a 60-watt bulb max. (Most fixtures will have the bulb type, and wattage printed on the fixture.) Second, the socket might be burned or damaged. If a bulb is not making good contact within the socket, then some electrical arcing will occur and cause power surges in the bulb, thus shortening the life span of the bulb. Most bulbs will only last about 2,000 hours, using a bulb for 8 hours a day, a bulb should last around 8 months.[hr top]

Power Fluctuations

Power fluctuations can be caused by several different things ranging from construction in your neighborhood, loose wires, or the main electrical service being too small for the property. If the fluctuations are isolated to one room or one part of the property, then that is an indication of possible loose wires. If the lights in the entire property dim when any major appliance (A/C, dryer, or oven) is used, that is an indication that the service is too small for the property, and needs to be increased. Both of these problems can be repaired by McCauley Electrical Service.[hr top]

About Permits

Any major repairs and all remodeling projects are required to have the required permits. The reason for this is to make sure all the work is being done correctly and to current building, safety, and fire codes.[hr top]

Choosing Fixtures? Begin Here.

Due to the immense number of and variant designs in light fixtures, switches, and outlets, no one catalog, Web site, or distributor can or will have everything you want and deserve. Go to a local lighting store that specializes in fixtures, and look through their catalogs. Most sales associates can guide you onto the right direction after asking some basic questions about color, style, and material.

Some easy and cheap ways to get ideas is to look in the home improvement magazines. Also, check out your friends homes to see what they have done. You can have an interior designer come to your home and give you some pointers as to what to do and where to start, but be sure to ask to see their portfolio to make sure that they have done projects similar to your style.

After a recent move be sure to live in the house for a short time before making any major decisions. After experiencing your environment and the flow of the home then it will become easier to design the lighting around what works best for your lifestyle.[hr top]

Plan Ahead!

Due to the attention to detail and customer care that I provide, I will never bump a customer to make room for a larger project. Every customer is important to me. Schedule now![hr top]