Monthly Archives: November 2012

Schaffhouser Electric Christmas Lighting

Being Careful with Your Outdoor Holiday Lighting

Is there anything more spectacular than walking around the neighborhood during Christmas and seeing all of the homes decorated with holiday lights? Some neighborhoods make a competition out of it, with one neighbor trying to outdo the next. Every one of them tries to create a more spectacular display than the year before so they can be “the house.”

While we all love creating and seeing these displays, we also want everyone’s home to be safe. There are some basic outdoor holiday lighting safety tips that should be followed in order to make sure you do not inadvertently put your home and family at risk.

  • Use only UL approved lights for your outdoor displays
  • Check all lighting for damaged sockets and frayed wiring
  • Check all bulbs and replace any broken bulbs as well as any bulbs that are not working properly
  • Do not loosely hang lights over branches our other outdoor areas. Instead, secure the lighting to thicker branches, tree trunks, boards, mailboxes, etc…
  • Use only outdoor, heavy extension cords
  • Lights should not be placed near water supplies, such as a downspout
  • Avoid dangerous areas, such as feeds from your utility pole
  • Only use GFCI outlets for lighting
  • If plugs or outlets get warm when in use, discontinue use as the circuit could be getting overloaded
  • You should use no more than three sets of lights for each extension cord
  • All lighting should be turned off when leaving the home or before going to bed

In addition to these tips, you should enlist at least one addition helper when stringing the lights. If climbing on a ladder, be sure to have someone holding the ladder for support the entire time you are using it.  Avoid trying to untangle lighting while on the ladder, as this could cause you to lose your footing and fall.

Schaffhouser Electrical Outlet Scaled

Are You a House Flipper? You Will Need a Good Electrician

Flipping homes has become a very popular way of earning a second income. Reality TV has glamorized the process and more and more people are looking for homes on the market they can buy cheap and then remodel to flip for a profit. One area of the “flipping” that needs to be specifically addressed is in redoing the electricity.

Many older homes have what would be considered sub standard electrical work by today’s standards. However, because they were built prior to the new guidelines, they may have been grandfathered in for the existing work. If you are going to flip the home, you should upgrade the electrical work, as it will only make the home more marketable.

In most cases, doing a major renovation will require permits and approval from the local inspector. In order for the home to pass, a licensed electrician will be required to perform the work. Mind you, we are not speaking about a general contractor, as some people will get confused between the two.

Licensed electricians are required to pass significant testing on all aspects of the profession before they are certified. A general contractor need only obtain liability insurance and then apply to their local state for a license. They may have a general knowledge, but they may find themselves in over their head for certain projects and will literally walk away, leaving the flipper literally out in the cold.

The benefit in hiring a licenses electrician is that you have someone to fall back on if there are problems. For instance, electricians are required to be not only licensed, but also insured. If they run into problems and are unable to complete the job, there is a bond available to hire another electrician to complete the job. If you are flipping a house, you obviously want and need everything to be done by code, as you are the party liable. Simply put, it just makes sense to hire a licensed electrician for these types of projects.

QA

Add Electrical Lighting To Your Outdoor Space

Spring and summer are wonderful times of the year to enjoy your outdoor seating areas. However, the use of these areas may be restricted unless you have outdoor lighting installed. There are several options to consider before undertaking a project such as this. Some, you can do yourself, while others will more than likely require a licensed electrician.

Solar lighting is always an option, but the fixtures can be extremely expensive and are not always reliable. The cells charge via sunlight during the day and will automatically go on as it gets darker. The batteries on these devices do not always hold the charge and you may find yourself replacing them regularly or buying new fixtures.

Homeowners can make a DIY project and install low voltage lighting around their home. Most home improvement stores will sell kits for this purpose. This type of outdoor lighting only requires 12 volts of power and is easily moved. This is something that can be used for simple lighting projects, but if you wanted the electrical work for more power demanding items, like an outdoor refrigerator or appliances, this will not suffice.

If the home requires more significant lighting, you will want to install line voltage lighting. This requires the same type of line work you have inside of your home. This is perfect for outdoor areas using electric grills and significant lighting. Homes that have significant or complex landscaping features may also choose to have this type of lighting installed.

Because line voltage lighting requires an electrical junction box and a conduit, it is best to use a licensed electrician for this type of work, especially because it is going to be outside and subject to weather conditions. Using an electrician offers a bit more peace of mind than attempting to do this yourself with little or no experience in outdoor wiring.