Monthly Archives: January 2013

Digital Multimeter Calibration Services

Tools of Electricians

Many tools that electricians carry, or at least have in their trucks, are common household tools that most homeowners own. Phillips and flat-head screwdrivers of various sizes, a hammer, and pliers are as necessary to electricians as they are to the average homeowner. A retractable tape measure and a number two pencil are other common items that are as useful for the pros as they are for average Joes.

Specialty Tools

What are not as likely to be found in the tool drawer of homeowners are the tools produced specifically for electricians. These can be thought of in two main groups of equipment, tools and replacement parts. The better equipped your electrician, the more likely it is that they have broad experience, and are well prepared to handle every situation.

On any electrician’s list of essential equipment are:

  • Either a volt-ohm meter or a multi-meter
  • A multi-purpose tool
  • A battery powered screwdriver to quickly remove and insert screws without electricity
  • A soldering pencil
  • Jumper wire
  • Fish tape
  • Replacement fuses

Recognizing an Electrician by Their Tools

If someone shows up without a Volt-Ohm Meter, chances are good that it is not your electrician. Needed to check electrical current, it is used to find faulty fuses and outlets and determine the cause of problems with appliances. Multi-Meters combine an ammeter with a voltage meter and an ohm meter, but they read only within a specific range.

An electrician’s multi-purpose tool is another specialized item, combining an array of other tools in what at first glance looks like a pair of pliers. Wire cutters, insulation strippers, bolt shearers, wire loopers, all of them are cleverly built into a single tool. Replacing separate tools for crimping, cutting, and even measuring wire diameter, these multi-purpose tools promise to shrink the size of tool belts.

If you find yourself in need of an electrician in the Middle Tennessee area, give us a call, and we will come out to fix your problem!

Schaffhouser circuit breaker

Know Your Electrical Capacity Before You Connect That Equipment

Appliances and equipment that were traditionally very expensive have become relatively affordable, enabling more people to add central air conditioning, humidification systems, backup generators, and other equipment to their homes. Though the tendency is usually to get the system installed and running immediately, this can be a mistake. If electrical service capacity is not assessed before plugging in new equipment, irreversible damage may occur.

Electrical capacity is measured in amps and though determining it is not difficult, the process is dangerous. Visual inspection typically provides the answer, but this should be performed carefully. Service entry cables, the electric meter and meter base, main switch, and electrical service panel may need to be inspected and live electricity runs through these areas.

The question of how much electrical service is provided is answered by ampacity and voltage. In the United States, service voltage at the electrical panel is commonly 240 volts. This system will support both 120 and 240-volt circuits. Inspection begins at the electric masthead, where two 120-volt hot wires entering the structure provide both 120 and 240 volts. If electrical service was installed in the building before 1940, only 120 volts and 30 amps may be supported, though this is becoming obsolete.

Electrical capacity provided by a service entrance conductor is determined by identifying wire size. However, the main breaker and the panel size may establish a lower limit. Be aware that it is dangerous to inspect or touch an electrical component due to shock risk or death by electrocution. Before inspecting electrical equipment, learn safe electrical practices.

If available electrical capacity is sufficient to support the voltage of the equipment, plug the item into an electrical outlet. Look for indications of electrical circuit overload such as flickering lights or shutdown of power. If this occurs, turn off electrical supply at the circuit breaker box, unplug the equipment, and contact an electrician.