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What You Should Know About Electrical Installation Materials

If you consider yourself a DIYer, you may be tempted to perform some of your own electrical work around your house. While we don’t recommend that, you should at least know what materials you need for the job. Continue reading to learn a bit more about the tools and materials required for residential electrical installation.

  • Electrical conduit and conduit fitting: The conduit is a tube the carries electrical wire and is made of steel, plastic or aluminum, depending on the type of wire it’s housing. The conduit fitting is a part used to join other parts or conduits carrying electrical power. Fittings also come in a variety of materials and sizes to meet your needs.
  • Electrical wire: Electrical wire is drawn metal, copper or aluminum that carries electricity through the circuit. Wires may be overhead, underground, run through a conduit or left in the open. Depending on the usage, the wire may be protected with an outer jacket of insulation.
  • Wire strippers: If you’re performing any DIY electrical work, you’ll need a pair of wire strippers to cut and strip the protective insulation from the wire. The tools have a row of gauged holes for stripping different-sized wires. They also usually have cutting jaws for trimming wire ends.
  • Explosion-proof enclosures: An explosion-proof enclosure is a product designed to contain an electrical short so that it doesn’t ignite and cause an explosion. They’re typically made of heavy-duty steel or aluminum, but they can be made of fiberglass. You’ll typically find these devices at gas stations, refineries, paint booths or other volatile environments.
  • Circuit breakers: A circuit breaker is a device that automatically interrupts an electrical current flow to protect against an overload. All of the electrical appliances in your home are connected to the circuit breaker, which is often located in your garage or utility closet.
  • Electrical connectors: As the name suggests, an electrical connector is a part that connects one part to another. These range in size from three-eighths of an inch up to six inches. They can be indoor, outdoor, corrosive-protected or explosion-proof, depending on the application.
  • Electrical box: Also known as a junction box, electrical boxes are used in residential electrical installation to enclose wire connections. They can be made of aluminum, plastic, stainless steel or cast iron. They’re all watertight and can be designed to be corrosive-protected or explosion-proof.
  • Pliers: Needle-nose pliers, linesman pliers and diagonal cutting pliers are just a few of the different types of pliers you’ll want to have on hand. Having a few sets of pliers in your toolbox helps ensure you can tackle all sorts of DIY projects.
  • Call the professionals for residential electrical installation

    As mentioned earlier, we don’t recommend that any homeowner performs DIY electrical work. It’s time consuming, dangerous and can end up costing a ton of money to fix any mistakes you make on your own! Instead, call our team at Walsh Electric for your residential electrical installation or repair needs. We have decades of experience performing jobs of all sizes, and we have some of the best rates in the area.

    How to Install Landscape Lighting

    Adding landscape lighting is a fantastic way to elevate your backyard’s appearance while making the space more functional. There are three main types of outdoor landscape lighting—solar lights, low-voltage lights and line-voltage lights—all of which have their own advantages and disadvantages.

    Whether you want to illuminate an entire outdoor walkway or simply shine a bright light on your yard’s focal point, keep reading. This post will cover everything you need to know about site lighting installation.

    Solar landscape lighting

    Solar lights don’t require any wiring because they’re powered by the sun, so the individual lights are easy to set up all by yourself. While the lights don’t need to be installed in direct sunlight to get a charge, they should receive at least six hours of sunlight per day to work their best.

    To install solar lights, simply remove each individual light from its package and follow the installation instructions. It’s usually as simple as placing a stake in the ground and attaching the light on top. Use a tape measure to ensure each individual light is equidistant from the next to achieve the best results.

    Low-voltage lighting

    Most low-voltage landscape lights include a transformer that’s plugged into an outdoor-rated GFCI electrical outlet. The transformer reduces your standard 120-volt household current to 12 volts. Low-voltage site lighting installation is more difficult than solar lights but easier than line voltage lighting.

    Your first step is to mount the transformer near a GFCI outlet. You can either mount the transformer directly to your house using a wood screw or on a post next to your house. Next, strip about 3/4 of an inch of insulation from the two conductors on the 10-gauge main wire that will feed the lights. Then, connect each conductor to the terminals in the transformer.

    Now that your transformer is connected, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for setting the lights up in your yard. Drive stakes into the ground to ensure the lights will stay put, and then run the cable from the transformer along the light path you just created. Make sure you have 18 inches of slack between each fixture to give you plenty of room to adjust the light’s location later.

    Most DIY low-voltage kits have a quick-connect system. To use it, open the housing and slip it over the electrical cable. When the two parts of the connector are pushed together, the insulation in the cable is pierced and contacts the conductors inside. Wrap the connecter with electrical tape and repeat the process at the next light.

    Plug the transformer in and turn the system on to complete your setup.

    Line-voltage lighting

    Installing low-voltage lighting involves burying lines underground and then hardwiring the lights directly to your home’s electrical system. This is one of the most advanced electrical projects out there and is not recommended for homeowners to try themselves. If you are going to attempt this yourself, call the city to obtain an electrical permit.

    Always hire the team at Walsh Electric

    Regardless of the site lighting installation you’d like, just call our pros at Walsh Electric. We have years of experience with all sorts of outdoor projects, so you can rest easy knowing you’ll love the results.

    How to Replace Appliance Cords

    Appliances are essential for everyday household tasks, and they can be expensive investments, so it’s important to make sure your appliances stay in great condition for as long as possible. Unfortunately, everyday use and normal wear and tear can take a toll on appliances and lead to all kinds of issues that are expensive to fix. One of the most common problems with appliances is wiring malfunctions. Keep reading to learn more about appliance wiring and how to replace appliance cords.

    Tips for replacing appliance wiring and cords

    Lots of people opt to attempt DIY appliance cord replacement to save the cost of hiring a professional. Sometimes, these projects are simple enough that it’s possible to complete them without any professional assistance, but it’s very important to keep in mind that working with electrical wiring can be dangerous. If you want to attempt to replace appliance wiring on your own, here is a step-by-step guide to help you address issues with appliance wiring and restore the functionality of your home appliances:

    Find replacement parts: The first step in replacing appliance wiring is to find the right replacement parts. Make sure that the replacement cord is of the same type and gauge as the old cord. If you have an older appliance that’s no longer manufactured, you may have a more difficult time finding a replacement, so consider whether it’s worth it to replace the appliance entirely instead of hunting down a replacement part that may be very hard to find.

    Disconnect the old cord: Once you’ve found a replacement part for your appliance, remove the old cord using a pair of needle nose pliers. Depending on the type of appliance, you may need to remove a panel before you will be able to access and remove the old cord.

    Disconnect wiring connections: After removing the cord from the appliance, the appliance wiring connections will be visible. Take note of these connections so you know how to connect everything when attaching the new cord. Remove the old connections using a utility knife. After disconnecting the old connections, use a wire stripper to adjust each wire to make sure there’s at least half an inch of bare wire to complete connections.

    Connect the new wires: Once you’ve prepared the new appliance wiring for connection, carefully connect the wires according to the configuration of the old cord connections. If the old connections don’t seem to be compatible with the new connections, it’s possible you have the wrong replacement part. When in doubt, it’s best to stop working with electrical wiring and go to a professional for help to avoid damaging the appliance or creating any safety hazards.

    Appliance wiring repairs

    Make sure your appliances continue working effectively for years to come with electrical services from Walsh Electric. Since 1985, we have been proud to provide comprehensive electrical services to customers throughout the area. Our team has the experience and training necessary to identify wiring issues and restore appliance wiring to optimize performance, efficiency and safety. Find out more about our services and get professional help with appliance wiring repairs by reaching out to our team today.

    How Do I Know if My Electrical Panel Is Out of Date?

    Electrical panels, also known as breaker boxes, are essential when it comes to the performance, safety, consistency and efficiency of electricity in a home or business. Unfortunately, many property owners encounter major problems with electrical panels that require constant adjustments and cause limited electrical performance. If you’re considering a breaker panel upgrade, but you’re unsure whether the time is right, keep reading to find out what to look for to know whether your electrical panel is out of date.

    Signs that it’s time for a breaker box upgrade

    An out-of-date electrical panel is more likely to have performance problems. In addition, electrical panels that are out of date are at higher risk of malfunctioning and starting fires. With that in mind, it’s important to be aware of when it’s the right time for a breaker panel upgrade. Here are some things to be aware of to make sure you know when it’s the right time to upgrade your breaker box:

    Constant tripping: One of the most common signs that it’s time for a breaker panel upgrade is constant tripping. If your circuits seem to trip every time you plug an appliance into a certain outlet or power up an extra device, it’s very likely your breaker panel doesn’t have the capacity to handle your home’s or business’s electrical needs. Not only is constant tripping an annoying and inconvenient issue to deal with, it also indicates that your electrical system might be unsafe. If you notice that your circuits trip often, it’s a good idea to consider upgrading your electrical panel.

    Disorganized wiring: A breaker panel is supposed to be organized and make it easy for property owners to manage electrical power throughout a home or business. Unfortunately, organization is not always a reality for property owners—especially those with old or damaged breaker panels. If your breaker panel is filled with a mass of disorganized wiring, it’s definitely time to consider an upgrade.

    Remodeling plans: Most property owners focus on aesthetic and functional changes when planning a remodel, but there are a lot of things below the surface that should come into play as well. Oftentimes, a remodeling project requires upgraded electrical systems to support new wiring and additional appliances. If you’re planning a remodeling project, it might be time to upgrade your breaker box to make sure your electrical system has the capacity to support expansion.

    Old age: Even if you haven’t noticed any major performance problems with your breaker system, it might be time for an upgrade if your breaker box is more than 20 years old. Most breaker boxes last between 20 and 30 years, so keep this in mind when considering whether it’s time for replacement.

    Professional breaker panel upgrades

    For a professional breaker panel upgrade to improve the performance of your electrical system, reach out to the team of experts at Walsh Electric. For decades, we have been committed to providing the highest quality electrical services possible to our customers, including breaker panel upgrades and wiring repairs. Find out more about everything we have to offer and get started with a consultation and a quote by giving us a call today.

    Tips for Installing Exterior Pole-Mounted Lighting Systems

    Installing a pole-mounted light or luminaire is a complex process that takes harsh ambient conditions—including temperature, corrosive chemicals, dirt and even physical abuse—into account. Read on to get to know the basics about pole lighting installation.

    Start with preparation

    The first step of luminaire installation involves architects, civil engineers or landscape architects. Before making any decisions regarding exterior lighting, it’s important to secure proper clearance and approvals from all involved parties. If you’re working on a new construction project, make sure final grading and appropriate site landscaping is finished prior to installation.

    Choose fixtures carefully

    When choosing an exterior luminaire, watertightness is key. Check all sealing needs and related electrical components and replace any defective items. Try to avoid products that use steel components, since they’re prone to corrosion, but always follow the fixture manufacturer’s instructions. As you select a fixture, review local codes to make sure the fixture you select can handle the typical wind conditions of your area.

    Prepare the foundation

    Install all electrical work during form preparations for pole foundations. Make sure there’s plenty of conduit and extensions, and that all conduits conform to manufacturer’s recommendations. Install anchor bolts in the concrete and allow for proper curing. It’s best to use the fittings provided by the manufacturer, although bolts with a plated or galvanized finish provide enhanced protection against corrosion. When the pole is in place and you’re ready to pour the concrete around the pole, keep the bolts in plumb orientation.

    Install the pole

    Proper mounting is of utmost importance during pole lighting installation. Follow all manufacturer’s instructions, including their bolt pattern, since orientation can be critical to securing the mounting plate. Use leveling nuts, flat washers and lock washers to hold the pole in place. Finally, add a non-shrinking or expanding concrete grout between the pole base and the concrete foundation. It’s best to put a small drain hole through the grout to the pole interior to provide for proper drainage.

    Wire the connections

    The next step of pole lighting installation involves wire connectors. Make sure your connectors have below-grade rating, which keeps them safe from moisture. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and follow the label to determine maximum size and number of conductors required.

    Add the lamps

    Once the pole is installed and electricity is connected, add the actual lighting fixtures as the final step of the process. Generally, you should select an E-type lamp for an enclosed fixture, an S-type lamp for an open one and an O-type lamp with protective glass if you’re looking for additional protection from damage. Make adjustments as necessary to ensure the light is distributed and aimed at the right spot, and be sure to follow all ordinances that restrict light pollution from nearby properties.

    Pole lighting installation is not a do-it-yourself job—it requires the knowledge and expertise of professional electricians who know exactly what they’re doing. With a large and expensive fixture like a luminaire, you can’t afford a shoddy job. Contact Walsh Electric today to learn more about the process of pole lighting installation.