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Why Should I Hire an Electrician to Install a New Light Fixture?

If you’ve found the perfect light fixture for your home, you may be thinking about installing it yourself. While there are some DIY electrical projects that can easily be tackled by handy homeowners, electrical light installation generally isn’t one of them. Not only can one installation error make an otherwise affordable job much more expensive, it can also be dangerous. Here’s why you should rely on a professional electrician to install your new light fixture.

All electrical changes should be performed by a licensed professional

In many states, making any changes to existing electrical systems needs to be done by someone who holds a valid electrician’s license. Even though you may think that electrical light installation seems like a simple job, it’s actually categorized as a significant change to your home’s electrical system, so you need to hire a licensed electrician to handle it.

Improper connections can start a fire

Your new fixture won’t work without a steady source of electricity, which means it needs to be correctly integrated into your home’s electrical wiring. In some cases, new wires may need to be added to the system to carry energy to the fixture.

Unless you’re very familiar with electrical work, it can be confusing determining which wire should attach to the fixture. Your switch box may have several wires coming out of it, including hot, neutral and ground wires. Using the wrong wire could result in flickering lights, and improper connections can even start a fire. Don’t take the risk and have it installed by an expert.

Evaluating ceiling and wall support

Ceiling and wall fixtures can be very heavy, and the installation area needs to be able to support the weight of the fixture for your safety. A licensed electrician has the tools and experience to evaluate the structure around the installation area and ensure the walls or ceiling can bear the weight of the new fixture.

Determining whether your fixture requires extra insulation

Many homeowners don’t realize that new wall or ceiling light fixtures may require extra or specialized insulation, especially fixtures that include ceiling fans. These fixtures generate more heat, not just from the light itself, but also from the fan’s movement. A professional electrician can help you determine if your current insulation is enough and can install extra insulation whenever necessary.

Maintaining a warranty

Whether you’ve purchased a top-of-the-line fixture or not, most new lighting options come with product warranties. Look carefully at the information that came with your fixture—it usually will indicate that you can only maintain the warranty if you had the fixture installed by a professional.

Keep in mind that electricians offer warranties, too. Good electricians stand by their work, and a warranty protects you from incurring any additional expenses if a problem arises from the work they’ve done.

Even something as seemingly simple as electrical light installation requires attention from a professional electrician. Whether you’ve got a new sconce or a chandelier that needs to get up and running, contact Walsh Electric today and we’ll get you the service you need right away.

When to Call an Emergency Electrician

While many handy homeowners fancy themselves as amateur electricians, it’s really best to call in a professional to handle most of the electrical maintenance and repair tasks that accompany homeownership. But how do you know if your problem requires immediate attention? If any of the following situations apply to you and your home, don’t hesitate to call an emergency electrician for quick service.

You feel mild shocks when you touch switches or outlets

Feeling a jolt whenever you touch a particular switch or outlet in your home? This is a sign of a serious electrical problem that requires immediate attention from a professional electrician. Whether the cause is a loose connection or short circuit, the issue can eventually cause electrocution or a fire.

In some cases, you may be experiencing frequent shocks when using switches or plugs throughout the house. If this is the case, it’s well past time to have your grounding and circuitry upgraded by an expert.

You’re blowing fuses regularly

While it’s normal for fuses to blow from time to time, when fuses blow regularly it could be a sign of energy surges harming your electrical system. Fuses essentially are emergency circuit breakers, giving way to keep excess current from harming system components. When they blow on a regular basis, it’s a clear indication that there’s a major problem requiring quick attention from a professional electrician.

Your lights are flickering

Flickering lights are much more than a minor annoyance—they may be a sign of a serious electrical problem in your home. Too much electrical demand in specific parts of the home is the typical cause of flickering lights, and it usually means one particular outlet is receiving far too much power than it should. If the lights are constantly flickering in certain parts of your house, call in an emergency electrician rather than letting the problem linger.

Your switches or appliances run warm

Noticing unexpected warmth from a switch or appliance? The first thing you should do is stop using the device and call an emergency electrician. Warm switches and appliances indicate a serious electrical problem, one that poses a serious fire risk for your home. In this situation, it’s simply wise to act sooner rather than later.

Your electric bills are unexpectedly high

Take a look at your most recent electric bill. Does it seem significantly higher than it should be, in spite of no significant change in usage patterns? This usually indicates a problem with the wiring, and a potential short circuit in the system. Usually, an electrician will recommend an update to your electrical panel, which will help your home handle the larger amount of electricity required by today’s devices and appliances, preventing electrical fires and helping you get control of your electric bills.

Each of the situations described above indicate a need for a local emergency electrician. Acting fast is essential for protecting your family and your home. Reach out to Walsh Electric for emergency electrical service—we’re standing by to help!

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.