Category Archives: Electrical Installation

Using Three-Wire Cords on Modern Four-Wire Appliances

Electrical appliances have come a long way in the past few decades. Because they’re higher powered than they once were, today’s dryers, ranges and other larger home appliances require updated appliance wiring.

Nowadays, appliances require a four-wire cord and plug instead of the traditional three-wire configuration.
This post will cover everything you need to know about four-wire cords.

The difference between the two

As the name suggests, a four-wire cord has a fourth wire that acts as a grounding conductor. This grounding conductor is missing in the traditional configuration, which only contains two hot wires and one neutral one. The two hot wires provided 180 degrees out of phase from one another to handle the electrical load, and the neutral wire was the return pathway for any 120-volt loads.

In a four-wire configuration, the equipment-grounding conductor is attached to the metal frame and housing on the appliance. It’s responsible for carrying back any fault current on the metal during a short to ground condition. Four-wire configurations are much safer than three-wire ones and are now required under the National Electrical Code (NEC).

Does my home need to be updated?

The main thing to consider when it comes to outdated appliance wiring is your home’s age and the age of the appliances in your home. If your home was built after 1996—when the NEC changed code requirements—everything should be safe and good to go. If you live in an older home, there’s a good chance your appliances are still running on a three-wire configuration, and your wiring is out of date.

If your house and all the appliances in it are on the older side, you don’t have to call an electrician to update your cords and plugs ASAP. Even though your house technically isn’t up to code, all of your older appliances are still safe running on three-wire configurations. The only time you will need to update your cords and plugs is if you buy new appliances—and, chances are, those old appliances will need to be replaced sooner rather than later!

Is updating a DIY project?

Despite what you may read online, updating to four-wire configurations isn’t a DIY job. You’ll need to hire a professional for these reasons:

● Injuries: The first step in updating these plugs is cutting the power to your home, but even though the power’s off when the work’s performed, you could shock yourself or others once the power’s back on if you try to take on this project by yourself.
● Fires: Faulty wiring is a leading cause of house fires across the country. Even a small mistake during the update can lead to a rogue spark when your new appliance is running. Hiring a pro is the best way to protect yourself and your family from a fire.

If it’s time to update your appliance wiring, be sure to call our team at Walsh Electric. There’s no job too big or too small for us to tackle. Schedule your appointment today, or find out what we can do for you and your home.

Do I Need a Permit to Upgrade My Electrical Panel?

One of the most common questions we get from customers is whether or not they need a permit for a breaker panel upgrade. Just like with many home improvement projects related to an electrical system, the answer is yes! A permit is required to ensure your proposed electrical upgrades will be safe for your home and won’t cause problems for the neighborhood.

There is one workaround for getting a permit: hire an electrical contractor. When you work with a pro, they’ll handle all of the heavy lifting, including getting a permit.

Other reasons to hire a pro

There are plenty of other good reasons to hire an electrician besides avoiding the permitting process. Here are a few other reasons to bring in a pro to update your breaker panel or perform any other electrical work:

● Safety: The main reason to hire a pro is to avoid injuring yourself while performing electrical work. Inexperienced homeowners may shock themselves while performing electrical work or even cause fires down the road due to a shoddy job.
● Guaranteed results: You can trust that a reputable electrician will do a good job upgrading your breaker panel, rewiring your home or making repairs. Your home will be problem free and out of harm’s way when it comes to electrical fires.
● Save your money: Hiring an electrician can actually save you money compared to upgrading a breaker panel by yourself. A variety of future electrical problems often arise when a homeowner tries to perform an update by themselves, many of which lead to sky-high repair bills.

Signs you need a breaker panel upgrade

Unless an electrician tells you so, you might not realize that your breaker panel is out of date. These are a few signs that you should hire a pro to make that upgrade:

● Burning smells: A distinct burning smell coming from your breaker panel is a leading indicator that it needs to be replaced. This often means that the panel is overworked and must be upgraded to meet your current electrical demands.
● Flickering lights: Whether it’s lights throughout your house or just one or two bulbs, flickering lights shouldn’t be ignored. Constant flickering indicates something’s loose with your breaker panel or that it needs to be updated. Call an electrician to see what the problem could be.
● You’re upgrading appliances: Today’s appliances require more amps than old ones. If you’re buying a new, high-powered appliance, like laundry machines or an electric range, you may need to update your panel. Consult with an electrician to see if that’s the case.
● You’re using power strips: If you’re using power strips throughout the house to accommodate for lack of outlets, there’s a good chance that your panel is being overworked. An electrician can update your panel and add some new outlets to meet your needs.

Call Walsh Electric today

Whether you need a breaker panel upgrade, emergency electrical repairs or something else entirely, be sure to hire our pros at Walsh Electric. We have over three decades of experience with residential electrical work, so you know you’re in good hands when you call our team.

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.

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.