Category Archives: Residential Electrical Problems

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!

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.

Are Your Wires Protected from Snow and Ice?

Preparing your home for winter weather includes doing things like adding insulation to the attic, sealing doorways and cleaning the gutters. One thing that could get overlooked, though, is your home’s exterior wiring.

Electrical wiring and snow in Alexandria, VA don’t mix! Neglecting to prep your outdoor electrical system for winter could result in permanent damage or possibly cause a fire. Continue reading to learn how you or an electrician can prepare your electrical infrastructure for winter weather.

Rated for outdoor use

Preparing your outdoor electrical wiring for winter starts with ensuring that it’s rated for outdoor use. Outdoor cables are able to withstand the elements, while indoor cables are not. Using indoor cables and wires outside can result in electrical shocks, burns or house fires.

Do a quick check to ensure all of your cables are meant to be used outdoors. If not, head to the hardware store and buy some more! The most commonly used nonmetallic outdoor cable is a UF cable—look for these when shopping for your outdoor cords.

GFCI receptacles

Ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) receptacles are a must for outdoor wiring. These devices detect excess current and cut the electricity flow in an emergency. GFCI receptacles are essential all year long, but especially in the winter when electrical wiring and snow in Alexandria, VA is a concern. In fact, the National Electrical Code requires at least one GFCI receptacle at the front of your house and one at the back.

If your home doesn’t already have at least two GFCI receptacles, just call the team at Walsh Electric. We can send someone out to update your electrical wiring to ensure your safety and keep your home up to code.

Winter safety tips

Installing GFCI receptacles and only using outdoor wiring can do wonders to keep you safe from the effects of electrical wiring and ice in Alexandria, VA. However, there are a few more tips you should know about.

Never run wires through puddles, snow or doorways, or underneath outdoor furniture. Doing so is both a fire and a tripping hazard. Additionally, be sure to roll and store any unused cords to avoid accidents.

When hanging holiday lights inside or outside, avoid plugging multiple strands into one another. Overloading strands can cause electrical sparks, which may result in a fire. Additionally, you run the risk of tripping the circuit breaker.

We offer 24/7 emergency service!

We know electrical problems don’t just happen Monday through Friday during standard business hours. That’s why we’re available 24/7 for emergency services! We’re capable of making both residential and commercial emergency repairs, day or night. Regardless of the problem, you can rest easy knowing we’ll show up in a hurry to set it straight.

Whether you need emergency repairs or someone to help you protect your electrical wiring this winter, hire our team at Walsh Electric. We’re experts when it comes to electrical wiring and ice in Alexandria, VA, and we offer a wide range of residential services. Call us today to see what we can do for you and your home!