My old dryer outlet was only 3 slots. What do I do?

Laundry Room DesignGas dryers require very little electrical power. They use gas as their heating power source and their electrical needs are mainly to turn the drum. They typically use the same 120V amount of power as a small appliance.

Electric dryers are quite different. Electric power is converted to heat and has much more power needs. These require an electric outlet that is specifically for dryers and the extra power they need to run properly.

3 Prong vs. 4 Prong
If your previous dryer was older than 2000, then it may have very well been quite happy with the 3 prong outlet in your home. Since that time, many electrical safety advances have been made. That is reflected in the current electrical code that requires 4 slots in newer home 220V outlets. The extra slot was an added safety measure to add an additional neutral path to the circuit.

What do I do?
Douthit can update your outlet to the new safety standards. Just give us a call for an appointment.

But, if you would like to wait to change to a 4 prong outlet, you may be able to convert the dryer cord yourself.

Changing the Dryer Cord
We always recommend having a licensed electrician help you with your home’s electrical projects, but if you are feeling confident, here’s our suggested steps:

1. ALWAYS MAKE SURE THE DRYER IS UNPLUGGED.
2. There should be a metal plate covering the area on the back of the dryer where the cord attaches. Remove it and make sure to put those small screws where they won’t be lost.
3. You should now see a restraint that keeps the cord stable and helps to relieve the stress and strain of movement. Remove the restraint.
4. Disconnect the existing dryer cord
5. Connect the center wire of the new 3 prong cord to the center silver terminal.
6. You have 2 wires on the new cord that now need be attached. Attach these to the 2 terminals beside the silver terminal.
7. Reattach the restraint collar. This can be frustrating and can take a bit of patience. Slide the tab ends one at a time into the cord wire hole. When you’ve been able to match up the 2 halves and can get the screws to catch, you’re done with the hardest part. Tighten.
8. Replace the safety plate.
YOU MUST GROUND THE DRYER. Return the frame ground strap to the central terminal post (neutral).

All electrical home projects should be done carefully to ensure the safety of your home. Always err on the side of caution when dealing with electricity.

Douthit Electric has been providing Charlotte with quality electrical services since 1990. When you need electrical service or installation, check out our money saving coupons and give us a call!


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Should I use a ceiling fan in cooler months?

Ceilings fans can be an integral part of air circulation in your home, and can help reduce your heating and cooling costs at the same time.

Using a ceiling fan in the winter might not be the obvious choice to everyone, but it should!

Most of us know “heat rises”, but by changing the rotation to clockwise, the blades will help pull the warm trapped air into the room where it can provide the most comfort.

This clockwise setting should not create noticeable air movement, but merely push the warm air down the sides of the room. None of us in Charlotte really want to feel a breeze in their homes in the winter.

Ceiling fans are one of the more affordable options to increase the comfort of our homes. As an added bonus, it can also add a creative choice to the decorating style of your home.

We can discuss with you the many varieties available, and provide expert installation.

Douthit Electric has been providing Charlotte with quality electrical services since 1990. When you need electrical service, check out our money saving coupons and give us a call!


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Why is my light bulb flickering?

A flickering light bulb is more common that you might think. A slight drop in your Charlotte home’s voltage can cause your lights to dim momentarily … or flicker. Here’s a few things you can check before calling your local electrician.

Loose bulbs. Sometimes the easiest solution is the right solution. Make sure the bulb is not loose and is properly seated in the socket.

Type of Bulb: Fluorescent lights tend to flicker more often than the more energy efficient LED light bulbs. The easy answer is just to replace the bulb. Hopefully that will solve the problem.

Dimmer switches: Low voltage LED bulbs can often flicker on these types of switches. Dimmer switches expect to be controlling higher voltage items and can cause lower voltage bulbs to flicker.

Faulty connections: Sometimes a switch can go bad over time, as do most things in our home. See if the on/off switch has a bad connection and is causing the flickering. You should also check the outlet where it is receiving its power, to make sure the prongs are not bent or damaged.

Appliances: Our appliances can sometimes require a surge in power when they are in full operation. You may have noticed your lights flicker when your washer or another appliance turns on. If this is a common occurrence, you should consider calling an electrician to help you decide if your home’s circuit is being constantly overloaded.

These are just a few examples of common reasons why your light bulb could be flickering. If you experience a sudden change in your home’s electrical system, you should always err on the side of caution, and give your friendly electrician a call.

Douthit Electric has been providing Charlotte with quality electrical services since 1990. When you need help with your next appliance installation, check out our money saving coupons and give us a call!


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How do I remove a broken light bulb?

BulbA broken light bulb stuck in a light fixture can be much more trouble than you might expect. It is always best to approach anything dealing with electricity with the “better safe than sorry” point of view.

Preparation

  • Gloves
  • Goggles
  • Drop cloth to catch any broken pieces from the bulb that may shatter.
  • Make sure to turn off the power!

Methods

Pliers: Pull out any large pieces of the bulb left in the socket. Use needle nose pliers to hold onto the base of the bulb. Once you have a good grip, start twisting and pulling the bulb away from the socket to pull the bulb free.

Potato: You’ve probably heard of the “potato method” for freeing a broken light bulb. Yes, it can actually work. Grab a raw potato from the kitchen and cut off the end, insert it into the socket and give is a twist. That potato should actually give you a grip on the broken light bulb and hopefully free it from the socket. Please dispose of the potato after it has successfully done it’s job.

Hot Glue: For exceptionally difficult broken bulbs, apply a large dose of hot glue to a stick of wood that will fit into the bulb’s base. Completely fill the base with glue. After letting the glue set for over 5 minutes, use the wood stick like a handle to unscrew the bulb from the socket.

Remember: always be careful with any project dealing with electricity. Safety should always be your first concern!

Douthit Electric has been providing Charlotte with quality electrical services since 1990. When you need quality electrical service, check out our money saving coupons and give us a call!


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Why isn’t the outlet in my bathroom working?

If the only outlet that is not working is in your bathroom, then it is likely that it is a GFCI outlet that needs to be reset. GFCI outlets (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) are a must have in rooms that have the greatest possibility of water making contact with electricity, like the kitchen and bathroom. GFCI outlets help protect your family from shock.

GFCI Reset
There is a small button between the plug-ins. If the outlet detects a problem with the circuit , it automatically trips. Try resetting it and see if the power returns.

Why GFCI in the Bathroom?
Water is a highly conductive element. Electricity can travel along its path, and without warning, produce dangerous shocks to those nearby. GFCI outlets are a warning system to help keep that from happening.

GFCI Continual Issues
If you need to regularly reset your GFCI outlets, then a problem exists that can be a danger to your home and family. That would be a good time to call a licensed electrician in to diagnose the problem.

Older Homes
Often in older homes, the outlets have not been updated to GFCI in rooms with water sources available. We suggest updating those indoor rooms, as well as outdoor outlets that can come into the elements and produce the same deadly shocks.

Douthit Electric has been providing Charlotte with quality electrical services since 1990. When you need electrical service or installation, check out our money saving coupons and give us a call!


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Should You Hire a Licensed Electrician for Your Home?

For most of us, our home is the biggest monetary investment we have. Don’t trust something that important to anyone who cannot show you his credentials. He may charge you a little less to hire, but if something goes wrong, you will wish you had paid a few extra dollars for the peace of mind knowing that the company working on your electrical system is a proven trusted professional.

Referrals

Not much has really changed through the years when its comes to finding someone to trust to do repairs in our home. The first thing most of us do is call a family or friend and see if they can recommend someone. Or better yet, we post on facebook or other social media to ask our friends who they use.

Douthit Electric is proud to be recommended by our past clients. We have spent many years honing our craft and providing customer service we can be proud of.

Handyman

While a handyman can often be just what is needed for a small job around the house, your home’s electrical system is nothing to take lightly. I’m sure we’ve all put something together and had pieces left over … or maybe we got to the end of the project and it didn’t fit just right, but nobody would notice? That’s not the attitude you want when having electrical work done. Those small details matter to you and your family.

Douthit Electrical is licensed and insured in both North Carolina and South Carolina, and we’re especially proud of our A+ rating with the BBB.

Douthit Electric has been providing Charlotte with quality electrical services since 1990. When you need electrical service, check out our money saving coupons and give us a call!


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Why Does My Circuit Breaker Keep Tripping?

circuit breakerIt’s Murphy’s Law. On the worst day of the year or during the biggest storm (at night of course) your circuit breaker is going to trip and you are going to lose power. You hopefully know where the circuit breaker box is and you reset the breaker. Life is good again in Charlotte.

But what if it keeps happening? Electricity is nothing to fool around with. If your circuit breaker keeps tripping. it is doing its job and trying to tell you something. You should listen to it.

Overloading the Circuit

When too many devices are trying to pull its power from the same circuit, your circuit breaker will tell you “enough is enough” and trip. Use that opportunity to see what you are running on that circuit, and if heavy devices are draining too much power and should be moved to a different circuit.

A Short Circuit

Another possibility is a short circuit has happened somewhere along the line. When a black wire touches another hot wire or neutral wire it creates more heat than the circuit can handle. That causes the circuit breaker to trip.

Ground Fault

This is when a black wire touches the ground wire or the side of a metal outlex box, which is connected to the ground wire. The circuit breaker will trip from the excess current.

Troubleshooting

Pinpointing the cause of a circuit breaker can be overwhelming. Sometimes it can be obvious when you know you have tried to run too many heavy items on the same circuit. Other times it can be exasperating trying to figure out where the short circuit or ground fault has occurred.

All of this sound just a little bit confusing? That’s what we’re for! We’re trained to be able to pinpoint the problem and offer you solutions to keep your circuit breaker quiet and happy.

The safety of your family and home should never be taken lightly. Douthit Electric has been providing Charlotte with quality electrical services since 1990. When you need quality landscape lighting service, check out our money saving coupons and give us a call!


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Understanding Fuses and Circuit Breakers

Fuses and circuit breakers have the same job in our Charlotte homes. When too much power is going through a circuit, they both are able to stop the flow and hopefully, stop the damage that could be caused by too much electricity going through the circuit.

Both fuses and circuit breakers have their advantages and disadvantages. Here’s a few of the differences.

Fuses

The most common type of fuses is made up of glass or ceramic with a metal casing. Inside the fuses is a filament or metal wire. When electricity is flowing normally, it safely passes through the filament and into our homes.

If a power surge occurs, the filment melts and stops the flow of electricity. Once that happens the fuse must be replaced in order for the circuit to be complete again.

Fuses react faster, but has to be replaced in order to restore power to the circuit.

Circuit Breakers

When turned on, the breaker allows power to pass across. If the current reaches an unsafe level, the switch is automatically turned off either by a magnet or a bi-metal strip, and the circuit is broken.

Circuit Breakers are much easier for the average homeowner to use. Once the problem has been found and corrected, restoring the circuit is easy as flipping the switch.

Douthit Electric has been providing Charlotte with quality electrical services since 1990. When you need quality electrical service, check out our money saving coupons and give us a call!


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What is the difference between 110V and 220V?

Electric PlugMost homes in the United States mainly have standard outlets that can handle 110V. For those appliances that need more power, 220V outlets are installed.

110V is typically the amount of current the wire can handle before it becomes unsafe, and the amount of voltage supplied to the outlet.

220V is, very simply put, 2 wires that combined produce twice the amount of voltage to the outlet.

Why Not Make Them All 220V?
Copper wire is expensive, so generally homes are built with mainly 110V outlets.
220V also present safety concerns. Many of us have been shocked by an electrical outlet at some point in our lives, a 220V outlet will feel like twice the shock, and twice the pain.

Why Do We need 220V outlets?
For rooms with appliances such as a washer, dryer, oven, furnace, etc, that require the extra voltage, 220V outlets are installed.

Douthit Electric can install 220V outlets whenever you plan on adding a new large appliance to a part of your home that is not currently equipped to deliver the required power.

Douthit Electric has been providing Charlotte with quality electrical services since 1990. When you need help with your next appliance installation, check out our money saving coupons and give us a call!


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How to Choose a Ceiling Fan

Wiring Ceiling FanCeiling fans are a great accent to rooms and are an energy efficient way of creating air movement all year long in Charlotte. While many might think the only thing they need to consider is how it will look, there are many factors involved in making the right ceiling fan purchase.

Room Size

Your fan size will be determined by the square footage of the room you’re going to be installing it in. If you want to take advantage of all that your fan can offer you, its power needs to match the room size. Too small, and it will not effectively move the air, too large and you’re wasting energy and money.

36” = up to 75 sq. ft. room
36-42” = 75 to 144 sq. ft. room
44-50” = 144 to 225 sq. ft. room
50-54” = 225 to 400 sq. ft. room

Power

Want an efficient ceiling fan? Pay attention to the motor! DC fan motors are smaller and lighter than the typical AC motor. They will save you up to 70 percent of energy and generate more torque.

Energy Star-Rated ceiling fans are always a great option. They pass rigorous testing by the EPA and are definitely worth considering.

Control

Most ceiling fans offer the common basic pull chain, but there are other options that should be considered. We all love our remote control. Ceiling fan owners are no different. Remotes are ideal for high ceilings and places that are hard to reach … and they offer the most convenience.
Wall control is another option that can be a great solution for high traffic rooms with a single switch.

Douthit Electric has been providing Charlotte with quality electrical services since 1990. When you need ceiling fan installation, check out our money saving coupons and give us a call!


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