Why is electrical wire in different colors?

Electrician Connecting WiresWe’ve all seen those shows. The bomb is ticking and the hero has to decide which wire to cut to stop the timer. Did the bad guy change the colors to make it confusing? Luckily in our homes, the wires have been color coded and installed to make things as easy as possible to make changes to our electrical system.

Types of Wire
Hot — The job of a “hot” wire is to deliver power to a destination.
Neutral – A “neutral” wire completes the electrical circuit.
Ground – A “ground” wire is a safety measure. Put simply, an electrical spike sends the extra power through the ground where it can cause a circuit breaker to trip.

Common Wire Colors Used by Certified Electricians
Black Wire is always hot.
White Wire is neutral (but can change to live if marked accordingly).
Green Wire is always a ground wire.
Red Wire is always hot and used more in switch wiring.
Yellow and Blue Wire is less common, but if used are hot wires.

Never guess or assume! Always shut off the power when working with electricity. All electrical home projects should be done carefully to ensure the safety of your home.

Always connect wires of the same color, and as an added precaution use insulated tools when working with or even around electrical wires. Remember to 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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It’s Time to Upgrade Those Kitchen Lights

What room do most homeowners like to upgrade the most? You guessed it, the kitchen. There is no other room in our home that we rely on more (well except for our bathroom, of course). We not only expect it to be pleasing to the eye, but to also be a functional part of our homes. Sometimes upgrading the kitchen can be a long expensive journey, and for that reason many of us put off upgrading for years and years.

What about changing the lighting? You’d be surprised how much updating light fixtures in our kitchens will give us a new perspective. Lighting can add brilliance to what was once in the shadows and give a more modern look to the overall appearance.

Here are just a few lighting options to choose from.

Above the sink kitchen light
Most of us have a light above our sink, but have you really looked at it lately? There are many types and styles of over the sink lighting that you can choose from. If yours is an outdated plain light fixture that doesn’t reflect your taste, it’s time for an upgrade!

Under Cabinet LED Lighting
Take a look around your kitchen at all those cabinets. Consider where you would put under cabinet lighting. Will it be more of a functional use or if it will increase the aesthetic appearance of your kitchen?

Pendant Lighting
Want to really show your style? Choose pendant lighting that truly reflects your personality. The choices you have at your fingertips are astounding!

Douthit Electric has been providing Charlotte with quality electrical services since 1990. When you’re ready to update the lighting in your kitchen, check out our money saving coupons and give us a call!


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Tips to Help Prevent Holiday Electrical Problems

OverloadOh, how we love to make our homes beautiful for the holidays! Our lawns become a wonder for cars passing by and our Charlotte homes become a showcase of holiday spirit for visiting guests. But most do not stop and consider how much extra power they are running through their outlets at this time of year.

Here are a few safety tips to consider when decorating.

Now that you’ve gotten all those decorations out of storage, take the time to inspect all the wires. We tend to reuse decorations from year to year without giving enough thought to the age of most of them. Those that need electric should be given extra attention for safety, while the others are usually keepsakes that we treasure even more over time.

As you dispose of old tattered incandescent lights, consider replacing them with low wattage LED lights. They produce less heat and require less energy, a win-win.

Remember to keep all those wires away from heat sources. The insulation on those wires is there for a reason. Don’t take the chance of any of it melting and exposing the wire.

You might be tempted to keep attaching those strings of light together, so that you can plug them all into one outlet. Don’t do it! That is just too much to ask from one single outlet of your house to withstand. Try to spread the power you need over several circuits whenever possible.

Carrying on the live tree tradition in your home? Make sure to keep that tree watered! Some decorations put off more heat than others, and you don’t want to take a chance with a tree that is dehydrated and begging for water.

Lastly, turn off and unplug all those decorations before going to sleep. You’ll be keeping your home safer and save a few dollars at the same time.

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


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It’s Time to be Thankful for Electricity.

What time do you put the turkey in the oven? For many dedicated cooks it will be still be dark outside when they begin their Thanksgiving ritual.

Can you imagine trying to get that holiday dinner started by candlelight?

As children we learned from our history books all about Benjamin Franklin’s famous 1752 kite experiment that began the road to harnessing electric power. But it wasn’t until the 1870s that Thomas Edison was able to produce the first incandescent light bulb. While the world had been existing quite nicely by candle and gas lights, or so it thought, the electric light bulb was destined to become the future!

In today’s electronic age, electricity has become even more relied on. Think back to the last time you had a power outage at your home, remember what it was like? If you were lucky it was not on a cold dark evening with a house of wide awake young family members.

Now that we’ve come to depend on all that electricity can offer us in our homes, there is no looking back. Electricity truly is a wonder that has added comfort and safety to our lives.

We at Douthit Electric would like to thank everyone for their confidence in us as you have helped our business grow since 1990. We would like to wish you and your families a Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving Holiday!


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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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