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Why does my breaker keep tripping?

Indoor Home Open Electrical Breaker PanelIf you continually need to go down to the basement or to the garage to your electrical panel box, your breaker is trying to tell you something.

The most common reason a breaker keeps tripping is because you are constantly overloading the same circuit. The breaker is trying to keep you and your family safe, by warning you the only way it can … by interrupting the power usage on a circuit that has reached its safe limit.

Before resetting the tripped circuit breaker, unplug the items that are on that circuit. Once you’ve reset the breaker, consider allocating the energy usage over different circuits. If that is not a practical solution, Douthit Electrical can help you decide if an upgrade is the next step.

If this is the first time you’ve been left in charge of resetting the breaker, here are a few helpful hints on how to reset a circuit breaker.

A short circuit or ground fault is another reason a breaker might be tripping. There is usually a physical sign when this happens. It could be as obvious as a blackened area around an outlet or even the smell of burnt wires.

Has a new appliance entered your home? Appliances come and go, but our electrical system tends to stay the same. New appliances can sometimes mean it is time to update the electrical system.

Now that summer is approaching, air conditioners can take a heavy strain on our electrical circuits. Make sure that your home can handle the extra power needed to keep your home cool.

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


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Why aren’t the outlets in my bathroom working?

It’s happened to most of us. We’ve just taken our morning shower … switch on the hair dryer and nothing happens. We turn it off and on and off and on until we finally give up. Now it’s time to find out what is to blame for this inconvenience.

The most obvious next step is to try the hair dryer somewhere else. Find another outlet that you know is currently working and plug in the hair dryer. Does it work now? If it does then you’re on your way to discovering the problem.

Go back to the bathroom and see if that is the only outlet not working in the room. All the outlets in your bathroom should be updated to GFCI. Check the button in the center to see if it needs to be reset. In some cases, outlets in the bathroom and kitchen are updated by installing a GFCI circuit breaker in the main electrical panel. If you are not sure what the importance of GFCI outlets in your bathroom is click here.

The next step is to see if you have a tripped circuit breaker or blown fuse. Locate your main electrical panel. Check to see if a circuit breaker needs to be reset or a fuse replaced. If that’s the culprit of your hair dryer misery, reset or replace and check on the outlet. If that has resolved the problem, good job! If this becomes a common occurrence, you will want to find out the reason for it. Douthit Electrical can help!

If that did not restore the power to the outlet, then we suggest giving us a call to do more troubleshooting of the problem.

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


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Basic Electrical Tools for Your Home

Douthit Electrical is here to help you with any electrical project you have planned for your home. But if you’d like to try to take on a small project or two on your own, we’ve prepared a basic list of both general use and electrical tools you should have on hand in your toolbox.

  • Tape Measure
  • Hammer
  • Flashlight
  • Flat Head Screwdriver
  • Phillips Screwdriver
  • Pliers
  • Level
  • Utility Knife

Determined to take on an electrical project or two around the house? Here’s a list of tools that should be in your toolbox that are particular to electrical work.

1. Voltage Detector – used for a quick safety check in order to see if a circuit is “live”
2. Multimeter- checks for multiple electrical facets with one tool
3. Fish Tape – used to steer new wiring through walls and electrical conduit in confined spaces
4. Wire Strippers – used to cut the insulation away from wire
5. Diagonal Pliers – also called wire cutters
6. Needle Nosed pliers – to reach into those small spaces
7. Electrical tape – covers and insulate wire
8. Allen Wrench Set – electrical Panels often use allen screws
9. Channel Lock Pliers – used primarily when working with electrical boxes

Just remember, if you decide to do even a small electrical project—turn off the current!

If you decide to reach out to us for help on a future electrical project, Chuck Douthit and his team are the ones to call. With an A+ rating at the BBB, you can rest assured in the knowledge that you will be pleased with the outcome.

Douthit Electrical 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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How to Size Your Chandelier

So, you are considering adding a chandelier to your home. Perhaps you are redecorating or just want to find a way to add more light to a room. If you’ve always been intrigued by the change a chandelier can make, now is a great time to take on the project.

We applaud your adventurous spirit, and one of the most important tips we can give you is to measure and then measure again. A chandelier can add your own personal touch to a room if done properly. But if not chosen properly, it can also be a disaster.

No worries. Here’s a few simple instructions on determining how to size your chandelier. And, Douthit Electrical is always available to help you with installation, should you need assistance.

Room Formula
Add the length and width of the room in feet to find the diameter size of the room, use that same number in inches and that should be the approx. diameter of your future fixture. For example, a 10′x12′ room = 22′, so a 22″ chandelier should be the approximate size to purchase. A 12′x14′ room=26′, so a 26″ chandelier. Keep in mind these are only approximations. A couple inches more or less can still be the perfect accent.

Now as you might guess, just knowing the room size is not the only information you should take into consideration when choosing that perfect fixture. Where you are placing the chandelier is also a determining factor, and a very important one.

Dining Room Chandelier
If you are placing your new fixture above the dining room table, then you will need to take that into consideration as well. One suggestion is to keep the size 1/2 to 2/3 the width of the table. Another tactic is to make sure it is 1 foot less than the width of the table (to keep it from hanging over a guest’s head.)

We can discuss with you the many varieties available and provide expert installation at your convenience.

Douthit Electrical 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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What is the Difference between AC and DC power?

electric polesIn today’s inventory of power choices of AC, DC, car phone chargers, rechargeable batteries, wireless chargers, solar cells … the list keeps growing. No longer is it only a choice between plugging it into the wall or going to the corner store to buy a few AA batteries. Have you often wondered what makes AC and DC power so different from each other?

AC = Alternating Current, DC = Direct Current.

Direct Current is the tried and true way to receive power. It can always be available, as long as you remember to have enough of them available. It is safe to use with no accidental surprises or storm delays.

Alternating Current allows us to enjoy the modern convenience of electrical outlets in our home and anywhere that we can plug into along the way. It requires no work in advance. It is available when we need it.

While the power of DC is a set amount that always flows in one direction, AC (alternating current) is constantly changing the direction of the flow of energy. This is what allows vast amounts of electric to travel from power stations, through transformers and finally into our homes.

Magic of Electricity

I hope we all know the perils of a downed power line. It is a prime example of the possible dangers of electricity. It is with the use of alternating current that we are able to harness that power.

High voltages of power are delivered from power plants to a transformer. That “transforms” that huge amount of voltage into reasonable voltages that can be used in our homes with the use of alternating current. That is why, when a transformer blows, the electricity can destroy the appliances in your home—they received too much electricity.

Outlets in U.S. homes are 120-volt and 60-cycle. 60-cycle means the current alternates direction 60 times per second. This enables the AC to be able to then distribute that power into small manageable amounts.

While electricity is truly a wonder of science, it can also be a home nightmare when not treated with respect. Douthit Electric has been providing Charlotte with quality electrical services since 1990. When you need help with your electrical service or installation, check out our money saving coupons and give us a call!


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Electrical Space Heater Safety

It’s winter and it’s cold … even here in Charlotte. If you have added electrical space heaters to those certain rooms that need a bit more warmth, here’s a few tips to help keep you and your family a little safer.

According to www.esfi.org, heating equipment is the second leading cause of home fires in the United States. For that reason alone, it is a good idea to take all the precautions necessary to keep your home safe.

1. When you took that heater out of storage, did you inspect it thoroughly? Never use a heater that shows any sign of damage to its cord or plug.

2. Space heaters should be located at least 3 feet from anything that can burn. And let’s face it, that’s includes most things, so take special notice of the location you decide to place it.

3. Don’t use extension cords. Plug the heater directly into the outlet. Yes, we know it is tempting, but consider how much power it takes to run the heater through a cord that was probably designed for much smaller things.

4. If you have children or pets, identify their common play area and place the heater a safe distance.

5. A space heater should never be left on without supervision. They are meant to provide warmth on a temporary basis and do not have all the added safety features of a long-term heating unit.

A space heater can be a welcomed addition on an unusually cold day. It can provide extra heat to exactly where you want it. With certain precautions it can be just what you’re looking for in the room you spend time in.

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


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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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