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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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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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