Author Archives: admin

Teach Your Child About Electrical Circuits

an ideaWe love everything about electrical current here at Douthit Electrical! We love studying it, teaching it, using, fixing it, repairing, and installing the circuits for it. If it has anything to do with electricity we are interested.

The owner of Douthit Electrical, Chuck Douthit, began his career in 1985 as an apprentice and never looked back. He studied hard and along with a strong work ethic has been able to grow Douthit Electrical into a business that Charlotte has known and trusted for quality electrical service since 1990.

We believe that a basic understanding of how electric works, can only enrich our children’s knowledge and we encourage simple projects like this one.

Circuit Tester Items
A battery and a small bulb (such as from an flashlight or spare auto bulb).
Aluminum foil rolled up lengthwise to provide you a working conductor
Small items to test
Circuit Project Time

Have your child roll up the aluminum foil lengthwise. Place the foil between the battery and the bulb. Did it light up? They have created their first circuit!

Now use small household items instead of the aluminum foil to see what will conduct electricity and what will not. A few ideas would be a key, nail, button, eraser, chalk … you get the idea. Test the objects by placing them, one by one, between the battery and the bulb. Then touch the foil to the base of the bulb. Have them guess which ones will conduct the electricity and which ones will not.

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!


Written by:

What is Causing My Electric to Hum?

Have you ever had such a great day that when you are alone you begin humming or whistling a song you recently heard? That’s when you know that you are having a great day! But, unfortunately, hearing a hum coming from one of your electrical systems or outlets can ruin all that. Don’t let it!

Dimmer Lights
Did you know that when you use a dimmer switch, you are not actually dimming the energy. Instead it is being turned off and on so fast (many times per second) that our eyes don’t notice it. The hum from your switch could be caused by the constant switching of power on and off.

Outlets
If you tracked that hum down to one of your outlets, don’t ignore it! It could mean that a wire is no longer properly grounded or that too many volts are being carried over those wires. Give us a call to repair it!

Circuit Breakers
If you hear an electrical hum coming out of your circuit breaker box please contact us immediately. That could mean that your box is being overloaded with current, but is not shutting off properly the way it was intended.

If you wish to investigate the problem yourself, try shutting off the power entirely and then turning the breakers back on one at a time. This could narrow down the cause. We always recommend contacting a licensed electrician when dealing with the electrical safety in your home.

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!


Written by:

How to Understand Light Bulb Wattage

Most of us grew up when shopping for light bulbs was simple and straight forward. If we wanted a brighter bulb, we bought one with more watts. That time passed several years ago when more energy efficient ways came upon the scene and were quickly adopted as the future.

Watts = power. For example, a 40W incandescent bulb uses 40 watts of power per hour. That is 40 watts of power that will be charged on your electric bill.

Lumens = light emitted. This measures the light that is actually produced by different types of bulbs.

Consider this….

An incandescent bulb uses 40W to produce 400 lumens of light. It will last about 1000 hours.

A CFL bulb (compact fluorescent) uses 9W to produce 320 lumens of light. It will last about 6000 hours.

An LED bulb uses 6W to produce 300 lumens of light, and will last a whopping 50,000 hours.

It is easy to see why incandescent bulbs have become phased out in our homes, and why LED lights are now competing with the CFL sales.

The important thing to remember is that the more watts you use, the higher the electric bill.

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!


Written by:

How to Choose the Right Outdoor Extension Cord

Extension cords … how we do love thee! But most Charlotte residents have not taken the time to truly understand our extension cords. Are they all made the same? Does the length matter, except for convenience? What makes one outdoor extension cord better then another?

Last blog we discussed “Outdoor Extension Cord Safety”. This time we’re going to explain how to choose the right extension cord for the job on hand.

IMPORTANT NOTES

UL symbol – These means that the cord has been approved by the Underwriters Laboratories.
W – Marked “For Outdoor Use” and their coatings have been designed to prevent moisture entry.
Gauge/Wires – The packaging on the extension cord should have a numerical rating. For example, 14/3 means It is 14 gauge and has 3 wires inside.

WHAT SIZE?

The smaller the gauge number, the thicker the wire is, and the more electricity it can handle. But at the same time, keep in mind that the longer distance the current will need to travel, the thicker the wire (gauge) will need to be. Which is why buying only the correct length that is needed for the job is a more safety cautious rule of thumb.

This may seem confusing, but choosing the right outdoor extension cord is important for your family’s safety. Especially if you will be using it to run an outdoor appliance that requires a lot of juice.

Douthit Electrical has been providing Charlotte with quality electrical services since 1990. If you find yourself relying on multiple extension cords, that could signal that it is time to increase the number of outlets in your outdoor area. When you need electrical service, check out our money saving coupons and give us a call!


Written by:

Outdoor Extension Cord Safety

Outdoor extension cords can be a blessing or our demise. So many Charlotte residents do not have enough outdoor outlets and rely on extension cords to bring the power outside with them during the summer months.

I’m sure you’ve seen them lying in a pile on driveways or garage floors, waiting to be stored away. Or perhaps they are dragged across yards to provide energy to power our outdoor tools or toys.

Extension cords can be a blessing, but only if we take the extra precautions of observing proper safety and common sense. If you find yourself relying on multiple extension cords, that could signal that it is time to increase the number of outlets in your outdoor area.

If you’ve ever compared an indoor to an outdoor extension cord, you’ve undoubtedly noticed the differences. The most obvious difference is the insulation that protects the outdoor cord from the elements. But most importantly, never use an indoor extension cord outside!

You may think that purchasing an extension cord is as simple as measuring the length you need, getting in the car, and finding one on sale. But just like anything else that poses a safety risk in our homes, there are specifications you’ll want to consider.

The most important information you’ll want to gather in advance is the length of cord you’ll need, and how much power you want it to safely be used for. We’ll be discussing how to understand the ratings of extension cords and tips on how to choose the “right cord” for the job you have in mind in our next blog “How to Choose the Right Outdoor Extension Cord.”

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!


Written by:

Outdoor energy saving tips

Last blog we suggested several “Indoor Energy Saving Tips.” Now that the weather is luring us out of our homes to enjoy the outdoors, let’s discuss way to save a few of our dollars outside as well.

* Go Outside – Save Inside

Spending more time outdoors, means using less energy indoors. Be sure all the lights and electronic devices are turned off. And don’t forget to turn down the thermostat! ┬áIf your family is enjoying life outside, turning the thermostat up a few degrees in the summer only makes sense.

*Energy Efficient

Make sure you have updated your bulbs away from incandescent. Not only are they less efficient, but they produce more heat. Click here to read about the advantages of updating to Compact Fluorescent (CFL) bulbs, if you have not already done so.

*Pool Time

Pools are much more than a simple round container of cool water to be enjoyed on a hot summer day. Today’s pools need water circulated to mix chemicals in thoroughly, and filtration to keep water clean. Plus many of us have water heaters to keep the pool at a desired pool temperature.

All of these use energy, and none of these need to be running 24/7. Consider using a timer whenever possible to help lower those costs. Also realize that just like the thermostat in your home, why continually heat your pool to your desired optimum temperature if you are not going to always be using it?

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!

 


Written by:

Indoor Energy Saving Tips

Saving our hard-earned money on energy costs is a constant battle for most of us. Allowing even small amounts of our cash to be wasted is something that none of us should want to accept.

Here’s a few energy saving tips to help win the battle.

1. Warmer weather is upon us, and as A/C units get turned on, be sure to keep windows and shades closed to keep that cool air indoors.

2. “Shut that door!” Your parents were always warning you to stop heating or cooling the outdoors. Now that you are responsible for the utility bills, you understand why they yelled that so much.

3. Ceiling fans use less energy and that breeze they create will allow you to raise your thermostat in the summer by up to 4 degrees, without losing your home’s comfort. Douthit Electrical provides ceiling fan installation all year long. Give us a call!

4. How often have you forgotten to change the thermostat when going to bed or leaving for the day? A programmable thermostat is not only convenient, it also will save you money caused by those forgetful moments.

5. Wash your clothes in cold water as much as possible. Up to 90% of the energy used on that task is in heating the hot water.

6. Most home owners now understand the energy saving capability of CFLs (compact fluorescent light). Those curly bulbs are now saving families energy dollars all over Charlotte. If you still have a few of the halogen incandescent bulbs left in your home, consider changing them.

7. “Turn off that light!” I’m sure you also heard that growing up as a child. Did you know that our home’s lighting accounts for up to 15% of our electric bill?

8. Low on supplies? Keeping your refrigerator and freezer full will not only give you more choices for dinner, it will also help those appliances run more efficiently.

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!


Written by:

How to Safely Plug in an Air Conditioner

I don’t know about you, but we’ve been waiting what seems like a very long time for winter to end. You may be beginning to think about preparing for your summer air conditioning options. If a wall unit is in your future, we hope you plan for its location safely.

Most home owners that use wall units have defined spots where they can go. Because of that, don’t overlook the need to make those areas a safe choice for the electrical power an air conditioning unit requires.

Air conditioner units run on more electric power than the average home appliance. That is why they have a fatter (typically shorter) cord. When plugged directly into a home outlet, that cord is expected to be the correct size to do the job.

Extension Cords

Never ever use an extension cord for your air conditioner or any other major appliance that has not been rated for the use of a major appliance. They are not made to withstand that much power and can put your family in jeopardy.

If you are purchasing an extension cord for temporary use, we suggest at least a 12 gauge cord. An air conditioner uses an excess of power when it is first turned on, and we prefer to land on the side of safety for you and your family.

Always remember to keep extension cords away from main walkways that could cause tripping, and make sure to never cover them up with carpet or taped to walls. Extension cords can get hot, and we only recommend using them on a temporary basis.

Permanent Outlet

Douthit Electrical can upgrade your current outlet(s) to be a safe source of power for your air conditioning needs. You may find that your new AC unit is drawing too much power from the circuit, and the breaker keeps tripping. We can help take care of that problem. Give us a call to discuss your options.

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!


Written by:

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!


Written by:

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!


Written by: