Electrical Home Appliances that Help the Elderly

As our parents age, their hope is to be able to stay in their home with as little outside help as possible. One of the most notorious rooms is not only the bathroom, but also the kitchen. Being able to safely cook for themselves can make the difference of feeling independent or not.

Electric stoves now offer automatic turn-off devices that can go the extra step to avoiding fires from burners being left on too long. There are many choices on tackling this goal. We can discuss the options and what would work best for your situation.

Arthritis becomes the enemy of countless people as they age. From can openers to jar openers to vegetable slicers, appliances and kitchen aids have been reinvented for the purpose of helping those afflicted with this common ailment.

‘Smart” light switches now offer many options that in previous years were either too expensive or too complicated to use. No longer do the elderly have to be concerned about falling because they can’t safely get to the light switch. With just a vocal command or an app on their phone, they can step out of the darkness and into the light with that extra layer of safety.

Douthit Electrical can help you decide what would be a welcome addition to the kitchens of the senior citizens in your life. We can offer the best solution to those problems you’d like to solve. Check out our current specials and give us a call. Douthit Electrical has been providing Charlotte with quality electrical services since 1990.


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The Gift of Home Electrical Safety

Winter can be tough on our homes. We rely on it to protect us from the harsh weather conditions outside. Now is the perfect time to have a Home Electrical Inspection before winter strikes full force.

Most of us are about to bring out the decorations we’ve stored away all year, and for some of us, we’re also taking out the space heaters to bring heat to that one spot in the house that never seems to be warm enough. All of these changes can take its toll on our home’s electrical system. Especially if it was already feeling the strain of its current day to day usage.

Carbon Monoxide – These are the early warning systems that every home cannot be without. As furnaces and other heating units are used daily, it is important to be vigilant in allowing these detectors to monitor the carbon monoxide levels our family is living with.

Smoke Detectors – This time of year brings not only heating systems back on, but it’s often a time for holiday lighting and Christmas trees. This can create potential fire safety situations. The only time you want to hear your smoke detector alarm is when it is being tested. But knowing these alarms are in good working condition goes a long way for our peace of mind.

Surge Protection – Along with the beauty that snowfall can bring, those winter storms can cause havoc and create electrical surges that can run through our homes causing damage if not protected. We can discuss the benefits of Whole House Surge Protection.

Outside Lighting – If you are decorating outside, make sure any outlets you use that are out in the weather are GFCI protected. Water and unprotected outlets do not mix at any time of the year.

Douthit Electrical can perform a home electrical safety inspection to check on these things and more. We can offer the best solution to any problems that we find. Check out our current specials and give us a call. Douthit Electrical has been providing Charlotte with quality electrical services since 1990.


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Electrical Testers for the Advanced DIYer

If you were looking to find out about the most common electrical testers that homeowners often keep in their homes, you may want to take a look at our blog “Common Electrical Testers”. There we discussed the usage of an Inductance Tester, a Neon Circuit Tester, and a Plug-in Circuit Analyzer.

This time we’re going to talk about the next 3 testers that, while not as common, is often found stashed away in many of our homes.

Continuity Tester – First off, this tool is always used with a circuit that is turned OFF. This tool is powered by batteries. When you clip one probe to one end and then use the other probe at the other end, it will light up when you are successful at completing the circuit. Remember, always turn off the power to the circuit you are testing. Safety first!

Multimeter – This tester is invaluable to professional electricians because of all the readings it can provide. It can deliver information on resistance, continuity, capacitance, frequency and AC/DC voltage. Sound like a lot of information? It probably is more than you need for the average electrical project you decide to take on.

Solenoid Voltage Tester – This is also able to provide multiple readings, but is simpler to use, though may be a bit less accurate by not providing numerical findings. It does not require batteries and signals its results with clicking or vibrations instead of exact digital findings.

Before using any electrical tool always completely read the instructions. Always investigate if power should be turned off. Safety should always be your first priority!

Douthit Electrical can perform a home electrical safety inspection and offer the best solution to any problems that we find. Check out our current specials and give us a call. Douthit Electrical has been providing Charlotte with quality electrical services since 1990.


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Common Electrical Testers for the Home

Most of us consider certain things to be essential in our tool box or junk drawer. I would guess 99% of us know where a hammer, flathead screwdriver, phi­­llips screwdriver and a pair of pliers can be found in our home. Here are a couple of the most common electrical testers you might want to add to your arsenal, if you have not already.

Inductance Tester (Non-contact voltage tester) – This is the safest and easiest tool for testing voltages. Why? Because you do not even have to touch the wires! Just by touching the outside of wiring or into an outlet, this can sense the presence of voltage.

As with most any tool, the price will determine if it will provide only a yes or no answer, or instead give you a basic measurement of the voltage it found. This is an easy to use tool that all homeowners should have at their disposal. It is battery operated, so always test that it is in working condition before using on your next project.

Neon Circuit Test – This is the most basic testers. It will only tell you whether or not there is voltage in a circuit. Use one probe to touch a hot wire and the other to touch ground. The neon bulb will light up if current is present. Sounds a little like a children’s school science project, doesn’t it?

This tool does not do any measuring, but its added bonus is that it does not require a battery. That makes it extra convenient to have stored away and forgotten until you need it.

Plug-in Circuit Analyzer – This tool does exactly what you might expect. Plug it into the grounded 3-slot outlet you want to test and it analyzes the circuit without any external power (that means no batteries to check).

You’ll be able to tell if a circuit is correctly wired, if it is an open circuit, and also be able to confirm the presence of a ground connection. This is a very affordable tool that you may want to add.

Before using any electrical tool always completely read the instructions. Always investigate if power should be turned off. Safety should always be your first priority!

Interested in learning about more  electrical tools? Click here to read about more advanced electrical testers. 

Douthit Electrical can perform a home electrical safety inspection and offer the best solution to any problems that we find. Check out our current specials and give us a call. Douthit Electrical has been providing Charlotte with quality electrical services since 1990.


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Is Aluminum Wiring in Your Home Safe?

 If you have aluminum wiring in your home, you are not alone. It was commonly used in our area primarily during the years of 1965 and 1973. Copper prices were rising and builders were trying to find ways to lower costs. What they didn’t realize at the time, was that aluminum wiring was going to create safety issues.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) states that houses built with aluminum wiring are 55 times more likely to have “fire hazard” conditions than those homes that used copper wiring. If your home was built during that time, then you should consider confirming what type of wiring you have in your home.

Aluminum wiring can conduct electricity safely. That’s not where the main safety issue lies. The extra heat generated by aluminum wiring causes problems at the connections. That’s why completely rewiring your home does not have to be the only answer. The more practical and affordable solution is to add copper wiring to the connections instead.

Professional electricians are able to install connectors that have been created as an alternative solution to the aluminum wiring problem. Your electrician can discuss with you what type of connectors are available, and what may be the best fit for your home.

Douthit Electrical can perform a home electrical safety inspection and offer the best solution to any problems that we find. Check out our current specials and give us a call. Douthit Electrical has been providing Charlotte with quality electrical services since 1990.


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What is Electrical Insulation Resistance Testing?

Have you ever wondered what happens to all that electrical power that flows through the circuits in our homes? Well, you might be surprised. Just like us, the insulation that covers the wires running through our walls ages with time. While we’d like to think that every bit of energy reaches its destination, that is often not the case. Finding out how much escapes is where Insulation Resistance Testing comes in.

Every wire in our home is protected by some type of insulation. Not all insulation used for wiring is created equal, and can decay at different rates. A crack or imperfection along the path of our circuit can allow electricity to leak. That leakage can be insignificant or it can be dangerous to our home. Electrical Insulation testing allows us to get a good idea if electricity is leaking at a small rate or at one which should have our full attention.

Insulation Resistance Testing (IR Testing) was developed in the 1900s. It is the most basic of this type of testing and continues to be used today. In simple terms, electrical insulation is tested by submitting a certain amount of voltage into the circuit and then measuring the output at the other end. While this may sound simple, it requires a professional electrician to use their mathematical skills to use those before and after numbers.

If you think your home’s electrical wiring is outdated or not working properly, and would like to have a home electrical system inspection, check out our current specials and give us a call. Douthit Electrical has been providing Charlotte with quality electrical services since 1990.


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How to Replace an Extension Cord Plug

Heavy duty extension cords can take a lot of abuse. They can be thrown around garages, driveways and even more unfriendly places. This abuse can oftentimes cause the plugs to get bent, broken, or just unusable. Depending on the length and quality of your extension cord, you may want to consider just replacing that plug, instead of purchasing a new extension cord.

You will need a utility knife, wire cutters, phillips screwdriver, and of course, the replacement plug. When you go shopping for that plug, make sure to buy the same gauge size and rating. Take a moment to check the old plug for the sizes you want to duplicate. It may save you a trip back to the store for an exchange.

First cut off the old plug with your utility knife. Make sure neither end is plugged or attached to anything. Then take care to safely make the cut on an appropriate surface. Use that same utility knife to cut the housing to reveal the three wires. Black (power) will attach to the brass screw, white (neutral) will attach to the silver screw, and green (neutral) on the green screw.

Use the wire cutters to strip each of these wires to leave about one half inch bare. Grab the replacement plug and attach each of these wires to its own terminal by wrapping each clockwise and then tightening the individual screws. Put the plug back together and check out your work.

If you enjoyed this project, be sure to click here for other electrical “how to” instructions at our blog that you may want to tackle.

Got an electrical project that needs the expertise of a professional electrician? Check out our current special offers and give us a call. Douthit Electrical has been providing Charlotte with quality electrical services since 1990.


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What is a Polarized Receptacle?

Polarized Receptacles came on to the scene in the 1920s. You may have wondered why the slots are different sizes. The larger slot is to connect to the neutral wire and the smaller slot is to connect to the hot wire. This polarized system was devised to add an element of safety, and is still used today.

Unfortunately, 2 slot polarized receptacles are often not grounded in older homes.

How to Check for a Ground

If the receptacle is contained in a metal box which is then connected to a metal conduit, your receptacle may be grounded. But remember that does not include any protection for a plugged-in device.

If the receptacle does not include both a metal box and metal conduit, you cannot expect the circuit to be grounded.

If your polarized receptacle is already grounded, you should be able to replace the existing older outlet with a more modern 3 slot one. If you have any doubt, you can purchase a receptacle analyzer at your local hardware store. Safety should always be your first concern.

3 Slot Receptacles

Today’s outlets are equipped with an extra round slot to give us the advantage of adding grounding to our outlets. That grounding offers electrical current a safe destination, should a problem arise, such as a short circuit for example.

We know that electrical projects can be a bit overwhelming. We always suggest using a professional electrician, such as Douthit Electrical, to handle your home’s electrical needs.

Give us a call about a home electrical inspection. Douthit Electrical has been providing Charlotte with quality electrical services since 1990.


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What is electrical tape?

Black Vinyl Insulating Electric Tape On The White BackgroundFor many of us, electrical tape can be found in that drawer that has everything, right next to the screwdriver, pliers and duct tape. But you might be wondering what exactly makes electrical tape different from the rest of the tape family?

Since its invention in the 1940s, electrical tape remains one of the most common ingredients to simple electrical jobs around the house. Its ability to keep electrical current from passing through it, makes it an essential insulator, to not only keeping wires from touching and shorting out, but also from a live wire being accidentally touched by someone.

How to use electrical tape

Electrical tape is wrapped around minor wire or cord damage to give it the insulation it needs and the strength it requires. As you wrap the tape, pull on it slightly so that it fits snug, and no space is left uncovered. Vinyl is the most commonly used substance for the making of electrical tape because of this stretching ability. Remember electrical tape is meant for repairing minor electrical wire damage. You should always consult a professional electrician if you are unsure of the proper usage.

Electrical tape colors and strength

Black is the most common color. Its ability to stand up to UV rays, makes it the tape of choice for all jobs in direct sunlight. White tape is sometimes used to indicate neutral wires, and green or yellow for grounding wires. No matter what the color, electrical tape is very strong. It is made to last, does not tear easily, and stands up to corrosion.

Remember, if you are trying to find your roll of electrical tape and tools for a sudden unexpected project, Douthit Electrical is always here to help! And when you call, ask us about our home electrical safety inspection offer. Douthit Electrical has been providing Charlotte with quality electrical services since 1990.


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What is a tandem breaker?

IThe circuit breakers found in our home’s electrical panel are not all created equal. The most common is the standard single-pole breaker for the everyday 120 volt circuits used in our homes. A double-pole breaker combines 2 spots to allow us to safely have a 240 volt circuit where needed, such as certain kitchen appliances for example.

A tandem breaker takes up only 1 spot, but handles two 120 volt circuits. It contains 2 different levers to control each circuit. If one of the circuits overloads, only that circuit will trip a lever. This allows a breaker box that is already near full capacity to be able to add an additional circuit.

Tandem breakers safety

Tandem breakers can be a quick fix but remember, because they are handling 2 circuits instead of only one, they can heat up faster and trip quicker. You should also remember that circuit breaker boxes are built to handle only a certain amount of wiring safely.

Unfortunately, tandem breakers cannot provide AFCI or GFCI protection and are now rarely used in new(er) homes.

Should I use tandem breakers?

A tandem breaker can be a solution when you need to add another circuit to your box. But if you are already at or near capacity, we recommend that you consider upgrading your panel to safely handle your electrical needs.

Before making any changes/additions to your circuit breaker box, you should always check the manufacturer’s specifications to see if and how many tandem breakers are allowed. Having an electrical inspection done can give you an idea of the safest and most affordable way to add circuits to your breaker box.

If your home’s electrical panel is in need of an upgrade, give us a call about a home electrical inspection. Douthit Electrical has been providing Charlotte with quality electrical services since 1990.


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