Monthly Archives: September 2018

How do Home Generators Work?

Most of us have experienced power outages at our home, and they always seem to happen at the most inconvenient time. It may happen on the coldest day of the year, on our favorite holiday with all our family present, or when we are home sick with the flu … it happens.

Generators come in different sizes, manual/automatic, different power sources, and of course different price tags. Only you can decide what is appropriate for you and your home.

Generators don’t create electricity. They convert other energy sources, such as gasoline, natural gas, or propane into electricity. This energy runs through the generator’s alternator, which converts the mechanical energy to electrical energy.

A manual portable generator is similar to the ones seen being used by power crews doing cleanup after a storm. It is stored away in the garage until it needs to be brought out for emergency use. It produces a limited amount of electricity at any one time. Power cords for only the most essential items are plugged into this power source.

An automatic generator is hooked into the home’s circuit breaker system, so that it can monitor when an emergency happens and can automatically report for duty. When electricity is restored, it senses that its job is done and shuts itself off.

Don’t assume this automatic system is out of your financial reach. There are many options available when purchasing an automatic generator. You may only want to keep your vital appliances running and limit usage to most of your home during an emergency.

Douthit Electrical can discuss the many options available to you when considering the purchase of a generator for your home. From a small manual gas-powered generator … to a system that can seamlessly power your home for weeks, with no constant attention from you … we can discuss them all with you.

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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How to Replace a Light Switch

In our last blog, we discussed how to replace an electrical outlet. The need to replace a light switch is less common, but the process is very similar. Here are tips on how to replace a single pole light switch that controls only 1 light from one location. Just as before, we always suggest never taking on an electrical project unless you are completely confident in your abilities.

We recommend having the following tools available before starting:

  • Replacement light switch, of course
  • Screwdriver
  • Wire Stripper
  • Needlenose pliers.
  • Voltage detector, not required but suggested.

First, turn off your power to the light switch at the breaker box. Then double check that the existing light switch is not getting any power. It is extremely important when working with electricity, to always put safety first.

Take off the faceplate and then remove the screws that fasten the switch to the wall. Gently pull the switch out from the wall and take a look at the wires connected to it.

The wires should be connected to the older switch either by looping around the terminal screws or through holes in the back. Before unhooking those wires, take notes or even a photo to remind yourself about the original setup. Once you’ve done that, unhook the wires and remove.

The red or black wire attaches either to the brass screw or connects through the hole on the same side as the brass screw. The white wire connects to the silver screw or through the hole on that side. If the ground is attached to the switch (and not the box itself) unscrew that as well.

Now it’s time to install your new light switch. Attach the live (black or red) wire to the brass screw (or through the hole on that side) first. Next attach the neutral white wire, and finally the ground (if it is not already attached to the box.)

Take a moment to look over your work. If the wires are firmly attached to the correct screws/openings, carefully push the switch back into the wall and secure. Reattach the face plate.

Turn the breaker back on and restore power to the light switch. We hope you have successfully replaced your switch and light has been restored to your room.

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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