Category Archives: Electrical Panel

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.

Written by:

5 Signs it’s Time for an Electrical Panel Upgrade in Charlotte

Indoor Home Open Electrical Breaker PanelThe electrical panel can be seen as the “brain” of your home’s electrical system. It’s “smart” enough to trip or cut of flow of electricity when there’s an electrical overload in order to prevent electrical fires. Because electrical panels play such an integral role in your home’s electrical system and its overall safety, it’s important to know when it’s time for an electrical panel upgrade.

At Douthit Electrical, our professional Charlotte electricians strive to take the guesswork out of helping our customers practice electrical safety and maintain their home’s electrical system. If you’re ever in doubt as whether or not you’re in need of a Charlotte electrical panel upgrade, you should call us and schedule an inspection. When it comes to electrical safety, it’s always better to be safe than sorry!

So how do you know when it’s time to have an electrical panel upgrade performed by our licensed Charlotte electricians? Here are 5 signs your electrical panel needs an upgrade ASAP!

  • If you have to rely on extension cords and power strips It’s much safer and far more practical to upgrade your electrical panel and have more outlets installed instead of being overly dependent on extension cords and power strips.
  • If your home still has a fuse panel and doesn’t rely on an electrical panel With so many new kinds of electronic gadgets and tech, today’s home need a safe way to deliver clean, uninterrupted power to all of these devices. And while there’s technically nothing “wrong” with fuses, they’re extremely outdated — and not in a cool, trendy kind of way. Fuses can usually be found in homes built before the 1960’s, and are incapable of meeting today’s electrical demands. They’re inefficient and unsafe!
  • If your electrical panel is “acting up” If the electrical panel is constantly tripping or you hear snaps, crackling, and popping noises coming from it, or none of your electrical appliances seem to be working right, call us to schedule service right away!
  • If a home remodeling project is in the future Home renovation projects require a lot of electrical power, so may need to upgrade your electrical panel prior to construction in order to safely supply more power and accommodate the addition of any new major electrical appliances, such as a new hot tub, refrigerator, or air conditioner.
  • If you have old, worn, and faulty electrical wiring Some things, such as wine or cheese, improve with age. Electrical wiring however, sees a sharp decline in both efficiency and safety as it ages. If your lights constantly dim or flicker, you feel a slight tingling or mild shock when touch an electrical appliance, or you catch a whiff of a burnt smell near an outlet or see signs of discoloration around it, it’s definitely time for Charlotte electrical upgrades.

For electrical panel upgrades in Charlotte, upgrade to friendliest and most knowledgeable electricians in town by calling Douthit Electrical!

Written by:

Easy, Mind Blowing Tips for Learning How to Fix a Blown Fuse in Charlotte

I think this fuse is blownBlown fuses are among some of the most common electrical issues homeowners can face, especially during this time of year. Between cranking up your favorite holiday tunes, hanging decorative lights, vacuuming before guests arrive, and popping a bag of popcorn just in time for watching Home Alone, your fuse box can easily become overloaded. When this happens, your fuse box will automatically cut the flow of electricity as a safety measure to prevent damage or a fire.

At Douthit Electrical, we understand how annoying, frustrating, and even intimidating replacing a blown fuse can be. That’s why we’re proud to offer comprehensive electrical services such as safety inspections and electrical panel service that will help you become better acquainted with your home’s electrical system. These services can also help identify any potential hazards before they become problematic, saving you time, money, and the irritation of a power outage due to a blown fuse!

Learn how to fix a blown fuse safely and easily by following these simple steps!

Find your fuse box

Also known as an electrical panel, fuse boxes are typically located in garages and basements. Knowing where yours is before a fuse blows can help save you from the hassle of stumbling around in the dark trying to find it. Always have a flashlight nearby and always keep this area free of clutter.

Turn out the lights

Turn off all lights and appliances in the room or area that have lost power. If you recently added a new appliance, such as a vacuum or gaming system, that just might be the culprit so be sure to unplug that too. This is especially important because leaving everything on could blow a fuse all over again once you replace the blown fuse and restore power!

Proceed with caution

Working with electricity can be dangerous, especially if you are unfamiliar with it. Always be sure your hands are completely dry and be sure the surface you are standing on is completely dry as well. If at any time you feel uncomfortable or unsure of what you’re doing, just give us a call and we’d be more than happy to help!

Identify the blown fuse

Inspect each fuse for signs of damage, which often includes a melted metal piece on the inside or the glass window at the top of the fuse becoming discolored and turning brown or purple. Voila! That is your broken fuse! To replace it, simple unscrew the broken fuse and replace it with a new one that is exactly the same amperage, size, and type of the broken fuse. The best way to do this is to take an old or broken fuse to the hardware store and find the exact match. Keeping a few of these handy can help make the process of replacing one even quicker and easier.

Try turning the lights on again

Now that the blown fuse has been replaced, plug in one or two electrical appliances and turn them on to test the new fuse. If it blows again it’s likely that you may be using too many amps for the fuse to handle. You may need to move some appliances around or even better, call an electrician for help identifying the underlying problem.

With the holiday season in full swing, now is a great time to learn how to replace a blown fuse! Here at Douthit Electrical, no job is too big or too small for our experienced Charlotte electricians, and we’re happy to help you troubleshoot your electrical panel. You can trust Douthit Electrical for all your electrical needs all year round!


Written by:

3 Common Electrical Problems That Our Charlotte Electricians Fix

Man Checking The Electrical Fuse BoxTripping Circuit Breakers – Many times circuit breakers are not prepared to handle the many electronics and appliances that we have in our lives today…microwaves, computers, coffee makers, televisions, toaster ovens, and so forth.  When you power multiple appliances at once, your circuit breaker may trip, and you lose power to those appliances.  This can be annoying, especially if it happens frequently, but it can also be dangerous because the circuits and wiring can overheat, potentially starting a fire.  Our electricians can upgrade your circuit breaker  so that it will operate safely while giving you the power you need to run your appliances.

Flickering Lights – Before you contact an electrician about a flickering light,  check to make sure that you have a bulb of the appropriate wattage in your light fixture and also make sure that it is connected properly.  Using a bulb that is not the correct wattage can lead to overheating and potentially a fire.  If you determine that your bulb is not the reason for the flickering, contact our electricians so that we can examine your system for faulty electrical wiring.

Non-Working Electrical Outlets – When an outlet doesn’t work, this can be a sign that the circuit breaker has tripped.  You can check your electrical panel to see if the breakers are in “on” position and switch them if needed.  If your outlet still doesn’t work with the breakers in the “on” position, it’s time to call your local electrician to investigate the issue.

At Douthit Electrical, we’re here to help you with these and any other electrical problems that you have in Charlotte and the surrounding areas.  Just give us a call!

Written by: