Category Archives: Electrical Upgrades

What is Knob and Tube Wiring?

When the wonder of electricity started to be brought into our homes in the late 1890s, the wiring system predominately used was referred to as “knob and tube wiring”. This wiring system was just the beginning of giving our homes the ability to deliver electrical power to serve our families.

As with most things, that system has been updated and improved several times over the course of 2 centuries. But you may be surprised to learn that it still exists and continues to be used in older homes across the country.

Construction

Rubberized cloth fabric was used to insulate each hot and neutral wire separately. The wiring was then run inside wall cavities. A porcelain knob was used to hold the wire in place. Unfortunately the insulation used at that time was only capable of doing its job for about 25 years. After that time, an increasing chance of failure is caused by cracking and wear.

Grounding

One of the major problems with knob and tube wiring is the lack of grounding. Today, our home’s electrical system is grounded in order to offer us protection from unwanted power surges and short circuits.  You can find out more about “What is a ground wire?” in one of our recent blogs.

While the knob and tube wiring was an inspired innovation of its time, they did not have the information to realize what a great importance our grounding system truly is in our homes.

If your home’s electrical system 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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What are Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCIs)?

In order to understand what an Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCIs) is, let’s first remind you what a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) is. GFCIs monitor the flow of electricity through a circuit. These are typically the type of outlets found in rooms that have access to water, such as a bathroom or kitchen. If the flow of electricity through a circuit becomes unstable, a GFCI outlet will automatically cut the power.

This type of protection attempts to protect us from life threatening shocks that could be caused by household accidents, such as a hair dryer falling into the sink. Electricity always follows the path of least resistance, and water is one of its favorite conductors.

An Arc Fault occurs when electricity jumps the gap between 2 loose connections. It will likely cause sparks and an increased amount of heat. This heat can easily cause fires under the right circumstances. AFCIs reside in our circuit breaker box. From there they can then sense unusual heat amounts and interrupt the flow of electricity to the circuit.

Newer homes are typically equipped with both GFCIs and AFCIs, and are required by safety regulations in many areas. Unfortunately older Charlotte homes are not always fully protected and there is a need to investigate the presence of these safety features on our own.

Douthit Electrical can inspect your home for these essential safety upgrades and advise you on a course of action to help protect you and your family from electrical dangers.

Remember, both GFCIs and AFCIs can help save your home from fire and your family from injury. 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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Why isn’t the outlet in my bathroom working?

If the only outlet that is not working is in your bathroom, then it is likely that it is a GFCI outlet that needs to be reset. GFCI outlets (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) are a must have in rooms that have the greatest possibility of water making contact with electricity, like the kitchen and bathroom. GFCI outlets help protect your family from shock.

GFCI Reset
There is a small button between the plug-ins. If the outlet detects a problem with the circuit , it automatically trips. Try resetting it and see if the power returns.

Why GFCI in the Bathroom?
Water is a highly conductive element. Electricity can travel along its path, and without warning, produce dangerous shocks to those nearby. GFCI outlets are a warning system to help keep that from happening.

GFCI Continual Issues
If you need to regularly reset your GFCI outlets, then a problem exists that can be a danger to your home and family. That would be a good time to call a licensed electrician in to diagnose the problem.

Older Homes
Often in older homes, the outlets have not been updated to GFCI in rooms with water sources available. We suggest updating those indoor rooms, as well as outdoor outlets that can come into the elements and produce the same deadly shocks.

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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What is the difference between 110V and 220V?

Electric PlugMost homes in the United States mainly have standard outlets that can handle 110V. For those appliances that need more power, 220V outlets are installed.

110V is typically the amount of current the wire can handle before it becomes unsafe, and the amount of voltage supplied to the outlet.

220V is, very simply put, 2 wires that combined produce twice the amount of voltage to the outlet.

Why Not Make Them All 220V?
Copper wire is expensive, so generally homes are built with mainly 110V outlets.
220V also present safety concerns. Many of us have been shocked by an electrical outlet at some point in our lives, a 220V outlet will feel like twice the shock, and twice the pain.

Why Do We need 220V outlets?
For rooms with appliances such as a washer, dryer, oven, furnace, etc, that require the extra voltage, 220V outlets are installed.

Douthit Electric can install 220V outlets whenever you plan on adding a new large appliance to a part of your home that is not currently equipped to deliver the required power.

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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How to Choose a Ceiling Fan

Wiring Ceiling FanCeiling fans are a great accent to rooms and are an energy efficient way of creating air movement all year long in Charlotte. While many might think the only thing they need to consider is how it will look, there are many factors involved in making the right ceiling fan purchase.

Room Size

Your fan size will be determined by the square footage of the room you’re going to be installing it in. If you want to take advantage of all that your fan can offer you, its power needs to match the room size. Too small, and it will not effectively move the air, too large and you’re wasting energy and money.

36” = up to 75 sq. ft. room
36-42” = 75 to 144 sq. ft. room
44-50” = 144 to 225 sq. ft. room
50-54” = 225 to 400 sq. ft. room

Power

Want an efficient ceiling fan? Pay attention to the motor! DC fan motors are smaller and lighter than the typical AC motor. They will save you up to 70 percent of energy and generate more torque.

Energy Star-Rated ceiling fans are always a great option. They pass rigorous testing by the EPA and are definitely worth considering.

Control

Most ceiling fans offer the common basic pull chain, but there are other options that should be considered. We all love our remote control. Ceiling fan owners are no different. Remotes are ideal for high ceilings and places that are hard to reach … and they offer the most convenience.
Wall control is another option that can be a great solution for high traffic rooms with a single switch.

Douthit Electric has been providing Charlotte with quality electrical services since 1990. When you need ceiling fan installation, check out our money saving coupons and give us a call!


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New Year Checkup for your Charlotte Electrical System

It’s always a good time to do a basic electrical safety checkup of your Charlotte home. This week let’s take a look at the health of our indoor outlets.

  • Have you noticed any of your switches or outlets not working?
  • Do any of your switches or outlets seem to be discolored?
  • Do any of your switches or outlets get warm when in use?
  • Have you noticed any popping or cracking from any of your switches or outlets when you use them?
  • Do plugs still fit snugly into all outlets?

Take a look around your room. How many outlets do you see? We often don’t realize just how many outlets we have in our homes until one stops working. It only takes 1 faulty outlet to create a disaster. In most cases, a licensed electrician can quickly fix a faulty outlet and recommend any additional safeguards you might need.

Watch for our future posts on tips about the use of extension cords in our homes and the safety of our fuse box. Our simple list of things to look for can help keep your house away from electrical mishaps.

Douthit Electric has been providing Charlotte with quality electrical services since 1990. Check out our money saving coupons and give us a call!


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How to Make Your Outdoor Decorating Easier Next Year in Charlotte

OverloadOh no! It’s time to put all those beautiful decorations away! There are so many storage possibilities and gadgets to try to make the process go more smoothly now. Here is just one website you can check out: www.thisoldhouse.com/ideas/12-smart-ways-to-store-holiday-decorations.

Common sense will also prevail to make the process go easier. Here are just a few suggestions:

  • Before recycling all that packaging material that came with those presents, consider if any of it can be used to wrap fragile ornaments in.
  • If any strands of lights are not working, don’t put off until next year what should be decided today. Now is the time to either fix them or trash them. Do you have essential decorations that need to be replaced for next holiday season? Seasonal sales might have just what you are looking for at a much lower price.
  • Label boxes or consider clear bins for storage. You know what items are used first, store them last for easier access next year.

Few of us like taking the time to pack away decorations correctly. Just remember that you will have so much more holiday cheer when you can reap the reward from your labor next holiday season.

Lastly, were you held back from decorating by the lack of electrical outlets available or outdoor lighting safety? Now is the time to consider doing some upgrades to increase the potential for lighting next year … and also your year-round lighting options. Everything from landscape lighting to flood lights to preparing for next year’s holiday spectacular … Douthit Electrical can help!

Douthit Electrical has been helping the residents of Charlotte and surrounding areas with their electrical upgrades since 1990. Check out our money saving coupons and then give us a call for prompt courteous service.


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Outdoor Holiday Lighting Choices for your Charlotte Home

What a beautiful time of year this can be! If you’re considering making your Charlotte home a holiday wonderland, have you decided which lighting is the right one for you?

There are so many types of lighting now to choose from.  Here’s just a few decisions you should make before going on that lighting shopping trip:

1. LED or incandescent? Incandescent lights are cheaper, but LED lights will last longer and are much more energy efficient.

2. Bulbs come in so many shapes and sizes. There is no right or wrong answer, but consider where you will be attaching your lights before you go shopping. Will you be attaching to the house, decorating the bushes, lighting up trees? You can have bulbs, net lights, rope lights, oversized ornaments, and the list goes on and on.

3. Do you have everything you need to install the lights correctly? Do you have a power source to turn all those lights on?

We can never stress the importance of GFCI Installation enough. Douthit Electrical can help you decide if you need an upgrade. Don’t let all that work go to waste. Ensure that your Charlotte home is safe and that your home is a joy to behold.

Call the experts at Douthit Electrical to make sure your home is ready for holiday lights! Make sure to check out our money-saving coupons when you call. We’d love to help keep your home lit for the holidays!


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Electrical Kitchen Appliance Safety for the Holidays in Charlotte

Holidays mean different things to different people, but for most of us it means time with family/friends and huge holiday dinners. The kitchen is where almost two thirds of home fires start. That’s why making sure to practice electrical kitchen appliance safety is so important.

GFCI outlets are at the top of the list when it comes to making sure all those kitchen appliances are hooked up safely. Find out why at our blog post, “Why GFCI Installation in Charlotte is So Important for Electrical Safety“.

Microwave/Blender/Food Processor should always be kept away from water sources. Also, if they don’t seem to work as well as they once did, they should be replaced. Take care to keep their cords away from anything hot.

Stoves will see a lot of use during the holidays. Make sure they are clean and in good working order for all that cooking. Keep an eye out for anything that could catch fire while your guests are “checking” on dinner.

Cooking fires are the #1 cause of fire in the home … usually caused by unattended cooking. While it is easy to get distracted with so many guests, take special care to not have a fire interrupt your holiday.

When it comes to electrical repair and replacement, call the experts at Douthit Electrical to help keep your Charlotte home and business safe! Make sure to check out our money-saving coupons when you call to make an appointment.


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Why You Should Always Plug Outdoor Tools and Lighting Into GFCI Outlets in Charlotte

GFCI Ground Fault Interrupter Circuit OutletThanksgiving is here and many of us have already started hanging up decorations to celebrate the holiday season. If you like to hang lights outside around your Charlotte area home you want to make sure that they are plugged into a GFCI outlet. If you do not have a GFCI outlets the electrical safety experts at Douthit Electrical can easily provide this important safety upgrade.

What Is a GFCI outlet?

A ground fault circuit interrupter are special outlets that stop the flow of electricity when they sense that a person is being shocked. They are normally installed in areas where electricity and water may come into contact. They are commonly used outside because of rain and snow and the potential for electrocution. If you use power tools you should also be using a GFCI outlet. A GFCI outlet will protect your power tools and appliances from electrical damage.

Have a safe and happy holiday!

Keep your Charlotte, NC home safe from fire and your family safe from electrocution. Hang those holiday lights but make sure to plug them into a GFCI outlet. GFCI outlets are hassle free but should be installed by an expert. For fast and friendly service you can count on call Douthit Electrical today.

 


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