Category Archives: Electrical Wiring

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.

Written by:

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.

Written by:

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.

Written by:

What is a ground wire?

A typical circuit in your home is comprised of 3 wires. The live wire, the neutral wire, and a ground wire. These 3 wires work in unison to not only deliver power, but to do so safely. You can learn why electrical wire is different colors by clicking here.

In order for an electrical circuit to do its job, it needs a complete path. The combination of a live wire and a neutral wire allows it to do that. So why have a ground wire? A ground wire is a safety precaution in case anything should happen to change that circuit.

A short circuit may occur if any part of the circuit becomes disrupted, such as a wire becoming loose or frayed. When that happens, electricity no longer follows the path it is intended and creates its own “short” cut. The ground wire is there to give the electrical current a safe secondary path to follow. Remember, electricity follows along the path of least resistance. If it can find a shorter distance to complete the circuit, it will.

3 prong cords

Have you ever wondered why most appliances and some other devices have power cords with 3 prongs? That rounded extra prong actually contains its own grounding system that, when plugged into updated outlets, provides extra protection against electrical mishaps.

You may be tempted to use 3 to 2 adaptors in homes whose outlets need updated. Keep in mind, that the risk of a future short circuit is then increased. We highly recommend that older 2 prong outlets be updated by a professional electrician.

Home Electrical Inspection

Through the years, our homes protection against electrical dangers has become more advanced. Our circuit breakers warn us, our home’s surge protection guards us, and our ground systems try to protect us.

If you think your home’s electrical system may be 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:

Why is electrical wire in different colors?

Electrician Connecting WiresWe’ve all seen those shows. The bomb is ticking and the hero has to decide which wire to cut to stop the timer. Did the bad guy change the colors to make it confusing? Luckily in our homes, the wires have been color coded and installed to make things as easy as possible to make changes to our electrical system.

Types of Wire
Hot — The job of a “hot” wire is to deliver power to a destination.
Neutral – A “neutral” wire completes the electrical circuit.
Ground – A “ground” wire is a safety measure. Put simply, an electrical spike sends the extra power through the ground where it can cause a circuit breaker to trip.

Common Wire Colors Used by Certified Electricians
Black Wire is always hot.
White Wire is neutral (but can change to live if marked accordingly).
Green Wire is always a ground wire.
Red Wire is always hot and used more in switch wiring.
Yellow and Blue Wire is less common, but if used are hot wires.

Never guess or assume! Always shut off the power when working with electricity. All electrical home projects should be done carefully to ensure the safety of your home.

Always connect wires of the same color, and as an added precaution use insulated tools when working with or even around electrical wires. Remember to err on the side of caution when dealing with electricity.

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!

Written by:

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!

Written by:

How to Prevent Rodent Damage to your Electrical Wiring in Charlotte

Mouse.Although some may think they’re cute, the problems that mice, rats, raccoons, and squirrels can cause homeowners are very ugly! Not only do they pose a threat to your family’s health, but they can also do a number on your home’s electrical wiring. These uninvited house guests love to chew on everything in sight, especially the insulation surrounding your electrical wiring.

After time, the damage rodents cause to your home’s electrical system can lead to a series of major problems, including breakdowns, malfunctions, and even electrical fire. At Douthit Electrical, customer satisfaction and electrical safety are always our top priorities. Our highly rated Charlotte electrical services can repair the damage done by pests to keep your home’s electrical system running properly.

Not sure if you have pests in your home that could be feasting on your electrical wiring? Here’s what to look for.

  • Listen for scratching or scurrying Rodents usually aren’t shy about taking up residence in your home and often leave droppings and nest material as they scratch and scurry about your home. Whether there’s a little or a lot, this is a clear indication that rodents are present, which means the threat of rodent damage to your electrical wiring is too.
  • Inspect wiring periodically to make sure insulation is intact The insulation surrounding electrical wiring is no match for rodent teeth and appetites! Bite marks and damaged insulation are clear signs. Unfortunately, taking a look at your home’s wiring is easier said than done since much of it is concealed behind walls. A home remodeling project that tears opens walls is a perfect opportunity to check for rodent damage.
  • Take note of unexplained electrical problems Is the power or circuit in a certain room or a particular area of the house unreliable? Is one or several of your breakers tripping for what seems like no reason at all? If any of these electrical problems sound familiar, rodents could be the culprit.
  • Be sure to seal cracks The most effective way to prevent rodent damage is to keep them out of your home altogether! Cracks and holes are like open doors for pests, so be sure to seal these up with caulk or foam spray to keep them out.
  • Know when to call an exterminator If you can’t keep pests out despite all these efforts, then it’s time to call a professional exterminator. Doing so is an investment in the overall safety of your home.

If you have any suspicion about rodents in your home and are concerned about the damage they can cause to your electrical wiring, call Douthit Electrical immediately to schedule a thorough electrical inspection in Charlotte! This simple step can save thousands in costly repairs in the future and is the best way to spot rodent damage.

Written by:

The Importance of Getting an Electrical Inspection in Charlotte before Buying a Home

Real Estate Home Inspection ReportPurchasing a home is likely to be the biggest investment that you ever make. It’s important when looking at a home to see beyond its basic aesthetic qualities and look carefully at key systems that you’ll need to function properly, particularly the electrical system. It is well worth paying for an electrical inspection prior to purchasing a home, to ensure that the home will be safe, and to assess the costs of any changes that will be need to be made. You don’t want to discover any surprise, expensive problems after it is too late to back out of the purchase. At Douthit Electrical, our licensed electricians do thorough home electrical inspections in Charlotte so that you can have the knowledge needed to make the right decision regarding a potential home.

Here are just some of the things we do during electrical home inspections in Charlotte:

When buying a home, you’ll want to use all of the information available to you to make your decision. Through an electrical inspection with Douthit Electrical, you’ll receive important information about a potential home’s electrical system that you can then take into consideration. For an electrical inspection in Charlotte or the surrounding areas, give us a call today!

Written by:

What is Knob & Tube Electrical Wiring & Is It Safe?

Our Charlotte electricians get a lot of questions about knob and tube (K&T) electrical wiring. Many people want to know whether or not they should buy a home with knob and tube wiring or if this wiring needs immediate replacement. Today our electricians are here with the facts about knob and tube wiring because we believe the more you know, the better decisions you can make for your home and family!

The Facts about Knob & Tube Electrical Wiring

  • Commonly used wiring method from about 1880 until the 1940s
  • Not permitted in new construction
  • Ceramic knobs hold wires in place and ceramic tubes protect wires running through floor joists or wall studs
  • There are only two wires instead of the three used in modern electrical systems
  • Cannot be used with three-pronged electronics and appliances

Is Knob And Tube Electrical Wiring Safe?

When knob and tube wiring was correctly installed, it was fairly safe. However, because so many years have passed since this type of wiring was installed, it is unlikely that the system is still perfectly intact and safe. Many knob and tube systems have been improperly modified or have suffered serious damage from animals or heat. Sometimes homeowners have even added thermal insulation over the knob and tube wires, creating a serious fire hazard. Furthermore, because there is no grounding conductor, there will always be a greater risk of electrical fires and damages to electronics.

Knob and tube wiring has become obsolete as safer, more effective methods have developed over the years. At Douthit Electrical, we’d be happy to inspect your home’s electrical system to see if safety hazards exist. There are many benefits to electrical upgrades, and our Charlotte electrical contractors can help you to determine what the right move for your particular home is—just give us a call!



Written by: