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:

How Much Can You Afford to Lose?

Don’t Let a Lightning Strike Wipe Out Your High-Tech Electronics and Appliances.

As many a homeowner can tell you from experience – a very expensive experience – lightning really can strike twice when it hits your home. The first strike puts electronics and appliances out of commission in less than a second; the second strike comes when it’s time to pay the bill for repair or replacement.

These homeowners learn the hard way that an electrical strip is not always a surge protector, but is sometimes just an extension cord. And they pay even more in the loss of irreplaceable data, including vital work files, personal records and family photos and videos.

Don’t let that happen to you. Call Douthit Electrical today and let us tell you about our whole-house surge protection. We’ll send a tech to your home to give you a free estimate, no obligation whatsoever.

Oh, and because lightning is not the only risk that your home’s wiring is facing, we’ve got a great offer for those who act quickly. If you call for your free estimate before August 29th, our tech will also conduct a home electrical safety inspection – also free – while he or she is there. You’ll learn what other risks may be building in your home’s wiring – and be better prepared for whatever storms are brewing.

Just fill out our online form, email us at 704sameday@gmail.com or give us a call at 704-726-3329 to make your appointment. Don’t wait, because we can handle only a limited number of customers for this specially priced offer.


Written by:

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.


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:

How to Install USB Outlets

Your family is probably like most of us and has a large amount of today’s electronics at their fingertips. But your home may be plagued by not having enough outlets to keep them all charged and ready. One answer for some is to switch a few of their current outlets to USB combo outlets.

We always suggest using the services of a licensed electrician for any electrical project in your home, but if you are feeling especially “handy” we have put together some advice we hope will help.

Changing a wall outlet is one of the more straight forward home electrical projects, but always be prepared for something to be different than expected. And when working with electricity, always make safety your first concern.

Options

When choosing your new outlets you will need to decide a few things, including what type of USB ports you need. USB-A are the large ports you usually see on laptops with a rectangular shape. USB-C are smaller, shaped more oval and and are more often seen on newer smartphones. Which size does your family need? Both?

You may also want to consider spending a few more dollars to purchase combo outlets that have chips. Your devices are expensive. You will want to make sure they charge at the safest speed and a chip will help detect and regulate that.

Another option to consider to protect those devices is whole house surge protection. Combo outlets may be a welcome convenience to your family, but don’t forget about protecting those devices from unwanted surges. Douthit Electrical is an expert at helping to protect homes from electrical dangers.

Installation

Switching one wall outlet for another could be a simple project, but always, as with any project, unplanned things can happen. Make sure that an accidental shock is not one of them! Before starting, make sure to turn off and test that no power is going to the outlet you are working on.

Click here for our blog on how to replace an electrical outlet. The new combo outlet may be slightly larger than the old one. If it does not fit in your current electrical box, you will need to swap that out as well. If that happens, you may want to rethink your project or call Douthit Electrical for professional installation.

Location

USB combo outlets are not meant for rooms where water is used. We hope you already have GFCI outlets installed in those rooms. Call us if you have doubts about what type of outlet should be installed at locations around your home.

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!


Written by:

Free Home Electrical Inspection

I’m about tired of it. I get about a dozen “free” offers a week that do little more than waste my time or build up false hope. But every now and then, something comes along that is
really, truly valuable. And if it’s “free”, that’s even better.

I honestly believe this to be the case here, but I’ll let you decide…

You and I live with risks every day. They’re usually not pleasant to talk about, but some are so serious, it’s best to face them head on. Like now –

The electrical components in your household wear down over time. And unlike, say a sink that starts to drip, or an air conditioner that puts out warm air, when electrical components wear, they usually do one of three things:

1. They just “quit” once and for all. You hope it’s this one, instead of –
2. They send an electrical shock right into you or a family member, or –
3. They send a spark right into a place it doesn’t belong.

The first one is inconvenient. The next two can be life-threatening. I’m not trying to be scary here, but there’s typically little or no warning to get a homeowner’s attention.

Many electricians have walked through charred scenes with Fire Marshalls, insurance adjusters, and grief-stricken homeowners who say something like,

“We had no idea.”

Yet, some hints emerge when they say…

“You know, my lights did dim when I turned on something else” or “We’d used an extension cord for years; I never knew they built up such heat.” Or even “Do you think this had anything to do with that ‘clicking’ sound?”

Statements like those brought you an offer like this. As a service to our existing and future customers, Douthit Electrical is offering a free Home Electrical Inspection for a limited time.(Only two small conditions apply.)

Almost any electrical contractor would tell you “call me in case of emergency.” While we’re glad to hear from you, we really, really want to talk to you before an emergency. So, give us a call and let us arrange a time to visit your home.

We’ll check for obvious and hidden ones…

Look at all your completely free inspection includes:

That alone would run you $289 if you just called up for it. But this one’s on me. Plus, I want you to take even more advantage of this offer …

If you’d like the gentle breeze of a ceiling fan, or another outlet “right there” or any other electrical need, it would be a very good idea to point that out to us since normally there would be a service charge to come out and consult with you. Even more money saved right there.

So, use this free inspection to your full advantage. I mean, we’re already there, so why not?

Now for the conditions, which I feel are small, but that’s up to you…

1. Since we really do have to make a living, I can only schedule your free inspection on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Thursdays. (Call any day you want, but your appointment will be on the above days.)
2. We can only perform about 4-6 free inspections per day (we have a limited number of technicians assigned to these inspections). This means the later you respond, the later the appointment date will be. My advice is to call as soon as you read this. We’ll work with you.

Okay, that’s my offer and I hope you agree it’s a good one. Just call Douthit Electrical at (704) 726-3329 and say you want to schedule your free inspection. This is a limited time offer, so don’t wait too long to take advantage of it. That’s it.

We look very forward to hearing from you!

 


Written by:

What is the difference between a surge arrester and a surge suppressor?

If you are confused by the uses of a Surge Suppressor, a Surge Arrester and a Lightning Arrester, you are definitely not alone. The differences between the 3 of them are similar but different at the same time.

All three of these have the same purpose, to keep unwanted electrical power from damaging your home and its systems. Whatever protects your home is definitely something that should be understood.

Surge Arrester
A surge arrester “arrests” unwanted power that enters your home from outside sources such as lightning, or surges from your power company. It sends that excess power directly into an installed grounding application.

Lightning Arrester
A lightning arrester “arrests” unwanted power from a lightning strike before it reaches your door and sends the power into the ground outside.

Surge Protector
A Surge Protector “protects” your home’s electrical system from power surges created inside your home. It is often intalled into the network in a whole home protection system.

Now you may be wondering if you need 1, 2 or all 3 of these. The best answer is to give Douthit Electrical a call. Everyone’s home and needs are different. We can discuss your options and recommend what we believe to be the right course of action for the safety of your home and its electrical system.

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!


Written by:

Why does my microwave keep tripping the breaker?

A microwave has become as essential in our kitchens as our stove top and oven. But because of its small convenient size, we often forget just how much power it takes to reheat those leftovers or cook those quick meals.

It’s because of this power that our microwave uses that it should be on its own dedicated circuit. This allows it to draw the essential energy it needs, without being hindered by other devices on the same circuit.

Microwave ovens have come a long way since 1970, and they now are available in all types of sizes and strengths. It is always a good idea to install a breaker that can handle a slightly higher amperage than your microwave lists it uses. Giving the appliance room for a bit of fluctuation is always a good idea for safety and future peace of mind, especially if your breakers are older.

Step One – Test Microwave
First, let’s be sure the microwave is functioning properly. Use the microwave in an area of the house that is guaranteed to not be on the same circuit, a garage or workshop perhaps. If it works then go on to step 2. If it does not, then the microwave is faulty.

Step Two – Check the Circuit
Locate your circuit breaker box and look to see if it is on its own dedicated circuit. Hopefully your box is sufficiently labeled to make this an easy chore. If the circuit is shared with other items, then a dedicated circuit for the microwave is what is needed. If it appears to already have its own dedicated circuit, then a higher amperage may be required. Douthit Electrical can examine the circuit and recommend a course of action with your family’s safety in mind.

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!


Written by:

What is causing my light bulbs to blow out so fast?

Are you still in the process of updating to CFL or LED lights in your home? Are you concerned that your older type of bulbs are suddenly blowing out faster than ever before? Even though you are updating, it is a good idea to investigate the reason for the sudden change.

Bulbs
Have you started using a different brand or batch of bulbs where you see the sudden change? The durability of the filament in these type of bulbs was already fragile. If the quality of these different bulbs is even a small amount less, that could result in them blowing out faster.

Light socket
Anything using electrical current requires a strong connection in order to work correctly. Light bulbs are no different. If the bulb is not able to make that connection effectively, it can result in arcing electricity that can lead to the fast blowouts.

Remove the bulb and look into the light bulb socket. Inside you should find a small brass tab that is slightly raised. If it has been flattened by over tightening bulbs in the past, that could be causing arcing electricity.

Turn off the power to the affected light socket. Once you have confirmed it is safe to work on, use your fingers or a pair of small pliers to bend that tab slightly upwards. Not sure how much? Take a look at another light socket and see the position of the tab to compare.

High Voltage & Vibration
Two less common causes can be excess voltage and vibration. Excess voltage can be caused by your home’s electrical system. If you have concerns that this may be happening, give us a call to diagnose the problem.

Vibration from appliances nearby or other mechanical devices can be causing the filament in these bulbs to snap prematurely. In these instances, once you switch to CFL or LED your problem should be satisfied.

If you would like help diagnosing and correcting any of these potential electrical problems in your home, Douthit Electrical can help! 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!


Written by:

How to choose a location for circuit breaker panels

IA Circuit Breaker Panel is an important part of your home’s electrical system. It’s location should be chosen carefully and must always observe The National Electrical Codes (NEC) handed down by the National Fire Protection Association.

NEC Guidelines
In order the assure that the circuit breaker panel can always be accessed easily and safely, the NEC has designated a certain amount area to be left available at all times as a “working space”. This space around the breaker panel must be at least 6′ 6” high and 3 feet square away from the wall, with 30” width.

The center of the handle on the panel should not be more than 6′ 7” from the floor.

Resist the urge to hide your panel away in a closet or pantry. They should be installed in a larger exposed area such as a basement or garage. This should be a place that is out of the way and out of sight, but still convenient.

It should go without saying, that a light must be nearby to make sure your panel can be seen at all necessary times. Don’t store things near the panel that would limit easy access to it.

Are You Ready?
If you are considering taking on this project, consider visiting NEC (National Electrical code) at www.nfpa.org/NEC. It’s important that before you start you are armed with all the necessary information so that you do not have to redo your work.

If you’ve chosen the location for your new circuit breaker panel and would like it installed by a professional electrician, Douthit Electrical can help! 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!


Written by: