Here at Nordeast Electric, we actually hear this quite a bit. It can be daunting to hire a contractor when you don't know the industry. That's where we come in! We truly want to educate people and help them make informed decisions. If you cringe where you hear the words "hire a contractor", we aim to be the company that changes your mind. Below are a few helpful tips.
Fun fact! Did you know it takes a minimum of 8,000 hours to become a journeyman electrician? That works out to about 4 years as an apprentice before being eligible to take the Class "A" test.
LED stands for Light Emitting Diode and they are up to 80% more efficient than incandescent light bulbs. Changing over to LED bulbs in your home or business should save you money every month on your energy bill. LED "lamps" (bulbs) stay cool to the touch and don't emit the heat normally found in incandescent or fluorescent bulbs, which makes them safer. They also do not use mercury vapor like compact fluorescents. While LED's used to cost more than incandescent bulbs, the technology has advanced and a 6-pack of LED light bulbs won't break the bank. LED's last much longer than "standard" bulbs and are better for the environment when it comes to disposal.
Traditionally, light bulbs have been measured by watts, which is the power used by a device. When it comes to bulbs, a higher wattage means a brighter bulb. With newer technologies, however, light bulbs, as well as many other types of devices, have been made to be exponentially more efficient with their power usage, and this has led to most modern light bulbs to be measured by their light output measurement - which is lumens - rather than their wattage. The higher the lumens, the more light you will get from a bulb. To keep it simple, most light bulb packaging lists the conversion from watts to lumens.
A Kelvin (K) rating is the temperature of color and the scale ranges from 1,000 to 10,000 (not to be confused with lumens!). Residential lighting is usually between 2700K and 6500K; so in terms of color, 2700K would be more yellow (on the lower end of the scale) and 5000K would be more blue, which is on the higher end of the scale. The lower the number, the warmer the temperature. Imagine walking into an operating room, the light is bright and crisp, and usually cool white/blue. Those lights are likely 6000K or higher. You probably don't want that in your living room or in your bedroom. If you are thinking "cozy and inviting" you want 2700K-3000K. Kitchens and living areas do well with neutral color, 3500K to 5000K.
A "Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter" outlet is a type of device that is required in kitchens, bathroom, basements, outdoors or anywhere water could be an issue. The reason for this is that a GFCI (or GFI) outlet is a fast-acting device that can sense a change in the current and react quickly to trip the circuit and prevent an electrical shock.
This is when a single breaker in the electrical panel controls one electrical outlet or appliance and nothing else utilizes power from this circuit. Some items, such as electric ranges (stoves) are required by the National Electrical Code to be on their own, standalone circuit.
Additionally, if you have an older home with outlets added over the years, it's not uncommon to have a random outlet or two on its own circuit. Many homes will also have a microwave on a dedicated circuit.
This is a common question and the short answer is there is no one answer. Troubleshooting is required to determine if there is a problem with the circuit itself or the breaker. Breakers do wear out and like everything, they have a lifespan. If the breaker is failing, we can replace it. If the issue is a short somewhere on the circuit, we can diagnose and repair the problem.
The circuit itself could also be overloaded. Space heaters and other high amp draw items that are all running at once will overload the circuit and cause the breaker to trip. This is exactly what should happen to prevent a fire hazard. We can split out circuits for you and make sure everything in your home that uses electricity is doing so safely and to code.
Flickering lights are a symptom of a few different issues such as loose or damaged connections, damaged wiring or a compromised service panel. Older or DIY/unprofessionally installed wiring could also be the cause. Most older homes have several generations of wiring in them. Over the years, if done improperly, splices can cause flickering. Flickering lights are what you can see, but the problem can be hidden.
It takes an electrician with experience to know where to look and begin troubleshooting.