install solar panels on your home with these tips

How to Install Solar Panels on Your Home

Solar panels stand out among other sources of alternative energy as a clean and effective way to supply electricity to households. While many other sources of alternative energy aren’t accessible for homeowners, solar is easy to come by. But before switching to solar power, it’s best to weigh up all the pros and cons. This will help you make the best choice for your household. It’s a big commitment to install solar panels at your property, so you’ll want to make sure you do it right.

Benefits of Going Solar for Residential Power

Homeowners differ in why they choose to go solar. For some, it’s simply a desire to reduce their carbon footprint, but there’s more to going solar than pure philanthropy. Installing solar panels at your home could save a lot of money long-term.

On average, American homeowners who get solar panels installed break even after about 7.5 years. So, after approximately 7.5 years homeowners will save the entire sum spent on the initial solar panel installation. After this period, all the money a homeowner saves by using solar panels is a true saving.

When buying a good brand of solar panels, a residential solar system can last anywhere between 25-30 years. This means that most homeowners can expect their solar system to “pay for itself” in savings about threefold.

However, many homeowners are concerned that they won’t stay at their current residence long enough to warrant such investment. If you want to install solar panels on you home, but you’re not planning to stay another 25 years, there’s good news for you. Solar panels can increase the value of your property and can also help you sell your home faster.

Unfortunately, installing a solar power system isn’t as simple as buying panels and placing them on your roof. There are some things you’ll need to know about getting solar panels before you buy them.

What are the Requirements to Get Solar Panels?

Solar panels require the right conditions to work properly. If your property gets too much shade, installing solar panels won’t help much. This means that solar panel installation at your home could see you chopping down trees and changing your initial plans to ensure the solar power system produces enough electricity.

Solar Panel Roofing Requirements

Thankfully, solar panels can easily be installed on most common roof types. As far as roofing materials are concerned, asphalt shingles are among the most popular choice for homeowners. Solar panels can quite easily be installed on asphalt shingles, making them accessible for the majority of homeowners.

Materials that are generally suitable for solar panel installations include:

  • Asphalt shingles
  • Metal roofing
  • Various flat roofing materials

There are some materials, like slate and wood that aren’t suitable for solar panel installation, however.

But before considering your roofing material, it’s good to have a look at the current state of your roof. On average, asphalt shingles last about 20 years or more. If your roofing is older than 5 years, chances are it won’t last as long as your solar energy system. In such cases, you might have to add new roofing onto your list of expenses for installing solar panels on your home.

Another common roofing issue is the pitch of your roof. Solar panels require a pitch of about 30 degrees to work effectively. This can pose a problem is your home has a flat roof. To solve to pitching problem, solar panels can be installed onto mounting brackets that tilt them up at the optimal angle.

One of the last things to consider is the size of your roof and the amount of sun it receives. There’s no use installing solar panels in areas of your roof that don’t get a lot of sun throughout the day. Areas of your roof facing south will usually receive the most sun.

Whichever way it goes, chances are good your whole roof area won’t be suitable for laying solar panels, so it helps if you have a large area to begin with.

Must Solar Panels Always Be on a Roof?

It can be disappointing to learn that your roof isn’t suitable to install solar panels on. Still, this doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t get a solar energy system at all. If you have a large yard that receives a lot of sun throughout the day, installing a ground mount solar system might be an option for you.

Are Solar Energy Systems Connected to the Grid?

Ideally your solar energy system should be connected to the grid, yes. Staying connected to the grid will help if your solar panels aren’t generating enough electricity to keep up with your energy consumption. In times when there isn’t a lot of sun, such as rainy days and at night, being connected to the grid will also help you keep the lights on.

Another benefit of connecting your solar power to the grid is net metering. With net metering, you’ll receive credits from your power company whenever your system is generating more electricity than you consume. During times when your system isn’t generating enough power, these credits can go towards paying your electricity bill.

How Much Electricity Can Residential Solar Panels Generate?

Like most homeowners, you’re probably interested to learn how much of your electrical needs a solar power system can cover. Unfortunately, there isn’t a simple answer to this question.

The output of your system will depend on a few things such as:

  • How much space you available to install solar panels.
  • Your average household energy consumption.
  • How much you’re willing to spend on a solar energy system.
  • The weather conditions at any particular moment.

To begin with, you can monitor your power usage closely to get an idea of your energy consumption. This is the best way to go about getting solar power at your residence, as you can try to plan your system based on your power usage. Even if you’re unable to get a system that covers 100% of your energy needs, knowing your average usage will help you get the best idea of what your system will do for you.

In some cases, it can help to reduce your power usage, as your system might fall just a bit short of generating enough electricity to fulfill all your current energy requirements.

When calculating how much power a system will ultimately produce, it’s best to give yourself about a 25% buffer. Even if a system could theoretically produce enough electricity for your household, its true capacity will vary depending on the weather, season and time of day.

With solar power, it’s better to overestimate rather than underestimate. If your home is connected to the grid, the extra power from your solar panels could earn you enough credits so you don’t have to pay for electricity even when your system isn’t generating enough power to meet your energy usage requirements.

Installing a Solar Panels on Your Home: What You Should Know

When push comes to shove and you’re ready to install your solar energy system, you’ll need to do it the right way. This will involve some paperwork (like energy audits and paperwork for energy rebates). In many states, you’ll also require permits. Finding a reliable electrician to help, as your electrician might be able to advise you
with regards to what permits you’ll need.

Additionally, working with a qualified, licensed electrician on your solar panel installation will ensure that all the necessary wiring is connected in a safe way that meets the safety standards and laws.

Choosing an electrician for your home solar panel installation shouldn’t be something you base purely on price. Although you’re likely to incur many expenses to get solar panels, trying to save on electrical installation can be counter-productive. After the hefty investment of buying quality solar panels, you don’t want to risk damage to your solar panels because of poor installation.

It’s important to ask your electrical installer about previous experience on similar jobs. Also ask contractors if they have the necessary licensing to operate as a contractor or electrician in Florida. If a contractor claims to have the required licensing, don’t relent from asking them to prove it. Only a qualified electrician can sign off on the installation work, so it’s important to ensure you’re getting what you pay for.

light bulbs burn out immediately

Why Some Light Bulbs Burn out Immediately?

There’s no doubt that light bulbs are a simple, yet profound and often overlooked electrical invention. Without light bulbs, humanity would still be stuck with candle light after sundown. Most people don’t notice the significance of light bulbs until one blows, leaving them in the dark.

Unfortunately, sometimes light bulbs in certain fixtures can blow far too quickly, or even immediately, leaving you in the dark far too often. If you have a few problematic light bulb fixtures in your house, learning more about what causes the problem can help you keep the lights on for longer.

Can Faulty Wiring Cause Light Bulbs to Burn Out?

Blaming faulty wiring for blowing light bulbs won’t help you solve your problem. Faulty wiring is vague and undescriptive. To say that faulty wiring is causing your light bulbs to blow isn’t any more helpful than to blame bad weather. To solve the problem, you need to know where the faulty wiring is so it can be fixed.

If you already got an electrician out to look at your problem and you were told faulty wiring was the issue, but the electrician was unable to tell you where the wiring problem is, then chances are your problem isn’t caused by wiring at all.

Sometimes the reason behind your blowing light bulbs can be simple, other times it might require some investigation to get to the root of your problem. Regardless, don’t assume your light bulbs are blowing due to “faulty wiring” and simply leave the problem to persist. If faulty wiring really were the cause, it might pose a risk, which you’d surely want to know about.

Causes for Light Bulbs Burn out Too Quickly

There are some common causes for light bulbs burning out too quickly and some of them are surprisingly simple to fix.

Bad Light Bulbs

Sometimes the reason why a light bulb burns out quickly isn’t so much about your home’s wiring or the light bulb fixture. Often, bulbs burning out are just poor quality from the start. Buying a different brand of bulb may solve your problem.

This can especially be the case if you find that light bulbs in your house burn out quickly, but inconsistently. In other words, you might replace the same light bulb twice within six months, only for it to last up to a year the next time you replaced it. Assuming there’s no difference in the type and brand of light bulb you bought and that light bulbs across different fixtures show no consistency in how long they last, inconsistent bulb quality could be your problem.

LED bulbs are a high quality bulb alternative that can last much longer than traditional bulbs or compact fluorescent lights.

Before you rejoice, however, there are other underlying problems that could manifest in a similar way that aren’t quite as simple to fix.

Too High Voltage

Another problem that can have symptoms similar to bad light bulbs, is if your light bulbs are getting too much power supply. American homes typically receive 120v power supply, however, the 120v power supply isn’t as consistent as you may think.

It often happens that some homes receive a slightly higher voltage. Most appliances have no problem running on a power supply that’s a bit too high, but light bulbs can be sensitive to changes in voltage.

To identify this problem, you’ll need to measure the voltage at different electrical outlets in your house, especially in areas where your light bulbs often blow. If the voltage consistently reads higher than 120v, this is most probably your problem. Don’t worry if you don’t know how to test the voltage of your electric outlets, or if you don’t have the equipment. You can hire a qualified local electrician – it’s quick, easy and should be relatively cheap if measuring voltage is your only requirement.

Switching to 130v globes can solve your problem if it’s only in certain areas of your home. On the other hand, if you’re constantly replacing light bulbs everywhere in your house, calling your electrical provider might be a smarter choice.

Light Fixture Vibration

When light bulbs are often exposed to fixture vibration, it can shorten their lifespan. Examples of light bulbs that are at risk for high fixture vibration include light bulbs attached to ceiling fans, garage door openers or below rooms with lots of activity (such as children’s rooms or indoor gyms).

Buying light bulbs that tougher is the easiest way to get your bulbs to last. Rough service bulbs, 130v bulbs and LED globes are all great options for difficult light fixtures.

Light Bulbs are Overheating

Using light bulbs with the wrong wattage for a fixture can cause your globes to overheat. This is because your globes will heat up unevenly, which leads the them burning out prematurely.

Light bulbs in closed fixtures are also at higher risk for burning out quickly, as there isn’t enough ventilation in a closed fixture to keep the bulb cool enough.

Switching to a lower bulb wattage, as well as using bulbs that are approved for use in closed fixtures could solve your problem. Alternatively, you could replace your fixtures so all of them are the same, in which case you can buy the same light bulbs for any place in your house.

Faulty Light Fixtures

In some cases, your blowing light bulbs have nothing to do with the globes you use or your power supply. Your light fixtures might be the problem. Especially in cases where one specific bulb in your home keeps burning out constantly, or even immediately after installation, the fixture is most likely to blame.

Screwing a light bulb into a fixture too tightly can permanently damage the socket. Even if you know how to change a light bulb the right way, without using too much force, if any other person has ever screwed a light bulb too tightly into one of the light fixtures in your home, it could be permanently damaged.

Seeing as excessive force can damage your light fixtures, you should also exercise caution not to use too much force whenever you’re inserting a new light bulb. Learn how tightly your bulbs need to be screwed in so they’re not too loose or tight.

Poorly Installed Fixtures or Wiring

While faulty wiring is a vague and often isn’t the problem with your light bulbs that burn out immediately, there are cases where poor connections can problems. When your either fixtures or wiring aren’t properly connected and there are wires that are half loose, you might find that some of your light bulbs burn out within a matter of days.

Worse yet, poorly connected wires are a danger, as they can lead to electrical burns in your home. If you’ve explored some other options and your have reason to suspect that your light bulbs burning out could be the result of loose electrical wiring, you should contact an electrician to help you fix the problem as soon as possible.

What if My Circuit Breaker Trips?

Tripped circuit breakers and blown fuses are normally caused by a short in an electrical circuit. This could be because of a defective plug or light socket. Whatever the reason, you shouldn’t reset the breaker until the underlying problem has been fixed, so calling in an electrician to help before proceeding is the best thing to do.

When to Call an Electrician?

It’s frustrating when your light bulbs burn out at a faster pace than you’re able to replace them. On top of this, the underlying reason why your light bulbs are burning out could also pose a risk for an electrical fire.

If you’ve explored options such as installing 130v bulbs, or your problem seems to be unrelated to basic causes such as vibration, overheating due to closed fixtures or a bad brand of bulb, then calling an electrician is your best option. Especially if you find that a single light in your house is burning out on a regular basis, perhaps even monthly, this may be cause for concern.

A qualified, licensed electrician can help you replace damages fixtures, fix loose wiring and test the voltage supply to your home. For electrician services in Miami, you can contact Miami Electric Wizards today. We are a qualified electrician company who will help you get to the root of your problem.

9 Different Sources of Alternative Energy

As the general population realizes the importance of living an environmentally friendly lifestyle, alternative energy sources have been gaining more popularity. There are multiple ways to generate electricity that emit no greenhouse gases, as well as some alternatives that emit less greenhouse gases.

Currently, fossil fuels are the main source of energy worldwide, and powers up most cities globally. To understand the importance of alternative sources, it’s good to understand the negative impact that fossil fuels have on the environment, as well as how renewable alternative energy sources eliminate those concerns.

The Negative Impact of Fossil Fuels

Fossil fuels are any fuels that are taken from the remains of dead organisms, such as plants and animal life, that roamed the Earth a long time ago. Once these organisms were buried, they’re remains decayed under the Earth’s surface in hot conditions without any oxygen. This resulted in the formation of fossil fuels such as coal, crude oil and natural gas (also called fossil gas).

These fossil fuels are burnt to release energy. The most common source of electricity is coal. Coal is used to generate electricity in many powerplants all over the world. While crude oil is also used as a fuel quite often, it’s used to keep cars running rather than to produce electricity.

There are several disadvantages to using fossil fuels as an energy souce.

Fossil Fuels are Non-Renewable Energy

Fossil fuels take a long time to form naturally under the Earth’s surface. To get the energy from fossil fuels, we burn and destroy them.

If humanity doesn’t come up with technology to allow rapid formation of new coal, crude oil and fossil gas, our supply fossil fuels will run out.

This energy source is finite, and if we don’t willingly switch to alternatives now, we’ll have to do it forcibly later. According to current predictions, our supply of fossil fuels will run out within the next 50 years.

Air and Environmental Pollution

Burning fossil fuels releases a large amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. Even though CO2 is a gas that naturally occurs in the atmosphere, the overabundance of CO2 that comes from burning fossil fuels is contributing to global warming.

However, not everyone is concerned about the effects of global warming, as it’s a process that’s somewhat difficult to observe. To encourage the use of alternative energy sources, it’s important to also focus on other pollutants that come from using fossil fuels.

If you’ve ever been in a big city, you might’ve seen a foggy haze covering the air close to the ground. While occasionally, this can just be fog, the source of the “fog” is usually more worrisome. This fog is actually a cloud of fossil fumes, which is a form of toxic air pollution. Toxic air pollution contains pollutants such as benzene and formaldehyde. Both these chemicals are known carcinogens.

As and added disadvantage to the air pollution caused by fossil fuels, other areas of the environment are also negatively affected, particularly during oil spills and other disasters involving fossil fuels.

Mining Fossil Fuels

Fossil fuels don’t only cause pollution we burn them for fuel or spills occur. Even regular mining practices are damaging to the environment. Mining fossil fuels involves moving large amounts of earth, either underground or on the surface.

Arguably the most damaging form of mining for fossil fuels are surface mines. Surface mines are mainly used to obtain coal. Once an area is fully mined out, it’s often left as a wasteland, as rehabilitation of open mines is costly. Even if land is rehabilitated, might not be the same as before.

In natural areas where wildlife roam freely, this form on mining completely destroys large areas of an ecosystem where animals previously lived in peace. In areas already inhabited by humans, open mines are often established on areas of land previously used for agricultural purposes. This means land that sustainably produced food for humans (and even animals owned by humans) to eat, is converted into an unproductive wasteland harvest its fossil fuel benefits only once.

Top 10 Alternative Energy Sources

We’re running out of fossil fuels. Using fossil fuels releases greenhouse gases. There’s a lot of pollution of environmental destruction involved in both extracting and using fossil fuel. All these are reasons to switch to renewable alternative energy sources. But what are some of our options in terms of alternative energy?

1. Solar Power

Perhaps the one of the most well-known and widely used forms of alternative energy is solar power. The benefit of solar power is that it uses energy from the sun and converts it into electricity. Energy from the sun is a completely renewable resource, seeing as the sun won’t burn out any time soon!

However, the biggest problem with solar power is that we use solar panels to harvest it. Solar panels take up a lot of space, making them reasonably impractical for mass production of electricity.

To solve the problem of space, Japan has a large solar energy plant that floats in the sea off the shore, however, this may still have a negative effect on the organisms living in the sea, as less sun reaches beneath the surface of the water – only time will tell.

On top of that, solar panels themselves contain a number of pollutants, which is concerning. Solar panels aren’t made to last forever and must be replaced every few years.

Because of this, solar power can be wonderful for households. Seeing as homeowners can all fit their solar panels to their own home, so enough space doesn’t have to be an issue. For mass-production of electricity, solar power still poses problems.

2. Wind Energy

wind alternative energy

Wind energy is harvested using wind turbines. Just like solar power, wind energy is a renewable resource, as we won’t be running out of wind any time soon. However, the challenges of producing wind energy is also similar to that of solar power. Both energy sources rely on optimal weather conditions to produce power, and both require quite a lot of space.

However, wind energy is more viable for mass power production than solar power. Many countries around the world have already built power stations that harvest wind energy for power.

3. Hydropower

Hydropower is power produced from moving water. Common sources of hydropower include waterfalls and rivers – where the movement of water is used to generate electricity. Dams can also be used to generate hydropower whenever the floodgates are opened as this creates a type of manmade waterfall.

Like solar energy and wind energy, hydropower is renewable, as rivers keep running, dams keep filling up. However, hydropower is also dependent on weather conditions, as draughts can lead to rivers, waterfalls and dams drying up. Unlike solar power, hydro electricity isn’t usually accessible to homeowners, unless there’s a river or other body of moving water close by.

4. Tidal Energy

tidal energy

Tidal energy can be seen as a form of hydropower, but unlike normal hydropower, tidal energy harvests electrical power from waves in the sea. This is more sustainable, as draughts won’t affect waves. However, tidal energy still isn’t widely implemented.

Another problem with tidal energy is that many countries are landlocked, and can therefore not harness tidal energy to produce electricity.

5. Biofuels

Biofuels aren’t commonly used to produce electricity. Instead, biofuels are used as an alternative to crude oil for fueling cars. Biofuels are typically made from plants which are often specifically farmed for the purpose of making fuel.

The good thing about biofuel is that it’s a renewable source of electricity, as agricultural activity can sustainably produce more plants to turn into biofuel. The bad thing about biofuel is that it still pollutes the environment when burnt. Another disadvantage is that converting society to run solely on biofuel would require humans to use more land for agriculture, destroying natural habitats to do so.

6. Nuclear Power

Nuclear powerplants are a popular source of alternative energy, but it’s definitely not a clean one. In a way, nuclear power only replaces the issues of fossil fuel power with a potentially worse problem – radioactive pollution. Radiation is a known cause of cancer, and is far more carcinogenic than any pollutant released by burning fossil fuels.

Nuclear power production produces large amounts of nuclear waste. In reality, it’s impossible to sustainably dispose of nuclear waste. Nuclear waste is usually buried beneath the Earth’s surface – often even in concrete slabs or stainless steel to contain the radiation.

Despite the disadvantages of nuclear power, many countries use it. These countries often pay the price when disasters such as Fukushima and Chernobyl strike.

7. Hydrogen Gas

Hydrogen gas is great as a fuel, because it burns completely clean. In the future, scientists may be able to develop technology to sustainably burn hydrogen to generate electricity for large populations, but currently, this isn’t a reality.

A large issue with hydrogen gas is that it’s also often derived from fossil fuels. However, there’s an abundance of hydrogen available in outer space. With technology to harvest this hydrogen, it could become a sustainable form of energy, but currently there’s no technology to make this possible.

8. Biomass Energy

biomass alternative energy

Biomass energy is derived from burning biological matter – usually wood. In recent years, biomass energy technology has developed, so waste from landfills can also be used.

The production of biomass energy might also pollute the air, although less than fossil fuels. When organic waste is used to produce biomass energy, it’s a good form of recycling. However, this form of energy isn’t as commonly used on either a domestic or industrial scale.

9. Geothermal Energy

Geothermal energy uses energy from in the form of heat to produce power. This heat energy is obtained from deep beneath the Earth’s surface in areas such as hot water and rock beneath the surface of the Earth. Currently, geothermal energy is one of the newest and most promising sources of alternative energy. It’s clean and produces no pollutants. At present, one of the biggest challenges for geothermal energy is the large upfront cost of power plants.

Types of Electrical Damages That Can Occur In South Florida

South Floridians are no strangers to electrical disasters. They are survivors who fight for their rights to live in a warm climate that boasts year-round sunshine and coastal clear waters set off by pristine sandy beaches. In South Florida, electrical disasters of some sort happen throughout the year and many are due to natural weather conditions. The types of damages, associated costs, and ways to avoid electrical problems vary greatly. 

Electrical house or building problems from fire and rainstorms

Short circuits are a cause of fires in residential homes and commercial buildings. When the power goes out after a storm and water saturates electrical wiring, a fire can start. Back in September 2017, a fire ruined Lee Elementary School after an electrical surge. According to a Tampa Bay Times article the district turned down an offer of $9.2 million considering it to be too low to repair the school. 

To lessen the chances of electrical damage after a storm turn off appliances when the power goes out, even better, turn off the main breaker. Turn the main breaker back on after power restoration. Listen for unusual noises and keep your nose sensitive to odd smells. If you hear or smell something strange, turn the breaker off again and call an electrician to access the situation. If you see flickering lights, unplug all appliances so they will not burn out. 

During a storm, high winds and trash encounter the electrical lines from the home or building to the utility pole. The wires still have an electrical charge so remember not to touch them. Check for downed wires outside and contact your electric company if you see exposed or broken wires. 

Incorrectly hooked up generators can start fires as well. It is hazardous to use dryer appliance cords as they could permanently damage the generator, spark a fire, and pose a danger of electrocution. 

Heat waves and High Humidity Weather

Heat waves cause electrical power fluctuations. Electrical damages from heat waves and humidity include damage to appliances when they strain and stay on longer than normal. A refrigerator’s dirty condenser coils can damage its compressor. To avoid electrical problems, read the user manual that came with the appliance to determine where the condenser coil is located and then clean it on a regular basis. 

Be safe when the outdoor temperature rises to 135 degrees Fahrenheit because that high of a temperature is dangerous. Parked cars are no place to be for children or adults. In a heat wave or high humidity situation, drink plenty of water unless you are on a water-restricted diet. Consult your physician in that case. Always wear lightweight light-colored clothing to keep cool and limit outdoor activities. 

Tornado Damage and Safety

Tornadoes are common in South Florida. Electrical damage occurs when high winds blow down power lines. The best thing to do is to stay alert of weather conditions during tornado-prone months, which are between June and September. Keep in mind tornadoes do happen year round. 

The National Centers for Environmental Information National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) tracks widespread damage was severe weather. It indicated that tornado and hailstorms in March and April 2018 caused more than $2.8 billion dollars in damage. Florida was among the states listed who suffered from the impact. 

Electrical damages during a tornado are hard to prevent. Your main goal is to stay away from downed wires. Assign a room as a family safe room to retreat to in the event of a tornado. Alternatively, identify community safe buildings where people gather during a tornado. Look at the sky and note the changes in the weather. Sometimes a tornado can strike with little warning. 

Hurricane Damage and Prevention

Hurricane Irma caused the massive storm that resulted in the initial power outage for Tampa Bay’s Lee Elementary School prior to the fire that subsequently damaged the school. Estimates of the damages from Hurricane Irma are $50 billion. Total damages from that hurricane plus Hurricane Harvey and Katrina to the states of Florida, Texas, and New Orleans range between $150 billion and $200 billion. 

The Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration (FEMA) gives steps on how residents in South Florida and other areas can do what they can to protect your homes from hurricanes. They suggest residents have a generator installed because outages may last several days. Follow all of the manufacturer’s guidelines when installing and operating your generator. Invest in storm shutters. Either make them out of 5/8 inch thick plywood that is an exterior grade or purchase shutters made of steel, aluminum or wood. During high winds use galvanized metal hurricane straps to hold down rooftops to walls. It is best to call on a professional put those in due to their reported difficulty to install. 

You will not likely be able to bypass damages entirely from hurricanes if you reside or work in areas more susceptible to them. However, simply by taking some advanced precautions, you might be able to limit the amount of damage your home or building sustains. 

Electrical Damages Lasts for Weeks after a Hurricane

After Hurricane Michael hit the Florida Panhandle in October 2018, Duke Energy estimated the restoration of electrical power to be around 14 days. Certain counties extended that out even further to 30 days. Crushed power grids needed repair. Building structures, if too broken, would not be able to have power restored. Hurricanes on their path of destruction affect the way of life for many. 

The Homeowner is Responsible for Certain Electrical Equipment

A homeowner’s responsibility is the meter box attached to the house. Many electric companies offer surge protection service for an extra monthly fee to cover parts of the meter. The service typically covers a maximum of $3,000, but it varies by program. Common parts under the coverage are the conductor cable that costs a little more than $1,100, and the weatherhead, a part shaped like a bell, would be slightly under $200. The homeowner pays nothing if under the coverage. 

Electrical damage can occur at anytime a hurricane, tornado, heat waves, and other natural disasters take place. The cost often exceeds $1 billion and that is tremendous. Preparation is the key to lowering the costs of damages. 

Floridians rebuild because the beauty of South Florida is like non-other in the United States. Year round warm weather, entertainment, close proximity to beaches and the ocean all make living in South Florida and visiting it worthwhile. 

Electrical Tools & Equipment that Electricians Use

Most do it yourself electricians set out to complete a home repair or improvement task and are surprised to discover that professional electricians use a lot more tools and equipment than the average person possesses in their garage. Electricians are held to extremely high safety and professional standards and in order to complete an electrical task properly, all of the right tools and equipment must be available. 

In the article below we’ll walk you through a list of the most common tools and equipment used by professionally certified electricians. Continue reading through the article below for the complete rundown. 

A List of The 20 Most Common Tools and Equipment Used by Electricians 

1. Hard Hat – In most cases, an electrician won’t even be able to enter a worksite without wearing a hard hat. Falling construction debris can gravely injure a person. For that reason, electricians are never advised to do any type of work without wearing proper protection over their head. 

2. Electric Drill – One of the most frequent tasks that an electrician will be engaged in every day is drilling holes with a cordless electric drill. These cool gadgets are able to accommodate a wide variety of drill bits, making them extremely versatile and dynamic tools. 

3. Tape Measure – Ever wondered what’s in an electricians bag? Well, you’re almost guaranteed to find a tape measure. This age-old device is a standard piece of electrician equipment. Electrical work is highly detailed, as you will need to locate precise points only done through measuring out a distance. 

4. Pliers – Can you guess what’s in an electricians bag other than a tape measure? If you guessed pliers then you came up with the correct answer. This is one of the most frequently used tools that make up standard electrician equipment. Electricians cut wire and cables all day long, a task only done with pliers. 

5. Screwdrivers – Electricians cannot always depend on an electric drill for screwing in or loosening fasted hardware. This is especially true for tight areas where only a small screwdriver will fit. Electric drills are often times clunky and can only be used when lots of space is available. 

6. Level Device – When it comes to pinpoint electrical work, you absolutely need to make sure that vital hardware is level and fastened in the proper position. This can only be done by using a high-quality level device, without which an electrician’s job would be nearly impossible to conduct. 

7. Wire Strippers – Most wires handled by electricians are insulated with a special plastic coating. The only way to properly manipulate these wires while installing them is to strip off the ends of this insulation with a wire stripper. Wire strippers come in all different shapes and sizes. 

8. Fish Tape – If you plan to run electrical wire through conduits all the way through to gang boxes, then you cannot achieve this without the use of fish tape. This specialized electrical tape allows you to run wire and cable along pipes by pulling it out the other side as it is equipped with small hooks. 

9. Voltage Tester – Have you ever wondered how an electrician tests to see if a wire has electricity running through it or not. This can be done by using a voltage test. Voltage testers possess a small testing prod that allows you to get a positive or false electrical reading on anything that the prod touches. 

10. Conduit Bender – Electricians need to be able to install cable and wiring around corners and other sharp bends. In order to properly do this the conduit piping that houses the wire needs to be bent in accordance with the angle of any corner or curve in a building’s wall or structure. This can be done by using a conduit bender. 

11. Reaming Bit – In order to fasten or attach old and new wire conduits, electricians need to use reaming bits that can be used to widen the opening of a conduit. This allows one section of conduit to be firmly inserted into the other, thus allowing for a seamless attachment of the two pieces of wire piping. 

12. Flashlight – Contrary to what you might think, electricians, do not always work in environments with a lot of lighting. For this reason, they will often need to use a flashlight that is either handheld or attached to their hard hats. Without a flashlight, an electrician’s job can become very dangerous. 

13. Insulated Gloves – Electrical works always poses the risk of electrocution. That is why electricians use insulated work gloves that are created with specialized materials that do not conduct electricity. In the case where an electrician touches a live wire the electricity will not shock the individual. 

14. Flame Retardant Work Shirt – An electrical phenomenon that exposes electricians to severe injury are arc flashes. These arc flashes can easily cause fires, so it is very important for electricians to wear as much flame retardant clothing as possible. Most construction sites require that electricians wear such fire-proof attire. 

15. Safety Goggles or Glasses – Protecting the eyes is a major priority for every electrician. Construction debris, dangling wires, electric tools, all pose a huge risk to the eyes. Just like hard hats and flame retardant shirts, safety glasses are typically a mandated piece of safety equipment that every electrician must possess before they step on to a work or construction site. 

16. Rescue Hooks and Rods – These long rods can safely be used to move a person or object that has electrical current running through them. If an electrician or construction worker is electrocuted then a rescue rod or hook is going to be the primary tool used to pull this person away from the ongoing electrical current. 

17. Circuit Analyzers – These highly advanced handheld devices are able to give any electrician instant information about any circuit that a particular outlet is connected to. The information that these devices displays include voltage, reversals, polarity, wire voltage, and much more. 

18. Circuit Finders – As any electrician will tell you, it can be extraordinarily difficult to locate a circuit. Thankfully, every electrician can use a gadget known as a circuit finder. By attaching the device to an outlet, an electrician can find out exactly which circuit the outlet is connected to. 

19. Duct Tape – You won’t find an electrician without a roll of duct tape in his or her utility bag. This universal item can be used in just about any situation needing a quick fix, such as temporarily holding electrical hardware in place while more secure screws or nails are driven in. 

20. Tool Pouch – Electricians need to keep their bodies very mobile, which is why most of them prefer a tool pouch over a toolbox. Tool pouches are typically worn against the chest and are secured by straps that run over the shoulders. 

Hire a Skilled Certified Electrician to Safely Do The Job For You 

It can be dangerous to do home electrical repairs yourself, as more often than not you will not have the tools or knowledge needed to do the job properly. As any electrician will tell you, it is far better to allow a trained professional to do the job for you. Saving a small amount of money on DIY fixes and repairs can end up putting you and your family at risk of incurring a grave injury, so don’t take unnecessary chances. Contact Miami Electric Wizards today for professional residential electrical services.

Link References 

https://www.servicetitan.com/blog/best-electrician-tools 
https://www.electrical-online.com/electrical-tools-and-equipment/ 
https://www.ecmag.com/section/your-business/tools-most-used-electricians

Residential electrical maintenance goals for 2019

It’s the start of a new year. And, you know what that means. It’s time to make some resolutions and set some goals to improve some aspects of your life. While resolutions are usually about something like quitting smoking or dieting, you could also think about some goals for your home, maybe even some electrical maintenance goals. How about investing a little effort into making sure that all of the electrical components of your home are in tip-top shape?

One of the leading causes of fires in the home is because of an electrical malfunction. It could be a wiring issue, a faulty appliance, or even something that you’re doing, unwittingly creating a hazard. While a smoke alarm will alert you and your family to a fire, it won’t save your home or your possessions from the devastation.

One of the best ways to prevent a fire caused by your electrical system is to have a preventative maintenance program set up. A professional electrician can put a scheduled plan together based on the particular components of your home. Here are just some of the things an electrician can do for you to help you achieve your electrical maintenance goals year, and make your home safer for you and your family.

Smoke Detectors

If you have a smoke detector that runs on batteries, you are already in the habit of checking it every so often to make sure that the batteries are still good. But, if you think about it, you’re putting an awful lot of trust in a battery and a test button. You could consider having your smoke detector hard-wired to your electricity, so there’s no chance of a battery dying without you being aware of it. A skilled electrician can easily install one, as well as keeping tabs on its condition during an annual electrical inspection.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

The same would apply to carbon monoxide detectors. You could improve their reliability by having them installed instead of running on a battery or a plug.

Ceiling Fans

Of course, you’d have a ceiling fan installed by a certified electrician. But, once it’s up there, it actually takes quite a bit of abuse. The constant motion of the fan can cause screws to loosen, and can sometimes affect the integrity of the wiring. Faulty wiring anywhere in your home isn’t something that you want to take chances with. Having them on your preventative maintenance program would keep them operating safely.

Switches and Outlets

The maintenance of the wiring inside of your walls should only be done by a professional electrician. Over time, the wires and circuits can become compromised, either from age or some other factor. You’ll usually notice flickering lights, or lights dimming on their own. The same thing can happen with your electric wall outlets. Some switches and outlets may even stop functioning altogether. An annual maintenance check will test each of these areas and make sure there aren’t any fire hazards.

Lighting

Those same wires behind your walls and ceilings are connected to your overhead lights. They would also be checked during a routine maintenance program to make sure that they are operating safely and efficiently. Your electrician can even give you some useful recommendations of energy-saving bulbs for your fixtures, as well as suggestions for dimmers and other gadgets that can save you money on your utility bills.

Generators

If you have a back-up generator for your home, you’ll definitely want it included on your maintenance program. Hopefully, it doesn’t have to kick on very often. But, you certainly want it to be ready and able to handle your home’s electrical needs when the time comes. An electrician will perform all of the necessary tests on the generator, and its access points, to make sure it is ready to go in case of an emergency with your home’s power supply.

Appliances

Your electrician can also check out all of the wiring and connection points for the various appliances in your home. Some appliances are plugged into outlets, and some, like stove-tops, ovens, and dishwashers are hard-wired to your main electrical panel. As with anything, over time, those wires and terminals can get frayed and corroded. Having them inspected, and repaired or cleaned, will extend the life of the appliance and make it safer for your home.

Surge Protection

Another common cause for house fires is having too many things plugged into outlets, or even worse, overloading extension cords. Designed for short term use only, extension cords can overheat and catch fire if there are too many things plugged into them or in the event of a power surge. And, outlets are only designed to conduct a certain amount of electricity safely.

A surge protector will protect your outlets, and anything that is plugged into them, in the event of a sudden surge of electricity from your power company. They will also reduce the risk of fire hazards caused by overloading outlets or using extension cords. You can either have one with several points of access that is plugged into the electric outlet. Or, you can have a whole-house surge protector, which is installed at the meter or in the main electric panel, and will control the surge before it gets a chance to enter your home. A professional electrician will be able to easily advise you of the best surge protector for your home, as well as include its maintenance in the scheduled routine.

Main Electrical Panel

This in one area that you only want a qualified electrician to touch. It controls all of the electricity that flows through your home. It’s composed of a combination of breakers, fuses, wires, conduits, and circuits that will need some maintenance occasionally. Being proactive and having your main electrical panel included in your yearly preventative maintenance schedule can avoid an electrical emergency when you least expect it.

Sub Panel

Your home may have a sub panel in addition to the main electrical panel. It’s basically a smaller version of the main panel, with many of the same components, and only controls certain areas in your home. It would also be included in your yearly proactive routine.

Home Security Systems

If your home has a home security system, some of the parts and sensors will be located outdoors. Even though the wiring is designed to withstand the elements, the factors of both time and abuse can cause the wiring to suffer, creating a potential hazard. This is just another aspect of your home’s electrical system that could be included in your maintenance program.

Other Home Components

The major mechanicals of your home like your furnace, air conditioner, and water softener all have a connection point where the electricity is attached. Inspecting these access sites could also be a part you your preventative maintenance plan, giving you more confidence in their continued performance.

Achieving your electrical maintenance goals for this year is easy, as long as you have a proactive plan in place. The biggest advantage of any preventative maintenance program is the peace of mind it will give you, because you’re fully knowledgeable about every aspect of your home’s performance. Not only are you making sure that the life of every component in your home is maximized, but you are also making sure that your home is a safe environment for you and your family.

What to do when your circuit breaker trips in Miami — and what not to do

Breaking circuits are fairly common. Most people panic when they happen. Electricity is not something that you can play around with especially when it is having issues. It carries a significant amount of danger to the users.

A tripping circuit can easily cause a fire. It can also destroy your electronic appliances. It is not advisable to try diagnosing the system if you don’t have the expertise. In this article, you will learn what to do and what not to do when a circuit breaker trips.
A circuit breaker is an electrical device that prevents excessive electricity from flowing to your home appliances. A circuit breaker can trip because of any of the following reasons:

  • Short-circuiting: This happens when the live wire, also known as the hot wire, interacts with the neutral wire.
  • Circuit overloads: It happens when you load a circuit with more power than it can handle.
  • Ground fault surges: They happen when there are wiring errors or damages that cause the ground wire to touch the hot wire.

What do you do when the circuit breaker trips?

As noted, a tripping circuit breaker is an indicator of other problems within the electrical unit. You cannot force the circuit. Some people try to hold on to the switch to prevent it from snapping. That is not a good idea.
If you do so, the system will heat to a point where it melts all the surrounding parts. Once they melt, the wires will come into contact. Your actions will destroy the whole panel. If the power surge is significantly high, the system can explode. You will end up hurting badly.

Do this when you have a circuit breaker problem:

Disconnect Your Power from the Main

Instead of trying to power it on again to confirm the circuit is tripping, power off the electricity. Doing so will ensure that you are safe.
You will be safe; you will spare the system, and the risk of causing more problems will reduce. Switch off all electrical appliances connected to the switch. Do not use devices connected to the circuit. The electrical devices that you are using at home can cause problems with the circuit breaker.

Begin the Process of Finding a Reliable Electrician

Once you have taken the precaution, you can begin the process of hiring a professional. Electrical faults do not come singly; they tend to come in pairs. Identify any other electrical fault that you would like fixed. Write down all the electrical issues. If you need to make any upgrades to energy efficient appliances or products, this can be a good time.

What to look for in an electrician

1. Professionalism

Any contracting job in a home setting requires a person you can connect at a personal level. The electrician will work inside your compound for some time. It may just be an hour, but you need someone you are comfortable with when they are around. When looking for professionalism, look out for a person who dresses the part, keeps communication formal, and prepares professional bids or quotes.
A good electrician has the tools and equipment to do all general electrical issues. If someone does not have essential tools, they will struggle to deliver quality at the appointed time. You will end up with a bad experience. Even if you give them the job, they will not inspire confidence and peace of mind. You will have niggling doubts about the quality of the work.

2. Insurance

As said, electrical faults carry a significant amount of danger. The electrician should invest in protective gear and tools of work. On top of that, he should have a workers compensation insurance. In case of a work-related accident, the liability will not be on you.
An insurance coverage shows that the electrician takes his or her work seriously. Some will go further and have work-related insurance. In case of any work-related damages, the coverage will take care of the bill.

3. Licenses

You need a permit to offer electrical services in Miami. There are three types of permits, apprentice, journeyman, and contractor/master electrician license. Each one of them shows the level of expertise and experience.
Only professional people have licenses to operate. A person is qualified to deal with circuit breaker trips in Miami if he meets the electrician’s guidelines for the city. You can have complete faith in a licensed technician.

4. Experience and Consequent Reviews

Every contractor should give you a portfolio that you can use for referrals. Those that have websites or social media accounts are good because you can check their online reviews. If they do not have any online presence, you can use phone calls to ask former clients about their experience with the electrician.
The number of jobs that someone has done can be deceptive. The satisfaction rate can be a better indicator of the electrician’s skillset. It tells you that that the person will do everything in their power to deliver.

5. Standard Rates

Electricians charge hourly. Focus on the craft. Do not dwell on the lowest dollar-rate. An electrician who takes time to prepare you for the appointment can charge more per hour and still deliver the best experience. It takes time to access the panel in some homes. If you can make it accessible before the electrician arrives, you will save a couple of minutes. Your circuit breaker problems may not take a lot of time to fix, but you sure want the experience to be ideal.

6. Interview At Least Three People

For your circuit breaker trips in Miami, you should interview electricians that are nearest to your location. They will take less time to reach your premises, which will translate to value for money in the first hour. They will not take 20 minutes to get to your place. During the interviews, you can request to see licenses, certifications, insurance, and the portfolio.

Conclusion

Now you know what to do and what not to do when a circuit breaker trips. A professional will help you fix all your circuit breaker problems. All you have is to hire a skillful electrician near you.

4 Ways to Prepare for a Blackout

It is important to be prepared for when and if your utilities stop working. The reason for this is that when power outages occur, they can cause many unsafe situations if you are not prepared. If you are residing in Miami, then it is best to meet with an electrician in Miami in order to create a blackout emergency plan for your home. By working with a Miami electrician, you will find that you have an incredible expert working to keep your home safe. Here are four ways to prepare for a blackout:

1. Have a First Aid Kit Ready: A first aid kit is vital in the event that you or one of your family members gets hurt. Be sure that you keep one accessible so that you know exactly where it is should you need it.

2. Purchase a Flashlight: Having a flashlight with fully charged batteries is another very important asset. Keep the flashlight near your front door and in your bathroom to make it accessible in your home.

3. Obtain Candles: Candles are a good strategy to light up to illuminate the dark rooms of your home. Should you have to wait for a long time, the candles will make your wait far more pleasant than sitting in the dark.

4. Have Sneakers Ready: Sneakers are something that are wise to have ready because you may have to walk in an area that is slightly darker than usual. If you have sturdy shoes, you will be able to make your way to the generator without any further problems.

It is quite important that you take the time to plan your safety in the event of a blackout. Doing so will put you in an ideal position to resolve the blackout and then go on with your daily schedule.

4 Practical Uses for an Electrician in the Greater Miami Area

It is always beneficial to have an electrician by your side when you are a homeowner in Miami. There are many sudden repairs that may come up requiring you to send for an electrician in Miami. Additionally, if you maintain your home regularly, you will find that you will have a great deal of success in reducing your electric bill because you will spot issues before they become expensive by using a Miami electrician. Here are four practical uses for an electrician in the greater Miami area:

1. Wire Connectivity: Electricians will be able to assist you with connecting the wires that you desire. This will save you certain outlets and/or appliances failing to work properly.

2. Generator Maintenance: Maintaining the generator is important. This way, you can be sure that it will be working in the most effective way to keep your family safe and your home well lit.

3. Black Out Response: If there should be a problem in your neighborhood, having the number for an electrician is a great way to reduce the time that you are without power.

4. Sustainable Energy Practices: If you are interested in learning how to save money on your electric bill through efficient energy use, then it is also useful to speak with an electrician. Their knowledge will enlighten you with viable ways to save capital.

It is important to work with your local electrician in order to be safe, have repairs made, and save capital on your electric bill. Be sure to learn where your local electrician is so that you are able to have them on speed dial should you need their assistance. This way, you can be certain that your home will be safer from electric hazards that happen in the course of being a homeowner in Miami.

4 Useful Tips to Reducing Your Electric Bill Overall

There is a tendency to utilize too much capital on one’s electric bill. This primarily happens due to lack of research and what the potential methods are to save capital on one’s electric bill. If you are residing in Miami, it is important to research how to save on your electric bill or consult a Miami electrician in order to better budget your expenses. Here are four useful tips to reducing your electric bill overall:

1. Have a White Roof: In a recent survey, buildings that have black roofs utilize 40% more energy than those that do not. This is something that has the potential to make a major difference in the amount that you have to payout for your electric bill.

2. Use a Reusable AC Furnace Filter: It can often cost you more in electricity if you have a filter that is not clean. Be sure that you have this cleaned on a regular basis for your furnace and you will see a major reduction in the amount that you have to pay monthly.

3. Upgrade your Appliances: Upgrading your appliances will allow you to have access to “green mode.” This is a new offering available for individuals that will force your appliance to have a feature to save you money and to help the environment as well.

4. Fill Cracks in Your Home: If you constantly fill the cracks, you will be able to let less air escape. This will lower your electric bill over time because less air will be escaping from the cracks.

It is important to assess ways to lower your electric bill on a regular basis. Since the technology is constantly changing, you will find yourself having a great deal of success if you stay informed about current technologies that could save you a great deal of capital in the long term. Being a responsible utility user will allow you to greatly lower your electric bill overall.