Category: Electricians

Electrical Installation In The Industry

All You Need to Know About GFCI Outlets

What is a GFCI Outlet?

A ground fault circuit interrupter is a protective device specifically designed to break the circuit every time there is an imbalance between incoming and outgoing current. The GFCI outlet protects electrical wiring and receptacles from overheating and possible fire, greatly minimizing the risk of shock injuries and fatal burns. It also detects ground faults and disrupts the flow of current but should not be used to replace a fuse as it does not offer protection against short circuits and overloading.

How does a GFCI Outlet work?

The GFCI is integrated in the electrical outlet and constantly tracks the current flowing in a circuit to sense fluctuations in real-time. It has three holes: two of the holes are for neutral and hot wire and the third hole in the middle of the outlet serves as a ground wire. If it detects any change in the electrical flow in the circuit, it will immediately cut off the flow of electricity. So, if you are using a hair dryer for instance and it slips into a sink that is filled with water, the GFCI outlet will immediately sense the interruption and cut the power to ensure electrical safety in the bathroom and beyond.

Where is a GFCI Outlet Needed?

GFCI outlets are important, especially when the electrical outlets are positioned close to water. Installing GFCI outlets in your kitchen, bathrooms, laundry rooms, pool house etc., is a good idea. Apart from being an essential preventive measure, the law also requires you to have GFCI outlets installed throughout your home. According to National Electric Code (NEC), all homes must be equipped with GFCI protection. Initially, it was only required for you to install GFCI outlets near water but this requirement has been extended to cover all single phase outlets of 125 volts in recent years. GFCI outlets should also be installed on temporary wiring systems during construction, renovation or maintenance of structures that are using power temporarily.

 

Easy Steps For GFCI Outlet Installations

I didn’t prepare this GFCI outlet installation guide in 4 easy steps for conditions where everything is perfect and nothing can go wrong. That’s why it is a little longer than others.

GFCI – (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter)

So don’t start installing GFCI without reading description of items 1-4, it’s extremely important for your safety.

  • Disconnect power supply to the electrical outlet you are planning to remove and install GFCI receptacle Its place. The safest method is to turn off the main breaker in the electrical panel or remove the main fuse
  • Remove wires from an old electrical outlet
  • Correctly install wires on the new GFCI receptacle terminals
  • Secure the new GFCI receptacle in place, install GFCI receptacle cover plate and test installation

The minimum required tools for this 4 step GFCI outlet installation are:

  • The table lamp – for testing (or some other devices like those on my picture)
  • The screwdriver (flat and Philips recommended)
  • Electrical tape – to insulate GFCI receptacle terminals
  • Electrical pliers and wire strippers – this might not be necessary, but in some cases it will make this GFCI installation much easier
  • Wire nuts and 6″ of #14 or #12 copper wire – if some slightly more advanced testing or installation is necessary

 

Replacing a GFCI Outlet Yourself

Replacing an existing outlet at the end of a circuit (as explained above) is not particularly difficult, but the task requires some experience. You should understand how outlets are wired and how electrical current travels from the breaker panel through each electrical circuit (wiring loop) in your home. Some communities prohibit homeowners from doing their own wiring, so check with your local building authority before you start.

STEP 1:

Shut off the power to the outlet by turning off the circuit breaker (at the breaker panel) that provides electricity to the outlet. A good way to ensure that the power is off is to plug a nightlight into the outlet and turn it on, then shut off the breaker. If the nightlight does not go off, you’ve got the wrong breaker—try again.

STEP 2:

Remove the outlet cover with a flat screwdriver. You’ll probably need a helper to hold a flashlight for you now, since the overhead light might also be off.

STEP 3:

Remove the old outlet from the outlet box using a Phillips screwdriver. The outlet is typically held in place by two screws at the top and two at the bottom. When the screws are removed, the outlet will hang freely—the only things holding it are the attached wires.

STEP 4:

Remove the three attached wires, which are held in place with Phillips screws. Note the color of the screws and the color of the wires.

Black (hot) wire connects to a brass or gold screw on one side.

White (neutral) wire connects to a silver screw on the opposite side.

Green or copper (ground) wire connects at the bottom of the outlet to a green screw.

STEP 5:

Attach the new GFCI outlet in the same way you disconnected the old outlet, making sure the wires attach to the screws using the above color-coded method. The GFCI outlet will also have two additional screws on the bottom sides, and these screws will be covered by a piece of tape. Leave the tape in place—these screws are for use by an electrician who is replacing an outlet in an advanced wiring situation.

STEP 6:

Fasten the new GFCI outlet to the outlet box with Phillips screws (use the same holes).

STEP 7:

Position the new GFCI outlet cover over the outlet and attach it with flat screws. A new outlet cover is necessary because the cover of a standard outlet will not fit a GFCI outlet.

STEP 8:

Turn the circuit breaker back on.

STEP 9:

Press the “Reset” button on the front of the GFCI outlet to turn it on and plug the nightlight in to test it.

STEP 10:

Leave the nightlight in and then press the “Test” button. The nightlight should go off, which tells you that the GFCI outlet is working as intended. If it’s not working, it’s time to call the electrician.

 

What is a Ground Fault?

A “ground-fault” represents any electric path between a source of current and a grounded surface. A ground-fault occurs when current is “leaking” and escaping to the ground. How this occurs is significant. If your body provides a path to the ground for this leakage, you could be injured, burned, severely shocked, or electrocuted. Since water conducts electricity, ground-faults are especially common in areas where water can provide a conduit for electricity to “escape” and find an alternate path to the ground.

 

Self-Testing Your Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter

It is recommended that GFCI outlet should be tested every month and replaced every decade. You can follow these simple steps to test if the circuit interrupter is working properly:

  • The face of the GFCI outlet features two small buttons that are labeled test and reset. Simply press the test button and this will trigger a snap sound which indicates that the outlet has tripped.
  • Once the power trips, you can check the efficiency of the GFCI unit using a voltage meter.
  • Now plug in a device into the outlet and when it stops working, press the test button so you can be sure of the safety mechanism.
  • Once you know the CFGI outlet is working at peak efficiency, you can press the reset button and the circuit interrupter will be turned on once again.

While these DIY instructions are easy-to-follow, they do require that you are familiar with and understand the functioning of your home’s electrical system. It is always recommended to work with a certified electrician who can ensure that your system is in compliance with relevant codes so your home remains guarded against electric fires.

How To Manage Costs Of Residential Electrical Remodel

IMPORTANT ELECTRICAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR A HOME RENOVATION PROJECT

You may be planning to add a room to your house. It may be a home office or an outdoor kitchen. These can be big renovations and you have to be careful with the planning, ensuring that the electrical factors are also taken into account. You should work with a licensed electrician who has experience with a project like yours. Proper planning can save you money and ensure that the project runs seamlessly.

Electrical Capacity

When renovating your home, it is important to determine the current electrical capacity of the building. Many old homes do not have the wiring to handle the latest appliances and technologies. You should get the help of an electrician to calculate the existing capacity

Wiring Size: If the wiring size doesn’t match the new electrical requirements in the building, it increases the risk of fires. An increase in the number of outlets for a circuit can mean excess current for the circuit. If adding more amps, it is important that you install new circuits into the panel.

Securing Wiring: Make sure that the wiring is properly secured. If the staples are not properly attached, the wires can get damaged. It is recommended to run the wiring through cable trays

Improper Wire Connections & Lengths: The length of wiring that can be stripped is regulated by electrical codes. The wires shouldn’t be stripped too much or too short. It can increase the risk of fires or voltage drops

 

Rewiring Tips

Approach the work with care

Rewiring needs a careful approach and, like all electrical installation work, is subject to regulation and legislation. Part P of the Buildings Regulations deals with electrical safety in domestic dwellings, and covers significant alterations and new additions (such as new kitchens and extensions) in UK homes.

Understand when rewiring is needed

Homes which have not been touched or rewired for over 20 to 30 years usually require attention. This is not only because the wiring is potentially dangerous but also because older wiring systems can’t cope with the demands of modern living

Plan carefully before work starts

Rewiring a property is messy, disruptive work

Those runs of wires go everywhere: under floors, through walls and across ceilings, so first fix is best done without carpets or furniture, so floorboards can be lifted and ceilings cut into. To position new sockets and switches at legally correct heights, plaster generally needs to be chased into, too. This is why it’s important to plan what’s going where in each room before starting the first fix stage, so you know where you need lights, plug points and any other electrically driven items.

Avoid additions mid-way through

They are costly and time consuming. One way to avoid them is by drawing a plan of your home with each room on graph paper and marking up the position of beds, sofas, kitchen units and so on. You can then consider the lighting and switches required. Little things like under-cabinet and bedside lighting are easy to do when planned from the start, but costly to undertake later.

 

electrical and lighting things to consider when building

I can safely say that every day of this home build journey I am learning something new. From small things like discovering new products (who knew door handles could be so exciting?!) to the bigger picture of understanding the building process

Do not over-light your interiors. The other week we published ‘How to design a lighting plan for your home‘ and in that post, lighting expert James talks about understanding the function of each room before deciding how much and what type of light to fill it with. As we went room by room through our house, James would constantly ask me ‘What will you do in this room?’ and ‘How will you configure your furniture?’ before suggesting any lighting options. Start with function and adapt your lighting depending on the needs in the space to avoid over lighting your home — and put a dimmer on every interior light!

Consider mixing lighting solutions. James is a big believer in using as little ceiling light as possible so he suggested all sorts of other lighting solutions — wall washes, low hallway wall lights, floor lamps, pendants, step lights — and when we did talk about ceiling lights he suggested some new products, like ‘extrusion’ lighting which is a more sleek and commercial looking product. If you won’t have an expert to help you plan your lighting, I suggest taking the time to research all the lighting options out there before meeting with your electrician so you can develop a plan that works and will add interest to your home

Be careful not to date your house with lighting that’s so 2015! As you all know, I’m a massive Block fan. So when I asked whether or not strip lighting along the kick of the kitchen was a good idea, or if we should put some under the island bench and I got a strained look from James… it was pretty clear the answer was no, he he. He said we could do whatever we wanted — it’s our house after all — but that he wouldn’t recommend putting lighting in these places where it serves no real purpose as he thinks this lighting trend will date quickly. In a few years time you don’t want people to say ‘That’s so 2015!

Automate lighting. Our lighting expert also suggested adding some automatic lights — having a sensor when you open the butler’s pantry and in the garage — so you don’t need to fumble in the dark. Small thoughtful details like this can make living in your home more comfortable.

 

The Ultimate Guide To Hiring An Electrician

The process for finding a qualified electrician is often hazy and difficult to pin down, and business owners can struggle with knowing how to find the best electrician for their project, what type of qualifications an electrician should have, and how to vet a contractor thoroughly.

Business owners and homeowners alike will have ongoing electrical needs. It’s critical to find a licensed, experienced, and reputable electrician for any electrical needs as they occur during the course of home or business ownership. Our guide will show you how to find and hire a qualified, local, and professional electrician for your business or residential needs who can handle an array of complex projects. We’ll show you the difference between a residential and commercial electrician, where to find a qualified electrician, what types of questions to ask your contractor, and more. By the end of the guide, you’ll know exactly how to find and hire the right electrician for your job.

The Differences Between Commercial and Residential Electricians

Commercial and residential electricians use different equipment and wiring processes to meet a range of load demands and energy needs. The amount of electricity your home needs is much different than the load demands for a large-scale commercial operation, like a resort or a healthcare facility

What qualifications or licenses do residential and commercial electricians need?

Unlike other construction-type jobs, electrical work requires more extensive education and licensing requirements. Electricians must work as apprentices for a period before they can become licensed electricians. It does not matter whether an aspiring apprentice wants to specialize in either a commercial or residential electrical work.

Once an apprentice completes these three steps, they will have the required licenses to practice their trade on their own without the supervision of a journeyman electrician. It’s important to note that different states and local governing bodies will have different sets of licensing requirements for electricians. Some states will require more extended periods of working under a journeyman electrician which can influence when and how an apprentice can become authorized to wire either commercial or residential buildings.

 

Nearby Electrical Companies in Your Area

Or more specifically, how can I find a great electrician near me?

Choose a certified electrician that is insured and experienced. Reading reviews and grades can help you locate the best. If they do not have insurance your homeowners policy will be on the line for damages.

Be sure to ask about their training level. There are three levels of electricians: Apprentice, Journeyman and Master Electrician. Ask questions about what level will be working on your house, if dealing with a larger company.

Contact three electricians – try to obtain estimates from each of them. This will provide a good sense of the area’s price points and other nuances

What are common electrical services?

Loose Electrical Wires – Loose wiring can happen due to the age of the home, harsh weather conditions, or frequent electrical surges. It’s a good idea to have loose wires fixed as soon as possible, as they can cause further damage to your electrical system.

Damaged Outlets – A damaged outlet typically occurs due to the malfunctioning of any appliances that were plugged in. The outlet may become dysfunctional or it may work intermittently.

Fixing a Damaged Breaker Box – Fixing or replacing the breaker box in your home is one of the costliest services that electricians provide. The breaker box provides surge protection to the entire premises and is the central hub for all electrical wiring.

Fixing Electrical Appliances – Electricians also fix appliances such as refrigerators, dish washers, TVs, ovens, and other similar home electronics

There are several other problems homeowners can expect to encounter at some point or another. Some of these electrical issues include:

Electric Work During Remodels

New Room Additions

Transfer Switches

Smoke Detectors

Pool Heaters and Hot Tubs

Cable/Data Lines

Generator Systems

Water/Fire/Storm Damage

Interior Lights, Exterior Lights and Light Switches

Ceiling Fans

Hood Vent Exhaust Fans

Kitchen and Bathroom Lights

Bathroom Ventilation

Security Systems

Door Bells

Underground Wiring

New Home Build and System Installation

How much do electrician services near me cost?

Electrical services vary widely by the problem that needs to be fixed, which is why it is important to have an idea of the issue that you’re facing.

Cost of Replacing/Installing an Outlet – Most outlets, particularly GFCI (water-protected) outlets, will cost between $50 to $60 per outlet to install. Outlets within the home may cost less, anywhere between $30 to $50.

Cost of a Surge Protection Install – Surge protection can protect your delicate appliances from electrical damage. The average cost of installing surge protection is $625.

Replacing Breaker Box Price – Replacing a faulty breaker box is a significant job. It may be necessary if the panel is a fire hazard or if the homeowners wish to have more power. This can cost as low as $660 all the way up to $3,000 or more.

Must Learn To Do Self Commercial Electrical Remodel

COMMERCIAL RENOVATIONS

COMMERCIAL ELECTRICAL REPLACEMENTS AND UPGRADES

Like every system in your building, your electrical system needs to be updated in order to keep running smoothly. We offer the latest upgrades and features that will keep your business stylish and efficient. From LED lighting to high-efficiency wiring, our wide selection of upgrades and new product installs will keep your consumers happy. With better electrical systems in your business, you’ll be extending the life of your circuits and wiring.

QUICK AND RELIABLE COMMERCIAL ELECTRICIANS

We know how important is it for you to have quick, thorough service so you can get back to business quickly, so we offer you some of the best customer service in southern Delaware. With our guaranteed quick, exceptional service, you won’t be wasting money while your business is closed for electrical repairs. Our commercial electricians take pride in their work and try to be as neat and precise as possible so you don’t have to waste time cleaning up.

WHAT MAKES OUR COMMERCIAL ELECTRICIANS BETTER THAN OUR COMPETITORS?

We use the most recent and innovative technologies to make sure your electrical work gets done the first time. We know that time is money. The faster we deliver top-quality electrical services, the faster you can get back to business.

 

Commercial Construction: 5 Steps to Remodeling a Business Space

Review the certificate of occupancy

Number one, two, and three on your checklist before even committing to a lease should be: check the CO, check the CO, and check the CO. The document shows what you can legally use a property for—an office, a private residence, a restaurant, etc. Many cities and towns will have online databases where you can download a copy of a property’s CO. Here’s a link to search in New York City.

Understand existing violations on your property

Especially if the property you’re eyeing hasn’t changed hands or had a new tenant for some time, it’s possible it already has building violations. It could be that someone did work without a permit, installed a rooftop AC unit incorrectly, or the fire sprinkler system isn’t functioning. “When you go to get a permit, these things are scrutinized and discovered,” explained Colin, a Sweeten general contractor. If the violations aren’t corrected, that could mean a costly stop-work order on your construction project later on.

Review structural, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing

Now you need to determine if your property can handle the weight of your business. And in some cases, we mean that quite literally. Hernandez’s example illustrates the point: if you want to flip a clothing retail space into a car showroom, it’s a wise idea to make sure the floor can support the added weight. Or how about creating an open-plan office that’s perfect for teamwork? Before drawing up those plans, you need to know what walls are load-bearing and if they can be moved. If moving that wall (or not) is a deal breaker, it’s best to know the capabilities of a space before signing on the dotted line. “You need to ask what are the limits of design,” said Sweeten contractor Colin.

Checking on a building’s envelope

An envelope is building speak for whatever separates the outside from the inside—windows, doors, roof, etc. It’s another area worth looking into before starting your project.

What are your facility requirements?

Most health codes will require an employer to provide access to toilet facilities. For offices, this could mean a shared bathroom on a floor, according to Hernandez, the expediter. “They have to make sure employees have access to a bathroom from within the building,” she said. One client suggested sending employees to another building, but this was not permitted under the health code.

 

Practical Tips for Finding Project Leads

Where are the leads?

Construction leads are always published somewhere. Thanks to the Internet, it’s much easier and cost-effective to find them. For example, a quick Google search for “construction bid leads services” should introduce you to services you might not have been aware of. However, here’s a word of caution: If you’re not familiar with a particular service, ask for a “trial” before you buy. In addition, ask for references of other clients you can call to see if the service is working well for them. Although this may be obvious, make sure the construction bid lead service actually lists jobs that pertain to electrical divisions 16 or 26.

Watch the coverage area

There are a few things you should know before starting your search for construction bid leads in your area. Construction bid boards can promote national, regional, or state jobs. Typically, the more comprehensive the “draw” area of the board, the more expensive the subscription. Therefore, if you mainly work in the state of Connecticut, for instance, you’ll want to subscribe to a service that includes only Connecticut job leads. Why pay for something you won’t use? On the other hand, if you work in multiple states, you’ll want to seek out job lead bid boards that have a more extensive coverage area.

Understand the fee structure

Construction bid lead services charge you a subscription fee, which is typically based on an annual rate. Some companies require payment for the entire year at the beginning of your subscription, while others may charge you a monthly fee. Inquire about a “trial subscription,” if you are unsure about the benefits of a particular lead service.

Popular sites

Perhaps the most recognized online bid board in the industry is Dodge Reports You can search Dodge Reports by geography, building type, and project type. Formats range from a weekly publication, daily bulletins, and newspaper formats. Updated daily, Dodge Reports estimates that at any given time it is tracking almost a half million active projects. Subscription plans begin for as little as $39.99 a month for 25 leads. If you’re going old school, you can also order Dodge Reports in print.

Two-for-one deals

Many of you are probably familiar with the “Blue Book of Building and Construction” In fact, many of you have probably advertised in this publication, the benefits of which are two-fold. First, your listing allows GCs working in your area to find you. Secondly, if you advertise in this book, you will also be provided with job leads in the area in which you advertise via its bid board called BB Bid. Even if you’re not interested in placing advertising in this book, you can at least sign up for a free listing.

 

Constructing your own commercial building

Evaluate your options

The sheer scale of a construction project demands a major commitment from any entrepreneur. Keep in mind that the time and energy invested in constructing a building could also be put into the business itself. Even if you hire a project manager to oversee the job, you’ll still need to be involved in daily decision-making, and that will inevitably mean more time away from daily operations.

Make the right projections

A bank advisor can help you determine the affordability of your project, how much money you’ll need from start to finish and the right financing solutions for your needs. It helps to start with a good business plan so that you can make realistic revenue projections; this will help you gain the confidence of lenders that you can handle a project of this scope without endangering your company’s financial health.

Get your building permit in order

Once you’ve made the decision to build, the next step is to be sure that you’ve satisfied all local rules with the right permit. It’s wise to do this as early as possible, since building without a permit is obviously not an option. Rules can vary greatly depending on whether you’re building new premises, altering existing premises, changing the appearance of a building or altering its use.

Get a good architect or designer

Deterred by the high cost of professional building designers, entrepreneurs will sometimes skip the essential step of hiring a good architect or designer. While you might think you’re saving money up front, you will lose in the end because of problems such as an inefficient use of space. “It’s not just a box that you’re building,” notes Olley. “It has to fit all of your requirements.”

Be realistic about your own involvement

Olley cautions business owners to be realistic in assessing how much time they can devote to the project. Often, companies lose business during construction projects because the management team is less focused on performance and too anxious about the new building. Depending on the scale of the job, Olley recommends hiring project managers who can take care of complex logistics and ensure that the layout designer, architect, engineers and contractors work in harmony.

 

Tips for Remodeling Your Commercial Building

Make sure you take care of permits.

Depending on where the building is located, there could be permits that you’ll need before starting any type of major renovation project. Permits could hinge on whether or not the work is interior or exterior, among other factors. Be sure to double check that you have all permits that you need before you get started to avoid running into complications.

Know who’s managing the project.

With extensive remodeling and repairs, you could have multiple projects going on simultaneously. The project manager will also manage material deliveries and handle any disputes. Make sure you know who the overall project manager is so that you can keep on top of deadlines and milestones and stay abreast of any issues that may come up during the process. This will ensure that the project runs smoothly and stays on course.

Plan Accordingly.

From creating a detailed budget to allowing enough time to successfully complete a renovation project, make sure that you plan for everything. A few things to keep in mind are: managing how your project will affect your tenants, making sure that there are alternatives to whatever space is being worked on (i.e., stairs available if the elevator is under maintenance), and finding the right contractor to handle the job.

The Safety Ways To Switches Installation

Tips for Identifying Light Switches in Your Home

Switch Designs

Switches also come in several designs:

  • Push-Button Switches. Push-button designs are less common than others. This design sports a button that connects or disconnects the circuit when pushed. Some models offer spring-loaded designs that return buttons to their original position after being pushed. Other push-button switches stay depressed when pushed and click back to their original position when the circuit is disconnected.
  • Toggle Switches. Toggle switches are the most common. Toggle designs use a lever that’s angled in an on or off position. Moving the toggle up or down connects or disconnects the circuit.
  • Selector Switches. These switches include a rotary knob or lever that allows users to select different lighting settings. Selector switches also come in a two-mode design. Two-mode selector switches normally only offer an on or off setting.
  • Proximity Switches. Proximity switches use motion-sensing technology to switch lights on or off. Motion-sensing designs are popular in modern and energy-conscious homes and businesses. Proximity switches vary in terms of customization and out-of-the-box features.
  • Photoelectric Switches. Photoelectric switches use a sensor to measure the level of light in a room and adjust the lights accordingly. Streetlights and light posts are common photoelectric applications. But recent innovations have outfitted residential lighting with similar technology. Many homeowners use photoelectric lightings for porches and backyards.
  • Dimmer Light Switches. Dimmer switches allow you to find the ideal amount of light for any setting. The dimmer design is perfect for living rooms, dining rooms, and other areas of your home that call for ambiance. Some dimmers require special bulbs. Be sure to speak to a professional before installing dimmers.

 

Tips for Identifying Wires in your Switch Wall Box

  • An easy way to identify the wires in your wall box is by looking at the color.
  • The Load wire is usually coming from the top of the box. The Line wire is usually coming from the bottom of the box.
  • Before removing the switch, test each wire with a voltage tester.
  • If you’re replacing a current 3-way switch, make sure to mark which wires are connected to the brass screws. Those are the traveler wires and are not needed for the C by GE Smart Switch.

 

Find Hidden Command Line Silent Switches for Setup Files

If you want to Install a piece of software, it’s obviously very easy to do generally speaking. Just run the setup file, agree to the license agreement, select destination location to install, confirm the program’s shortcut location, create desktop and tray icon, and finally install. It looks like many steps are involved but we usually just ignore all those and continue clicking Next until the setup completes. Obviously, these days you have to be a bit more careful because of all the extra options during installation such as installing toolbars etc, but it’s still pretty fast and easy with common sense applied.

Installing an application one time on your computer is not a problem but what if you have just installed Windows and have loads to install? Or worse still, what if you need to install applications on several computers? Sitting there and installing each program manually can be frustrating and a huge waste of time and something you’re not going to enjoy doing. Do we all want an easier solution? Of course we do!

The useful things is, there are hidden command line switches in most installer packages or setup files which be can used to bypass all those confirmation message boxes. With these commands you can install just about anything automatically, if you know the commands to use. Some software developers will include the command line switches in their documentation but many do not and you have to search the internet to find what they are.

 

Ways to Screw up a Switch Installation

In its simplest form, an electrical switch is a humble device. For example, a single-pole, single-throw 15A snap switch consists of a pair of electrical contacts that can be opened or closed manually. A snap switch is spring loaded so that it opens and closes quickly, minimizing arcing, which otherwise would burn the contacts. Of course there are more elaborate types of switches, including:

  • Double-pole, which are capable of simultaneously switching two ungrounded conductors such as in a 240V circuit.
  • Triple-pole, for 3-phase circuits.
  • Electrically or pneumatically powered switches for very large loads.
  • 3- and 4-way switches, which permit users to control a load from more than one location.
  • Circuit breakers, which provide overcurrent protection as well as a switching function.
  • Molded-case switches that resemble circuit breakers. They plug into an entrance panel and pick up power from the bus bars(s) but do not offer overcurrent protection.
  • Isolating switches, which are not intended to interrupt a load.

All non-utility switch installations in residential, commercial, and industrial settings must meet National Electrical Code (NEC) requirements where enacted. In most jurisdictions, the finished installation is inspected prior to use. Since switches are a very visible part of the installation, the electrical inspector almost always sees misapplications and NEC violations because they are out in the open. This gallery features some of the more common violations in switch installations.

 

How to replace a light switch

Never take risks with electrical safety. Before you start any type of electrical work, you must follow these following safety precautions:

Remember to switch off the mains power at the consumer unit/fuse box. Isolate the circuit you plan to work on by removing the circuit fuse. Put this in your pocket to avoid accidental replacement

Or switch off the breaker and lock it if you can

Attach a note to the unit to advise you are working on the circuit.

Check the circuit is dead with a socket tester or voltage tester/meter for lighting circuits. These confirm whether circuits are dead and safe to work on

Check all finished work with a socket tester (or voltage tester for lighting circuits) before using

For your safety, these products must be installed in accordance with local Building Regulations. If in any doubt, or where required by the law, consult a competent person who is registered with an electrical certification scheme. Further information is available online or from your local authority.

Be cautious when opening up multi-way switches. The lights they control should take power from the same circuit, but if yours are incorrectly wired and take power from different circuits, there will be live cables at each switch position when one circuit is isolated. There is more than one method of wiring multi-way lights. If yours does not match the system shown here, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are unsafe.

Use Circuit Breakers To Make A Safe Electric

The importance of circuit breakers in the home

Many homes still use traditional fuses but they can be replaced with an essential safety feature called the circuit breaker. The main function of a circuit breaker is to detect any faulty condition in the electrical system and discontinue the flow of electricity to ensure safety. Many properties have been destroyed and lives lost due to short circuits that could have been aborted in time if there were circuit breakers

A short circuit can be defined as an abnormal low resistance current that is in between two nodes of an electrical circuit that is meant to have different voltages. When there is an excess flow of electric current, it can cause circuit damage that can lead to overheating and in some instances to an electrical fire. The main reason for short circuits is overloading but this can be avoided through circuit breakers that will detect the faulty condition. Generally, circuit breakers are more expensive than fuses but it is an investment that can protect your life and property.

 

Types of Circuit Breaker and Its Importance

There is a broad range of circuit breakers available, which depend upon the voltage, installation, external design, placement, and breaking mechanism.

Here are the different types of circuit breakers:

  • Air Circuit Breaker:

Air Circuit Breakers operates in the air with their arcing contacts exposed. These arcing contacts quench at a given level of atmospheric pressure.  In a lot of countries, the air circuit breakers are generally replaced by oil circuit breakers.
Types of air circuit breakers:

1)Plain Air Circuit Breaker:
Plain Air circuit breakers are also called as Cross-Blast Circuit Breaker. These circuit breakers are fitted with a chamber( arc chute) which surrounds the contacts.

2)Air Blast Circuit Breaker:
These Circuit Breakers are used for a system voltage of 245 KV to 420 KV and more. Air Blast Circuit Breakers are generally of two types: Axial blast breaker and Axial blast with sliding moving contact.

  • Molded Case Circuit Breaker:

The traditional circuit breakers use electromechanical trip unit which may be either interchangeable or fixed. A molded case circuit breaker helps in providing support by bringing together a temperature-sensitive device with a current-sensitive electromagnetic device. Once the mechanism trips, both the circuit breakers start working automatically.

  • Miniature circuit breaker:

Unlike fuses, MCB protects light switches, equipments, circuits, etc. and operates as an automatic switch that opens or breaks the connection when the current flowing through the circuit is excessive. Once the circuit returns to normal, it can be reclosed without any manual replacement. MCBs have the ability to protect against fault arising due to overheating or increase in temperature. The construction of an MCB is such that, it has a bimetallic strip. It is a combination of both magnetic and thermal tripping mechanisms that are implemented in most of MCBs. This is designed to trip within 2.5 milliseconds when an overcurrent fault arises. In case of temperature rise or overheating it may take 2 seconds to 2 minutes for the MCB to trip.

Other than circuit breakers, a distribution management is also important because of the following benefits:

  • Enabling leading critical grid controlling capabilities
  • Optimising the dynamic grid functioning
  • Enhanced outage response

Thus, it is very important that circuit breakers are a component of every home to provide for a greater degree of protection.

 

How to Calculate Amps, Volts and Watts

To start solving the problem, we need to know one simple “rule of thumb” formula. This formula will help us determine if all the electrical stuff on a particular circuit is overloading it. This formula also helps define some everyday terms and how they relate to one another. After all, light bulbs and space heaters are labeled in watts; tools and circuit breakers in amps; and our household electrical system in volts: How do they all fit together?

Voltage can most simply be described as the pressure under which electricity—a chain of electrons—moves. Most household current is pushed at 120 volts, though current to large electrical appliances is pushed at the higher pressure of 240 volts.

Amps (or amperes) is a measurement of the number of electrons the voltage pushes past a given point in
one second.

Watts is a unit of measurement for electrical power. It indicates how many electrons were pushed through an electric gadget to make it work. It’s what the electric company bills you for.

 

WHY ARE CIRCUIT BREAKERS SO IMPORTANT?

Considering the volatile nature of electricity, and the danger that it can pose on your property and health, safeguards are required throughout the circuit that prevent overloading and overheating. These essential electrical safety devices are known as circuit breakers. Basically, if an overload occurs within your home circuit, due to an increased demand for electricity, the circuit breaker or ‘fuse box’ is automatically triggered.

FUSES

Although surpassed by the circuit breaker, fuses are still found in many circuits and offer a line of defence against electrical overloads. When the circuit is operating effectively the fuse is an integral component of the electrical circuit and must be maintained for electricity to effectively flow. However, the fuse is designed to disintegrate when it heats up to a certain level, breaking the circuit and stopping the overflow of electricity before it damages your home. While this is an effective safety method, fuses are only able to be used once and must be replaced whenever they are put to work.

CIRCUIT BREAKERS

Circuit breakers on the other hand are able to be called upon numerous times when the current reaches dangerous levels. Circuit breakers incorporate a electromagnetic switch design which is triggered when the current increases to a volatile level. When an overload occurs, the increased current boosts the magnetic force of the switch and causes it to pull down the metal lever on the switch and cease to the flow of electricity to the house.

 

Circuit Breaker Tips

Knowing how to use a circuit breaker is important. The power may have been cut for a reason, so you want to be aware of potential overloads or electrical malfunctions. It’s important to know which branch circuit each breaker is connected to, so you can identify whether too many devices are connected in, for example, your kitchen or living room.

If you’re using the main breaker to shut off power to the whole house, switch off each individual breaker first, one at a time, and then flip the main circuit breaker off. To restore power, switch the main breaker on. Then reset each individual circuit breaker individually. Resetting them one at a time can avoid a sudden power surge.

Follow a similar procedure if the main circuit breaker trips. Whether this is due to a power surge, overload, or lightning strike, turn off all individual breakers so all circuits don’t turn on as soon as the main breaker is reset. When you do reset the main breaker, stand to the side, turn your head, and preferably wear safety glasses to protect yourself from potential sparks or flashes. Then turn one each circuit one at a time.

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