Thursday, December 30, 2010

Who Did It??????

Category:Electrical Wiring in the Home
Subject:Ceiling fan remotes
Question:We have 2 ceiling fans, 5 years old, which all of a sudden the remote controls do not work. We have replaced the batteries, no help.One of the fans has a control pad on the wall, it works fine.
Is there something that could have happened that knocked them both out? Also, we have a gas fireplace, it also has a remote and it is not responding. any ideas would be helpfull. One more strange thing happened about 2 weeks ago, the smoke alarms suddenly started going off and we could not figure out why? the house is only 5 years old. this is frustrating. thanks

Answer:Hi Janice,

That does sound frustrating. It is odd to lose two fans at the same time and have a smoke detector go off. My guess is that there was a power surge on that circuit. It damaged the electronics in your fans receiver. You may just need some one to replace the remote control units in the fans.

There could also be a simpler answer. Do you have any kids? If they were messing with your remotes they could have changed the setting on your remote's dip switches. Fan remotes have tiny switches under the batteries that need to be set to match the tiny switches inside the fan. Kids sometimes play with the settings and then do admit to it. (Husband do this too). That could explain how both switches went bad.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Space heater did this

Plug strips are not always the answer. There comes a time in every home where your electrical need have out grown the homes design. This damaged plug strip could have easily started a fire that could has burnt down the home. Small electrical problems can turn into big losses of property.
Think of the age of your electrical safety equipment. Then think back to the year it was installed. Did cars have seat belts? How about air bags? We have made huge improvements in the auto industry. The samething it true about the safety of your homes electrical system. The only difference is homes don't get replaced as often.
Home should have their circuit breaker box updated every 30 years and wiring replaced every 60 years. 30 years ago cars were just getting airbags. A 60 year old person is looking at retirement. At 60 of age your old electrical wiring needs to retire too.

My garage that keeps tripping

Category:Electrical Wiring in the Home

Subject:GFCI outlet
I have a GFCI oulet in my garage that keeps tripping every year that I have my outdoor Christmas lights on that same circuit. But it does it more than ever this year. Is it possible that the GFCI outlet is worn out and needs replacing? What I'd really like to do is replace it with a regular one so this can't happen anymore. Is that acceptable?

Hi Andrew,

Yes GFCI can get worn out. The should be replaced every so often. I would recommend that they be replaced every ten years along with your smoke detectors. That could solve your problem but I'm thinking your problem is something else.

GFCI's trip for a reason. They trip when electricity is leaking out of your circuit. You should take a look at your outside lights. Is the wiring damaged? Is water getting into you plugs? The GFCI is there to alert you to a dangerous condition. You don't want to by pass this safety feature The GFCI is doing it's job by truing off the power to a circuit that is leaking electricity in to the environment. Now the real trick is to find the problem with your Christmas lights.

Friday, December 24, 2010

strange odor from outlet

Questioner:joseph federico
Category:Electrical Wiring in the Home

Subject:strange odor from outlet
Question:I have a "fishy" odor coming from my downstairs bathroom. It stumped me at first since it only happens after sunset. I finally narrowed it down. The stink is coming from my electrical outlet in the bathroom.The reason that it happens only after sunset? That is when I turn on my outside Christmas decorations! Apparently, the bathroom outlet is on the same circuit as the outdoor outlets that the decorations are plugged into. The bathroom outlet gets very warm to the touch even though nothing is plugged into it. Can you explain why this is happening? We have had the same decorations outside for many years. This has never happened before. Is it a fire hazard? I though a breaker would trip before a real problem arose. Most of the decorations are miniature lights. There are a couple of items with 60 watt bulbs and 1 100 watt spotlight.

Answer:Hi Joseph,

Yes!!! This is dangerous!!!! The Fish smell that you are smelling is probably the plastic in your outlet melting. This is not a good situation but I'm glade to hear that you located early. Don't plug you decorations in until this is repaired.

The connections on outlet can go bad after time. Temperature changes loosen up the metal parts on your electrical system and occasionally they loosen. A loose connection in your bathroom is probably sparking in your wall every time you turn on your outside lights.

Older style circuit breakers can not detect this problem. Newer arch-fault breaker would sense this problem.

Good luck and have a safe and happy holiday

Bill Lutz
Generation 3 Electric, Inc.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Everything you wanted to know about wires

Handymen are not electricians

Here is a video that shows a common mistake handymen do to electrical panels.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Good bye to unmarked truck

Two new trucks to better serve the Philadelphia area's electrical needs

Generation 3 electric has just leased two new truck. We will no longer have any unmarked trucks. We want everyone to see us and know that we are proud of the work we do. We are planing to be around here for a while. We you do business with us you will have a company that will be able to back our work in the years to come.

Track lighting

Accent lighting in the Society Hill Towers.

Here is a a track lighting job done by Todd W in the Society Hill Towers 19106 in down town Philadelphia. Lighting in high rise condos can be a challenge for home owners and contractors. With concrete ceiling and condo rule we have to come up with creative solutions. Here the track lighting really brings this room to life.

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Monday, December 13, 2010

Panel Tune Ups Save Money

This is a circuit breaker that mechanically seized up and then over heated. This circuit breaker was no longer protecting wires that were connected to this circuit. This problem was caught on time. The circuit was replace for a minimal cost and no father damage occurred. A small problem like this left unchecked could causer you thousands of costly repairs or worse.

Best way to avoid a problem like this to have a trained electrician come out to you home and preform a basic safety inspection every few years. We call this service a PANEL TUNE UP

Friday, December 3, 2010

Anyone know about the electric car charging station in Philly??

I noticed this the other day at Del AVE and Tasker in south Philadelphia. Does anyone know anything about it.? What car is it to designed to charge?

Extension cord nightmares

This is a bad situation. The heater can draw more power then that cord is designed to carry. As the cord gets older it can start to heat up until l it turns red hot. NEVER plug extension cords into heaters!!!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

4 gang meter socket

This is a 4 gang meter socket that was replaced. Below the meter socket as 3 existing disconnects for apartments and a 20 circuit panel. You can see the the panel is rusted and will be going bad next. We normally find it better to replace all the equipment at once for home owners. In apartments and investment properties owner often do only parts to save money.
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Under cabinet lights

Don't invest in a tile back splash and a granite counter top and not light it up. Under cabinet lights add value to your kitchen.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Electric Bathtub???????

Look at what an electrician can find in your home. This bath tube is hooked into the electrical system. A handy man was using the pipe as a wire. It works until something goes bad and then the electricy will be free to find a different path. I would not want to be in that tub.

Bill Lutz teaching the Technitions

This is Bill Lutz of Generation 3 Electric. He is showing the electricians different ways to take pictures on their Iphone. One of the guys tested it on him. Now the we can document our work. This way we can better server out clients by taking out the mystery of what their option are. We can do that, We have done that, Let us show you what your new lights could look like!!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Wall mounted space heater

A room about 10 ft long by 13ft wide (130 square feet) with average insulation. Our 450 watt envi heater has been specifically designed to heat an average room measuring 130 square feet in floor area, to between 68 and 72 degrees, even in the coldest parts of the country. In rooms that have one or more of the following conditions: inferior insulation, many windows, staircases leading upwards, adjoining rooms that cannot be closed off (open plan) or outside entrances - this ratio may have to be lowered slightly. For rooms with above average insulation or warmer climates this ratio might be able to be increased. You can add as many heaters as you like to heat any size room, home or office. For rooms with no insulation or for rooms such as sunrooms with entire walls made of glass we recommend a ratio of one 450 watt heater per 50-70 square feet of floor area.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Todd Wexler <>
Date: Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 11:18 AM
Subject: Job 4546
To: "" <>

New wall mounted space heaters 400 watts 3 Amps

Mike J

Mike J doing a great job out in Northeast Philadelphia.

Add new gfci outlet on outside of house for Christmas lights.

This is a new GFCI outlet with an all weather bubble cover that Todd installed so that our client can decorate for the holidays. The plastic cove wraps around the plugs so that the lights can stay plugged in even if it rains

Monday, November 29, 2010

The classic holagen bulb

This is the traditional lamp that was use in wall washes. It gives off a great warm light with a good beam spread. The light is completely dimmable and turn instantly. Unfortunately they are a huge energy hug and will no longer be manufactured in 2012.

CFL Light in wall wash fixture

This is the old option for an energy efficient light bulb. It is a Compact fluorescent lamp(CLF) designed to fit into a wall wash recessed light. It less energy then the traditional halogen that are normally seen in these types of fixtures. This type of light is not of a high quality for this application. The beam doesn't throw far down the wall. It can't dim fully. The color is not full spectrum. They are still a good option as utility lights.

LED light in wall wash fixture

This is a new LED light designed to fit into a wall wash fixture. It has a much better light quality then the CFL. The beam spread is only slightly narrower then a halogen lamp. The beam does cast a longer distance then both the CLF and the Halogen lamps. The bulb color is also very good. It tends to be more of a cool white.

CLF , LED , Halogen lamps

What is the difference in light bulbs

Here is an example of the three most common light bulb choices out there for your 6 inch recessed lights. The recessed lights are fitter with wall washer trims and are designed to  flood the walls with light. Washing the walls with light is a technique that makes a room feel larger and brighter. 

1)  Left - EcoSmart 16-Watt (65W) Daylight R30 CFL Light Bulb. ($7-$10) 

2) Middle -EcoSmart PAR30 15-Watt (60W) LED Flood Light Bulb (E)* ($40-$60)

3) Right- Standard R30 Halogen 65watt bulb

The standard R30 will no longer be manufactures in 2012 because of it's large consumption of energy. For that reason we should focus on the other two options. The CFL is has been the main bulb replacing the halogen bulb for client who were energy conscience.  As you can see it doesn't cast the quality of light that we get out of the old halogen lights. The light beam doesn't cast as far and the edgers are not as crisp. The reason for is that fluorescent bulbs are not a directional light source. The bulb glows in all directions and most of the lumens are wasted inside the fixture. The lighting color is closer to the halogen spectrum. It does cast a warmer glow that does  better match the tone of the halogen but there is still a small amount of flicker produced by the florescent bulb. The CLE is dimmable but only to 20% and with even more flicker at lower levels. There is always the mercury to worry about in the CFL. It is only a pencil tips worth of it but still of it. That is less the the amount produced by power plant produce to supply the power for the halogen bulbs but this mercury is in your home and not some far off power plant.

The LED does produce a better stream of light. The bulb is naturally directional. It does not have the same spread of your halogen light. There is a more stark difference between what is in light and what is not light. The color is on the colder side. This can be good depending on the effect you are trying to obtain. The LED is almost completely dimmable. LEDs are still a new technology.  It should not be too long until we see prices come down and light qualities may even surpass the old Halogens
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Looking up lighting

Todd is making some call to find a client the perfect lights.

4 inch recessed light trim

This is a basic 4 inch recessed light trim with a gimleted ring. Good for aiming light at wall and accenting art.

Fwd: Pics for job 4538

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Todd Wexler <>
Date: Sun, Nov 28, 2010 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Pics for job 4538
To: "" <>

Sent from my iPad

Generation 3 Electric, Inc.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Oggi sparks the company mascot as so works quality control. Here he is out watching Mike and Stan install a new line for a Hot Tube.

Friday, November 19, 2010


This is a good over view of a service panel. I think this guy is from out west. We use slightly different equipment out here on the east cost. Or at least in the Philadelphia area.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Wiring Philadelphia | What is Knob Tube and Why Do You Need to Replace It?

By: Oggi Sparks

Electrical wiring is very much a part of any home. They are as vital as the foundation of your house because they are the structures for all your electrical needs. Knob tube or Knob and tube wiring became a popular home wiring option back in the 1930s.

What is knob tube wiring?

As much as its name suggests, this wiring system uses the conveniences of knobs and tubes to place electrical wires in certain parts of the house. The knob tubes are generally made of ceramic to really serve the purpose. Knobs act as the main holder of wires while the tubes are the support. As improvement went on, there came designs wherein the knob is used as the main and supporting holders of the wires.

This type of wiring has been phased out mainly because of the major improvements that came with technology. However, this does not mean that it did not bring in advantages. It has its own sets of benefits, too.

One good thing about opting for knob tube wiring before is that the heat from the wires is dissipated into wide, free air. This prevents the conduction of heat to other parts that might cause fire. It is also obvious that knob tube wiring is less expensive. This is one of the main reasons why it became so popular.

Why should you replace your knob tube wiring?

Since this wiring option is old, working on such a project would make you look like a beginner. Aside from these, here are some bad points that you should be aware of.

>wires are prone to damage

Since the electric wires are uncovered, you place them on risks of damages. Of course, you would know that this is risky because it can be a cause of fire. Damaged wires can also shut out your whole electricity system.

>different usage

Knob tube wiring was designed without considering the varying usage patterns that most homes require today. To put it on a technical perspective, knob tube wiring was used for simple and basic electricity needs. It is not capable of supporting the varying electrical usage that happens nowadays.

>no insurance coverage

Most insurance companies do not approve insurance coverage for houses that still use these old wiring systems. It is because they perceive the basic wiring system as unsafe and very risky in terms of electricity usage in these times.

About the Author

Generation3Electric is a leading Philadelphia Electrician specializing in electrical, lighting service and repair for residential buildings in the Philadelphia area. Visit us on the web at or call us at 215-512-4102 today!

(ArticlesBase SC #3588933)

Article Source: - Wiring Philadelphia | What is Knob Tube and Why Do You Need to Replace It?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Lights not working

Questioner: Scott
Category: Electrical Wiring in the Home
Private: No

Subject: Lights not working
Question: Hello, yesterday my son turned on his light and it worked briefly and now won't turn on at all. There are three lights on that circuit, the living room, my sons room and our laundry room with the laundry room on the end of the circuit. The living room and my sons room don't turn on and the laundry room works fine. Not sure where to begin.

Answer: Hi Scott.

Here are the basic home owner steps before you call an electrician.

1. Unplug everything.
2. Turn every light off.
3. test and reset every GFCI in the house
4. Turn off and on every breaker.
5. Turn them all off again.
6. Turn them on one at a time. Mark and test each circuit.

This will fix 90% of common problem. If not call an

Friday, October 1, 2010

1970s home

Questioner: Andy
Category: Electrical Wiring in the Home
Private: No

Subject: new ceiling light fixtures, old wire
Question: I intend to replace an old flush-mount hall light soon, house was built in '74, prior to the 90C wire era. Mindful of the 90C restriction stickers on incandescent fixtures, I checked some fluorescent fixtures at Lowe's and Menard's recently (both ring type and GU-24), thinking there might be an exemption due to their lower wattage and heat output. All fixtures were UL-listed, but some brands had the 90C warning and others did not (no accident - the written instructions were different too).

My replacement interest is cosmetic - the current light has no functional problems I'm aware of.

1. Can a fluorescent-only fixture, in normal usage correctly wired, ever get hot enough to damage 60 C wire insulation?

2. If the answer (1) is no, are manufacturers and/or the NEC likely to relax the 90C requirement for fluorescent fixtures in the future? If the answer to (1) is yes, why have some manufacturers (apparently) dropped the 90 C restriction?

3. Is there an exemption that applies to repair / replacement in existing homes? It's hard to believe a brand new incandescent fixture would be more of a fire hazard than one that's 25+ been years, even if the latter is the one that "meets code".

No big hurry, answer at your convenience. Thanks

Answer: Hi Andy,

Stop reading the code! Just kidding but seriously this is really not a problem. You are reading the new wiring standard and you have a home that is build with an older standard. You are grandfathered in. The new light don't put out any more heat now then they did in the 1970. In fact with better lighting technology most produce less heat and more light. (I would stay away from halogen bulbs)

Bill Lutz
Generation 3 Electric, Inc.

What to do with these old wires?

Questioner: Dave
Category: Electrical Wiring in the Home
Private: No

Subject: Wire dia vs gauge
Question: I've got a heavy gauge wire with no marking running to an old barn. There is a 30 amp breaker on it. I'd like to measure the bare wire dia so I know what gauge to see if I can increase the 30 amp breaker.
Also is there a way to do a multiple (two) switch circuit on 220V like you would use at the top and bottom of a stair arrangement.

Answer: Hi Dave,

It sounds like you are treading on dangerous territory. I'm sure that the things you are thinking can be done but it is also where dangerous mistakes are made and I would advise against it. The problem is that you may measure everything correctly but the person after you may not understand the genius that you were and mess up the entire system. I think this is best looked by a pro on site. I don't want anyone to get hurt.

Bill Lutz
Generation 3 Electric, Inc.

12/2 vs 12/3

You answered this question on 10/01/10
Questioner: Eugene
Category: Electrical Wiring in the Home
Private: No

Subject: Electrical wiring
Question: Can 12/2 with Ground be used as a cheaper answer to 12/3 wiring?


Hi Eugene,

I think you know the answer to this. 12/2 and 12/3 are simple two different types of wire. The can not be substituted for one another. 12/2 has two conductors with a ground.
12/3 has three conductors with a ground.

If you need three wire then the 12/2 will never work.

Bill Lutz
Generation 3 Electric, Inc.

Electrical Wiring in the Home

Category: Electrical Wiring in the Home
Private: No

Subject: faulty outlets
Question: I know very little about electrical wiring-and with that being said, I have NO intention of trying to fix this on my own. I know my limits (feel free to breathe sigh of relief). I just want to know what I'm dealing with here. My home was built in 1978, simple cookie-cutter 1200 sf house. The house passed inspection when we bought it in 2004, but found a few outlets had reversed polarity. My problem is this: 3 outlets in my kitchen have quit working-has been a gradual progression. So far, I believe it is the ones w/rev. polarity but could be wrong. No breakers have been tripped (although I don't know if it would cause that). Also, from 2 of the outlets in question-after indefinite period of time, the kitchen radio emits a high pitched sound (even if turned off), until unplugged. However, I have not completely ruled out the radio being faulty as well-could be coincidence, but has not done it at other outlets. My question: Could this be as simple as needing to replace the outlets)--or is this likely a more serious problem requiring an entire re-wire, or worse--fire?

Any feedback would be appreciated.
Thank you.


Hi Holly,

I'm very happy to hear that you know your limits. I try and help everyone out but some people think that they can be electricians without yours of study. I know they will attempt thing with or with out my advice so I try to steer them in safer directions. It sounds like you just want some understanding on how or when to work with an electrician.

Holly you need to call an electrician to have this looked at NOW. I don't think you have a big problem. You description is making me think that somewhere in your circuit you have a bad connection. Bad connections can omit RF signals that your radio will pick. They will also cause a slow break down of the circuit.

The real problem is a bad connection is a leading cause of fire. The electricity sparks and heats up as it passes through the connection and can ignite the building material around it.

Problems like this easy for electrician to repair but if left unattended too long become huge problems.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Google Power meter

RIP Google Power Meter

Canetti's tomb-stone in Zürich, SwitzerlandImage via Wikipedia
Google FractalImage by Junyu Wang | 王俊煜 via Flickr
RRed PowerImage by Clearly Ambiguous via Flickr

What is Google PowerMeter?

Google PowerMeter is a free energy monitoring tool that helps you save energy and money. Using energy information provided by utility smart meters and energy monitoring devices, Google PowerMeter enables you to view your home's energy consumption from anywhere online. Find out what people are saying about Google PowerMeter.

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