Monday, October 25, 2010

LED Lighting saves energy and money in kitchen

Friday, October 22, 2010

How many Cats does it take to Change a light bulb?

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.