Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Plaster ceiling medallion

Here is a refurbished Plaster ceiling medallion hung on the ceiling of an old fashion parlor living space. It we a recast of an original found on Craigslist for $10. This detail gives this room a classy look.
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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Knob and Tube

This is a great example of the history of a building. This homeowner designed and exposed a ceiling showing the structure of the floor above. The holes that are in the beam are from the original Knob and Tube electrical system. The holes tell a story of what was there in the past. Knob and tube has not been installed since the 30's. It should be remove or left un-powered in todays homes. Even when that is done there still is the mark that is left on the structure. I think that this was a neat detail and was happy to see this homeowner display it proudly.

knob And Tube wiring

The Boss at work

Bill LutzHere is Bill Lutz, one of the owners of Generation 3 Electric pitching in. Out of the office on a ladder installing duck seal around a piece of conduit. There is no job that the head coach of the company is above.
In the back pocket you can even see his foot covers. Customer care come from the top down and with our great
team it is easy to have us in your home.

100 amp Service

The magic of replacing old trims with new trims.

Here are some beat up recessed lights with ugly dated trims that we updated with new energy efficient LED trims. There is nothing but advantages here. The light quality is as good or better then the old incandescent lights. The energy usage is 1/6 of the old lights. There is none of the problem that you find in the CLFs. The fixture looks better without the expense of replacing them with new fixtures.

old lightingEngery saving LED Bulbs
LED lightsRecessed lights

Monday, March 21, 2011

If you see this call an electrician

Open junction boxes expose dangerous wire. Junction boxes are there to stop sparks from escaping if connections go bad. This junction box will let sparks hit the wood beams.

If you see this call an electrician

This is a 60 year old outlet that is falling apart. Outlet need to be replace every 20-30 years. This is an accident waiting to happen.

If you see this call an electrician

Here is an plug strip cut and tied into a base board as a permanent outlet. Plug strips and extension cords are only designed to last 10 years before the plastic insulation start to crack and need to be replaced.

If you see this call an electrician

Here is a 1950's plug strip made out of bakelite. It is brittle and will fall apart if it ever get bumped by a piece of furniture. That would expose the live conductors and can be come a fire Hasbro.

If you see this call an electrician

Here is a 1950's cloth wire feeding some wire mold from under a radiator. This wire is not protected and needs to be replaced.

Friday, March 18, 2011

FastMac U-Socket review

FastMac U-Socket review

FastMac's U-Socket may have veered perilously closer to vaporware territory after what seemed like anendless series of delays, but it finally started shipping out back in January to those patient enough to hang onto their pre-order, and we recently got our hands on one to see if it was really worth the wait. The short of it is that it does indeed work as promised once you get it installed, although that process may not be quite as painless as you're expecting. Read on for our full review.
Contrary to outward appearances, the complete unit is actually quite a bit bigger than a standard power outlet, and it requires at least a 16-cubic-inch electrical box to accommodate it. That meant we had to swap out our smaller electrical box for a larger one, which may or may not be an easy thing for you to do (it wasn't for us). Once in place, however, the U-Socket looks unassuming and gets the job done. The two USB 3.0-compliant ports have 12W of total charging power and are rated at 2.4A, which means it will charge a single power-hungry device like an iPad at full speed just fine, but slow things down if you plug two in at the same time (two lower power devices will charge just fine at the same time). You can also obviously have things plugged into the two power outlets while your USB devices are charging.

Those concerned about potential extra charges on their power bills also don't have anything to worry about, as the U-Socket is designed to cut off power to the USB ports when nothing is plugged into them -- something FastMac says will actually save you up to $25 a year in reduced energy costs, though that's admittedly tough to verify.

Of course, there are a few inherent downsides to a USB port-equipped power outlet, the most obvious being a lack of flexibility. Unless you're actually installing a new outlet, you'll likely be using it to replace one of your current outlets, which might not be in the most convenient location for charging your various devices. At $22.95, it's also one of the most expensive power outlets you're likely to find, and makes installing a bunch of them throughout your house quite a pricey proposition.

One other more minor drawback is that you obviously can't just go to the hardware store and buy a replacement faceplate if you happen to break yours. FastMac will sell you a replacement for $2.99, though, and it's even promising various colors and styles including wood and metal. A separate, more stylish "Decora" model is also now available to order for $25.95.

Unfortunately, while the U-Socket is now actually shipping, it's still not quite as readily available as we'd like. FastMac says it is "still catching up to the demand," and it's now listing a four to six week delay for orders on its website. The company cites its rigorous testing procedure as a partial reason for the delays, and says that it's trying to ramp up production while still maintaining strict quality control.

Despite those few drawbacks, however, the U-Socket is unquestionably a unique device, and an idea whose time has certainly come. We just hope that the both the size of the price tag and the device itself shrink a bit as it becomes more common.
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BiG TeA PaRtY Sustainable Living

can you provide me with about some info on which compact florescent bulbs to use with existing dimmer switches? (you put them in about 3 or 4 yrs ago, they are the sliding type) and importantly, where to purchase these bulbs?

thanx! lov,e

Elizabeth Fiend
Writer / Host BiG
TeA PaRtY Sustainable Living

How to Mix a Compact Fluorescent With a Traditional on a Dimmer |

HI Elizabeth,

Dimmer are a great way to low the amount of electricity you are using. Lowering the light level also lower the amount of electricity that light is using. CLF are also a great way to save electricity. CLF use a fraction of electricity incandescent use.

However dimmers and CFL don't work well together. Fluorescent light work by igniting a plasma inside a glass tube. There are dimmable CFLs but they are not able to be dimmed with the full range of incandescent light. They also tend to flicker with the lower levels of electricity coming out of a dimmer. We don't recommend using CLF if you are trying to use them in a location where dimming is desired.

This does make a conflict for homeowner who want to be "Green" without losing the lighting quality that they are accustom to. This problem is being answered with the new LED light bulbs that are currently coming to the marked. CREE has manufactured these new lighting Circuit chips that are showing up at your local home center. Here is a video of a LED Recessed light. With the new generation of LEDs can be use with dimmer and are more energy efficient.

All of these different type of light bulbs can be purchased at you local home depot or Lowes. When buying these bulbs it is important to save your receipts. There are compatibly and lighting qualities issues that might occur with different brands. In general the CFL lights will probably become obsolete in the next few years because of the dimming issue and will be replace with the newer LEDs.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Service Cable with metal conduit

Electrical outside cable This is a 100 amp electrical drop on the outside of a house on a city street. The bottom 10 feet of the cable are protected from damage by a metal conduit. The weather head is a foot above PECO's main power lines. The keep water from running down the wire and under the weather head when it rains.

We may not be the cheapest.

This job is hands down less expensive then the options we would have provided. No one wants to get ripped off . As an established business we would not want to over charge our customer. It is our goal to build a strong lasting relationship with our customer. Repeating customers and customer referrals make up 60% of our business.

We do how ever get beat on price from time to time. More often then not there is some reason why the price is different. This is an obvious example cut where someone cut corners. More often then not they differences maybe harder to find.

For that reason we are available to go over any other estimates you may have. We may not be able to beat every price but we are always happy to help you out.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

What is the voltage?


Kathy Asks

I need to replace a halogen light in my bathroom fixture. The bulb has no identification on it and the fixture only lists 100W - no voltage. By using the old bulb as a guide, I found an exact duplicate, 120V - 100W, but the package lists in bold "only for 120V fixture". I don't want to install the bulb for fear of fire, etc. I don't have a voltage meter and I live and purchased the fixture in the US. Can you help me figure out if the new bulb is safe to use?

Answer: Hi Kathy,

The voltage in the United Stated is a standard 120Volts for lighting. You can place any bulb that you purchase into your light without too much concern about the voltage. The wattage is the only number you need to check. Occasionally there are low voltage fixtures. 120 volt bulbs will not fit in the 12 volt base.

Bill Lutz

Thursday, March 3, 2011

We love Cats

Here is something that we train our techs. When working someone's home you need to pay attention to their pets. I saw this sign at in a client's home today and thought that is a great way to bring up that subject in one of our team meeting. This is a little detail but you don't know how often other contractor over look something so simple.

We respect a client's home and their pets. This is not by accident. We actually train our staff this type of stuff. The little thing are what matter when you when you are working in someone's home.

On a side note. This client need some special covers. She had a commercial contractor change her panel years ago. If we are picked to do the work in this house we will need to find the correct cover to finish off the two junction boxes over the panel or replace them with residential style boxes. Either way you junction boxes need to be covered.

PECO power line Blows up on a house!!

Here is an unusual situation where PECO ran their power cables across the side of a home in West Philadelphia. PECO has Power Line in the front and Back of this house. This homeowner happens to own the unlucky home where PECO runs power to the rear Power Lines. This is not the way home are normally supplied with power.

The wire PECO used was SE cable. As you can see the cable failed. Judging by the burn marks on the wall it failed in an explosive fiery way. The cable destroyed the down spout, the communication cables (Phone and TV), 4 outside Air condition direct lines and the electrical service riser.

Now the home owner will need to have that all replaced. The service cable attaches to a two gang meter socket that will also need to be replaced. Due to the age of the meter it will most likely suffer too much damage when the service cable is removed. It cannot be taken apart and still be expected to work as well as it did before this damage. We cannot guarantee equipment of this age after it has been disturbed.

To remove this meter socket we will have to add new disconnects to bring the service up to current code. The service did not have a disconnect on it. Once something is broken it needs to be repaired to code.

For some reason the PECO foreman told the home owner that they would get into trouble for not having the correct disconnect and left the home owner upset about this. It turns out that they purchased the house this way and had no idea there was a problem. That is not a great example of customer service for a client who just had an electrical fire outside their window

PECO is normally a very good utility provider and I'm sure that they you do a good job at getting this straightened out. You can see PECO temporarily splice of the damaged cable. I believe that PECO should Re-feed the back TRY-Plex off the street and not across a private house. I would be a very unhappy homeowner if a utility ran a power line across my home. There is no way I would be happy keeping a power line that fed the block on my home after it blow up in the middle of the night. Not only is it scary it is just ugly.

When I was there I found live power lines left sticking out of the side of the home. I went down to the basement and cut off the power to these lines for the homeowner. All this homeowner need was for some kind to come by and look at the damage from the blown up power line and then get shocked off of the live power lines left after the original damage.

I will keep everyone posted on how this turns out.
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