• Does Your Home Have Safety Switches

    Does Your Home Have Safety Switches?

    Does your home have safety switches? If you have no idea what safety switches are or if your home even has any then keep reading to learn.  Safety switches are connected to the wiring in your home and they will cut the power to faulty wiring.  They can do this in under a second and that ensure that nothing bad happens, such as fires or getting electrocuted when you turn on your lights.  New homes have them built in but if you just bought an older Craftsman or Victorian home then it might be time to have the wiring looked at.  Safety switches must be put in by an electrician, this isn’t a project that you do on your own.

    What Do they Do?

    When your wiring is working as it should be there is the same amount of current flowing back and forth between the circuits going to your outlets and appliances.  When something goes wrong the safety switch will cut off the electricity for safety reasons.  That saves you and your family from getting hurt or worse. There are a couple of reasons that your safety switches can kick in, including the following.

    • Bad Wiring: In an older home the wiring can degrade with time, rodents can get between the walls and chew on the wiring or it is too old to handle the demand of modern appliances.  That can cause the current to fluctuate, making the safety switches kick in.  When they don’t work or your home doesn’t have them then you are at greater risk of an electrical fire.
    • Old Appliances: Old appliances aren’t energy efficient and draw a lot of electricity, when there is a problem with them they can leak electrical current and that will turn your safety switches on. You will probably notice it the most with old dryers or stoves.
    • Power Surges: Power surges happen during electrical storms, your home or the power grid can be hit by lightning and that sends excess electricity through your home. Safety switches can stop a power surge before it damages your appliances.

    Installing Safety Switches

    If you home was built within the last 10 years then you don’t have to worry about safety switches, you already have them installed. If you own an older home then it is time to talk to an electrician about getting them installed in your home.  You should also have them tested at regular intervals to make sure that they are working as they should.  At the same time make sure that all of your major appliances are working properly and there is no frayed electrical cords or anything that could cause shorts.

  • 5 Situations Where You Need an Electrician

    5 Situations Where You Need an Electrician

    Homeowners take on a lot of DIY projects to make their home comfortable but there are some projects that you should never do your and anything to do with electricity tops that list.  Here are 5 situations where you need an electrician to take care of the work for you.

    Building a New Home

    When you are building a new home and even if you are your own general contractor you will still need an electrician to come in and do the wiring for you.  For those in the Vancouver area, a top-rated electrician that you can trust is ProAmp Electric in Coquitlam. The work needs to be done to code and it will have to be inspected by the municipality before construction can continue.  At the same time, you can have your electrician wire your home for internet, home theater systems and you can wire a smart home.

    Remodeling and Additions

    Just like new construction additions and remodels will need an electrician to come in and do the wiring for you.  Upgrades to your kitchen, or refinishing basements may require wiring to accommodate new appliances or lighting.  You may need additional circuits added to the electrical panel to handle the additional load.  Adding on to your home also means more electricity will be needed, and just like new construction, the work will need to be inspected and up to code.

    Older Homes

    Building codes change over time and if you own a home built in the 80s or earlier then your wiring is not going to meet current building codes.  Older wiring and outdated electrical panels can’t handle modern electricity demands.  New wiring can help prevent fires and shocks every time you touch a light switch.

    New Lighting or Appliances

    If you want to upgrade the lighting in your kitchen to track lights or pot lights then you will need a licensed electrician to come into your home.  It may look like a fairly easy DIY project but it isn’t, always get a pro to come in and make sure the job is done right.

    Storm Damage

    Even if you don’t live in an area that is prone to hurricanes or tornadoes, storms can still knock down trees and cut power lines.  When this happens on your property then you need a licensed electrician to fix the issue for you.  If your insurance company is handling the claim then they won’t settle for anything but a licensed, insured, and bonded electrician.

    Electricity is not something to mess around with, aside from the dangers to yourself working with electricity when you don’t know what you’re doing, bad wiring can start a fire and cause other problems in your home.

  • Upgrading Your Electrical Panel

    Upgrading Your Electrical Panel

    If you own an older home or buying a fixer-upper upgrading your electrical panel should be at the top of your list of repairs.  If you are unfamiliar with what the electrical panel does, beyond making the lights work.  Your electrical panel is the control system for all of the electricity in your home.  You can turn off the entire power to your home there or turn it off to specific rooms.  The panel is made up of breakers or fuses that can trip if you have too much electricity or not enough.  The panel is measured in amps and most homes use sixty amps or higher.

    Why Upgrade?

    You may be wondering if you should even bother to upgrade since everything works, but there are plenty of reasons why.  The average home has more appliances and electronic devices than ever and they all need to be charged or plugged in, which means an increased demand on your old electrical panel.  Replacing your panel is definitely not a DIY weekend project you can do yourself.  Electricity is not something that you mess around with, you need an electrician to make sure that everything is safe and up to your local building codes.

    Safety is a Factor

    One of the most important reasons to consider upgrading is because of the safety of you and your family.  In fact, your homeowner’s insurance may even require you to upgrade to continue getting coverage.  If you have constant issues like fuses blowing or the lights flicker when you use the microwave then you need an upgrade, the problem will only get worse and you increase the possibility of an electrical fire.  For those that have bought homes, they are planning to renovate then if you do anything that increases the square footage, such as finishing the basement it will also increase the load your electrical panel has to handle. Selling your home in today’s market means that it needs to be up to code, with an up-to-date electrical system.

    What to Upgrade Your Electrical Panel To

    Most homes today have at least 100amps but it can go to 150, 200, or even 400amps.  You can talk with your electrician to decide what is best for your home.  You can have an energy audit done or take a look at your current bills to see what amounts of electricity you are using.  In addition to your electrical panel,

    you may need to upgrade your wiring at the same time.  Costs can depend on the extent of the work, start by talking to a couple of different electricians and get a price quote before you decide.

  • Rewiring to a Smart Home

    Rewiring to a Smart Home

    If you have ever watched the film Ironman you have probably wanted your own Jarvis, as it turns out you don’t need to be a billionaire to have your own voice-activated smart home.  If you’re building a new home then you can put in the right wiring as you build.  If you own an older home rewiring to a smart home can easily be done.  Let’s look at what you need and how you can get your own personal Jarvis.

    The Right Wiring

    The first step to getting a new smart home is with the right wiring to power your automated systems and devices.  Once you have the wiring in place everything can connect seamlessly.  Getting in an electrician that specializes in smart homes can save you time, money, and a heap of frustration.  Smart homes need what is called “Structured Wiring” and that will give you a whole network that includes audio, video, home automation, and even your security systems.  Here are some of the elements of a smart home that you can include.

    New Home or Older Home

    When you’re building a new home you have the advantage of being able to put in any electrical configuration you like, it’s a blank slate.  You can put together your plans well ahead of time and there are no limitations beyond what you can afford.  In an older home, you have to be cautious about cutting holes into walls and disrupting your life.  Nonetheless, you can rewire your home without ripping down walls.

    Follow these steps for an existing home:

    1. Run Ethernet and Coax Cable Where Needed: Depending on what types of devices that you plan to put in your home and that you want to control from one central app then you will need to run the right cabling to them.  Ethernet cable connects to anything that is going on your home network and that isn’t Bluetooth capable.  For instance, home controllers, any touch screens, and even some of your appliances.  If you want to connect thermostats or your lights then your electrician may be able to work with your existing wiring.
    2. Home Security Systems: First you want to check with the manufacturer to see what is needed.  Most modern security systems can use a wireless connection.  All of your automated locks, motion detectors, video doorbells can all use Wi-Fi and be controlled from an app on your phone.
    3. Audio and Video Connections: If you are running traditional cable or satellite into your home then you may need some coax running to your entertainment center. Although today most providers offer a streaming option where you can strictly use a wireless connection.  Your sound system can also be wired in but you are better off going with a Bluetooth connection, it makes it easier to upgrade in the future.

    Talk with a local electrician that knows and understands smart technology.  While many devices can be connected wirelessly you may still need some electrical upgrades to accommodate your needs.

  • Different Types of Electricians Explained

    Different Types of Electricians Explained

    If you are planning home improvements and you aren’t sure if you need an electrician, or an electrical contractor or the difference between the two, then let us help you figure it out.  The term “electrician” is pretty broad and that can be the guy who rewires your recessed lighting to the guy who strings the powerlines outside.  Let’s breakdown for you the different types of electricians and what their job entails.

    Electrician or Electrical Contractor

    Let’s start with the difference between an electrician and an electrical contractor.  An electrical contractor is a company that works with electrical systems, and that can be residential, commercial or industrial.  The electrician is the guy hired by the electrical contractor who does the actual work.  Both have to be licensed by the state and carry insurance.  Now when it comes to electricians that work for companies there are typically three different types:

    • Apprentice: These are electricians at the beginning of their career, just starting out and learning on the job and in the classroom.  They are supervised by qualified electricians and the apprentice period can last three to five years.  They do earn a salary during this time but they are the lowest paid.
    • Journeymen: These are more experienced electricians and they have a different type of license, they work with cable systems and wire new buildings.
    • Project Supervisors: These electricians have the most experience and they oversee big projects.  They make sure that the environment is safe, the job is done to industry standards and that project deadlines are met.

    The Scope of Services they Provide

    Electrical contractors all specialize in different types of work and if you’re looking to hire an electrician or electrical contractor then you need to make sure they are the right type.  Here is a breakdown of the different types of work that they do.

    • Outside Workers: These electricians are also called line workers and they work on the power lines that deliver electricity from your local power plant to your home.
    • Inside Workers: These are the electricians that are responsible for the wiring inside of a structure. They are the residential electricians that work on your home, commercial electricians that work on office buildings and the electricians that wire institutions like hospitals or government buildings.
    • Low Voltage Electricians: These types of electricians are more specialized and work with audio and video systems, wireless networks, lighting, and communication systems.

    Most people deal with residential electricians, but regardless of the type of electricity that they work with they must still be licensed by the state.  That ensures that any electrician you hire will have the credentials you need.

  • Installing Your Charging Station

    Installing Your Charging Station

    EVs or electrical vehicles have become more popular than ever as fuel costs rise and concerns for the environment grow as well.  With having an electric vehicle you’re going to need to have a place to charge it regularly. You need to bring in an electrician because installing your charging station is not a DIY project and there are a couple of other factors to take into consideration.  Let’s look at what makes the perfect EV charging station and the considerations you need to think about.

    Your Electrical Panel

    If you live in a newer home then your electrical panel shouldn’t be a problem.  If you live in an older home or your electrical panel hasn’t been updated in 20 years or longer you may need to upgrade to accommodate your EV station.  You need a bit more power than your standard plug, something that is at least 240V and 40 amps to charge in a decent amount of time.  Talk with an electrician that is familiar with EV stations and their installation, they will let you know if upgrades are necessary.

    Where Will You Put the Charging Station?

    Ideally, you want to put your charging station as close to your electrical panel as possible.  The electrician has to run power via a conduit from the panel to your charging station and the closer the better.  If you have a garage to put your charging station in, fantastic, if you need to put it outside then make sure you get a charging station that is weatherproof.

    What Will it Cost You?

    It will cost you for the charging station and it will also cost you to have an electrician install it for you, but weigh that against never having to pay for gas again and the cost isn’t really that bad.  There are a ton of different charging stations on the market and they can run anywhere from $500 – $1,000 plus installation.  However, not all chargers are created the same.  If you have bought a Tesla then you will need one of their charging stations.  Other brands of EVs give you more options, that being said you want a unit that has passed all safety tests and comes with a warranty.  You may also want to look for something with an Energy Star rating.  Most charging stations also come with other features like reminders and scheduled charging times.

    EVs are the future and it won’t be long before most homes are built with charging stations on the property, until then find yourself a good local electrician who can install one for you.

  • Electrician

    Technician Resources & Information

    Covenant Electric’s website will be returning soon with a new look and updated information for electrical contractors and technicians.  If you’re looking for more information on installing electric car chargers or increasing a residential panel then you’ll be able to find helpful information here.  Thank you!