Licensed Residential Chula Vista Electrician Contractors - How to Put Their Time (and Your Money) To the Best Use
When it comes to the safety of your home electrical system, most Chula Vista home owners turn to a licensed electrician contractor. Professional electricians charge a trip or diagnostic fee to come to your home or office as well as an hourly service fee—even if the job takes less than an hour.
Next time you call an electrical contractor, consider putting their time—and your money—to the best use possible. Ask your electrician to take a look at common smaller tasks that will improve home safety, comfort and convenience. Those may include the following:
Inspect your main electrical service
Have your home’s service inspected, especially in older homes with outdated 60 and 100-amp service, including newer homes where standard 100-150 amp panels may be burdened by the addition of modern household appliances and gadgets.
Upgrade old 2 prong outlets
Upgrade your existing outlets to ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets, which provide a much higher level of safety and protection by automatically shutting off when a circuit is overloaded.
Install dimmer switches for lighting fixtures
Replace a standard on-off type toggle switch with a dimmer switch. This allows you to save energy and to adjust the level of light for different rooms and needs. Be sure you purchase dimmable fluorescent bulbs to make the most of the adjustable dimming function.
Install under-cabinet lighting
They are relatively easy to install and will brighten your kitchen, home office or living areas. LED lighting is especially popular due to the color and hue options that are available.
Install a programmable thermostat
According to many studies, programmable thermostats can cut energy usage by 15 percent or more by automatically controlling the temperature during peak and off-peak A/C and heating periods.
Install an outlet(s) on the exterior of your home
Exterior outlets eliminates the need for unsafe extension cords and make the use of outdoor lawn care and lighting appliances easier to implement.
Need a reliable and experienced electrician for your Chula Vista Home?
When you need electrical work done in Chula Vista, doing it yourself can be tricky, not to mention dangerous.... that’s why it is a good idea to hire a qualified, master electrician. BUT, how do you know who to hire when there are so many to choose from?
We conducted some research and came up with 5 things to keep in mind next time you need an electrician:
1) Check to be sure your electrician is registered and properly licensed
Here in Chula Vista, electricians must be certified and licensed by the state of California. Go to the California electrical contractor licensing site to check and confirm their state certification. Licensing does not guarantee great service or quality work, but it does confirm they are properly licensed to perform electrical work and pull permits as needed.
It is very important that they carry liability insurance as well. If they don’t have a current and up-to-date policy, you become personally liable for any injuries that occur on your job site.
2) Check electrician reviews carefully
Independently verified and confirmed reviews are best to prevent fraudulent review activity so use caution. Sites like Yelp and Google have a strict process to ensure the reviews you see are accurate and represent the experience of real customers.
Look for overall ratings of at least 3.5 out of 5. The higher the better but some bad reviews are a part of being in business and indicate the reviews are from real customers. If an electrician receives a bad review they should immediately respond to the review and attempt to resolve the problem as quickly as possible.
If there is no written response to their online reviews it may mean the contractor is simply not sensitive to customer feedback which is never a good sign. So, make good use of the feedback from other customers (both positive and negative)...it matters much more than what electrical contractors say about themselves!
3) Get electrical repair quotes in writing
Even if it is a smaller repair, be sure to get the repair cost in writing. Make sure you understand when and how there can be additional, unquoted fees. For larger electrical repair jobs including installations and upgrades like panel replacements, service upgrades, and house rewiring, insist on a fully detailed, written estimate.
Make sure the quote includes the warranty, when the work will begin and any conditions you have to agree to, including the total price and permitting requirements, if any.
4) Shop your electrician wisely and ask questions
You know the old saying - if it appears too good to be true, it probably is. The best and most qualified electricians in Chula Vista are rarely, if ever, the cheapest. A quality tradesman is not going to work for wages, so keep that in mind.
It’s easy for an electrician to cut corners to save money, but just like in new home construction, the true cost of poor quality can raise its ugly head and wind up costing you much more in the end.
5) Check with your closest associates
Finally, ask friends and neighbors for recommendations as that may get you to someone good very quickly. Also, if you are dealing with an electrician for the first time, it is always a good idea to get three quotes before making the final decision.
Ideally, the one you pick should be a specialist in whatever you need done, and he/she should guarantee their work for a period of time. And, as an electrician, our best source of new business is referrals from our existing client base. So let them know that you will be generous with your referrals provided they do a great job and keep all promises.
Uh-oh, that circuit breaker just tripped again...So you run to the panel and flick it back on.
All is well...
Or is it?
If a breaker trips once, it may not be a big deal.
But, more than once? Something is up.
Like if your dog suddenly howls in the middle of the night, it's a bit unsettling. But, you check it out just to be safe. While Buttercup can be irritating; she is protecting her home. And, it's the same with your circuit breakers; they protect you and your house from burning down.
Any time an electrical problem arises with an appliance or its wiring connection, within milliseconds your circuit breaker springs into action and shuts it all down. Ruff ruff..
Remember; your circuit breakers are a safety net that alert you when electrical problems occur.
Sometimes, a tripped circuit breaker can be as simple as an old, worn out breaker that just needs replacing. Other common culprits include:
Functional breakers trip when electrical current exceeds the rated "ampacity" of the circuit. If a breaker is labeled as "30", this means it is designed to handle up to 30 amps.
If the current flowing through that circuit exceeds 30 amps for any reason, the breaker is designed to trip and prevent the excessive heat buildup that can melt wires and cause fires.
To diagnose the underlying problem, an electrician will first use an amp probe to determine if the current draw of a connected appliance is excessive. If that checks out, he/she will test the breaker to see if it is defective and weak.
If all is still well, it usually means there is a problem with the electrical wiring that connects the wall outlet to the breaker in the panel.
Many times, a handyman or inexperienced "electrician" will overload a single circuit by piggybacking a new circuit off an existing breaker because he or she doesn't want to go through the hassle of adding a dedicated circuit for a newly installed device or appliance.
For example, you have a dedicated circuit to protect the outdoor section of your central air conditioning system. A manual "disconnect" switch is placed near the outdoor unit so the A/C technician can shut the system down while he is working on it.
Sometimes, an additional circuit is needed nearby, such as a well pump or outdoor lighting cicuit. So, instead of installing a dedicated circuit with it's own circuit breaker from the panel, they will simply tap into this disconnect box and draw power from there.
This is not only haphazard, but unsafe.
If the A/C unit draws 15 amps and the new connection requires 10-12 amps, that 30 amp circuit breaker is only 3-5 amps from tripping and is dangerously overloaded.
3 ways properly sized and correctly installed circuit breakers add safety and peace of mind:
1) Properly sized breakers protect you and your home from overloaded circuits which can lead to severe appliance damage, melted wires, and dangerous electrical fires.,
2) Older breakers and circuits are not properly "grounded" and many aren't in compliance with today’s code requirements. Whole house surge protectors are available to help protect your modern devices such as computers, expensive appliances, televisions, musical systems and other entertainment equipment.
3) Most older homes in Chula Vista have fused systems that don’t have adequate space for the additional circuits that today’s electrical loads demand, such as: central air conditioning, hot tubs, electric stoves, water heaters, dryers, electric heat, room additions, etc.
Fuses are different than breakers
Fuses are "screwed" into place installed of being permanently installed like the black circuit breakers you see in newer panels. In this case, an electrical service upgrade is in order.
This entails not only an upgraded service or breaker panel but also a new 200 amp meter and upgraded electrical service from the street. (Your utility provider takes care of that part).
As you can imagine, breaker box and service panel upgrades are NOT a DIY project. So, if the man of the house says he can "git her dun", my advice is to pick up the phone and call us immediately.
I'm sure we can "shock" some sense into him as we explain the ramifications of 240 volts of electrical current as it flows through the human body.
Questions? For award winning circuit breaker repair or replacement, give us a call at 619-361-1956. And, take advantage of our exclusive internet offer for Chula Vista homeowners just below.
Here's a sobering tip for you:
Studies conducted by The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reveal that aluminum wiring, common in most older homes, presents a serious safety risk; one that can result in fires, injuries, and death.
These same studies also found that homes with aluminum wiring built prior to the early 1970's are 55x more likely to result in a fire than homes that are wired with copper. These studies confirm that replacing any sub-standard aluminum wiring with copper is a smart way to prevent deadly home fires.
Why is aluminum wiring such a culprit in these studies? Aluminum is a soft and pliable metal, one reason it is so useful in many industries. Unfortunately, home electrical wiring is not one of these.
Copper is a good conductor and provides less resistance to electrical current, meaning significantly less heat is produced as electricity passes through. Aluminum, on the other hand, is less conductive and resists the passage of electricity. This resistance produces more heat and can result in hot, melting wires over time.
Symptoms of aluminum wiring problems include a burning smell, dimming lights, power outages, and tripped breakers, all of which can overload your system, damage appliances, and cause electrical fires.
If you live in a Chula Vista home that was built from around 1963 to as late as 1978, it is likely you have aluminum wiring. It’s also possible that aluminum wire was used to add or modify existing circuits in your home even if it wasn’t built in that period.
The best thing to do if you are unsure is to have your entire electrical system evaluated by a licensed electrician and convert from aluminum to copper connections. We offer free estimates on home electrical wiring for our Chula Vista neighbors
This is NOT something you want to hand over to just any electrician
My Electrician Chula Vista specializes in eliminating the dangers that aluminum wiring can present. And, nothing against the millenials and gen-Xer's, but this is something many younger electricians are not as familiar with as us, well, more mature electricians.
The options available for converting from aluminum to copper connections include:
Be especially careful of the electrician you select here as this job requires special certification and very expensive tools.
It should be noted that a complete rewiring of your entire home with copper wire can be very costly and impractical. As an alternative for a permanent repair, the U.S. CPSC recommends instead, the use of special connectors called AlumiConn connectors.
Aluminum wiring replacement alternative
The AlumiConn method is a cost effective solution for many older homes with electrical wiring issues. However, this alternate method of electrical repair requires a certified electrician familiar with aluminum wire problems and repair methods.
My Electrician Chula Vista will convert your home from aluminum wire to copper wire everywhere that matters, including every wall plug, light switch and light fixture. Our use of AlumiConn wire lug connectors can save you time, money,and frustration.