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When Should I Replace Old Electrical Wiring?

By Springdale Electrician,

When Should I Replace Old Electrical Wiring_

Is Your Electrical Wiring Outdated?

Aluminum was used for electrical wiring in residential houses in the 1960s and 1970s due to the high prices of copper wires. However, copper is now more preferred to solid aluminum for electrical wiring in homes. It is preferred because of the risks associated with using older aluminum electrical wiring.

Aluminum wiring expands and contracts more than would be necessary to contain electricity. This means old homes that use old electrical writing types carry some risks for fire damage. In contrast, copper electrical wiring is safe to use.

Most electrical appliances are also manufactured without considering the particular properties of aluminum wiring. The lack of consistency in the usage of power leads to inefficient consumption, leading to an increase in power bills, lower device performance, or reduce the life of electrical devices.

It is necessary to replace your old electrical wiring types with the newer copper wiring types if your home uses old aluminum electrical wiring installed before the 1970s.

Why is Copper Used For Most Electrical Wiring In Homes Today?

old electrical wiring being replaced

Copper has a higher conductivity than aluminum and many other metals. Although copper oxide is used for electrical wiring instead of pure copper, it has better conductivity properties than aluminum oxide. Even older electrical wiring used aluminum oxides and not the pure form of the metal.

Therefore, copper electrical wiring does not interfere with the flow of electricity, which means you get a stable connection to electrical devices. It also provides efficient use of the power, thus does not increase bills unnecessarily. Even if you wanted to make aluminum electrical wiring less resistant to electricity flow, you would need to apply an anti-oxidant cream. This would increase the cost of wiring your home.

Copper is also less prone to oxidation than aluminum, and hence wiring made of copper provides a stable electrical and power connectivity. Copper wiring is also readily available for home wiring needs. If you need to replace only a section of your wiring, it is easier to find copper wiring for replacement in shops.

Further, copper wiring replacements are less costly than replacing aluminum wiring with another one. The electricians might need to make special considerations when replacing an aluminum wiring with another one. It might even be hard to find an electrician with the special skills required to repair aluminum wirings. As such, it is advisable to replace your old aluminum wiring with new copper wiring.

Today, copper wires are also cheaper than aluminum wires used for residential electrical wiring.

When To Replace Older Electrical Wiringreplace old electrical wiring

If you are experiencing regular tripping on the electrical breaker or blowing fuses too often, your gadgets overload the electrical wiring. It may be time for a replacement. The electrical wiring system could be outdated if your home was built 30 or more years ago.

Old electrical wiring causes lights to dim or flicker every time you switch on a device at home. Power surges on electrical outlets may also result from strained outlets. This can be fixed by replacing the old wiring in your home. You can also repair or replace your wiring system to create more outlets and stop relying heavily on extension cords to connect your devices.

Homeowners using old electrical wiring can choose to rewire the house with copper wires completely. Some, however, prefer splicing copper wire to the aluminum wire and connecting the former to the electrical device. This is known as pig-tailing and is a very cost-effective option to renew your home’s electrical wiring. It also saves time because it is quick to do.

Electricians use a variety of devices and connectors to accomplish this pig-tailing. Instead of pig-tailing, you can replace the aluminum wiring with copper wiring and solve the problem for good. Copper wiring does not need any special attention when installed.

Homeowners in some areas are unable to obtain insurance for an old house that still uses older aluminum wiring types.

Aluminum alloys also have different rates of expansion. Those used in the 1960s have a different rate of expansion from those used in modern times. The higher rate of expansion of the older aluminum electrical wiring may result in the wire creeping or deforming permanently. This problem has been noted on many wiring systems. Homes can be exposed to fires because the excess expansion loosens connections all the time.

If you have to limit this risk in older homes, you will need special fixtures specially designed for aluminum wiring. One of those fixtures is pig-tailing.

Replacing of older electrical wiring may be necessary if there was an improper installation. The workman may not have scoured the wires. They also may have failed to apply corrosion-resistant substances. In some cases, these wires may not properly be wrapped around terminal screws on electrical devices such as switches and other connectors. The connection screws also require adequate torque to prevent damage to the aluminum wire.

Oxidation on the aluminum wires may occur when steel screws are used on electrical connectors and devices such as switches where the aluminum wire is used for wiring. This happens especially if a screw has inadequate torque or is of poor quality. You can identify poor quality screws if you do not find a proper quality rating on them. This oxidation makes the wire an electrical insulator than a conductor it is meant to be. This affects the efficiency of electrical transmission.

Most home electrical devices use copper today. Connecting them to aluminum wiring may cause poor connectivity because the two are of different electrical properties. The devices may suffer due to the unstable connection.

Further, if you are constructing a new home, it is unnecessary to use aluminum electrical wirings. They will cost you more than copper wires in terms of maintenance and replacement.

Modern homes also use smart devices, computer systems, gaming systems that use a lot of power. Using copper wires minimizes the risk of fires and damage on these devices. You will not incur unnecessary repair costs due to electrical damages to your devices. This is because copper wires will provide a stable connection that does not damage the device’s electrical properties.

If you suspect your home still has its original electrical wiring or you experience any signs of electrical issues, call Mister Sparky of Springdale for an in-home safety inspection. We are trained to identify any problems with your wiring and we always provide written straightforward pricing with any repair recommendation.

Mister Sparky Electrician Springdale, America’s On-Time Electrician in Bella Vista, Bentonville, Rogers, Springdale and Fayetteville services the Northwest Arkansas area with a team of licensed electricians. In addition to flickering lights, some of the electrician services provided by the company include electrical outlet/switch repair, ceiling fan installation, lighting installation, electrical wiring repair, landscape lighting installation and home electrical inspections.

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6 Electrical Upgrades You will Want for Your Home Remodel

By Springdale Electrician,

Electrical Upgrades You will Want for Your Home Remodel

Electrical Upgrades For Your Home You Need Now!

If you are a homeowner and plan to remodel your home, consider getting electrical upgrades. This upgrade involves upgrading the home electrical system to about 200 to 400 amps. The entire electrical system around the house has to be replaced. This includes the electric panel, grounding, bonding system, load side service entry system, weather head, meter base, and entrance cable. You should note that this is not a DIY project, so ensure that you get in touch with a professional to upgrade the home electrical system.

Most homes built over thirty-five years ago cannot handle the current electricity needs, making it essential to upgrade electrical in their house for safety purposes. You should also consider getting an electrical exaltation if the lights keep flickering, you do not have sufficient outlets, and your breakers keep tripping. Listed below are electrical updates you may want for your home remodel.

electrical upgrades in the houseRewiring and Rerouting

When you are renovating your home, you will likely expand an individual room and change where things should go. For instance, you may decide to change your kitchen from a traditional kitchen set up to an open plan kitchen. Depending on the space available, you may decide to have a kitchen island, a pantry, and a storage room.

Whatever aesthetic you choose for your new kitchen will be great, but the current electrical system in your home may not be able to accommodate these changes. So to avoid having to call in an electrician after the remodeling, consider having one rewire your electrical system during the remodeling process. It will be time-saving, and you will also be able to save on costs.

Modern Features

It is essential to get the proper lighting fixtures for your home. If you like to host guests, you know that lighting creates an ambiance, which can determine an environment’s energy. While it is crucial to get the right light for your home, you must consider the light switches that control the lights. There are various light switch options you can choose from when you are remodeling your home.

For instance, you could choose remote-controlled lighting, dimmers, multi-locations, different size switches, sliders, 4-way and 3-way switches. The options are endless, so you will choose a switch that works best for you, depending on your remodeling design.

Panel Upgrades

A panel upgrade is essential when you upgrade your home electrical system. Older technology did not require as much power as the current modern technology. Even though most manufacturers say their products are energy efficient, compared to older models, they consume more energy. Most people have many appliances in their homes, such as microwaves, refrigerators, dishwashers, ovens, gadgets, and media-driven electronics.

Today, an average home uses about 30% more electricity. So when you are remodeling your home, it would be best to factor this in. Each room in your house consumes a different amount of energy. Therefore, ensure that your electrical system can handle it efficiently and safely. If not, consider getting an upgrade electrical in the house.

electrical upgradesSmart Home Features

When remodeling your home, you may want to consider adding a couple of smart features to make your life easier. Technology has advanced so much to a point where everything in your home can be automated and be remote-controlled. Some smart home features allow you to control these features from the comfort of your phone. Installing smart features in your home is convenient because you can comfortably access whatever you want at your command or by a touch of a button. However, note that this will not be cheap.

Some of the smart home features you can add during remodeling include remote controlled blinds or drapes, smart smoke alarms, refrigerators that can remind you what groceries you need, smart sensors, hubs, alarms, and sirens, remote-controlled lights, video surveillance system, smart thermostats, remote-controlled cooling and heating, and a remote-controlled sprinkler system. Most manufacturers are also making smart appliances. Therefore, if you have the extra money to spend, you can make your life more efficient.

Outlet and Receptacles

When you upgrade the electrical system in your house, it is essential to consider changing the receptacle. A receptacle must be efficient and safe when it is installed. High-energy appliances use specialized receptacle models. Since these appliances require a lot of energy, they need a receptacle that can accommodate them.

Ensure you seek advice from a professional electrician when you are remodeling to get the right type of light switches and appropriate outlets for all the appliances and electronics in your home. You do not have to worry about the design because there are many options to choose from since most of them have decorative features that can match with the finishing touches you will have chosen for the different rooms.

Sufficient Power

As mentioned earlier, different rooms in your home consume different energy levels. Therefore, when you are remodeling your home, it is essential to have an electrical exaltation. For instance, the home office, bathroom, workshop, and kitchen will require more power. So when you remodel, you need to consider that these upgrades may need a new electrical panel, and the electrical wiring has to be efficient. Your house needs to have enough outlets, and your electrical system should support and supply efficient power to all the outlets in use.

When you are remodeling your home, you must get an electrical exaltation. Please make sure you get in touch with a professional electrician so they can offer their expert advice. Considering that, it will be easier to update the wiring during remodeling since everything will be open. If you do not get electrical upgrades during remodeling, you will incur more costs because you may have to reopen your walls later to have the system upgraded. Ensure that you work with an experienced electrician when you decide to get electrical upgrades.

Mister Sparky Electrician Springdale, America’s On-Time Electrician in Bella Vista, Bentonville, Rogers, Springdale and Fayetteville services the Northwest Arkansas area with a team of licensed electricians. In addition to flickering lights, some of the electrician services provided by the company include electrical outlet/switch repair, ceiling fan installation, lighting installation, electrical wiring repair, landscape lighting installation and home electrical inspections.

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8 Signs That Signal It’s Time to Call Your Local Electrician

By Springdale Electrician,

8 Signs That Signal It's Time To Call Your Local Electrician MS NWA

local electrician infographic page 1 MS NWA8 Signs That Signal It’s Time To Call Your Local Electrician MS NWAWhile there are plenty of home projects suitable for do-it-yourself approaches, electrical work is rarely among them. Your home’s electrical system is highly complex, often difficult to access, and, most important of all, hazardous. It is important for your local electrician to keep you safe. Today, most homes have about 220 to 240 volts coming in from the main power line, with an amperage of between 100 and 400 amps, depending on the house’s age and the electrical system’s nature. It takes only 0.01 amp to create a painful shock and 0.1 to 0.2 amps to kill a person.

When it comes to your home’s electrical systems, then don’t mess around. Always opt on the side of caution and contact a qualified, licensed, and insured electrical professional. If you have a sudden power loss and see wires hanging loose, or if there’s smoke or fire from a wire, then it’s evident that you need a professional’s help. And, of course, you should always hire a qualified local electrician for new construction, inspecting a new home purchase, or after your home has suffered significant damage from flooding, fire, or other perils.

Other clues that you need to hire help, though, are less obvious. Here are eight signs that signal it’s time to call your local electrician.

1. Age of Home

Older electrical systems can be inefficient and even hazardous. If your house is over 25 years of age and hasn’t had an electrical upgrade, it’s time to call your electrician and start the process of updating the whole system. This is especially important if your home was built between 1965 and 1975 when new construction often used aluminum wiring, which is prone to developing loose connections over time that can arc, spark, and start fires. If your house was built before 1940, it might have old knob-and-tube wiring, which should certainly be replaced.

2. Panel Deterioration

The main service panel is the heart of your home’s electrical system and must be kept in good working shape. Inspect the panel regularly. If you see visible damage from smoldering, moisture build-up, or rust, there is likely a severe underlying problem that could put the wiring connections at risk. Bring in a professional electrician to determine if the problem can simply be repaired or if a whole new panel needs to be installed.

3. Outlet Update

Wall outlets have come a long way over the past twenty years. If yours haven’t been updated in the past couple of decades, the time to do so is now. One essential update is to make sure that any outlets near water sources (such as sinks, showers, toilets, or bathtubs) and in grounded areas (such as the garage or basement) have ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). Without these, your home is not only out of code compliance, it’s also not safe. If your outlets can only take two-pronged plugs, it suggests that your home’s electrical system is likely out of date and not fully grounded.

4. Heat and Sparks

It probably goes without saying, but since it’s so dangerous, it bears saying: if an outlet, switch, or other surfaces in your home’s electrical system feels warm to the touch or if it sparks or gives a shock when operated, you must contact an electrician promptly. Be on the lookout, too, for any dark smoldering marks near switch plates, terminals, or wire-ends, which is often a sign of an overloaded circuit or even wiring damage. And don’t neglect your sense of smell: if you detect the odor of smoke or an unaccountable fish-like odor, you may have the start of an electrical fire.

local electrician infographic page 2 MS NWA

5. Makeshift Insulation Check

the wiring insulation under your switch covers and outlet plates. Suppose you see fabric insulation or black rubber insulation. In that case, it’s time to hire an electrician to replace it with safer and more modern materials, such as polypropylene, polyurethane, nylon, or a thermoplastic elastomer. And remember that those switch covers and outlet plates are likely just the tip of the iceberg: you should have the electrician do similar updates to wiring insulation in places around the house not as easily accessible to you.

6. Insufficient Outlets

Running lots of extension cords around your house is a clear sign that you have an insufficient number of outlets to safely meet your family’s needs. Your local electrician can easily install additional outlets, appropriately placed and wired to be both safe and convenient.

7. Overly-Burdened Outlets

Ideally, a two-socket outlet should only ever have two things plugged into it, but on occasion, you might use a power strip or a multi-socket receptacle to increase the number of appliances, lights, and other electrical items that you can power through it. This should only be done in moderation, though, as having too many things plugged into a single outlet can create a dangerous electrical system burden. If you find that you have lots of add-ons plugged into your outlets, it’s clear that your electrical system’s capacity is being taxed and could lead to a fire. Call an electrician to wire additional circuits for more duplex receptacles around your house.

8. Electrical Failure

Intermittent or complete electrical failures are almost always a red flag for fundamental problems with your electrical system, and those problems can lead to dangerous conditions. If you run an appliance and the lights dim or flicker, you may be over-burdening the circuit; an electrician can solve the problem by running a new 20-amp line for the appliance. If your circuit breakers are constantly tripping or fuses are blowing all the time, either the current being drawn exceeds the system’s capacity, or there is a fault in a circuit that could result in a fire. Have it addressed immediately.

Mister Sparky Electrician Springdale, America’s On-Time Electrician in Bella Vista, Bentonville, Rogers, Springdale and Fayetteville services the Northwest Arkansas area with a team of licensed electricians. In addition to flickering lights, some of the electrician services provided by the company include electrical outlet/switch repair, ceiling fan installation, lighting installation, electrical wiring repair, landscape lighting installation and home electrical inspections.

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What Appliances Use The Most Electricity?

By Springdale Electrician,

Today, most homes include five or six essential appliances needed for everyday life, with a few more thrown in for extra comfort. Every appliance uses some amount of energy to operate. This brings up a question: What appliances use the most electricity? Being aware of this information can help homeowners to control energy usage as well as the household budget.

What appliances use the most electricity 1. Air Conditioner and Furnace

An air conditioner and furnace claim 47% of the total energy use in a home. This percentage can vary due to the type of air conditioner and furnace system a homeowner has. An older AC/furnace doesn’t have the energy-saving features that a more modern one does. This can result in a higher percentage of energy use. Many of the thermostats designed today make it easier to monitor and control an AC/furnace system’s operation to conserve energy.

 2. Water Heater

A water heater consumes 14% of the total energy used in a home. Of course, some water heaters burn up more electricity than others. A conventional water heater holds a water supply at all times, so when someone in the household needs hot water, it’s ready to go. Alternatively, a tankless water heater heats water as needed. It doesn’t continually heat a supply of it. So, conventional water heaters use the most energy out of the two options.

 3. Lights

The lights in all the rooms in a home and exterior lights account for 12% of a home’s energy use. The electricity usage connected with a home’s lights is relatively easy to control. Doing simple things like turning off the lights in unoccupied rooms, putting timers on lights so they won’t burn all night, and using energy-saving bulbs can lower the percentage of electricity use.

 4. Washer and Dryer

As a homeowner, do you use your washer and dryer several times a day? Or, maybe you only wash clothes once a week. These two appliances account for 13% of the energy use in a household. The number of times these appliances are used per week can undoubtedly raise the percentage of energy used. Doing things like limiting the number of loads done each week and using the hot water washing cycle only when necessary are two easy ways to reduce electricity usage.

 5. Refrigerator

A refrigerator uses 4% of the energy in a household. A refrigerator is plugged in all the time to supply electricity for the operation of the refrigerator and the freezer. In other words, unplugging the refrigerator to save energy is not a logical option! But there are refrigerators designed to be energy-saving, which helps to lower that total percentage.

 6. Oven

An electric oven accounts for 3 to 4% of the total energy usage in a home. Once again, this percentage differs according to the habits of a household. Some households have a conventional oven and rarely use it. Other households use their conventional oven every day. Having a well-insulated oven with a secure door that doesn’t allow heat to escape can make an oven more energy efficient.

 7. Television

Television, DVD player, and cable box usage account for 3% of electricity usage in a home. Unplugging the television and CD player at night can help to reduce that percentage. This cuts down on energy drainage while these appliances are not in use. Appliances that drain energy when it’s not needed are sometimes called vampire appliances!

 8. Dishwasher

A dishwasher accounts for 2% of the total energy usage in a home. When determining what appliances use the most energy, residential dishwashers come in low on the list. One household may use its dishwasher once a day while another doesn’t use it at all. Maybe the dishwasher came along with the home, but the people in the household like to hand wash their dishes. All of these factors can affect the percentage of energy used by this appliance.

 9. Computer

A computer uses 1% of the total energy in a home. As you see, computers are low on the list of what appliances use the most electricity. But keep in mind that many households don’t have a laptop or desktop computer. Family members use their phones, tablets, etc., to go online. Households that do have computers may want to consider putting their device in sleep mode or unplugging it to conserve energy.

If you’d like to find out what changes can be made in your home to reduce energy use, our professional electricians can help. Contact us today and let us help to make your home and its appliances more energy efficient.

Mister Sparky Electrician Springdale, America’s On-Time Electrician in Bella Vista, Bentonville, Rogers, Springdale and Fayetteville services the Northwest Arkansas area with a team of licensed electricians. In addition to flickering lights, some of the electrician services provided by the company include electrical outlet/switch repair, ceiling fan installation, lighting installation, electrical wiring repair, landscape lighting installation and home electrical inspections.

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Understanding The Electrical Wire Colors

By Springdale Electrician,

Mister Sparky Electrician NWA helps you understand What color is the load wire

Avoid Electric Hazards By Understanding The Electrical Wire Colors

Understanding electrical wire colors ensure the electrician’s, residents’, and appliances’ safety every time the electrical system is under maintenance or repair. Different colors indicate the wire’s purpose in the circuit.

Remember that all wires may carry an electric current at certain times so, they should all be treated with the same caution. It is crucial to understand the wires that may pose the biggest threat, the hot wires.

Hotwires are the ones that carry live electrical current from the electric panel or breaker box to destinations like an outlet or light fixtures. They are also known as line wires.

Mister Sparky Electrician NWA helps you understand electrical wire color codeElectrical Wire Color Codes

1. Black wires- Hot
Black wires transfer power to outlets and switches in all circuit types and can also be used as switch legs, the linkage between the switch and the electrical load. All black wires are considered live at all times, and extra care should be taken when dealing with them.

2. Red wires- Hot
Red wires are secondary live wires in 220-volt circuits and can also be utilized in various switch legs. Red wires are mostly used to connect the home’s power system, and hardwired smoke detectors such that if one alarm goes off, all of them go off.

They are used in the installation of ceiling fans, where the light switches may be. Electricians can link a red and black wire or two red wires.

3. Blue and yellow wires- Hot
Blue and yellow wires may carry power, but they are not commonly used in outlet wiring. Instead, they act as live wires pulled via a conduit. For instance, yellow wires may serve as switch legs to structural lighting, ceiling fans, or outlets joined with light switches.

Blue wires are mostly used as travelers in three or four-way switches, for example, switches at the bottom and top of a staircase controlling the same light (three-way).

4. White wires with red or black tape- Hot
When white wires are covered with black or red tape, they are hot wires.

5. Green wires- Ground
Green wires are used to ground electrical circuits. The wires are connected to a grounding terminal within an outlet strongbox and run towards the ground bus bar within an electrical panel.

That way, the wires play as a failsafe, which provides electricity somewhere to escape within the ground if any live wire in the circuit comes into contact with metal or any conductive material.

Green wires should only be connected with other green wires, and if a fault occurs in the circuit, they may be live, which demands that they be treated with caution. Green wires should also never be used for any other purposes because that may pose the danger of electrocution.

Ground screws on any electrical devices are often also painted green.

6. Bare copper wires- Ground
Grounding provides a safe path for electricity to travel back to the ground in case of an electrical fault. As all electrical devices must be grounded, the bare copper wires are connected to all of them, including fixtures, switches, outlets, and metal appliance housings or frames.

Also, electric metal boxes need to be grounded because they are conductive.

7. White or gray wires- Neutral
The word neutral may be deceiving as it appears to be less dangerous or have less electrical current. However, they should be handled with care because they may carry an electric current, mostly when the circuit’s current load is unbalanced.

Neutral wires connect to a conductive metal piece in an electrical panel, which attracts electric current to be distributed around the house. That metal piece is called the neutral bus bar. Gray wires can only be connected with each other.

White and gray wires pose electrocution danger when mishandled because they carry power back to the electric panel. When handling white wires, ensure that they have or had no red or black tape around them as that would mean they were used as hot wires.

It’s essential to understand electrical wire colors that the load wire and the c wire also be looked into. Load wires connect the light fixture and the light switch. Once the switch is closed, it allows electricity to flow from the light switches to the light fixtures, turning on the lights.

Many times, there is confusion between line and load wires. So, what color is the load wire? Load wires are mostly black, but red can also be used as a secondary load wire.

They are also connected to the switch’s top half, while line wires are connected to the switch’s bottom half.

C wires, otherwise called common wires, are other essential wires to understand the electrical wire color code fully. They are commonly found in modern houses or houses that have undergone modern renovation.

That is because they are used in the smart thermostats, which traditional houses did not have. The smart thermostats need constant power to keep the LED color screens and Wi-Fi radios powered.
The c-wires are responsible for providing continuous 24V power by completing the R wire circuit (source of power) to the HVAC system’s control board.

Mister Sparky Electrician NWA helps you understand electrical wire colorsWhat Color Is The C Wire, and How Is It Identified?

The c wire is mostly blue but, on some occasions, can be black.

Before handling electrical wire repair work, ensure no power is running in them by switching off the main electrical power supply. A multimeter can be used to help troubleshoot and check the home’s electrical wiring.

It can also be used to examine an electric current’s presence and detect how much it is. That is often useful in homes where the electrical system is old and outdated or the uncertainty of hot wires.

Different regions and countries have different electrical wire color codes. Therefore, it is essential to understand the area and the color wire codes before working with any electrical wires.

Mister Sparky Electrician Springdale, America’s On-Time Electrician in Bella Vista, Bentonville, Rogers, Springdale and Fayetteville services the Northwest Arkansas area with a team of licensed electricians. In addition to flickering lights, some of the electrician services provided by the company include electrical outlet/switch repair, ceiling fan installation, lighting installation, electrical wiring repair, landscape lighting installation and home electrical inspections.

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