Archive | Electrician Tips

Tips: Hiring the right electrician.

 

A lot of serious contractor related problems can be averted by doing just a little research. After nineteen years in the trade, I have found that if both home and business owners follow these tips, they almost always have a pleasant experience:

1. Check the license. Never hire an unlicensed contractor or electrician in any capacity. It may look like a good deal, but it may end up costing you more than extra money in the end. Unlicensed contractors are not bonded and have not taken any kind of exam to be assured they have the knowledge to perform the type of work you may need done. Also, it is very unlikely they have liability insurance (more on that below).

2. Check for insurance coverage. By law, Hawaii licensed electrical contractors will have liability insurance coverage. The bond that is required for electrical contractors in Hawaii is generally $7000 – an extremely limited amount. Look for an insurance policy of at least $1 Million.

3. Ask for a Journeyman card for proof of license. All electricians are required by law to be a journeyman, having passed all Hawaii State requirements. Ask to see the card of anyone performing electrical work on your home or business. This is very important and makes sure you have qualified workers.  Your persons and property are at risk if they are unlicensed.

4. Ask what kind of work the electrician has done in the past. It is usually a pretty good indication of what you should expect in the future.

5. What is the electrician’s real concern as you speak with them about your project? Are they concerned about what you are trying to accomplish on your project? Are they up front and confident about pricing? Do they care about your needs and the needs of your property?

Following these tips will give you the ability to find the right electrician for you. Blue Sky Electric is happy to provide you with more information. Give us a call with any questions and we will be happy to assist you.

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Licensed Electrical Contractor Hiring Check List

Starting that new electrical project?  Here’s a good check list put out by Hawaii’s Department of Commerce & Consumer Affairs (DCCA) that is helpful when looking for an electrician, or any other trade person.

Hiring a Contractor Checklist

Are you planning to remodel your home? This checklist will help you make sure you’ve done everything you need to do for your project. Check off each item when they’re complete.

  • Get three written estimates for the job.
  • Verify the licenses of all contractors and subcontractors with DCCA Call (808) 587-3222.
  • Check prior complaints history for all contractors and subcontractors with DCCA.
  • Ask contractor for references.
  • Request a list of subcontractors to be used.
  • Draw up a written contract.
  • Read the entire contract and understand all the terms and conditions.
  • Purchase performance, material and completion bonds through the contractor.
  • Obtain the appropriate building permits.
  • See and understand any plans and blueprints before approving them.
  • Periodically check on the progress of the work .
  • Get lien releases from subcontractors and material supplies.
  • Keep copies of all documents and correspondence.
  • Publish a notice of completion in the newspaper once the job is done.

Also checkout:

RICO’s Top 10 Tips for Consumers (Hawaii State Regulated Industries Complaints Office).

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Don’t get shocked! Install GFCIs…make sure they work.

For decades, ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) have saved thousands of lives and have helped significantly reduce the number of home electrocutions by about fifty percent. Many homes and business on Kauai do not have proper electrical protection in outdoor or wet locations. With our wind and heavy rain, you need to make sure that you are guarded from the hazard of a shock.

GFCIs are electrical safety devices that trip electrical circuits when they detect ground faults or leakage currents. A person who becomes part of a path for leakage current will be severely shocked or electrocuted. These outlets prevent deadly shock by quickly shutting off power to the circuit if the electricity flowing into the circuit differs by even a slight amount from that returning.

A GFCI should be used in any indoor or outdoor area where water may come into contact with electrical products. The 2008 edition of the National Electrical Code currently requires that GFCIs be used in all kitchens, bathrooms, garages, and outdoors. GFCIs should be tested once a month to confirm that they are working properly.

How to Test Your GFCI:

GFCIs should be tested often to make sure they are working properly. To test your GFCI:

  1. Push the “reset” button on the GFCI to prepare the outlet for testing.
  2. Plug in an ordinary light or plug tester (from Home Depot) into the GFCI and turn it ON. The light should now be on.
  3. Push the “test” button of the GFCI. The light should go OFF.
  4. Push the “reset” button again. The light should now come ON again.

If the light does not turn off when the test button is pushed, then the GFCI may have been incorrectly wired or damaged and it no longer offers shock the protection it was designed for.

Contact us at Blue Sky Electric to check the GFCI and correct the problem:

Call 808-647-0599

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Power Surge Protected? Costly Repairs?

Surge protection can keep expensive electronics and appliances safe from Kauai’s common power surges.  During our storms, voltage spikes can be harmful to appliances and electrical devices in your home. An increase in voltage above an appliance’s normal operating voltage can cause an arc or high surge of electrical current within the appliance.  The heat created in the arc and/or the power pulse causes damage to the electronic circuit boards and other electrical components.

Example:

A customer’s  washing machine stopped working properly,  after having purchased it fourteen months ago from a major retailer on our island.  Were they covered under product’s warranty?  No.  That lasted for one year with no added extended service protection (which can cost about $400 more on top of the appliance floor price).  They called the retail store’s service man to come out and repair it.  Seven days and $230 dollars later, the small electronic part was replaced, back and running for the time being.  What caused the broken part?  Most likely a large power surge or a series of smaller surges that can break down the inner electronics–an appliance only fourteen months old!

What about your appliances or electronic equipment?    Are they protected from the next storm or outage?

Solution:

A surge protector…..Installing a whole building surge protector connected to your electric panel gives you that needed protection. It absorbs the spiked energy caused by these surges from our power lines or lightning strikes.  The surge suppressor Blue Sky provides, protects electronic devices from higher than needed voltage levels. It protects electronic devices (televisions and computers) and  appliances (washing machines and dryers) with electronic parts from surges that originate from within the home, from the utility service and from other wires that connect the devices to the outside, such as telephone and cable television connections.

Call us so you can protect your appliances and electronics from costly electrical surges.  Let’s not get too acquainted with the appliance repairman. Call: (808) 647-0599

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Corroded Panels

Corroded Electrical PanelAre you having power go out intermittently? Are some lights and receptacles working in some rooms while others are not? Are some outlets going out randomly, then coming back on again?

You may have a problem with corrosion at the meter main distribution panel outside.

Our salty air combined with humidity causes the aluminum wire connections at the panels to collect salt crystals and break down the conductive wires and termination points, causing weak conductivity or a break altogether. This could be a fire hazard. There could be a hot spot from an electrical arc or exposed live wires, not just the lights going out.

Solution? After determining that indeed the problem is the above with a diagnostic check; first, we need to call the utility company and have an on-call service man to come out and turn off the power coming in from the pole. Next, one of our licensed electricians will be there to clean off the metal parts inside the meter panel box. He will scrub the corroded aluminum electrical metal parts with a wire brush, cover the metal with a special spray to inhibit future corrosion, and then apply an antioxidant material to the jaws of the meter clips and wire screw down points. Finally, tighten everything up and have the utility man plug the meter back in.

Now that should do it.

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Safe wiring inspection

Take a few minutes to look for and correct electrical hazards in your home. It does not take too long to check the insulation on a table lamp cord, check for the correct wattage light bulbs and install a GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter). Take the time. It will prevent an electrical safety hazard and save you and your loved ones lives.

Unsafe conditions such as overloaded circuits and damaged insulation as well as the misuse of extension cords and electrical devices create fire hazards and may result in serious electrical injury.

Studies of residential electrical fires show that the majority of serious fires could have easily been avoided. The conditions that caused the fires probably would have been detected by an electrical inspection. These problems were not detected or corrected because no inspections had been made for several years. In a number of cases homes ranging from 30 to 100 years old had not been inspected since they were built. A safety inspection should be performed by a qualified licensed electrician.

One good tip to determine when your electrical system was last inspected is to examine the door and cover of your electrical panel. The panel should contain a label or tag with a date, a signature, or initials on it. If there is more than one date, the most recent one should be the date of the last inspection. DO NOT remove the service-panel cover. This is a job for a qualified electrician. If the date is older than ten years, its time for a inspection and correction of any problems that show.

Call us for help at 808-647-0599

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