GE Smith Electric DIY Electrician Installing Electrical Switch with Screwdriver on White
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DIY: Doing electrical work on your own?

To replace a standard non switched duplex receptacle, follow these steps:

    1. Turn off the power to the receptacle from the main fuse or circuit panel.
    2. Unscrew and remove the cover plate; then use a voltage tester to make sure that the circuit is dead. (Insider Tip: If you do not have an electrical tester use a working lamp or radio to ensure the outlet is dead. NEVER turn off the main circuit breaker for outlet replacement.)
    3. Unscrew the receptacle from the electrical box and pull it out with the wires still attached. Note where the white and black wires are attached to the old receptacle.
    4. Remove the wires.
    5. Attach the wires to the terminals of the new receptacle, by wrapping them around the screws. The black wire always goes under the gold screw and the white wire under the silver screw. (Insider Tip: Never use the push to connect terminals in the rear of the outlet as they are prone to failure.) If the wiring has a green or bare ground wire, attach it to the green terminal on the receptacle or to the electrical box, this is usually at the bottom of the outlet.
    6. Push the new receptacle back into the electrical box and screw it in place.
    7. Screw on the cover plate and then turn on the power. (Insider tip: Make sure you do not screw the outlet in too tight or too loose, you want the drywall ears of the outlet to sit flush on the wall. If your outlet is recessed, you may need outlet spacers or spark rings.)
    8. Most Important Rule: If you are not comfortable working with electric, call GE Smith Electric and we will be glad to assist.

    Has your bathroom, outdoor, garage, or basement outlets stopped working?

    These outlets are typically protected by a GFCI type outlet. When these outlets trip they also trip all of the outlets protected by them.

    • Find the GFCI type outlet on the circuit, check all of the areas listed above.
    • Reset the GFCI and test the remaining outlets for power.
    • If the GFCI will not reset, check the circuit breaker to ensure it is not tripped or off. (Insider Tip: Circuit breakers need to be reset after they are tripped. Turn the circuit breaker to the off position and then back on. If it trips again DO NOT attempt to reset it. Call GE Smith Electric for Service.
    • If the circuit breaker is on and the GFCI will not reset, call GE Smith Electric for service.

    Light Fixture Replacement

    1. Turn off the power. (Insider tip: if the only wiring in the box is too the light fixture, turn off the light switch. No need to turn off circuit breaker in this case.) You may find several pairs of wires in the ceiling box. Some of these wires may be wired to different circuits than the fixture you’re working on. Be safe: Use a circuit tester to ensure that all the wires in the box are dead. (Insider Tip: We use a Non-Contact Voltage Tester by Klein that is available at the local store for under $20. This tester lights up and beeps when voltage is present.
    2. Remove the light bulb cover and bulbs from the fixture.
    3. Unscrew the screws or nuts holding the fixture base to the ceiling box.
    4. Lower the fixture base and remove the electrical tape or wire nuts from the black (hot) wire, white (neutral) wire, and, if present, green or bare (ground) wire.
    5. Attach the wires from the new fixture with wire nuts to the corresponding wires in the electrical box.
    6. Raise and position the new base plate so that you can screw the new bolts through it to attach it to the mounting strap.
    7. Screw in new light bulbs, install the cover, and turn on the power.
    8. Most Important Rule: If you are not comfortable or just do not want to deal with it we are here to help.


    How to Speak Electric:

    Typical House Electric:

    • Most houses have single phase electric: The term is a little misleading as it includes (2) hot wires and a neutral wire.
    • The voltage is 240/120 volts: This means if you measure across either of the hot wires to the neutral wire you should read approximately 120 volts. If you measure across the 2 hot wires you should read approximately 240 volts. (The voltage provided from your utility company will vary by up to 3%. If you are reading voltages not in that range, call your utility company to inspect.)
    • Amperage: Ampacity, in the electrical code, refers to the current, measured in amperes, that a conductor (a wire) can carry continuously under the conditions of use without exceeding its temperature rating: What this means to you: Basically amperage is a measure of power your devices are using. Example an electric range might draw 45 Amps, a standard 60watt light bulb only draws 0.5 Amps. A hair dryer might draw 15 amps. Typically, anything that heats or cools has a high amperage draw. All of these items running make up your total load on your house. Most house panels are rated for 100, 150, 200 Amps. This rating is the maximum rating of the main circuit breaker. Just by adding up all of your appliances and equipment is NOT how you determine the required service for you house. There are demand factors that come into play as you do not turn on all of your electric in your home at the same time. Call GE Smith Electric today if you feel you need a service upgrade.

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