electrician holding open outdoor gfci cover next to open junction box

GFCI Outlet Won’t Reset

electrician holding open outdoor gfci cover next to open junction boxYou will find the Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter, also sometimes known as a GFCI outlet, wherever there’s electricity. This built-in breaker is usually found in places like the bathroom, kitchen, or any other area prone to shorting and trips when it detects a ground fault or a short. They are reliable for the use of electricity, but may sometimes fail.

In such cases, it can easily be reset or retested with a button, but what happens when the GFCI outlet just won’t reset?

What to Do?

Don’t panic if the GCFI won’t reset. Keep reading to find out how to fix the problem:

  • Figure out the cause

It may be tricky to figure why the GFCI Outlet won’t reset, but ultimately, confirm if the problem is from the circuit or the outlet. It may be best to let an electrician do this for you.

You can check if the other outlets have power flowing through them by using a voltage tester. If you realize that there’s power flowing through the other outlets, then the problem is from that singular outlet. However, if you notice that none of the lights or outlets have power flowing through, then it is a circuit problem. You could also try unplugging whatever is plugged into the GFCI outlet and see if you can finally reset.

  • Check Circuits

Once you find that some lights or outlets aren’t working too, then head for the electrical panel, usually found in the laundry room, garage, or basement. When at the electrical panel, look out for the circuit breaker and check that none is out of order. If any is, then they’re tripped and you can reset. If it keeps happening, then it is likely an overload issue, and the circuit isn’t powerful enough.

  • Assess Problem

If the breaker is reset and the GFCI trips again, and often, it might be a leak and you should call an electrician as soon as possible. Before the electrician arrives, here are a few things you can assess:

  1. Check if the reset button pops out. If it doesn’t, maybe the outlet is defective, or you did not push hard enough.
  2. Check if the reset button stays in or pops out when you plug something in and put it on. If it pops out, it could be incorrect wiring or a ground fault.
  3. If the connected devices still work when the reset button pops out, then it may be a circuit interrupter problem (rare) or reversed line and load problem.
  4. If the lights or plugged devices work; if they don’t, then maybe the GFI is defective, miswired, or not receiving up to 120 volts.
  • Check for Faulty Connections

Your GFCI Outlet may not reset because of bad wiring; there may be a loose connection in form of loose terminal screws, loose wires at the connectors, and loose stab-in connections.

If all of this is too sophisticated for you, then it is safest to call a licensed electrician to check out everything and fix the problem. Electricity is risky and should not be toyed with or handled by an amateur. Our technicians at the Electric Connection will handle it all for you. Book an appointment now!

Do I Need A Permit To Replace an Electrical Outlet?

outlet stops workingThis question would often come up if you are considering doing some electrical work yourself. While DIY is great and even cost-effective for some tasks around the home, electrical works are very different and some rules apply.

There are several reasons you might need to replace an electrical outlet. From outlets not being installed where you need them to having faulty outlets are all good reasons. However, the first thing to remember is that electrical works are best left to licensed and professional electricians. If you have no experience or skills to perform the work yourself, then do not attempt it at all.

You will require a permit to replace an electrical outlet. Read on to see how this works.

The role of a permit in electrical projects

Permits and building codes are designed to protect you and your home by ensuring that a project is done safely and correctly. An inspection which is the last part of any project involving a permit helps to enhance this safety by spotting mistakes and preventing extensive repairs.

When it comes to electrical work and electrical permits for homeowners going DIY, it’s important to note the following;

  • Only the owner and occupant of a home can obtain a permit to do the work themselves. This means as a homeowner looking to DIY you cannot perform any electrical services on a house about to be sold, on rent, lease, or exchange. Only a professional electrician can pull a permit and perform the electrical service in all situations.

When is an electrical permit required?

As a landlord or homeowner, you may not require a permit to replace electrical appliances or perform maintenance on existing installations. Other electrical works that usually require a permit include;

  • Install or alter any permanent wiring or electrical device
  • Installing a new electrical outlet or light fixture
  • Install additional wiring in your home.
  • Installation of a receptacle for a garage-door opener
  • Converting a fuse box to a circuit breaker
  • Installing or altering low-voltage systems such as security alarms

You can always call the local building department in your area to clarify any uncertainty on what electrical projects require a permit.

What do I need to do to get an electrical permit?

An electrical permit is only issued by your local building department. After confirming that your electrical project requires a permit that can be obtained by you, the first step is to complete an application. The permit application is usually offered in-office and some jurisdictions offer it online or via fax.

Next comes the permit fee, which depends on the complexity of your project. After the permit is issued you can perform the electrical work. An inspection should also be scheduled as soon as possible to complete the process.

Electrical codes, restrictions, and rules.

Part of the reasons why hiring a professional electrician for your electrical needs is safer and preferable to DIY is their knowledge of current electrical codes. Before you attempt any electrical work, get updated on the dos and don’ts of the NEC.

How to Save Money on Your Los Angeles Electric Bill

save money apartment billsLiving in the bustling city of Los Angeles can be exciting. It’s a city with everything from being able to chase your dreams to the lazy days you are just looking to have fun. It’s almost possible to forget the high costs of living that comes with all the benefits.

Homes in Los Angeles pay up to 23% more for electricity bills compared to the national average. While solar energy solutions are becoming more popular, the larger part of the population still has to consider ways to save money on their electricity bill in LA.

Thankfully, your favorite experts at The Electric Connection have effective tips ready to help you slash those bills in half.

  • Use a programmable thermostat

You’d be surprised how much of your electric bill has to do with your heating and cooling system. With a programmable or smart thermostat, you can set temperatures to 78 degrees when you are home during summer, 68 degrees during winter, and turn it off when you are away. This helps you save up on up to 10% on heating and cooling.

  • Turn off your lights

Turning off your lights when they are not in use or you are away can both help you save on the bill and get paid. Residents in California can earn money through OhmConnect when you agree to cut down on power usage a few times in a week. You earn based on how much power you save. To help you get higher numbers and save on your electricity bill in general, you can switch your lights to LED bulbs.

  • Use nature’s gift

When possible ventilate your home by opening up your doors and windows. Doing this more often helps you cut down on heating and cooling bills.

  • Purchase right

Thanks to continuous breaks in technology, there are several appliances on the market equipped with energy-saving features. Look out for an Energy Star (R) symbol which shows the appliance is compliant with standard energy-saving codes.

  • Unplug devices

We are all guilty of leaving unused appliances plugged in at some point. Regardless of if you turn off the switch or not, phantom charges that can accumulate end up having some significance on your bill.

  • Timers and Power Strips

It won’t be easy keeping up with all plugged in devices, especially those mounted on the wall. Save up on electrical energy by bringing in power strips and timers. These tools allow you to set a schedule for the connected devices to be shut off from power. It comes in handy all the time, but more importantly when you are not home or asleep. A good example is if you need to run your pool pump for some hours. Using a timer ensures you can set the time for the pump to work and be turned off.

There’s also more to save on electrical energy when you get an audit from a professional electrician. The electrician can give more tips suitable for your home.




Finding the Best Electrician in Los Angeles

local electricianIt may seem easy at first to find a local electrician near you, but you quickly realize how hard it really is once you begin your search. There are quick steps to follow to guide your search for the best electrician in Los Angeles. We have discussed each determining feature below.

  • Get a listNo one should encourage you to go for the first option you receive, except this option comes highly recommended. When trying to hire right, it’s possible to have a few options to make your research and come to a decision. The recommendation can be from colleagues, neighbors, family, and friends in the area.
  • Verify insurance and licenseWorking with an electrician who lacks a license and insurance is full of risks. Should any accidents happen, the costs will fall on you. Also, an electrician without a license hardly knows what he/she is doing. You can request the electricians you contact to show their valid license and insurance.
  • Vet reputationA Business’ reputation is everything. It is what gives you the confidence to let a stranger into your home or invest in their service. Ensure that electrician has reviews you can look over to get a good sense of their reputation. If possible, contact some past clients in Los Angeles to ask about their experience. Also, look through the company’s website or social media pages to inquire about them.
  • Check out the serviceIt’s vital never to make assumptions when working through how to choose an electrician near you. Be sure to ask for the services the electrical technician offers and fully describe your needs to be sure they can provide it.
  • Get an estimate and timelineAt this point, your list should be narrowed down to only very few names. Get an estimate on the cost of the job from these technicians and timeline. Be wary of electricians that seem to change the cost without warning or charge excessively. From the estimates, it’s possible to know what the average cost of your job is. Taking the cheapest bid in a hurry isn’t ideal either. You will have to weigh the factors of before to make a final choice. Also, a professional electrical contractor will complete the work in due time to allow you to return to your regular activities.

The Electric Connection has served Los Angeles for over three decades. We offer a wide range of electrical services, provide honest pricing, quality electrical services in Los Angeles, and free over the phone help. Check out our reviews and reach out for a timely response.

How To Pull An Electrical Permit In Los Angeles

pulling permit in los angelesAn electrical permit is exactly what it sounds like. It is obtaining permission from the appropriate authorities to perform electrical work. An electrical permit is required for a lot of electrical works and it is the first step towards an electrical service that conforms to safety codes and standards.

When do I need an electrical permit?

You would require a permit for the following electrical tasks:

  • Installation or alteration of low-voltage systems like computer systems, security alarms, or stereos.
  • Installation or alteration of any permanent wiring or electrical device.
  • Running additional wiring, installing an outlet or fixture, converting fuse boxes to circuit breakers or installing a receptacle for a garage door opener.

Hence, electrical permits are necessary for most electrical installations, replacement, or repairs.

Who pulls or buys the permit?

Pulling an electrical permit falls on whoever is performing the electrical work. You cannot use a permit gotten by someone else or obtain a permit for someone else. If the person you hire asks you to purchase the permit for the work they will do, this is wrong and against the law and such permit is invalid. Licensed electricians and building owners are often the parties involved in pulling a permit.

If you are a homeowner who will do the work themselves, you will require a permit through a process slightly different from that acquired by a licensed electrician.

How to get a permit for electrical work?

Building Codes Division (BCD) field offices or the local building department in your location are the authorities who issue permits. To pull an electrical permit in Los Angeles, you will look to the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety (LADBS). The LADBS enforces the Los Angeles building code, making sure all buildings are safe when issuing permits for building, repairs, renovation, and even demolition.

To get a permit for residential electrical work, you do not need drawn plans. There is an exception if the service involves up to 400 amps or more. Office staff or an electrical inspector can help determine that you have all the required information for the project. If your request is in order, you can usually leave with your permit. The permit fees are paid when the permit is issued.

According to LADBS, permits involving simple projects can be issued online or in a few minutes at the office; small to medium projects require a counter plan check and can be reviewed from one hour to within the same day; larger projects will be reviewed in weeks after a walk-in submission of the request.

A visit to the LADBS website provides direction on how to obtain the appropriate project permit either online or on a visit to the office.

How about inspection?

Inspections are vital and must be requested before the electrical work or no later than 3 business days after completion. There are penalties for failing to request an inspection. When requesting an inspection, you will have to provide details such as the permit number, homeowner’s name, type of inspection needed, date for the inspection, and project address.

Hiring a Los Angeles Electrician to Pull Permits

The Electric Connection has been in business for over 40 years providing expert electrical services to the Los Angeles area. Our in office staff and electricians work with inspectors every day. We know how to pull permits in Los Angeles and can help out if you need assistance. Give us a call today to start your next electrical project!

How Much Power Do Window AC Units Use?

air conditioner powerWhen you are not up for the huge investment on a central AC, a window AC may be your next best option. A window AC is typically installed at the window but unlike a central AC, they only service the rooms they are installed in. Only a central AC can cool all or many rooms at once. Read on as we explore what a window AC could mean for your energy bills.

A window AC unit consumes less than 1/3 of the energy used by a central AC. It is a cost-effective option when you have just one or a few window ACs. It is vital to know that the power demands can increase drastically if you install many of these units.

Before installing an AC, it is important to confirm that your electrical system can accommodate the new addition. This is because regardless of the energy-saving capacity of a window AC, it is still more powerful than almost all other units in the home.

A professional electrician can advise you on the installation and equally help to upgrade your panel, create dedicated outlets, and all other electrical components required for the unit. A window AC comes in various sizes and capacity, which also influences the power it consumes. Typically, a standard outlet is suitable for a 115-volt window unit with a 15-amp requirement. However, a larger window unit with between 125 to 220 volts and higher amperage will require a dedicated outlet.

A window unit is cheaper to obtain than other options like a central AC unit and a Ductless unit. But it lacks in the kind of power other air conditioners have.

If you are wondering about other options for AC and cooling, a ductless air conditioner might be a good choice. It costs more than the window unit initially, but it also packs more power. Also, in the long run, a ductless air conditioner saves you more money on the energy bill.

Central AC units are a great option, but they contribute a large chunk to the electric bill. If you must use them, employ energy-saving tips to cut down on energy costs.

Who should install a window AC unit?

Only a professional and licensed technician should install your window AC unit or any other unit. At the Electric Connection, we are experts in installing units like the AC to enhance comfort in your home. You can reach out to us to help you decide on the best energy-saving methods and install your AC unit.

What is Grounding and Why is it Important?

Electricity has come to mean a lot to the world, but while it has proven so vital, electricity is also dangerous. To protect human lives and property from the dangers associated with using electricity, experienced electricians always ensure they ground your electrical system.

Grounding is a common term when it comes to power. It means connecting electrical wires to the ground below your home. We will get to why this is even necessary in a few moments.

Think of grounding like the way humans have to step their feet on the earth to walk. Stepping your feet on the earth connects to a stable surface and helps you walk safely as you should.

This is what grounding means for electricity. After connecting all the appliances and electrical components in your home, each one must be grounded.

Every electric outlet has two main wires. One is the hot wire or active wire which supplies the power, the other is the neutral wire which carries that current back. An additional wire is the grounding wire which can be attached to other electrical devices and connected to the ground bus bar at the breaker.

The ground wire functions as an extra path for the electrical current to pass through and return safely to the ground. The aim is to prevent any danger of electrical shock or fire.

Importance of Grounding

  • Serves as a shock absorber
    Sudden surges of electrical power occur more often than you think. It could be triggered by a storm, transformer malfunction, or when a power demanding appliance picks up. You can observe this in the home when an appliance like the AC comes on; the light flickers briefly.

    Such minor surges can create major problems if the outlets in your home are not grounded. This includes fatal shocks when you touch the appliance. So, grounding prevents all of this by directing any excess charge to the ground where they pose no threat.

  • Stabilizes voltage
    Grounding equips your electrical system to be highly efficient. It helps the appropriate amount of power to be distributed accordingly. This also prevents overloading which in turn protects your appliances.
  • Uses the best conductor
    Why the earth? Why isn’t grounding about connecting excess charges to something else? Well, it is because the earth is a great conductor. Excess electricity will always choose the path of least resistance and the earth presents a safe alternative to your human body.

To know if you are safe and that your electrical system is grounded, you can use the tips below:

  • Check the home outlets. Grounded outlets have three slots, while ungrounded ones have two slots.
  • Older homes may be at risk of being ungrounded compared to modern homes.
  • Call for an inspection from a professional electrician to confirm if you have a grounded electrical system or not. An upgrade can be carried out if needed.

Which Electric Car Charger Is Right For Your Home?

which home ev chargerIt might interest you to know that an Electric-car charger is actually equipment found within the car which converts the power from an AC source into DC so the battery onboard the vehicle can be charged. Knowing this has never stopped most EV owners from calling the wall-mounted box an electric-car charger. This wall-mounted box which is only a unit to supply electricity is rightfully called an Electric Vehicle Service Equipment (EVSE). But, to avoid confusion in this post, we will refer to it as a “charger”.

When you have a Tesla Model 3, a Chevrolet Bolt EV or any of the now available and affordable electric vehicles, you would need an EVSE or ‘charger’ stationed at home. The purpose of this is to make your life as an EV driver easier.

The highest performing electric vehicles will require a high-speed home car charger. And for a homeowner, this can incur some serious cost.

The trick is to install a charger that best suits your needs. Sometimes you discover that a basic 120V charger is all you need to replenish depleted battery power overnight.

We will take this one step at a time to help you make the best decisions. Here are the three options for EV charging.

Level one charge refers to your regular 120V connection. It is cost-effective because most homes have these outlets just sitting on the walls. You can avoid the installation costs, but can you bear the slow trickle charge this connection offers? Don’t decide just yet.

Level two charge is a 240V connection that has to be installed in most cases. It is the connection that power-demanding appliances in the home use. The cost of installing this in your garage ranges from $300 to $1200. Steep, but the major advantage of a level two charger is speed.

Level three charge could be the best thing ever but the only problem is it has several drawbacks. The cost of installing this fast, high-voltage charger runs to tens of thousands of dollars. In addition, using this charger often can do some damage to your battery.

So, it looks like you are down to level one and two.

Some factors to consider include:

  • Your driving habits
  • Driving range
  • Are there charging stations along your route?

Here’s how it works:

Case 1
Commute up to 80 miles to and fro each day, with no charger at work or along the way to boost your battery. A level one home charger would take about 10 hours to replenish what was lost while a level two would take about 3 hours. Your best bet should be a level 2 charger.

Case 2
Commute up to 20 miles to and fro each day, use a charger at work or along the way to boost your battery so you are only down 20 miles by day’s end. A level one home charger would take about 5 hours to replenish what was lost while a level two would take about 1 hour. In this case, a level 1 charger is convenient.
Now you see how this works, you can choose which electric-car home charger is right for you.

How to Test a 240V Circuit

test 240v240V circuits often serve heavy-duty appliances in the home like the dryer, AC, ovens, and water heater. When there is a problem with the circuit or electrical outlet, it becomes dangerous to use them. As a homeowner, a few basic tricks can help you assess your electrical components in the home and make informed decisions about them.

Read on to know how to test a 240V circuit.
A typical 240V outlet carries three slots or openings. There are two vertical or horizontal slots placed side by side with a middle third slot below the first two. The two slots that lie side by side carry 120V each. The third slot connects the outlet to the ground.

You will need a multimeter to complete the next steps. A multimeter measures the amount of volts running through a circuit. To use the multimeter, turn the dial up to 240V and attach the probes appropriately. Ensure that the red and black probes are completely plugged into the correct slots in the multimeter and are not damaged. Avoid touching the metal tips of the probes to avoid an electric shock.

With the multimeter inserted, check the reading displayed on it. Both slots should read 120V each and a total of 240V. If this isn’t the case, then one or both circuits may be faulty.

Reset the multimeter to 120V and switch the probes. Insert the red probe in any of the two vertical slots and the black probe in the ground slot. The multimeter should read 120V; otherwise, that circuit is defective. Repeat this procedure for the second vertical slot.
After testing the circuit and confirming any defect, the best action is to call an electrician to replace, repair, or provide other valid solutions. Practice basic precautions to avoid damage to your circuits or electrical hazards. These include switching off outlets when not in use and keeping them away from water.

How to Install An Electrical Subpanel

electrical toolsWhen it comes to electrical components, installing them yourself may seem complex. But with the right tips and clear directions, you can get something done.

Every home or building is serviced by a main electrical panel. These main panels can sometimes need a subpanel to share the work. A subpanel is a smaller service panel with dedicated functions. It helps to improve the convenience and efficiency of your electrical system.

The subpanel can be connected to the main panel with a thick three-wire cable. Before you can install it, you must confirm that it won’t overload your entire system.
Tools and materials you will need:

Long-nose and Lineman’s pliers, flashlight, strippers, screwdriver, hammers, voltage tester, mounting screws, breakers for the new circuits, approved feeder cables, staples or cable clamps, and the subpanel itself.

Note to reader
This installation involves electrical skills like stripping wires, screwing, and more. It takes a while to complete starting from a few hours. It is also fairly difficult, so don’t expect it to be a walk in the park. It is best to call a professional to install the subpanel for you.

Step 1:
Mount the subpanel a foot away from the main service panel. Pull and clamp the wires from the subpanel. Strip the wires and clamp the cables accordingly in the main panel. Ensure that the neutral and ground wires are carefully connected to their bus bars.

Step 2:
Route the red and black wires. Strip and cut them before connecting to the feeder breaker and snapping the breaker in place. Do the same for the feeder wires and connect them to the terminals. Next, connect the red and black wires to the hot bars and the white to the neutral terminal. Don’t forget the ground wire, which should be connected to the ground bus bar.

Step 3:
There’s still much work to do on the subpanels. Run the wiring for all the new circuits into the subpanel and clamp them. Connect the wires as before with the white wire to the neutral bus bar, hot wires to the circuit breaker, and ground wire to the ground bus bar.
Power is fed from the hot bus bars to individual circuit breakers and to the branch circuits running out of the subpanel.

Check everything and close up the subpanel.