Do I Need A Panel Upgrade When Purchasing a New Refrigerator?

electrical panelA refrigerator is almost a must-have in modern homes and as such various models hit the market every day trying to meet up with homeowners’ needs. When you purchase a new refrigerator, it’s fine to wonder if there will be any complications with your home’s electrical system.

Your home’s electrical system and panel precisely might seem like superheroes who never tire but make no mistake, it has a limit to what it can take.

There are several reasons you might need a panel upgrade with or without your purchase of a new refrigerator. They include:

More power

An old home yet to be rewired likely has a 60-100 amp electrical panel. Modern homes typically have a 150-200 amp service and larger homes can even invest in a 400 amp service. As you would observe the capacity for home panels seems to increase over time. It’s only natural following the constant introduction of various home appliances on the market. Hence, when adding any home appliance it’s important to ensure you have sufficient power.

An upgrade gives you more power and the flexibility to do this without the worry of putting stress on your electrical system. If your amperage is insufficient for new additions, the breaker will trip frequently and be at risk of electrical issues. Power-hungry appliances in any home often include air conditioner, electric clothes dryer, electric range, hot tub, and refrigerators. An upgrade becomes necessary for you to enjoy a safe system with the freedom to add new appliances.

Faulty wiring

Flickering or dimming lights, sparking or discolored power outlets, burning smells, and more are warning signs that indicate faulty wiring. Your home electrical wiring was built to last, but not forever. As the wiring deteriorates with use, the need for rewiring and upgrade can come up.

Old-fashioned fuse box

Circuit breakers and fuses perform the same function, but fuses are outdated because of their limitation to one-time use. While circuit breakers have to be reset after tripping to prevent a short circuit, fuses melt and disrupt the flow of power. Fuse boxes are often found in old homes and you will need an upgrade to change them.

Despite these reasons, only an electrician, like those at The Electric Connection, can determine if an upgrade is what you need. Upgrading from a lower amp to up to 200 amps can cost up to $3000. The project usually requires a permit and will be inspected after completion.

Refrigerators and your electrical panel

Refrigerators come in different design, styles, and sizes, but they all typically require a dedicated 115 or 120 volts with a properly grounded branch circuit. This should also use a 3 prong grounding type receptacle, protected by a 15 or 20-amp circuit breaker or time-delay fuse. If you are plugging your refrigerator in with a generator as the power source, you will need to know the wattage. You can find the exact figures written on the refrigerator’s rating plate. Make your calculations using volts x amps = wattage.

A fact to note is that the amps or wattage needed to start the refrigerator is 3 times its running amps or wattage.



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.




Rewiring a Los Angeles House Room by Room

los angeles house rewire by electricianDeciding to rewire your home does not come easily, and there’s no surprise why. Aside from the fact that home rewiring projects dig deep into your pockets, there’s the disruptive nature of the project to consider. But despite what seems like two distinct disadvantages, here are the many benefits that outweigh them and support your decision for home rewiring.

  • New wiring, new electrical power experience
  • A dependable electrical system
  • No more flickering lights, burning smells, or shortage of power
  • More room to add new appliances and remodel
  • Save on energy bills
  • Improved electrical safety
  • Reduce the chance of a power cut
  • Ensure electrical wiring lifespan
  • Prevent damage to your home appliances
  • Increase home resale value

While a home rewire is an option for many reasons, not just any homeowner should rewire their home. There are conditions under which a home rewire is needed and they include:

  • If your home is old, and the wiring is outdated
  • You have hazardous aluminum wiring
  • You are renovating
  • Your electrical system is unsafe with several faults, flickering lights, and so on.
  • Your electrical wiring has insufficient capacity

When you are experiencing any issues with your electrical system, it’s advisable to call on a professional Los Angeles electrician to inspect your wiring and point out the issue. The electrician will advise on if a home rewire is needed.

How to rewire room by room

  1. Make a list – Make a list of the appliances you have now and those you would like to add in a few years. It’s best to think as far as 25 years. This is because most rewiring projects are done every 2 decades. You can consider installations like:
    • Lighting and ceiling fans
    • HVAC
    • Kitchen appliances
    • Water heater
    • Devices such as wheelchair lifts and stairlifts
    • Home office electronics
    • Hot tub, spa, sauna or swimming pool
    • Entertainment systems
  2. Get an electrical building permit – The person who will perform the rewire project has to pull a permit before the work can start. If a rewiring project is carried out without the necessary permit, you might have to take it all down later.
  3. Get to work rewiring room by room – Shut off the electrical power to the home, disconnect circuits, and disconnect wires from electrical boxes. Draw a plan of your new circuitry. Cut holes in the drywall to install new outlets and switches. Run the new wires through the backs of the electrical boxes and staple lateral runs of wire with wire staples. Run the wiring for the new devices and connect each new circuit.

Attempting a rewiring project yourself is no joke, and it gets worse if you have no electrical experience or knowledge. It is always better to leave such demanding electrical services to professional electricians. Hiring a professional saves money in the long run, guarantees electrical safety, and is stress-free for the homeowner.

Be sure to test all your electrical components after the project and ascertain they are working fine. If you opted for DIY, ensure a professional electrician inspects the wiring room by room afterwards.

Contact A Local Los Angeles Electrician

The Electric Connection is proud to employee some of Los Angeles’ greatest electricians. If you need help with a house rewire in Los Angeles or the surrounding areas, be sure to give us a call. We have even created an online form where you can get a free house rewire quote delivered to your inbox in minutes. Don’t take a house rewire project on yourself, give us a call and we can help!

Can I Upgrade to a 200 Amp Service?

panel upgradeIn the past, many homes could get away with using at most a 60 – 100 Amp service. But as technology evolves every day and homeowners are exposed to more and more appliances, 100 Amps can no longer cut it for most homes.

Knowing if you can upgrade to a 200 Amp service panel involves considering a few key points. Stick with these lines to learn more.

You can upgrade to a 200 Amp service under the following conditions:

You need more electrical power
Have you added or do you plan to add any new appliance in your home? If so, don’t be in a hurry to upgrade your panel. Check the amount of power needed by this new appliance. Several appliances require a moderate amount of power that do not need you to make drastic changes to your panel. While power-hungry appliances like an Air conditioner will need much power to operate.

Hence, if you are adding appliances such as cell phones, LED TV, and an incandescent light bulb, there’s no need to worry. Appliances like an air conditioner, electric clothes dryer, electric range, or hot tub can be a reason to upgrade your amp service.

Your home is old
Older homes usually have a lower amp panel and the electrical wiring can be worn out from years of use. This limits the efficiency of your home and certainly calls for an upgrade. You will need a professional electrician to inspect your electrical system and inform you about the status of your wiring.

You want a safer electrical system
100 Amp may not trip breakers now but it is cutting it too close for electrical safety. When you have a larger amperage like 200 Amps, the unused extra serves as a buffer that is safe and flexible for your system. With a 100 Amp panel in a modern home, half of your safe capacity is taken up from simply switching on one appliance. If there’s an issue and you are lucky, the breaker will trip. In older homes, any unlucky situation involving a 100 Amp panel can trigger an electrical fire.

You want efficiency and room to grow
A 200 Amp service guarantees greater efficiency of your home. It gives you room to grow at any time you choose. You might not need it now, but who says you won’t want a backyard pool in the future? Or perhaps a basement bar or one of these power-hungry devices you do not have now?

The electrician says so
The most dependable way to know if you can upgrade to a 200 Amp panel is to ask an electrician. A professional electrician will check your current electrical system and give accurate advice on what is needed. If you do need an upgrade the electrician can provide that as well.

A panel upgrade is a serious project so be sure to hire only a licensed, qualified, and insured electrician. Reach out to us here for this service and more.

Can Electric Vehicles Use HOV Lanes?

los angeles ev charger installationHigh-occupancy vehicle lane which is popularly known as HOV lanes is a traffic lane restricted and reserved for use by vehicles with a driver and one or more passengers. The minimum number of occupants is 2 to 3. In simple terms, the aim of this traffic lane is to get as many people off the road as possible to reduce traffic and air pollution.

There are over 126 HOV facilities across the United States. These lanes are not as effective as intended on most days, but they remain in use. They do help to save time during traffic congestion.

The principles behind HOV lanes exempt certain cars from using them. These vehicles include motorcycles, law enforcement vehicles, charter buses, some low emission vehicles and single occupancy vehicles paying a toll. The vehicles allowed on high-occupancy vehicle lanes are battery electric vehicle (BEV), fuel cell vehicles (FCV), and carpool, vanpool, and transit buses.

Electric vehicles are becoming more popular by the day. In most jurisdictions, they are allowed on HOV lanes. The benefits of this for drivers are:

  • Spend less time in traffic
    Fuel run vehicles have the ability to withstand traffic congestion, but this is different for electric cars. The stop-and-go traffic routine would reduce the car’s batteries. Hence, it helps for electric car drivers to be included in the use of HOV lanes.
  • Promoting clean air and cars
    It’s no secret that electric cars emit no harmful gases. They are unique for their contribution to clean air and clean cars. Using HOV lanes is a perfect way to advertise the concept of electric cars to others. It is an effective way of stating the importance of electric cars.

To use the High-occupancy vehicle lanes, electric vehicle owners have to get a permit from the Department of Motor Vehicles. They would be given a sticker which is usually placed on the rear bumpers and rear fenders.

3 Ways to Utilize Recessed Lighting

los angeles recessed lightingWhen you are considering what types of lighting to use in your home, it’s important to think about how best to highlight the best features of a room, create an atmosphere that is inviting, and improve the functionality of a room. You need to choose the best mix of lighting to give your room the most life. Recessed lighting is an excellent way to create an inviting and functional room that is sure to keep you and your family happy.

How is recessed lighting best used?

Recessed lighting has many functionalities and can be used in pretty much any room in your home. We have compiled a list of the three best ways to utilize recessed lighting. Read on to learn more!

Bathroom Lighting

When you think about lighting your home, you might overlook the bathroom. Common homes have one single light overhead which can be inadequate for lighting the different areas in your bathroom. Using recessed lighting in your bathroom can bring style and functionality to your space which can help you both relax and unwind as well as get ready for a night out.

You can use recessed lighting in the bathroom in more than just the ceiling. Place the light fixtures around a mirror to create the perfect bathroom mirror. When used with other types of light fixtures, recessed lighting can help create a very even and shadow-free lighting that normal ceiling light fixtures cannot.

Since recessed lighting has housings that can get wet, they are ideal for inside the shower or over a tub. Add an additional light inside your shower to see better when getting clean.

Dramatic Effect

If you have artwork you want to show off in your home, recessed lighting gives you the perfect opportunity to do so. Recessed lighting can give you that perfect dramatic effect when lighting photos or sculptures.

Certain fixtures have movable parts. With adjustable recessed lighting trims, you can angle the light in whichever direction you wish. This gives you more ways to light your home.

Kitchen Lighting

Many kitchens are very underlit leaving it hard to see when cooking or entertaining. Lighting can be an afterthought when you are focusing on creating the perfect kitchen setting. Recessed lighting can be the perfect solution for a kitchen’s needs. It can be placed overhead of a preparing area so you can have the best view of what you’re working on. Combined with other types of light fixtures, you can have the best kitchen around.

There are many ways to utilize recessed lighting in your home – these are just three examples. If you have any questions about the type of lighting needed for your home, consult with a professional electrician today.

The Electric Connection has been providing lighting services to the Los Angeles area for over 30 years. We would be happy to provide you with an idea of what best works for your home. Give us a call during business hours to speak with a specialist!

Best Outdoor Lighting for Homes

Best Outdoor LightingTaking on a new lighting project can be difficult and confusing. You need to decide what type of lighting you want to use. Then figure out which fixtures work best in each room. Do you want dimmable lighting? How about lighting on timers? There’s a lot of decision making that goes into a new lighting project.

Outdoor lighting is a completely different story. While there are safety concerns when changing the lighting inside your home, you have to deal with the climate changes outside. All lighting outside must use outdoor-rated fixtures. This means that it must be fit for use with all the weather changes. If it rains, it needs to be safe from water. While it sounds like a difficult task, when an outdoor lighting project is completed, it can be very rewarding.

Which Outdoor Lighting To Install?

Choosing what type of outdoor lighting you want to install is the first step. Decide what you are trying to accomplish with your lights. Do you want to highlight your landscape features? Is your walkway too dark and you need more security? Or do you just want to see your friends’ and family’s faces while enjoying a nice evening on your patio? Figuring out your objective will help narrow down the best outdoor lighting to install.

When to Install Outdoor Lighting?

The best time to install the lighting outdoors depends, again, on what type of lighting you need. A simple fixture on a wall can be added at any time. If you’re looking to highlight your garden and want to hide the wires, the best time to install it would be before you plant your next prize-winning rose bush. This way you can hide all the wire underground without disturbing your beloved plants. An electrician can better guide you after taking a walk through of your outdoor space.

Why Choose Outdoor Lighting?

There are a lot of reasons to install outdoor lighting. These range from wanting to show off your new garden or to entertaining family and friends. Your outdoor space can become almost like a new room in your home when properly lit. Here are some reasons why you might want to add lighting to the outside of your home.

  • Safety and security
  • Highlight features of your yard
  • Entertaining friends or family on a patio
  • Lighting the pool for a nighttime swim
  • Another decorative device

You can see there are a lot of reasons to install outdoor lighting at your home. To figure out which outdoor lighting is best for you, consult an electrician. They will be able to help you decide what works best for your outdoor space and your budget.

The Electric Connection in Los Angeles has been providing electrical services to the people in and around the city for over 30 years. We are happy to help pick out what outdoor lighting for your pool or yard is the best. We offer many different lighting services. Our office is open Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm. Please give us a call if you have any questions at (818) 446-0888.

Importance of Bathroom Fans

You might be thinking, “do I need a fan in my bathroom?” The answer may surprise you. In addition to keeping the bathroom from getting too hot, a bathroom fan actually has many benefits. The first purpose of installing a bathroom fan is to keep the moisture out of the room. The fans can also help remove odors as well as remove fumes from cleaning materials that might pose health issues.

Where to Install Bathroom Fan

bathroom fanThere is actually a lot that goes into deciding where to install a bathroom fan. If you have a smaller bathroom, this may be an easy decision, but larger bathrooms require some thinking and math. Design architects and builders work hard to ensure that bathroom fans are placed in the right spot not only for safety and proper ventilation but also for the aesthetics.

The most important aspect of finding a place for the bathroom fan is finding the right size fan. So, what bathroom fan do you need? It must be big enough to ventilate your entire room or else it’s purpose is diminished. There is a simple math equation that helps determine the size of fan you need for your bathroom. Simply take the volume of your room (the cubic feet) and then multiply that by 8 (which is the number of exchanges of air per hour). Take this sum and divide it by 60 which will result in the required CFM, or cubic feet per minute, you need for the room.

Once you know which bathroom fan to buy, finding the right spot is pretty easy. Heat rises and the primary function of the fan is to reduce the moisture in the room so the best place for the fan is in the ceiling that is the highest from the ground. You should also place the fan near the element that is creating the most moisture or odor. Do not just place the fan in the middle of the room, it should be placed either over the toilet or the tub. Remember that fans placed over a shower or tub must be rated for where they are located and protected with a GFCI.

When To Install A Bathroom Fan

If you currently do not have a fan in your bathroom, you might want to consider installing one. This will help remove the moisture and unpleasant odors. Without a bathroom fan, you might find yourself cleaning the bathroom more. You might even be faced with a mold problem if the moisture can’t escape properly.

When To Replace A Bathroom Fan

When your bathroom fan starts acting up, how do you know if you need to replace it? Repeated use of any device can cause it to fail over time, but fortunately there are some warning signs to look out for.

  • Odd noises or sounds. Loud throbbing or clanking can mean that the bearings are starting to fail or the blades are not aligned properly. It’s important to realize that most bathroom fans cannot be repaired properly so they must be completely replaced. Since the unit is sealed, it is impossible to grease the bearings so when they stop working the unit must be replaced.
  • Power up time. If you are noticing that the fan is starting slower and slower it may be time to replace it. Sluggish or slow startup times means the unit is starting to fail.
  • No power. When you turn on the fan and nothing happens, this might be a big sign it has failed. If you have access to check for power, do so, but it might be time for a replacement. The electrician you call to replace it can give you a more accurate diagnosis.

Bathroom fans are a great addition to any home, almost a necessary one. Any electrician can help you decide which one to buy and where to place it. Be sure to ask for references before you have an electrician visit your home.

The Electric Connection is proud to serve the people of Los Angeles and the surrounding areas. We have been installing bathroom fans for over 30 years. Our electricians are licensed and insured to bring you the best services in the area. Give us a call today to get on schedule.

House Rewire Warning Signs & Things to Consider

los angeles house rewireHow can you be sure that a house rewire is necessary? The wires in your house deliver the electricity throughout your entire home so you need to be sure that you get advice from the experts. Fortunately, there are few things you can check out before you call any electricians out to your house.

The first thing to consider is the age of your home and electrical panel. If your house is over 50 years old, there’s a good chance it needs to be rewired. At the very least you should have the wiring in your home inspected by a professional. Homes over 50 years old may contain knob-and-tube or aluminum wiring. These types of wiring are outdated and can potentially pose extreme dangers.

Other warning signs that you may need a whole house electrical rewire include:

  • Circuit breakers that are tripping frequently
  • Blown fuses
  • A burning smell that won’t go away
  • Sizzling sounds without apparent sources
  • Outlets or switches that look discolored or charred

If you are noticing any of the signs above, it’s probably a good time to call your electrician to schedule an inspection. Many electricians are happy to provide customers with whole house rewire estimates. This can be a very large investment so it’s important to call around to find multiple estimates for the job.

It is fortunate, though, that rewiring a home is usually a once-in-a-generation expense when done right. It’s important to weigh the risks versus the expenses when considering this project. Improper or outdated wiring can cause many issues including fires so it’s a job that shouldn’t be put off too long. A report by the US Fire Administration states that from 2010 to 2014, 45,210 home structure fires involved electrical malfunctions or failure. Annually this led to 420 deaths and over 1,300 injuries. These fires also caused $1.4 billion in property damages.

House Rewire: Things to Consider

You might be thinking, ‘what is a full house rewire?’ Well, it’s much like it sounds. Rewiring a home involved removing as many of the old wires as possible to make room for wiring that is not only new but also up to date. Non-metallic wire, or Romex, is used because it is generally safe and easier to work with. It won’t get hot when it is surrounded by insulation.

The new wiring can be installed by tearing out walls to run the new wires and then sealing the new installation behind drywall. This can be very expensive and may take a bit of time to complete. The fewer walls that need cut the less the job will cost. If the wiring can be run through a crawlspace or attic this is ideal for keeping down the cost.

Another option electricians may choose is to take the wiring and fish it through the walls with rods and thin metal, called fish tape. This is usually used in older homes to keep up the integrity. Instead of tearing down walls, small holes are made and then patched up. Using this method helps preserve the plaster walls.

When a house is being rewired, it is almost always recommended to also upgrade your panel. Older homes generally have a smaller capacity panel but when you rewire your home you’re allowing for more conveniences which might put more strain on your panel. If your home has a 60 amp panel, it’s a good idea to update it to 100 amp. This will allow you to bring more comfort into your home without the worry of tripping circuits.

Whether you need a new light fixture installed or are getting your whole home rewired, choosing the right electrician is very important. Don’t just hire the cheapest person on the market – be sure to do research and get multiple bids from professionals. In the end, it will be worth it to know that your house rewire job was done safely and correctly.

You local electrician at The Electric Connection can perform whole house rewires with ease. Our technicians have the expertise and experience necessary to get the job done correctly and quickly. Click here to learn more about our house rewire services or give us a call at (818) 446-0888.

Upgrading to GFCI Outlets by Beverly Hills Electrician

If your home was built before 1971, you will want to take a quick look around your home to see what kind of outlets you have. Technology and electric safety standards are constantly improving. With every improvement, you can feel a little safer and secure in your home when it comes to the electrical wiring and other components. After 1971, new home construction standards required the use of GFCI outlets in some areas where water was a risk factor to electrical appliances. If your home does not have these, it is a good idea to have an electrician in Beverly Hills update the outdated outlets. The team at The Electric Connection can take care of this for you.

Your garage and unfinished basements is another area where GFCI outlets should be used, especially if they are prone to even mild flooding. A ground fault circuit interrupter can protect you from an electric shock if you happen to be using an appliance and it comes into contact with water explains a Beverly Hills electrician. The very second the electrical current is interrupted, the outlet cuts off power. This can prevent you from getting shocked. Once the danger has been removed, you can simply reset the outlet and it will work fine again.

If you have an outdoor pool area or hot tub, all your pumps and vacuums should be plugged into a GFCI outlet. It wasn’t until the late 1980s that these outlets were required in kitchen areas. Considering how many appliances are in today’s kitchens, it is a good idea to add the extra protection of the GFCI says an electrician. Beverly Hills homeowners can take a look around their own homes and then jot down where they would like the outlets installed. One call to The Electric Connection to have the newer, safer outlets installed will give you that extra safety you need.