Rewiring your home can be a tough or easy process depending on how you approach it. However, it’s an electrical project that must be done once it’s necessary. It’s good to wonder what’s involved and how electricians rewire a house. Read on as we explore this.
What’s involved in rewiring a house?
The first thing to know is that rewiring can be messy and disruptive despite how much your professional electrician tries to keep this smooth and easy. The walls will have to be drilled into, and the flooring lifted in some cases. Your electrician will;
Install new cables
Add or move outlets, switches, light fixtures, and so on.
Fit new back boxes on outlets and switches
Add wiring for a smart home if needed.
Also, home rewiring projects usually occur in two stages, which are;
Replacing circuits and back boxes, cabling, and wiring for the first stage.
The second stage involves installing lighting fittings, faceplates, switches, testing, and setting everything up for use.
How is a home rewired?
Step 1 – Get the required permits and codes
A rewiring project will need a permit from your local building department. The electrician will pull the permit while you cover the expenses.
Step 2 – Access the walls.
Depending on the condition of your home (lived in or vacant) the electrician will have to determine how he plans to access the walls of your home. After making this plan, he will figure out any new cable locations too. Most of the new wiring will have to be run through the attic and crawlspace before entering the walls. With a plan in motion, the electrician will shut off power to your home to begin.
Step 3 – Drill new holes and rewire outlets
It might become necessary to drill new holes to rewire outlets, switches, or install fresh wiring for future appliances. A professional electrician with skill can do this easily and protect your walls from excessive damage.
Step 4 – Determine the number of circuits
Chances are you are rewiring your home because it’s an old home. Most old homes lack enough circuits to meet the demands of modern homes. A professional electrician is updated and knowledgeable of the recent National Electrical Codes and can identify the appropriate number of circuits following these guidelines.
Step 5 – Replace your service equipment
Rewiring your home can mean changing the wiring in addition to replacing your service panel. It’s up to your licensed electrical technician to find out if your electrical panel needs to be repaired or replaced to suit the new wiring.
When is rewiring necessary?
Rewiring offers many benefits such as more power, efficiency, and safety in your home. But it can only be done when necessary. You can call an electrician to see if you need to rewire your home in any of the following situations;
Chandeliers are the most elegant lighting fixtures with the ability to switch up the appearance of any room. One chandelier hanging from your ceiling in the right spot can create that sophisticated look you’ve always wanted.
Unfortunately, when it comes to hanging a chandelier, many homeowners think it’s a long and confusing process. This holds you back from purchasing that exotic chandelier and you couldn’t be more wrong.
Hanging a chandelier can be easy and quick with the right information. You can DIY this or ensure your convenience and safety by calling a professional electrician near you.
Start by choosing the appropriate size, and design for the spot you want to hang the chandelier. Next, get the right tools which include;
Electrical wire tester
Here are the steps to install a chandelier.
You would either be installing your chandelier with a chain or hook, as these are the most common.
First, turn off the electric power to the room you will work in. This can be done with the switch at the circuit breaker. Also, turn off the light switch in the room itself. These steps are to ensure safety as you install the chandelier.
Next, unpack the chandelier and read all the manufacturer’s instructions. Reading the manufacturer’s instructions helps to serve as an additional and accurate guide on what to do as you install. You can identify details like chain length from the manufacture’s instruction.
Prepare the ceiling electrical box. Unscrew the canopy and examine the wires that will power your new chandelier. You should see three separate wires (black, white, and copper wires). Check for damaged wiring and use a voltage meter to check for a hot wire. If all is fine with your junction box, move on to the next step. If not, you will have to fix any damage first and probably call an electrician at this point.
Now, install the mounting bracket over the junction box in the ceiling. At this point, you need to go back to the manufacturer’s instructions to assemble your chandelier.
If you are hanging a chandelier chain, measure the appropriate length and thread your wire through the chandelier chain. Make sure you give room for excess wire when threading.
Open the electrical box in the ceiling and attach the threaded wire from the chandelier to the corresponding wires in the ceiling. In most cases, you will have a black and copper wire from the chandelier. Use a wire stripper to strip off half an inch of insulation from the chandelier wires. Attach the ends of the black chandelier wire to the ends of the black wire in the junction box. Do the same for the second wire.
Tuck the wires back into the junction box and cover it up.
Install your chandelier bulbs and switch the electricity back on to enjoy your working chandelier.
If you would rather avoid the hassle, call an electrician here today for easy and fast chandelier installation.
Your house is not the scene of a horror movie. So, in most cases when you have heard a certain buzzing sound more than once, it’s probably real and not your mind playing tricks.
What’s normal about electrical buzzing sounds?
Electrical appliances do make sounds caused by the electricity itself. This is thanks to the alternating current in electric wires which cause fluctuations or irregularity in magnetic fields. The fluctuations, in turn, produce vibrations which play out as harmless, quiet sounds.
The twist to this, however, is that not everyone can hear the sounds of their electrical appliances. Only very few people who are attuned to the sound of electricity can. For audible sounds to be created, there has to be an increase in voltage.
When is an electrical buzzing sound no longer normal?
When the noise, hum, or buzz becomes louder than it should be, then it’s time to worry. An electrician can help you point out the source of the buzz and its cause.
An electrical buzzing sound can also be referred to as a mains hum. You can often hear a mains hum which is above 60 hertz around your refrigerator or other large units in the home that operate on a motor.
Beyond this, a mains hum can indicate a problem in your breakers or wiring. If the loud sound seems to come from a breaker, shutting it off may be a bad idea. Hence, contacting an electrical technician is the best thing to do.
If the noise comes from an appliance or fixture, you can shut it off immediately before calling a professional electrician. An electrical buzzing sound from a lighting fixture might only require you to change the bulb to fix the problem.
Buzzing sounds from the wall usually indicate old or damaged wires. You can shut off the power to the circuits in that area to stop the noise and call an electrician.
Wall outlets can be another source of an electrical buzz and the culprit is often improperly grounded wiring or increase in voltage that overwhelms the wiring.
It’s important to attend to electrical humming sounds as soon as possible. If the humming sounds do indicate a problem, then there is a risk of electrical fires and the issue getting worse than it is. Getting professional help on-time serves to protect life and property. Do not attempt to DIY the issue as it can only make things worse and put everyone around you in danger.
Your electric system works 24/7 providing the power you need to make life easier. While you might wish this efficiency can last forever, this is usually not the case.
The good news is, despite how complicated electricity can be for inexperienced eyes and hands, there are signs of electrical problems you can look out for as a homeowner in Southern California.
Staying alert or watching out for these signs can protect your home from severe issues like electrical fires. It can also help you spend less on repairs or replacement when the problem is discovered on time.
Here are 7 signs to look out for.
Unfamiliar or burning smells
Electrical burning smells can be hard to miss. This makes it easy for you to find the source by following the smell. If the strange or burning smell is coming from an outlet, your panel, or any other electrical installation stop using it immediately and call an electrician. Burning smells may indicate that damage or an electrical fire has begun. At the same time, new appliances often emit a strange odor when they are first installed or plugged in. This could stem from the finish, paint, or material used on the appliance and nothing serious.
Flickering lights indicate a power surge or damage to your electrical wiring. When your lights flicker, buzz, or dim when turned on, or if an appliance is plugged in, then your system likely needs an upgrade. You can call an electrical technician to inspect and determine the problem.
Buzzing sounds from your fixtures, switches, outlets, or appliances can be worrying. These installations should mostly operate silently. If you hear consistent buzzing noises call an electrician to fix the electrical issue.
Frayed or chewed wiring
Pets, rodents, cheap products, and inexperienced handymen can lead to frayed or chewed wiring in your home in Southern California. This sort of damage is both a shock and fire hazard that should be handled immediately. Contact your electrical contractor in Southern California to inspect your entire wiring and replace any damaged parts.
Warm or sparking wall outlets
If wall outlets or switches are warm to the touch, they may indicate loose or damaged wiring. Call an electrician to check and replace any damaged wiring.
Circuit breaker trips
Your home breaker is designed to trip, to protect your system from overload or power surges. When these protective trips occur, it’s easy to switch your breaker back on and continue using your efficient system as normal. However, frequent circuit breaker trips are a sign of something deeper and dangerous in your electrical system. Call an electrician to confirm as soon as you observe this.
Cheap or fake electrical products
You can find cheap electrical products for your home in Southern California anywhere. While the lower than normal price may seem enticing, most of such products are made with fake materials or not up to industry standards. They can go on to create dangerous problems or electrical hazards in your home. Always purchase quality electrical materials or products for your home.
This 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.
Becoming an electrician is a wonderful career choice. It involves repairing, installing, replacement, and maintaining electrical components in businesses, homes, and buildings in general.
According to a BLS report, “the median annual wage for electricians was $55,190 in May 2018.” The BLS May 2018 data also includes that the annual wage of an electrician in California was $69,320.
You can get a license to be a Los Angeles electrician in any of the 5 licenses that fall under the electrical category for California. Most of what is needed to acquire the license are similar, and we have outlined the differences below. The 5 licenses include;
General Journeyman Electrician
A journeyman electrician is someone who works under an electrical contractor. The job description includes installing, maintaining, or constructing electrical systems under the National Electrical Code. To apply for a general journeyman electrician license (and any license on this list), you will need proof of,
“successful completion of an apprenticeship program approved by the California Apprenticeship Council, the federal Bureau of Apprenticeship Training, or a state apprenticeship council authorized by the federal Bureau of Apprenticeship Training to approve apprenticeship programs, in the classification for which certification is sought”
This experience itself comprises at least 8000 hours of working under an electrical contractor. The application costs a fee of about $175 and is non-refundable. This license is provided by the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE).
Residential Journeyman Electrician
A residential electrician provides electrical services to residential buildings such as homes, hotels, and motels. This license is also issued by the DLSE. You will require proof of experience as stated in the quote above for a general journeyman license. The experience itself comprises 4800 hours of work under an electrical contractor. The fee for the application is also a non-refundable $175.
Voice, Data, Video Technician (VDV)
A VDV technician is one that requires at least 4000 hours of work experience under an electrical contractor in installing, constructing, or maintaining electrical systems that “falls within the scope of the National Electrical Code, Articles 725, 770, (non-composite cables only), 800 (non-hybrid cables only), 810 and 820”.
The conditions for the proof of experience are the same as stated for the general journeyman electrician and so is the application fee of $175. The license is issued by the DLSE.
Fire/Life Safety Technician
The job description is exactly what the name sounds like. A fire/life safety technician’s experience is quite similar to that of a VDV technician. It requires 4000 hours of working under an electrical contractor on systems that are “covered in the National Electrical Code (Article 760) and the National Fire Alarm Code”. The license is issued by the DLSE and fee for the application is $175 with no refunds.
Non-Residential Lighting Technician
As a non-residential lighting technician, your job is to repair, service, and maintain all existing and non-residential lighting fixtures including the installation of retrofit upgrade fixtures. Your proof of experience provided should include at least 2000 hours of work experience under an electrical contractor. The license is issued by the DLSE and fee for the application is a non-refundable $175.
What is an Electrical Contractor License?
Electrical contracting is a wide and successful industry. It has a value of over $130 billion annually. There are over 70, 000 electrical contracting companies and over 650, 000 electricians in the United States. They serve both residential and commercial electrical needs. An electrical contractor license is a license that allows the licensee to hire other licensed electricians, bid for electrical projects, and apply for relevant permits for jobs. Almost every state requires an individual electrician or company to obtain this license before they can provide electrical services.
Obtaining this contracting license varies between states. However, the individual electrician must be a master electrician. If it is a firm or company applying for the license, then they must present a master electrician who will be responsible for the contracting activities of the firm.
Requirements to Become an Individual or Business Electrical Contractor
Complete electrical apprenticeship to become a journeyman electrician
Meet all your State’s requirement to be a certified journeyman
Earn a master electrician license
Apply for the electrical contractor license and fulfill the requirements
Eligibility for an electrical contractor license
For an individual to be eligible for this license you must meet the following criteria;
You must pay the required fees- this refers to the application fee and license fee which may vary across States
Have insurance with a reputable insurer
Commit to an educational and safety training
Complete the necessary forms
Possess the qualifications, training, and experience of a qualified electrician
You must agree to comply with all the State guidelines, legislative requirements, and the codes of practice
The projects a licensed electrical contractor can handle
COMMERCIAL AND INDUSTRIAL PROJECTS A licensed electrical contractor can take on huge or small tasks within a commercial and industrial setting. These include working on schools, hospitals, office building, factories, and much more. Electrical contractors can bid competitively for these tasks and can also be hired as permanent members of the design-build team. The services they will provide to these buildings include the design and installation of panels, electrical systems, wiring, electrical equipment, and more.
RESIDENTIAL PROJECTS Residential projects are the most lucrative business for electrical contractors because homes have evolved to need more customized electrical services. There are integrated communication systems, security and entertainment systems in modern homes. An electrical contractor can perform electrical upgrades, installations, wiring, renovation projects, and more in residential settings. Some projects may require permits which the license enables the contractor to obtain.
SERVICE AND MAINTENANCE JOBS An electrical contractor can provide this to both residential and commercial settings. The contractors would need to service, maintain, and repair electrical systems. Sometimes such tasks are complete within a day or hours and have a flat rate cost.
The Electric Connection is a licensed electrical contracting company. We hire only the best electrical technicians to work for you. We are professional about our tasks and guarantee a satisfying service each time. You can call on us to handle any electrical tasks you might have. Our electricians ensure they get it right the first time, to save you cost, stress, and time.
No one likes to experience mysteries in their own home. When it comes to hearing a humming sound, it can be both confusing and even as terrifying as a scene from a horror movie.
Humming sounds can almost seem like they are coming from everywhere in the walls or nowhere in particular. But the fact is, if you have heard an electrical humming sound more than once, then it’s likely there and some electrical component is to blame.
We will discuss some possible causes of an electrical humming sound in the walls and what you can do about them. It’s also important to know that in most cases the electrical humming sound can be a warning sign of other problems.
The mains hum is either a humming or buzzing sound made by electrical wiring or equipment. The sounds occur at 60 hertz (for humming) and 120-180 hertz (for buzzing sounds). They are common with large appliances built with a motor. A good example is a refrigerator. Also, a magnetic field from outside the home can create and increase a mains hum in your audio systems. A mains hum is normal and harmless unless the hum becomes a loud buzzing sound. When this happens, you should contact your electrical technician.
There are a few reasons why a circuit breaker may cause a humming or buzzing sound in your electric system. These include an overload of current. When a circuit breaker conducts more electricity than it can normally handle, it should shut off. When it fails to automatically shut off the current overload develops an audible buzzing sound. The solution is to turn off the electricity to your home and replace the breaker. Improper or incorrect wiring to a circuit breaker can also lead to buzzing sounds.
If your electrical wiring is the source of the electrical hum within the walls, it could be from a wide range of causes. Only an electrical technician can inspect this and point out the specific source of the buzzing sound. An example of sources of buzzing sounds due to wiring problems are improperly grounded wires.
A light fixture can make a humming or buzzing sound if the bulb is faulty or being used on a dimmer. Sometimes the fixture type is also to blame. Fluorescent light fixtures are also known for often making humming sounds. You can fix this problem by changing the bulb or fixture. If the sound persists, then call an expert to fix the problem.
Since a humming sound could be an indicator of other issues in your electrical system, it’s best to call an electrician when you notice these sounds. The electrician can better identify where your electrical hum is coming from and why. They can also fix the problem.
Avoid taking up fixing the electrical hum in the walls as a DIY project to avoid accidents or harm to life and property,
Overlamping is one of those words you might find strange as a homeowner. But it’s really just a term for describing a common electrical occurrence. Overlamping means fitting a lower-wattage fixture with a light bulb that has a much higher-wattage.
An example of overlamping is placing a 100-watt light bulb on a 60-watt fixture. The implication of this is that the wires connected to the fixture can melt and lead to an electrical fire.
The danger of overlamping
When it comes to electricity there are several do’s and don’ts that help to secure your electrical safety. Overlamping is one of those things you shouldn’t do. When the wiring and socket insulation overheats and melts, it increases the probability of electrical arcs. Electrical arcs are sparks that jump in the air from one wire to another. The electrical arcs, in turn, cause electrical discharge which finally leads to house fires. If you stop the fire from happening or pull out the bulb, the damage will still be done, and the entire setup will need a replacement.
How to find the recommended wattage
The recommended wattage on every light fixture shows the amount of power the fixture is designed to take. Modern fixtures often disclose this wattage. Some use NMB or NM indicated on the jacket of the wire. The letter B, in NMB, tells you that the cable is rated to handle the maximum temperature of 194 degrees Fahrenheit. While NM shows that the maximum temperature the cable is rated for is 140 degrees Fahrenheit. In simpler terms, NMB rated fixtures can accommodate higher wattage bulbs.
Older fixtures hardly indicate the recommended wattage. In this situation, it’s better to stick with the average 60-watt bulbs or even lower.
How can you fix overlamping
When overlamping occurs and you stop the implications of a fire early enough, shut off the power to that fixture or area of the home and call an electrician. Our electrical technicians at The Electric Connection will arrive on time and provide a quality replacement service.
An 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!
It’s just annoying to live in a home that does not have enough power. The voltage will drop frequently, and this can be damaging to your electronics. Situations like this indicate that you need to upgrade your electrical panel. Other reasons why you might need to upgrade your panel include:
Living in an old home
Adding new appliances
Expanding the home
Experiencing frequent breaker tripping, buzzing or crackling, flickering lights and more
Your insurance provider wants it done.
To meet up to current electrical codes and standards
The benefits of an upgrade include:
Improved electrical safety and efficiency
More power in the home
Use of any appliances you need.
Satisfy electrical codes and requirements and your insurance provider.
The disadvantages of an electrical panel upgrade include:
Costly to carry out
The process can be messy and intrusive to your comfort and home structure.
What an upgrade will cost:
Upgrading an electrical panel is first a serious project both financial and in the service itself. Upgrading to either a 100 amp or 200 amp panel can cost anywhere from between $800 – $3000. The exact amount depends on several factors which we will discuss below.
What influences the cost for an electrical panel upgrade?
Materials– The materials for the upgrade always contribute to the cost. The process will need materials like wires, fittings, and so on. Your electrician will give you a clear view of what is needed depending on other factors with your upgrade.
Labor– An upgrade is a tedious work and some electricians charge by the hour or per the job. Sometimes, other components of your electrical system will need to be fixed or replaced. These could be the circuits, grounding, wiring, fixtures, outlets, and more. This will increase labor costs. If the walls need to be taken down completely, that will matter too.
Amperage of the new panel– Is it a 100 amp or a 200 amp? This also influences cost.
Other factors might be if the panel has to be moved.
Who should upgrade an electrical panel?
A licensed and experienced electrician should be the one you call for an electrical panel upgrade. The electrician will first confirm that an upgrade is what you need and then proceed to consider all the necessary factors. He will give you the total cost, get a permit, and the project can begin.
How about DIY?
Changing a light bulb can be a DIY project. Installing a ceiling fan can also be a DIY project, but upgrading an electrical panel is NOT a DIY project. It requires knowledge of electrical codes and standards. It requires training, a license, permits, and experience. If you skip getting a permit, you can be fined for this. It is equally dangerous for someone who is unsure of what they are doing, as mistakes could cause fires and electrical shocks. It also requires the right tools and equipment.
Reach out to us at The Electric Connection for inquiries on upgrades.