Author Archives: Hufnagel Electric

Finding The Best Electrician For Your Home Inspection

Having a qualified electrician perform a home inspection is one of the smartest decisions you can make for your home, not to mention the safety of your family.

Whether you’re building new, buying an older home, working on renovations or additions, or it’s just been a while since a professional has given your house a once-over, home inspections are virtually guaranteed to save you from costly repair bills—and perhaps even a tragic fire—later on down the road.

Types of Electricians

There are generally three classifications of electrician—apprentice, journeyman, and master. Each consecutive level requires an increasing number of years of experience and the successful completion of various written exams.
Pennsylvania, for instance, doesn’t have any statewide licensing requirements as other states do—the requirements depend on your city. For instance, journeyman electricians in Allentown require four years of experience and successful passage of the journeyman exam to receive their journeyman electrician license. Whereas Philadelphia and Pittsburgh offer electrical contractor licenses, which require certification from an electrical wiring school, two years of experience and successful completion of a trade exam.

The main distinction between master and journeyman electricians is that masters are authorized to design entire electrical systems—ideal if you’re building a new home or working on an addition. For all other types of home inspections, journeyman electricians can conduct them with the same level of expertise.

How to Choose an Electrician

As with most things, a little bit of homework goes a long way. Ask to see their license and proof of insurance, and make sure both are current. If they give you the run-around about these two vital documents, you have your answer—find someone else.

Online reviews can also help you decide, provided they’re authentic. But old-school is often still the best way to go—word-of-mouth remains one of the most effective ways to find what you need. Talk to an electrician’s previous customers and ask them about their experience. If they’re happy with the work and had a good rapport, your search may be over. And when in doubt, get a referral from someone you trust. With a little digging and a few good questions, finding the best electrician for your home inspection won’t take you long at all.

Electrical Requirements for Portable Air Conditioning

Things to Consider Before Buying a Window Unit

Air Condition Unit Interior View USAWhen central air conditioning is not an option, portable and window air conditioners make keeping cool affordable because of their high energy efficiency and low price.

Window AC units are typically easy to install, and most provide an energy saver switch option that makes them affordable to operate when you only need to cool one room.

Research shows that an average household spends about 13% of its annual utility bills on cooling, which is why it is important to choose the right air conditioning unit. A too-large unit will cool so quickly that it doesn’t have time to remove enough moisture, leaving you with a cold, clammy space. And one that is too small will struggle to cool a room.

Consider the following before you install any type of air conditioner:

With a few exceptions, most window air conditioners will require their own dedicated circuit so they don’t overload an existing room circuit.

Stand-alone AC units are a good option in homes where window configurations or building regulations prevent the installation of window units They require minimal set-up and have casters for easy portability.

The size of a room will dictate the size of the air conditioner. Match the room’s dimensions in square feet with the AC unit’s BTU cooling capacity power, for example, 20 BTU for each square foot. But don’t buy relying on the BTUs alone. You should also make allowances for the height of your ceiling and the size of your windows and doorways.

Window air conditioners generally blow air in one direction, which can be a problem if the window location is not centered on the wall. Consider one that has fan arms that swivel or one with a powerful thrust that can distribute the air evenly to your room.

Room conditioners with an Energy Efficiency Rating capacity of 8.0 or higher will offer features such as with features such as variable fan speeds, temperature controls by degrees and not just high and low settings, a timer or programmable thermostat, energy saving settings and accessible filters for cleaning and maintenance

Older models of air conditioners are very loud and the noise could disturb light sleepers even when set on low and are distracting to all when set on high. There are excellent air conditioning units that have a quiet operation that the only sound you might hear is the fan running.

Before installing your new AC, check first with professional electricians such as Hufnagel Electric to see if your home electrical system meets the needs of the AC unit’s electrical capacities and requirements, such as voltage, amps, watts, and the correct plug face. Also, check to see if you need to install a 220-volt circuit for your unit.

Electrical Safety In The Bathroom

electrical-safety-bathroomElectrical fires and accidents are common causes of injury and death in the home. Nearly every home has potential electrical hazards caused by incorrect or defective electrical wires, improper electrical connections at outlets or switches, and frayed appliance or extension cords, just to name a few.

Electrical safety in the bathroom is often overlooked, and outlets that are too close to a water source or handling an electrical appliance with wet hands heighten the chances of getting an electric shock. In wet surroundings, unsuitable equipment can become “live” and make its surroundings live too. That is why Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlets are required in bathrooms and other wet areas as part of the electrical code.

Here are additional ways to practice electrical safety in the bathroom:

Never use a radio, hair dryer, phone, extension cords or electric devices in the bath, near the sink, bathtub, or on a wet bathroom floor.

Electric water heaters in a bathroom must be fixed, permanently wired, and fitted at least 9 feet away from a water source in the bathroom.

Electrical outlets in bathrooms should be GFCI outlets, installed by a professional electrician at the required distance from sources of water.

Recessed lights are recommended in bathrooms to keep fixtures away from water.

While you may be tempted to bring an electric heater into the bathroom, be sure that it is at a safe distance from a water source and the floor it sits on is bone dry.

Always have a fire extinguisher handy in order to avoid a very common error of using water to put out electrical fires. Water fuels the fire and may cause electrocution. In the absence of a fire extinguisher, always turn off your electrical power from the main source in the event of an electrical fire, evacuate your home and call 911.

Remember to switch off and unplug the equipment from use immediately and store it out of reach of children.

Avoid Do-It-Yourself electrical repairs by all means necessary. Instead, have a qualified electrician inspect your wiring on a regular basis to ensure the wiring is safe and to see if you need an upgrade.

Electrical Safety Month

GFCI InstallationThe nonprofit Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) promotes May as National Electrical Safety Month. It’s always a good idea to pay a little extra attention to something that is of such vital importance. We all use electrical devices and appliances, every day, without really thinking about it.  Here is a general checklist of some things to look for or steps to take to keep your home and your family safe around electricity. Continue reading

Home Electrical Systems: 5 Things Every Homeowner Should Know

circuit_breakerThe last thing any homeowner needs to stress about is their home’s electrical system. You rely on a proper working system for your daily life to run smoothly. If you ignore potential issues, a faulty electrical system can be detrimental to your family’s safety. Fires caused by faulty wiring, fuses or circuit breakers happen every year and can be easily prevented.

It’s important to know what you are looking at (and hearing) in your home’s electrical system. For instance, a sparking sound from an outlet is a sign of a faulty system which poses a risk of fire and electrical shock. Flickering lights should not be ignored, as it could be a sign of a faulty electrical panel or an overloaded circuit.

Here are 5 things to consider when you are looking at electrical system components in your home, or a home that you are buying. Remember, always call a licensed professional electrician when dealing with repairs or upgrades to your home’s electrical system. Continue reading