It’s not always clear how to begin when making a home improvement. Like with many other things, knowing the basics allows any project to run much more smoothly. Whatever home improvement project you’re dreaming of, you should find the suggestions presented below quite helpful.
Be sure to consider the type of material you plan to use before building an addition to your home. Using wood may increase your insurance premiums because of the added risk of fire. Steel and concrete are more durable and fire-resistant, so choosing one of these options can help keep your annual insurance premiums low.
When renovating a kitchen, be sure to perform a good deep clean before applying any paint. The walls are probably covered with at least a thin layer of grease. This grease will make it difficult for the new paint to stick. It is also possible that your kitchen walls don’t need paint at all and are just dirty with grease!
Considering the cost of hiring a plumber, you will probably want to do some of the simpler plumbing tasks yourself. An essential tool is the pipe wrench. It is adjustable, so it can fit a pipe perfectly, and it provides an excellent grip and leverage. This one tool will more than pay for itself.
Before starting any project, you must have a good idea of the changes you will be making. A concrete plan is essential if you want your project to be within your budget and completed on time. You also know how much more adding in different things to your project might cost you. Your contractors will be much happier also, if you have made up your mind about changes long before the first hammer is swung.
Home improvement isn’t necessarily complex, and these suggestions prove it. Mastering some basic information makes it easy to get started on just about any project, no matter how simple or complicated. Keep these tips in mind, and you should achieve your desired outcome.
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Whether you’re remodeling, building an addition, or simply want more power to run electronics, the electrical service at your home is a crucial point of contact with electricity. It needs to be safe and up to code in order to pass inspection.
Often referred to as a breaker box, fuse box, or service panel, the main service panel is typically found on the wall adjacent to your exterior electric meter.
Check Your Meter
Electric meters measure the amount of electricity you use, and are used to determine your energy costs. Your power company takes a monthly meter reading to calculate your bill. You can help ensure your supplier has the correct reading by checking your meter. You’ll need to take your meter reading in both day and night to get an accurate picture of your usage.
The traditional electric meters you see in homes have multiple dials that track your usage in kilowatt-hours. These are easy to read if you know how. The pointers on the dials are marked with different rates – often labelled ‘low’ or ‘night’ and ‘normal’ or ‘day’. The top row will show how many kilowatt-hours you’ve used during the lower rate, and the bottom row shows the number of kilowatt-hours you’ve consumed in the higher rate.
If you’re unsure of how to read your meter, you should contact your electrician. They can provide detailed instructions for reading your specific meter type and how to calculate your meter’s reading in kWh.
When you check your meter, be careful. The exposed wires in the service panel box can carry high amperage, and could be dangerous to touch. Be especially cautious when using tools like screwdrivers or wire cutters. These can transmit an electric shock if you accidentally touch them.
If your meter has been vandalized, tampered with or damaged, it will probably need to be replaced. This will usually be done by your supplier, who will also arrange for an independent meter examiner to come and test the replacement. This is the best way to ensure that your new meter is working properly.
Some meters have a digital display instead of the dials, and they work in much the same way. The display will either flash the different rate readings in a cycle, or you’ll need to press a button to cycle through the different readings. If your meter has two readings, remember to write down both of them. For example, if the pointer on the upper row passes 1, 2, 3, and 4, but not 5, then your reading is 2. You’ll need to report both the day and night readings to your supplier.
Look at the Wires
Wires are the foundation of an electrical circuit, and they can become worn or damaged over time, rendering a circuit useless if not dangerous. In order to locate a broken wire, you can use a standard multimeter to perform a continuity test and see if current can perfectly flow through the circuit.
If you hear buzzing coming from a particular electrical outlet or appliance, this is a good indication that the wiring in that area needs to be looked at. Electrical wires should not produce noise when functioning correctly; however, if a prong is loose or something else is wrong, the current will jump between different sections of the wire and create that buzzing sound.
When you look at the main service panel (or fuse box in older homes), you should notice two black heavy-gauge wires connected to it. These are the service entrance conductors and they carry 240 volts to the house from the utility. It is important not to touch these wires, as a live wire could cause serious injury.
Once these wires get inside the home, they are spliced together within electrical boxes to prevent a short circuit. This allows homeowners to work on specific rooms of their house, and it also means that the wires aren’t directly exposed. These boxes should be labelled with the number of amps, so that you can easily identify what each individual branch circuit is running.
You should also keep in mind that if you are looking at the wires and they seem overly tangled or crowded, this may indicate that someone did a poor job of installing them. In addition to being unsightly, this can also lead to a faulty connection that could be fatal.
If you are considering a career in electrical construction or maintenance, there are many opportunities to learn about the basics of how these systems function and the best practices for keeping them safe. While it isn’t an option for everyone, obtaining a professional education in this field will help you build a strong background to take on any electrical project, and there are a variety of vocational schools that offer programs in electrical construction and maintenance.
Check the Connections
If you suspect there are problems with your electrical service, check the connections in the service panel. This is the group of wires that connect your homes power usage meter and distribution panel to the power lines coming from your electricity provider. In a residential home the service panel will usually have several circuit breakers. Each of these circuits will have a label on them indicating what the circuit is for, such as lighting or plug loads.
The breaker will also be marked with the size of the circuit, such as 100 amps. If you suspect that the breaker is not marking correctly, or it is not marked at all, contact your electricity provider for assistance. The breaker is the most important piece of equipment in your home for delivering safe and reliable electricity. It is critical to protect the breaker with plastic covers or a wire cover when working on any electrical projects in your home. The covers protect the breaker from dirt, dust, and moisture which can cause a fire or an electric shock.
It is also important to remember that the breaker should never be removed, tampered with, or modified in any way. This is illegal and very dangerous. The meter is designed to measure the amount of electricity that your home uses and is protected by law–tampering with this device can be extremely dangerous and costly.
The electrical service to your home is composed of three parts: Wholesale, Retail, and Delivery. The Wholesale component is associated with high-voltage transmission facilities that transport electricity from power plants to your electric company’s service territory. The retail component is associated with lower-voltage distribution facilities that transport electricity within your electric company’s service territory, metering which tracks your electricity use, and customer service. The final portion of the service is the distribution system that delivers electricity to your home or business.
Oftentimes commercial properties will have more than one service. This is because the property was originally designed with different occupancies in mind and each set of conductors was installed for each. This can lead to situations where the building has a single 208V delta347Y120 wye service that is used to power standard 120 volt lighting and outlets while also having a 277V sub panel that is used for larger motor loads.
Schedule an Inspection
Electrical problems aren’t just annoying, they can be downright dangerous. In order to ensure that your system is safe, it’s important that you schedule regular inspections. This will catch any issues early, before they become serious problems, and help you to avoid costly repairs.
There are several things that your inspector will look for during an inspection. Some of these include GFCI outlets, proper circuits and electrical boxes. Your inspector will also look at the wire gauge and ensure that it is up to code for the amount of load you have on your circuit. For instance, a 15-amp circuit requires 14-gauge wire. If you have more than one appliance on a single circuit, your inspector will make sure that each device is properly grounded and has a dedicated circuit.
You may also want to consider installing a whole-house surge protector. This will prevent damage from power fluctuations and can save you money in the long run.
Your electrician will test all receptacles and light switches to confirm that they are working properly. He or she will also check the type of wiring in your home, including aluminum and knob-and-tube wiring, and will look for any violations in regards to a grounding electrode system or other violations as specified by the National Electrical Code.
In addition, the electrician will look at the condition and location of your electrical box. He or she will make sure that the box is in good condition, that it’s large enough to accommodate your current wiring and that it’s securely fastened to your house.
Lastly, the electrician will check to see that your fuses are of the proper amperage and that they’re installed correctly. He or she will also make sure that your circuit breakers are in the correct position and that they’re properly sized for your home.
Getting an electrical safety inspection doesn’t have to be a hassle. By preparing for what your inspector will be looking at, you can minimize your stress and keep your family safe. It’s worth the investment to make your property safer and to avoid costly repair bills.