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Electricians Tips & Tricks Blog

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Welcome to the Mister Sparky Tips & Tricks Blog! Look around to read our latest posts or delve into our archives for great ideas on maximizing your home’s energy efficiency, upgrading your electrical wiring, selecting new appliances or keeping your home safe. Whether you’re buying or building a new home, preparing for renovations, or just trying to keep on top of your own home maintenance, you’ll find interesting topics and helpful tips right here.


Technological innovations are developing faster all the time, and many of them have implications for the modern home. If you wish you could control all your appliances and electronics from a single smartphone or have a house that learns your behaviors and predicts your needs, it’s not science fiction -- it’s the smart home.


And if you’re looking to learn more about the old-school basics, like bringing your home into compliance with local building codes, replacing broken fixtures or setting up a generator to keep your household humming through a blackout, feel free to start your journey here. You might even find inspiration for a new home project or be reminded of an overdue opportunity for preventative home maintenance!


Check back often and bookmark this page to stay on top of the latest posts.



Home inspector

When Should You Schedule an Electrical Inspection?

  • 09/26/18

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is good advice… sometimes. And when it comes to your home’s electrical system, you can leave well enough alone more often than not. But there are also certain circumstances in which it makes sense to schedule a thorough electrical inspection.

Most homeowners are familiar
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detector

How Do Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors Work?

  • 10/04/17

Two of the most important electronics in your home are also among the simplest. The smoke detectors that provide critical fire warnings and the carbon monoxide detectors that protect you from an invisible threat are extremely basic, and that’s part of what makes them so reliable, compact and inexpensive.

Safety Is
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outlet2

Three Prongs Good, Two Prongs Bad

  • 03/08/17

Among the more obvious pieces of electrical safety advice you may have encountered is to never saw the third prong off of an electrical plug in order to fit it into a two-prong outlet. But just because we can recognize that as a self-evidently bad idea doesn’t mean everyone knows
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Municipal building code

Does Your Home Have Knob and Tube Wiring?

  • 02/08/17

Since electrical work isn’t for amateurs, many homeowners don’t know much about the electrical systems in their homes. With all the wiring hidden behind the walls, it may be that all you know is what you learned in your pre-sale inspection -- if you remember, that is.

When it comes to
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badelectrician

Electrical Work is No Novice Job

  • 02/01/17

Many homeowners know the pride and satisfaction that results from completing DIY repairs and improvements. But when it comes to electrical work, the stakes of making a rookie mistake can be high.

There are several common electrical projects that aren’t complicated or extensive, but even the simplest jobs can result in
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wiring

Is Your Home Wiring In Need of an Upgrade?

  • 09/21/16

Even if your home was built to last, it could be that the wiring hidden within your walls is in need of an upgrade. This is especially true if you know your home’s wiring to be more than 50 years
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bathroom3

Tips for Electrical Safety in the Bathroom

  • 03/02/16

Water and electricity make a dangerous combination. That's especially true in your bathroom, where you use water from the sink and shower to clean yourself, but also rely on electrical devices like shavers and hair dryers. That's why you need to take special care with your devices in the bathroom
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Power surges damage electronics

How to Upgrade the Amp Capacity in Your Home

  • 01/07/16

If you live in an older home, you might find that your electrical work can’t deliver all the power you need for your modern equipment and devices. Newer homes have at least 100 amp service, and many are rated at
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electricalfire

How to Identify Electrical Fire Hazards at Home

  • 12/29/15

Electrical fires are something to avoid at all costs. A fire that starts in your electrical work can tear through your home at exponential speed, putting possessions and lives at dire risk. Most home electrical systems are perfectly safe, but
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lightfixture

Tips for Connecting New Light Fixtures to Old Wiring

  • 12/03/15

There are plenty of reasons to install new indoor light fixtures in your home. Perhaps you want to update your interior aesthetic, or save energy by upgrading to efficient LED bulbs. Maybe you even want to bring your lighting into a smart home control system. Although
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arc

Protect Your Home with Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters

  • 11/24/15

When it comes to your home electrical system, safety should be your number one priority. Electricity can be dangerous when your wiring isn't connected properly, and a house fire can rip through your home and possessions with alarming speed, putting you and your family's very lives at risk.
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220volts

How to Upgrade Your Home to 220 Volt Service

  • 11/05/15

Most homes today have the capacity to handle 220 volts in their electrical systems. Modern dryers, stoves, hot water heaters and other appliances all use the high voltage standard, which can deliver twice as much as the 110 volts used by computers, televisions, smaller appliances and other electronics. Chances are
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outlet2

When is it Time to Upgrade Your Outlets?

  • 10/27/15

Wall outlets are the primary point of interaction most homeowners have with their electrical systems. Those of us who aren't electricians or contractors may never open our circuit boxes or run a wire through the wall, but we plug and unplug things from our outlets every day. Those
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carcharger

How to Install an Electric Car Charger in Your Home

  • 08/06/15

If you’re considering the purchase of an electric car, good for you! You're doing your part to reduce the nation's reliance on oil and cut down on fossil fuel emissions, and you get to drive around in style to boot. But with many newer models, you’ll need to set up
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damagedwiring

When is it Time to Upgrade Your Electrical Work?

  • 08/04/15

You can't see the electrical wiring in your home, but it’s integral to your day-to-day life. The electrical work behind your walls is responsible for lighting your home, powering your microwave and electric stove, running the air conditioning and so much more. So while your electrical work might be out
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badelectrician

You Can Be Liable for Unlicensed Electrical Work

  • 07/30/15

Revamping your home's electrical work can be a big headache. You need to find a qualified electrician and write what could be a hefty check for work that might require opening holes in your walls and temporarily making a mess of your home. The last thing you want after a
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boston

How Does Your City Fare in Energy Efficiency?

  • 06/25/15

Energy efficiency starts in the home, but the policies and practices of your local municipality play a big role as well. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) recently compiled an efficiency ranking for 51 of the largest cities in the United States, looking at local government
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Home inspector

Get the Most from a Home Inspection

  • 04/30/15

When you're in the market for a new house, every little detail counts. If you overlook an important flaw, you could be in for major repair or overhaul bills in your would-be dream home. Fortunately, you can avoid unexpected costs with some savvy when it comes to choosing your home
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New kitchen appliances

New trends in kitchen appliances

  • 01/08/15

Do you have ranges and ovens on your mind? Maybe you just got a big bonus from work, or your last child finally graduated from college. There's no better way to celebrate than a new kitchen. From granite countertops to the latest in state-of-the-art appliance technology, you can cook in
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Municipal building code

Does your home violate your local building code?

  • 12/04/14

If you are looking to remodel, expand or sell your home, there's a good chance you will have a close encounter with your local building code. These laws can be extensive, confusing and change frequently. The code is there for your safety, but it can still be frustrating to deal
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