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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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Electrical wiring and diagram

Using a Multimeter at Home

  • 08/29/18

When you have an electrical problem in your home, you can’t go wrong by calling a licensed electrician. But if you’re thinking about taking more of a DIY approach to electrical maintenance, one way to get started is to spend a few dollars on a digital multimeter.

A multimeter doesn’t fix
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outlet2

Bugs in Your Electrical Outlet: It Really Can Happen

  • 05/02/18

It may seem like a scene out of a horror movie, but it’s not an uncommon sight: bugs crawling out of an electrical outlet.

This can happen even in homes that are generally clean and sealed off from the outdoors. Many bugs need only the tiniest of cracks to get in
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questions

Finding and Fixing a Low-Frequency Electrical Hum

  • 02/28/18

If you’ve ever experienced an electrical humming noise somewhere in your home, you know how maddening it can be. Sometimes it’s so difficult to track this kind of noise back to its source that you might start thinking your ears are playing tricks on you. But these hums and buzzes
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Power surges damage electronics

Sparking Outlets: Are They Dangerous?

  • 01/31/18

You’ve probably seen it plenty of times -- a small blue spark when you plug in an appliance. Most of the time, this is a normal and harmless event. But it’s worth paying attention to, because some sparks can be early warning signs of dangerous problems.

Why Do Outlets Spark?

Your home’s
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surge

Black Friday Shopping? Don’t Forget the Surge Protectors

  • 11/22/17

Savvy shoppers can save hundreds of dollars by shopping on Black Friday, and some of the best deals are on high-end electronics that are vulnerable to power surge damage. Many consumers are well aware of this danger and faithfully use surge protectors throughout their homes, but not everyone understands that
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appliances

Malfunctioning Appliances Can Cause Electrical Damage

  • 10/11/17

When one of your appliances starts showing signs of disrepair, you might think the trouble is confined to that appliance only. But that’s not necessarily true -- there are some ways in which a faulty appliance can send surges of electricity into your home’s electrical system, and the resulting damage
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LED, incandescent and compact fluorescent light bulbs

What Does It Mean When Light Bulbs Keep Blowing?

  • 09/27/17

More and more homeowners are making the switch to LED light bulbs as prices continue to drop. These bulbs are extremely long-lasting and energy efficient, and they don’t suffer from some of the same durability problems of their filament predecessors, such as the tendency to blow out under certain conditions. 

If
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House with outdoor lighting

Strengthen Your Home Security With High-Tech Upgrades

  • 09/13/17

Are you worried about potential trespassing or break-ins at your home? It may be cheaper and easier than you think to add layers of protection and deterrence from would-be burglars. The latest smart home technology, along with tried-and-true tech like motion detecting security lights, can make your home an intimidating
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flood

Repairing Your Electrical System After a Flood

  • 09/06/17

The flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana has damaged hundreds of thousands of homes, and the recovery ahead will continue for months. Unfortunately, the hurricane season isn't over, and more storms are on the way. Flood-affected homeowners will be hard at work removing carpeting, drywall and sheetrock
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smartfridge

How to Save Your Waterlogged Gadgets

  • 08/30/17

Smartphones, tablets, Mp3 players and other handheld gadgets have become indispensable parts of our lives. In many cases, they’ve become expensive parts, too -- which makes us motivated to protect them, and devastated when we fumble one into the pool, the sink or (gulp) the toilet.

Not all gadgets will survive
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pets

Make Electricity Pet-Safe on National Dog Day

  • 08/23/17

National Dog Day is almost here -- on August 26, consider doing something extra special for your four-legged friend. And if you don’t have a furry companion, you might make a donation to a humane pet shelter in your community. But one of the most important things you can do
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garagedoor

Inspect, Maintain and Repair Your Garage Door Opener

  • 08/02/17

The automatic garage door opener is one of those home systems that is so simple and effortless to use that it’s easy to take for granted. But if you’ve ever pulled into the driveway and pressed the button to no avail, you know that things can go wrong and garage
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cords

Take Energy on the Road With a Power Inverter

  • 07/26/17

Many modern vehicles are designed to deliver the comforts of home -- entertainment systems, heated seats, charging ports and more -- but even the most fully-loaded models can’t do it all. You can supplement with devices that run on batteries or the 12 volt DC current coming from the cigarette
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Girl turning off light

Signs Your Light Switch is Wearing Out

  • 07/19/17

Light switches are easy to take for granted. Most will last for decades, and other than an occasional cleaning, they’re essentially maintenance-free. But time and wear will take their toll, and eventually you might find that a light switch in your home is showing telltale signs of failure.

Trust Your Senses

When
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flood

Organize, Protect and Digitize Your Precious Photos

  • 07/05/17

These days, you probably take almost all of your photos using a phone or digital camera. Most of your snaps will never exist in physical form, and there are no negatives to keep track of. But if you go back a few years, your photo collection is likely to be
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microwavefire

What to Do When Your Microwave Fails You

  • 06/21/17

From reheating leftovers to making fresh bowls of popcorn in minutes, microwave ovens perform some of our favorite kitchen tasks in a fraction of the time and energy required by other appliances. Many might admit to being a little dependent on their microwaves -- which can spell trouble if they
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lightning

Happy Anniversary to Benjamin Franklin’s Lightning Experiment

  • 06/07/17

The first day of summer is nearly here, and the calendar is already dotted with stormy days from all over North America. The next lightning storm that passes through your area may give you a moment to reflect on a legendary tale of American ingenuity -- Benjamin Franklin’s kite and
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solarcharger

Freeload This Summer With Solar-Powered Gadgets

  • 05/31/17

What’s better than free? With the right gadgets and devices, you can do more under the hot summer sun without spending a dime on batteries or utilities. 

As much as you can save and help the environment by installing solar panels on the roof of your home, that’s not the only
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tvclean

Clean Your Electronics Regularly and Carefully

  • 05/10/17

Electronic devices like your television, computers and smartphones are probably among the most expensive and heavily-used items in your home. So to maximize the lifespans of these electronics and make them more enjoyable to use, it’s important to maintain them with routine, gentle cleaning.

Some electronics are quite sensitive, especially to
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outlet2

Build a Clever Wall Safe With Electrical Outlet Hardware

  • 05/03/17

If you have valuables in your home, you may have considered investing in a safe. But while a safe can keep precious possessions locked up tight, it can also draw attention to the location of that treasure. Sometimes, a good hiding spot is just as effective as a heavy, intimidating
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coveredoutlet

Take the Power Outdoors With Exterior Electrical Outlets

  • 04/26/17

The beauty of having electrical outlets all over your home is that you can power what you need where you need it. But while homebuilders are pretty good at predicting the power needs of individual rooms, they tend to favor a less-is-more approach to installing outlets on a home’s exterior.

You
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cords

Choose the Right Extension Cord for the Job

  • 04/05/17

When the nearest electrical outlet is so close, yet so far away, an extension cord can put the power right where you want it. But there’s a big difference between bringing a cell phone charger to your bedside and firing up a treadmill in front of your TV. When you
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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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laptop

Portable Chargers Put the Power In Your Hands

  • 03/01/17

In this high-tech age, our gadgets can be essential lifelines. Smartphones, tablets, laptops and other devices are what help us connect with colleagues, avoid boredom and find our way from Point A to Point B. They can seem almost magic, but there’s one great equalizer that limits them all: battery
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220volts

No Adapters Needed With USB Combo Outlets

  • 02/22/17

In a crowded home where every family member has a cell phone and a tablet, electrical outlet space can be in high demand. And even if there’s plenty of outlet space to go around, the clunky chargers for these devices can clutter countertops and disrupt what could otherwise be streamlined
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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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laptop

Surge Protection May Save Your New Gadgets and Gifts

  • 01/04/17

Did you get what you really wanted during the holidays this year? Maybe that new smartphone you've been eyeing, or that extra-big HDTV? Perhaps you even got a new laptop or tablet. Whatever your favorite gift was, if it plugs into the wall, it could be at risk of electrical
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House under heavy snowfall

Never Shovel Your Sidewalk or Driveway Again

  • 12/07/16

Snow and ice are major concerns for homeowners throughout much of North America, and that usually means pulling out the snow shovel a few times each winter. Shoveling snow can be strenuous and uncomfortable work, but it's the only way to get those sidewalks and driveways clear -- or is
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xmaslights

Be Safe, Decorate Smart

  • 11/30/16

The holidays are nearly here, which means it's time to string up the lights. And while it doesn't take an electrician to get that job done, it doesn't hurt to think like an electrician - especially when it comes to safety.

Whenever you're using electricity, heat-producing lighting and power cords,
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Hire an Electrician for Home Theater Perfection

  • 11/16/16

If you're ready to take the plunge and purchase a state-of-the-art home theater system, you have more to consider than just the equipment you intend to purchase. Even if all of your components are top-of-the-line, you won't get the most bang for your buck without professional design and installation.

To make
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windfarm

Renewable Energy Outpacing Less-Clean Competitors

  • 11/02/16

You probably already know that the use of renewable energy sources like wind and solar is on the rise, but a recent report reveals that these clean energy solutions have actually taken the lead in new energy production around the
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congress

October is Energy Action Month

  • 10/05/16

Last year, President Obama declared October to be Energy Action Month, a time when Americans are encouraged to take steps to reduce their energy consumption and cut greenhouse gas emissions. In this second October of focused
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flood

Do You Need to Replace Water-Damaged Wiring?

  • 09/28/16

The recent floods in Louisiana caused 13 deaths and millions of dollars in damage. Some homes were submerged to their roofs, while others received just a few inches of water. Now that cleanup and repairs are underway, homeowners are evaluating
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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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bigdata

Energy Disaggregation Makes the Grade

  • 09/07/16

Whether or not you’re familiar with the term “energy disaggregation”, you’re likely to start hearing it more and more. That’s because technology companies have been working diligently to fine-tune this new tech, and one has just reached a significant benchmark
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cords

Pull the Plug on Energy Vampires

  • 08/31/16

You’ve probably heard that it’s important to unplug your cell phone charger when your phone isn’t connected, because the charger will continue to drain power. While this is true, cell phone chargers generally draw a tiny amount of power on
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Only You Can Prevent Household Electrical Fires

  • 08/24/16

The technology of household electrical safety has come a long way, but to prevent accidents such as electrical fires, us humans have to do our part. That means making sure the electrical infrastructure in our homes is safe and well
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arc

How to Treat Electrical Shock

  • 08/17/16

Electricity is as dangerous as it is helpful. A well-constructed home designed with an electrician’s expertise poses very little risk of accidental shock, but accidents can happen nonetheless. And there are electrical shock risks outside the home as well, including
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Toddler playing with electrical outlet

Child Proofing Outlets, Plugs and Cords

  • 08/03/16

Welcoming a new baby into your home means lots of joy and lots of work. There’s more to preparing your home than decorating the nursery, especially when it comes to boosting household electrical safety.


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Home inspector

Find Opportunities for Savings with a Home Energy Audit

  • 07/13/16

Most homeowners want to do what they can to make their homes more energy efficient, but it’s less common to know exactly where to focus those efforts. To make informed decisions about energy efficiency upgrades, you’ll need to search your
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outlet2

How to Map Your Electrical Panel

  • 07/06/16

Have you ever tripped a circuit breaker? If you have, you probably made your way to your home’s main electrical panel to restore power to the circuit. You may have noticed labels or a map indicating which breakers correspond to
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Clothes dryer

Make Your Dryer More Energy Efficient With a Few Simple Tricks

  • 06/15/16

Did you know that your clothes dryer is one of the biggest energy hogs in the typical home? According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR program, the dryer usually consumes more energy than the dishwasher,
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blackout

With Blackouts More Likely, the Solution May Be Smart Tech

  • 04/27/16

Summertime heat waves are no picnic for anyone, but they can be especially stressful for the national power grid. When air conditioners are running across entire regions, the demand placed on the electrical grid can increase the risk of widespread
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earth

Celebrate Earth Day With Energy Efficiency Upgrades

  • 04/20/16

Do you have any plans to do something great for the environment this Earth Day? Start change at home by boosting your household energy efficiency -- a move that not only reduces your contribution to destructive greenhouse gases,
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rodent

How to Prevent Rodent Damage to Your Electrical Work

  • 04/13/16

Are you harboring unwanted guests in your home? Rats, mice, squirrels and even raccoons are notorious for taking up residence in people's homes without asking. In addition to being a health hazard to your family, rodents love to chew, and seem to have a particular penchant for the insulation on
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mortgage

Do You Have Money Saved for Emergency Electrical Repairs?

  • 04/06/16

Some electrical repairs just can't wait. If you discover loose wiring, a faulty circuit or other problem in your home electrical system, it is essential to call an electrician immediately. At best, electrical problems can be annoying. At worst, they can damage your appliances or even start a
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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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gdp

Clean Energy Investment Can Drive GDP Growth

  • 02/10/16

The way we generate power to fuel the nation’s electrical work is a hotbed of controversy. Concerned pundits worry that reductions in fossil fuel consumption could be detrimental to job growth and hamstring the American economy. However, other experts argue that increasing our reliance on wind, solar and
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Power surges damage electronics

Low Voltage Direct Current Could Power Homes of the Future

  • 02/02/16

What if everything you knew about your home electrical work got turned on its head in the not-too-distant future? That could be reality, not science fiction, and maybe even sooner than you think. It’s not so far-fetched that in the coming decades, the electrical work in the American
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nuclearplant

What is the Future of Nuclear Energy in the United States?

  • 01/26/16

Does nuclear energy have a role in the clean energy future of our country? Currently, nuclear production accounts for 797.1 billion kilowatt hours annually, or 19.5 percent of total generation in the United States, according to the Nuclear Energy Institute. About 30 percent of all the nuclear power
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drill

Tricks for Running Wiring Through Your Walls

  • 01/21/16

When it comes to residential electrical work, most people just call up an electrician without a second thought. And for good reason – working with electricity can be difficult and dangerous if not done properly. However, there are some simple jobs that amateur electricians can perform on their own if
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plugs

A Brief History of Plug Design

  • 01/19/16

Ever wonder why the plugs for our electrical devices are shaped the way they are? In North America, nearly every piece of electrical work relies on the standard two-prong model to draw power, with many power cords including a third
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homeefficiency

Measuring Energy Efficiency Accurately

  • 01/14/16

Energy efficiency is a laudable goal, but many of us don’t always know the best or most cost-effective ways to move forward. It’s important to avoid falling prey to myths or overly-rosy projections about how much
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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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winter

Don’t Let Winter Storms Catch You Off Guard

  • 01/05/16

It’s been a mild winter so far in many regions of North America, but there are still several weeks in which major winter storms could develop. Don’t let the unusually warm weather of the holiday season make you complacent --
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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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splice

How to Splice Extensions on Your Electric Wires

  • 12/17/15

It's a problem that many a DIY electrician has run into a time or two: You want to move an outlet, or add a new light to a room, but the wires on your current circuit just aren't long enough.
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electricblanket

Be Careful With Electric Blankets This Winter

  • 12/08/15

Electric blankets can provide some much needed warmth and comfort during the long winter months. Nothing beats a personal heat source on your bed, staving off the nighttime chills. Electric blankets can even help you save money by allowing you to keep your thermostat turned down a few notches. However,
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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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powerstrip3

Use an Overhead Power Strip for Convenience at Your Workstation

  • 12/01/15

Tangled wires are a pain in the neck. That's true whether you're managing multiple devices at your computer desk, trying to find space at a cluttered kitchen counter or juggling power tools at your workbench. One way to bring order to chaos is to create an overhead power strip, a
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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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powergrid

Electric Grid Moves Toward Dispersed Power Generation

  • 11/19/15

Chances are, the computer, tablet or phone that you are using to read this post is powered by electricity produced by coal, natural gas or nuclear energy. Currently, the overwhelming bulk of power for the nation's electrical work is generated in large, centralized plants that use those three fuels. However,
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efficienthome

Build the Ultimate Energy-Efficient Home

  • 11/17/15

Imagine a future free from electricity bills. A home where you can maintain or improve your current levels of comfort, but one that is so efficient that it costs little to nothing to power its electrical work. Someday soon, this vision could become a reality, with a combination
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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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powerstrip2

Get the Latest in Modern Power Strip Technology

  • 11/03/15

The lives of 21st Century Americans are filled with endless electronic gadgets and appliances. A modern home filled with computers, entertainment systems and portable devices can quickly run short of convenient electric outlets to provide power to the media extravaganza. That makes power strips a must. In addition to providing
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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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coalplant

Electric Cars Can Cause More Pollution Than They Save

  • 10/22/15

Electric cars are all the rage these days. They promise savings to consumers, who can install charging stations in their homes with the help of an electrician and dramatically their gasoline bills. Electric cars also give Americans a way to feel good about helping the environment, since they
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modern

Can You Save Energy and Maintain the Same Standard of Living?

  • 10/20/15

Saving energy is a laudable goal. By using less electricity and other energy around your home, you reduce your contribution to environmental degradation and climate change. On the other hand, easy and reliable access to electricity is in large part responsible for the high standard of living that most Americans
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lightning

How to Protect Your Home from Lightning

  • 10/15/15

There's nothing more important than protecting your home and its contents – including, of course, your family. That's why it's crucial to take steps to guard against lightning strikes, which can cause major damage to your home’s electrical work and can even start a fire. Fortunately, there are several measures
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windmill

How to Install a Windmill in Your Backyard

  • 10/13/15

Have you ever dreamed of generating your own electricity, right in your backyard? That dream could become reality with a residential wind turbine. Wind turbines won't work for everybody, but in the right conditions, they can provide part or all of the power you need to run your home electrical
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questions

Don't Fall for This Common Misunderstanding About Home Energy Use

  • 10/08/15

Do you find energy conservation confusing? You're not alone. According to a recent study, Americans are by-and-large misinformed about what household appliances consume the most electricity. As a result, homeowners who wish to cut down on the energy they use in their home electrical work might find themselves
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electricmeter2

How to Read Your Electric Meter

  • 10/06/15

Have you ever received a nasty shock when your electric bill arrived? Maybe the amount you owed skyrocketed when you turned on the air conditioning for the summer, or the refrigerator started breaking down and consumed an excess of electricity. No matter what the cause of your sky-high electric bill,
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solar

Google Can Help Evaluate Your Home's Suitability for Solar Panels

  • 10/01/15

Technology giant Google made its start as a search engine, subsequently branching into email, cloud storage, advertising and so much more. Now the company from Mountain View is surging forward with a new application, promising to tell consumers if their roofs are suitable for installing solar panels. The program, called
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gfci

Learn the Benefits of Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters

  • 09/29/15

One of the biggest hazards of your home electrical system is the possibility of an electric shock. Whether there is an accident during an electrician’s work or there is exposed wiring that could shock someone inadvertently, this is a hazard that can cause serious injury and even death. Fortunately, by
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neighbors

Do You Conserve More Energy than Your Neighbors?

  • 09/24/15

Tired of breaking the bank just to keep up with the Joneses? Forget fancy cars and other status symbols. How about a way to maintain a friendly neighborly competition that actually involves saving money instead of spending? Americans have a wealth of resources at their disposal to empower families to
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homebatteries

New Storage Batteries Could Revolutionize Residential Power

  • 09/22/15

A home battery can solve a lot of problems. With enough storage, you can buy electricity when it's cheapest, then dole it out when you need it. Plus, you'll be protected in case of a blackout. Until very recently, the technology for a practical home battery system wasn’t powerful enough
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electriccar

One Day Your Car Could Power Your Home

  • 09/17/15

Here's a novel idea to ponder: One day, your car could be the power source for your home electrical work. That's right, electric cars are being primed to send electricity from their batteries back into the home and even to the electric grid. They aren't full-time power sources, of course,
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cleanenergy2

What Obama's Clean Power Plan Means for You

  • 09/15/15

The times, they are a-changin'. President Obama recently announced the details of his highly anticipated Clean Power Plan, a measure aimed at reducing the country's harmful fossil fuel emissions and limiting our contribution to climate change. The plan, when fully implemented, should reduce carbon emissions by 32 percent below 2005
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security

Beef Up Your Home Security by Adding Outdoor Lighting

  • 09/10/15

There are few things more chilling than a home burglary. Imagine a stranger rifling through and stealing your possessions – to say nothing of the danger if you or your family members are home at the time of the break-in. Fortunately, you can take steps to deter potential thieves by
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internetspeed

Use Your Home Electrical Wiring for Internet Connectivity

  • 09/08/15

Tired of a spotty wireless network impeding your home Internet use? Walls, ceilings and distance all conspire to degrade the strength of wireless signals, which can make it difficult to stream movies or even just browse the Web in certain parts of your home. Fortunately, there's a piece of technology
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fusion

Can Fusion Bring Safe, Cheap Energy to the Nation?

  • 09/03/15

The future of electricity production in the United States is very much in flux. When President Obama introduced his Clean Power Plan, it was an indication that the days of fossil fuel dominance could be on the wane. If coal, oil and natural gas are on their way
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engineers

Energy Department to Support Improved Home Generator Production

  • 09/01/15

Looking for new ways to reduce your electricity bills? The Department of Energy is on the job. The agency is sponsoring research that could help decentralize the nation's electrical grid – instead of powering your electrical work from large generating stations, you could create your own electricity on-site by burning
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cords

Charge Your Devices Quickly with Combo Outlets

  • 08/27/15

Is it driving you crazy to charge all of your devices? Smart phones, tablets, digital music players, digital cameras and more have made many facets of life more convenient, but they come with their own complications and annoyances as well. For one thing, all those devices need their batteries charged,
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congress

Federal Legislation Could Help You with Energy Efficiency

  • 08/25/15

Are you sick and tired of paying an arm and a leg for your electricity bills? Congress is considering legislation that could bring you some relief. A bill was introduced to the House of Representatives this summer that would update the Title I Home and Property Improvement Loan
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green

Learn the Difference Between Green and Renewable Energy

  • 08/18/15

Energy deregulation gives consumers choices when it comes to the companies that provide their home electricity. Suppliers can compete for your electricity dollars in a variety of ways, offering low prices, short and long-term contracts, fixed or variable rates, and a choice in how your energy is generated. The sheer
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grid

Get a Glimpse of the 21st Century Power Grid

  • 08/13/15

Nearly every single person living in the United States relies on the electrical grid. It's how electricity gets from the power plant to your home, powering your devices and appliances. With no grid, none of the electrical work in your home will function – no television, no air conditioning and
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map

How Much Does Electricity Cost in Your State?

  • 08/11/15

Location, location, location. Many factors in your quality of life are affected by where you choose to live, including your energy costs. Wallet Hub recently released a report that surveyed the average energy costs, including electricity, in all 50 states. Read on to learn more about where your
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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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modem

More Efficient Modems and Internet Equipment on the Horizon

  • 07/28/15

The march of consumer product efficiency continues. Modems, routers and other internet equipment are the latest items to get a bump in energy efficiency thanks to a voluntary agreement between manufacturers and trade associations. The standards mean that new equipment should use about 10 to 20 percent less electricity than
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Efficiency

Upgrades Aren't Always Enough for Energy Efficiency

  • 07/23/15

As we venture further into the era of climate change, humans are constantly searching for ways to decrease energy consumption and increase efficiency. Unfortunately, there's no silver bullet. Truly reducing our impact on the global climate requires a combination of an increase in renewable power generation, CONTINUE READING >

stove

Soon You Will Get Text Messages from Your Electric Stove

  • 07/21/15

The Internet of Things is arriving in a big way. Smart thermostats, smart refrigerators, smart home security systems and more are all moving toward one integrated home system. One day soon, all your HVAC equipment, electrical work and appliances will be connected and in communication with
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outletfire

How to Prevent Electrical Fires

  • 07/16/15

Nothing is more important than your family's safety. That's why you need to make every effort to identify and eliminate fire risks in and around your home, particularly in your electrical work. Faulty wiring, delayed maintenance or carelessness can lead to a disaster that can cost you your home and
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bigdata

Big Data Will Bring Benefits to Utilities, Consumers

  • 07/14/15

The world is getting more connected, and machines are collecting massive amounts of data about consumer habits. In the energy sector, the rise of big data is poised to revolutionize the way utility companies provide electricity to homeowners. That's good news for you – the more information you have at
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leds

LED Lighting Technology and Your Smart Home

  • 07/09/15

Are you still using incandescent light bulbs? Your electrician would recommend a different course. Efficient lighting technology has blown up in the last few years, and advanced technologies are just getting better. Light emitting diodes, or LEDs, are at the forefront of modern lighting thanks to their inexpensive
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solar

Home Solar Energy Market is Heating Up

  • 07/07/15

Solar energy is taking off. In the first quarter of 2015, solar accounted for half of all new electricity production in the United States. That's great news for consumers, because a good deal of that energy is generated by residential solar panels, which reduce the amount that homeowners
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electronics

Smart Plugs Let You Control Devices With Your Phone

  • 07/02/15

Smart technology is poised to take over the home appliance market. We already have smart thermostats, smart lighting and even smart refrigerators. If that's not enough for you, there are some new contenders on the market that allow you to turn any electrical device in the
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electricstove

How to Install an Outlet for Your Electric Stove

  • 06/30/15

When it comes to electricity usage, an electric stove is a powerhouse. Consequently, you can't just plug them into the standard 110 volt outlets that are most common in the United States – most stoves require a special 220 volt outlet instead. If you are building or remodeling a kitchen,
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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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efficiency2

Avoid Misconceptions When Investing in Home Efficiency

  • 06/23/15

Improving your home energy efficiency is a worthy and admirable goal. You can help reduce your impact on the environment while saving money with savvy decision making. However, the up-front investment for some efficiency upgrades is substantial, so always do your due diligence before you find electrician services and commit
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efficiencypollution

Energy Efficiency is the Best Way to Fight Climate Change

  • 06/18/15

Climate change is a growing concern in North America. We’re already seeing some of its consequences, with warmer temperatures and more extreme, less predictable weather over the past decade. Nevertheless, we continue to burn massive amounts of fossil fuels to satisfy our energy needs, sending troublesome levels of carbon dioxide
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Efficiency

Fewer Americans are Taking Energy Efficiency Measures

  • 06/16/15

Everyone likes to save energy, right? You’re reducing your impact on the environment and saving money on utility bills at the same time – talk about a win-win scenario. However, despite the obvious benefits, the percentage of Americans who take energy efficiency steps in their lives is actually dropping, according
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wiring

Outdated Electrical Work Can Drive Up Insurance Bills

  • 06/11/15

Homeowners insurance is an often-overlooked but significant cost in owning a home. Your insurance policy protects you against major losses in the event of a disaster, but you need to invest in premiums each month, which can be tricky for any family on a budget. However, you do have a
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powerstrip

Idle Devices Cost You Big Money

  • 06/04/15

There's an easy way to save money on your electricity bills that doesn't require any new appliances, smart technology or other expensive upgrades. This revolutionary idea is beautiful in its simplicity: Just unplug your devices when you aren't using them. It turns out that “always on” or standby technology is
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solar

Options Expanding for Free Solar Installation

  • 05/28/15

Are you curious about solar energy, but scared away by the up-front costs? It's an understandable concern. Although going solar can dramatically reduce or even eliminate your electricity bill, the initial installation of the panels can cost between $15,000 and $30,000, far beyond the reach of many homeowners. However, a
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smartmeter

What You Need to Know About Smart Meters

  • 05/26/15

Is your utility company planning on installing a smart meter on your home? You're not alone. These meters have been implemented in a number of regions across the United States, as well as in other countries in North America, Europe and Oceania. Read on to find out more about why
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retired

How to Cut Your Energy Bills When You Retire

  • 05/21/15

When the day comes for you to retire from work, you might find yourself with a lot more free time and a lot less money. Hopefully, you've planned your savings so you don't have to live your golden years on a shoestring budget, but in any scenario, it’s wise to
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batteries

Will Batteries Revolutionize Our Energy Grid?

  • 05/19/15

Battery technology has already made our lives more portable and convenient. From the disposable alkalines you used to use to power your Walkman to the modern rechargeable batteries in your cell phone and laptop, they allow us to take our work, entertainment and communication systems on the go. But batteries
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energybills

Save energy by breaking down use appliance by appliance

  • 05/12/15

Sometimes the biggest challenge in saving energy is knowing where to start. Your monthly gas and electric bills come in big lump sums, so how can you identify the best opportunities to reduce your consumption? One of the smartest ways to get a clear idea of your energy consumption is
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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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wind farm

Wind could power the U.S. by 2050

  • 04/28/15

The electricity you use to power your home is most likely generated by burning coal, with some nuclear and natural gas-fueled current in the mix for good measure. However, that could all be changing, and faster than anyone expected. While renewable fuel sources like solar and wind power make up
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Earth Day

Earth Day energy-saving tips

  • 04/21/15

This Earth day, why not play your part by making some small changes around the home to cut back on your electricity consumption? For every kilowatt hour your can knock off your meter, you're saving coal or natural gas that gets burned to generate electricity. 

Saving Energy Starts with You

Small
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