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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.



gfci

What is a Ground Wire, and Why Is It Important?

  • 10/31/18

You’ve heard the term “ground wire” and you know you have them installed in outlets around your home. But do you know what they do? The answer has major implications for household electrical safety.

What Does a Ground Wire Do?

As the name implies, a ground wire is an electrical wire that
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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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appliances

What To Do When You Trip a Circuit Breaker

  • 03/28/18

When the lights or appliances in one area of your home suddenly go out, the first thing to do is check your circuit breaker box. If you see one breaker switch pointing in a different direction from all the others, you’ve tripped your circuit breaker. What now?

Your circuit breakers are
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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appliances

This Device Can Disaggregate Your Energy Usage to Help You Conserve

  • 11/12/15

Do you ever lie awake at night thinking about new ways to cut back on your energy consumption? You'll soon be able to rest soundly, because there's a new piece of technology that can make all your dreams come true. One of the trendiest ways to save energy with your
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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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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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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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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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