Let’s face it, everyone wants their residence to be a safe environment, free from theft, crime, and other unwanted mischief.
One measure to put in place that can boost your home’s security involves adding lighting to the exterior of your home. In fact, homes without security measures — such as outdoor lighting and alarms — are up to 300% more likely to be vandalized.
However, it doesn’t have to be this way. Lighting the exterior of your property can bring together beauty and the function of security, which will provide you with peace of mind.
Flood lights, in combination with other measures are what many homeowners think of when they’re considering security lighting as opposed to Motion sensors that produce sudden blasts of harsh light, perhaps not the best option as an intruder must be on your property before they turn on.
As the Rockwall area outdoor lighting experts, RealTime Electrical Solutions want you to have the safest and most gorgeous homes on the block. With that said, here are some tips for adding outdoor security lighting to your home:
Grab a pad of paper and a pen and walk your property at night – even if you already have exterior security lights installed – and search for areas that might be seen as vulnerable.
Thieves will look for any easy access points on your property, so you should make note of any dark spots, ways they could get into your home, or areas they can successfully hide on your property.
You can begin in the front of your home and work your way around to the sides, back, and all the way back up to the front. Check all doors (including sliding doors) windows and window wells, trees close to the home, and anywhere else someone could possibly get in or hide without being seen.
It’s important to not forget about your garage, carport, or driveway either. Adding light fixtures to these areas will make it more difficult for anyone to attempt a break-in.
If you happen to own a larger property or acreage, you may want to consider lighting the perimeter of your yard or property, especially if you have a significant amount of trees or a wooded area where a burglar could potentially hide.
Lighting the perimeter of your property makes it even more difficult for a potential intruder to gain access onto your property, and even more difficult for them to get anywhere near your home.
Now that you have a good idea of where all of the vulnerable areas of your home are located, you can begin adding light by down lighting, up-lighting, or using path light fixtures.
If the front entrance to your home is dark, up-lighting front columns and other architectural features will not only accent the look of your home, but will also add security.
For dark walkways and paths around or between the home and garage, you can use path lights, down lights, or a combination of the two.
Statistics show that corner homes are significantly more vulnerable to burglary, as they are often easier to gain access to and usually have fewer immediate neighbors. To remedy this, homes without a fenced yard can add security by lighting the sides of their home.
If you have any questions about outdoor security lighting or would like to discuss any of your other exterior lighting needs, feel free to contact Kalin Seamans at 469-475-5488.
Worried that your home’s electrical system may not be up to the job or even be a potential danger to your family?
Electricity touches every room in nearly every house. Even closets have wiring. Many attics and basements do, as well. With so many possibilities for defects and the fire hazards that accompany them, the electrical inspection is arguably one of the most important for any home.
Things change over time. A house designed and built even just 20-30 years ago wasn’t designed with all the additional electrical uses a family now enjoys.
Realtime Electrical Solutions assessments includes:
– Panel Inspection
– Plug & Switch inspection
– Attic Inspection
– Electric Equipment Inspection
– Photos With Notes Of Trouble Spots
If you suspect that there is an electrical problem in your home then you can have peace of mind after an electrical assesment performed by Kalin and the crew at RealTime Electrical Solutions.
Some of the things you might be able to check yourself are:
Electrical Service Panel or Load Center
The service panel, also called the load center, is the heart of electricity in a home. Either mounted on a wall inside or outside the dwelling, it contains breakers—fuses if it’s older—and wires that create circuits in the house.
What to look for:
Charring or burn marks
Pennies behind fuses (extremely dangerous, as the copper prevents fuses from blowing if they’re overloaded)
Breakers that feel warm
No main disconnect switch
Federal Pacific Brand Service Panel
If the load center is Federal Pacific brand, it needs closer inspection. Not all Federal Pacific breaker panels are defective, but defective ones are notorious fire starters. Look for FP Stab-Lok breakers. If present, the load center is an immediate fire hazard.
Many homes with aluminum wiring remain safe for years. But aluminum has (at least) two problems. Where it exists, the wiring is probably at least 40 years old and needs an update. And aluminum is softer than copper and doesn’t conduct electricity as well. Kalin says that over time, aluminum can expand and contract to loosen connections, causing a potential fire hazard.
Aluminum isn’t inherently dangerous, although it has issues. But some insurance companies won’t insure a house that isn’t wired in copper.
Push-in Connections at Receptacles
It’s generally accepted that push-in connections were developed for the DIY electrician. Most professional electricians wire in receptacles using the binding head screw on the side rather than a push-in connection on the back. Although they’re generally safe, Inspectapedia says push-in connections have less contact with the wire and can damage copper and aluminum.
Overlamping Light Fixtures
While it’s not a wiring problem, it is a fire hazard. Overlamping happens when a homeowner uses a higher wattage light bulb (lamp) than recommended for the fixture. With a higher-wattage bulb, the fixture can heat up, melt, and start a fire.
GFCI Protection in Kitchens and Other Wet Areas
Every kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room needs outlets with ground fault circuit interrupter or GFCI protection. GFCI outlets have a test button and some are labeled. But standard outlets might also have protection if the circuit is powered by a GFCI outlet in the breaker panel.
If you experience any of these warning signs, call us immediately:
✘ You feel a tingling sensation when you touch a plug or light switch.
✘ Your circuit breaker flips frequently or fuses blow regularly.
✘ An appliance gives off a faint rubbery or burning smell.
✘ Your outlet plates are warm to the touch or discolored.
✘ An electrical appliance has been waterlogged or submersed in any liquid (throw away immediately).
✘ An outlet sparks.
✘ Your lights dim or flicker.
The guys at RealTime Electrical Solutions are all about your family’s safety! Owner & family-man himself, Kalin Seamans has designed an essential electrical assessment that gives you all the answers you need. That’s Peace of Mind for just $75.00!
When you build your own inground pool, one of the phases of pool construction that you will need to hire-out is electrical. You may be an electrical wizard, but if you’re not certified in Texas, the electrical inspection of your pool may fail to pass.
This article focuses on the electrical tasks of building an inground pool, and how to pass your electrical inspection.
Swimming Pool Electrical Wiring
The electrical tasks of wiring of swimming pool include
1). Securing the electrical Permit,
2). Wiring a sub-panel at the equipment pad to power the pool equipment,
3). Bonding the metal components of the pool and
4). Passing the electrical inspections.
PERMITS & INSPECTIONS: Securing the electrical permits and passing the electrical inspections are fairly straight forward for a licensed electrician, and require just a few hours to complete. The main job of your electrician is to power and bond the pool and equipment, in accordance with the National Electric Code, article 680 – and, any additional requirements of your local inspector.
SUB-PANEL WIRING: A sub-panel is a small breaker box, usually 100 amps, or enough to power all of your pool equipment. Extra costs will add-up if your main breaker box for the house does not have enough excess power to spare 100 amps for the sub-panel – or, when the sub-panel (and pool equipment) is not located close to the house, or close to the main breaker box for the house.
Inground pool wiring
Normally, the main panel has enough power to spare, but the second issue – the location of the pool equipment, should be a careful consideration. The equipment must be located 10-20 ft away from the edge of the pool; but close enough to the house for convenient access. If you place the equipment pad far from the house, you’ll have extra charges for digging a trench from the house panel to the sub-panel. There is also a trench from the equipment pad to the underwater pool light. The best (cheapest) location for the pool equipment pad (and sub-panel), is usually next to the house, and somewhat near the underwater pool light(s).
BONDING: Different from grounding, bonding uses a #8 bare copper wire to connect the metal components of the pool, to carry away any stray voltage. The bonding wire is attached to the pool wall panels, the pool light niche, the pool ladder anchor sockets, and any metal pool equipment (pump, filter, heater). In some areas, the pool deck itself may require bonding, known as “equipotential bonding”. This wire runs underground between the pool and the equipment pad, and becomes visible on the pool equipment pad.
Hiring your electrician
AVAILABILITY: A good pool electrical contractor will be busy, especially during spring and summer, when most new construction and upgrades are performed. Being able to commit to your specific dates will be important to a timely pool construction project. Be sure to have a week or day in mind when you solicit electrical quotes, and ask if they will be able to commit to the date on the calendar, within 1 or 2 days, to avoid delays. Also – you want confirmation that your electrician will start and finish within 1-2 days, and not stretch it out over 1-2 weeks.
COST: Another qualifier for hiring a swimming pool electrician may be cost. Factors that affect the cost will be the location of the main electrical panel and location of the pool equipment, as described above, and additional pool equipment such as a pool heater, automatic pool cover, additional pool lights or receptacles (outlets). Most DIY pool builders will spend $2000-$5000 for the entire pool wiring process.
RealTime Electrical Solutions offers quality electrical services at a fair price. If you’re looking for an honest electrician you can trust, call master electrician Kalin Seamans on (469) 475-5488 and he will help you.
Tankless or on-demand water heaters heat water only when it’s needed, eliminating the need for a storage tank and therefore saving the energy normally used to constantly heat and maintain a tank full of hot water. In a traditional whole house water heater. Most tankless water heaters have a life expectancy of about 20+ years, up to more than double the life of a traditional tank-type water heater. They also eliminate the risk of tank leaks and associated water damage.
How It Works
When you turn on the hot water tap, cold water is drawn through a pipe into the unit and heated either by an electric heating element or a gas burner. The hot water never runs out, but the flow rate may be limited. Tankless electric water heaters typically deliver hot water at a rate of 2 – 5 gallons per minute.
Tankless Water Heater Types
There are two basic types of tankless water heaters – small units that are usually installed right at or near the point-of-use and larger ones that are capable of serving an entire house. The smaller models can reduce or eliminate heat losses through piping (in addition to eliminating standby losses from a tank), but multiple units are usually needed to serve an entire house. Small units can be placed under kitchen sinks and in bathrooms for instance providing pretty much instant hot water because there is no pipefull of cold water to be run out first before your hot water arrives as with a centrally located tank water heater. No longer do you have to wait for the hot water to arrive!
Larger “whole house” tankless water heaters can provide hot water for multiple points-of-use in the home. While these units eliminate the heat losses from a storage tank, there will still be some losses through the hot water piping unless it is insulated.
Advantages to on-demand water heaters:
● Tankless water heaters are compact in size, taking up less space than conventional tank type water heaters.
● They can virtually eliminate standby losses – energy wasted when hot water cools down in long pipe runs or while it’s sitting in the storage tank.
● By providing hot water immediately where it’s used, tankless water heaters waste less water.
● You don’t need to let the water run as you wait for hot water to reach a remote faucet.
● A tankless water heater can provide unlimited hot water as long as it is operating within its capacity.
● Expected life of tankless water heaters is 20+ years, compared to 10+ years for tank type water heaters.
● A single central Tankless electric water heater may not supply enough hot water for simultaneous uses such as showers and laundry unless it has the correct output capacity and is properly configured.
● Unless the system is equipped with a modulating temperature control, it may not heat water to a constant temperature at different flow rates. That means that water temperatures can fluctuate uncomfortably – particularly if the water pressure varies in different parts of the house.
● Electric tankless water heaters require a relatively high electric power draw because water must be heated quickly to the desired temperature. In some cases the home’s electric service may need to be upgraded.
Cost and Savings
Tankless water heaters range in price from $200 for a small under-sink unit up to $1,000 or even more for a unit with enough capacity for a whole house. But a tankless unit can last up to twice as long as a conventional storage type water heater, saving on replacement costs. By eliminating standby losses from the tank and minimizing losses from hot water piping, tankless water heaters may be able to cut your water heating energy costs significantly.
Pros and cons of tankless water heaters
● Saves money in the long run – According to Energy.gov, “For homes that use 41 gallons or less of hot water daily, demand (or tankless) water heaters can be 24%–34% more energy efficient than conventional storage tank water heaters.”
● Doesn’t take up much space – They are small and can be installed in more places—even outside on a wall.
● Lasts much longer – Lasts 20+ years. Almost double a traditional water heater’s life.
● Delivers hot water on demand – Provides two to three gallons of hot water per minute on demand.
● Higher initial cost.
Call master electrician Kalin Seamans on (469) 475-5488 and he will be glad to help you make the right choice for your home or remodel project.
Whether your home is new or the oldest house on the block, there could be things going wrong with the electrical work about which you are totally unaware. Oftentimes, serious electrical problems are never noticed until someone gets hurt or a fire occurs.
That’s why it’s important to have an inspection of your home’s electrical system by an experienced neighborhood electrician at least once a year.
Here are a few items you should be on the lookout for in your home.
1. Loose Outlet or Switch
Sometimes new homes are built so quickly that adequate care is not taken to secure the outlets properly. As well as being an eyesore, they can be dangerous. Wires can move around and come loose from the terminals, causing them to overheat and potentially catch fire.
2. Cutting Electrical Wires Too Short
Wires that are too short provide a poor electrical connection. More importantly, they can be dangerous. Wires should stick out at least three inches from the electrical box.
3. Exposed Combustible Material from Recessed Electrical Boxes
If an electrical box is behind combustible material like wood paneling, sparks or heat from the wires can cause a fire. This is a good example of an electrical problem that many people may not notice themselves. For an experienced residential electrical service provider, that’s easy to find and it’s a quick fix.
4. Installing a Three-Slot Receptacle Without a Ground Wire
Many people choose to replace a two-slot outlet with a three-slot one so that they can use three-pronged plug in them. That seems simple enough, however, the outlet has to be grounded in order to be safe.
5. Too Many Wires in an Electrical Box
Too many wires in an electrical box can cause wires to short-circuit and can be a fire hazard. RealTime Electrical Solutions specialize in analyzing calculations involving the number of wires and clamps and knowing what gauge wire you have for your electrical box.
6. No Electrical Box
Wires should never be connected outside of a box. If there is a short circuit or loose connection, there is nothing to protect the surrounding area from damage from sparks and heat. This creates a fire danger. If you have something like a porch light or other electrical connection without a box, call a licensed electrician to install one and reconnect the wires within it.
7. Backward-Wired GFCI
Ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) are commonly found in bathrooms and kitchens near sinks and in areas like garages and patios. They protect people from getting shocked by shutting off if there should be a change in the current. GFCIs have two sets of terminals labeled ‘line’ and ‘load.’ If these are backwards, they cannot perform their intended function and the results can be deadly. If you discover that the connections are backwards, contact us to have one of our Rockwall neighbourhood electricians do it. This is one of the things we always check on a regular inspection.
8. Reversed Hot and Neutral Wires
If a hot, black wire is connected to an outlet’s neutral terminal, the result can be a deadly electrical shock. The white wire should always be connected to the neutral terminal. That terminal is marked, usually with a silver or light-colored screw. Because the mistake doesn’t affect the functioning of the outlet or fixture, most people don’t realize they have this situation until someone is shocked. If you discover these reversed wires, call a licensed electrician.
9. Missing Cable Clamp
Cable must be secured with a clamp. If it’s not, the connections can become dangerously strained. If the cables are in a metal box, the sharp edges can cut the wires. Metal boxes must have an approved cable clamp. Plastic boxes have different requirements based on their size. Your local electrician will fix this problem by installing the proper clamp.
10. Unprotected Plastic-Sheathed Cable
If this type of cable is left exposed to framing members, it can be easily damaged. This is especially true if it’s around ceiling or wall framing. A licensed electrician will fix this by either screwing or nailing a 2 x 2 piece of board that’s one inche thick along the cable.
DiY electrical work is never a smart move.
Whether you’ve just moved into a new home or have been in your home for awhile, we strongly advise you to have your electrical outlets inspected annually by an experienced residential electrical service provider like RealTime Electrical Solutions. Our experienced technicians can spot problems and fix them before they become potentially disastrous. Call us today to set up an appointment.
As Rockwall neighborhood electricians, we run into more and more of our residential and commercial customers who want to live a greener, more environmentally friendly lifestyle. Living green is not just about buying organic or driving a low emissions car. It also extends to the energy-saving systems in your home and we can help with that.
We are all working to keep our planet healthy for future generations and we’re finding out that the changes that are good for the planet can also be great for our pocket book. We can also help with that!
Here are a few of the ways that homeowners can make the electrical system in their homes greener.
LED lights use less electricity to power your home than incandescent bulbs. LED lights use only 500 kilowatt-hours of electricity to burn for 50,000 hours, whereas the incandescent bulb requires 3,000 KWh for the same amount of time. Clearly, LED lights are the greener option.
Install a programmable thermostat and set it at 74 degrees in the summer and 68 degrees in the winter. Use ceiling fans to direct the hot air that rises in a room during winter months back down into the room to save on your heating bills.
Most ceiling fans have this option and the trick is just to remember to change it back! Also, maintain your HVAC system regularly by cleaning the strainer and changing the filters at least 4 times a year. Keep in mind that you need to do this more frequently during times of heavy use or if you share your living space with one or more four-legged creatures. In Texas it may be a good idea just to get into the routine of changing them monthly, your system will function more efficiently and probably last much longer with this simple, easy to do maintenance.
At least once a year, have a qualified technician inspect, clean and seal your ducts. Doing all this means your HVAC system does not have to work so hard to keep you comfortable, which can significantly reduce the carbon footprint of your house and keep the cost lower.
Choose the energy-saving settings for your water heater, refrigerator and freezer. Consider installing a tankless water heater for more efficient energy consumption.
Modern household appliances from air conditioners to washing machines are now more energy efficient. Replacing your old electrical appliances can decrease your energy use significantly. You will likely find that your initial outlay of cash to purchase more modern appliances will be offset in the long run by lower utility bills.
Get in touch with us, call master electrician Kalin Seamans on (469) 475-5488 for a wide range of reliable residential and commercial electrical services. Our seasoned and highly trained Rockwall based electrical contractors are always ready to assist you with any electrical concerns or problems you may have.
Stay Safe and Save Money
With Winter still dishing out some really cold weather, lots of families are looking for more cost-efficient ways to heat their homes. The sticker shock of their December, January and February electric bill got them to thinking about using a space heater to give their family some cozy, wintertime heat without the hassle and expense of traditional heating systems. Space heaters actually have been shown to cut wintertime heating bills by up to 30%.
Using several space heating units in one room can cause problems. The average breaker is a 15 amp breaker and the average space heater takes up between 10.4 – 15 amps. Using multiple space heaters can cause the breaker to trip. However, don’t make the mistake of using a larger amp breaker (30 to 40 amps), as this can easily overheat and start a fire.
Don’t buy a space heater that’s too large for the room because it won’t be a cost-efficient use of energy. Although bigger may seem to better, a small space heater can quickly heat up even the most poorly insulated room.
Don’t use a space heater if you’re not in the room with it. Many fires are started by space heaters that haven’t been properly attended to, so don’t let it run while you’re out of the house. Keep the space heater away from flammable items and materials.
To avoid danger to children and pets, keep them away from the space heater. Children are curious little creature which is why they should be kept away from the controls of the heater to avoid any risk of burns.
Check your smoke detectors to see if they’re working properly and check your outlets to see if they’re safe for space heater usage.
RealTime Electrical Solutions offers quality electrical services at a fair price. They provide residential & commercial lighting installation, house wiring, electric panel upgrades, outlet repair and installation, and ceiling fan installation. If you’re looking for an honest electrician you can trust, call master electrician Kalin Seamans on (469) 475-5488 and he will help you.
Kalin Seamans, owner of RealTime Electrical Solutions, is your Rockwall County master electrician.
Before starting his own local electrical contracting business in Rockwall, Texas, Kalin served as CEO of Paragon Electric for four years. What Kalin felt was missing in from the electrical services business was mostly the service part. He began his company to change all that.
In order to give your customers personal service and the custom electrical solutions they deserve, Kalin believes you need to live where you work. Because of that, he and his wife are raising their family in Rockwall County and that’s where he’s building his business.
RealTime Electrical Solutions serves Kalin Seaman’s Rockwall, Heath, Rowlett, Royse City, Forney, Fate, and Garland neighbors. Because he’s the company’s Master Electrician, he’s personally responsible for providing your family and your business with expert advice and skilled electrical work.
Kalin Seamans is your neighborhood electrician and he’s ready to help you.