469-475-5488



Thinking about adding a Pool for Summer?

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 Water Heaters

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.

RealTime Electrical Solutions - Electric Tankless Water heater - Diagram

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.

Disadvantages include:

● 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

Pros:
● 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.

Cons:
● 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.

10 Electrical Don’ts for Your Home

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.

Your Home Electrical System – Live Greener

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.

Lighting
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.

HVAC Maintenance
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.

Energy-Saving Settings
Choose the energy-saving settings for your water heater, refrigerator and freezer. Consider installing a tankless water heater for more efficient energy consumption.

Energy-Star Appliances
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.

Choose the Right Space Heater for Your Home

RealTime Electrical Solutions - Rockwall - Garland -Space heater  - electric heater

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.

RealTime Electrical Solutions - Rockwall - Garland -Space heater  - electric heater

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 - Rockwall - Garland -Space heater  - electric heater

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.

Extra Electrical Outlets Are the Way To Go

RealTime Electrical Solutions - Kalin Seamans - power strip in bathroom

Adding much needed electrical outlets as you add more and more electronics and appliances to your home is ridiculously inexpensive. I’m a master electrician, so I know these things.
Daisy-chaining power strips and extension cord overloads electrical outlets and is a REALLY BAD IDEA. Not only can overloading outlets damage the expensive equipment being powered, this practice is a very real fire hazard. 

More electrical outlets in your home can actually make your life more pleasurable. For example, I could add a strip of outlets inside of a cabinet under your bathroom sink or add it to the back of the vanity drawer where you store your hair dryer. I could also add extra outlets above and beneath the desktop of your home office to optimize efficiency and get rid of ugly power cords everywhere. How convenient is that!

RealTime Electrical Solutions - Kalin Seamans - home office electrical outlets

PLEASE don’t risk your family’s safety linking extension cords all over the house trying to save a little time or money. The odds are not good for a happy ending. This is a simple fix that I would love to make for you. Respectfully, Kalin Seamans.

Who Started The Christmas Light Craze?

RealTimne Electrical Solutions - Outdoor Christmas Tree with Lights - Your Neighbourhood Rockwall Electrician

Texans love lights on the tree, lights on the house, and lights on just about anything that stands still around Christmas time. Loved by many and disdained by others, this modern trend of electric lights on Christmas trees probably saved thousands of lives because they replaced actual candles on cut live trees!

In 1882, Edward H. Johnson wired together the very first string of electric lights designed to wind around a Christmas tree. He hand-wired 80 red, white and blue light bulbs for his own Christmas tree, but his new invention never really caught on because the general public was still a little afraid of electricity.

United States President, Grover Cleveland began to change that when in 1895 he asked for the White House family Christmas tree to be illuminated by hundreds of multicolored electric light bulbs. Then on Christmas Eve 1923, President Calvin Coolidge lit up the National Christmas Tree with an amazing 3,000 electric lights. 

Back then, a “wireman,” now referred to as an electrician, would need to install strings of lights on your Christmas tree. It’s estimated that lighting an average Christmas tree with electric lights before 1900 would have cost about $2,000 in today’s money.

RealTime Electrical Solutions- Indoor lighted Christmas Lights - Kalin Seamans Neighbourhood Rockwall Electrician

At the beginning of the twentieth century, General Electric introduced “pre-assembled” kits of stringed Christmas lights for decorating your tree which brought the price down considerably. The real craze began however, in 1917 when an American teenager recognized a real opportunity in selling Christmas tree lights. Albert Sadacca talked his family into selling brightly colored strands of Christmas lights through their novelty business. Albert and his brothers organized what became the National Outfit Manufacturers Association Electric Company that basically owned the entire Christmas light market until the 1960s.

Do you have a circuit breaker that trips frequently?

Fuses or breakers are designed so that if a current is high enough to damage the wiring, the fuse or breaker will detect this and open the circuit. That’s engineer talk for stopping the electric running through the circuit and turning it off!

Fuses and circuit breakers protect the wiring and shut off the power. If a current is high enough to damage the wiring, the fuse or breaker will detect this and open the circuit i.e. switch it off. However, unacceptably high currents can cause insulation damage and overheating that threaten to either damage electrical appliances connected to the circuit or cause combustible materials near the wiring to ignite.

Most people with breakers will just find which one tripped and flip it back on. This is not the best thing to do without paying some attention to what caused the circuit to be overloaded in the first place. Usually the home owner would have some clue as to what is stressing the electrical circuit. Did you just add a space heater to a circuit that tripped when the heater was in use for the first time, or when the temperature sank really low and caused the heater to stay on longer?

The real problem is that the wiring may be improperly sized for your space heater and all the other things you have already on the circuit. If this happens to you you may need to add a separate circuit for the space heater, or beef up the whole circuit.

Older homes may need electrical Upgrades. When homes are built, strict building codes and a professional, licensed electrician all but guarantee a safe electrical system in the home. Even a home built in 1950 should be perfectly safe today, if nobody has tampered with the wiring. Of course, since most people can’t live without a microwave and other modern appliances, almost no home goes too long with its original wiring. Most problems with electrical wiring occur when these upgrades aren’t done correctly. Microwaves, computers, space heaters, and air conditioners are the biggest culprits, but any appliance, even toasters, may require alterations to your electrical wiring.

So remember this, if a circuit is overloaded it doesn’t mean that it will just blow a breaker. It could possibly cause a fire to ignite! If your breaker is tripping regularly call Kalin Seamans and have him check out the problem. Kalin is a family man himself and he wants to keep your family safe.

Commercial Electrical Panels

commercial electrical services rockwall county - greater garland area

Top commercial electrician in Rockwall County and Greater Garland, RealTime Electrical Solutions’ mission is to offer our clients superior service in every way. Our team has gone through extensive training and certified to handle any type of electrical issue your business may face. We do all of our own work and never sub-contracting anything.

From repairing code violations to installing new lighting, RES completes the work promptly and at an affordable price. Professionalism, continuing education and value are hallmarks of the RES business model. We never compromise on service and would welcome the opportunity to earn your business. We offer a full range of commercial electrical services including electrical panel installation, upgrades & repairs throughout Rockwall County and the Greater Garland area.

Start off 2018 with Electrical Safety

Watch for warning signs that may indicate the need for a new electrical panel in your facilities. These signs include, breakers frequently tripping, warm breakers, flickering lights and crackling or sizzling at the panel. Please don’t dismiss these warning signs. The dangers of ignoring these symptoms include more and more circuit issues within the panel due to heat and a potential fire. 

We offer full electrical service to ensure that your property is safe. We put our money where our mouth is and offer 55% off electrical panel upgrades and replacements to help you ensure that your electrical safety is not compromised. Call us now for a New Year’s electrical safety check.

rockwall county commercial  electrician - main panel upgrades

Safety is a top priority at RealTime Electrical Solutions. We will replace your electrical panel according to the National Electrical Code (NEC) standards, install approved breakers, and if necessary perform a full service upgrade. We also include all permitting as required. Contact us for your commercial electrical panel maintenance Rockwall County and the Greater Garland area.

In addition to the services listed above, we also offer:

Service Panel Upgrades
Meter Base Repairs
Meter Base Replacements
Service Mast Repairs
Replace Weather Head
New Grounding Systems
Whole House Surge Protection Devices
Label Circuits on Existing Panels
Sub Panel Installation

Call Kalin Seamans, owner of RealTime Electrical Solutions and Master Electrician, with any questions you have about your electrical systems.

Your Neighborhood Rockwall Electrician

RealTime Electrical Solutions - Rockwall Harbor - Rockwall & Garland local electrician

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.

Electric Smokers: Smart Choice for Your Thanksgiving Turkey

RealTime Electrical Solutions - Thanksgiving Turkey Smoker

Baking in the oven is how most Americans cook their Thanksgiving turkey. There’s nothing in the world wrong with that except that it leaves no room for cooking any other dishes in your oven.

Surprisingly, smoking your turkey is healthier than deep frying or oven baking because it requires no oil at all. Smoking actually retains more of the nutritional value of the meat than other methods. 

Smoking meat usually conjures up pictures of a specially built smoke house where meat is hung for weeks or a giant metal drum covered with black soot. Then there’s the piles of wood you have to burn to create the smoke. The meat tastes great, but it would be way too much trouble to cook like that when you’re trying to feed your family. Right? Wrong.

New electric smokers are convenient to use because they uses electricity to ignite the wood required to make the smoke. Even better, the wood comes in convenient chips of mesquite, pecan and other varieties that lend their specific flavor to the meat.

Thermostats monitor the temperature inside and there are control panels for just about everything. Master electrician, Kalin Seamans will be happy to chat with you about these new electric smokers. He’s already in the holiday spirit!

Keeping the Lights On When the Electric Grid Fails You

RealTime Electrical Solutions - Rockwall County  - Solar, Battery backup

click to enlarge

Recent technology has brought us ever increasing ways to set up our homes so that it can experience electrical grid outages and just keep on running.

For instance, batteries are gradually growing in size and capacity powerful enough to run your entire house. Here in sun-baked Texas, it will soon be possible to backup your regular electric supply using a battery that is kept fully charged by solar power.

Ultimately, you will be able to create a system to:

• Charge its batteries automatically from either solar power or inexpensive off-peak electricity from your electric company, whichever works best for you at any given time.

• Automatically switch to battery power or solar power, whenever normal grid service is interrupted.

• Maintain power to selected circuits in your home such as lights and your refrigerator or completely replace power to all the circuits in your home. 

In fact, it’s already possible to make your home independent of the electrical grid to cover emergencies with the use of a well designed grid-tied solar electric system.

There are already “conventional” generator backup power systems that run on gasoline, diesel or natural gas. There are also “hybrid” or dual systems, where both a solar electric-powered / battery backup, along with a conventional generator are tied into the home’s emergency power circuits. Convenience, security and safety are the main considerations when deciding on solid backup electrical system.

Not quite sure which type or size of backup power system is the best one you? Master Electrician, Kalin Seamans is an expert in the field. Kalin will show you all of your options, help you choose a backup power plan that is perfect for your family’s protection and your budget, then he’ll design and install a custom system just for you.

NASA image of Solar Eclipse – click to enlarge

Electrical Safety for Halloween

RealTime Electrical Solutions, Inc. - Halloween safety tips Rockwall TX

October is finally here! Time to stock up on sweet treats, then fill the yard and home with ghastly decorations. It’s gonna be fun. It’s gonna be spooky!

Before lying in wait for those young ghosts, goblins and caped crusaders to invade your neighborhood demanding their treats, keep the following safety tips in mind to make sure the electrical elements in and around your home are ideally maintained to minimize risk.

Halloween means strings of decorative lights, fog machines, strobe and black lights, animatronics, electrically powered decorations and the list goes on. These things all add to the ambience, but they also create the added dangers of fire, electrocution and other nasty accidents. It is very important that you look for these potential dangers and eliminate them before you flip the switch.

As you unpack the cardboard boxes and plastic containers full of plastic skeletons, lighted pumpkins, and assorted “Boo factor” decorations, make sure you check them for electrical component issues/ Examine each of the decorations as you un-box them for frayed wires, burnt out lightbulbs and batteries that need replacing. Also, look for cracked or frayed sockets, loose or bare wires, and loose connections that could cause a serious shock or start a fire. Discard damaged sets of lights or damaged props that can no longer be used safely. Use only lights that have been safety tested and approved by Underwriters Laboratory (UL). Look for the UL label on the box and on each string. 

Use no more than three standard-size sets of lights per single extension cord. Don’t use electrical decorations or light strings on materials that could catch fire. Follow the use and care instructions that accompany your electrical decorations.

Make sure extension cords are in good condition. Use only UL-approved cords rated to carry the electrical load you will connect to them.

Keep electric cords out of high-traffic areas. PLEASE don’t staple or nail through light strings or electrical cords.

Fasten outdoor lights (use only lights rated for outdoor use) securely to trees, house walls, or other firm supports to protect the lights from wind damage. Use only insulated staples to hold light strings in place, not nails or tacks.

For added electric shock protection, outside cords should be plugged into outlets equipped with ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). Use a portable GFCI if your outdoor outlets don’t have them. GFCIs protect you from electric shocks. Portable outdoor GFCIs can be purchased where electrical supplies are sold. GFCIs can be installed permanently to household circuits by a qualified electrician, call Kalin Seamens at RealTime Electrical Solutions on 469-475-5488 if you have any questions. Kalin will make sure that you are safe.

Now is a great time to replace the batteries in your smoke detector. While you’re at it, vacuum them and test each one after replacing the batteries.

Turn off all lights when you go to bed or leave the house. The lights could short out and start a fire. Always have at least one fire extinguisher available and know how to use it. In homes with small children or animals, take special care to avoid decorations that are sharp or breakable.

Practice safety, use common sense and you’ll have a happy, accident-free Halloween! Enjoy the holiday and for any electrical issues or questions, give us a call at 469-475-5488.

Heating Your Swimming Pool on Cool Autumn Nights

RealTime Electrical Solutions - Swimming Pool Heaters

Even though it is far too early to start thinking about heating your home in North Texas, the first week of Fall is the perfect time to contemplate heating your swimming pool.

In our part of the country, a swimming pool heater would extend your family’s usual swimming season by several months. The Fall months are a great time to swim for fun or exercise if our pool water is heated and Autumn nights are particularly lovely in Texas. In fact, outdoor entertaining in the Fall can be lots more comfortable for your guests than during the sweltering Summer months. 

In addition to the food and big-screen TV, those September, October and November back-yard evenings are made even nicer when you can also offer your friends and family a swim after dark.

Modern, state-of-the-art pool heaters are designed to provide your family with years and years of reliable, efficient performance. For a long time, gas heaters seamed the obvious choice heating pools because pool water is heated quickly and gas prices were extremely low. Now, energy conscious consumers look for more efficient methods to heat their pools like heat pumps or solar heating.

If you’re about to heat your pool for the first time or need to replace an aging heating system, master electrician, Kalin Seamons will be glad to walk you through your options from an energy point of view, go over the upfront costs and explain how you could save the most money in the long run.

This isn’t New Jersey, so don’t be too quick to shut down your swimming pool just yet!

Pendant Lights: Inexpensive Home Update Without a Major Remodel

RealTime Electrical Solutions - Pendant Lighting

You’ve probably noticed a popular lighting trend on all the home remodeling television programs lately referred to as pendant lights. A pendant light is one that hangs from the ceiling suspended by a slender rod, cord or discreet chain. These single drop light fixtures are called pendant lights because they look similar to those lovely drops ladies wear around their necks on a delicate chain.

When pendant lights are hung together in a straight line, the effect is dramatic. This is especially true when pendant lights are suspended above a rectangle surface like a kitchen island or a long dining table. Not only are the aesthetically pleasing to the eye, the well-spaced individual pendants also ensure that the entire surface is equally lit.

Pendant lights are also being used effectively over bathroom vanities. Because the lights take up so little of the visual space, even small bathrooms where they’re used appear larger. Who doesn’t want a bigger bathroom? What an amazing change these little pendant lights make to your existing home design!

Wondering how high to hang your new pendant lights or what the optimum spacing is between the lights? Master electrician, Kalin Seamans has all those answers you and he can handle all the wiring for you.

RealTime Electrical Solutions - Pendant Lighting Bathroom

RealTime Electrical Services routinely design the lighting schematics for luxury homes, elegant hotel lobbies, restaurants, country clubs and corporate offices.

Lost Your Appetite Over Your Summer Electric Bill?

Reduce your Summer Electric Bill - RealTime Electrical Soluitions

One very effective way to lower your electric bill during the hot Texas Summer and Autumn months that doesn’t involve calling an electrician or the HVAC guy is cooking outside. Using your outdoor grill or microwaving keeps your kitchen cooler and consequently, reduces energy costs.

Cooking your entire meal on the outdoor grill makes the food taste fantastic, is easier to clean up and avoids heating up the kitchen. Steak, pork or chicken on the barbecue and veggies in those little silver packages make for killer cuisine! I believe in miracles and foil paper is certainly one of them.

Bon Appétit

Here are a few tips to save on electricity in your kitchen when grilling outside just isn’t feasible:

Turn off your oven about 15 minutes before the actual baking time is complete. The residual heat in you oven should finish the cooking process.

Avoid opening the oven door while you’re baking. Every time you open the door, you lose between 25 to 50 degrees of heat.

For energy savings on your stove top, make sure that your pots, pans and skillets have flat bottoms, have tight-fitting lids and that you match the size of the pan with the size of the burner.

Tamper Resistant Receptacles Protect Your Kids

Tamper Resistant Outlets - RealTime Electrical Solutions

As the father of a small child AND a master electrician, I know how to Baby-Proof your electrical outlets!

Of the nearly 5,500 people who suffered shocks and burns from electrical outlets last year, more than 2,400 of them were under the age of 17. Of those, countless injuries were caused when foreign objects like keys, paperclips, and hairpins were inserted into outlets.

Plastic plug-in inserts and wall plates with contact shutters are available for tamper resistance; however, these products ARE NOT UL-listed for safety/tamper resistance. One hundred percent of two to four year olds in a recent Temple University were able to remove a standard plastic outlet cap within ten seconds. Suffice it to say, I do not recommend those devices to my family and friends.

The National Electrical Code (NEC) requires that Tamper Resistant Receptacles be installed in pediatric areas, so why would you use anything less effective for protecting your children in your own home?

Tamper Resistant Receptacles remain accessible and inconspicuous while offering a higher level of security than plastic outlet caps. TRRs look exactly like standard wall outlets, but the dangerous electrical contacts inside are shielded by receptacle cover plates. These plates stay closed until equal pressure is applied to both contact points at the same time, a maneuver your child will not be able to manage by simply inserting foreign objects into the outlet. Your master electrician will guide you through the product selection process, then quickly replace dangerous outlets with TRRs.

Day care centers, doctor’s offices, nursery schools and children’s play areas are replacing their high risk outlets with Tamper Resistant Receptacles. Call me and let me explain how cost effective this higher level of child safety can be. Kalin Seamans, Master Electrician 469-475-5488.

Why Emergency Generators?

Storms are just a fact of life when you reside in North Texas. By storms, I don’t mean a little thunder and lightning, I mean MAJOR storms that play havoc with your home’s electricity.

In Dallas and Rockwall Counties, we actually have what everyone nonchalantly refers to as “Tornado Season.” If you’ve ever watched news footage following the progression of a tornado, you’ll see frightening flashes as the monster slices its way through all the power lines in its path. If the area affected is large enough, your home can be left without any electricity at all for days waiting for repair crews to make their way to your neighborhood. There’s nothing you can do to stop a tornado, high winds or wild Texas electrical storms, but you can be prepared for the resulting outages by investing in your own emergency generator.

Buying an emergency generator might seem like a pretty pricey precaution given the chances that your home might go dark are slim, but ask your neighbors about their scary storm stories. You’ll be astounded at the numbers of how many were left in the dark and how long their homes remained without power.

Freezing rain in January and February is another phenomenon they fail to mention in the travel brochures. Within hours of freezing water attaching itself to your neighborhood’s power lines, the ice can become so heavy that it actually pulls the lines down. Freezing fog works the same way and we are lucky enough in North Texas to get both!

The time to evaluate cost versus risk is between these storm “seasons.” When the storm actually hits, cars line up around semi trucks bringing the coveted supply of portable emergency power generators. When the hundred or so generators are gone, there will usually not be a second shipment. If you’re not one of the lucky few, you drive home to a dark house with no heating or air conditioning, no working electric stove, no way to charge your electronic devices. Candles sell out quickly everywhere and gas camping stoves even quicker. All the food in your freezer defrosts all at the same time.

If you’re beginning to think that a standby emergency generator would be your best bet, do the smart thing and call a master electrician who has knowledge and experience of choosing and installing generators. Master electrician, Kalin Seamans RealTime Electrical Solutions deals with only the top-rated power generators on the market with comforting features like Mobile Link, Cold Weather Kits and Wireless Remote Monitors.

Kalin treats his customers like family and he’ll advise you on the best fit for your home, supply your generator, deliver it, install it and then maintain it for you. Call RealTime Electrical Solutions now to explore the possibilities of owning your own emergency generator.

There’s never a good time for you and your family to be left in the dark!

Spotlighting your Home’s Value with Landscape Lighting

Landscape lighting is one of the most dramatic improvements you can make to your home’s curb appeal. In fact, professional outdoor lighting design is an investment that will even increase the resale value of your home.

RealTime Electrical Solutions’ master electrician, Kalin Seamans specializes in “masterfully” designed landscape lighting systems that really impress! Because every element will be professionally installed and connected to a central power source, you’ll have control everything from one spot in your home.

Instead of stringing lights in the garden yourself and dealing with umpteen plugs and power cords, why not choose a stunning outdoor lighting design and a quality installation.

Choosing Just the Right Ceiling Fan for You

When you go shopping for a new ceiling fan, most people focus on the aesthetics and price. What’s the nicest looking ceiling fan I can get in my price range and will it match my motif.

There are, however, other very important points to consider before selecting your new ceiling fan. The first thing to determine before you choose a ceiling fan is which size fan blades do you need to match the size of the room where the fan will hang. Keep in mind that fan blade spans can range anywhere from 24 to 80 inches across. Fifty-two inches is the most popular size.

An appropriate size fan for rooms up to 75 square feet would be between 29 and 36 inches. For rooms between 75 and 144 square feet, choose a fan between 36 and 42 inches. If your room is between 144 and 225 square feet, it’s best to choose a fan between 44 and 50 inches. Ceiling fans with blades between 50 and 54 inches are great for rooms 225 to 400 square feet. Extra large ceiling fans are also available for great rooms and rooms with high vaulted ceilings. Those fans come with blade spans between 60 and 80 inches.

Then decide how you want to control the ceiling fan. Do you want to use a pull-chain, remote control, or wall switch? Check to make sure that the control options you want are available on the model you choose.

Next, call me and let’s schedule a time to hang your new ceiling fan because one-hundred degree temperatures are just around the corner. I’m master electrician Kalin Seamans and I’m here to help you!

Power Surge Protection

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If you’re one of the many people working from home now, a sudden surge of power bursting through residential electrical wires could have devastating effects on your livelihood. We all know to save our work as we go along, but nobody remembers to do that ALL of the time. One little power surge can make us break out in a cold sweat and take our breath away while we wait to see if this one will restart our computer.

When the main power source to your house comes back on after even a short outage, the returning burst of electricity through your wiring when the power comes back on can actually fry your computer equipment! 

Replacing electronics isn’t as expensive as it used to be, but still it “ain’t cheap.” The real horror is lost files. Spread sheets, research documents, proposals are all lost forever! Even a backup drive can become a mere paper weight as a result of one of these disasters.

Power surges can lay waste to computers, phones, entertainment systems and pretty much any device that has electronic sensors or timers. Creating a comprehensive strategy to protect your “stuff” from unwanted surges of electricity is strongly advised.

Surge Protection runs the gamut from the very least you can do with a high quality, grounded power strip all the way to whole house surge protection and uninterrupted power supplies for your home. RealTime Electrical Solutions specializes in customizing a surge protection plan for your particular needs to fit within your particular budget. 

 

National Electrical Safety Month

Since May is National Electrical Safety Month, RealTime Electrical Solutions wants to remind you that, when it comes to electricity, a little extra vigilance & respect can actually save lives.

National Fire Protection Association research shows that an average of more than 53,000 electrical home structure fires cause the deaths of more than 450 people each year. More than 1,400 additional people are also injured by electrical house fires and electrical structure fires cause more than a billion dollars in property damage annually. Tragedies from electrical shock aren’t even covered in those statistics.

One of the most important things you can do is sit with your children and explain to them how they can help you discover electrical fire hazards in your home. Don’t scare them, but instead ask them to be Danger Detectives who help you eliminate potential problems.

Talk to your kids about how electricity works. Because they can’t see electricity, explaining how something that is invisible can be so powerful takes a bit time and patience.

Start with pointing out power lines in your neighborhood and teach your children that the power company uses those lines to bring electricity to your house. Teach them to always stay away from downed power lines they may see while playing outside and report them to you immediately. Take your children around your house and tell them how electricity moves around your house through wires in your walls. Tell your kids about how plugs work and that they should never stick anything into electrical outlets.

Doing a little research on electrical safety in the home will prepare you for teaching your children what they need to know to stay safe. It will also make you more aware of what safety precautions you need to take around your house to protect your family. If you need any help or suggestions, RealTime Electrical Solutions’ master electrician, Kalin Seamans is just a phone call away at 469-475-5488. 

Breaking down Fuses and Breakers

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This excellent graphic shows the different types of fuse and breaker used in electrical panels through the years and explains how to keep your home safe. Provided by the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) the premier non-profit organization dedicated exclusively to promoting electrical safety at home and in the workplace.

Learn more about the ESFI and your home electrical safety – click here.

The electrical control panel controls the safe use of electrical power in your home or business. They are usually out of sight and consequently out of mind (except when a breaker trips and everyone reaches for a flashlight or even candles!

The point is that the fuse or breaker panel is the place where you might notice problems arising before they become really dangerous. Has the same breaker been tripping often? This might be a good time to have a panel inspection. If your home is older than 40 years old or has had a major addition, renovation or large appliance added then you should have an electrical inspection according to the ESFI.

Fuses are commonly found in houses built over 55 years ago. They provide basic protection with a fuse that MELTS when overloaded. PLEASE do not be tempted to replace a blown fuse fuse with a larger rated one ( example – 20 amp replaces 10 amp) as this would be a dangerous fire hazard.

Whatever your concerns, RealTime Electrical Solutions and Kalin’s team will provide peace of mind with a Home Electrical Assessment for just $75! The inspection includes:

– Panel Inspection
– Plug & Switch inspection
– Attic Inspection
– Electric Equipment Inspection
– Photos With Notes Of Trouble Spots

Call Kalin now 469-475-5488 for quick service in the Rockwall County greater Garland area.

Stylish Light Bulbs vs Ugly White Spirals

Almost everyone remembers where they were and what they were doing when they got the horrifying news. “You must give up your light bulbs,” the government told us, “to save energy!”

What did they offer us instead? The incandescent light bulbs that we’d grown up with were suddenly illegal and we were left with alien looking, white spiral thingies in their place.

Fortunately, private enterprise seized upon the problem and saved us from ugly light bulbs. Fast forward to 2017 and your aesthetically pleasing bulb options are cornucopic. You can now buy everything from “antique” inspired light bulbs to nearly perfectly sculpted doppelgangers, made to look just like the out-law bulbs we used to love. Your chandelier can even have lovely “candle light” bulbs again.

Thinking about LED bulbs, CFLs or acandescent bulbs? Confused about using the new lighting options to give you the effect you want in each room of your home. Wondering how long these bulbs last and how much they cost? Well, of course you are.

Over the next few weeks, master electrician, Kalin Seamans will be reviewing some of the coolest new light bulbs available on the market today. Why? Because women keep asking him if they have to use ugly light bulbs in their homes or if there’s an alternative. His customers want answers and he wants to give them the service they so richly deserve! 

Electric Panel Upgrades

Why would you need to upgrade your electrical panel, you ask? Out of site, out of mind, right? An electrical system that is aged, worn or not up to building codes could be a huge safety risk. Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to electricity. Shorts and overheating of an electrical system is actually a fire risk.

Electric panels channel electricity that comes into your home or office from the meter and distributes it to the circuits in your home or business. These panels can develop issues with properly distributing the power resources for many reasons, especially when you add or replace original appliances. Obviously, if you plan to add a room to your house or break through the wall to expand into the office next door, you’re going to need to upgrade your electrical panel.

More commonly though, electric panel replacement occurs in homes more than 10 years old. Electric panels come in a range of capacities: 100, 150, 200, or 400 amps. All homes require a minimum amperage, and your electric panel must support that minimum. If you own an older home, it goes without saying your house has an older, lower power panel. The problem is that these old amperage panels probably won’t be able to power all of today’s modern electrical equipment and appliances.

Consequently, if your home needs to handle 200 amps, but your old electrical panel is only rated to 100, you need an electrical panel upgrade to handle the additional power requirements.