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Electrician Explains: How to Install A Lighting Fixture

ElectriciansGot a malfunctioning lighting fixture in one area of your house? While it is generally recommended to leave electrical works in the hands of a professional electrician for safety purposes, many homeowners still prefer to do some simple and minor electrical projects on their own to save money.

Electricians at www.electricianatlanta.net remind us that changing some light fixtures may require the help of a professional electrician, but if you feel confident of your DIY skills and decide to install a new lighting fixture on your own, a little knowledge and the right electrical tools can make the task slightly less intimidating. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to install a new light fixture.

Getting Started

Electrical works including installing a lighting fixture require careful planning and preparation to avoid the dangers associated with electricity.

To start with, decide what type of lighting fixture and bulb will work best in the room or area of the house where you need the new lighting installed. Next, prepare the tools and materials you will need for this project. Generally, you will need the following:

  • Light Fixture
  • Screwdriver
  • Wire Strippers
  • Electrical Tape
  • Wire Nuts or Wire Connectors
  • Circuit Tester
  • Step Ladder
  • Work Light or Flashlight

Installing the Lighting Fixture

When working with electrical connections, typically the hot wire is indicated by the black wire, the white is the neutral one, and the bare copper wire is for grounding. If the wires have the same color or have other corresponding colors, you will have to do the testing which isn’t complicated to do, anyway.

To test the wires, connect one end of the circuit tester to one of the wires that connect to the lighting fixture, while the other end of the tester should connect to the ground wire. You will know that it is a hot wire if it causes the circuit tester to light up. For your future reference, use black electrical tape to mark the hot wire.

Now that you have identified which wire corresponds to hot, ground, and neutral, you can begin with the installation.

Step 1: Shut the power off from the main source or the circuit breaker.

Step 2: Unscrew the light fixture that you need to replace. Remove the wires carefully. Set aside the old lighting fixture.

Step 3: Position the mounting bracket, making sure to secure it properly using the screws that supported the old lighting fixture.

Step 4: Connect the white wire in the ceiling to the white wire in the light fixture, so you have a neutral to neutral connection. Twist the ends of the wire clockwise and then screw the wire nut on clockwise.

Step 5: Connect the hot wire in the ceiling to the hot wire in the lighting fixture (black to black). Secure the connection with a wire nut.

Step 6: Connect the ground wire from the ceiling to the ground wire in the lighting fixture. Secure the connection with a wire nut or using a twist-on wire connector.

Step 7: Mount the fixture to the box. Make sure to tighten the screws in place, so the fixture is positioned firmly and not moving around.

Step 8: Screw the light bulb securely into the fixture.

Step 9: Turn the power back on at the circuit breaker, and then test your newly installed lighting fixture.


Electricity – Understanding What It Is and How It Is Measured

Electricity is everywhere, and it is all around us. From lighting and heating or cooling our homes to powering up our computers, televisions, and other home appliances – we use electricity every day to do many functions for us. Despite being so valuable in our daily lives, most of us rarely stop to think what the world would be like without electricity and we tend to take it for granted.

So, What Exactly Is Electricity

Electricity is a form of energy. In its simplest definition, it is the flow of electrons. Matter is composed of atoms, and an atom has a center, called a nucleus. The nucleus consists of protons or positively charged particles and neutrons or the uncharged particles.

The nucleus of an atom is surrounded by negatively charged particles referred to as electrons. The negative charge of an electron is equivalent to the positive charge of a proton, and the number of electrons in an atom is typically equivalent to the number of protons.

An atom may gain or lose an electron when the balancing force between protons and electrons is disturbed by an external force. When an atom loses electrons, the free movement of these electrons makes up an electric current.

Electricity is a natural phenomenon that occurs throughout nature and is a controllable and convenient form of energy. Electricity takes many different forms and is the most versatile energy source that we have.

How Is Electricity Produced?

Electricity starts with one of the three main types of fuel as follows:

  • Fossil fuel (Coal, Oil, and Natural Gas)
  • Nuclear Power
  • Renewable alternatives (Wind, Solar, and Hydropower)

Depending on the fuel, either steam or fluid is produced that moves a turbine, which turns a magnet in a generator. This movement causes electrons to run, which in turn generates electricity.

Once the generator produces the electric current, it is transported to the transformers, via thick power lines, which amplify the voltage. This high-voltage electricity is then carried to the power grid.

When the current reached the power grid, power is distributed to the different substations. During this process, the voltage of the current is reduced making it suitable for use in large industries such as the manufacturing factories.

For electricity to complete its journey to your home, it is distributed to local transformers via the power lines, which are either mounted or buried. At this point, local transformers further reduce the voltage of the current to make it safer for household use.

Finally, when electricity arrives in your home, and you flip that switch or button on, you have completed the circuit. Thus, current will flow throughout the circuit system in your home.

Measuring Electricity

Electricity is measured in units of power called Watts, named after James Watt, a Scottish mechanical engineer famous for making improvements in the steam engine technology. One watt, denoted by the symbol ‘W,’ is defined as the energy consumption rate of one joule per second.

Our appliances require varying amount of Watts to operate. Some devices may require only a few Watts and other devices will require more substantial amounts. The power consumption of small electronic devices is usually measured in Watts, while the power consumption of larger devices is measured in kilowatts (kW). 1 kW is equal to 1,000 Watts.

Aside from watts, other main units used in measuring electricity are amps, volts, and ohms. Current is measured in amps (A), voltage is measured in volts (V), and resistance is measured in ohms (Ω).

Ampere is a unit of measure of the rate of current or electron flow in an electrical conductor. Volt is the unit of electric potential difference or the size of the force that sends the electrons through an electric circuit. Ohm is used to measure the electrical resistance of a material or an electronic device.


Electrician Explains: GFCI Outlets – What Exactly Are They?

Power Distribution Unit Socket Sockets Current

A ground fault circuit interrupter or GFCI is an electrical safety outlet designed to break the circuit once it detects an imbalance between the incoming and outgoing electric current.

A GFCI outlet looks quite identical to its conventional counterparts. But, you can tell a GFCI outlet by the “test” and “reset” buttons on their face. If your outlet stops functioning, you can push the ‘Reset’ button to reset the breaker, and it most cases the problem is resolved.

The primary purpose of a GFCI outlet is to provide protection against electric shocks. It also protects receptacles and electrical wirings from overheating, significantly reducing the risks of burns, fatal shock injuries, and even electrical fires. GFCI outlets detect ground faults and disrupt the flow of electricity providing it another path to the ground, instead of going through other routes such as the human body. However, it should not be used to replace a circuit breaker as it does not offer protection against short circuits and overloading. There are certain GFCI electrical issues that you just can’t do it yourself, if you find yourself in such situation call www.electriciancolumbusohio.com electricians.

Generally, there are three types of GFCIs, and they are as follows:

  • The receptacle-type GFCI which is similar to an ordinary wall outlet.
  • The Circuit breaker GFCI which is commonly used as an alternative for standard circuit breakers and provide GFCI protection to all outlets on that individual circuit.

GFCI protection should be provided anywhere there is an outlet installed in damp locations or areas subject to moisture, as the presence of moisture substantially increases the danger of electrical shocks. It is recommended that you install GFCI outlets in your kitchen, laundry room, and bathrooms as well as your exterior outlets, and in garages, crawl spaces, and unfinished basements.

How Does a GFCI Outlet Work?

A GFCI outlet calculates the voltage on the hot and neutral wires. Once it detects any differences, the outlet will automatically trip. This type of outlet is generally more sensitive and acts faster than a circuit breaker, which is a crucial safety feature.

The GFCI is capable of  “sensing” the difference in the amount of electric current flowing into the circuit to that flowing out, even in tiny amounts (as small as four or five milliamps). The GFCI then reacts quickly (less than one-tenth of a second) to trip or shut off the circuit, and prevent further damage.

Testing and Maintaining Your GFCI Outlets

Like other electronic devices GFCI outlets can be damaged, and are subject to wear and tear. The electrical outlet in a GFCI may continue to work, even if the GFCI circuit no longer functions. Thus, it is often not possible to tell whether an outlet is GFCI protected or not by merely looking at it.

If you have a particular outlet that doesn’t seem to be providing power, not only should you check the circuit breakers, but also try resetting the button and see if that helps.

GFCIs should be tested monthly to ensure that they are in good working condition. As with most electrical work, you should consider hiring a licensed professional electrician to install GFCI outlets in your home. Electrical work is dangerous, and it can lead to serious, even life-threatening, injuries if the right precautions and safety practices are not taken.


Going Green: How to Protect the Environment With Proper Energy Use

Our modern lifestyle means that our day to day activities are almost always intertwined with electricity. That said, electricity is undeniably a vital part of our everyday living. Considerably, we also spend a significant amount of our income to pay for our utility bills. Cutting down on electricity consumption is therefore essential if you want to save money. But did you know that cutting down your energy use not only lets you save money, but also the planet?

How Does Energy Saving Help Protect the Environment?

While it may not be that obvious, there is a direct correlation between how we use energy and the environment. When you consume less energy, you help reduce the toxins and the strain on the environment, conserve the earth’s natural resources and promote ecological balance. By taking even the smallest steps to reduce your energy consumption, you can make a huge impact and contribute to a greener, happier, and healthier world.

  • Protect the Air

To produce power, energy plants burn coal, crude oil, or other fossil fuels releasing toxic greenhouse gases to the environment – carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, sulfur oxides. When we use less electricity, we can help decrease power plant emissions which can have a detrimental impact on the environment.

  • Help Prevent Climate Change

If there is an alarming issue we should all be concerned with, it’s the effects of climate change. Energy plants give off extra carbon wastes that in turn trap too much heat leading to climate change. Climate change is blamed for the rising temperatures, higher sea levels, heat waves, drought, abnormal weather patterns, and increased intensity of natural disasters.

  • Conserve Limited and Depleting Natural Resources

If each of us will take part in cutting back on energy use, we can all help conserve limited natural resources, such as coal, trees, natural gases, and water, that would otherwise be used to produce electricity.

  • Save Ecosystems and Promote Biodiversity

Increasing demands on electricity would mean we have to tap into more natural resources, and in the process destroy habitats both in land and in water, displacing animals and harming the ecological balance.

Top 10 Ways to Save Energy

Cutting down energy usage in your home can benefit not just your wallet, but more importantly the environment. Here are 10 simple ways you can reduce your energy consumption at home:

  1. Switch off the lights and appliances when no one is using them. Even better, unplug all unused appliances from the outlets to save costs from ‘phantom energy loss.’
  2. Save energy in how you wash and dry your clothes and dishes.
  3. Choose Energy Star certified appliances which consume way less electricity compared to the conventional ones.
  4. Switch to energy-efficient light bulbs.
  5. Make sure your home has a good insulation system.
  6. Change or clean your filters regularly.
  7. Conduct a routine checkup and preventive maintenance in your home’s HVAC or Heating, Ventilation, and Air-conditioning system.
  8. Invest in programmable thermostats.
  9. Use fans for cooling instead of relying heavily on your air-conditioner systems.
  10. Take advantage of natural ventilation by opening your windows to let cool air in at night.

Save Energy, Help Save Mother Earth

Electricity powers up our homes and make our lives more comfortable. But, energy costs money. Every time you make an effort to lower your energy bills, you are putting more money back in your wallet. What’s more? When we use energy responsibly, we are doing our share in protecting the environment and promoting sustainability. Surprisingly, saving energy does not have to be complicated. Even with our simplest effort, we can help make a huge difference and provide a positive global impact.


Simple Ways to Conserve Energy at Home

Saving electricity is not only an excellent way to counter the increasing prices of energy. It also provides us a cleaner and more sustainable environment. Even a small effort in conserving energy at home can make a huge difference globally.

When we have the right mindset, energy saving isn’t difficult at all, and as we make it a habit, in no time at all, it will just come as second nature. Here are simple steps we can do to cut down on energy use at home:

  1. Unplug unused appliances from the outlet.

Often, we only turn off the TV using the remote control and leave it plugged into the outlet. The thing is, even if turned off, most appliances we have at home still consumes electricity for as long as they are plugged into an outlet. In the same way, chargers for mobile phones, tablets, and other gadgets utilize small amounts of electricity even when they are not charging, so make sure you unplug them when you’re not charging a device.

  1. Upgrade your light bulbs.

Traditional incandescent bulbs consume more energy, CFLs and LED bulbs are not only more energy-efficient, but they also provide more efficient lighting and generally lasts longer than conventional ones. This saves you money from having to replace your bulbs more often.

  1. Opt for energy-efficient appliances.

While energy-efficient appliances typically cost more, they can save you up to 25% on power consumption compared to the conventional ones.

  1. Adjusting your behavior and going back to manual.

You can conserve a substantial amount in energy costs by simply adjusting your behavior. Turn off the lights and appliances if you don’t need them. Use fans and take advantage of natural ventilation whenever possible. Instead of using your dryers, air-dry your dishes and hang your clothes outside to dry.

Heating and cooling appliances contribute to nearly half of the utility bills of an average. Reductions in the intensity and frequency of using these appliances offer significant savings in your overall power consumption at home.

  1. Use a home energy monitor.

Energy monitors provide you insights regarding your energy use at home and help you keep track of appliances that use electricity the most. Using this information, you can find ways on how to make your home more energy-efficient. Moreover, modern energy monitors come with a variety of features that make them more useful and efficient.

  1. Wash your clothes with cold water.

Heating the water for washing your clothes adds up to your energy usage considerably, and cold water is just as effective in getting your clothes cleaned.

  1. Keep your doors closed.

One of the most effortless ways to cut down on energy costs is by keeping the doors in the rooms in your house closed. Opening your doors frequently means you are letting the cold air escape and letting the hot air in. The same is true for your refrigerator doors. Plan what you need to get ahead of time before opening your fridge’s door.

Also, use drapes and thick curtains to block off the sun from getting inside your home during the day.


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