Why Hiring a Master Electrician [as opposed to a General Contractor] is Your Best Option

January 20, 2020

If you need electrical work performed in your home, especially during a major renovation, you should hire a master electrician rather than a general contractor. Master electricians have extensive knowledge about their field that general contractors lack. Here are the major differences between the two occupations. General Contractor As the name implies, a general contractor is a jack-of-all-trades. They are good for doing things such as installing fixtures, replacing your home’s siding or building a deck. However, general contractors don’t specialize in any one type of skilled trade. This means they can do jobs that don’t require specialized knowledge. If what you need done in your home is difficult, complex or dangerous, you’ll want to hire someone who specializes in that area, rather than a general contractor. Master Electrician It takes years of study and experience to become a master electrician. A journeyman electrician has spent extensive time in a classroom and working alongside an electrician in the field. A master electrician has received far more training than that. They can supervise other electricians and own their own business. A master electrician will get your job done right the first time. You won’t waste money on a botched attempt and...

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What Is the Reason for Energy Star Classification?

January 10, 2020

Over the last decade or so, there has been a push to make home appliances and other big-ticket items more energy efficient. The result has been the creation of the Energy Star classification system. When you shop at your favorite home goods store, you might notice the logo on some products. You may have even wondered why it should matter to you. Here is what you should know about the Energy Star classification and why it matters to you. What Is the Reason for Energy Star Classification? The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) created the Energy Star program in 1992. The goal has always been to reduce the amount of emissions and pollutants released into the environment. Since 2005, the program has operated under the authority of the Clean Air Act and the 2005 Energy Policy Act. To lower those pollutants, a rating system was setup. How Are Appliances Rated? Each appliance is rated according to its size and the amount of energy it consumes. A small appliance should not be an energy drain. A large product should not consume a little energy and operate poorly, either. The aim is to ensure the item operates as intended while limiting the amount...

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Seven Tips for Reducing Your Home Energy Usage

December 18, 2019

There are many ways to reduce your energy usage and save money on utility bills. Some of these are low cost and easy to implement. Here are seven of the most impactful methods. 1. Adjust Your Daily Behavior Turn off the lights when you leave the room. Switch off appliances when they aren’t in use, as many have standby modes that consume energy (also known as “energy vampires”). The biggest savings usually come from turning down the thermostat in cold months and allowing your home to get warmer in summer. For most homeowners, heating and cooling make up nearly half of the electric bill. 2. Replace Your Light Bulbs LED lights are highly efficient and consume a fraction of the energy of incandescent bulbs. At the high end, some of these bulbs can last over 20 years; plus, they’ve gone down in price considerably in the last decade. 3. Install a Programmable or Smart Thermostat Programmable and smart thermostats help automate your home’s heating-and-cooling schedule. This helps reduce the frequency that your AC/heating system cycles on and off, reducing your heating and cooling bill—in many cases, significantly. 4. Reduce How Much You Pay for Heating Water Turn your water heater...

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Eight Tips for Taking the ‘Shock’ Out of Holiday Decorating

December 1, 2019

The holidays are a time to gather with friends and family, to celebrate the previous year and to make resolutions to start anew in the year ahead. It’s easy to get so caught up in decorating your home that you forget about electrical safety. That’s why we wanted to take a few minutes to share some friendly tips to help you prevent an electrical or fire disaster from happening over the holiday season. 1. Keep Your Electrical Cords Secure When you’re mounting electric decorations and lights, never use anything sharp that can pierce the cord. Stay away from using nails or similar tools to attach your cables to the wall as these can easily fray the wires inside the cords. Choose mounted hooks instead. GVEC Home electricians are available to help safely install home electrical wiring during the holidays or during any other time of year, too. 2. Keep Power Sources Well Maintained for Safety Check around your house for any loose electrical connections, damaged sockets or damaged wiring. If you do notice any damage, don’t hesitate to call us. 3. Unwrap Your Presents Away from the Fireplace Opening presents is always fun, but make sure to keep the wrapping...

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Three Tips for Avoiding Electrical Emergencies at Thanksgiving

November 20, 2019

Everyone looks forward to spending time with loved ones and enjoying delicious food at Thanksgiving. But having so many dishes cooking at once can turn into a major problem. Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, many of which are due to electric malfunctions. As you get ready for the holidays, follow these three tips to avoid major electrical disruptions during your event. 1. Check Your Appliances Before the Big Day A few days before the holiday, pull out all the appliances you plan to use. Plug them in to see if they work, and check the cords for any fraying or other damage. This should include everything from cooking implements to electric carving knives, television sets and holiday lights. On Thanksgiving itself, you might be too busy to notice a broken cord or sparking appliance that could set off a huge fire. 2. Never Overload Your Outlets We know it can be tough having limited kitchen space and needing to run a stove, crockpot, mixer, dishwasher, coffee machine and food processor all at once, but, never grab a power strip and start plugging in all these items simultaneously. Kitchen appliances use a lot of power which can...

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Chirping Smoke Detector? Low Batters, Broken Detector, or Sign of an Electrical Problem?

November 9, 2019

GVEC Home® has provided electrical expertise and services in Gonzales and throughout South Central Texas since 1938! Something you may not think about calling an electrician for is a chirping smoke detector. While this issue may often be a simple fix, sometimes it could be signaling an electrical issue. Low Battery Chirping indicates an error with the smoke detector. The most common error is a low battery, so this is the first possibility you should consider. Swap the battery. Note that some smoke detectors will continue to chirp after a fresh battery has been installed. In this case, you will need to clear the error in the processor. Luckily, most units have a reset button that you press to do this. Resetting can also overcome chirping due to a power outage or surge. Other Battery-Related Troubles If that does not work, inspect the battery area closely. Ensure that the battery sits flush and the terminal is not obstructed in any way. Make certain that the battery door is closed and effectively securing the battery. In Need of Cleaning At this point, it is time to consider cleaning the sensing chamber. Clean the outside of the unit with a damp cloth....

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Circuit Breaker Won’t Reset? Here’s What You Need to Do

October 20, 2019

The sudden loss of electricity in a portion of your home naturally sends you to the circuit breaker box. A loose switch will indicate which breaker tripped. Normally, the circuit can be reset by clicking it completely into the off position and then switching it to the on position. As long as you disconnected whatever overloaded the circuit—a power tool you don’t normally use on that circuit, for instance—the electricity should be restored. A circuit that won’t reset, however, calls for a deeper investigation. The problem could be serious and require electrical repair. Sources of Electrical System Damage The following could all lead to a circuit that won’t reset: An Open Ground Rodent Damage to Wiring Bad Outlet or Switch Connection Failing Light Fixture Overheating Appliance How to Find the Problem You will need to check all electrical connections on the circuit and identify the problem through the process of elimination. Once you know which outlets, switches, appliances and light fixtures are on the problem circuit, shut down and unplug everything. Put the breaker in the on position and check each connection one by one. The outlet, appliance or fixture that trips the circuit is the issue. Ask an Electrician...

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Why Loose Electrical Outlets Are Dangerous and How to Fix Them

October 10, 2019

Over time, the electrical outlets in your home can get loose. You may notice this as the box wobbles or the plug slips out of the socket. These issues can be annoying and potentially dangerous, too. If you have a loose socket, you need to get it fixed as soon as possible. Loose Sockets Loose sockets cannot be repaired. The whole socket must be replaced. These plugs can loosen up after frequent use. At GVEC Home, we suggest hiring a licensed electrician to replace the socket for you. Wobbly Box A loose outlet is often caused by a box recessed too deeply in the wall. This isn’t an issue with the outlet but a problem with the installation of the box. If your outlet box is wobbling, you are in danger of loosening up the wires. In turn, loose wires have the potential to cause a fire. Can I Fix the a Wobbly Box Myself? Technically, it’s possible to fix a wobbly box on your own, but the job is fairly involved, difficult or even dangerous for the inexperienced. As with all home electrical work, GVEC Home recommends against do-it-yourself-style repairs. If you’re seriously considering doing it yourself, though, we...

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The National Electric Code and Why It Matters

September 26, 2019

While most of us are unaware of the protections in place under the National Electrical Code (NEC), it’s a good idea to understand how it could affect you. The NEC—also known as NFPA 70—is a standard for safely installing electrical wiring. It was created and developed by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) as part of its National Fire Code series. Although the NEC is not written by lawmakers, it has become deeply influential around the country in allowing states, regions, and cities to standardize safe electrical practices. To address the latest technology and ensure that people remain safe, the NFPA revises the NEC every three years. Here are two of the most important NEC revisions over the last 20 years. Tamper Resistant Receptacles An estimated seven children are taken to the emergency room every day to receive treatment after inserting small objects into electrical outlets. Parents can protect their children from this risk with tamper-resistant receptacles. This type of device looks like a regular outlet, but it features an interior shutter mechanism that can only be accessed when you apply pressure to both sides as you automatically do when inserting a plug. The NEC has required that these devices...

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Is an Electrician Career Right for You?

September 10, 2019

To be an electrician is to be part of a profession that helps keep homes and businesses running. Trained electricians will always be in demand, and new specialties in the electrical field keep popping up as technology advances. If you are considering a career as an electrician, there are several things you should know. Training to be an Electrician Takes Time An electrician is responsible for the electrical well-being of homes and businesses. Poorly installed wiring or a slight mistake in doing an electrical repair can mean power surges or fires. While the requirements for becoming an electrician vary from state to state, nearly every state mandates that electricians go through a learning and apprenticeship process that takes several years. In Texas, you must have 8,000 supervised hours of electrical experience before you can get a basic Journeyman Electrician’s license. This usually takes about four years. To become a Master Electrician, you need another 4,000 hours of experience. Training to be an Electrician Is Hard Work Anywhere wires go, electricians must go. People with electrical training do jobs both indoors and outdoors. They may have to snake through crawl crawlspaces, climb onto roofs and descend into cobwebbed basements. Professional Electricians...

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