Simple Solutions & Savings
Greetings homeowners! Do you have a problem? You are in this corner of the Web most likely because you are having “Electrical Difficulties” and are considering hiring an electrical contractor to visit your home to trouble shoot a problem for you.
Why we provide Simple Solutions & Savings?
We are excited to meet new customers and do business with them. To ensure that we are first on your list of people to call, we would like to help you help yourself. We do this not because we don’t want your business but on the contrary, we want to make sure that your relationship with us stays strong. There is nothing worse than calling an electrical contractor out to your home, having an electrician show up, and fix your problem in a matter of mere minutes. There is no sense in being stuck with a bill that charges you for the visit and the first hour for a minute's work. To avoid this, Nixon Electric has decided that we would much rather help our home owners, and customers with a quick list of possible fixes that you can check. This quick list just might fix your problem without that costly service charge. At the same time, keep Nixon Electric in your hearts and minds. We are hoping we become the electrical contractor you call if you ever have a true problem that you cannot easily fix. And of course when you want to install something that you will truly enjoy.
You may ask, "Why not take the money and run?" Well, we have been servicing customers for more than a decade. We have found that good will and word of mouth is better than any quick dollar and expensive advertising. As smart businessmen, and respectable members of the community, we have decided to share our knowledge with you. This is a small price of keeping you as a prospective client and hoping that Nixon Electric can build a relationship with you when it counts. Please, take a moment to read some of the simple solutions and cost saving hints below before you call us out to your home. In doing so, you'll save yourself some money. Someday later you can pay us back by hiring us to install thse can lights, that spa, a panel upgrade, a kitchen remodel, or that custom home that someday you will build.
Solutions and Savings Content (Use the links below to go directly to a Solution or Tip)
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I have a power outage problem. I checked my panel and found a breaker tripped (in the middle position). I turned it on but still have a problem.
Possible Solution: Go back to your panel, and find that breaker again. Flip it all the way to the off position and then flip it back to the on position. This is called clearing the breaker. When a breaker trips to the middle it must be turned all the way off before you can turn it on again. If you simply turned it on from the middle, it will not work. If you go back and apply this method and find that your problem is resolved, congratulations you have saved yourself from a costly service call. If the problem persists, then give us a holler we will be there before you know it to fix a true problem.
Tripped breaker in middle position.
Breaker being thrown to the off position.
Breaker thrown to the on position.
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I have a plug in my kitchen, bathroom, garage, or patio that doesn’t work. What should I do?
To meet building codes the original developer protected your wet location with
a Ground Fault Interrupt (GFI). Since GFIs cost ten times a regular plug and
in an effort to save money to build your home, the developer may have hooked
up the plug to a GFI receptacle in another area. This practice is well within
code and is often applied.
GFI plugs are located in bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, outside, etc.. A GFI plug looks different than other receptacles. It is a "funny" rectangular receptacle with two little buttons between the upper and lower plugs. To see if the GFI has tripped, find the GFI receptacles that are through out your home. Plug in a light, radio, or the like into each of the GFI receptacles. If the appliance does not come on, you may have found the culprit. When a GFI receptacle is tripped, the reset button in the middle of the receptacle is popped out. Push the reset button to reset the circuit.
If you do not have a GFI receptacle anywhere in your house, then check your panel to see if you have a GFI breaker. This is a breaker with a little white button on it. If you found one that is in the tripped position (sitting in the middle between on and off) pull the little breaker handle all the way back to the off position, and then forward to the on position.
Now that you have found your wayward GFI , you can check with your “tester” (radio, or light etc..) and check the receptacle in your kitchen, bathroom, garage, or patio that doesn’t work and see if it is now functioning. If it is, take a deep sigh of relief that you have saved yourself a service call and dollars. May we suggest you apply your savings to a real need. Call us when you need an electrician to do a real project for you, like that ceiling fan you always wanted in your bedroom for those hot LA nights.
GFI Receptacle (In this picture the GFI has been tripped.)
Resetting the GFI receptacle
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I just moved into my house and there is no power to one of my plugs in the wall, and I have a switch that leads to nowhere.
Possible Solution: In order to save money on your home, the developer made a choice not to install a costly light fixture in the middle of your room. The developer decided to put one of your receptacles on that switch that appears to “do nothing”. Simply turn that switch on and check the plug that was dead by plugging in a radio or some sort of light. It should now have power. To illuminate the room, hook up a lamp to the receptacle controlled by the switch. If you prefer to have a permanent light source, please give us a call. We will give you a free rough estimate over the phone. Or better yet, have us come to your home for a more accurate and still free estimate.
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My ceiling fan does not work. I turn the switch on, or press the button on the remote and I get nothing.
There are several things that may be the cause. First check your panel and look for a tripped breaker (read the first possible solution for the proper way to do this). If no circuit breakers are tripped, then check the wall and fan switches. Most ceiling fans are connected to a wall switch and have on/off pull chain switches. If one or the other is switched off, the fan will not run. Both switches must be in the on position. Put the wall switch in the on position. Now pull on the chain on the ceiling fan. You should feel a little pop through the chain indicating the switch has changed from on to off or off to on.
Sometimes ceiling fans have direction switches that determine which way the fan will revolve. It is possible the switch is in a middle position that interrupts the current to the fan. Push the switch to one side or the other. (Little known fact: in the winter time, by turning this switch to the reverse position so the air is pulled up and leaving the fan on low, it will actually help circulate the hot air that has risen to the ceiling and help warm your home. During warmer seasons, reverse the switch so you get the cooling effect of the fan pushing the air down.)
If your fan has a remote control, try turning on the ceiling fan by pressing the button while standing on a step ladder. Be sure to keep away from the blades. If you hear a small click, then your remote is working. Try pulling the chains to see if you can get the fan to respond. If you do not hear a small click when you press the remote button, then check the remote battery. Take it to your local home improvement center and see if they have a replacement. Replace the battery and try it again.
If you have tried all of these things, check the middle housing on the ceiling fan and see if there is a small selector switch that changes the rotation of the ceiling fan. This may be stuck in the middle position and not allowing the fan to operate.
If any one of these simple solutions work, congratulations you have spared your piggy bank. If the ceiling fan doesn’t respond after checking these things, give us a call, we might need to replace it with a new one. Call us before you set your heart on a particular fixture, I have found that the best quality ceiling fans are often not the most expensive.
Typical Fan Pull Chain
Typical Fan Direction Switch
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I keep losing power to a portion of my home. I go to the panel. I flipped the breaker all the way off and then on. But when I use the same plugs, the breaker keeps tripping.
If you are having this problem, go back and flip the breaker and be mindful of
what you have plugged in that keeps tripping this breaker. If you have a space
heater, a window or portable AC unit, a hair dryer, a curler, a microwave, a
toaster, or any number of these type of appliances, then you are overloading
this circuit. When this circuit goes dead you need to locate all of the plugs
that are dead and make sure you do not have too many appliances on this breaker.
A breaker is designed to limit electrical current output. This is to ensure that you do not have too much current traveling through that wire causing it to burst into flames and burn your house down. When this breaker keeps tripping it is telling you that you are asking for too much current and it is telling you, by tripping, to stop. Now that you know what plugs are on that circuit, unplug some of those appliances and put them on a circuit that is not as busy. You will know which plugs are on a different circuit by the fact that they will still have power when the overloaded circuit is tripped or manually turned off. If you cannot do this, then make sure that you are only running these appliances one at a time. Try doing this for a little while, if it works for you and you are happy, then great. If it is too much of an inconvenience then give us a call and let us know, we would be more than happy to let you know over the phone a ball park cost, and if you are still interested we can come out and give you a free estimate on what it will take to get more power for you to this part of your home.
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Unplug those vampires that are sucking your life blood.
Portable devices are great but they need recharging. As you know, every portable device comes with a charger. A typical charger converts the high voltage AC that's in the wall to a low voltage DC for the device. That knock down in voltage means watts and watts means the meter is running.
As individual loads each charger may represent a small power drain but in groups they can start to add up. Most of the time, after the portable device has been recharged, we leave the charger plugged into the wall. Just because they are not charging a device does not mean they are not using power. You are paying for these vampires to hang around and suck energy. A tip for savings would be to remove the charger once the device has been recharged. If you have many chargers, connect the chargers to a power strip that has an on/off switch; such as, one you would use for a computer. In this way the chargers are handy, you know where your devices are when recharging, and most importantly, you can put those vampires to sleep when they are not being used by simply throwing a switch.
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Coffee brewer hot plates may keep your java hot but they may get you hot under the collar.
Tip: Little coffee brewers with hot plates burn the coffee while they burn holes in your pocketbook. After making a pot and taking that first cup of coffee, turn the brewer off and its hotplate. It will cost you less to reheat the coffee in a microwave for a minute and a half than cooking the coffee all day long. Vacuum thermoses are also very handy in keeping that cup of Joe hot. If a microwave is not available, you may want to save those egg shells. When brewing your coffee, crush half a rinsed egg shell into the coffee grinds. If you reheat the coffee or leave the hotplate on, the pot will stay fresher tasting longer.
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Reduce your energy bills by controlling your air conditioning and heating.
Tip: When no one is home, turn your air conditioning up or your heating down. There are several smart thermostats on the market that will change the temperature settings during the day and/or evening when there is less demand for a cool or warm habitat. Replace your thermostat or better yet call us to do that for you. You will be realizing savings almost immediately.
Well I hope these tips are helpful. Please feel free to give us a call if you have any questions. Good Luck and God Bless.