Electrician Shopping – 6 Steps to Choosing the Right Electrician

When you’re looking for an electrician Melbourne, look for someone with whom you can form a long-term relationship. It’s going to save you a lot of time and money if you can find someone whom you trust to get the job right the first time and give you the right price.

Step 1) Find Recommended Companies

You can get recommendations for electricians from friends and neighbors. You can also search on-line for electrician Los Angeles or electrician Burbank, and so on. If you add the word reviews to your search, you can look through company reviews.

Another approach is to search websites that feature reviews. Reviews appear on many websites including Google Places, Yelp.com, AngiesList.com, and CitySearch.com. AngiesList.com is an excellent source of recommendations for contractors but requires a small annual membership fee. On AngiesList, you can see how customers rated their contractors, including electricians, and details of how their jobs went.

When looking at customer reviews, take a look at the big picture. Is there one bad review among the many good ones? Is it just a grumpy customer? Is there a company reply that clears things up or says that it has corrected its employee?

Once you have three or so recommended electricians, take a look at their websites.

Step 2) Check the Electrical Company Website

· Is it presentable and well-maintained?

· Easy to find what you’re looking for?

· Friendly, helpful, and not cluttered with hard-sell advertising?

· How many good testimonials?

If the website checks out, it’s time to interview the electrician.

Step 3) Interview

When you talk with the electrician, pay attention to how comfortable you are, including your trust level. I’ve listed questions that you can ask. If you’ve already gotten glowing recommendations or it’s a small repair job like fixing a broken light switch, you probably wouldn’t want to ask them all. But if you aren’t talking with a recommended electrician and you’re planning a remodel, ask away.

· Experience with your type of work

· Years in business. Most companies which have stayed in business a long time have managed to keep their customers satisfied. They’ve also gathered a lot of useful experience and competence.

· Contractor’s License Number

· Liability Insurance and Workers Comp Insurance. It’s desirable that the company carry at least $1 million in liability insurance to protect your home should their work create property damage. Workers Comp provides for medical care for the electricians should they be injured on your job. Again, this protects you from liability.

· Guarantees. Some companies offer a lifetime guarantee on their work. This wouldn’t generally include the electrical parts that they install – that’s covered by the manufacturer’s guarantee. However, the electrician should give you at least a several-year guarantee on labor. A guarantee up to the life of your home is best.

· Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating. Ask for the exact company name that you should look and in which city. Sometimes, the BBB will use a slightly different name, possibly the formal legal name of the company.

· Pricing

· Website address if you don’t already have it

· Names and contact info for five clients

Take notes on all this, particularly the License Number. If you decide to go ahead, you may wish to check some of what the electrician has said. If you decide not to go ahead, no need to proceed any further with this electrician. But save the notes so that you can remind yourself later of which companies you’ve already ruled out.

Step 4) Look and Listen

While you’re gathering this information, listen to what is said but also pay attention to how the electrician acts and makes you feel. If you meet with the electrician, keep your eyes open, too.

· Do you like the electrician?

· Do you feel comfortable and not under pressure?

· Does the electrician inspire your trust?

· Do the electrician and company employees seem to know what they’re doing?

· Do they seem to operate legally and behave ethically? Are they acting the way that you would want them to act towards you?

· Do they return phone calls promptly?

· Are they timely when meeting you for appointments?

· Do they listen to your questions and concerns and answer them in a way that is forthcoming and that you can understand?

· Does the electrician dress neatly and have a vehicle and tools that look well-maintained?

Electricians who are bidding jobs are on their best behavior. If you already notice that an electrician treats you or others in ways that concern you, better to find another with whom you feel more comfortable.

Step 5) Check It Out

· If you haven’t already, check customer reviews. The first section of this article gives details.

· Enter the Contractor’s License Number into the Contractor’s License Board website for your state. See if there are any “black marks.”

· Check the company’s rating at the Better Business Bureau at http://www.bbb.org/. Ratings run from A+ to F based on customer complaints made to the Bureau. As a note, an “A” reflects the same level of customer satisfaction as an “A+.” The “A+” is earned by an “A” contractor becoming a paying member of the Better Business Bureau, which supports the Bureau in its work.

Step 6) Call References

Don’t hesitate to call references. Customers are usually happy to give a good recommendation to help a deserving electrical contractor. You can return the favor later should a homeowner call you. Ask:

· How did your job go?

· Was your job done right the first time?

· If a return visit was needed, was the electrician easy to work with and prompt?

· Was company pricing competitive?

· Was the electrician within budget and schedule?

· Would you be happy to continue to use this electrical company?

Speak with at least three references. Listen carefully for enthusiasm or lack of enthusiasm about the electrician. Clients, past or present, may not feel comfortable saying anything negative. If they express little enthusiasm or say something negative, take this into consideration when making your decision.

A Final Tip: Don’t Automatically Choose the Low Bid

A bid may be too low. How can that be? An electrician may intentionally omit items that the job requires, only to come back later saying that additional work needs to be done. On the other hand, some electricians may unintentionally bid low through inexperience. Either way, the electrician may ask for more money to finish the job or may leave you with an incomplete project.

Price is important, but judge the entire picture an electrician is showing you — character, expertise, the ease of working with him or her, and overall value. A large part of an electrician’s value is that he/she gets the job done right and safely without taking too much of your time and inconveniencing you. A very competent electrician can save you money by suggesting more efficient ways to do a job or to save on electricity. When you enjoy a good relationship with your electrician, it can save you both time and money.

Kim Hopkins has been a Los Angeles electrician since 1979. His company, The Electric Connection at http://www.TheElectricConnection.com, is one of the foremost electrical contracting companies in the L.A. area. Kim has done trainings on electrical safety for home inspectors throughout Los Angeles. For electrical tips and information about home electrical safety, go to http://www.theelectricconnection.com/home-safety.php.

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Curing Indoor Pool Water Problems

Indoor pools are often pretty stunning. In northern climates, they are quite the attraction in hotels & condominiums & apartment buildings. They provide year round enjoyment for millions of people around the world as they vacation or just go about daily living. Indoor pools provide terrific places for low-impact and “zero gravity exercise” for healthy individuals as well as those who may need physical therapy. You’ll find them in many towns and cities across the country. Schools, community centers, are busy with swimmers twelve months each year. Indoor pools are not just for the rich! Lately your decade-old swimming pool has become a source for most of your expenses but you can remove it by contacting our Sydney pool removal.

More importantly, indoor pools require special treating. Yes, they are swimming pools. Yes, they have the same type of filtration systems that outdoor pools have. But there are differences in the care that is required. This article will help you to understand those needs.

There are 4 main concerns of indoor pools that need to be addressed: Odors, Oxidation, Bather Load, and General Care.

Indoor Pool Odors. Who hasn’t walked into a hotel or building and there is that immediate “pool chlorine” odor? You KNOW that the facility has a swimming pool! The question is why? Why does it have to be that noticeable? Many people wonder and question – sometimes rightfully so – how well the pool is being cared for. Indoor pools should not “smell.” Will they have an odor? Yes, but they should not smell. If a pool smells – especially if the odor is acrid or pungent – you can be sure that something in the pool is not right. And if your eyes become irritated, the situation could be even worse. Keep in mind that the problem is NOT the chlorine. The problem is the water balance.

Water balance is the single most often misunderstood problem of pool care and how great a difference it makes. When water balance is incorrect, nothing works right chemically: chlorine or sanitizer efficiency is affected, the water can become cloudy, the water can become irritating to skin, hair & eyes, the water smells, etc.

Briefly, high pH and total alkalinity lead to “slow” and inefficient chlorine and sanitizer activity. Algae & bacteria growth is promoted leading to cloudy water. Some eye irritation and a sometimes “slimy” feel. Low pH and total alkalinity lead to “too fast moving” chlorine or sanitizer; the water may be very clear but has a strong odor as well as an acidic “feel”. Chlorine is more rapidly used up and exhausted.

In cases of pools having attached spas, chemicals and bather wastes are aerosolized and spewed into the surrounding air.

A further problem is the continual formation of chloramines or combined chlorines or bromines. These form when there is excess waste like nitrogen. Sanitizer efficiency is severely reduced and a pungent “chlorine” odor is emitted. Chlorine “odor” is fine. Think of a bathroom or sick room that has been cleaned with chlorine (bleach). The odor left behind tells you that it is CLEAN. That’s the chlorine odor we want. This leads us to the question of Oxidation.

Oxidation. The bottom line is indoor pools need to be shocked as often as, if not more often than, outdoor pools. In the oxidation process (shocking or super chlorinating), unfiltered or not filterable waste (greases, body oils, body powders, perfume, nitrogen) are oxidized (burned off) are released into the atmosphere or surrounding air.

But the pool is indoors. What happens then? That’s exactly the point. Many of those “gassed-off” wastes can’t fully gas off. What essentially happens is that these wastes literally hit the ceiling and fall back down into the water. The problem is made worse in cases of poor ventilation. Ventilation can be in the form of fans, open doors & windows, ventilation systems, whatever it takes to change the air and bring in fresh.

A similar situation exists with spas & hot tubs where insulating covers trap heat, but also when not removed for extended periods of time (several hours per week), odors and chloramines, bromines & other unwanted odors accumulate.

Even in the middle of winter it is a very wise idea to do a monthly super shock (2 to 3 times the normal amount of chlorine or shock), remove the solar blanket or automatic cover, open the windows and let all of that stuff just get out of the house.

Oxidation also occurs via direct sunlight. UV light is an excellent oxidizer. The more direct sunlight you can get on the pool, the better. This is one the real problem areas with indoor pools; there’s just no sunlight on the pool for 5 or more hours each day. Direct sunlight can dramatically cut down on the amount of water mold and even algae (notice that most of these problems typically start in “shady” areas of the pool).

Bather Load. Bather load is exactly that: how many people are using the pool at a time. Obviously, hotels, condominiums and other commercially operated pools have greater use. The more people using the pool, the more stuff is being put in (as mentioned above). The more a pool is used the better from a circulation & even from a “cleaning” (feet & bodies rubbing and touching the pool surfaces) point of view.

In commercial pools, shocking may need to be done 2 to 4 times each week to break up swimmer waste, chloramines and other stuff. This is especially necessary after large events with above average swimming use.

Similarly in residential pools, even though the bather load is less, it still must be shocked.

Weekly at least.

Do not put the solar blanket or automatic cover back on for at least 3 to 5 hours to allow proper gassing off the oxidized waste.

General Maintenance. A little more care in maintenance is needed with indoor pools. Why? Three general of reasons: lack of sun, year round use, perception that “it’s indoors, nothing’s getting there.”

We’ve already looked at the lack of sun. Regular oxidizing of the pool is paramount.

Year round use is just that. The pool is available 24/7 wherever you are. The filter needs to operate 8 to 12 hours each day. Period. With that in mind, the pool needs good, regular cleaning. That means weekly vacuuming of the pool interior. If you don’t feel vacuuming is necessary, then at a minimum brush the pool walls and bottom weekly. Brushing aids in breaking up biofilms, algae, water mold (even though you may not see these problems).

No matter what type of filter your pool utilizes – sand, cartridge or DE – be sure to chemically clean the filter every 3 months with a good filter cleaner. Backwashing of sand or DE filters and rinsing of cartridge filters only removes dirt and debris; it will not remove filtered greases, oils, and body wastes. Filter chemical cleaners break up these accumulations. Here’s the analogy: would you rinse dirty clothes or launder them with detergent?

Solar blankets and automatic pool covers need regular cleaning. Solar blankets should be removed and chemically cleaned (for the same reasons that you chemically clean a filter) at least twice each year. Automatic covers are a different story. They are almost impossible to remove and clean, although the same build-ups occur and affect the water. When you have dealt with cloudy water or algae in an indoor pool that has a blanket or automatic cover, there is 90% or higher probability that the problem started with the cover being dirty or having a bio-film.

Bio-films are just that (see our other articles dealing directly with bio-films) a film of bio-matter or bacteria growing on a surface. What is a surface? In the pool a surface is the walls and floor of the pool, the ladder or rails (both inside and outside of the rail), underneath the treads, light lenses, behind the light in the niche, the back side of the skimmer flap (weir), directional returns (eyeballs), safety ropes and floats, pool toys, etc. I think you understand.

Bio-films are the breeding ground that can later develop into algae, pool mold (white water mold), or pink slime. If there is a surface and it becomes wet or moist, a bio-film will grow. To remove bio-films in the not so obvious areas, use products such as AquaFinesse or sphagnum moss products such as PoolNaturally; these products will remove the bio-film and then prevent it from returning. Reports are coming back to us showing that regular use removes bio-films even on the underside of solar blankets and automatic pool covers.

Enjoy your pool & treat it right. You’ll have much less work to do.

http://www.parpools.com

[http://www.pool-care.net]

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No Power to the Outlet But the Breaker Is Fine

If an electrical outlet in your home has suddenly stopped working, your first instinct is probably to check the circuit breaker that it is connected to. If it turns out the circuit breaker hasn’t been tripped, then you may be dealing with a more difficult problem. There are a number of different reasons why an outlet will stop functioning without tripping the breaker. Some of them require the attention of a professional electrician Melbourne CBD. Others you can do yourself.

Tripped GFCI

Many modern electrical power outlets are equipped with ground-fault circuit interrupters, or GFCIs. These devices are included in the outlet to reduce the possibility of electrocution. When the GFCI senses a current leak, it disconnects the terminals inside the outlet, cutting off power to it. You can tell if your outlet has a GFCI by the presence of a “Test” button and a “Reset” button. A random passing event such as a power surge can cause a GFCI to trip. Push the “Test” button to ensure power has been shut off to the outlet; then press the “Reset” button to restore power.

Hidden Tripped GFCI

If this fails to work, or if your outlet does not have a GFCI, then you need to look at other outlets. Sometimes a GFCI in one outlet is responsible for protecting several other outlets further down the line from it. Look in other rooms, closets, hallways and anywhere else you might have a GFCI . Hit the “Test” button, then the Reset” button, on each of them and keep going back to find out if this has fixed your problem.

Broken GFCI

It is possible that the reset button on the GFCI is broken or that the wiring inside the GFCI is broken. In this case it will have to be repaired or, more likely, replaced. Click here to contact an electrician for help with this work if you do not have proper electrical wiring training.

Bad Connection

Of course, the issue might not be the GFCI at all. If one of the wires or contacts in the outlet, or in the wiring to or from the outlet, is broken, there isn’t a complete path for the electricity to travel. In such a case, the outlet will not work even though it has not tripped the circuit breaker. You should be particularly concerned that this is the problem if you have had recent work done on the outlet, the wall around it, or anywhere else on your home’s electrical system. It’s likely that a professional electrician is needed to properly diagnose and repair this problem.