Solar panels are popular with homeowners seeking environmentally-friendly energy solutions. But the reality of choosing and installing solar panels gets a little complicated once homeowners start learning about all the options that are available. Below, we define commonly used terms in the solar industry, discuss the pros and cons of going off-grid, and answer some frequently asked questions regarding solar power. Read more
Most people assume electrical work is best left to a professional, and for the most part, they’re right. However, in the instance of a power outage, there are a couple of things that even a novice can do to restore it. We’ve asked four Diamond Certified Expert Contributors to explain simple steps homeowners can take to restore power to their homes and avoid unnecessary service calls.
How to reset a GFI
Due to the presence of water, safety codes require the electrical outlets in bathrooms and kitchens to be equipped with ground fault interrupters (GFIs), which protect against electric shock in the event of a “ground fault,” which is an inadvertent electrical path between a source of current and a grounded surface. Read more
Have you ever been in a seemingly well-lit room and suddenly found yourself straining to see? If so, you know how frustrating bad lighting can be. And yet, many people continue to regard lighting as purely one-dimensional, not realizing there’s a lot more to it than its most basic function. In reality, it’s not merely our ability to see in the dark that counts, but how well we’re able to see, as well as how lighting makes us feel. By comprehending the true complexity involved in achieving good lighting, you can make the most of illumination in both your interior and exterior living spaces. Read more
Most people assume their refrigerators are working fine as long as they don’t notice any obvious problems, but few realize they’re paying far more than necessary to keep their food fresh. The reality is that an inefficient refrigerator can consume up to three times the amount of power used by a properly functioning unit, often without anyone noticing. That’s why it’s a good idea to periodically inspect your refrigerator and address any issues that may be causing energy loss.
The first thing you should check is the condenser coils, which, depending on your refrigerator’s design, will be located on the back or across the bottom front. When these coils are dirty or otherwise obstructed, Read more
So, you survived the 4th of July without any major fire-related catastrophes. However, just because the fireworks have subsided (for the most part—watch out for stragglers), it doesn’t mean you can cruise through the rest of fire season on autopilot. To make sure you have your bases covered in terms of fire safety, take a look at this checklist:
1. Make sure your smoke detectors are operational. If you’re like most people, you’ve probably been tempted to remove the batteries from a smoke alarm—especially by the 27th time you inadvertently set it off while cooking bacon. However, in the event of a legitimate fire emergency, having your smoke detectors out of commission can carry dire consequences. Read more
Many old Bay Area homes were wired using a method called “knob and tube,” which was in common use until the 1940’s. You don’t always have to replace it, according to Nick Courcoumelis, owner of Positive Electric, a Diamond Certified company. “Knob and tube can’t be used in places where it can’t supply enough power to a kitchen, bathroom, laundry room or outdoor wiring. Or anywhere you need surge protection because it doesn’t have a ground. However, if it’s in good condition, it can still be used in other parts of the house, like bedrooms.”
Mr. Courcoumelis explains that codes don’t allow electricians to install knob and tube wiring anymore. However, you can insulate over it in California, Read more