There are lots of DIYers in Calgary, and we get it. As handymen ourselves, we know the satisfaction you get when you complete a task well and get to enjoy the results for a long time.
When it comes to electricity, there are definitely lots of smaller jobs that those of you with a little bit of knowledge can easily carry out safely. But for the bigger stuff, we highly recommend calling a certified journeyman electrician like those of us at A-Star in Calgary.
When to Call A-Star
If you notice any of the following problems with your home or business’s electrical system, you definitely have a problem that requires a professional.
1. Dimming or flickering lights
Lights that dim or flicker when you turn on an appliance on are a sign of an electrical panel that wasn’t wired properly. Large, motor-driven appliances should be wired to a dedicated circuit, or additional wiring added to increase the amount of amps needed to service them.
2. Outlets that are not working or are overloaded
Outlets that stop working or do not hold a plug snugly could be the result of an old wiring system in need of upgrading, something that we can tell with a simple visual inspection. You can replace all the outlets in your home, but if the wiring is bad you’re still going to run into the same problems. Plus, replacing an outlet is not a simple task. It is extremely easy to attach the wrong wire to the wrong screw, which will cause a spark and even result in electrocution.
Another sign that you should upgrade your outlets is if you find yourself constantly using extension cords and power bars. These should never be thought of as a permanent solution to a lack of places to plug in your appliances. There are lots of attractive outlet options that can help reduce your energy use while also making your home or business safer and more convenient.
3. Breakers tripping often
Lights and appliances unexpectedly shutting down usually mean that your electrical panel is overloaded. Your circuits are drawing more current than they can safely provide, or there could even be a fault. It’s more than an annoyance, it’s a problem that could result in a fire if not properly taken care of. Your wiring may need to be replaced or even your entire electrical panel updated. It is not easy to find the exact problem unless you are a trained professional. Many have unnecessarily torn their walls apart looking for the culprit when they could have easily just called us.
We never suggest working on your electrical panel on your own. Not only is it complicated, you could end up accidentally violating city codes. We can reduce or redistribute your electrical load by adding circuits, or repair short circuits caused by exposed or broken wires or a loose connection.
4. Old wiring
Knob and tube wiring and aluminum wiring should never be repaired, only replaced. Common in homes built in Alberta from the 1900s to the 1950s, knob and tube wiring is so hazardous that if you purchase a home or business building that has it, you will likely have a very hard time finding the proper insurance.
Aluminum wiring was commonly used in buildings built in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Although not quite as dangerous as knob and tube, it is more than 50 times likely to reach fire hazard conditions than copper wiring, according to a report developed by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
5. Not enough power
We have so many devices to plug in these days that houses or buildings built before the 1980s may not have enough power supply to run them. Before then there were no computers running all day and it was even unusual to own a dishwasher and/or clothes dryer. If your electrical panel is only capable of handling 60 amps of electrical service then it likely should be replaced. This is a job only a certified electrician should carry out.
6. Warm and shocking face plates
In addition, light switches and outlets that are warm to the touch also indicate a real problem. And it goes without saying that if you are ever shocked by an electrical system component there’s definitely an issue. It could be as relatively simple as too much demand on a circuit, or an indication of something far more serious.
7. Breakers humming or buzzing
Call us immediately if you notice this happening. Humming or buzzing indicated a faulty breaker that is unable to trip itself. The chances of sparking and fire are very high in this situation. Turn your entire breaker box off and call us immediately.
Electrical Work You Can Do on Your Own
An electrical safety inspection can provide additional peace of mind so you are confident all of your electrical systems are working efficiently and properly. Call us if you would like us to come and take a look at your home or business’s wiring and electrical panel.
We at A-Star Electric are certified journeyman or apprentice Calgary electricians who believe what we do can improve other people’s lives. Since we began operations in 2010 we have completed numerous of residential and commercial jobs, and are proud to have earned a solid 5-star rating from the Better Business Bureau of Calgary. We always carry out our professional duties in a positive, efficient and courteous manner. We are fully insurable and bondable, and have each undergone a police background check.