Are you sometimes baffled by which circuit breaker to shut off, because the legend on your electrical panel is not properly labeled? Or perhaps there have been so many changes made by previous owners, that nothing makes any sense.
Not only is this an inconvenient and frustrating situation, it can be downright dangerous! If you should ever experience an emergency situation where it is necessary to terminate the power to a specific circuit quickly, you want to be able to identify the correct circuit breaker at a glance.
Important Note: Never turn off the Main Breaker (identified by its larger physical size and the panel’s amperage noted on the handle) except in an emergency situation such as a flood or fire. Your electrician may also turn off the Main Breaker to complete testing or work on the panel.
Here are a few steps to help you decipher the mess and properly label your panel:
Lights: Turn all the switched lights in the house ON. One by one, turn OFF each circuit breaker taking note of which circuit breaker controls each light.
Receptacles: Use a circuit tester ( not a nightlight or small appliance ) to test each receptacle for power. Shut OFF circuit breakers one by one, until power to the receptacle is removed. Note which breaker interrupted the power to that receptacle. Remember to test both the top and bottom portion of each receptacle to identify the receptacles that are wired as “splits”, meaning that they are controlled by 2 different breakers. Return the breakers to the ON position and continue with the next outlet.
Equipment and Large Appliances: Receptacles for the fridge, microwave, washing machine, dryer, furnace, electric hot water tank and sump pump should each have their own separate breaker that controls nothing else in the house. Identify breakers for the stove, dryer, air conditioner and furnace by running the appliance and turning OFF each breaker until one kills the power to it. To identify the hot water tank, electric baseboard heaters or sub-mersible water pumps, you need a proximity voltage tester and knowledge on how to use that device.
Your panel should now be correctly labeled and its probably only taken you a few hours, a very productive way to spend a Saturday afternoon.
If you have any difficulty with this task, our electricians are always happy to assist you. Contact us here or just give us a call at any of the numbers listed on our contact page.
A thunderstorm is an amazing and incredibly powerful force of nature that often sends homeowners scrambling to unplug their computers and televisions, with the hope of protecting them from a potentially damaging power surge caused by a lightning strike. A lightning strike up to two kilometers away can cause irreparable damage to your home’s sensitive electronic equipment. But what about the appliances you are unable to disconnect, such as the range, refrigerator, laundry machines, furnace or air conditioner?
It costs approximately $8,000 to $10,000 to replace the electronic equipment in the average BC home. This amount can more than double if you have invested in a sophisticated entertainment system, newer appliances, or if you work from a home office. Fortunately lightning strikes are relatively uncommon in the Fraser Valley. The bad news is that power surges are not uncommon and every home is susceptible to the damage caused by a surge.
What is a power surge?
A power surge, sometimes called a voltage surge or a transient voltage fluctuation, is a very brief spike in voltage, usually lasting only millionths of a second and varying from a few hundred volts to several thousand volts. Power surges can also vary in duration and magnitude. If the spike exceeds an appliance’s normal operating voltage requirement, an electrical arc is created inside the appliance which generates heat. This heat will damage the circuit boards and other electrical components in the appliance and could potentially cause a fire.
So where do power surges come from?
An electrical storm is certainly a very powerful and destructive source, but surges can also originate directly from your electrical utility supply company. These surges can be quite selective, affecting sometimes only one, or several homes on the grid. On January 5, 2009 a sudden and very destructive power surge, originating from the power grid, left hundreds of homes in Mission, BC without power and major damages to electronic components and appliances. Homeowners were left to battle with insurance companies to replace damaged or destroyed possessions.
Small power surges are also created within your own home when larger appliances turn on and off. This is sometimes evident by lights that go dim, but then brighten up again when the appliance is turned off (although a grow op in the neighborhood might cause the same symptoms, but that is another topic all its own).The average home is hit with over 20 internal energy spikes in a single day. These internal surges are distributed throughout your home and can significantly shorten the life of your electronics and appliances.
But I use surge strips where ever possible
Many people have a false sense of security, thinking that their point-of-use surge strips or power bars will provide all the necessary protection they may need. In reality, the common surge suppressor power bar should only be used as a secondary line of defense as many have a one-time use only. After the first spike is absorbed by the surge strip, it becomes nothing more than an extension cord. Unfortunately, some models have no indicator to show that it is no longer effective.
So what is the solution?
The best line of defense against all types of power surges is a good quality main panel surge suppressor installed directly on the main electrical panel by a knowledgeable and certified electrician. Telephone and cable line protection should also be included as surges can also enter your home by this method. A good quality panel surge protector will repeatedly absorb any incoming spike and reduce it to an acceptable level, thereby protecting the valuable electronics in your home or office. There are many brands of surge protection on the market and some are definitely of better quality than others.
A knowledgeable Blue Crest Electric electrician will be able to offer you valuable advice, as a properly sized surge protector for the whole house can save you thousands of dollars from just one single incident.
Contact us here or call us at any of the numbers listed on our contact page. All work is quoted in advance and performed by highly trained and experienced electricians.
And there’s an added benefit…
Aside from the obvious benefits of whole home surge protection, some experts claim that homeowners will get up to 30% more life out of their appliances, electronic equipment and even light bulbs if proper surge protection is in place. Some insurance companies provide a discount for homes that have full panel surge protection. So, to answer the question of whether you need surge protection, the answer is YES. Every homeowner should seriously consider the installation of this important safety device.
If you have ever had an electrical panel maintenance check-up performed by one of our electricians, you may have wondered why the electrician expressed concern over some mismatched breakers inside your electrical service panel.
With the average Lower Mainland home changing hands every 5 years, some electrical panels now have a history of modifications, updates, and alterations to accommodate the specific needs of the changing households. Our electricians are discovering that some of this work is often done by amateurs who usually know just enough about electricity to be dangerous. This explains some of the ‘interesting’ wiring techniques they have come across.
Some electrical panels in older homes are now obsolete and replacement parts are not readily available. Instead of calling an electrician to source out the correct breaker, homeowners may be tempted to install the wrong size of breaker or whatever “looks right and seems to fit”. This is a dangerous practice.
Unlike most other electrical devices such as receptacles, switches, dimmers, etc., electrical breakers must be matched specifically to the panel in order for the electrical panel to operate properly and safely. Manufacturers refuse to warranty their panels if another brand of breaker has been installed.
Are circuit breakers interchangeable?
Even though a breaker from another manufacturer may fit into the panel space, it is the part of the breaker and the panel that you cannot see where the potential for disaster lies. Different breaker mounting techniques such as bolt-on, clamp on, snap-in or slide-in methods determine unique and proper connection points. Variations in buss bar thickness or no buss bar at all but rather a mounting bar, not to mention the tension of the breaker contacts that the manufacturer has designed for your specific brand of panel, are only a few of the reasons breaker replacement must be done correctly.
Some manufacturers also carry different series of panels, each requiring their own specific breaker. For example the manufacturer of Square D panels makes a QO series as well as their Homeline series. Although these breakers may look very similar, again it is their internal construction that makes them panel specific. Remember, panel manufacturers will not assume any responsibility for damage to your electrical system if an incorrect breaker has been installed.
So, to answer the question of whether the breakers in an electrical panel are interchangeable, the answer is, NO. Each brand and model/series of service panel must only be matched with its exact corresponding breakers.
If you suspect that the safety of your electrical panel has been compromised in any way, please Contact us here or give us a call. We will send out a trained, licensed, certified electrician to do a complete panel safety inspection. You will have the peace of mind knowing that any questionable modifications or service repairs have been identified and addressed.
We depend on electricity everyday but we often forget that electrical service panel safety is important. Blue Crest Electric understands that everything seems to be electronic and when the electricity to our home is interrupted for some reason, our lives come to a halt and we are quite inconvenienced. Almost every home has five or more large appliances, and most people have at least one computer, a microwave, a stereo system, one or more televisions, cell phones, clock radios, and the list goes on. Some of us consider many of these things as basic necessities of life, and all require electricity to function.
A 2003 survey by the Canadian Department of Natural Resources found that 63% of homes were constructed before 1980. Many of these older homes are still using the originally installed electrical equipment. Some have only a 60-amp electrical service providing power to the home. These electrical systems were installed at a time when the average load on the system was much less than what it is today and perhaps even decades before many of our modern electronic conveniences were even invented. These facts point to a problem. Older homes are at risk, unless the electrical system has been consistently and carefully maintained or completely upgraded. Aging or neglected electrical systems may not be able to safely handle the demands placed upon them by today’s homeowner.
When is an electrical service panel replacement necessary?
Older homes, with aging or outdated electrical service panels, cannot handle today’s electrical demands. In the past, a 60-amp service was considered to be more than sufficient to meet the needs of any household, but current power demands requires a minimum 100-amp service with many homes needing 200-amp service panels. Modern electrical panels that lack regular periodic maintenance, or are exposed to undesirable conditions, may also create safety concerns.
Serious consideration to full electric panel replacement is recommended if you have any of the following:
The fuse box is the precursor to the modern electrical panel box. This relic can be easily recognized by its’ distinctive round glass fuses. If a current over load or short circuit occurs, the fuse will “pop” and need to be replaced. Problems occur when the blown fuse is replaced with an incorrectly sized fuse, as over-heating creates the risk of fire. If a replacement fuse is not readily available, some homeowners have discovered that an inserted penny may also restore the power. Unfortunately this creative little trick also comes with significant risk as it leaves the circuit completely unprotected. There is nothing to trip the circuit and stop the flow of electricity in the event of a surge or short circuit.
The split-bus panel presents unique challenges as well. Instead of the main breaker found on current updated panels, these panels have a smaller breaker feeding the bottom half of the panel. These smaller breakers have been known to melt or burn due to the excessive demand placed on them. Given today’s energy needs, split-buss panels probably would not be considered a safe option any more.
A damaged panel is not a safe panel. If the panel has missing parts, if the wires and/or devices show signs of deterioration or if there is obvious corrosion (rusting) due to environmental conditions, panel replacement may be the best option. You might also consider a panel upgrade or replacement when:
major renovations or a home addition are planned,
appliances don’t seem to be running on full power,
outlets are only the two pronged (non-grounded) type,
multiple extension cords are being used throughout the home,
more circuits are needed,
breakers seem to trip easily and often,
a sub panel is needed,
a 240v circuit is require,
a ground fault interrupter (GFI) outlet is required,
you want to increase the resale value of your home.
The circuit breaker panel is one of the most important parts of your home’s electrical system. Its’ function can be compared to a human heart. A healthy panel works quietly and efficiently, as it regulates and distributes the flow of electricity to all the branch circuits in the home, much like the heart pumps blood throughout the body’s circulatory system. A defective, damaged or aging panel can cause serious damage and possibly tragedy. With regular maintenance by a licensed electrician, experts say that today’s electrical panels can function safely for 30+ years. We recommend that every panel be inspected, calibrated and rejuvenated approximately every three years.
Serious panel problems that require immediate attention include:
panel surface is warm to the touch,
an unusual odor around the panel,
a crackling or buzzing sound,
visible arcing or sparks,
visible charring or melting.
If you detect any of these symptoms, immediately turn off the flow of electricity to the affected breaker, or turn off the entire panel by switching the main breaker OFF.
Then call us at any of the numbers listed on our contact page as this repair should only be handled by a trained professional electrician.
Do you own a federal pacific panel?
Federal Pacific Electric Company (FPE) was one of the most common manufacturers of circuit breaker panels in North America from the 1950s to the 1980s. Millions of their panels were installed in homes across the continent. Yet, as the years passed, electricians and home inspectors often found Federal Pacific Electric panels failed to provide proper protection to homeowners and their families. Experts now say that FPE panels can appear to work fine for years, but after one overload current or short circuit, they can overheat and become fire hazards.
When a breaker fails to trip, an extreme amount of electricity, from the outside electrical supply, surges into a home’s panel and circuits. Once that happens, it cannot be stopped or shut off manually. Electricity will burn until it runs out of fuel or the wires melt. The panel could overheat and catch fire, causing serious harm to a home and its occupants. Many Federal Pacific Electric panels and breakers can operate properly for years. But if and when they do malfunction, a disaster could occur. For more information on this specific panel problem, go to www.ismypanelsafe.com
These photos were taken of an FPE panel after it caught fire. Note the manufacturer’s nameplate on the second photo. Photos provided by R. Franco, PhD., PE., Electrical Engineer www.Electrical-Forensics.com
If you suspect that you may have a Federal Pacific Electric panel supplying power to your home, we strongly recommend a panel change. Please do not assume that because the panel has worked without incident up to this point that you may have gotten “a good one”. There is just too much evidence against FPE panels to take that risk.
If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment to have your FPE service panel replaced, please Contact us here or call us at any of the numbers listed on our contact page. All work quoted in advance.
Knob and tube electrical wiring, also called open wiring, was a common wiring method used in the 1900’s to the late 1940’s. It is estimated that there were approximately 200,000 homes, with knob and tube wiring, built in BC during this time, with a large number located in Abbotsford, Langley, and the Lower Mainland.
Knob and tube wiring is a single conductor, ungrounded system, where electricity is brought from a 60 amp service to different areas of the home by running copper wires, covered with a cloth and rubber insulation sheathing, through the walls, attic and floor spaces. As seen in the photo, porcelain knobs are used to secure the wires in place and keep them from contacting combustible surfaces. Where ever the wire needs to cross through a stud or joist, holes are drilled and fitted with porcelain tubes through which the wire has been threaded, thus the name, knob and tube wiring. The alternate name of open wiring suggests the importance that an open airspace be maintained around the wire at all times to prevent overheating.
IS KNOB AND TUBE ELECTRICAL WIRING SAFE?
If the knob and tube wiring system remains unaltered, has been carefully maintained, and all repairs have been made by a knowledgeable electrician, knob and tube wiring would still be safe to use today. Unfortunately this is almost never the case. As the system ages and deteriorates, porcelain knobs and tubes may crack or break, old wires sag and fray, and the sheathing turns brittle and falls off, exposing the live wires. Homeowners improvise their own repairs as replacement parts may not be readily available which results in some very dangerous modifications.
Homeowners unknowingly create a dangerous situation when household insulation is installed over the tube wiring. The cloth/rubber sheathing around the wires is not approved for contact with insulation as it requires an unrestricted airspace around it to dissipate any build up of heat. Add to this picture the unsafe practice of modifications made to modern appliance cords in order to make them compatible with the old and outdated 2 prong receptacles, extensive use of extension cords and power bars in order to glean more power than the aging electrical system was intended to provide, and you have the potential for a serious problem.
A combination of knob and tube electrical wiring and modern electrical wiring is what is usually found in these older homes today. If this work has been done by someone unfamiliar with the unique requirements of knob and tube wiring, the potential for disaster is certainly present. The tinder dry beams in this attic would have been instant fuel for a spark from this dangerous wiring combination of old and new. But in many cases the “updating” is not visible in the attic or basement. Rather, it is hidden behind the walls as it was probably done during a previous renovation or addition to the house.
Aside from deterioration as a result of age, the majority of problems with knob and tube wiring are caused by tampering and when alterations are made to the original system by amateur handymen. So, to answer the question is knob and tube electrical wiring safe, the answer is NO. This method has long out lived it’s time and should be replaced with current products and modern procedures.
DOES KNOB AND TUBE ELECTRICAL WIRING AFFECT HOME INSURANCE RATES?
Insurance companies are wary of homes with knob and tube wiring and view this wiring method to be a definite safety hazard, and therefore a claim waiting to happen. Some of our clients have reported paying extremely high insurance rates as a result of the knob and tube wiring. At the very least, an inspection by a certified electrical contractor is requested which, given the information shared above, usually requires that the knob and tube be completely replaced before a homeowner’s policy is issued or renewed. This leaves the homeowner with little choice but to address the problem.
WHAT IS THE BEST KNOB AND TUBE ELECTRICAL WIRING SOLUTION?
Realistically, complete replacement of the old wiring is the best option. The presence of knob and tube electrical wiring means the house was probably built 60 to 100+ years ago when this was the only wiring method available. Demands on the home’s electrical system were minimal back then, as lighting was often spartan at best, and homeowners owned only a few small electrical appliances. Fast forward to today and compare this to your daily electrical needs and you soon realize just how out dated the knob and tube system is.
Removing the old knob and tube electrical wiring and replacing the entire system with new copper wiring to meet today’s electrical safety code standards is without question the best solution. Replacing the old ungrounded switches and receptacles with CSA approved devices is another important safety measure. If it has not already been done, installing a new electrical service panel at this time, that provides for the needs of today’s average household usage and also allows for any possible future needs or plans, addresses the problem of blown fuses, over loaded circuits and other safety concerns.
HOW MUCH DOES KNOB AND TUBE ELECTRICAL REWIRING COST?
So you’ve found a beautiful heritage home for sale in the real estate market that is just perfect for you. You love the home’s history, character and location. There’s only one problem. A home inspection has revealed the presence of knob and tube wiring which is still being used to bring electricity to part of the home. You know that some modifications have been made to the original system but there is no documentation to verify who did the work. What are your options?
A site visit by one of our licensed electricians will provide you with exactly the information you need. As each home is unique, it is important for us to do a careful assessment as to the exact plan of action that is best suited for your specific situation. In most cases, this job may take a week or more depending on the size of the home and complexity of the task, with costs ranging from $5,000 to $25,000+. Keep in mind that the resale value of your home will increase after this work is completed, so not only is your home safer for you and your family, your home is also now more desirable to potential future buyers.
DO I HAVE TO MOVE OUT OF MY HOME?
In most cases knob and tube wiring work can be done without the need to relocate the homeowner, although the fewer obstacles (furniture) in the technician’s way, the more efficiently the work progresses. Homeowners need to be aware that it may be necessary to create some openings through which to access or pull circuits. Our approach is always to cause as little damage as possible. As a result, the amount of follow up repairs is kept to an absolute minimum.
The beauty and charm of your heritage home remains intact but the safety concerns regarding the electrical system have been eliminated.
Call Blue Crest Electric Ltd. today for fast and friendly knob and tube wiring service or professional electrical service. With the right team working for you, the job will be done right and in no time.
“I recently had my old knob and tube electrical system updated to modern wiring by Blue Crest. It was great knowing how much it was going to cost me in advance instead of wondering how much more it would be every time they discovered some strange new wiring configuration. The electricians were always professional and friendly and did their best to make everything exactly how I wanted it. Even though they re-did the wiring in almost all of my house (some had already been upgraded), they only cut about 6 small holes in the ceiling–everything else was done by “fishing” through the walls of existing openings. They cleaned up after every day of work and had as much electricity on again in the evenings as I needed. The office staff was great. Overall, I found the experience entirely positive.” – C. Marlor, Mission
“My home had knob & tube wiring and Blue Crest rewired my home. I was presented with a price and a plan which Blue Crest delivered on without exception. These people were polite, careful and punctual. Blue Crest went above and beyond in their service, finding solutions to issues that could not be foreseen. I won’t hesitate to use Blue Crest again or to recommend them to others.” – Jack D. – Abbotsford
Thanks for your review Jack. Homes with Knob & Tube wiring will also have delicate lath & plaster wall construction. Rewiring these heritage homes requires an electrician with specialized skills and exceptional creativity to keep the amount of wall damage to a minimum. Our team is especially proud of this particular home rewiring project, because it was completed without a single hole made in the walls. This saved the home owner considerable costs in wall repairs and resulted in a faster renovation completion date, not to mention less mess and inconvenience.
Is aluminum wiring safe? Aluminum wiring is an acceptable wiring choice if properly installed and used in the correct application. Aluminum is a good conductor of electricity. It is light weight, strong and much cheaper than copper. The power supply lines providing power to your home are aluminum as is almost the entire BC Hydro power grid. Today, stranded aluminum cable is usually used for main distribution wiring or feeder lines to bring electricity to the home. Aluminum wire itself is considered reliable when used in the right application and if it is carefully and correctly installed and maintained. If you are unsure how to use electrical aluminum wiring, we recommend contacting your local licensed electrician.
Is aluminum wiring more hazardous?
It is estimated that there are over 450,000 homes in Canada that are wired entirely with aluminum wiring. Studies confirm that these homes are 55 times more likely to have a fire hazard condition present than homes wired with copper. Most of these homes were built in the 1960’s to late 1970’s. Problems began to surface where aluminum was used in branch circuit wiring. These are the smaller wires that bring electricity from the electrical panel to the plugs, switches and lighting fixtures. Testing revealed that aluminum wiring has some problematic characteristics that are not found with copper.
Aluminum wiring can result in overheating
Aluminum tends to oxidize when exposed to air, resulting in overheating, and eventually failure at the termination points. Aluminum wiring is not as resilient as copper and also has a higher rate of expansion, which can cause loose terminations and connections, resulting in possible arcing, melting and even fire. Breakage, due to improper stripping of the wires or over-tightening of the splices during the installation stage, has created further problems. Because of these concerns, aluminum wire is now banned from use in branch circuit wiring. Insurance companies are wary of homes with aluminum wiring and most companies require a complete electrical safety inspection by a trained and certified electrical contractor before policies are sold or renewed. Electrical modifications are usually needed and in some cases complete rewiring is recommended to reduce the risk of a house fire.
How do I know if my home has aluminum wiring?
If you were not informed of the presence of aluminum wiring when you purchased your home, you may be able to check the wire yourself. Check to see if any of the electrical wiring visible in the attic, basement, crawl space or at the service panel (without removing the cover) is marked with the word “ALUMINUM” or any of its’ abbreviations, ALUM, AL, ALUM ACM, AL ACM. An electrical safety inspection would also confirm the presence of aluminum wiring, along with other possible safety concerns.
Some symptoms that may indicate aluminum wiring problems are:
Flickering lights that cannot be traced to a failing bulb or other external cause
Plugs that do not work even with the circuit energized
Unusual static on the radio, TV or computer
Switch plates and receptacles covers that are warped, discolored or warm
Circuit breakers or fuses that trip for no apparent reason
Strange odor similar to that of burning plastic around switches and receptacles
Smoke or sparking around electrical devices
If you notice any of these problems, it is important to have a certified, electrical contractor check the electrical system as soon as possible. Each home is wired differently and must be assessed on an individual basis to determine the best and safest solution to this safety concern.
In an effort to update the appearance of the home, some homeowners have unknowingly compounded the problem by replacing dated plugs and switches with more modern looking “Decora style” devices which are not rated for use with aluminum wiring. This has created an additional safety concern as the incompatible parts cause electrical resistance, resulting in overheating and possibly a fire.
Is there a solution to my aluminum wiring problems?
Yes, BC homeowners have three ESA approved options, when addressing the concerns of aluminum wiring.
1. Installation of CO/ALR or AL/CU devices only. This cost-effective method is a good start in improving the safety of your home’s electrical system. It involves replacing all the receptacles and switches in the home with ones that are rated for aluminum wiring. This takes care of both the metal expansion/contraction and corrosion issues. Unfortunately this choice is limited to some older style, standard devices as the popular decorator style “Decora” devices and the new Tamper Resistant receptacles are not available in CO/ARC form. This method alone does not address connections in lighting fixtures.
2. Copper Pigtails with Specialized Twist-On Connector. The most common method of addressing this problem is bridging a new copper pigtail wire between the existing aluminum wire and any electrical device. This connection must be done using very specific wire connectors along with an applied anti-oxidant paste to increase conductivity and eliminate corrosion.
3. Complete home rewire using only copper wiring. Obviously this is the best and safest long term solution to the aluminum wire dilemma. For obvious reasons, it is also the most labor intensive and costly method, with investments ranging from $7,000 to $20,000 plus, depending on the size of the home. Over all costs may possibly be decreased when rewiring is coordinated with other major or structural renovations.
All three of these methods should be performed by a trained and certified electrical contractor to ensure proper installation procedures are strictly followed. Blue Crest Electric can perform all three of these methods, visit our residential electrical services page to learn more. Depending on the circumstances, a Blue Crest Electric electrician may recommend one or a combination of the above methods.
“Recently we had our home wiring changed over from aluminum to copper wiring due to a concern about fire and insurance premiums. We went back to Blue Crest because they had previously solved a problem that three other electricians could not solve.
As I was explaining the process to my co-workers and friends, they warned me that there would be holes all over the house and I would be sorry I had started. When the day came to start, I was somewhat concerned about what was going to happen. Ray and his crew showed up and took over the house!!! Normal, I guess, since every room had to be worked in. But my fears were soon laid to rest as they were very accommodating about our requests, did not let our dogs escape, and involved us in the entire process. All with a sense of humour and professionalism. They listened carefully to how we lived in the house and what appliance was being used in which room. Any deficiencies from when the home was first constructed were addressed and corrected when necessary. My wife and I especially appreciated the cleaning up every day as we have allergies to dust. And about the holes. When it was all said and done, there were four holes in the garage that were easily patched.
We appreciate the great job Blue Crest did for us. Wiring isn’t a job where you see the finished product, but we have a great deal of comfort knowing that the job was done well.” – Ray & Linda Friesen, White Rock
Home renovations seem to be on everyone minds. The licensed electricians at Blue Crest Electric know that electrical wiring for home renovations is equally as important to the renovations themselves. Remodelling a room to meet the needs of the household, as well as creating an aesthetically pleasing living space, is just what many current television shows are focusing on. From updating the exterior of the house to kitchen, bathroom or basement renovations, well designed lighting is one of the most important design elements and plays an enormous role in the success of any renovation process.
Before and After Photos of Electrical Wiring Renovations
The following Before and After Photos of a recent Blue Crest Electric kitchen renovation project, are an example of how a good lighting design can enhance a room.
Now granted, any room is much improved when old worn cabinets are replaced with beautiful new ones. But when additional lighting is strategically installed, wood surfaces glow, stone countertops shine and stainless steel sparkles. In addition to improving a room’s functionality, lighting will help define its style and highlight architectural details.
This homeowner chose additional recessed, halogen pot lights that provide general lighting and fill the room with light. As this kitchen is connected to the family room, a dimmer was installed to reduce light levels for watching television in the adjoining space. Under cabinet halogen puck lights eliminate dark corners, washing the countertop with light and eliminating shadows on the work surface. They also provide low level lighting for the room when it is not in use for food preparation or cleanup. Accent lighting inside display cabinets adds interest to the room and also showcases heirloom dishes.
With the old kitchen cabinets removed, our team of licensed electricians were able to bring several extra electrical circuits into the kitchen to eliminate the problem of overloaded circuits and also accommodate some of the homeowner’s wish list items such as instant hot water, in floor heat, a wine cooler, a high end specialty range hood fan and a garburator. This kitchen is now a cook’s dream.
Home Lighting Upgrades for Home Renovations
Most of the rooms in the home benefit from at least three or even four levels of light.
General Lighting is usually located in the ceiling to provide overall illumination to any space. Recessed halogen pot lights are the most popular choice today and add definite sparkle to any room.
Task lighting is needed when visual details are important such as in any work space like the kitchen, home office, craft or games room or bathroom. Task lighting should flood the work surface with light and be positioned to eliminate shadows or glare. Halogen, fluorescent or LED fixtures are all good options here.
Ambient Lighting fills a room with a soft pleasant light that brings warmth to the space and softens hard surfaces and angular lines. It can be achieved with the use of pendants, chandeliers, lamps or a dimmer for overhead lights. Ambient lighting is great in any room and most often used in the living room and dining room.
Decorative or Low Level Lighting is meant to enhance a special feature or create a cozy, intimate feeling in any room. This level of lighting is desirable when watching television. It can be achieved by turning the dimmer down, using strategically placed lamps or just lighting a candle.
The use of warm white or cool white lamps in light fixtures is another way to alter the “feel” of a room. We suggest you experiment with each type to see which works best with the colour scheme of the room.
If you are planning a home renovation project, allow us to assist you with the electrical installations. It would be our pleasure to help you realize your dream for that new living space in your home. Call us at any of the telephone numbers listed on our contact page. All work is quoted in advance.