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Archive for March 2015

Bright Ideas for Updating Your Home Lighting

March 27, 2015

Lights Bright

Spring is the time of year when people seem instinctively ready to clean out, upgrade, and remodel their homes. Unfortunately, for a lot of people, home makeovers, or even individual room makeovers are not in their budget. Not to worry, McCurdy Electric has an inexpensive, yet very effectual idea for anyone in that situation, by upgrading your home lighting! Contemporary, more energy efficient light fixtures, and designs are great at lighting up your home to give it a fresh, bright look that fulfills your need to update your living space, but without the inflated price tag.

Home Lighting Upgrade Ideas

Consider these ideas for upgrading the lighting in your home. Furthermore, remember, when lighting up your home with new light fixtures, understand that even though the project may seem like an easy DIY, home lighting and its core wiring can create potential hazards if not installed by a licensed, professional, residential electrician.

Recessed Lighting

Are the lights in your home lighting the desired areas? Are there sections that you wish were brighter, or are there sections you wish were a little dimmer? This is a common predicament in homes with the old standby single light fixtures hanging in the center of the ceiling. It is also a general problem in kitchens and home offices, because the stationary central home lighting is ineffective at casting light where you need it and creating shadows where you don’t want them. Consider recessed lighting to highlight the areas you want to brighten or draw more attention to. This is also a great idea if you have a particular centerpiece or a work of art you want to highlight in a specific room.

Spruce It Up

Heavy, hanging lights, and ceiling fans can date a room and distract from the look. There are several different home lighting plans and more updated light fixtures you can use, depending on the look you have in mind. Yet again, recessed lighting removes visual obstruction from the ceiling and can actually make a room appear bigger and more open while focusing the light where you want it. Magnificent, striking chandeliers can also brighten and add attention and panache to a room.

Unconventional Placement

In some cases, lighting up your home means creating an uplifting and unexpected atmosphere by placing lights in unconventional places. Hanging a pendant lamp in a out-of-the-way reading nook, using bold and artistic light fixtures or casting soft or colored lights along walls to create attention and enjoyment without a great deal of expense.

Layered Light

By layering your home lighting, you can achieve all kinds of lighting goals. For example, overhead lighting can cast a glow over everything in a room quickly. Task lighting in the same room is focused on a particular section where you need to work or read. Accent lights are terrific for lighting up your home with special highlights focused on artwork, collectibles, or antiques.

Dimming

Dimmers are cost-effective, and highly recommended. Not only does this help you save energy by using less light when you don’t need it, but it makes mood lighting easy, as well. There are literally hundreds of ways to use dimmers with different light fixtures.

In conclusion, if you are eager to update your home’s look, try lighting up your home with new light fixtures for a reasonable, and multipurpose update! To talk about your home lighting needs with an experienced residential electrician call J.P. McCurdy Electrical Services today!

(781) 595-7074 * Em - info@mccurdyelectric.com * www.mccurdyelectric.com

 

Safety Issues with Knob and Tube Wiring

March 24, 2015

knob and tube wiring

Frequently, issues that happen with knob and tube wiring are due to old fittings wearing out, or from some non-standard changes that were made to the electric system by either the previous owner, or by an unprofessional, unlicensed electrician. This typically occurred when additional outlets were installed combining new Romex cable with old knob and tube wire, which is like putting a square peg into a round hole.


Knob and tube wiring also has rubber insulation, which creates additional safety issues. As time passes, rubber erodes, exposing copper wires to moisture in the air, which significantly increases the chance of a short circuit, or a fire.


Another problem with knob and tube wiring is it’s limitation with load demands. Frequently, homeowners in need of extra outlets would hire electrical contractors to add extra outlets to the existing knob and tube wires. These additions create the danger of overloading the electrical systems, especially with today’s power-intensive appliances and devices.

Problems Commonly Found During a Home Inspection

March 16, 2015

vic house

Home inspectors often come across electrical problems in the homes they inspect. For that reason, we’ve compiled a list of the most common electrical problems found during home inspections, so you know what to look for before making that final decision to buy, or not to buy.

Open Junction Boxes

Some electricians may cut corners in places where they think nobody will see, or become aware of. One of those corners is electrical junction boxes. These boxes are often necessary in an electrical installation. The corner they cut is the cover of the junction box, and the inside of the junction box is where electrical conductors are joined together. Now, if someone comes along and puts an object inside that open box, an object such as a screwdriver or finger, you can only imagine how dangerous it can be when sparks start to fly. This is an electrocution just waiting to happen.

Knob and Tube Wiring

Homes built prior to 1950, generally have what's known as knob and tube electrical wiring. Electricians no longer use this method to wire new houses, and it's generally believed to pose a hidden hazard to homeowners. Though you may be able to get financing for a home with knob and tube wiring, getting insurance for it may be difficult and the cost will possibly be more than double. If the knob and tube wiring is active, most insurance companies will require that it be removed before closing or 30 days after closing.

Double Taps

When two wires are placed under the same screw or lug in a panel, it is called a double tap. Two wires should not be installed under a single screw or lug unless the device is designed for that purpose. Some breakers are designed to accept more than one wire; the most common are certain Square D breakers. In the past, it was common to install more than one neutral or ground wire under a single screw on those buss bars, but today’s code requires a single wire per opening on the neutral and ground bus bars.

Open Knockouts

Service panels have areas that can be knocked out to allow a wire to be installed. A connector or bushing is installed to keep the wire from rubbing against the sharp metal of the panel. If these knockouts have been removed from the side of the panel or the front where the breakers are located, then a foreign object could be inserted into the opening, creating a shock hazard.

No GFCI and Ungrounded Outlets

Some common issues found in the branch circuits include ungrounded outlets and the lack of GFCI protection.

In the 1970s, GFCIs (ground fault circuit interrupters) were introduced. These outlets and breakers are designed to sense a very minute change in the current flow of the wires and will stop the power to the outlet or circuit if any change is detected. Originally they were only required at the exterior of the house by swimming pool equipment. Over the years, GFCI receptacles have been required in more locations such as garages, bathrooms, kitchens, etc..

Prior to the 1960s a two wire system was used to provide power to the outlets. A black wire and a white neutral wire were used to power two pronged outlets. It is common for DIYers to replace these two pronged outlets with three pronged outlets, giving the false sense of security that the outlet is grounded and safe for appliances with three pronged cords.

Reasons for an Electric Service Panel Upgrade

March 10, 2015

panel man

The importance of a working and compatible electrical service panel cannot be underestimated. If you are planning to re-model or renovate your home, by installing electrical equipment like lighting or ceiling fans, something that you should consider is the voltage capacity of your home’s electrical system. A deficient electrical panel cannot only damage sensitive electronic equipment over time, but can also increase the likelihood of electric shocks. In many cases, homeowners often ignore the benefits of an electrical panel upgrade, and instead choose to use multiple power strips and extension cords.

What does an upgrade offer

Before acknowledging the benefits of an electrical panel upgrade, it is important to note that in some cases, these upgrades may be considered legally required, depending on residential codes and regulations. An upgraded electrical panel increases the safety aspect, by reducing the possibility of short-circuiting and voltage overloads.


If you’re installing the latest electronic equipment like OLED TVs or smart refrigerators, an electrical panel upgrade can greatly improve the level of energy-efficiency that your home experiences. These devices often consume large amounts of electricity at unparalleled rates. The latest electrical service panels are able to manage and control the flow of electricity, reducing the risk of such electrical equipment short-circuiting or malfunctioning.


If you’re considering a panel upgrade, please contact J.P. McCurdy Electrical Services for a free estimate 781-595-7074.