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How to Tell If Your Electrical Meter Is Faulty

electrical meter

If your electrical bill is higher than normal and doesn’t seem quite right, a faulty electrical meter could be the culprit. Rose Brother’s & Sons of Northern Kentucky can help you determine if this is the real issue and guide you through getting the problem fixed.

Check Your Meter

If you have noticed unusual energy bills, one way to test to see if you have a faulty electrical meter is to check it every day. Note the reading on your meter for 7 days straight to see if your daily consumption is consistent. If this does not give you the results you wanted, turn off and unplug everything in your home and see if there is any type of output on the meter. If you are on a time-of-use tariff, you should be able to check the clock on your meter and look for electrical rate changes. Make sure the schedule is consistent and seems normal compared to the time of day you are checking. An energy monitor is another great way to discover if your meter is acting up. Monitors allow you to view your energy use in real time making it much easier to find a discrepancy.

Professional Testing

If you can’t find a problem by yourself, call a professional for a meter testing to make sure everything is as it should be. Contact your electricity company and talk to them about what you are concerned about. Electricity suppliers are required to test your faulty meter on-site and perform a basic check. If their findings are inconclusive or not as you expect, you can have the meter tested at a private facility of your choosing. A private test will cost you money out of pocket and will only be refunded if there is a conclusive report that your meter is faulty. Your electric company may charge you for the cost of installing and removing a temporary meter and you should ask how much this will cost before you have a private test performed. If your meter does not have a problem, this will not be refunded.

What to Do After

If your private testing facility discovers that there have been faulty readings, your electrical company will replace your meter and refund you the money you have lost. If you have been overcharged every month, your supplier is required to refund you the money during the period in which your meter was faulty. If your test determines that you are being undercharged, which is also likely, your supplier should not charge you for more than 12 months of charges.

If you suspect a problem with your meter and are ready to have a professional test, contact Rose Brothers & Sons today. Serving all of Greater Cincinnati, Southern Indiana & Northern Kentucky, including: FlorenceFt. MitchellVilla Hills, Union, Ft. Wright, Hebron, Burlington, Covington, Erlanger, Independence , Ft. Thomas, Newport, Owenton, Park Hills, Cold Spring, Edgewood, Walton, Dry Ridge, Verona, Crittenden, Sparta, Alexandria, Glenco, and Williamstown, our experienced team can help you discover what is wrong and put your mind at ease. With an A+ rating from the BBB and over 45 years of combined experience, Rose Brothers & Sons is the best choice you can make.

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How to Use Lighting to Keep Your Home Safe

home with exterior lighting

When you think of home security, you may think of alarms, door locks, and guard dogs. But, Rose Brothers & Sons Inc. recommends including lighting in your home security plans.

Keep Your Family and Visitors Safe

Exterior lighting is a must when you are entering your home at night or having company over. To keep everyone safe on their way in, install landscape lighting along the walkway to light the way to your front door. Up-lights in trees can also provide light to make walking safer. Be sure the lighting is properly spaced to avoid having areas of darkness. A front porch light is not only welcoming to guests, it also illuminates steps to prevent falling.

If you have overnight guests who are unfamiliar with the layout of your home, or little ones who wander at night, have nightlights available in the hallways and bathrooms to allow them to safely get where they’re going. If you don’t want them on all night, find nightlights that turn on when motion is detected.

Turn on outdoor lights and leave at least one or two indoor lights on before you leave if you will be returning after dark, both for security and personal safety.

Keep Unwanted Visitors Out

Keeping unwanted visitors from entering your yard or home is just as important as making sure your invited guests feel welcome and safe.

Flood lights – Flood lights provide bright light that illuminates the outside of your home. Space flood lights out to ensure there aren’t dark patches where thieves could hide. It is better to have several lights strategically placed with lower wattage than one or two extremely bright ones.

Flood lights with motion sensors are more effective than those that are turned on with a switch. They won’t frustrate your neighbors by being on all the time, and will alert you if someone enters your yard when they suddenly flash on.

Be sure to install flood lights high enough that bulbs can’t be removed and motion sensors can’t be tampered with. If a motion sensor is tilted toward the sky, it will no longer sense motion on the ground.

Flood lights work best when you are home or if you have neighbors nearby. If a thief knows you aren’t home and no one else is around to see them, flood lights will actually just light their way to your house.

Light sensors – Sensors on landscape lighting and porch lights will help ensure your home is lit up outside at night even if you aren’t home to turn them on. Timers can also be set on outdoor lights to make them come on and turn off at specific hours. If you decide to forgo a sensor or timer and just leave your outdoor lights on all night, use LED bulbs to reduce energy consumption and the need to replace bulbs as frequently.

Rose Brothers & Sons Inc. services all of Greater Cincinnati, Southern Indiana and Northern Kentucky, including: FlorenceFt. Mitchell KYVilla Hills KYUnion KY, Ft. Wright, Hebron KY, Burlington, Covington KY, Erlanger, Independence KY, Ft. Thomas, Newport, Owenton, Park Hills, Cold Spring, Edgewood, Walton, Dry Ridge, Verona, Crittenden, Sparta, Alexandria, Glencoe, and Williamstown. Contact us with any of your electrical needs!

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Making the Most of the Outlets in Your Small Space

power strip with multiple cords

From first apartments to the currently popular tiny houses, many people live in small spaces, which may also translate to a small number of outlets. With the number of electronic devices an average family owns today, running out of outlets in a small space can definitely happen.

If Possible, Install New Outlets

The most effective and permanent way to cope with not having enough outlets in a home is to add more. However, this is easier said than done. If you are renting from someone else, you will need their permission to add more outlets to the house or apartment. If you own your home, creating a new outlet on a blank wall is still challenging and it best handled by a license electrician, like Rose Brothers & Sons in Walton, Kentucky. Wiring will need to be run from another electrical source and unless you know exactly what your walls are made of, you may be in for a surprise when you try to make room for an outlet in one of them.

Give Existing Outlets or Switches an Upgrade

Are many of your outlets occupied by charging mobile devices like tablets and phones? Traditional outlets can be fairly easily switched out for outlets with built-in USB ports, so you can plug in your device without taking up a socket. One of the most common configurations for these outlets has the standard two sockets with two USB ports, giving you plenty of room to charge your phone and tablet while still keeping your lamp and alarm clock plugged in. Adding an outlet with USB ports is similar to converting a two-prong outlet.

If you have a single light switch in a place where an outlet would also be convenient, replace the switch with a switch/outlet combination. This solution works especially well for bathrooms in older homes that may not have any outlets at all because the switch is often located on a wall near the sink and mirror.

Other Ways to Add More Outlet Space in Your Northern Kentucky Home

If you are not at all handy, the number of sockets per outlet can be increased without changing the outlet itself. Adapters that plug into a socket of an outlet instantly add four new places to plug things in. If space is small where the outlet is (e.g. behind a piece of furniture), use an adapter with rotating sockets so plugs lay parallel to the wall instead of sticking out and being in the way.

Power strips are similar to adapters in that they only use one outlet space and provide six to eight more places to plug things in. Many power strips have the added benefit of providing surge protection for sensitive electronics, including computers and TVs. Some armoires and entertainment centers come with built-in power strips, increasing your outlets and providing additional storage space.

If you need power somewhere not near one of your few outlets use extension cords. Some brands have multiple outlets along the length of the cord. If you don’t want the extension cord to show, use a cord cover that runs along your baseboards and conceals it. Be sure not to run extension cords under things that could crush them or disrupt the electrical current and cause a fire.

If you require assistance with increasing the outlets in your home, or any other electrical service, call Rose Brothers & Sons Electric and Construction. We serve all of Greater Cincinnati, Southern Indiana, and Northern Kentucky, including: Florence, Ft. Mitchell, Villa Hills, Union, Ft. Wright, Hebron, Burlington, Covington, Erlanger, Independence, Ft. Thomas, Newport, Owenton, Park Hills, Cold Spring, Edgewood, Walton, Dry Ridge, Verona, Crittenden, Sparta, Alexandria, Glencoe, and Williamstown.

 

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How to Convert Two-Prong Outlets

three-prong power outlet

If you live in an older home, you may find that some of the outlets in your home only have two prongs instead of three. This can be inconvenient when you go to try and plug in appliances that need three prongs. However, there is a way that you can give these pesky two-prong outlets a makeover and turn them into a new and improved three-prong outlet! Rose Brothers & Sons Electric gives you the inside scoop on how to get the job done.

Converting from a two-prong outlet to a three-prong is definitely a good idea for both your convenience and your safety. Three-prong outlets are designed to have a fault path that prevents devices from shorting out, so they’re a lot safer for your home! According to Apartment Therapy, before you start rewiring your whole house or apartment, you should have an electrician inspect to see if your building’s fuse box has been grounded. Chances are if you only have two-prong plugs in your house, you can probably assume that it has not been grounded. However, always get your electrician’s approval before making any assumptions about your home’s wiring. This will help you in deciding what type of outlet to buy. If your electrician tells you that your home is not grounded, then you can install a GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) or have your electrician rewire the outlet.

If your house is grounded, then you can follow these steps, as recommended by This Old House:

  1. First you must turn off your fuse box and unscrew the old receptacle and detach the wires.
  2. Next, you attach the black wires to the brass terminal and the white wires to the silver terminal.
  3. After that you can tighten the ground screw to the threaded hole in the back of the box.
  4. Then, connect one end of the grounding wire to the green terminal on the three-prong receptacle and place it into the box.
  5. And last, but not least, turn on the power to make sure that the circuit is working properly.

This can be done on your own, but refer anyone to a trusted electrician instead of doing the work yourself if you ever at all feel uncomfortable. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to dealing with electricity! Rose Brothers & Sons Electric is your electrician in Northern Kentucky, Cincinnati and the surrounding areas.

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Adding Electrical Wiring to Your Basement

Basements are notoriously dark. If you are tired of the poor lighting in your basement, and are ready to brighten up your décor and lighting, adding new electrical wiring to your basement may be necessary to add the lighting fixtures that you love. If you are building a home, the electrical wiring in your basement is an important thing to consider so you avoid any lighting issues in the future. At Rose Brothers & Sons Inc., your best choice for an electrician in Northern Kentucky, Cincinnati, and the surrounding areas, we can give you tips on adding electrical wiring to your basement that will help the process run smoothly.

Installing Electrical Wiring in the Basement

First and foremost, if you are going to attempt to rough-in your electrical wiring yourself, it is important to acquaint yourself with the process of electrically wiring a room. Pick up some books and study. Plan the design for your lighting remodel of your room and attain your measurements before you start doing anything. After you have your measurements, it’s time to learn about nailing up boxes, drilling holes for wires, how to properly and safely pull cables, stapling cables, and connecting all the wires. Once you have done this, purchasing or renting the appropriate tools for your project are a necessity. Do not overlook any of these steps. Be prepared to be frustrated if this is your first DIY project, and don’t rush. Make this remodel a fun project and the work will not seem like work, but rather an accomplishment at the end.

turquoise themed basement with large couch

Designing a Basement’s Lighting

If you are not attempting a DIY project, but are instead designing the lighting for the basement of your new home, make sure you add in as much pre-wired lighting as possible. In addition to permanent light fixtures, another thing you must plan for in your design is the number of outlets and outlet placement in your basement. In the case of outlets, less is not more. Design your outlet placement for convenience. If you have a bar in the basement consider putting outlets on the bar. If your basement is a large, open room, consider placing outlets on the floor near where you will place furniture. This prevents annoying cords covering the floor and gives you more lighting placement options for décor purposes.

When to Call an Expert

Whether you are doing a DIY lighting project in an existing room, remodeling, or designing a new basement entirely, if you reach a point where you aren’t sure what to do, have an electrician come in and help you. At Rose Brothers & Sons Inc., we can help you with all electrical rewiring, remodeling, and design projects in your home. As an Angie’s List member with an A+ rating from the BBB, and over 45 years of experience, we can guarantee that our services will meet your needs. Contact us today with any questions on electrical contracting, wiring, or lighting you may have.

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How To Tell If Your Electrical Box Is Grounded

Appliances with three-prong plugs are designed to operate properly when the ground plug provides a path for electrical current all the way back to the electrical panel.  Surge protectors will only provide protection for electrical devices if the power source is grounded.  Most questions asked about grounded electrical boxes come from homeowners with lots of two-prong power outlets in their homes.

There are a few things you can do without the assistance of a qualified electrician to safely determine whether an outlet or its electrical box are grounded.  You will need a two-lead circuit tester and some basic familiarity with your electric panel.  Choose a working outlet that you intend to use with a surge protector or with an appliance with a three-prong plug.

Start with the power to the circuit switched on.  Use the circuit tester to confirm there is voltage between the hot and neutral terminals of the outlet.  The hot wire is connected to the smaller slot of the outlet, and neutral is connected to the larger slot.

Once you have confirmed there is voltage across hot and neutral, you will use the same circuit tester to determine whether there is voltage between hot and ground.  Voltage measured between  the hot terminal and the ground hole is a good indicator that the outlet and its electrical box are grounded.  

If you are dealing with a two-prong outlet, you can test for a ground at the cover plate screw before taking any steps to look inside the box.  Many older homes with two-prong outlets were originally wired with metal boxes and armored cable, providing a reliable ground path to the panel.  Still others were wired with dedicated ground wires despite the two-prong receptacles.  three-prong to two-prong adapters that use the cover plate screw as a ground are still commonly available. Connect one lead of the circuit tester to the cover plate screw and the other lead to the hot slot.  Measured voltage is a good indicator that your outlet and its electrical box are grounded.

organized electrical wires

If you did not find a reliable ground using the circuit tester and you want to be certain there is no ground wire inside the box, you can inspect behind the receptacle safely before calling an electrician. Turn off the circuit, and confirm there is no voltage in the hot terminal.  Next, remove the cover plate and the screws securing the receptacle to the box.  Once removed, you should note whether there is a bare copper ground wire coming into the box with the hot (black) and neutral (white) wires.

Once you have confirmed that your electrical box is not grounded, you should discuss your options with an electrician.  Proudly serving Greater Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and Southern Indiana, Rose Brothers & Sons can help you with anything from small electrical repairs to large electrical construction projects. Contact our experienced and professional electricians today.

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How to Tell if Your Water Heater is Going Bad

When your water heater starts acting up and the problems don’t seem to go away, it could be time to find a replacement. If you are concerned that your water heater is on the fritz, Rose Brothers & Sons, your trusted electrician in Northern Kentucky, Cincinnati, and the surrounding areas, wants you to know a few warning signs that will help you determine if your water heater is going bad.

hot water heater and technician

Age

If your hot water heater is old, it may very well be going bad. If you are unaware of how old your water heater is, it’s simple to find out. Look for the serial number towards the top of your water heater. Your serial number will contain the manufacturing date of the heater in what may look like a strange code of numbers and letters. However, this code actually contains some valuable information about your water heater. The first letter in the number correlates to the month the heater was manufactured (A=January, B=February, C=March, etc.). The next two numbers in the sequence are the last two digits of the year the heater was made. Any hot water heater that is between ten and fifteen years old could need to be replaced.

Discolored Water

If you turn on your hot water one day and the water is tinged brown or orange, it may be a sign that your water heater needs to be replaced. This discoloration is either a sign of rust in your water heater or increased sediment in the water tank, both of which are bad news. To get a closer look at the water in your water heater, attach a hose to the drainage bib on the tank, turn the unit off, and then drain the water to examine the contents.

Strange Noises

Pay attention to the noise your water heater makes if you are concerned about it going bad. While water heaters naturally make some sounds, loud cracks, pops, and rumbling are not common and usually mean that the heating mechanisms are causing mineral deposit within your tank. The mineral deposit will harden at the bottom of your tank which will lead to less efficiency, which costs you money, and more damage, which can lead to cracks and holes in the tank.

Water Accumulation

If you see water leaking from or accumulating around your water tank, get rid of your water heater immediately, it has gone bad. Before removing the water tank, disconnect all electricity to the water heater or turn off the gas that runs to it. Let the heater cool down and then drain the water from the tank before you remove it.

If you are worried that your hot water heater may have reached or is close to reaching the end of its days or if you see any warning signs that are listed above, contact the experts at Rose Brothers & Sons Inc. for immediate hot water heater repair and replacement. As an Angie’s List member with an A+ rating from the BBB, we can guarantee that our services will meet your needs. Contact Rose Brothers & Sons today with any questions and let our team help you with all your water heater troubles.

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Electrician for Attic Ventilation and Outlet Installation

attic ventilation

At Rose Brothers and Sons we have the know-how and experience to install ventilation and outlets in your attic. We are committed to doing the job right the first time. We want your repeat business because we did a great job the first time, not because you had to call us back to fix our own mistake. Hiring a professional with a good reputation is the smart thing to do, every time. So call us today and we’ll get right out there.

Attic Ventilation –

To Vent or Not to Vent?

Having enough of the proper ventilation for your attic can be very important. If your home doesn’t have enough ventilation, there is a possibility of moisture problems in the winter and a decrease in your home’s energy efficiency in the summer months. It’s just a myth that attic ventilation is more beneficial in warmer climates and in the summer months than in colder climates and in the winter. Actually, the colder the climate, the more your home may benefit from attic ventilation.

DIY or Hire a Professional Electrician

There is certainly no shortage of Do it Yourself websites and You Tube videos out there to show you how to add an electrical outlet or ventilation fan in your attic. But some things really probably should be left to professionals. Electricity is dangerous at best and down-right deadly at worst. A professional electrician will know how to do the job safely, be up to date on building codes, know when or if a building permit is needed as well as obtain the necessary permits. Additionally, if electrical wiring is not done properly it can cause even more problems, like shorting out the entire house, or worse, starting a fire.

Do Your Homework

Not every electrician is created equal.   In this digital age it’s easy to find trusted businesses to hire for your home repairs. Websites like Angie’s List and the Better Business Bureau will give you a good starting place to look for an electrician in good standing and with good reviews. Some electricians only care about making money, so they do a lot less for a lot more (of your money). Like a good mechanic, an experienced and trustworthy electrician is worth their weight in gold.

At Rose Brothers and Sons Electric we have an excellent record on Angie’s List and an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. We have years of experience, a great reputation and loyal customers who call us time and again whenever they need electrical work done. Call today for an appointment.

 

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Winterize Your Home In 10 Easy Steps

winterize your homeIf you have lived in Northern Kentucky for very long, you are aware that our winters can bring extremes in temperatures. Protect your family, home, appliances and budget by preparing your home for winter.  Here are a few tips to winterize your home.

  1. If you have an electric water heater, insulate it (If you have a gas-powered water heater insulation creates a fire hazard.) Insulate pipes leading to your water heater. This will cut down on the workload for your water heater.
  2. Seal any air leaks around your windows and doors. Put this on your fall schedule and you won’t be sorry. Caulking the leaks will save money on your heating and cooling bill.  If you can see light around your doors, your heat is escaping causing your heater or furnace to work longer and harder. Another way to check for leaks is to hold a lighted candle near your window on a windy day. If the candle flame bends, your window is leaking.
  3. Check the glazing on your windows for gaps or cracks. Glazing needs to be replaced periodically. If you tap on a window pane and it rattles your glazing may need replacement.
  4. Reduce the temperature on your thermostat when no one is at home and at night when all are sleeping.    Replacing your old manual thermostat with a programmable thermostat will automate this chore. Consider putting a timer on your water heater so that it isn’t heating water when it won’t be needed. Better yet, switch to a tankless water heating system.While this will only be done once when you winterize your home, you will be glad you took the time to make recommended replacements.
  5. Clean your gutters of debris. Check for any branches that might have grown and are hanging over electrical wires and have them removed.  
  6. Reverse the direction of your ceiling fans. Hot air rises so you want your fan blowing up so that the warmer air circulates around the room.
  7. According t the Department of Energy, door drafts can waste anywhere from 5-30% of your heat. Try making a draft snake to place at the foot of your door.
  8. Shut off the water supply to your irrigation system and outdoor spigots. Hire a contractor to blow out any water remaining in your irrigation system.
  9. If you have a chimney, make sure it is ready for use. Chimneys should be cleaned at least once per year.
  10. Make sure that your carbon monoxide detectors are working properly. Replace old batteries if necessary.

For assistance with your home winterization plans call Rose Brothers and Sons Electric or visit our webpage at www.rosebrotherselectric.com. Our electricians proudly serve Northern Kentucky, Cincinnati and the surrounding areas and will be happy to help you winterize your home.

 

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6 Ways To Lower Your Electric Bill This Winter

lower your electric billWinter is coming and according to weather reports, winter 2016 should be a cold one.  If you’re like many homeowners in Northern Kentucky, you’re not looking forward to your first electric bill of the winter season.  If heating your home is taking a toll on your utility budget, here are 6 ways to lower your electric bill this winter:

  1.  Turn Your Thermostat Down 2 Degrees.  You can save money on your electric bill by lowering your thermostat a few degrees and wearing a sweater.  You can save more by turning it down even further when you’re sleeping.
  2. Only Run The Dishwasher When It’s Full – According to experts, you can not only save money on your electric bill when you run your dishwasher less often, but it also works better when it’s full.  Using a dishwasher requires less water than doing them by hand too.
  3. Insulate Your Water Heater and plumbing pipes.  Your water heater may work overtime in the winter if the water coming into the water heater is colder then usual.  You can help by insulating the pipes leading to the water heater.
  4. Turn off Appliances Your Not Using.  This is a hard one.  It’s easy to leave things on standby until your ready to use them, but it’s important to remember that appliances, tvs and computers left on will use electricity.
  5. Maintain your appliances – Dryers with clogged vents use more energy.  Make sure you clean your dryer vent and remove lint after each use.  Also clean the coils around your refrigerator.  Cleaner machines work more efficiently and can lower your electric bill.
  6. Seal and air leaks around windows and doors – Every year around fall, you should check all windows and doors for leaks. Caulking the leaks will save money on your heating and cooling bill.  If you can see light around your doors, your heat is escaping causing your heater or furnace to work longer and harder.

We Can Help Lower Your Electric Bill!

Rose Brothers and Sons Electric can help you lower your electric bill.  We offer inspections on your electric system to see areas that are costing you money or may be a problem waiting to happen.  An inefficient electrical system can raise your electric bill, be a safety hazard and cost you more money in the long run.  If you have questions about how you can lower your electric bill, call the experts at Rose Brothers & Sons Electric today!

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