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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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Lightning and Home Wiring Repairs

home wiring repairsLightning is one of the most incredible and terrifying natural phenomena on Earth. You do not want to be struck by lightning, and you definitely do not want lightning to strike your home. This article will break down what happens when lightning hits your home requiring home wiring repairs and how you should deal with it.

Fire Damage

The biggest danger to a house struck by lightning is that it might catch on fire. Lightning tries to travel through conductive materials on its way to the ground, and your home is full of them. Electric, gas, and water lines are all easy paths for lightning to travel through. And when the lightning is passing through these systems it will most likely come in contact with wood or other highly flammable materials. Most lightning caused fires start in the roof area because it has to pass through that structural material before it can reach the more conducive pathways. However, if it gets through the roof fine you still are not safe. Lightning tends to burn up electrical wires, presenting another serious fire hazard that is throughout your entire home.  Even if you are lucky enough to not end up with a fire, your home will still require home wiring repairs.

Power Surge

Another major issue with lightning striking your home is surge damage. If lightning is passing through your home’s electrical wires, it can over power devices connected to them and cause serious damage with an explosive power surge. The sheer force of a power surge can damage even non-electrical devices. Even if just a little bit of lightning travels through your electrical wires while the rest takes another path to the ground, there still could be a surge with enough force to destroy most connected electric items.

Shock Waves

Another huge source of damage from lightning is from an explosive shockwave. These shockwaves produced by lightning are what causes the thunder we hear from miles and miles away. If that is the sound they make from far away, just imagine how destructive they will be up close. Lightning can easily shatter concrete, brick, and stone. They can also crumble plaster walls, shatter glass, and cause serious damage to your home’s foundation. Plus it also can produce shrapnel, with tiny, sharp pieces of debris flying everywhere causing even more damage.

Home Wiring Repairs In Northern Kentucky

Now that you know all of the terrible things lightning can do to a house, if something is wrong with your electric system call Rose Brothers & Sons Electric, the best place for electrical repair in Northern Kentucky.

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Finding An Electrical Contractor For Insurance Claims

finding an electrical contractor for insurance claimsYou’ll find that finding an electrical contractor for insurance claims is as easy as calling Rose Brothers & Sons Electric in Northern Kentucky.  We have experiencing working with insurance claims and helping customers who are filing a claim get the electrical repairs they need.  There are a few things you need to be aware of:

Know Your Home Owners Policy and What It Covers

When it comes to homeowners policies, they are all pretty much the same.  The percentages may be different and some things may be covered on one policy that are not covered on another.  Flood Insurance is a separate insurance that is bought separately.  If you have a typical home owner’s policy, floods are not covered.  Water damage by other means are.  Here are some of the things your policy covers that you may not be aware of:

  • repairs to bring your home up to code after damage
  • Burst water pipes
  • Damage from falling objects, including downed trees
  • lightening damage
  • power surges
  • refrigerated items lost from power outages
  • wiring damage
  • damage from the weight of snow

Again, what your particular policy covers may vary to some degree.  Read your policy and talk to your agent if you have questions.

Finding An Electrical Contractor For Insurance Claims

Not all electrical contractors are the same.  Some companies are inexperienced when it comes to doing repairs and some will only handle large repairs.  Rose Brothers & Sons Electric has been servicing insurance claim electrical repairs in Northern Kentucky  for decades.  We have a team of highly skilled electricians who are dedicated to making sure you get the best service available.  We have a reputation with the Better Business Bureau and Angie’s List because we are dependable.  We’ll get your electrical repairs done right and completed on time.

Avoid electricians or handyman outfits that come knocking on your door after a heavy storm or when damage is evident at your home.  Make sure you hire a reputable company who has the proper insurance and license to do the job.  As you can imagine, electrical repairs must be done correctly to be safe.  You also don’t want someone doing repairs that know nothing about the current building codes.  This might save you a little money now but in the long run when you go to sell your home, you will pay when the work doesn’t pass inspection.  Finding an electrical contractor for insurance claims is just like finding any responsible contractor.  Don’t settle for the cheapest quote or a quote from an inexperienced company.  If you need electrical repairs in Northern Kentucky, call Rose Brothers & Sons Electric.  We would love to speak with you and offer you an estimate.

 

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Is A Standby Generator Right For You?

is a standby generator right for you?Is a standby generator right for you? Homeowners often ask us if we suggest they buy a back up system for their electric. There are many reasons why this is necessary in some cases. The most obvious is if a family member is on medical equipment that requires backup power. Equipment like this often has it’s own backup power supply. If not, then having a standby generator is a must have in our opinion.

Generators are also crucial for home security, as keeping the electricity on during times of power outages can deter criminals. The best home emergency generators will have a long-lasting lifetime, and will be able to sufficiently power your home during any outages.

How Does A Standby Generator Work?

A standby generator uses gas or propane as fuel. When there is a power outage, a transfer switch recognizes the outage and transfers power to the backup generator from your electrical panel. When the power returns to the home, the power is then switched back to the home’s electricity. You can have a whole house generator or a smaller unit that powers just some of the circuits. Power outages are quite frequent in some areas. In Northern Kentucky, we often have outages when extreme storms are in the area. Heavy snow and ice can down trees and cause outages too. While a portable generator will energize your home for a day, a standby generator theoretically could give energy to your home for many days.

Is A Standby Generator Right For You?

Besides the obvious need for medical patients to avoid power outages and blackouts, many people feel a backup generator would be a huge convenience. There are a few things to consider before you run out and buy one. Installing a standby generator is not a DIY project by any means. A professional electrician and plumber will be needed to hook the generator to your home. Many areas have restrictions on noise and may not approve of a generator. Other towns don’t have the current to handle a large unit. Before you consider installing a standby generator it is important that you consider all the options and research the generators that would benefit you before you decide. Is a standby generator right for you? As you can see that’s not an easy yes or no question. We would be happy to review your electrical needs and assess your home’s electrical usage to determine if you can use a standby generator and if so how big a unit would work in your home. If you have questions about your electrical usage or power, call Rose Brothers & Sons Electric today.

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