Do you have outlets not working?

Do you have outlets not working?

Posted on by lou

Frequently we get a call from a customer who has an outlet or group of outlet that have unexpectedly stopped working. They will tell me that they checked the circuit breakers and none have tripped. They also may have turned all the breakers off and then reset them, also to no avail. Frequently the problem is as simple as resetting whats know as a Ground Fault Receptacle or GFI outlet.

The purpose of a GFI is to prevent electric shock and they are usually found in locations that may be subject to moisture such as kitchens, bathrooms, garages, basements and laundry rooms. If one of the outlets that is not working is in one of these rooms this may be a clue as to the origin of the problem. One GFI can and usually does protect a series of outlets downstream. In my home the GFI in the master bathroom also protects the outlets in the other upstairs bath and the garage. If I have no power in the garage I know to go check the GFI in the master bath.

There are two buttons on a GFI outlet. A TEST and a RESET. If you suspect a GFI may be the culprit in your loss of power locate each outlet with a GFI recepticle. Press the test button in firmly. If the GFI is working properly the RESET button will pop out and the outlet and any others downstream from it will be dead. If it does not pop, the outlet is either defective or it has already tripped. Next press the reset button. If it holds you have solved your problem. If not the GFI may need to be replaced or there may be a problem elsewhere in the circuit.

Give it a try next time you have a power outage. If it doesn’t work give us a call.

Choosing A quality Service Technician

Posted on by lou

Once or twice a year the local news stations do an exposé on service companies up-selling unnecessary repairs and replacement of household heating, cooling and electrical equipment. They frequently use scare tactics to close the deal. They tell you that you are in immanent danger of CO2 poisoning or that your house will soon burn down. These news stories never seem to address the root cause of these practices. The companies/technicians guilty of these practices use a business model that compensates the technician by commission only.

Think about that. The tech standing in front of you telling you that you need a new circuit breaker panel only gets a pay check if he sells you something. The size of his check is dependent on the total dollar value of his sales. If you were buying a used car this relationship would be ok because you know the score when you walk into the dealership. In addition you can go on the internet and you know the value of the car you are looking at.

At the other end of the spectrum are the guys we like to call “Chuck with a Truck”. Their prices are unbeatable! They have a truck with a magnetic sign on the door. Some tools. Maybe a license, maybe not. Do they have liability insurance? How about workman’s comp. If one of their employees gets hurt while on the job at you home do they file a claim with their agent or does the employee sue you, the home owner?

How do you protect yourself and get quality work at a fair price?

Find out how the company pays their Techs.
Ask for copies of liability and workman’s comp policies.
Get a lien release prior to final payment.
Check to see that the company and the technician are licensed.
Check for reviews.

Cost vs Value When Hiring a Denver Electrician

Posted on by lou

We recently got a call from a homeowner that had an electric hot water heater that was not working. They had initially called a plumber friend of ours that we do quite a bit of work for. The water heater was wired into an ancient timing mechanism meant to reduce energy consumption. The plumber, who is very conscientious and the guy we go to for all our pluming referrals, found a tripped breaker in the timer. When he reset it there was a pretty good flash and the connection began to smoke under the wire nut.

Fortunately, the breaker again tripped. At this point he advised the customer that they would need to contact an electrician before he could proceed any further. He recommended us. Her first question was, “are they expensive? He replied, “These guys were probably pretty cheap and they almost burned your house down.”

As it turned out there were many problems with the installation that could have caused fire, serious injury and even death. The wires were connected together improperly for their size. Aluminum was connected to copper improperly. The water heater was not properly grounded.

The original installation had been done by a Denver Electrician less than a year ago and now it had to be done again. Properly installed with today’s materials and technologies this install will last the life of the property.

One of the problems with hiring an electrician in Denver is that anyone with a truck and, some tools can take out an ad on Craigslist for FREE and be in business. You have no idea what their skill level and track record is. Before you hire a Denver electrician, google their company and check for reviews. Check out sites like Yelp, City Search, the BBB etc. Check out The Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA). Clink the link below and it will take you there.


There are lots of great electricians in Denver. You just have to do a little work to figure out who they are.

Is your Electrician a Technician or a Salesman?

Posted on by lou

Is the person who shows up at your door a Technician or a Salesman? This is an important question to ask before you hire an electrical contracting firm. Most articles you read about evaluating a contracting firm talk about checking licenses, references, insurance, etc. These questions are all very important and should not be overlooked, but it is also important to ask how the company pays its technicians.

Most of the large electrical service companies, the ones whose trucks and ad’s you see everywhere, pay their tech’s a base salary plus commission. Some pay entirely on commission. This may not sound like a big deal until you look a little deeper. The Electrician that arrives at your house may be motivated more by a desire to generate a higher commission rather than what’s in the homeowner’s best interest

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