Category Archives: Electrical

Figuring Out a Three Way Switch

By | Electrical | No Comments

Three way switches used to frighten me, they seemed so complicated. I found a great residential electrical book and redrew the diagram several times until I thought I had it figured out. Inevitably, I ended up not trusting myself and randomly switching wires around until I got it, or at least I though I did. Then I found an electrician that showed me how the big boys do it. Here is what I do now. It reminded me how Red corrected me forever when I was pronouncing Porsche wrong every other time. He said,” Joe I’m going to say this…

Read More

Flashing Red GFCI

By | Electrical | No Comments

I recently returned to a kitchen remodeling project to figure out why the a counter outlet stopped working. I traced the power back under the crawl space to a junction box with a GFCI outlet that would not reset and had a flashing red LED in it. I turned it into a junction box and left the outlet un-energized as a cover plate of sorts until I can get back up there. We do not have non-working outlets in our projects. Looking it up I realized that it was a failed GFCI outlet. It was nice to have the flashing…

Read More
Fuses

Fuse failure almost causes fire

By | Electrical, Energy | No Comments

Fusees are an important link in the safety chain of electrical components of a home. They are designed to fail prior to the wires getting so hot that they melt and or catch other things on fire. Sadly many folks are willing to put too large of a fuse or the wrong rating of a fuse in the line to keep a circuit working. There are many different looking fuses some look the same but operate differently. The key is to use the appropriate fuse for the job. Just because it fits in the space does not mean that it…

Read More

I Have Knob & Tube Wiring

By | Aged Home Upgrades, Electrical, Trust, Understanding your home | 2 Comments

During almost every remodeling project Levco does, especially in Boise’s historic North End, we encounter Knob & Tube Wiring. It was the craze back in the late 1800’s to the early 1900’s, it was relatively safe ( compared to kerosene or gas lamps) and it was cheaper to install than the armored cable alternative. Knobs are the porcelain insulators that are nailed in and keep the wires from touching. Tubes are the porcelain insulators that were stuck in holes that the wires would run through. Danger occurred when splices were done improperly because poor connections caused heat and heat caused…

Read More

Mislabeled Electrical Panel

By | Aged Home Upgrades, Electrical, Home Evaluations, Understanding your home | 2 Comments

I realized this issue after a friend called. He had just purchased a remodeled home, and was concerned that his electrical panel was mislabeled. This turns out to be a fairly common problem. What happens is that over the years, our electrical needs change and or problems occur, and an electrician is called to either upgrade or replace a faulty breaker. The electrical paned is opened up and the circuit breakers a rearranged to fit better. Unfortunately, the step that is frequently skipped is relabeling the panel correctly. Years ago, we had half of the gadgets that we have now….

Read More

Refrigerator Failure

By | Appliances, Electrical, Green Remodeling, Understanding your home | No Comments

At Levco we normally repair other peoples problems and rarely have time or give much thought to care for our own problems. Here is a situation that happened to me recently that probably happens often to others. My wife noticed that the refrigerator side seemed a bit warm and the freezer side was definitely not freezing.  I suppose a thermometer would have been a more scientific method of determining a problem, but I digress. The first thing I hear is ” I turned the refrigerator up because it isn’t cold enough to freeze everything” This caught my attention because of…

Read More

Building Code Updates

By | Electrical, Framing, HVAC, Plans, Plumbing, Process, Safe Practices, The Law, Understanding your home | One Comment

As of January 1st 2011 Boise City along with all of the other jurisdictions that adopt building codes, followed the states lead and adopted parts of the 2009 IRC international Residential Building Code. The last code was the 2006 IRC which was implemented in the same year. Plumbers use their own code 2003 UPC and electricians use their own code 2008 UEC, there are fire codes, mechanical codes, and energy codes to navigate as well. Thankfully the inspectors in this city are fantastic. As long as it is clear that they are not the enemy, they do a great job…

Read More