Call Us today For a free estimate: Call (267) 371-3193

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Zach Shaw owner of Zebra Electric Inc is a Bucks County Pa native who has been in the electrical business for over 15 years. He formally worked for Dumire Electric and now he serves Dumire Electric customers since Tom Dumire retired. Zach likes to be involved in the community. He has volunteered with Mennonite Distaster Relief, providing free electrical work for victims affecting by Hurricane Katrina. He also volunteers annually at the Goschenhoppen Folk Festival. He has 4 boys and likes to spend his time camping, backpacking and kayaking with the family.

Zebra Electric Inc

Quakertown, Pa

zach@zebraeleinc.com

pa 012872

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How to choose an exhaust fan for the bathroom Quakertown Electrician

After a few long, hot, and steamy showers, you notice the ventilation isn’t the best in your bathroom. Poor ventilation in a bathroom can led to mold, mildew and can even start to damage your drywall. This is where a exhaust fan comes into play. What kind of fan should you install? Here are some things to consider….. 

How to choose an exhaust fan for the bathroom

New-bathroom-design-2017

How to choose an exhaust fan for the bathroom Quakertown Electrician

 Size. First, you need to know what size you will need. Bathroom fans should have 1 CFM (cubic feet per minute) for every square foot of floor space in the bathroom. 

In other words, if your bathroom floor area measures 70 square feet, choose a fan with at least 70 CFMs to get the right amount of ventilation.

After you know what size you are after, there are 3 styles to choose from:

  1. Ceiling-mounted fans are installed in the ceiling and vent into the attic or out through the roof.
  2. Wall-mounted fans are mounted on the external wall of the house and generally are used when there is no practical way to vent through the roof; for example, a first-floor bathroom.
  3. Remote fans have a fan unit located in a remote location such as the attic; duct work connects the fan to an opening in the bathroom ceiling covered by a grill. Inline fans are often used in homes where one fan vents multiple bathrooms, or to have multiple vents in one large bathroom.

Some other things to consider

Once have you the necessary exhaust fan the fits your bathroom’s needs, here are some details you may want to look into….

  • Noise Level: Fan noise is rated by sones—a scale that represents degrees of loudness. A rating of 0.5 to 1.2 sones means the fan is exceptionally quiet. Ratings of 1.5 to 2.0 sones is very good. Fans rated in excess of 4.0 sones tend to be noisy.
  • Fans with heaters: This adds a little extra warmth for those chilly days.
  • Lighting: some fans come with overhead lighting.
  • Night light: equipped models use a low-wattage light to help you find your way in the dark.
  • Built in motion sensor:  turns on the fan when someone enters the bathroom. The fan speed can be pre-set to a low volume to remove the moisture of everyday tasks, such as shaving, and switch-activated for high-volume tasks, such as showering.

If you are thinking of installing an exhaust fan, feel free to contact us if you are in the Quakertown, Pa area. We will be happy to give you a free estimate.

 

Electrical Inspections tips Quakertown Electrician

Electrical Inspections tips

It’s that time of the year: real estate sales start going up and home projects start again. Maybe you are thinking of buying or selling a house. Or perhaps you may be adding an addition. There are times when an electrical inspection may be needed.

However, here are some electrical inspection tips. Here is a checklist on things you can check yourself and hire to get fixed before you hire an inspector.

Electrical Inspections tips Quakertown Electrician

Electrical Inspections tips Quakertown Electrician

1. Smoke Alarms

This an easy one. Simply, do the smoke alarms work? Is there a smoke alarms in both upstairs and downstairs? Some cities require you have one in each bedroom as well. You can call your city or look on the website to find out their smoke detector requirements.

2. Electrical Panels

Here are some things to observe:

  • Does it have a cover?
  • Do any of the breaker feel loose or warm?
  • Are there burn or charred marks?
  • Does the panel as a whole look damaged?
  • Make sure it doesn’t contain outdated fuses

3. Outlets

First, check the outlets that are near wet areas such as the kitchen or the bathrooms. Are those outlets a GFCI (which is what you will need). Next, make sure all your outlets–and switches– have covers. If you see burn marks near any outlets, you have a problem.

4. Wires

This may be obvious, but make sure you don’t have any loose wires hanging from the ceiling or other places in the house. However, don’t forget the check the outside. If you have any overhead wires that connect to the home, make sure your tree branches are cleared from these wires.

This is just a basic list that you can quickly go over yourself to decide if you need to hire an electrician before hiring the home inspection. If you need some electrical services or want an electrical take a look at you home, feel free to contact us.

Contact us for a free estimate:


Should I get an Attic Fan? Quakertown Electrician

Should I get attic Fan? Quakertown Electrician

by Zach Shaw

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Should I get an attic fan? Quakertown Electrician

Summer is approaching in the near future and I would like to address about attic fans (aka house fans). Some of you may be thinking: “Are they worth the investment or should I invest in a good AC system? Will attic fans save on electric?” 

SHORT ANSWER: YES. They save on electric  ( they only use 10-15% of energy an AC would use) and they are worth the investment. BUT they aren’t efficient in every home. 

Let me break it down for you:   

How an attic fan works: Usually a whole-house fan is mounted in the attic floor, above a grille in the ceiling of a prominent hallway. Once the outdoor temperature cools down — usually in the evening or early morning — the homeowner opens a few downstairs windows, and turns on the fan.

The fan pulls air from the hallway and blows it into the attic. Since attic fans are relatively powerful, they quickly exhaust the hot indoor air, allowing cooler outdoor air to enter through the downstairs windows. On average, attic fans can cool down a house in less than an hour. Once the house has cooled off, the fan can be turned off and the windows closed. The idea is to close the windows after the fan is off (early morning until evening) to trap the cool air inside. This method is an alternative instead of using air conditioning.

Here are some things to consider:

  1. For an attic fan to work, you NEED to have the windows open. For someone that suffers from allergies, an attic fan may not be a good fit.
  2. Attic fans use only about 10%-15% of energy that an air conditioner would use. This will save costs on your electric bill.
  3. Your attic needs to have good ventilation sysytem. The attic fan needs a way to circulate air out of the attic.
  4. For proper cooling at night, the temperature outside needs to be 80 degrees or lower. Although, using the attic fan in the spring or fall is another option if the summer nights get too warm.
  5. Keep in mind, attic fans will not remove the humidity in the air if humidity is a concern.
  6. Attic fans can cool down the house fast at night (an hour or less) and it is a great alternative for those who want to save on cooling costs, but want to stay cool at night.

Attic fans aren’t for everyone, but it can be a great alternative after the above points are considered.

If you are considering about installing an attic fan, or have questions, free feel to contact us at: 267-371-3193

Zebra Electric Inc

 

Spring Home Maintenance Checklist Quakertown Electrician

Spring Home Maintenance Checklist Quakertown Electrician

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Spring Home maintenance Checklist- Quakertown Electrician

Spring is coming!! When you think of spring and your home, you may think of spring cleaning. However, besides cleaning, there are a lot of items to check to make sure your house is in top shape. Here are some few ideas on what you may want to check up on.

Spring Home Maintenance Checklist

  • Check your windows. Check for any air leaks (you don’t want your cool air from the AC leaking out, right?) Also, check you screens: do they have any holes? If you have a screened in porch, check those screens as well.
  • Check your ceiling fans Do they shake violently or make too much noise? If you change the direction of your fan for the winter, (to maximize your warm air flow), don’t forget to change the direction back. Also, now it the time to schedule installing a ceiling fan if you have been considering of getting one.
  • Check you AC units or HVAC. Make sure your air works before it gets hot. And if you have an HVAC unit, don’t forget to change the filters.
  • Check your smoke detectors. Change your batteries. A good way to remember is change your smoke detector batteries when daylight savings starts and ends.
  • Check your roof and gutters Make sure your roof is in good order. And if you have a chimney, don’t forget to inspect it. Clean out your gutters and drain spouts.
  • Check your sprinkler system  Make sure they aren’t leaking and the sprinkler heads are working properly.
  • Check your exterior siding and paint Check for mold growing on the side of your house as well as peeling paint. A power washing may be in order or a new coat of paint.
  • Check your landscape lighting and porch lights Make sure all your outside lights are in working order.

I hope you are excited for Spring and that you find this list useful. If you need any assistance that requires electrical work, feel free to contact us! We would be happy to give you a free estimate. Happy Spring!

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The benefits of recessed lighting – Quakertown Electrician

The Benefits of Recessed Lighting

Benefits of recessed lighting

Benefits of recessed lighting – Quakertown Electrician

by Zach Shaw/ Zebra Electric Inc/ Quakertown Electrician

Recessed lighting is becoming more common and many customers request them to be installed. Recessed lights are an attractive form of lighting that is installed flush on a flat surface such as the ceiling. So, what is the benefits of recessed lighting? Is it worth switching over your lighting to recessed lights? Here are some benefits to consider:

  • It creates more room.  Say good-bye to plug in lamps. You won’t have lamps taking up the space. Furthermore, you won’t have lights hanging down from the ceiling. This makes a room look a little bigger.
  • It is great for low ceilings. In low ceilings in where you have to worry about whether a light fixture will hang too low (you don’t want to worry about hitting your head), recessed lighting is a great alternative.
  • It is perfect for shower stalls. Recessed lights are the only light that can be installed in the water-intensive environment.
  • Better light and room coverage.  If arranged and installed correctly, recessed lights can really add light value to your room and light it evenly.
  • They are lightweight. Recessed wall and ceiling lights light enough that they do not have to be secured directly to ceiling joists or wall studs. They need very little support, which gives you more options in where to place them.

They come in different colors so there are options to choose from when you are interior decorating a room. Recessed lights really bring a really nice, clean look to a room.

If you are interested in a free estimate to install recessed lights, feel free to contact us.

 

Do I need to upgrade my electrical panel?-Quakertown Electrician

Do I need to upgrade my Electrical Panel?

There are many reasons on why you should upgrade an electrical panel.

Here is a quick list to determine on whether you may need an upgrade: Image result for electric panel

  • Your electrical panel is old – Electrical panels generally have a life span of 25-40 years. If you lived in your house for over 25 years and have not upgraded or just moved into an older home, it may be time to replace your electrical panel. If your panel still have fuses, you need an upgrade.
  • Your circuit breakers trip regularly –  Older panels are more sensitive to power surges. Also, you may have more appliances now than when the panel was installed. Your panel may need to upgrade to a higher amp.
  • Lights are flickering or dimming – This can be a sign that your electrical panel is failing
  • Your appliances aren’t running on full power – Again, this may be a sign that your panel needs an amp upgrade.
  • You panel smells – If you smell a burning smell, you could be at risk for an electrical fire.
  • Do you use many power strips? Upgrading your panel may be ideal
  • Your insurance requires it – Some homeowner’s insurance have requirements for electrical panels in ordered to get the correct coverage.
  • You are doing a home renovation This may be a great time to upgrade. Especially if you are doing an addition and added more appliances.

If you are not sure if you need an electrical panel upgrade in the Quakertown or surrounding area, feel free to contact us. We can give you a free estimate.

 

Why does a Circuit Breaker keep tripping – Quakertown Electrician

It happens to all of us: once in a while the circuit breaker trips. What if it happens again and again? Why does a circuit breaker keep tripping? There are a few reasons on why this may be happening:

sperry-breaker-finder

  • Overloads.  This is the most likely cause and what your electrician will probably investigate first.  That means you’re running too many heavy power consuming devices at the same time on the same circuit. Breakers have a  limit of power to supply to your appliances and home. If this is exceeded, (you have a 15 amp circuit but has 20 amp of electricity running through it); the breaker will trip.
  • Short circuiting.  This is more dangerous than an overload. What is happening is that a hot wire is touching or having contact with another hot or neutral wire. Check your outlets. If you see blackening around the outlet or smell burning, you are experiencing short circuiting.  Short circuiting happens for many reasons such as a loose connection or incorrect wiring.  Do not attempt to mess around with your outlet at all. Leave the breaker tripped, and call in an electrician right away.

 

  • Ground fault. This is almost like short circuiting. Instead of the hot wire touching another hot wire, this time the hot wire is touching a ground wire or the metal outlet box. The grounding of that outlet is no longer effective and is considered dangerous. Again, don’t try to fix, call a professional.

 

  • Appliance failure. Sort of like an overload, the problem is specifically the appliance rather than having too many running at the same time. The appliance can be faulty or damaged and draw more power than it should causing an overload. If your breaker has issues tripping, check the appliances related to that breaker.

 

If you need help inspecting your breaker if it keeps tripping, feel free to contact us for a free estimate!

 

 

 

Which smoke detector is best?

Ahhh…the holidays are here: cooked dinners, cookies in the oven, candles lit…so…

Which smoke detector is best?

We all had the once finicky smoke detector near the kitchen:

Screenshot 2017-11-18 at 12.32.07 PM

We want to be safe, but let’s eliminate the dinner alarm :).

There are too basic types of smoke detectors:

  •  Ionization
  • Photoelectric

Ionization Smoke Detector

This is the cheaper one of the two. And you guessed it: this is the “dinner alarm” smoke detector. Ionization alarms are generally more responsive to a flaming fire (for instance, when a lit candle tips over and ignites the tablecloth at Thanksgiving). Yikes!  

Ionization-type smoke detectors have a small amount of radioactive material between two electrically charged plates, which ionize the air and causes current to flow between the plates. When smoke enters the chamber, it disrupts the flow of ions, thus reducing the flow of current and activating the alarm. (For those technical types)

Photoelectric Smoke Detector

This alarm uses a light beam to help detect the presence of smoke. This is effective for fires that from a smoldering source. A classic example would be a lit cigarette that accidentally catches on some fabric .

Photoelectric-type alarms aim a light source into a sensing chamber at an angle away from the sensor. Smoke enters the chamber, reflecting light onto the light sensor; triggering the alarm. (For those technical types)

Now they we know the two basic types of smoke alarms, which one should we use? Smoke-Detector1-300x300                First off, it is very important to have your smoke detectors interconnect, especially if you have a larger home. That goes for whatever type of smoke detector you decide to use.  Experts recommend both types of detectors.  The reasoning is because type of detector detects 2 different kind of fires rapidly.

First rule of thumb is again, make sure your detectors are interconnected. Even if you only decide to install one type.

The kitchen is a one of the most important place to install a smoke detector nearby. The best detector recommended for the kitchen? The ionization is the best choice because it detects flaming fires the commonly occur in the kitchen. How do you make an ionization type a smoke alarm and not a dinner alarm? There are two things you can do:

  1. Buy an ionization alarm with adjustable sensitivity. It will have a “hush” button that will reduce it’s sensitivity for a small period of time.
  2. Check you ventilation in your kitchen. Perhaps the poor ventilation is the cause of the problem.
  3. Go out for dinner! Sorry, I just had to put that in there. 🙂

If you need help deciding if your smoke detection system is adequate, or need help installing a system, feel free to contact me!

Happy Holidays!!!

Zach Shaw

Call (267) 371-3193

 

How to avoid a power surge

Many people have their computers plugged into surge protecting power strip. But is it REALLY enough?

Everyone knows a power surge isn’t good but what exactly is a power surge?

powersurge

A power surge happens when there’s an unexpected spike in the voltage supplied through an electrical line. It happens very fast; it may last for only a few millionths of a second. However, a surge can carry tens of thousands of volts.

Ok, but what will happen if a power surge occurs??

A power surge can and often does damage electronic equipment. Now only your computer can be affected, but almost all electronics, even the new HDTVs.

How does a power surge happen?

  • Lighting storms are the more obvious but those surges are still the most powerful. Although, it may not happen as often.
  • Your outlets aren’t grounded. You will be surprised what you will find or don’t find, especially in older homes. I have seen some crazy things and thought: “What a cheap job” or “What was that electrician thinking?”
  •  Downed power lines from storms or accidents
  • short circuits
  • tripped circuit breakers
  • a sudden change in electricity usage by a nearby factory
  • Refrigerators can sometimes cause a power surge as well as window air conditioners.
  • The wiring in your house can be at fault if not installed properly, or your wiring may be old and in need of an upgrade. Again, I see this a lot more in older homes.
  • overload circuits or fuses (Think of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation )

christmasvacation

What I can I do to protect myself from a power surge?

Plugging your devices into surge protection power strips is a great start for small surges. Most people have already taken this step. So, what is the next step?

Get a professional electrician to inspect your home. He or she will determine if you are well protected enough for the set up and items you wish to protect. The electrician may make suggestions such as:

  • Install a whole-house suppressor if your home is in risk of large power surges
  • Suggest a panel upgrade (He will make sure the panel is large enough to handle the size of your home)
  • Upgrade your wiring if it was not installed properly or is too old

To ensure the safety of you, your family and your home, you should have a professional  electrician thoroughly inspect the wiring in your home if you feel you are experiencing any electrical problems.

Feel free to give us a call for a free estimate 🙂

Call (267) 371-3193

Fall Maintenance Checklist list for the Home

I love this time of year: the cooler weather, beautiful trees, hot apple cider, pumpkin pie, holidays approaching….but wait: what about the house?

It is easy to get caught up in the season of fall and busy schedules and to neglect to prepare your home for cooler weather. Here is a quick checklist to help you prepare your home for the fall and winter months that lay ahead.

Fall Maintenance Checklist list for the Home

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1. Clean Gutters

 Inspect and clean gutters and downspouts

2. Drain and Store Garden Hoses

Shut off the water to the outdoor faucet. Drain your garden hoses, wrap them nicely and put them in storage.

3. Inspect smoke detectors.

An easy way to remember this is to check your smoke detectors and batteries every time daylight savings ends or begins. You should check your smoke detectors every 6 months.

4. Check your HVAC or get your chimney cleaned

Schedule a maintenance check for your HVAC system or schedule a chimney clean.

5. Save money on your heating bill

This is more of a tip than a maintenance issue.  Open your shades in the daytime to let the sun shine in your house. Close your shades when the sun sets. The idea is to use the sun’s warmth to heat up for home a little.

6. Check for air leaks

For windows,  Check for loose or cracked glazing. Re-seal with silicon caulk. All windows and doors should close snugly. You can winterize your windows if you need to wait to repair or get new windows. Also, seal holes or gaps where the house framing meets the foundation.

7. Light up your outside.

It will be getting dark out, so it is important to have proper lighting along the pathway to your house. Also, inspect your porch lights.

 

If you need help upgrading your porch lights, or smoke detectors, feel free to give us a call.
Call 267-371-3193

Have a wonderful Fall season,

 

Zach Shaw