What's in your tool bag is driven by the type of projects you are working on. Almost every operation must have a wide selection of reliable electrical outlets. The type you need depends on whether you are installing them in a commercial building or residential home.
With the increased popularity of smart homes, lighting controls can help you break into energy efficient projects. Smart light switches give customers the ability to control their lights with Alexa. An occupancy sensor prevents rooms in low traffic from being lit while no one is there. No more asking your children to go turn the bathroom or hallway lights off. These devices can help you up-sale on your services.
A multimeter/voltmeter securely helps you test live electrical wire. To ensure everything you touch is safe, use a non-contact voltage tester to detect electrical power in cables, circuit breakers, and wiring devices.
An industrial electrical project, such as assembly plants or factories, requires heavy-duty or industrial grade products. They are designed to handle higher load current and are built for strenuous use.
All electrical operations need a variety of wiring supply items. Wire connectors, electrical tapes, and cable zip tie are just a few examples. They come in many shapes and sizes to fit your application and wire gauge. They are used in securing all electrical wires and devices to eliminate the risk of electrical arcing, shock and fire.
Some older homes were run with aluminum wires. If that applies to you, use an AlumiConn lug nut connector to properly pigtail aluminum wire to copper devices. Do not directly splice aluminum to a copper as it will likely become an electrical fire hazard later down the road. Do not use traditional wire connectors or lever nuts as it will yield the same result.
Fun fact: Most electrical cables are clearly marked with the material of the wire. Aluminum cables will have the word AL, ALUM or ALUMINUM printed. In the event it is not marked or you don’t have access to the cables, you can’t always inspect the wires in your electrical panel. Aluminum wires are gray while copper are brown.
If your home was built in the 60s to mid 70s, it is likely that the builder used aluminum instead of copper due to high copper price at the time.
The short answer is yes, if it was properly installed. Unfortunately, rushing to the closest hardware store to buy your generator after a major storm is, of course, not recommended. Not only would you be paying premium prices for the unit if there are any left, but you would likely bypass all the safety procedures using extension cords. Sadly, this practice is quite common and limits what you can power.
If you live in a region that is more prone to be hit by major storms, such as hurricanes or tornadoes, we recommend preparation. You should have a power generator installed into your home or commercial building power system.
One of the major mistakes that we often see is installing the generator directly onto the electrical panel without a transfer switch. This practice damages your appliances and the generator. It will also endanger utility workers near power lines trying to restore electricity.
A transfer switch is designed to switch an electrical load between two sources. In the event power is no longer available from your utility electrical systems, switch the power source from the line to your generator. Voila! Power is back on.
We understand DIY is attractive and could save you money. However, we highly recommended that you consult with your local certified electrician to have this properly planned and installed.
As a precaution, consider adding emergency lighting by your stairs and in the electrical room. In the event all power sources fail, this 10W rechargeable emergency light bulb will provide enough light to safely navigate to where you need to be.
If your budget allows, look into a stationary or standby generator to simplify your life. It has an automatic built-in transfer switch that does the work for you when power is out.