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D.I.Y. Tips


Welcome to the D.I.Y. (Do It Yourself) Section of our website.

Truthfully, we do not recommend that unlicensed individuals attempt much on their own. Most states allow people to do whatever they want in their own home. It is important to decide how much you are willing to risk to save money, as even the smallest job could cause a safety hazard.

In Minnesota, homeowners can pull their own electrical permits for work in their homes. However, some homeowners insurance will not cover damage or fire caused by the electrical work of an unlicensed person. If you are planning to attempt electrical work on your own, be sure to check with your homeowners insurance before you start. Doing your own electrical work may end up costing you much more that it saves you.

The information provided on this website is for informational purposes only and Bonafide Electrical Co. bears absolutely no liability to the work you perform.


Prevent Home Electrical Fires

Prevent Home Electrical Fires

Inadequate electrical capacity is mainly due to increasing the number of devices that consume electricity in your home like new heating and cooling equipment, frost free refrigerators, clothes dryers, water heaters, electric ranges and ovens, dishwashers, and other powerful electric motor driven tools and appliances.

As you add devices to your home, the power supply may become inadequate. If you have indicators like fuses or circuit breakers tripping, or lights dimming, it’s time to carefully look at your circumstances before equipment failure, fire, or other problems arise.

- 5 Causes of Inadequate Power in Your Home -

1.Limited service panel capacity

When the overall demand from total electrical devices is greater than what the panel is able to supply, the main service panel will likely fail, frequently. Excess demand indicates that the panel rating is less than needed or the panel might be limiting capacity because it has no space left for more fuses or circuit breakers.

In either case it’s time to make a circuit map to calculate demand and compare it with the capacity of the main panel to supply. If you find the power demand is less than the capacity and there is no room for more breakers, then a sub-panel might be the answer. Conversely, if the overall demand is greater than the main panel ability to supply, then you will need a licensed electrician to install a new main panel.

2. Overloaded circuits

Another use for the circuit map is to determine if demand on the circuits are greater than the amperage rating of the circuit controlling it. It is important to note peak demands of appliances that may draw more power on starting and create a power surge that trips the breaker.

A power surge that doesn’t trip the breaker is indicated by lights dimming when an appliance turns on. Appliances that produce surges should have their own separate circuit designed to tolerate the surge.

To prevent the risk of fire do not exceed the safe amperage of the circuit. Blown fuses or tripped breakers indicate an overloaded circuit. Do not replace breakers with ones of higher amperage just because they fail. Instead run a new circuit from the main panel that is within the supply capacity.

3. Insufficient number of outlets

A general recommendation is to have at least one outlet for every 12 feet of wall, ground fault interrupted outlets in bathrooms and exterior walls, one outlet for each counter top in the kitchen, or as required by local codes.

The most obvious indicator that more outlets are needed is when you start to use multi-outlet extension cords on a regular or permanent basis. Most low cost extension cords are not designed to carry heavy amperage demanded of permanent wiring. Excess loads may cause overheating and fire.

Computer workstations can require outlets for more than two devices from a single dual receptacle wall circuit. Older CRT monitors and laser printers can cause surges when they are turned on. The best solution is to supply the required outlets on separate circuit(s) designed to exceed the demand. The next best option is to use a fused and surge protected uninterrupted power supply (UPS) to protect your equipment. UPS are now available for less than $100 and can protect your computer investment from power problems better than anything else. The less expensive power bars and extension cords run risks of equipment damage or fires if the circuit is overloaded.

4. Inadequate feeder lines

Older houses may have original two-wire feed lines from the power company’s nearest utility pole. One of the wires is hot, delivering 110-115 volts and the other is neutral. Obviously these lines will not power 240 volt appliances nor is the amperage likely able to power more than a few newer appliances at a time.

The electric company should replace the two wire system with a three wire system at their own expense. Since you will have to pay an electrician to install a new service panel, use your circuit map and any expansion plans to determine future demand, then size the new panel capacity accordingly.

5. Overtaxed transformer

In older high-density neighborhoods electricity demands over time have increased. In some cases the transformer serving the area may not have been increased to meet the growth in demand. Although the power companies are required to scale up supply according to demand, it is wise to check into the matter before paying to connect a larger service.


Demand Side Management (DSM) refers to actions taken on the customer's side of the meter to change the amount or timing of energy consumption. Utility DSM programs offer a variety of measures that can reduce energy consumption and consumer energy expenses. Electricity DSM strategies have the goal of maximizing end-use efficiency to avoid or postpone the construction of new generating plants.

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Brian Hack currently authors and publishes Habitat for Health eco-biz connectrix, a web site of consumer information about how to make healthier choices in home improvement, home decor, and home business, extended at Please visit for links supporting the content of this article.

10 Ways To Cut Your Electric Bill

10 Ways To Cut Your Electric Bill

One of the major concerns in the world today is depletion of energy. As concerned citizens all of us must make a concerted effort to be conscious citizens and save electricity. Electricity has become integral to life but imagine having to live without power.

Conservation of electricity benefits you personally as you will pay lower bills. Consider:

1. Doing an energy audit. This will tell you how and when you use energy and where the wastage lies. You will be able to make an "energy savings plan" by pinpointing exactly how you can cut back on energy consumption. Some ideas may be as simple as don't leave the coffee machine on at all times.

2. Think about resetting the thermostat ten degrees lower during the night. If you can do this for say approximately eight hours a day you will save 10% on electricity without sacrificing comfort. Insulate the home in winter by drawing shut the drapes.

3. Check all insulation in the house. If you increase attic insulation to around 12 inches the electricity consumption will reduce by 20 percent.

4. Plant more trees around the house these will cool the house in summer and insulate the house in winter. Studies show that a green cover benefits in many ways.

5. Have all electricity wires and outlets checked for leakage. Check all fuses and appliances.

6. Fluorescent light bulbs are energy efficient. They use 75% less energy than ordinary light bulbs. These have a longer life and contribute to great savings.

7. Use energy efficient appliances. These use less energy and believe it or not a high efficiency refrigerator uses less electricity than a light bulb.

8. When you are away even for a few hours or days you should turn off and unplug all electrical appliances and turn settings on the thermostat, water heater, and refrigerator to the lowest setting.

9. Ensure that you use a water-saving shower head. Water heating costs for a family can be lowered by at least US$ 250 a year.

10. Weatherize your home. This helps reduce heating bills by 20% and cooling by at least 10 percent. Even when building a home or decorating it use weather friendly materials--those that are not good conductors of heat and cold. Install windows and glass panes in the roof in such away that you use sunlight to light up the rooms during day light hours. Make an effort to switch off lights and fans when leaving a room. Ensure that the filters in air conditioners and heaters are always cleaned and free of clog and dust.

If you live an energy efficient lifestyle you will see the numbers on the energy bill actually reducing. The power to cut energy costs is well within your control. It is as simple as only washing full loads and that to in cold water. Use the hot wash option only for very dirty clothes. Cook food only just before you are ready to eat that way you can save reheating costs as well as refrigerating costs of storing the food. Turn the thermostat of the refrigerator to minimum in cold or cool weather. Switch off freezers if they are not in use. Small contributions can all add up to significant amounts of power saved. And, power saved means money in the bank.

Paul Wilson is a freelance writer for, the premier REVENUE SHARING discussion forum for Home Improvement including topics on exterior home improvement, gardening, decorating, buying and selling, electrical home improvement and more. He also freelances for the premier Mortgage site

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