How to replace electric outlets

A very quick and inexpensive update that you can do in your home is to replace outdated yellowed or broken outlets.  You can buy a “contractor pack” of ten or as singles for usually around $.50-$1.30 per piece!  The plastic covers for each can also be bought as a contractor pack for pennies on the dollar.   Can you believe that?!    Most people don’t realize this because they don’t make it a habit to walk up the electric nuts and bolts aisle at the store.    Even better, each outlet only takes a couple of minutes to replace.

** Disclaimer:   I am NOT a licensed electrician.  However, there are many simple projects such as this, that you can do for yourself safely and accurately, as long as you follow EACH step precisely.  Any deviation or questions, should be consulted further before proceeding.

Materials Needed:   flat and  Philips (star head) screwdrivers, wire strippers, plug in style voltage tester (shows proper ground, etc)

How to replace:

1)  First and foremost, the most important thing to do is to turn off the WHOLE house power at the breaker panel.  The “main” switch is usually at the top.  For good measure, I not only flip this one switch but also each individual switch as well to OFF.  Overkill maybe, but it doesn’t hurt anything.  Of course, just to be certain or if there’s a concern, power off AC’s, computers, TV or other sensitive electronic equipment before you flip the breaker.  Some people still like to double check each outlet before they begin by inserting an inexpensive plug in type of voltage tester that shows “no voltage”.  This is perfectly fine if it makes you feel better, but really, if you have turned off ALL breakers, there should be no voltage. (more…)

3 things you should know about picking the right chandelier

Having just installed a chandelier in a bedroom of all places, it made me wonder.  Is there a guideline about size and weight of a chandelier in a room?  You betcha!

Here are 3 things you should know for picking the right chandelier:

Sizing it Up

Designer rule of thumb for determining the correct size light fixture (if going over a table) is to go with a fixture that has a diameter that is half the diameter (or width) of the tabletop. For instance, if the table is a rectangle that is 48” wide, a chandelier that is approximately 24” (half of the 48” width of the table) in diameter is a great choice. If the table is a 60” round diameter, a 30” diameter chandelier would be appropriate.


Cut the cord! 5 steps to convert a plug in chandelier to a hardwired fixture

Found the perfect chandelier, and after a small delay in shipping, finally received it only to find out it was a plug-in with a cord! Surprise!  No worries, this is fixable.   Converting a cord/plug fixture is very similar to installing a regular light fixture.

** Safety first!  Turn the circuit breaker off to the light switch in question before attempting any electrical work.  A small hand-held amp probe held onto the wires should confirm if the circuit is dead.  If you encounter any conditions that are not as described, you should always consult with an electrician.  Anything beyond existing fixture changes should also consider any local building codes and ordinances.

Let’s get started: