Wednesday, 14 November 2012

your phone system and you

Phone technology has changed a lot in the past decade or two. The rise in popularity of cellular phones has made communication a near constant possibility, no matter where you are. Home phones, too, are more complex than ever before, and homeowners have several options for home phone service that simply weren't around in past years. Though repairs to a telephone itself are much more complicated than they were in the past, many homeowners will find that modern phone system repair is not as different from phone system repair in the past as they might imagine.
Phone System Repair Basics
When your home phone is on the fritz, your service professional will need to know where the equipment is, be able to gain access to it, and may require additional information such as the ID for the bad circuits, whether or not anyone has recently moved, added, changed, or reconfigured your telephone equipment, and a timetable of symptoms leading up to the failure.
In resolving phone failures, usually a person assigned to administer the PBX will be able to examine logs and other indicators to determine what the failure is. Both the cause, and scope of the failure must be determined.
Outside or Inside Wiring
The most basic question is simply whether the problem exists with the outside wiring (the telephone company's responsibility) or with the inside wiring (the homeowner's responsibility). When you experience problems with your home phone, the first thing to do is to try plugging your phone into a jack in a different area of the house. If all of the jacks in your house are malfunctioning, it is likely that the wiring leading to your house is the problem. If only one phone jack is giving you trouble, then the issue is inside the house. It is also a good idea to try a different phone in the offending jack, to make sure that the problem doesn't stem from the phone itself malfunctioning.
If the problem is with the outside wiring, this requires calling the phone company that owns the circuit, and identifying the circuit by an ID provided when the circuit was installed. It's an excellent idea to have the circuit ID written down and easily accessible. The phone company doesn't keep records of circuit IDs. But it can't identify the circuit without the ID. If the number can't be easily found, tracking it down becomes a very difficult, lengthy, and expensive task.
Hire a Handyman for Phone System Repair
If the problem is inside, you may want to contact a handyman service to identify and fix the issue. Since phone wiring inside the house is your responsibility, it makes sense for simple indoor phone system repair to be bundled with other small jobs such as fixing leaky faucets or squeaky doors. Let the handyman service know the tasks you have in mind when you contact them to make sure that the service professional they send can bring all the proper equipment for their visit. This will save you money and time by reducing unscheduled trips to the hardware store.
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bang for your buck electrical upgrade!

With the large amount of electrical equipment found in the modern home, it's no wonder that electrical upgrades are becoming more common. Handling the electrical needs of today's homeowner is no small task, and to keep everything running smoothly, new electrical wiring is often a necessity, especially in homes built many decades ago. If you are considering an electrical upgrade for your home, there are a few things you should be aware of; an electrical wiring project is no small task, and the more you know about what's available, the better you'll be able to communicate to your contractor what you expect from the job.
Planning an Electrical Wiring Project
A large electrical wiring project adds a considerable load to your main electrical service. In about 25 percent of all homes, some type of service upgrade is needed before new wiring can be installed. For example, many homeowners will need to replace an older 60-amp electrical service with a new service rated for 100 amps or more. A licensed electrician is needed for a job like this.
Careful planning of a wiring project ensures that you will have plenty of power for present and future needs. Whether you are adding circuits in a room addition, wiring a remodeled kitchen, or adding an outdoor circuit, consider all possible ways the space might be used, and plan for enough electrical service to meet peak needs. One of the worst things you can do as a homeowner is to spring for an electrical upgrade that doesn't upgrade enough. With technology getting bigger and better, it's important to make sure that your electrical wiring isn't simply good enough for now, but good enough for whatever may come in the future.
Electrical Upgrades for Your Circuit Breaker
Electrical wiring is not a job for most homeowners to tackle themselves, but it is a good idea to know a little about what will be required to bring your house up to speed when talking with your contractor.
One way to plan a new wiring project is to look in your main circuit breaker. Though some homeowners might be intimidated by their circuit breaker, most should easily be able to find the size of the service, and read the amp rating printed on it. In most cases, 100-amp service provides enough power to handle most loads. A service rated for 60-amps or less may need to be upgraded.
Look for open circuit breaker slots in the main circuit breaker panel. You will need one open slot for each 120-volt circuit that you may plan to install, and two slots for each 240-volt circuit. If your main circuit-breaker panel has no open breaker slots, you will need to have a sub panel installed.
Electrical Inspectors
Remember, all electrical wiring work requires review by your local electrical inspector to make sure the changes conform to local electrical and building codes. Failure to have proper permits and inspections can cause problems that can cost far more time and money than some homeowners (or unscrupulous contractors) may think they can save by doing work "under the table." You could have trouble reselling your home in the future, or worse, your homeowners insurance could refuse to cover your loss in a house fire because the house was altered illegally
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safety in the walls of your home

Your electrical box is the spot where electricity from the grid connects to your home. From here your breaker box divides up the electrical source to different rooms and different areas of your home. This is just the basics of your home electricity. While many people know how to turn a breaker back on when one has flipped, not very many homeowners understand the importance of the age of the wiring in their homes, current regulations, and scary potential of losing your home to fire because of an old fuse box.
If Your Home Is More Than 15 Years Old
Older homes are in more danger of fire hazards than new ones, simply because of the electrical. Insurance companies will not insure homes that have solid evidence as having the old porcelain knob circuitry and old fault wiring in general. This is basically gasoline and matches behind your walls, and it won't take too much load to cause a fire.
The problem for insurance companies is that your home inspector is not allowed to dig into your walls for any reason, not for termites, leaks, or checking the viability of a certain material. As such, a home inspector cannot say for certain that a particular home has a particular grade of wiring. The existence of 2-pronged outlets rather than 3-pronged is a definitive sign that the wiring is very old.
However, new regulations have made it so that a home electrical box has to be attached outside the home. This regulation was imposed in part by the fire department, which has proven that it is advantageous to have the electrical panel on the exterior of the home so that when fire fighters arrive at a home that is aflame, they can quickly shut off all the electricity to the house. This was imposed all over the country 15 years ago, and as a result of how long it takes new regulations to take effect, homes that are 12-15 years old and younger have exterior breakers.
What This Means for You
The average age of home across the country is 44 years old. This means that the majority of homes need an electrical upgrade to carry the average load in this technologically dependant time.

No matter if your electrical box is inside or outside, what you need to realize is that the wiring and electrical panel in older homes was designed for very low loads. If you go 20 years back, the typical home had a fridge, a TV, washer/dryer, water heater, HVAC unit, a microwave, and dishwasher. If you go 35 years back, there were no microwaves. The amount of load that the typical home's fuse box could carry was enough to manage, even with the addition of more televisions and a microwave.
Jump forward to today. If your home was built 50 years ago, it not only might be struggling to handle the addition of a TV and a microwave, but your home is also struggling to handle multiple TVs, CD players, DVD/VHS players, computers, and printers, not to mention coffee makers, coffee grinders, game systems, blenders, food processors, paper shredders, and the list goes on.
Upgrading Your Electrical
It cannot be stressed enough how important it is for older homes to upgrade their electrical boxes. If you have a fuse box, then this is a must. This is not the kind of home improvement that you will get to show off to your friends. But increasing the load to your electrical panel will allow you to show off your home for a long time, because if you don't update your breaker box, all it takes is a little bad luck to start a big fire.
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