Thursday, January 19, 2012

LED Flood Light Replacements

We get a lot of calls from customers telling us they want to change the type of lighting they are getting in their newer homes from the standard 120 watt incandescent down lighting.

After much study and research I have found a replacement bulb at The Home Depot that generates much brighter light and creates a much more pleasant home environment.

The 2 replacement bulbs I recommend are the EcoSmart 16-Watt BR40 LED Flood Light Bulb for standard down cans and the 14-Watt BR30 LED Flood Light Bulb for directional cans. 

The steps for replacing these bulbs are as follows:

1. Count your down cans and directional cans in your home.
2. Purchase your bulbs and try to see if the manager at The Home Depot will give you a discount for these bulbs.  They run between $29 and $35 each but last up to 25,000 hours, use about 20% of the energy of a standard bulb and produce almost no heat.  All of this can save you as much at $250 over the life of the bulb.
3. Remove the existing incandescent flood light.  If the bulb being replaced is the same length as the LED bulb, go to number 6.
4. If you happen to have a short version of the flood, about 1" shorter than the new bulb, you will need to adjust the bulb support inside the can.  This is done by removing the cover from the can, loosening the wing nut that holds the bulb support, move the bracket up toward the top of the can by about 1" and then retighten the retaining wing nut.
5. Once the bulb bracket is secure replace the cover.
6. Install the new LED light bulb and test it to make sure it turns on and off properly.
7. Repeat the first 6 steps on every down can until you have replaced all the bulbs.
8. Discard all replaced bulbs properly as required by your local garbage collection or recycling authority.
9. If you are unable to make any of the above adjustments or steps please call a professional to assist you.

If you have any questions please email us at or go to our site at

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Garbage Disposal Humming, Jammed or Stuck

We get many calls from customers telling us their garbage disposal won't turn on but makes a humming sound when you flip the switch. If you keep trying to turn it on, it won't do that for long because it will probably trip the breaker on the bottom of the disposal.

If you have this problem, it usually means you have a stuck flywheel and the reset button on the unit itself or the fuse or circuit breaker in your electrical service panel will trip and turn off very quickly. The flywheel is stuck because something is lodged between it or the impeller(s) and the shredder ring.

To repair this issue follow these easy steps:

1. Turn off power to the garbage disposal at the electrical service panel.
2. Reminder: Don't ever put your hand down into the garbage disposal hopper (grinding chamber).
3. Take the offset wrench that came with the disposal unit and insert the wrench into the flywheel turning hole in the bottom of the unit. If you don't have the wrench you can pick one up from the hardware store that sells your garbage disposal.
4. Once the wrench is inserted, turn it clockwise to dislodge the stuck impeller or flywheel. When it dislodges, you'll feel the flywheel turn freely.
5. Another approach is to try and use a wooden broom-handle or similar wooden object to free the stuck impeller and flywheel from the top of the unit through the drain.
6. Place the broom-handle into the hopper and against an impeller. Use leverage to try and free the stuck flywheel. As before, when it dislodges you'll feel the flywheel turn freely.
7. Once freed, turn the power back on at the panel but don't turn on the disposal yet.
8. Go back to the disposal and press the reset button.
9. Run some tap water into the disposal and quickly flip the switch on and off turning the disposal on for a short burst. Turn on and off again quickly. That should spin the flywheel and the dislodged obstruction should be washed down the drain.
10. If for some reason the obstruction is being caused by a metal screw or nail you will need to turn the power off again and use a flashlight to locate the item. Once located use a magnet or screw grabber to retrieve the item. Once removed turn the power back on and follow the instrucions in number 9 above.

If you are unable to free the obstruction call a professional to assist you.

If you have any questions please email us at or go to our site at

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) Plugs

Seems like almost every day we get a call from a customer with a plug that does not work in their kitchen, bath, or outside their home.  We ask them if they checked their breakers and the response is usually yes and then we ask if they checked their GFCI plug and the response is "What?"

For those that do not know what a GFCI plug looks like an example is shown to the right.

The red button is the reset button and the black is the test. If for some reason you have a short across to the ground on any plug attached to one of these GFCI plugs, the red button will pop out and disconnect the circuit.

To turn the power back on you need to reset the circuit by pussing red button in until it pops. Once reset the power will be restored and the plugs can be used again.

You can also test the circuit by pussing the black test button, which will pop the red one indicating that the plub is working properly. You will then need to reset the plug again so power will be restored.

GFCIs help protect against electrical shocks due to ground faults. They are required by the National Electrical Code (NEC) in all wet or damp locations such as kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, basements, garages and workshops. Important reminder: GFCIs can become damaged over time, they must be tested monthly to ensure they are providing protection.

If you have one of these plugs pop all the time when you attach an appliance to that circuit the appliance is either bad or the GFCI is weak. 

The best way to test the appliance is to move to another circuit controlled by a GFCI and plug it in.  If it trips that circuit as well you can bet the appliance has an issue and trash it.  Getting electricuted is not fun and can kill you.  Just get rid of the appliance.

If you attach the appliance to another GFCI circuit and the circuit does not trip, then the other GFCI is week or bad and you need to have it replaced by a qualified tradesman...

If you have any questions please email us at or go to our site at