When is Free Estimate actually Free?

Warner Electric has always given free estimates inside of Shawnee Co. However outside of the county W.E. do charge for an estimate.
Some electrical companies in Topeka KS claim that they give free estimates. Only if you hire that company for the job and set a date right then, otherwise there will be a service charge for coming out to you home. Its a proven fact that 95% of the time they are the higher priced company. If a company states they give anything free, then charge you, isn’t this called bait and switch? This is against state of Kansas Law.
Before you hire your next electrician in the Topeka KS ask them questions. Does your company charge for anything other than labor and materials to come out to your home?
If a company states free then it should be free and not a charge

What can a home owner do electrically?

In the state of Kansas where the towns are controlled by the League of Muniscipalities. There is a license in every major town over a certain amount of population. Which is why many contractors don’t do work in other town or regions of the state. Not to be confused with other towns and what they require or don’t.

The home owner is not required to to be licensed as he\she lives at the address. Moving a wall, adding or removing electrical and plumbing can all be done by the home owner unless they are a zone county or in a city. Yet little items like switch’s, receptacle replacements, and lights replacements can be done by the home owner. With no regards to zoning, city or state license’s.

I don’t speak for all states. Please check with your city, or county offices for any permits needed for the work you plan on doing. Some counties can enforce a tear down order if no permits was pulled and something was built without approval.

Receptacles, plug-ins, or outlets which is it?

Today we use different words for the same meaning, known from the different walks of life. Being both a tech and owner of Warner Electric, I am always working with customers. Letting them tell me is their words what they are taking about, I can help them better and talk back to them in a language that they will know. This builds a better relationship with the customers

To an electrician, any box that electrical is being used at, is an outlet. Being that of a switch box, light box, or even a receptacle box. However, a junction box to us (electricians) is a place where wires come together for different reasons, mainly to make a connection. that don’t require electrical use from them.  Even the panel box can be a place for an extension of a wire so therefore it could be called a junction box.

A plug-in is the same as a receptacle. A receptacle is an item that holds device in its place. A plug-in is an item that holds another device in its place. The same thing can be said about a trash can. Are they not an item that holds another device called a trash bag and then trash inside of it? People all around have referred to this as a receptacle. A computer is another, that can be classified as either a receptacle or a plug-in, as you have your main items, then add certain programs or add-on’s to enhance the product, while all the time being inside of something different.

Today’s terminology is hard enough to understand and let alone adding new ideas behind it of computers. What use to be a period, is not a dot. The pound sign is now a hash tag.

Breaker vs. Fuses

Why would you still want to have fuses in your home?

Fuses are a 1 time use. When they trip that is it and then you have to go to the store at the midnight or 4 am hour to buy some more fuses. They are more dangerous to install, that you could get electrical shock from if held wrong. Can actually cause fires in your home, when you try to install a larger amp fuse than what you pulled out. The old idea of placing a penny behind the fuse an the fuse box to make it work is the most dangerous thing that a person can do! This will cause a fire in the home, and can hurt or worse kill someone. There is a reason why that fuse keeps blowing. Let the professionals at Warner Electric  in Topeka KS to get this job done for you correctly.

Breakers that are on the market today have what is called a trip mechanism, so when there is a problem on the circuit the breaker trips, and does not reset and hold. This saves you money if this ever trips, nothing to buy or replace. All you have to do is turn off the breaker and then turn it back on to reset. If it still trips, this tells our electricians, that there is a problem that circuit. Breakers are set to certain amperage, that amperage is set by the size of wire going into the panel.  It is not wise to ever over rate a wire to make something work. Breakers can not be place in a fuse box. The entire fuse box should be replaced with a new breaker panel.

home inspector/ electric inspection

Would you take you body to your mechanic to fix?

A home inspector is a cheaper way to have the home inspected, that you are about to buy. A home inspector looks at the roof, electrical, plumbing, structure and the HVAC. Some inspectors are even trained to do  radon gas detection. But what is an inspector really trained to check? Most inspectors are people that were in business for themselves, and got tired of  either having employees, or the feast/famine (one month a lot of work and money and the next month nothing) issues. These people may have more training in the plumbing department and not in structure, or roofing.

At Warner Electric we do electrical inspections for clients and realtors in the Topeka Kansas area. We check every part of the electrical, from the service coming into the home, the panel, the type of wiring, receptacles, and how things work. Some realtors and current home owners are not happy about what we find, as we are very thorough. Just last week a realtor asked me to check a house and it had a 60 amp electrical service going to the panel with a 100 amp panel and breaker. The panel had several holes on the back side of it, pinching the stove wire, this is a safety issue that should never had happened!

If you can afford it ask for contractors to check your new home out as they will tell you whether it is done correctly or not. We are trained in our field, and we do it well.


Do you charge trip charges?

As I make several service calls in and around the Topeka Kansas areas, for electrical, I am always asked, what is a service call vs. trip charge?

A trip charge is a charge that a company puts onto your bill just to get a truck to come out to your area to do work.  This is for nothing more than to bring a vehicle to your door step, no work, just a vehicle. Every large utility company has this added in your monthly bill, as a fuel charge, vehicle, or  service (AT&T) fees.

A service call is a charge that a company has for their first hourly rate, some are higher for the first hour as to make up for the trip charge, yet stating that they don’t charge a trip charge. At Warner Electric (W.E.) there is no additional rates added to our service calls, as long as we are doing work inside of Shawnee County, we will not charge a trip charge.

A normal day for my company is to travel all over Topeka KS at least 2 if not 3 times in one day. Either to work, get parts, or do free estimates, yet I don’t see why a company should charge a trip charge.

If you have some type of electrical issues or are having to replace certain items in your home do to electrical problems, give us a call. We change out receptacles, plug ins, switches, lights rewire your home, upgrade your electrical fuse box and/or panel. You’ve got problems? . . . W.E. solves them!


Electrician or Electrical Contractor

If someone is selling themselves on Craigslist as an electrician would you hire that person over one from your local yellow-pages?

There are three levels of electrical workers, the starters are the apprentices , (the grunts and workers), and then after 3 years of employment this person can go take their test to become a journeymen electrician (now they are licensed). Then after 5 more years of work and schooling they can go take the master test. There has to be a master electrician in the business of an electrical contractor (business owner).

An electrician is a person that is licensed in that city or state to do electrical work, and are referred as journeymen electricians.  These people are the ones that you normally find on craigslist, as unemployed, or out of work. They are selling you their trade at a so called reduced rate for employment, but you are taking your life into your own hands here. They are NOT insured for liability, Workman’s comp, bonded, or pull a permit. If they fall off of a ladder and hurt themselves, or the place they are working on burns down, or if they start the job and walk away from it  after getting a payment from you. You are the one that is responsible for all of this not the licensed electrician you hired.

A master electrician is the only person that can get a contractors license, by rights and is normally the business owner. This person has to obied by the local rules and have what the city or state wants for insurances. People are normally employed under this person, and it is their responsibility that the company is doing everything correctly to the National Electric Code(NEC), the city or State code, or the electrical producers codes, if not all three!

So who do you want working on your home, protecting your family? Someone that is responsible, that has spent the time working, schooling, and is insured, or a fly by night, that when call them a month after the work is done you get “sorry the phone number you have dialed is not a working number” type of person? Call you local developmental services and check out the person, before hiring anyone!

Should you need any assistance with electrical in the Topeka KS area, call us for a free estimate.  Got problems? W.E. solve them!





Is your home grounded?

How do you know if your home is grounded? Do you have a ground rod next to your meter can? Do you have a bare copper wire extended out of your electrical panel and attached at the water line?

To understand what it is to be grounded, is that there is a wire that is intentionally going directly to ground. This does not mean the white wire inside of your home is the ground. In a 3 wire system it is the bare wire that goes directly to ground for your electronic equipment to work properly.  this wire is then connected to a bar inside of your panel, and then there is the   line ground that is suppose to be within 5′ of earth next to the water line shut off of the house. Not just connected to the water line next to the panel, as I see in a lot of homes.

The ground rod that is outside is a lightning suppressor and not meant for correct grounding. Although we (Warner Electric) have placed 2 ground rods  connected together to act as a grounding source when there is no water line ground to be had.

The best ground in a home is the concrete encased. This is where there is a 20′ piece of re-bar attached to the rest of the re-bar in the basement floor. It is bent upat one end to make a connection near the panel.

If your home doesnt have both the water line ground within 5′ of the ground next to the shut off of the house, and an 8′ x 1/2″ or 5/8″ outside next to the meter can then your home is not properly grounded by the National Electrical Code and the city of Topeka Kansas.

Should you need help with this or any other electrical problems(lights, swtiches, plugins/receptacles,  breaker boxes or remodeling projects, call Warner Electric for your free Estimate in the Topeka Kansas area. We also do fire restoration, and storm damages repair

Changing a receptacle/plugin

Anyone can change a receptacle, however are you changing them out correctly? If your home is the older style home that has the 2 wire systems meaning a 2 prong plug in. You will find it hard to plug in those new electronic items in your home, flat screen TV, microwave, garage door opener, refrigerator, hair dryer to name a few. All of these items and many more require a 3 prong receptacle in your home.

Some people go to the hardware store and buy 3 prong receptacles and change them out for themselves in their home. This is OK until they go to sell the home. The problems with this is, the 2 wire system does not have a ground, and so your 3rd  prong shows an open ground to it, when tested.  These little testers can be purchased at any hardware store even Walmart. Then an electrician  has to come in and fix the problem, when the house is being sold. We are required by our codes to locate the start of each circuit and install a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (gfci), from there you can have a 3 prong receptacle in your home, but it still, will NOT be grounded, only protected by the gfci. The only true way to ground a receptacle  circuit is with a 3 wire romex and grounded at both the water line, and ground rod.

Hooking up a gfci can be tricky if you do not know what you are doing. If you hook it up wrong you will destroy it as soon as power is placed to it. You need to remember that a gfci is nothing more than a small computer. Would you rewire your computer? In 2008 National Electrical Code (NEC), we were introduced to a tamper resistant (TR) and weather resistant (WR) receptacles and gfci’s. From that day forward if you are replacing an outdoors receptacle/gfci it has to be one that is stamped with the following letters on its front TR & WR.

Should you need assistants with this, or any electrical assistance give us a call, as we give free estimates in the Topeka Kansas area

History of your electrical panel?

When would you consider your electrical to be outdated?

As the new home building industry closes down here in Topeka Kansas and has been so for the past 5 years without  much growth, the electrical has been the same since the early 1990’s without much change to the electrical panels, or wiring. However the practices have changed with the new involvement or Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (gfci)  and Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters (afci) receptacles and breakers, along with tamper resistant receptacles. But these are for other chapters, today we are talking about your electrical panel.

In the late 1960′ through the mid 1980’s the housing was a big boom and many home were being built fast in and around the Topeka areas, long before the Home Depot, and Lowe’s. So a way to conserve money was to buy a cheaper electrical panel from the wholesalers. These cheaper panels were the Gould’s, Federal Pacific, Murray, Bryant, XO, and ITE to name a few. You upper grade panels were the Square D, Siemens, Cutler Hammer, and GE and breakers.

Today the electrical panels have not changed much in the past 20 years. But now the old upper grade panels of yesteryear have their own upper and lower grades, and only a few of the lower grades still exist. Square D makes the QO, and Homeline style breaker and panels. The QO is the upper grade for Square D and is used in the industrial area more, so its prices are somewhat higher and the Homeline is its lower grade. GE owns Cutler Hammer and Cutler Hammer has an upper grade called a CH, and their lower grade a BR, while GE has either a stab in breaker, or an industrial bolt on, as does Square D QO. Siemens bought out Gould in the early 80’s and Gould had bought out ITE in the mid 70’s.

These are the electrical panels of today Square D (this is what Warner Electric prefers to use), Seimens, and GE. Any concerns as to what is in your home, and you are in the Topeka KS area please give us a call. You’ve got problems? . . W.E. solves them