Kilowatt Heating, Air Conditioning and Electrical Blog

Old, Outdated Wiring That May Be in Your House

October 18th, 2021

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The oldest homes in Southern California are much younger than the oldest homes on the East Coast. That doesn’t mean we’re free of problems that come from older construction styles, outdated plumbing, and wiring that isn’t up to the standards of modern electrical loads and which may not be safe. At least we don’t have the troubles of knob-and-tube wiring, a frighteningly unsafe style of household wiring that electricians still find in homes in places like New England. 

If you live in a house that’s more than 40 years old—and you’ll still find plenty of those in Southern California—you may have outdated wiring. Call a Sherman Oaks, CA electrician to check on the electrical system to see if it needs updating. In fact, we recommend you call us, because we’re older home specialists: we understand how best to bring a vintage home into the 2020s. 

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How Does a Tankless Water Heater Work?

October 4th, 2021

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It works great! We recommend looking into getting one for your next water heater installation.

Okay, obvious comment aside, people who haven’t owned a tankless water heater before are often curious about just how these systems work. They’re used to the standard type of water heater that most homes have used for a century: a large tank of water that’s kept hot (either with gas burners or electric heating elements) and ready for use whenever there’s demand for hot water. Remove the tank from the equation, and how does a water heater work?

We’re here to explain the basic operation of a tankless water heater. This information can help with your future water heater purchase decisions.

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Why We Recommend Upgrading to LED Lights

September 20th, 2021

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Are you thinking about making some big lighting changes to your house? Changing old and tired lighting decor can enliven your home, but it’s also an opportunity to do much more: upgrade from old incandescent lights to LED lights.

LED stands for light-emitting diode, and these lights work using semiconductors rather than running electricity through a filament. This isn’t new technology: the first LED lights were developed in the early 1960s. For many years their primary use was commercial. Gradually through the ‘80s and ‘90s, they emerged as a replacement option for standard lightbulbs. Today, you can purchase LED lights from your local grocery store.

If you want a full upgrade for your house to LED lights, you’ll need the assistance of a skilled professional Burbank, CA electrician. We recommend you give this upgrade serious thought, and below are the best reasons:

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Does Your AC Have Enough Space to “Breathe”?

September 6th, 2021

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Most homes with central air conditioners have split systems. These are air conditioners with a set of indoor and outdoor units. The indoor unit contains the evaporator coil and the air handler that sends cooled air into the ventilation system. The outdoor unit, also known as the condenser, is a cabinet that holds the compressor, evaporator coil, and exhaust fan.

Any resident of Southern California knows the sight of these outdoor condenser units. They’re usually located along the side of a house or in the backyard, sometimes disguised behind a fence because people generally don’t find them the most beautiful part of the outside decor. Homeowners sometimes try to hide condensers behind shrubs or other plants, making them disappear into the landscaping. Unfortunately, this can lead to serious AC problems! The condenser of a central air conditioner must have a clear area around it to give it room to “breathe,” as we’ll explain below.

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Should I Shut Off My AC When I’m Away From Home?

August 23rd, 2021

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The central air conditioning system is one of the biggest consumers of electricity in a house. When the AC goes into active cooling mode and powers the compressor, it can use on average 3,500 watts per hour. The only appliance that might use more is an electric water heater.

Because AC’s can take up such a significant chunk of your electrical budget during a hot So. Cal summer, it makes sense to limit how much you have it running. This is why we recommend keeping the thermostat at around 78°F during the day: it’s a comfortable temperature that won’t force the air conditioner to run too long.

What about when you’re away from home? It sounds like it makes sense to just turn the AC off so it won’t use any power. The situation isn’t so simple, however. Unless you plan to be away from home for several weeks, we advise you to keep the air conditioner on—but not necessarily at the same settings.

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Think You Need a Bigger AC? You Might … Or You Might Not

August 9th, 2021

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A common misconception about air conditioning systems we often encounter is that if an AC isn’t providing enough cooling for a home, the best solution is to upgrade to a bigger air conditioner. On the surface, this seems like a rational basic choice. Sometimes it is the best step: an air conditioning system that’s too small for the house it’s supposed to cool is the wrong AC for the house.

However, if you’ve had the same AC working in your home for several years and have only recently encountered the problem with poor cooling, going to a bigger air conditioner is a mistake. The air conditioner is the correct size to meet your cooling needs, but something else has gone wrong. You might need repairs for the system, or perhaps a new air conditioning installation in Los Angeles, CA—but not necessarily a bigger new air conditioner.

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We’re Older Home Specialists: Here’s What to Know About Rewiring an Older Home

July 26th, 2021

Although Southern California doesn’t have homes of the same age as you’ll find in, say, New England, there are many houses more than 50 years old here that families happily call home-sweet-home. Older homes can continue to be great places to live, but they have special requirements for their care. This is where having an older home specialist for HVAC and electrical needs is extremely helpful.

Not every electrician in Sherman Oaks, CA or serving Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley specializes in older homes. We do. If your home was built pre-1970, you may have thought about its rewiring needs. We’ll go through several things you need to know about older home rewiring.

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Can an Air Conditioner Ever Become Dangerous?

July 12th, 2021

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If you use a gas furnace to heat your home, there is some potential for the furnace to become dangerous. Toxic gas and combustion dangers can occur if the furnace isn’t given proper regular care. It’s not difficult to avoid these hazards with a gas furnace, but it’s important to know about the possibilities.

What about air conditioning systems? Can an AC malfunction in a way that creates hazards for your home? The answer is yes, but they’re different from natural gas concerns. They occur with extremely old ACs, and the best way to avoid these problems is to make sure you don’t keep an air conditioner that’s long past its estimated service life, i.e. more than 15 years. 

We’ll take a look at how an old air conditioning system can create health concerns.

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Still Have an R-22 Air Conditioner? It’s Time to Replace It

June 28th, 2021

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You can look for many different signs that you have an over-the-hill air conditioner ready for a replacement. General age is a good measure: most ACs don’t last far beyond 15 years. You can also watch for declines in efficiency that create higher electric bills, or a run of expensive repairs that indicate a system approaching the end of the line. 

One sign it’s time to repair your AC that is absolute is if it’s an R-22 unit. If you have an R-22 air conditioning system, arrange to have a replacement put in as soon as you can—otherwise, it will force you to replace it at some point when it’s much less convenient for you.

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Let’s Talk Generators—They’re a Big Topic Now

June 1st, 2021

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Southern California hasn’t traditionally been a location where generators for homes are common. People often think of generators as useful for places that experience extreme winters and unpredictable storm seasons. 

But that’s changing, and generators are now a big topic for So. Cal homeowners. We work with generators and we’d like to recommend that 1) you install a generator for your house, and 2) you have a whole-house generator installed rather than rely on a portable one.

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