We have compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions we receive. Click on a question below to show the answer in our handy FAQ!
No, we do not repair appliances or large units; you will need to contact the appropriate licensed contractor and/or handymen. The only thing we deal with is the electrical power sources, not the units themselves. Please see this page for some of the services we do/don’t provide (link coming soon). Check if your fan/light has a manufacturer’s warranty, and if they do, you should send it for repair or replacement through them. If your fixture is beyond its warranty, you can bring it to a specialty lighting store for assessment; there are many around Austin. If you need any clarification, please ask.
We will pull a permit if necessary, but we will charge for the cost of the permit and our time to procure it. The price depends on the nature of the job and what city the work is being done in, and we will let you know beforehand what the cost will be if it is available.
If your power goes out, don’t panic. Step 1 is to contact 3-1-1 in Austin, or contact your utility company to see if there’s a local outage. If you are in Austin, that would be Austin Energy If you are outside of Austin, you have either Oncor, PEC, or Bluebonnet. Very often the utility has lost power on one of their own lines, and they can repair it. If they determine if the problem is after their wires connect to your electric meter, that’s where we come in. This also applies if “half” or a section of your home has lost power, or only the larger appliances have stopped working – this is called a “lost leg,” and it’s a loss of your 240v supply. Again, check with your utility, because sometimes it is on their end.
It honestly depends on your situation to figure out how long something takes. For example, a typical switch can take 10-15 minutes to replace; but if we open it up and see unsafe conditions, it can increase that time to 30 minutes or longer. A basic fan replacement is usually 30-45 minutes, but installing a brand new fan, including cutting into a ceiling, installing braces and hooking up a new remote switch with it, can take 1-2 hours. A lot of variables depend on how simple or complex your install is, which is why most service calls we will charge the hourly rate, and we do not do per-item charges. Here are some factors we consider during installations and repairs, which include:
- available attic space / crawl space
- how many stories your home is
- how high up the fixtures are
- can the installation be done without damaging sheet rock (most cases, the answer is no)
- where your panel is in relation to other available wiring
- how much power your new appliance requires, and if your home can handle the electrical load
- does your panel have the physical space available for new breakers
- type of ceiling (vaulted, cathedral, standard, open-beam, etc.)
- the year your home was built
Absolutely! Depending on how thorough your report is, we may need to do our own electrical safety inspection on top of it. There are two reasons for that:
- If an inspection report is not as detailed as we need it to be, we may need to see the issue in-person.
- The NEC is updated every 3 years, and home inspectors usually reference the most recent version. So an item that was installed only 5 years ago, but isn’t part of new code, may false-flag as problem. In a lot of cases, it’s not, and the installation is still good, or “grandfathered.”
Most reports are straightforward enough to provide all the info we need, and we can work up a quote. Contact us to send your report, and we’ll go over what the next steps will be for your specific situation.
Only if we completely re-wire your home in copper wire. Our company policy is that we don’t install COP-ALUM fixtures or do repairs on aluminum-wired homes. That includes homes with both copper and aluminum mixed. We have an article that discusses aluminum wiring, and why we feel it is a hazard. Aluminum wire is too high of a liability to deal with, in our opinion. FYI, your large utility service wires that come from the city are often made of aluminum wire, which is safe to use. Just not in branch circuits.
Don’t lose hope if a rewire isn’t in your budget – there are many electrical contractors in the Austin area that repair aluminum-wired homes. Not sure if your home has aluminum wire? Homes built before the mid-1960’s or after the mid 1970’s are usually fine; to be certain, we can come do a safety inspection to find out.
We’re not very good friends with Federal Pacific (FPE) panels; they have been discontinued since the 1970’s due to a high failure rate. Our article explains why FPE panels are dangerous and should be replaced as soon as possible. Because of this, we won’t work on a home that has a FPE panel, until that panel has been replaced with a more reliable brand (which we CAN do!). Other brands we don’t work on are Zinsco and Bryant, for similar reasons.