Saturday, July 22, 2017

Old School Client Communication On Electrical Issues

It appears that the days are long gone that clients and some contractors have with communication between themselves is what I hear from clients concerning their electrical projects. Having cost overruns and change orders rising the cost on labor and materials is what some contractors call doing business now days.

Personally I conduct business with the approach that I only want to do the job once and do it correctly the first time giving the client years of trouble free electrical useage whether grid tied or alternative electrical energy. The key that I find to have good communication with clients from the very beginning is knowing the daily wattage numbers that they want to operate safely, reliable and efficient as possible. Electrical energy is no more than adding clients wattage loads together for a foolproof operating system, (It's All In The Numbers).

Call it old school if you want but a Punch List is an itemized list of details that will lay out what is wrong and how to repair the problems and issues that clients are having. This eliminates most  surprises when other reports like Materials and Labor are generated for Project Cost and Quotes, Contracts and Payment Options to begin projects. All these reports take the guess work out of cost and give a clear communication between client and contractor on what will and will not be completed on original existing projects that need upgrading. But even with all this communication between client and contractor it still comes down to old school tactics like you are only as good as your word. If you tell a client that you will do something and document it then do as you say with quality professional craftsmanship thru out any project or client issue.

All to often I hear from clients that they hired X company to do such and such and they show up for a couple of hours and take off for other jobs that they are over booked on. Which to me personally is mismanagement of labor and equipment and other resources that affect the bottom line on whether a project is making profit or losing money for the contractor.

Simply put original upgrade work is a lot harder than new construction because you are working on a finished project that could be over a 100 years old. That is where Change Orders come into communication between client and contractor as closed finished walls hold many unforeseen nightmares that may need additional steps to repair.

Not only is total (email, phone, onsite) communication 100% important with any client but also having the equipment, tools, knowledge and skilled manpower, necessary materials on hand and any other requirement. Than stageing each step into the most efficient means possible for a seamless approach on completing the task at hand. That means if it takes longer to complete than do what is necessary to make the client 100% pleased with the efforts taken to get the project completed as fast as humanly possible. Being prepared for the task at hand and showing up as promised to a client's project tells a client from the very start that you are as good and true to your word for 5 star client reviews when the project is completed.

A good example of this client and contractor communication is a recent electrical troubleshooting issue that was diagnosed on a Friday afternoon for a client with the reports generated that same evening for Quote cost. With client approving the upgrade project on a Saturday and supplying necessary down payments to cover required materials and delivery transportation cost. Good luck trying to find a electrical wholesale house on a weekend so large box stores were the only choice for the necessary supplies needed and delivered that same day Saturday. Sunday was the day that the project could begin along with the necessary manpower, tools, equipment. transportation and staging. Being an original electrical service issue with the loss of one leg of 240 volt from a melted over heated Main Breaker the client had been running a gas powered generator now non stop for over 3 days with this issue to have the required voltage needed.

Discovering why the Main Breaker melted in the 1st place was related to the original wiring harness causing many overheating issues. Any electrical motor, compressor loads takes more voltage at startup and if these loads are already on other branch circuits controlling other outlets and lighting than you are starving the startup load causing more heat than is necessary. The fix was to home run each large appliance load back to it's own cabling and circurit breaker and taking those loads off the original wiring harness that was to be reused to refeed the original wiring harness. With each original wire load on it's own circurit breaker not having 3 wires or more under 1 old fuse or old circuit breaker as all to often is discovered.

OK 14 straight hours with crew on a Sunday got the client to where they could turn the gas generator off for good. With a return trip the following Monday to finish up all the Add On's that were discovered and needed corrected. Needless to say the client was 100% thrilled and left a 5 star review on Facebook business page for the professional effort that was taken to address their electrical issues.

Call it 43 years of old school customer service but 100% (email, phone, onsite) communication between client and contractor is still offered and practiced by D B Electric, we have your electrical issues covered A to Z!

Thank You For Your Time

D B Electric

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Office 269 254 9029

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Residential Emergency Service Call

A recent client issue of a over overheating grid tied 100 amp Main Breaker and one lost voltage leg of 120 240 volt at the Main breaker location.

Utility grid Meter load and line side both have 120 240 at all required locations but the problem is the 120 240 voltage is not going thru the Main Breaker which is so hot to the bare skin touch that instant touch and release contact was required.

Hum wonder what's up here by investigating the original wiring harness along with asking the client what 120 and 240 loads that they were attempting to operate to cause the wattage loads over heating issues? Just a standard 240 volt water well pump and many refrigerator's X 4, freezers X 2, window air conditioners X 5 and other various loads 120 volts thru out the home.

Well it does not take a rocket driver to discover that the 120 volt loads are the guilty party to the over heating issue because any motor will always take more voltage and amperage at start up. If these motor, compressor appliance loads are mixed with other loads on the same branch circurit than more heat is being produced than is necessary.

A circurit breaker by design operates on heat, the more wattage that it controls the hotter that it becomes till it reaches it's tripping point or a short circuit thru the grounding system if properly installed in the original wiring harness issues.

Every electrician, handyman, contractor have their own methods of electrical residential wiring harness installations some may meet current National Electric Code standards and some may not.The NEC is the minimum standard allowed in most areas  meaning you can never go below the bare standards required. You can always go above NEC with quality craftsmanship & materials by adjusting the numbers to meet any clients life style of what they operate on a daily basis.

By adjusting the wattage numbers to meet any clients needs is as simple as home running the individual appliance wattage load back to it's own branch circurit breaker to give it the ump it needs at start up and not allowing it to be starved for the necessary voltage needed. Most older residential homes wiring harness do not even come close to those standards because usually those older wiring harness have been added onto for many years to the point that over heating issues or even fires have occurred.

With over 43 years of hands on electrical knowledge and a retired master electrician I still do troubleshooting and consulting for residential, commercial, industrial client issues and find that work done even by licensed contractors to be just the bare minimum required by the NEC standards and inspections required. An example of this is the back stabbing of devices like outlet and switching that most handyman, electricians, do on a daily basis for others. It is not a good practice for any wring harness because down stream devices will be lost also from the faulted device that is causing the issue.
photo courtesy

A upgrade to back stabbing outlet & switching devices is called pig tailing according folded and it is a 100% better device connection because it stops down stream devices from losing voltage even if the device goes bad itself only a dead short will trip the entire branch circuit. Pig tailing is also the making of a trunk line and the pig tail tap for the device to be operate from, this additional step than makes a true series circurit that is being operated from the branch circuit breaker along with the devices controlled by that circuit breaker.

The solution that I recommended to this client was to have the Main Breaker and utility grid meter upgraded from 100 amp to 200 amp and to

 (1) eliminate original 60 amp 240 volt fuse box and wiring located in a 1st floor clothes closet to the basement area along with all the necessary original wiring to re feed the original branch circuits that were being controlled by fuse protection.
(2) Another basement area has the original Main Breaker voltage from the outside utility pole entering this location with small sub-panels operating other branch circuit protection thru out the home also, eliminate all these assorted boxes, panels and hook ups.

Both (1) & (2) will have new 1 each 100 amp 240 volt panels set at those basement locations. And will reefed all original wiring as required for individual circuit breaker protection on each wire individually instead of having 3 wires under one fuse or old breaker

(3) Also any large appliance load will be home run wiring back to it's own circuit breaker.

The client than wants to know pricing on materials and labor to get er done? Which takes research to find the necessary materials and labor man hours to complete as well as inspections. 1st step is to write a Punch List of whats wrong and how to fix it. Followed by Materials List, Man Hours Labor List, Quote, Inspection Fees, Permits Cost. 5 hours of research and the necessary information was emailed to client for approval ? Very next morning client calls and wants me to fund all materials and pay me in 2 weeks for the necessary parts. Well lets add this up so far 1 trip to the clients home to  visual glance and hands on test cost $0.00 5 hours spent on research and all List $0.00 and now client wants me to fund the material and delivery cost. Not the way that I conduct business as I have been burnt one to many times on doing just that. Simply put cover the cost of materials and delivery before any work begins and pay me the same day that all work is completed to the original Punch List submitted.

Well this client at this point had done there own research on me and my business and choose me to handle this project for them that they arrived at my home with cash in hand to get it complete. With having only 120 volt of the original wiring working they wanted it done and fixed yesterday. Which was a chore in itself as the material could not be picked up till a Saturday from large box stores like Home Deopt, Menards and Lowes. And good luck trying to find a electrical wholesale house open on a Sunday if other materials were needed. The next day Sunday arrived and did 14 straight hours on the up grade and returned the next day Monday to finish up all the Add On's that were discovered.

It's fixed and now the client can turn on everything at once with out having any problems and the proof comes when you bare hands touch the new 200 amp Main Breaker with every light on in the home along with every thing turned on at one time the Main Breaker is cool to the touch. 5 star review gained on my business Facebook page.

D B Electric