Tips from Wilcox Electric

A beautfifully designed modern kitchen with elegant lighting fixtures installed by Wilcox Electric DC

See What We've Done Lately: We're Proud to Make DMV Homes Beautiful

The beautiful kitchen shown here that we worked on recently demonstrates how the right lighting is an essential aspect of room design. Architects and contractors now consider lighting design a vital part of all new construction, renovations, and remodels. If you're considering a remake of your own lighting, have a look below to see how elements of lighting design were used in some of our recent projects.

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Seven Useful Steps to Ward Off Porch Pirates

Anyone who has purchased something online knows that packages delivered and left on porches and doorsteps are vulnerable to theft. But the Washington, DC metropolitan area does not in fact have one of the higher rates of package theft. Read below to find out which are the top three states that do have the highest rates, along with seven helpful suggestions to keep your packages safe.

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Adapt a Space in Your Home for Safe Quarantining

While we may have thought we’d be finished with the coronavirus by now, the reality is that we are not. And some health experts predict we may have entered a new era in which living with COVID and its variants becomes part of the new normal. We don’t know yet, but why not take some steps to be prepared?

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Accessibility Accommodations: Aging in Place with Smart Upgrades

Many people would prefer to age comfortably at home rather than in a shared housing situation or a care facility. This may describe an aging parent in your life. Or, perhaps you are planning for your future, as you realize your home isn't as accessible as you will need it to be to live your best future life while remaining in your home. Whether for yourself or a loved one, let's look at some things to keep in mind as you consider ways to make a beloved home a safe and comfortable environment for aging in place.

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Energy-efficient LED lighting used in an elegant modern kitchen

Considering Upgrading to Energy-Efficient LED Recessed Lighting?

Recessed lighting adds a beautifully lit atmosphere to any room. Because recessed or canister lights provide subtle, unobtrusive illumination, they complement any decorating style in your historic home, whether you prefer a more modern style or a traditional period-appropriate interior style.

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Homeowners Ask: Are Junction Boxes Necessary?

Many homeowners want to learn the nuts and bolts of how their houses and the systems within are put together. Some folks are avid DIYers and like to tackle many projects themselves; others simply want to know what warning signs to look for and how to assess the safety and quality of workmanship. When it comes to a home's electrical system, junction boxes play a role that every good homeowner should understand.

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How Well Do You Know Your Electrical Service Panel?

Your electrical service panel is the brain of your home’s electrical system. It is the dedicated place where the hardware of your electrical circuits is located. The electrical service panel is most often found in a basement or a laundry room, convenient but not primary living space. The service panel is always located on an outside wall. A proper assessment of your electrical service panel for capacity and proper function can save problems and aggravation in the future.

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Trends in Residential Lighting

When it comes to trends in residential lighting, the number one thing we see is that more and more homeowners are moving to smart technology. While styles and fashions come and go, the trend toward automating the lighting in your home is particularly popular. Technology is only going to continue to improve, so the best electricians are plugged in and getting it done.

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Is it Time to Upgrade Your Outlets With USB Chargers?

Quick question – how many devices that charge with a USB drive live in your home right now? 4, 10, 25? It’s crazy how fast those smartphones, tablets, earbuds, and other devices start to add up, right? Next question: How much time do you spend running around looking for an adapter for the outlet so you can plug in your USB device? We can’t do much about how many devices your family loves, but we can stop the scramble for the chargers. It’s time to upgrade your outlets to include USB chargers.

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Why 20th-Century Electrical Systems Fall Short in the 21st

Every electrician knows you need to keep up with the power demand safely and affordably. However, there is no doubt that 20th-century electrical systems - as dreamy and modern as they seemed back then - are no match for the 21st-century homes we want to live in today. Allen Gallant, who does electrical work on This Old House TV projects, says this: “The circuits in these older homes weren't designed to power the many gadgets of modern life.”

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Electric Vehicles: Is it Finally Their Season?

Almost 70% of America’s massive oil consumption in 2019 went to road transport – gas and diesel poured into vehicles, putting millions of miles down the highways. However, many people are cutting their consumption of fossil fuels by purchasing electric vehicles (EVs). We’ve seen these battery-operated vehicles around for a while now, but are they finally "in season" for America? For you?

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Light Up Outdoor Living For Summertime Fun

The entire country was on hold waiting for Summer 2021, and now, we're in it! Family and friends together, drinks on the patio, BBQs on the deck, and a season for soaking up the very best of the Washington metro region. If you haven't done so already, it's not too late to light up your outdoor living spaces for summer (and year-round) fun!

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Air Conditioning Options and Electrical Requirements

You might think it’s kind of odd that we dedicate this post to air conditioning when that’s not our gig. (You need an HVAC pro for that!) But we know you either have or want to air-condition on those hot DC summer days, and there are some electrical issues to consider. So we’ll look at central air conditioning, window air conditioning, and mini-splits so you can decide what is most suitable for your home and budget.

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3 Electrical Issues to Notice Before You Buy an Old Home

Are you shopping for a new old home?  There is a lot to love about homes from a bygone era. They offer a living space with built-ins we no longer see, staircases that make us feel grand, and bedrooms galore. When you bring an old home into your everyday life, don't forget to prepare for a little extra TLC. Here are three electrical things to note while you also ooh and ahh over the more visible charms.

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Ceiling Fans, Attic Fans, and Exhaust Fans Help Handle Summer Heat

The summer heat is on its way, and DC’rs know precisely what to expect. Besides making sure your AC is tuned up, it’s a good time to think about other ways to help beat the heat without paying enormous energy bills this summer. Most often, people consider two different ways to do that. One is adding more insulation, and the other is blowing the hot air out of your attic. Read on to find out more about both options.

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Plan Ahead for a Return to More Social Living

As spring turns into summer, we look forward to life opening up to more social living once again. Hoping that the summer of 2021 will bring us back to the connected lifestyle we’ve been missing, it’s time to start making plans. Now is a perfect time to consider things you can do to make those gatherings even more enjoyable.

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Getting Your Home Ready to Sell

The time has come to sell your house, and you want to make every penny you can. The tricky part can be determining what to repair or replace before the sale and what you should leave as-is for the buyer. You can often recoup the money you invest in repairs in the selling process if you do things right. Here are few tips to help you get the most ROI on your pre-sale fix-ups.

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Hybrid Work and School May Be Here to Stay

Adjust, adjust and adjust some more. Many of us could sum up the past year or so with that motto. Between viruses and vaccines, work and school, lockdowns, and re-openings, if you haven’t had to adjust things in your life, you’re one of the few. A lot of Americans frantically searched for ways to respond to the changes in business and schools. What began as temporary adjustments are now turning into permanent solutions for a lot of us.

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Beware of Fraudulent Phone Calls!

Wilcox Electric will never call, email, or text "out of the blue" and ask you for personal data!

We recently heard from a customer who had received a telephone call from someone claiming to be a Wilcox Electric employee - the caller ID even showed our phone number. But she knew something wasn't right when she was asked (by a foreign voice) to provide personal-financial information. Very wisely, the person on the receiving end of the call did just the right things...

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Before You Insulate that Attic Crawl Space

The attic crawl space gets the most attention at Christmastime when the decorations come out. The rest of the year, most people ignore it. It’s not filled with heirlooms and Grandma’s goodies. It’s just a crawl space, maybe barely that in the many flat-roofed row homes that abound in Washington, DC. However, when you’re thinking about adding insulation, it could be that your crawl space just stepped up to the most critical place in the house.

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Water + Electricity = Extreme Danger

The entire country is watching the disaster in Texas right now, causing myriad problems from a complete weather surprise in a state that wasn’t ready for such an unprecedented occurrence of snow, ice, and bitter cold. You may have seen the photo of the icicles hanging from a ceiling fan in USA Today this week that has gone viral. It’s an absolute nightmare, and the entire country is holding Texas in love and support right now.

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9-Volt vs. 10-year Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

We've all been there. It's two in the morning. You've been asleep for a few hours and don't expect to wake until six. Then it happens, so fast you wonder if you imagined it. Beep. You roll over thinking it's nothing and beep. Beep, Beep. Beep. The smoke alarm is chirping like a demented bird hanging out right above the doorway. The battery is dead. And, unless you're wiser than most of us, you need to head to the closest convenience store and buy a 9-Volt battery.

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Pandemic Living Continues in 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic caused many people to stay home in 2020. It looks as though home will continue to be "life central" well into 2021, too. Why not consider some additional ways to make home a bit more life-friendly with everyone spending more time indoors? Here are a few suggestions to help create a safer and more comfortable environment while staying home this year.

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Home Safety Resolutions for the New Year

The new year gives us a fresh start with being proactive about making our lives better. One way you can upgrade your life this year is by making sure your home is safe and sound. Electrical hazards around your home pose a serious threat to you and your family. Making resolutions to correct these issues can help you make this new year your best one yet. Here are home safety resolutions to consider for the new year.

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4 Potential Reasons Why Your Outlet Stopped Working

You go to plug in your phone charger or an appliance and discover an outlet is not working. The outlet was working the day before. Should you be worried? There is no need to panic just yet. Outlets can stop working for several reasons, including simple mechanical failure, and you may be able to fix the issue yourself. Here are four potential reasons why your outlet stopped working and what you can do about it.

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4 Extension Cord Safety Tips for a Safe New Year

While the holiday season is the perfect time for decorating your home with colorful indoor and outdoor lighting, heavy use of indoor and outdoor extension cords can also occur year round. If extension cords are misused, they can start a fire or cause other kinds of damage to your home. Here are four extension cord safety tips to protect your home during the holidays and all throughout the year.

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3 Reasons to Heavy Up for the New Year

With everyone at home more often during the holiday season, you may notice that your electrical system is not operating as efficiently as it should. If your home is more than 30 years old, you may have an electrical system that cannot meet all your electronic devices and holiday lights’ demands. An upgrade to your electrical panel, referred to as a heavy up, resolves issues from not carrying enough power. Here are three reasons why you should heavy up for the new year.

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A Gift of Electrical Service Helps Aging in Place

With the year coming to a close, you may be working on your holiday shopping list. If you are looking for a practical gift for that hard-to-shop-for person, consider giving the gift of electrical service this year. Many homeowners, including those who may be aging in place, need to have repairs done around their homes. You can help someone you love with future maintenance and service. Here are a few ideas for giving electrical service as a Christmas gift.

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Do Dimmers Save Electricity?

Dimmers are handy tools that make lighting more personal. The advancements in dimmer switches have come a long way since they were first introduced in 1959. They are now frequently used to create the desired mood and can be controlled in many different ways. But can they save you money? Let’s look deeper into the cost savings of dimmer switches.

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Overhead Lighting for the Way We Live Today

2020 has changed the way we view our homes. For many, it is no longer just space you come to sleep; it is where you spend the majority of your time. Today, the way we live often involves much more time spent in the home, whether it is relaxing with a small group of family and friends, remote learning, or working from home. Our houses may need some modifications to function more comfortably in these changing times. One consideration is overhead lighting.

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Does Your Pathway and Entry Lighting Say 'Welcome?'

Outdoor home lighting has multiple purposes, from safety and security to creating curb appeal at night. For the pathway and entrance to your home, you want lighting primarily for safety, but you also want to create the desired aesthetics.

To welcome your friends and family to your home, update your pathway and entry lighting for safety, style, and security.

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Best Lighting for Work and Study at Home

More than ever before, kids and adults are using the home for both their school and workplace. Even as life goes back to “normal,” many people will continue to spend more time working or taking classes at home. Creating an environment at home that is conducive to remote and online work should include a plan for lighting. Here are some ideas to ensure that you provide the best lighting for working and studying at home. 

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Back to School With Smart Routines, Schedules, and Activities

With the return of School Time comes “Bath time,” “Bed time,” “Time to get up!” and other time-structured household routines. And with school taking place at home for many families this year, it may also be an excellent time to school your devices -  Alexa, Google Home, and Leviton - in some Smart Routines, Schedules, and Activities to get everyone back on track.

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Extend Your Outdoor Living Season This Year

Spending time with family at home has become more important than ever, and even having a few close friends over may be preferable to spending time at other public venues. Don’t let the good times end when cooler weather arrives. By adding features that make spending time at home outdoors comfortable and practical, you can extend your outdoor living season this year. 

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Surge Protectors: More Important Than Ever

How important are your electrical devices? In this new era of increased working and learning from home, the entire family is likely using expensive - and essential - electronic devices like computers, tablets, laptops, printers, projectors, and large-screen TVs. Wilcox Electric, your Washington, DC area electrical professionals, recommends that you protect your home and devices with a surge protector.

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Caring for an Aging Parent’s Home

Many senior adults prefer to stay in their own homes as they age. The “Aging in Place” movement reflects aging adults’ desire to avoid moving in with family or other assisted living options. If this sounds familiar, you may be wondering how you can help your aging parents remain in their home safely.  Let's look at two things you can do to get started. 

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EV Home Charging Stations and COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has touched every part of life, mostly in negative ways. But surprisingly, those with electric vehicles and EV home charging stations have enjoyed some actual benefits. In fact, the electric vehicle market is poised to grow significantly through the remainder of 2020.

In light of this, some who consider the purchase of an electric vehicle or EV home charging station could find these benefits compelling reasons to go ahead with their purchase.

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Smart Home Features to Improve Your Stay-at-Home Time

Everyone is now enjoying more stay-at-home time with the COVID-19 pandemic forcing more schoolwork and career work to be performed at home. Many families are capitalizing on this increased time at home to find new ways to enjoy family and their home. These enforced staycations do not have to become confining and discouraging. The addition of a few smart home features can help ease your increased indoor time.

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GFCI and AFCI: How They Make Your Home Safer

Electricity, as wonderful as it is, can be deadly. Direct contact between electrical power and a human being can cause great bodily harm and possibly death. But that’s not the only danger electricity poses. Some of the most deadly home fires are electrical fires. Here’s how GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters) and AFCI (Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters) keep your home safe from both of these dangers.

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Brighter Days are Ahead with Outdoor Lighting

Summertime means more time outdoors to work and enjoy the beauty of our yards. And what better way to stretch the confining limits of staying at home than by extending your enjoyable living space outdoors? Wilcox Electric is your local team of lighting experts for outdoor lighting, whether you are adding lights to your existing design or wish to create an entirely new outdoor space.

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Should You Add Closet and Cabinet Lighting?

 

Has there ever been a better time to clear out unwanted clutter? We're all spending more time at home, making it harder to ignore disorganization you usually overlook in the hustle and bustle of daily life. If there is one single benefit from the entire COVID-19 experience, many homeowners have had extra time to clean out and de-clutter closets, cabinets, and other storage areas.

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Why Does My Electrical System Need to be Grounded?

You don’t have to be an expert to ensure the safety of your home, but you should know the basics. You, your household and all of your electrical components are at high risk if your home electrical system isn’t properly grounded. If you still don't entirely understand "grounding," you are not alone. Find out what an electrical ground does and how it works to keep your home - and the people who live there - safe.

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DIY Ceiling Fan Installation – What Could Go Wrong?

Many DIYers enjoy the challenge of new projects, and installing ceiling fans seems like one of the more straightforward tasks. However, this can be seriously misleading. Just ask the professionals who respond to the calls from homeowners to correct poorly and even dangerously installed ceiling fans. A better way is to rely on licensed, trained, and experienced electricians who can handle any challenge during installation. Here's why:

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Beat the Heat by Installing Ceiling Fans Now

Summertime heat in the Washington, DC area can quickly become stifling. With summer practically here, now is the perfect time to install ceiling fans in your home to help keep everyone cool. In addition to supporting the atmosphere in your home, installing ceiling fans can improve your energy bill, plus they add a touch of class to any room.

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Want to Enjoy Outdoor Living? You Need the Right Lighting

When the concept of outdoor living was introduced, it allowed people to expand usable space without a major addition or remodel. It has become a way to enjoy nature, and still have many of the benefits you’d find in your home. When the weather improves – as it currently is – homeowners are reminded that their living space extends further than the walls of their house. If you haven’t created your outdoor area yet, or optimized it with outdoor lighting, now is the time.

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How to Get the Most Benefit From Your Ceiling Fans

It's never to early to prepare for the summer heat and humidity. If you think a ceiling fan is only used to create a breeze indoors, you’re missing out on many other features this fixture has to offer. By adjusting the direction of the rotation and the speed of the fan, you can gain year-round benefits.

Here’s a guide to help you get the most from each ceiling fan installed in your home.

 

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COVID-19 Update

Update 4/07/2020

We posted the following on our website and repeat it here to help get the word out that we are OPEN! We're all in this together and thank you for your efforts to help "flatten the curve!" 

Stay well and stay home as much as you can, 

The Wilcox Electric Team

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Adapting Home for Living and Working

In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, many are making the adjustment to working from home. While for some this may be a dream come true, others may struggle to juggle work, family, and home routines. To make the best of a temporary but critical situation, we offer some recommendations for improving your new work-at-home experience.

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Flickering Lights: What Might Cause That?

Electrical power in our homes is something most of us take for granted. An older generation can remember the days before the Rural Electrification Administration under President Roosevelt enabled every American home to enjoy access to electrical power. Flickering oil lamps were the normal source of light. But when your modern home has flickering lights, you should investigate. 

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Do Your Extension Cords Stretch the Boundaries of Safety?

When you can't reach the nearest outlet, extension cords can be a blessing. Misused, however, they can also be a safety hazard. Using extension cords as intended is the single best way to reduce your risk of fire or electrical shock. Most people don't know the ins and outs of safe use, though. Before reaching for the nearest cord in a junk drawer, it's best to familiarize yourself with some basic safety rules.

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Thwarting Porch Pirates: How to Prevent Package Theft

When it comes to modern conveniences, online shopping ranks high on the list of things we love. However, with modern amenities come modern pains. Up to 31% of Americans have had packages stolen from outside their homes. To combat the problem, online retailing giants have even taken to installing rentable physical lockers designated for package delivery in convenience and grocery stores.

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How to Make Your Smart Home Safe for Children

When you think of smart home features, things like lighting, climate control, and entertainment likely come to mind. What if your smart home technology could help you accomplish your most essential and anxiety-inducing goal? Though smart home gadgets are sometimes considered frivolous purchases or luxury items, the truth is, they can be invaluable tools in a parent's safety arsenal.

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Home for Sale? How to Boost Value for Potential Buyers

In the competitive DC Metro real estate market, buyers want to get the most for their money. As buyers compare pros and cons, you want to make sure the list of cons for your home are minimal, or better yet, non-existent. Scheduling a home electrical assessment before listing your property can help you boost the value of your listing to potential buyers.

 

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What You Should Know About Electric Vehicles

It wasn’t too many years ago that the words “electric car” inspired jokes about really long extension cords. Fast forward to today, and we find that electric vehicles — EVs — are not only here, they are becoming serious business.

How serious? A kickoff to National Drive Electric Week (September 14- 22) is scheduled for September 14, 2019 in Washington DC. Latest models of EVs and their committed drivers will be on hand to demonstrate and answer questions.  

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How to Save Energy by Using Dimmer Switches

Energy bills are a necessary expense. However, it’s also an expense that can grow if you’re not careful. In particular, electricity costs you during periods of extreme weather, and as many  in the Washington, DC area know, this means summer and winter.

That said, several energy-saving tips can help reduce your electric bill. The key is turning each into a habit that you incorporate into your daily life.

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Did You Know That Your Electrician Can Help Sell Your Home?

Late summer and early fall is a great time for DC Metro home sales. If you are one of the many homeowners looking to sell your home, there are several things you can do to get it ready. It can be beneficial to go beyond the basic prep – like improving curb appeal, staging, and cosmetic fixes. Another way to increase value is with electrical upgrades.

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How to Protect Your Digital Privacy in a Smart Home

Many homeowners have questions about digital privacy in a smart home. After all, it’s not uncommon to see a story about your apps spying on you or Alexa listening in on your conversations. According to a survey done by PC Magazine, privacy topped consumer’s concerns about having a smart home. But before you decide to forgo the convenience, take some simple steps to safeguard your security and privacy in a connected home.

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Reducing Energy Usage is the Smart Way to Lower Electric Bills

Electricity bills are continually fluctuating, whether due to the season, weather patterns, or current rates in your local area. The size of your home, your usage patterns, and the types of electronics and appliances you have are factors as well. Most people are looking to find ways to save money in today’s world—and that includes on their energy bills.

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How to Use Smart Routines to Make Everyday Living Better

Do you find yourself shouting at Alexa to do several tasks when you get home? Have you forgotten you can wake up to the perfect balance of warmth, sound, and light? It’s one thing to install smart features in your home – and another to actually use them. One reward many smart homeowners aren't reaping is the comfort, safety, and time perks of setting up routines.

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5 Ways Electrical Work Can Make Your Home Easy to Sell

During spring and summer, DC Metro home sales begin to surge. If you are one of the many homeowners looking to sell your home, there are several things you can do to get it ready. It can be beneficial to go beyond the basic prep – like improving curb appeal, staging, and cosmetic fixes. Another way to increase value is with electrical upgrades.

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Can You Teach Your Old House to Be Smart?

Thanks to today's cutting edge technology, smart homes are now a reality and are becoming more common. But what if you have an old house? Older homes definitely have certain charms, like cozy fireplaces and interior brick walls, stained glass windows, and beautifully detailed wood throughout the house. Are any of these classic elements lost when you add smart home features?

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What Do You Know About Your Ceiling Fan?

Ceiling fans are an excellent solution for increased airflow during warm or cold weather. They help circulate the already warm or cold air throughout your house, which also means you don’t need to run the heat or air conditioning as high, potentially saving you money. They are considered the most effective type of circulating fan available for home use.

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What’s a Heavy Up and Why Does My Old House Need One?

A Heavy Up involves increasing the amperage to your old home’s service panel so that your electrical system can handle a higher load than it was designed to. Typically, this involves increasing the amperage from 100 amps to 200 amps. The chances are that the more historic (that is, old) your home, the greater the need for a "heavy up" to increase the capacity of the electrical panel.

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