Electrical Tips

(209) 284-5996

Request Service

Zinsco Panels

zinsco panel replacementIf you live in an old home, chances are the electrical units in the home are old as well. This includes the electrical panels themselves. A company from the 30’s, Zinsco, was a popular manufacturer for electric panels in homes. In the present time, if you have these panels in your home, you are in serious need of an upgrade!

Zinsco became a household name with their electrical panels installed in most homes in the 70’s. To tell if this type of panel lurks in your home, it’s very obvious to spot. The Zinsco brand labels the panel, leaving no question who the manufacturer was. Be wary of many GTE-Sylvania or Sylvania panels, as they can be re-branded Zinsco panels and cause the same problems.

What exactly is the issue with these older panels? Besides the fact that they’re outdated and don’t run as efficiently as an updated model, they hold a high danger risk. “The circuit breakers inside many Zinsco panels melt to the main ‘bus bar.' This means the breaker can’t ever trip, even when there’s a short or overloaded circuit” (energytoday.biz). What this means is eventually a surge could cause power wires to melt and catch the entire home on fire. That is one of the biggest risks to take in keeping an old, outdated electrical panel in your home. One spark could be the last.

Ultimately, if you live in an older home (anything built before the 1990’s), it would be a wise decision to have an electrician check the electrical panels in your home. A Zinsco panel is an obsolete model that cannot handle the amount of electricity used in a modern household. The risk of electrical fire and shock are very high if the use of the Zinsco brand panel is continued to be used. An updated electrical panel may cost a bit more now than it did back then but proves to be well worth it in the end.


Why knob and tube wiring should be phased out of every home

SWI knob tube wiring californiaMany home upgrades made to a home are for the sake of convenience, functionality or even personal taste, but there’s one upgrade that has a much greater purpose: Protecting the safety and well-being of your home and family from the dangers of knob and tube wiring.

Between the 1880s and the 1930s, the most common form of home electrical wiring was Knob and Tube. With the advent of modern advances in electrical technology, there are safer and much more efficient methods for electrical wiring. Additionally, there are many benefits to upgrading or phasing out and replacing the knob and tube wiring in every home.

The most common issue with Knob and Tube is that the insulation material that constructs the outer casing consists of rubber, which (over time) breaks down and degrades. What this means for homes with Knob and Tube wiring is that eventually, it becomes dangerous as moisture and air reaches bare, live wires. Modern wiring systems, use durable plastic insulation materials - providing lasting protection.

While the complete conversion from Knob and Tube wiring to standard modern wiring is an investment, the benefits are well worth the costs. Ask your electrician how to gradually phase out your knob and tube wiring over time for cost-effectiveness. The safety this vital replacement provides far outweighs the tragedy and cost associated with a home fire or electrocution. It will also most likely make you eligible for a significant reduction in your home insurance premium.

Whole Home Generator

by Nicole Stevens

whole home generatorIf you live somewhere where the power goes out frequently, you know how useful a generator can be. And even if you don’t live in a state with notoriously bad weather, accidents happen and it sometimes causes the power to go out for unknown amounts of time. Having a reliable generator is a very beneficial. They all vary in size and power, most not being able to power everything in a home. That is until whole home generators were created! If the area you live in is prone to outages, a whole home generator might just be the ideal addition to your house.

While the initial cost of a whole home generator is greater than a portable one, it’s worth its price. Unlike a portable generator, one for the whole home is run through the gas line in the house. No more extra trips to the gas station, filling up excess containers. This can prove especially useful in a hurricane situation where gas could become scarce or sold out. Whole home generators are also fully automatic, meaning that even if you’re not inside your home at the time the power goes out, the generator will automatically kick on. There are no switches to flip, and there will never be a worry if food spoiled while you were gone.

Enjoying the comforts of electricity are one thing, but needing them to could be a big issue. If someone in the home needs the use of oxygen or any other electric powered medical device, not having power could very much mean life or death. A whole home generator is ideal for retirement homes/condos. It provides peace of mind for residents to know that even in a power outage they shouldn’t worry about not having access to their medical devices.

A few extra benefits to owning a whole home generator, much less clutter, and noise! With the generator tucked away inside the inner workings of the home, there is no need for excessive extension cords anymore! No going into the garage, stumbling around in the dark to find the right cords to connect to the portable generator outside. As stated before, the whole home generator will kick on as the power goes out. No switches or plugs or panels to mess with. The noise is a big difference as well. With a traditional petrol powered generator, the sound can be quite loud and annoying (even for the small ones). A whole home generator has a noise level of 62-67 dBA, while the portable generators have noise levels reaching up to 80 dBA! That’s a loud difference!

The comfort and peace of mind a whole home generator brings are very much worth the price it costs to be installed. Knowing you will still be able to keep your family comfortable and safe during a frustrating and possibly scary time is worth it all.


Baby puppy proofing

electrician puppy proofNothing is more stressful than bring your new baby, or even your new puppy, home and realizing just how many sharp corners and exposed outlets you have in your house! But don’t panic, here you’ll find several tips on how to much sure your home is safe for little ones, furry or not, to roam free without worry.

  • Cover any exposed electrical outlets. This one’s a bit of a no brainer as it seems like it’s almost imbedded in us from countless tv shows and infomercials that show the dangers of sticking things in sockets they don’t belong in. Nevertheless, it’s worth mentioning. Try to keep any plugged in items tucked behind something heavy enough that a small child or dog can’t easily budge. Also make sure to get plastic plug covers to put in any open outlets, keeping any curious fingers or snouts from exploring too close.
  • Keep any and all harmful chemicals in a locked cabinet or, preferably, a high hard-to-reach spot in an upper cabinet. A locked cabinet will easily keep out a baby or toddler from getting in but a curious puppy who is teething may attempt to chew on cabinet doors and could expose harmful chemicals lying inside the cabinet. The same idea follows things such as house plants and knowledge of their toxicity to humans and animals. Keep this kind of items out of arms/paws reach.
  • Turn a spare room into a play room or training room. If it’s a little overwhelming to baby/puppy-proof your entire home and you have the space to spare, this is probably the best idea. It consolidates everything into the one area, making it easier to maintain and keep track of. This also doesn’t need to be an actual “room," if space is an issue; a play pen for a baby keeps them in one spot as does a crate for a puppy. Crates also prove beneficial when having to leave home for short periods of time, though I don’t suggest leaving the baby in the play pen in the same manner.
  • Baby gates for every room! A baby gate is like an instant see through the wall and is a must for any parent or dog-parent. These gates keep babies and puppies alike from entering rooms they are not allowed in. It’s recommended to keep baby gates at the beginning and foot of staircases, eliminating the risk of a tumble down the stairs.
  • Keep the toilet seat down! Really! An open toilet seat could cause a potential drowning hazard to a small child or dog (to mention no one likes to see their dog, or child, drink from the toilet). Any small body of water causes a threat, whether it’s a toilet, some water left in the tub, a running faucet, they all could be a potential danger if not noticed.

While it can be overwhelming making sure your home is ready for a new arrival, it can all be accomplished with diligence and a common knowledge of baby/puppy safety.

Elon Musk predicts 50% of all cars will be electric in 10 years

electric car being chargedElectric cars are now much more viable than they were ten years ago—the presence of charging stations in every major and minor city throughout the country lends weight to that fact. To reach a point where over half of all new cars are fully electric by the year 2027—as Elon Musk predicted recently—there needs to be a massive undertaking that only the enterprise can understand.

This is not a consumer endeavor, but rather one that must be backed by IT, similar to rollouts of ERP or a massive Microsoft Windows deployment.

Here’s why - according to Computer World Magazine:

While the act of driving is a consumer activity—you buy an electronic vehicle (EV) and drive off into the sunset, hoping to make it home on the current charge level—the “back-end” is all about efficient delivery of power. Today, the network of gas stations is highly fragmented, incredibly random, sporadically priced and woefully inefficient. Yet, EV drivers need predictability. The range for a 2017 Bolt EV is around 238 miles today; the range of the Bolt with a gas engine is about double that. But, importantly, there is no range anxiety for a gas-powered car. Gas stations are everywhere.

Launching anything new on a comprehensive level requires more strategy and planning—and that’s where IT can shine. Using even basic algorithms, IT can map out a network of charging stations that are incredibly robust and logical. It can look at the actual range of currently owned vehicles and forecast what the needs will be for charging based on buying habits. It can examine the power grid and loads across the entire U.S. population and determine what will be required to reach that 50 percent of all new cars prediction. IT can also play a major role in determining peak usage (the best charge times) and even help with forecasting based on battery innovations.

Standards and cooperation among companies needed

One company can’t do this alone. There needs to be better standardization, better cooperation and more strategy for EV charging networks, and that’s something only the enterprise can provide—not just Tesla or GM. Consumers only want to know that their new electric car will make it to Omaha. But there has to be standards and cooperation across the entire industry. Without it, we'll never hit 50 percent.

That’s something Musk already knows—he sees that IT can be the leader in mapping out the charging stations, tracking battery progress and forecasting what will work regardinofg massive EV roll-outs beyond the Tesla brand and one or two other models from Chevy and Nissan. He knows IT is also involved in tracking fossil fuel consumption. In other words, he knows IT can grasp the big picture of where this is all heading and not just depend on the fickle consumer habits thatreally have nothing to do with an EV becoming a better choice. Left to the desires of consumers, an EV feels like a glorified golf cart. In the hands of IT and the enterprise, an EV becomes part of a vast recharging network that is fine-tuned in a way that a network of 168,000 gas stations—all owned by different brands and scattered everywhere—can’t match.

The enterprise knows how to do a roll-out. An EV dealer network, planning for roads, modernization of EV driving lanes, a connected car infrastructure, the placement of charge stations—they all require strategic planning and analytics in a way that the haphazard nature of everyday gas cars could never touch.

Now, the question is—who will make this all happen?

Contact Us

Please call Switched Electric at (209) 284-5996 or fill out the form below for a service request.

* indicates required field.

What our customers are saying

Switched Electric is the greatest. Seth is skilled, professional, and friendly. He shows up when he says he will and he finishes when promised. His quoted prices are reasonable, and he makes useful suggestions to enhance the job and to save you money. I've worked with lots of contractors, and he's the best.

Linda G.
San Francisco, CA

Seth, the owner, was great. Easy to work with, timely and exacting, knowledgeable. Great product for great price!

Susan C.
Morgan Hill, CA

Cities We Serve

Switched Electric services the Modesto area including, but not limited to, the following cities:

Modesto • Ceres • Hughson • Oakdale • Riverbank • Turlock • Ripon • Salida • Livingston • Winton • Delhi • Atwater • Merced • Hilmar • Denair • Keyes • Los Banos • Manteca

Connect With Switched Electric

Contact Information

(209) 284-5996 • 3848 McHenry Avenue, Suite 135 • Modesto, CA 95356 • Hours: Monday - Friday 8am - 5pm