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Make the Most of Your Summer with Home Automation

Posted by on May 30, 2017 in Home Automation | Comments Off on Make the Most of Your Summer with Home Automation

Make the Most of Your Summer with Home Automation

Home automation has benefits for every season. When school is out and the weather gets warmer, things can get hectic around the house. Whether you’re worried about energy efficiency during the summer months or security when your kids are out of school, home automation systems can provide you with money-saving home operations and peace of mind. Family Safety and Home Automation Are your children home by themselves this summer while you are at work? Home automation is a great way to improve your home’s security system through alarms, locks, and even security cameras. You can use the app to receive notifications when one of you family members gets home or leaves. Home automation can also be great for pet care, as you can keep an eye on your pet while you are away and insure they are safe and inside your home. It can be a bit stressful to give a babysitter a key to your home. Instead, you can give the babysitter a code for the door they can use while you employ them, but change it if their employment ends.  You can even set these systems to send you an alert if someone opens gate or gets into your pool. Finally, you can set technology such as TV’s and Wifi to turn on only at certain times of the day, so you can encourage your kids to reduce their screen time. Energy Efficiency and Home Automation Saving energy is a full-time job, especially during the hot summer months. With a home automation system you can set up a schedule for your thermostat. When the house is empty, the temperature can be a bit warmer inside and when you step inside your home, the lights and air conditioning can automatically turn on. We’ve all forgotten to turn the lights off. With the tap of an app button, home automation can fix that problem and you can turn the lights off in your home. Even better, you can use room sensors that will determine when no one is in the room and turn off the lights and climate control. Your smartphone can also be used to turn a video game system or television off automatically when it’s not in use. If you need to water your lawn, but don’t want your sprinklers to run during the hottest part of the day, home automation can also help you there. You can conserve water by scheduling your sprinklers to run when needed and track your water usage. If it’s raining, you can also easily turn off your sprinkler system from your phone. Convenience and Home Automation Did you leave your garage door open? Shut it with a remote application or have the system shut your garage door automatically when you leave. When you step inside your home, you don’t have to walk into a dark home. Instead, the lights can be set to automatically come on when you arrive home. Home Automation at Your Fingertips You can enjoy the dog days of summer a little more when you don’t have to worry about much of anything where your home is concerned. You’ll know your family is safe when they are at home and that you have made your home as energy efficient as possible. At Luminaire, Home Automation is one of our specialities....

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Where to Start With Home Automation

Posted by on Apr 26, 2017 in Home Automation | Comments Off on Where to Start With Home Automation

Where to Start With Home Automation

“Home automation” is a buzzword we hear a lot these days. From lights that come on when you snap your fingers to energy saving climate control solutions, home automation technology is a great way to upgrade your home, lower your electricity bill, and make your life a whole lot easier. If you’re interested in learning more about smart home technology or aren’t sure where to begin, here are a few things to know and tips to getting started with home automation. What is home automation? First things first, before you can implement home automation, you need to know what it is. Essentially, home automation means connecting control of electronic household features and appliances.  This can include any locks and gates, appliances, climate control systems, lighting and more. While this technology used to be thought of as a super advanced thing of the future, these days nearly 30 percent of homes have some form of smart home technology. Where can it be implemented? Home automation can be implemented anywhere in your home or office. Common manifestations include audio/video systems, speakers, lighting systems, climate controls, outdoor speakers and many more. Whether you’re hoping to improve lighting systems in one room in your house, or do a complete overhaul of your home so all electronics can be connected to one control device, in most cases, home automation can be implemented in any room in your home or office.   Can any home, apartment, or office use this technology? This technology can be installed in the vast majority of houses, apartments, and office buildings. If you are a renter, most devices can simply be removed from one apartment and easily installed in your next house or apartment. What are the benefits of home automation? There are many benefits to automating your home. From an easy to use communications systems, to being able to independently control lighting and climate from room to room, to using less electricity, home automation systems have a lot to offer. Whether you are hoping to reduce your electricity bill, have better climate control in your house, implement a top notch audio visual system, or install  a state-of-the-art wine cellar, this technology will add a lot to your home. These flexible solutions are a great way to upgrade your home, keep it stylish and modern, and make your life a whole lot easier. Know You Can Start Small While this process may seem overwhelming, it’s also important to know you can implement smart home technology on a small scale before overhauling all of your home electronics. If you’d like to start your automation with one room in your home, one piece of technology, or one feature in your office, that is completely feasible. From installing office locks where people need only an app, not a physical key to get in, to revamping your home lighting and adjusting climate control in one part of your house, there are many places to start with this technology. If you start small, you can get a feel for the technology and how it affects your life. This way, you can get a taste of how it works before making the decision to make larger scale changes in your home or workplace.   From small rooms, to entire office buildings and everything in between, there...

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How Can Each Room In Your House Benefit From Home Automation?

Posted by on Mar 19, 2017 in Home Automation | Comments Off on How Can Each Room In Your House Benefit From Home Automation?

How Can Each Room In Your House Benefit From Home Automation?

Home Automation may sound like a high tech thing of the future, but these days it’s a top notch service readily available for homes everywhere. Home automation is a system that connects and integrates electronics in your home into one device, so you don’t have to worry about turning off and on switches and power nobs. If you’re curious about home automation but are unsure how it will benefit your home, here are a few rooms in your house you might not have known can benefit from home automation. Kitchen With all of the appliances in your kitchen, it’s an area in your home that uses a lot of energy. Ovens, microwaves, dishwashers and other kitchen appliances contribute to your electrical bill, and refrigerators cost the average American household $95 per year. Using home automation can help reduce this electricity consumption by timing out certain appliances over time and other control features. It can also give you peace of mind by knowing you can turn off the oven or coffee maker after you’ve left the house.   Bedrooms Climate control is another big user of energy in homes, and your bedroom is one place you definitely want to be warm. Home automation in your bedroom can keep you comfortable while you’re sleeping and avoid unnecessary heating bills in the long run. With this system, you can program your home to get warmer and cooler throughout the day, so you can be toasty before you go to bed but not waste electricity and overheat in the middle of the night. Home automation can also work with lighting and electrical systems to control your lighting remotely and install top notch lighting systems. Home theatre Whether you have a quality living room setup or state of the art home theatre system, your television area is a hub for your family. This is where you’ll have family movie nights, watch the evening news, and spend quality time together. When you choose home automation for your home theater, you can control your entertainment systems with touch screen technology so you can control your music, internet, and television all from one place. Whether you’re interested in a wall mounted plasma TV, under counter television, in-wall ceiling speakers, or other entertainment systems, our team at Luminaire is here to help. Patio and Outdoor Home automation isn’t limited to solely inside your home. Whether you’re looking to light up your patio or add to outdoor speakers to your space to liven up your gatherings, home automation can benefit your home outside and in. If you’re hoping to maximize your outdoor space with summer right around the corner or add outdoor light without adding too much to your electricity bill, home automation for your patio and outdoor space might be your solution. Garage Mahal Whether you already have a garage mahal or are looking to upgrade your garage situation, home automation is a great way to update this space and make it more than just a place to keep wrenches and park cars. Whether you’re looking for a state of the art wine cooling system, updated communication systems, climate control, ceiling speakers or anything else, we want to help turn your storage space into a top notch man cave. Whether you’re a new homeowner or are looking to...

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Want to Renovate Your Guest Room? Consider These Easy Updates

Posted by on Feb 15, 2017 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Want to Renovate Your Guest Room? Consider These Easy Updates

Want to Renovate Your Guest Room? Consider These Easy Updates

Updating your guest rooms probably isn’t at the top of your to-do list- until your guests are on their way and you haven’t been in there in months. Whether Mom’s coming from out of town, you have some extra space you want to turn into a rental, or you simply think your extra room could use some sprucing up, there are many quick and easy ways to update your guest space. Before your visitors arrive, consider these easy upgrades to improve your space and make their visit unforgettable.   Update your lighting If you infrequently use your guest room, you might be unaware of poor lighting quality, burnt out lightbulbs, or power outlets that don’t work. Checking on these before guests get to town is a quick way to make sure your guest room is ready for your visitors. Updating your lighting design or installing new fixtures are easy electrical updates that can make a huge difference. Looking into any electrical problems when you first see them is also a great preventative measure to avoid big problems down the line. Install a bookshelf Bookshelves are great ways to add a little life to your guest room. They’re an added bonus if you’re looking to rent out your guest room to temporary visitors, because they can take or leave books as they come and go. If you’d like stock up on a few books for this new shelf, Half Price Books has locations across Seattle, and Better World Books is a great online retailer of used books with free shipping anywhere in the world.   Check your climate control Its no fun to wake up in the middle of the night and be freezing cold, especially if you’re away from home. Checking the heating and cooling system in your guest room is another easy way to update this space. Home automation systems can do this automatically so you don’t have to worry about turning on and off the heat and paying for electricity you’re not using. Checking window fixtures, curtains, and other spaces where heat can get in or out are other easy ways to make sure your guest room is the right temperature. Invest in some storage supplies A small dresser or some portable drawers are great ways to add some storage space to your guest room. If you don’t want to spend a ton of money, Craigslist and similar sites often have affordable furniture or even free dressers if you’re willing to pick them up. Target often also has good deals on lightweight, portable drawers so you can store them in various rooms depending on when you need them. Add a little color Adding a little color to your guest room will brighten up your space and help your guests feel welcome. This can be as easy as adding a few pillows to the bed and chairs in the room. Small rugs can also a great way to spice up your guest room and they can even help keep heat in and warm up your floors. Alternatively, adding some paintings or photos to the wall are also great solutions. Shutterfly often has excellent deals for enlarging your own photos to turn them into great wall decor. Whether you’re an aspiring Airbnb host or simply want to make your...

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6 Must-Have Features To Improve Your Gaming Room

Posted by on Jan 25, 2017 in Electricians | Comments Off on 6 Must-Have Features To Improve Your Gaming Room

6 Must-Have Features To Improve Your Gaming Room

For many people, a gaming room is an afterthought. It’s an extra space added to the basement, attic, or garage. It often isn’t carefully planned from the ground up, but for avid gamers everywhere, it should be. From investing in proper wiring and professionally built electrical systems, to installing vintage gaming systems and gaming tables, there are plenty of ways to make your gaming room a must-visit space in your home. Game Tables, Dart Boards, and More   Nothing says gaming room like a massive pool table or an air hockey table. You don’t have to spend a fortune to have a top-notch gaming room. Craigslist and similar websites are great places to pick up pool tables, foosball tables, air hockey tables, and similar gaming tables at great prices. In some cases, if you’re willing to do some cosmetic work, you can have these game tables for the cost of hauling them away. Pool tables and wall darts are other great options for your gaming space that will add another level to your parties and gatherings. Gaming Consoles Whether you’re into the newest rock star style instrument games, motion capture games, or more traditional old-school consoles like the Nintendo 64, having a variety of gaming systems will make your room more appealing to gamers and fun seekers of all ages. Used game stores can be a great resource to find gently used and refurbished consoles to add to your space. Alternatively, you can invest in an emulator that allows you to play any of the older console games from a single hard drive. Properly-Installed Electrical Systems Especially when referring to a room full of expensive computers and processors, having electrical systems that are up to code is critical. Be sure to use caution when installing power outlets and electrical systems. If there’s a fire or a power short that destroys your gaming computer or consoles, chances are that your renter’s insurance or homeowner’s policy won’t cover losses due to DIY electrical failure. Don’t risk your precious equipment; instead, hire professionals to wire your game room and be sure to update your homeowner’s policy to include the expanded living space, if applicable. Additionally, if you have professional electrical systems installed, it will be easier to implement environmental control systems which allow you to control lighting, sound systems, and heat or cooling remotely or by voice command. These systems can be inexpensive to install, and they can save you money on your electrical bill each month. Old School Arcade Games If you want a vintage gaming space, investing in an antique or old school arcade game may be the way to go. From glass-top PacMan games to older pinball machines, there’s a strong secondary market for these nostalgia-inducing quarter-eaters. You can find them on a variety of vintage and used item sale sites, including Craigslist. Refrigerators and Refreshments If you want to take your game room to the next level and make it the center of the party, installing a bar system is the way to go. From a keg refrigerator, to soda on tap, and an assortment of liquors and mixers, a properly stocked bar can keep your party hopping. It’s important to note that both wiring and plumbing for your bar systems should be professionally installed to ensure it...

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Can home automation lower your electricity bill?

Posted by on Dec 9, 2016 in Home Automation | Comments Off on Can home automation lower your electricity bill?

Can home automation lower your electricity bill?

First things first, what is home automation? Home automation is the automatic control of household features and appliances. It brings all of the plugs, knobs, and switches in your home together so they can be controlled by one device. We’ve all forgotten to turn off the lights in the upstairs bathroom or left the coffee pot on when we’re rushing out the door. Home automation eliminates that; it enables you to save time and money by planning and controlling your home’s electronics and appliances. So how can it help lower my electric bill? The easiest way to lower your electrical bill is to use less electricity. From thermostats to light switches, home automation can control your appliances remotely or on a timer, so your lights and appliances will go off, even if you’re not there to flip the switch.   1. Turn down the heat when you’re not home Save electricity with automated temperature control Do you ever go to bed freezing, crank up the heat, and then wake up sweating a few hours later? It’s annoying to get out of bed to adjust the heat-and even more annoying to pay for the amount of electricity it takes to keep your apartment at 80 degrees all night. With an automated thermostat, you can pre-program your heater to adjust throughout the day. This means your electric bill won’t suffer if you forget to turn down the heat when you’re running out the door. Coming home to a cold house is no fun, but paying to heating your home from nine to five just so it’s warm upon your return can take a huge toll on your heating bill. With home automation, you can set your thermostat to turn off after you leave and turn on before you return. It allows you to come home to a warm house without making a huge dent in your electrical bill. 2. Stop worrying about the light you might have left on Reduce consumption with automated lighting systems You’re constantly reminding the kids to turn off the lights when they leave the room, but they don’t always remember. Unnecessary lights around the house are another culprit for increasing energy bills. Turning off lights when you’re not using them can make a huge difference on your electrical bill-but switching off extra lights is hard to put at the top of your to-do list. Using an automated system to turn off lights after a certain amount of time can make a huge difference on your monthly bill. Home automation can also include lighting timers and dimmers. This means your lights will turn down or turn off after a certain amount of time. This means your lights will shut off, even if you forget to flip the switch. 3. Automatically switch off appliances you’re not using Lower your bill with automated appliances and electronics You’re halfway to work when it hits you that you might have left the coffee maker on. You don’t want to waste time turning around-but you also don’t want to waste electricity all day or burn your house down. Home automation is also a great choice for managing household appliances and electronics by because you can turn them off remotely or pre-program them to shut off at a certain time. 4. Never pay...

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4 Easy Ways to Make Your Christmas Lights More Green This Holiday Season

Posted by on Dec 5, 2016 in Lighting | Comments Off on 4 Easy Ways to Make Your Christmas Lights More Green This Holiday Season

4 Easy Ways to Make Your Christmas Lights More Green This Holiday Season

The holidays are right around the corner. Between lights on the house and tree, multiple trips to and from the airport, and gifts for everyone on your Christmas list, your spending and environmental impact keeps going up while the numbers in your bank account keep doing down. Reduce your electric bill and give Mother Earth a present this Christmas: follow these easy steps to make small changes with big impact this holiday season. 1. Replace that old string of lights that’s missing half the bulbs anyway Choose LED lights instead of incandescents for your house and tree Light Emitted Diode (LED) lights use only one tenth of the amount of electricity incandescent bulbs use. They last nearly 50 times longer which means you won’t need to buy another string for several Christmases. The bulbs also won’t burn out so you won’t have to redecorate your whole tree when one bulb starts to flicker. Think about it: the same holiday cheer with one-tenth of the electrical bill? Sounds like a great Christmas present. 2. Get the same sparkle with smaller bulbs Choose mini-Christmas lights instead of standard sized bulbs Take the next step towards your green Christmas is choosing mini lights instead of the larger ones you usually buy. Your tree will still sparkle with smaller lights, so take a few more dollars off that electric bill and opt for mini lights this year. The Earth (and your wallet) will thank you.  3. Unplug the lights before your last glass of eggnog Turn off lights when you’re not using them, or set a timer to shut them off We all know mom loves the house to be lit up when she gets home from work. But far fewer people will be enjoying your light display at 3:00 a.m. Why waste electricity while you’re sleeping? When you turn your lights off before going to bed you’re significantly reducing your consumption. Timers can also be implemented to make sure you lights go off at a certain time even if no one is home to flip the switch. 4. Get rid of that string of lights that always trips Santa Find places to opt out of using lights or replace them with eco-friendly decorations If your house looks like Martha May’s from the Grinch, people probably won’t notice if you cut out a strand of lights or two from your outdoor display. This Christmas, think about places where a few less lights wouldn’t be missed. Or maybe you’ve used the same garland lights for years-so why not try something new to decorate the banisters in your home? The kids are out of school anyway, so give them a project like making recycled paper chains or handprint wreaths to replace those indoor light strands. A little hand made love will warm up your house just as much as those lights would have.   Featured photo courtesy of...

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8 Common Household Problems That Require a Professional Electrician

Posted by on Nov 16, 2016 in Electricians | Comments Off on 8 Common Household Problems That Require a Professional Electrician

8 Common Household Problems That Require a Professional Electrician

Anybody who has ever gone without electricity for a solid amount of time, whether it’s been due to a power outage or a recent move with a late electrical set up, comes to realize exactly how much we use electricity in our daily lives. Whether it’s for a cellphone, computer, microwave, television, or just generally turning on the lights, we greatly feel its absence. You want to make sure that your electricity is always running smoothly in your home, so be sure to call a professional electrician if any one of these common problems happen to you. Flickering Lights: If your lights are flickering, the first thing you should do is try to change the bulbs to ensure it’s not just a quick fix. If they still continue to flicker, it may be a poor wiring connection or a faulty fixture, both of which should be attended to by a professional. You should also pay attention to when these flickers are occurring, as that could be an indication of the cause. If the lights only flicker when it’s windy, the cause could be frayed wiring, which may also cause short outages. Tripping Circuit Breaker: If your circuit breaker keeps tripping and you don’t know why, pay attention to when the trips occur to try and figure out the cause. If you live in an older home, it may not be designed to handle the wattage that is required for modern homes. High-wattage appliances like a microwave may be causing the circuit breaker to trip. If that is the case, you’ll need to add a circuit or upgrade your electrical in order to accommodate the higher wattage. Expensive Electrical Bills: If you like to leave every single light on in your house while running various appliances, then hopefully you can figure out the cause to your problem. However, if your bills are increasing and you don’t understand why, an electrician can assess the energy efficiency of your home. If you have older appliances like a furnace or poor insulation, which can cause your bills to be higher than they need to be. You can even ask your electrician if energy efficiency rebates or government programs could cover the cost of any of the repairs. That being said, never underestimate the value of the simple things, like turning lights and appliances off when they’re not in use. GFCI Won’t Reset: GFCIs or a ground fault circuit interrupter shuts off the power circuit when it senses electricity flowing down an incorrect path. They are part of the building codes and help to keep you safe, however if they won’t reset after tripping, an electrician will have to inspect it. Exposed Wires: Exposed wires often occur after something like a DIY renovation. They may seem unimportant, however, they can cause a huge fire hazard to your home. Call an electrician to tidy them up, and ensure that they are either spliced and covered, or attached to structural framing. Strange Smell: Any kind of smell coming from a switch or outlet is a bad sign. If you even get a whiff of anything, stop using it immediately, as arcing may be causing the odor, which is a fire hazard. Look for another source of the smell, and if you can’t locate the source, repair or...

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What’s the Difference Between an Electrician and a Handyman?

Posted by on Nov 2, 2016 in Electricians | Comments Off on What’s the Difference Between an Electrician and a Handyman?

What’s the Difference Between an Electrician and a Handyman?

The average homeowner would have a difficult time telling the difference between a handyman and an electrician. After all, isn’t a handyman someone with expertise that you call when you need help with home repairs or a remodeling project? Doesn’t that mean that an electrician is a handyman with extra knowledge or skills in the particular area of electricity and wiring? While the first answer is yes, the second is a resounding “no.” If you want to know what the real difference is, keep reading, and prepare to be surprised. What’s a Handyman, After All? A handyman is any professional (of any gender, not just men) who perform physical tasks for those who are unable or simply unwilling to do it themselves. From hanging holiday decorations on the exterior of a house’s eaves to cleaning mold off of your home’s siding or even adding a ramp to the front entrance of a home, there are a wide variety of tasks that a handyman can perform. Many states and cities don’t require any form of licensing for those working as a handyman, but they may require liability insurance from those working as a handyman professionally. That insurance protects the client, as well as their locality, from damages that could result from poorly-performed installations, maintenance, or other projects. Unfortunately, given the lax regulations of handyman work, there are plenty who eschew the need for insurance to keep their costs (and pricing) as low as possible. In general, a handyman is a household jack of all trades. They likely have a surface-level knowledge of a broad number of topics (such as hanging a wall shelf evenly and refinishing your cabinet doors), but very little in-depth knowledge when it comes to more complex topics, such as electrical systems. While they may do an excellent job fixing your pulled sink, when the task at hand is safety critical, such as work on the home’s electrical system, a general-knowledge handyman may not be the best decision in terms of who to hire.  What Is an Electrician, Then? An electrician is a highly-trained and skilled professional with experience in working with home and commercial electrical systems. From replacing aged or damaged internal wiring to running wire from a home to an external shed, an electrician can do it all, and do so in compliance with state and local building codes. Most people already know that they should hire a professional to do any required work on their home electrical system; not everyone realizes, however, how critical it is to hire a professional with the right training and experience. An electrician has years of education and training, much of which is hands-on and completed under the careful supervision of a master electrician. Generally speaking, it takes as many as seven years in most states to be licensed as a Master Electrician, meaning that these professionals have a long history of proven work. That means that they’ve spent 6,000 to 8,000 hours working in electrical systems already, as well as 144 hours of classwork per year for three to five years. They must also have passed an exhaustive state-licensing test to determine that they are qualified to work safely on electrical systems. Because they have training under another master electrician, they generally understand electrical systems inside and out....

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How to Tell When It’s Time to Call the Electrician

Posted by on Oct 8, 2016 in Electricians | Comments Off on How to Tell When It’s Time to Call the Electrician

Most real estate investors who are trying to repair and then flip homes do their best to keep costs low. No matter how handy you are, there comes a point in any home remodel or expansion project where it makes sense to call in the professionals. This is especially true with regard to safety critical systems, such as the electrical system of an investment property. Don’t gamble with the safety of workers or future inhabitants; call an electrician immediately if you have any of the below issues! Damaged Wires If you know from inspection or your own visual perusal of the property that the wiring is visibly aged or damaged, it’s time to call an electrician in to bring things up to code before it gets worse. Buzzing, Sparking, Flickering, or Hot Plates/Outlets If there is buzzing, sparking, or flickering coming from your lights, outlets, or wiring, you need professional help as soon as possible. All of these issues are sure signs of severe damage to the electrical system. Left unchecked, they could easily cause a fire or an electrocution. This warning should also be applied to switch plates that are hot to the touch or that conduct electricity through the screws. A Burning Smell If you smell burning plastic after turning on lights or plugging something into an outlet, you need help immediately! This is likely an indicator of highly damaged wires in the wall. If possible, turn off power to the area where the smell originated and then call as soon as possible, while monitoring for an actual fire. Tripping Circuit Breakers If you find that circuit breakers regularly trip or turn off when you use lights or appliances, that’s a sign that the electrical system cannot handle the demands of modern users. A breaker tripping is a safety mechanism, meant to prevent overheating of overloaded wires that could lead to a house fire. In short, you should hire an electrician for any persistent issues or safety-related updates. Of course, it is critical to have the electrical system evaluated by a professional inspector prior to the decision to purchase the property to determine what condition it is in. However, if the property has been vacant for some time, was inherited, was purchased without an inspection, or was purchased despite having electrical system issues, you may run into these or other unexpected issues. Always put the safety of yourself, your workers, and future buyers...

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