Click to Call! Hillsborough (813) 968-5856 | Pinellas & Pasco (727) 447-1978 | Hernando (352) 515-9050

Electrical Blog

now browsing by category


Choosing Ceiling Fans


If you are thinking about ways to beat the summer heat, you have probably been considering investing in a ceiling fan or two. If so, you may be wondering what to look for when shopping for one. The following is a few guidelines that will help you in choosing the right ceiling fan.

The Four Important Considerations in Choosing Ceiling Fans


When choosing ceiling fans, it is important consider the area you would like to install the fan. It is not recommended to use indoor fans in exterior areas. Indoor ceiling fans weren’t designed to handle the moisture and other elements like their counterparts made for outdoor use. Be sure to check the box to make sure it was designed for the area you intend to have the ceiling fan installed in.


The size of the ceiling fan would be determined by the length of the longest wall in the room where you will install the ceiling fan. So, for example, the following wall lengths would call for the subsequent sized ceiling fans:

  • 10′ wall – 30” to 32” fan
  • 12′ wall – 36” to 42” fan
  • 14+ wall – 52” fan


When shopping for a ceiling fan, you should also consider the height of the room. If the room is relatively low, you should purchase a “hugger” ceiling fan. Standard height and taller would call for traditional fans and either a regular down rod or extended down rods for vaulted or high ceilings. Your electrician can be of assistance in this area.


Last but not least, quality is essential! This doesn’t mean the most expensive, mind you, but you should definitely consider the power of the motor and pitch of the fan. If the motor isn’t strong enough, the fan will not have the power to move blades with greater pitch which is the key to moving air and thus KEEPING COOL! In reality, buying ceiling fans with a good reputation is always a good idea. What brands have the best reputation? You may have a brand of ceiling fans that you prefer. Our experience working with a variety of ceiling fans has helped us to evaluate ceiling fans over the years. Some of the brands that we have determined to be of superior quality are listed below:

Minka Aire

Now you are ready to shop! But, if for some reason you still aren’t sure what to buy you can always ask your electrician.

Ceiling Fan Direction and It’s Importance

Ceiling Fan DirectionChanging your ceiling fan direction

Hopefully this will jog some of the reader’s memories of their parents or grandparents doing this. However, I was one that was confused by the whole process and reasoning behind changing your ceiling fan direction. I didn’t understand the importance and money saving reasons behind changing your ceiling fan direction. I’ve put together a little treat for you today and hope you start utilizing the fan directional change in your homes.

Have you ever heard the expression, “Heat rises and Cool air sinks”? Of course you have! Changing your ceiling fan direction is a crucial tip for any home owner. It’s also a money saving tip on the most expensive unit in our home, the air conditioning unit. The direction of the fan is based upon standing directly underneath and watching the direction the blades begin to spin when turning the fan on. For the summer the fan should turn counterclockwise (Left). In the winter since heat rises, we turn the fans direction to clockwise (Right). Since most of us are visual learners, I have included some images that show exactly what I am trying to say.

Ceiling Fan Direction

Summer Counter-Clockwise

Winter Clockwise

Ceiling Fan DirectionIt’s time to change your ceiling fan direction!

Pretty simple right, yeah we thought so too! Now, it’s time to make the switch. Some ceilings fans have controls integrated into their remote or wall mounted control, to allow you to change the direction of the ceiling fan. This makes changing your ceiling fan direction as simple as pressing a button. Press the forward button to set your ceiling fan to spin counterclockwise for the summer. Press the reverse button to set your fan to spin clockwise for the fall and winter. If your fan is not a newer model then you can find your switch on the fan itself directly under the blades on the base. You’ll probably need a ladder for this so please always be careful and have a spotter to help.

Here’s another quick tip, just like Daylight Saving Time “Spring Forward, Fall Back”, if you can remember that changing your ceiling fan direction is a no brainer. Don’t forget to adjust your thermostat in order to save money and energy.

Who is Reddy Killowatt?

Who is Reddy Killowatt?

Reddy Killowatt

Most if not all companies have thought about having a cool and fun animated character to represent their business, but has anyone ever thought of who the first animated character was for electricity? We hadn’t, so we thought we would share some cool information with our readers from the mind of Ashton B. Collins, the creator of the animated character Reddy Killowatt.

Reddy Kilowatt was the first animated character to represent electricity. Reddy Killowatt was born into creation in the early 1920’s as the spokesperson for the electric generation. Reddy Kilowatt is drawn as a stick figure with the body and limbs made of retro lightning-bolts, a bulbous head, and light bulb for a nose and wall outlets for ears. Clearly he was designed to stick out and be noticed by any and all. He made his first appearance on March 14, 1926 in an advertisement for the Alabama Power Company. Reddy Kilowatt’s creator Ashton B. Collins saw the Great Depression suppressing the need for new electric services. Deep in his heart he knew that Reddy Kilowatt would be his “Ace in the hole” to keep the business afloat. It wasn’t until seeing Reddy Kilowatt on a sign in an old barn, on the show American Pickers, which piqued our interests into his creation. Reddy Killowatt was a powerful tool still holding value today as part of the history of electricity, making a sign of him so valuable in today’s collectors market.

It’s always beneficial to learn something from history as it brings new life and meaning into how we do things in today’s marketing of new businesses. Think about it though, the idea has to start somewhere and to see how much it can develop and evolve over the years is impressive. If you’re anything like we are you dig for more information of the things you find interesting. If you want to read more, you can find a fantastic article written on Wikipedia about the inception of Reddy Kilowatt.

Lower Your Electricity Bill

Lower Your Electricity Bill

Lower Your Electricity Bill

Let’s look at ways to help you lower your electricity bill. Did you know that millions of people unawarely spend more than they have to on their monthly electric bill? The main reason is because they are not using energy as effectively as it can be used. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, “Always-on” energy used by inactive appliances, electronics and miscellaneous devices translates to about $165 dollars wasted per U.S. household a year.

So how can you lower your electricity bill? Well, the Department of Energy recommends simply turning things off when you are not in the room. This speaks specifically to lights, computers, and TVs. Imagine if everyone nonchalantly continued leaving lights and electronics on when they left the room. On average, that would use the same amount of electricity as brewing 234 cups of coffee every single day for a year. Do the math. That’s about 85,000 cups of coffee!

Let’s move on. There are other steps that we can take to lower your electricity bill. Take for instance, your windows and doors. Consumer reports states that upgrading to energy-efficient windows and doors, as well as sealing any cracks, can reduce energy costs by 15 to 30%. That’s a drastic cut if you ask me. Well worth the investment.

Next, consider washing your laundry in cold water. Face it, not only will your clothes thank you, but also your wallet. To keep the momentum, lower the thermostat on your water heater to 120°F. This is a good way prevent scalding while taking a shower and it saves you money. Double win!

The benefits of following these tips don’t stop at your pockets. Saving energy reduces our nation’s overall demand for the resources needed to make energy. Increasing your energy efficiency will be less stressful to the power grid. Less strain results in a decreased need for fossil fuel–burning power plants; therefore, reduces harmful air pollutants and carbon emissions. It’s good for your health and the environment. While we can help lower your electricity bill, it doesn’t just help you, but the bigger picture!

So check around your house and try these tips to lower your electricity bill. If you feel your home needs an electric inspection, you can contact Small Jobs Electric to help. We can walk together on a tour of your property to see what areas need to be addressed. We service Hillsborough, Pinellas, and Pasco.

Please contact us today, for further information about how we can assist you.

Hillsborough +8139685856 | Pinellas & Pasco +7274471978

War of the Currents AC vs DC

War of the Currents AC vs DC

How would you feel if you came up with an invention that completely revolutionized the way the whole WORLD operates yet someone else received the credit for it?

Such is the case for one man named Nikola Tesla. Nikola was a brilliant but eccentric inventor who worked for a time as an assistant to Thomas Edison. Thomas Edison is famous for inventing the lightbulb, the phonograph and moving pictures. Our school history books are almost completely silent though about Tesla’s contributions to society.

If you were to ask most people today, “Who discovered modern electricity?” they would without doubt answer: “Thomas Edison.”
Most aren’t aware that Nikola Tesla and his nemesis, and former boss actually waged a War of the Currents AC vs DC. In the 1880s Tesla and Edison spat over whose electrical system would power the world, Tesla’s alternating-current (AC) system or Edison’s direct-current (DC) electric power.

In 1882 Thomas Edison introduced a low voltage DC electric distribution utility designed for indoor business and residential use, as an alternative to gas and oil-based lighting. In 1886 George Westinghouse began building an alternating current system (after buying Nikola Tesla’s patented designs) that used a transformer to step up voltage. This was useful for long-distance transmission and was then stepped back down for indoor lighting. This was a more efficient and less expensive system that directly competed for the market the Edison’s system was designed to serve.

Feeling threatened by the rise of AC, Edison launched a propaganda campaign to discredit AC and convince the public it was dangerous. As part of this campaign, animals were publicly electrocuted with AC power, and when New York State sought a more humane alternative to hanging its death-penalty prisoners, Edison, once an opponent of capital punishment, recommended alternating current-powered electrocution as the fastest, deadliest option.

Ultimately, however, Edison failed in his efforts to discredit AC. Westinghouse won the contract to supply electricity to the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago—beating out rival General Electric, which was formed in 1892 by a merger involving Edison’s company—and the expo became a dazzling showcase for Tesla’s AC system. The achievement was regarded as the unofficial end to the War of the Currents AC vs DC, and AC became dominant in the electric power industry.

To this very day we utilize aspects of Tesla’s AC system to power our homes and businesses, so he is truly the Father of Modern Day Electricity!

Did you know?

  • Tesla had a photographic memory and often memorized entire books.
  • Tesla was known to have OCD (Obsessive Compulsion Disorder) and a fear of women’s earrings.
  • Even though Tesla won the War of the Currents AC vs DC, when he died he had 300 patents to his name as compared to Thomas Edison’s 1,093.

  • Please contact us today, for further information about how we can assist you.

    Hillsborough +8139685856 | Pinellas & Pasco +7274471978

    Stay Prepared During the Entire Hurricane Season

    Stay Prepared During the Entire Hurricane Season

    For the North, Atlantic region, hurricane season starts in June and lasts all the way to November. That means, all of us in the Tampa Bay Area have 6 long months to continue our watch. It’s important to stay prepared during the entire hurricane season. There are several things you can do to such as stock the essentials, make a plan, and preparing for the long-term.

    Stock the essentials

  • First aid kit- Band-Aids, alcohol wipes, antibiotic ointment, gauze, medical tape, and tweezers are good to have at your house at all times.
  • Food and water – Make sure your house has at least 3 days’ worth of nonperishable food items and enough bottled water for you and your family. This includes granola bars, canned tuna, MRE’s, beef jerky, or packaged fruit. If you start to run low, restock as soon as possible. Since these items have a long shelf life, keeping them on hand will help you stay prepared during the entire hurricane season.
  • Sanitation supplies – Things like soap, toilet paper, paper towels, and disinfectants will come in handy if a hurricane leaves you homebound. Also, heavy-duty garbage bags are great to have when clean-up is needed.
  • Flash lights and batteries- Incase the power goes out.
  • Prescription medications.
  • Weather Alert Radio- This will broadcast warnings, forecasts, current weather conditions, and other hazard information, 24 hours a day. Make sure to get one with an alarm tone in the event that any immediate actions are needed. Also, a weather alert radio with a battery backup is important.

  • Next, make a plan

  • Keep a list of vital contacts. This should include emergency management offices, law enforcement, fire/rescue, local shelters, local hospitals, Local American Red Cross, and your insurance agent.
  • Learn if you are in an evacuation area.
  • Keep your car gas tank full.
  • Designate an out of area contact person to relay information to family members. This person will be the centralized contact for family communications.
  • Pick two evacuation locations. One should be just outside your home for sudden events such as a fire. The second should be outside your neighborhood, in case a larger event occurs.
  • Plan your evacuation route.

  • If you decide to stay

  • Clean and fill sinks and bathtubs so there will be extra water available.
  • Clear your lawn of any furniture or things that could potentially go airborne.
  • Protect your windows with plywood or shutters.
  • Turn your refrigerator and freezer to the lowest setting. Furthermore, avoid opening the door until the storm has passed.
  • Keep your stove clear of all items, even if the power turns off.
  • Listen for weather updates on a NOAA Weather Alert Radio. Stay tuned to the latest information.

  • Preparing for the long term

    Although this article shows how to stay prepared during the entire hurricane season, it is best to think proactively. As Floridians, we see a lot of hurricanes. We spend half of our year in an active hurricane season. As much as we prepare, year to year, wouldn’t it be nice to do something that will last longer into the future? Small Jobs Electric can help. We have installation services for generators and whole home surge protectors. Both of these items add safety and security to your home.

    Please contact us today, for further information about how we can assist you.

    Hillsborough (813) 968-5856 | Pinellas & Pasco (727) 447-1978

    Lightning strikes and the Danger to your home!

    Did you know that Florida is the lightning capital of the United States? To be specific, according to the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Science, lightning strikes and storms occur in Florida approximately 100 days out of the year. To put things in prospective, California typically has 5. This is why it is important to learn more about lightning safety and the dangers to your home.

    When lightning strikes your house, it channels out and uses several paths to eventually ground itself. For instance, it can start at electrical lines, jump to gutters, and finish in your home’s water pipes. A direct lightning strike is rare; however, it’s the spontaneity of the current that will produce significant damage to several elements of a house. The risks include fire, power surge, and shock wave damage.

    Here are a few tips to when you first see a storm:

    • Unplug high-value electronics. Surge protectors are good to use, but just keep in mind, they will not help in a direct strike and are not fail-proof. In fact, it is recommended not to touch electronics while there is thunder.

    • A whole home surge protector adds an additional layer of protection.

    • Stay away from plumbing such as sinks and toilets. The fixtures and pipes are natural conductors for electricity.

    • Avoid windows and doors.

    • Do not lean against concrete walls or lie on concrete floors.

    • Stay off the phone. The National Weather Service reports that up to 5 percent of people struck by lightning were talking on their corded phones.

    So what should you do if lightning strikes your home? First, make sure everyone evacuates. Then, contact 911. The fire department will be dispatched and they will assess the damage. Through thermal imaging they will make sure there are no fires within the walls and give the word when it is safe to return. Call your insurance company to report the incident. Lastly, call Small Jobs Electric! We often arrive on the job while the emergency crews are still accessing the situation and we are available 24/7 for emergency situations!

    Understanding lightning safety and the dangers to you home will help you stay prepared. For more information, visit the National Weather Service or America Meteorological Society website.

    Please contact us today, for further information about how we can assist you.

    (813) 968-5856 & (727) 447-1978

    Small Jobs Electric ® Serving Your Families for more than 30 years!

    Small Jobs Electric Serving you for 30 years strong!

    Small Jobs Electric ® was established in the summer of 1986 by Thomas and Maria Houle. Tom worked as an electrical contractor in Boston, Massachusetts, until the couple decided to move to Florida. There was just something about warmer winters and sunnier skies that appealed to the couple and their three children.

    Since the beginning, the Houle’s recognized that helping residents directly with their electrical issues was the most rewarding aspect to their day. In fact, the name Small Jobs Electric ® was developed to specifically appeal to homeowners! Small Jobs Electric ® wants to take care of all the jobs that other companies refuse to do. No job is too small.

    Services include installing electrical panels, security lighting, smoke alarms, and even landscape lighting to say the least. Make sure to check the company’s services page at for more information. With 30 years of experience, they are happy to say that they have serviced thousands of homes in the greater Tampa Bay area. They have grown to become one of the most referred and recognized electrical companies in the region.

    But that’s not the end.

    Small Jobs Electric ® is a family owned and operated company. Tom and Maria Houle’s son, Nathaniel, has obtained his Master Electrician Certificate for the state of Florida. Nathaniel always had an affinity for the trade. It stemmed from working closely with his father at a very young age. It is Nathaniel’s passion that makes it easy to understand that the future of Small Jobs Electric ® is just as sunny as the Florida skies the Houle’s always dreamed about.

    Solar Electric FAQ

    Red4Frequently Asked Solar Questions

    At Small Jobs Electric ®, we work hard to be your electrical resource. We try to provide as much information as possible, to assist you in making the best decisions regarding your electrical needs. We are here to answer any of your solar or electrical related questions. Please browse through the list of Solar Electric FAQ’s below to find some of the most frequently asked questions regarding Solar Panels and installation. If you don’t see your question in the list, please feel free to call our office, and someone will be able to address your questions or concerns: (813) 968-5658.

    Thank you for your interest and we look forward to hearing from you!


    Blue1What does a Photovoltaic solar electric system provided by Small Jobs Electric ® cost?

    With low solar installation costs and the federal tax credit there has never been a better time to purchase solar electric in the Sunshine State. The typical cost of a 5kW system is about $30,000. The 30% federal tax credit would be approximately $9,000. Payments on the remaining balance can be as low as $185.00 per month. This allows your family to use clean renewable energy far into the future. Of course, larger systems are available and our solar consultants can assist you in calculating the cost of a larger system.


    Blue1Who is Small Jobs Electric ® and why should I choose you to install my solar electric system?

    Don’t let the name fool you, we do big jobs like solar panel installations too! Because we are a residential service repair company, we don’t rely on solar installations to stay in business – that means our customers save money! We do solar because going green helps our environment and it lowers and/or eliminates our customer’s electric bills!


    Blue1How much of my energy needs can be produced from solar?

    The simple truth is that how much energy you can produce from a solar electric system installed by Small Jobs Electric ® is dependent only upon the space you have available and the amount you are willing to invest.


    Blue1How does the electricity produced from my system get used by my home or business?

    As the sun’s rays shower the next generation silicon cells of our photovoltaic panels these cells release small amounts of electricity. This process is known as the photoelectric effect. This effect refers to the emission, or ejection, of electrons from the surface of a metal in response to light. Sunlight is made up of photons, or particles of solar energy. Photons contain various amounts of energy, corresponding to the different wavelengths of the solar spectrum. When photons strike a PV cell, they may be reflected or absorbed, or they may pass right through. Only the absorbed photons generate electricity. When this happens, the energy of the photon is transferred to an electron in an atom of the PV cell (which is actually a semiconductor).With its new found energy, the electron escapes from its normal position in an atom of the semiconductor material and becomes part of the current in an electrical circuit. By leaving its position, the electron causes a hole to form. Special electrical properties of the PV cell—a built-in electric field—provide the voltage needed to drive the current through an external load (such as a light bulb).


    Blue1What is an inverter?

    Once the sun’s rays have been converted to electricity, that electricity is sent to a piece of equipment called an inverter. The inverter basically changes the DC (direct current) voltage produced by the photovoltaic panels into AC (alternating current) voltage. The inverter channels this AC voltage into your existing electrical system for distribution throughout your home or office. So, all you have to do is… nothing.

    Blue1What happens when I produce more energy from my system than I am currently using?

    Any energy you produce during daylight hours which is above and beyond your current usage (residential or commercial) is sent back to the power company who provides credits to you for this unused power. Generally, you will use these credits up in the evening hours when there is no sunlight to provide electricity from your solar electric system. You can think of the power company as a bank for your extra electricity with debits and credits from your solar electric system as needed.

    Blue1How do I take advantage of the federal tax credit?

    As of January 1, 2009 to December 31, 2012, the federal tax credit for solar electric installation amounts to 30% of the installed cost of your solar electric system and has no cap to the amount of the credit.

    Blue1Will I still need my power company?

    Although complete systems which include battery backup can allow you to operate completely free from the power grid, to qualify for the state rebate, a solar electric system must be grid-tied, or connected to the power company’s power grid. This will allow excess energy produced by your solar electric system to be sent back to the power company and thereby credited to your account with them.

    Blue1Will there be some way for me to see the power production of my system?

    Most installations come with Smart Monitoring, an online performance monitor account. After system installation you may register for an account. Logged into your account you can view your power production in days, weeks, months etc. In addition, most installations also have a handy wireless wall-mount display which allows you to monitor the performance of your system at any time without being logged into your online account.

    Blue1What happens when the power from the power company goes out?

    By design, the typical solar electric system will cease providing power to your electrical system in the event of a power outage. This acts as a safety feature against any electricity being sent back to the power company’s grid during an outage. Such ‘energizing’ of the power lines during an outage could potentially be harmful to any utility worker attempting to restore power to those lines. However, with the proper electrical equipment and battery backup system any solar electric system can be turned into a backup generation source for your home or office.

    Blue1Can I install a system with backup power?

    Yes. There are several factors to consider in deciding how much battery backup power you need, such as how much of your home or office you would like to power, and for how long. Our solar consultants would be happy to assist you in calculating system size and cost for a solar electric system with battery backup.

    Blue1What if I have a Home Owner’s Association – will I need approval?

    Although we strongly recommend working with your Home Owner’s Association and submitting your plans to them, Florida Statutes protect your right to install renewable energy to the most productive part of your roof.

    Blue1How durable is a solar electric system?

    Our panels are designed to withstand hail up to 1″ in diameter and are engineered to meet some of the toughest wind load codes in the country. The design of your solar electric system will be engineered to the specifications of your local county or municipality up to 150 MPH and will be inspected by the local governing authority to that specification.

    Blue1How long is a typical solar electric system designed to last?

    There is a 25 year manufacturer’s warranty on the photovoltaic solar electric panels and Small Jobs Electric provides a 3 year warranty on their inverter.

    Blue1How long does my warranty last?

    Photovoltaic solar electric has come a long way over the last century. A solar electric system is designed to continue to provide you with electricity for the next 25 plus years making this one of the best investments you can make.

    Blue1What maintenance is required for my solar electric system?

    Photovoltaic solar electric systems are essentially hands off. Set them and forget them. However, depending on the environment around your home, occasionally it may be necessary to clean them off like a window. We typically recommend cleaning them off once each year. If your application is in an area subject to excessive leaves, pollen or other environmental debris it may be better to clean them off a little more frequently to maintain maximum translucency.

    Blue1How long does it typically take to install a complete system?

    From the signing of the contract to the final inspection by your county or municipality it may take 4-6 weeks depending on the requirements of your local governing authority.

    Blue1Can I use my system to charge my electric car?

    Yes! Just like will use the energy your solar system produces to run appliances in your home, you will be able to use the power generated by the system to run your electric car.

    Please contact us today, for further information about how we can assist you.

    (813) 968-5856


    Electrical Panel warning signs and what to look for, Electric Blog

    Q – What are the 3 warning signs that your Electrical panel might need to be replaced?

  • Your panel is rusty or has a hole or holes in the top of the panel.
  • Lights are constantly flickering and you are always having to push the reset button on your GFCI protected outlets.
  • Breakers feel warm or hot to the touch.

  • Q – If my home is 30 or more years of age does my electrical panel need to be replaced?

  • Not necessarily, if the panel has been properly installed, you should consult a certified electrician to determine if your panel needs to be replaced.

  • Q – Does my panel have a main breaker disconnect?

  • If your panel doesn’t have a main breaker then you should contact an electrician to determine if your panel needs to be replaced. The main breaker acts as a disconnect switch to turn the power systems in your home off or on.

  • Q – Are there any particular brands of panels that I should be concerned about?

  • There are many different types of panels, but the most concerning one is federal pacific, which has an orange handle. (look at the following picture).

  • 1

  • If your home was built between 1950 & 1990 and has a federal pacific electric (FPE) circuit breaker panel with stab-lok circuit breakers, you run a significant risk of breaker malfunction and fire.
  • Zinsco electrical is another piece of equipment that is to be considered faulty, due to a design flaw where the circuit breakers connection to the bus bar starts to become loose, causing subsequent overheating. Long term exposure to this heat can cause the breaker to melt the bus bar, making it impossible to remove. Even worse, it can cause the breakers contact to integrate together, thus preventing the breaker from tripping even after an overcurrent situation, causing a potential fire hazard. (see picture below)

  • 2


    In all 3 cases, most insurance companies will allow you to renew the electrical panels under your qualified home owners insurance policy.
    If this hasn’t happened to you yet, don’t be surprised if one day you receive a letter from your insurance company that you need to update your electrical panel.

    5. Where should my electrical panel not be located in my home?

  • Bathrooms
  • Closets
  • Kitchen

  • If your electrical panel is located in any of these three locations, your panel should be moved to a safer location in your home. These three locations have a fire and shock hazard, so we can conclude that you cannot have an electrical breaker in any of those locations.

    6. Are all panels equal?

  • , just as all cars are not equal, there are many panels that aren’t good.
  • Many of those panels aren’t good because they may contain aluminum wiring and can be found at any electrical supply house.

  • Here at Small Jobs Electric, we understand that when you install an electrical panel, it is the heart of electricity entering your home, and we will provide and install the best electrical panel for you. We do this because we care about your safety and the longevity of your home and electrical panel.

    Please contact us today, for further information about how we can assist you.

    (813) 968-5856