How to

How to Install a Bathroom Exhaust Fan

When it comes to home ventilation, a bathroom vent is a crucial addition. Bathroom exhaust fans help remove odors, moisture-laden air and heat from the bathroom. In houses with multiple bathrooms, none of the bathrooms should share a vent no matter how close they are to each other. It’s best if each bathroom has their own exhaust fan. Mold growth, steamy mirrors, foggy windows, and other moisture-related problems can all be prevented with proper bathroom ventilation. For a bathroom with a size around 79 square feet, a small bathroom exhaust fan should provide adequate ventilation. Medium bathroom fans are adequate for bathrooms up to 100 square feet.

 Here are the steps you should take when installing an exhaust fan in your bathroom.

Create the Hole

Cutting a hole based on the size of the fan you’re installing is the first step you should take when installing a bathroom exhaust fan. It is best if the bathroom exhaust fan is placed above the toilet. Avoid placing it directly above the bathtub or shower. You should start by inserting a 16-inch roofing nail into the drywall of each corner where the fan will be installed to mark the location. The length of the nails should protrude into the attic, where you will continue installation. From the attic, find the location of the nails and outline the location with a pencil. Drill a hole in the drywall large enough to accept a saw blade, then cut out the plaster or drywall with a jigsaw or reciprocating saw. If the roof is inaccessible or there is no attic, locate a joist from the bathroom by using a stud sensor and use the fan enclosure as a guide while you cut the opening from below. Remember, never vent into the attic or a subfloor because the moist air you’re exhausting can create an environment perfect for mold growth.

Attach Fan Enclosure

Now it’s time to attach the fan enclosure to the joint with screws. Start by pushing back or cutting the insulation. There should be a 6-inch gap between the unit and insulation. Block the fan off from the insulation by cutting the pieces of a 2-foot x 4-foot board to fit between the joists then attach the pieces of wood with screws.

Make a Hole in the Roof

If you’re installing a bathroom fan side vent this won’t apply, otherwise keep reading! On the underside of the roof trace a circle large enough for the tailpipe and roof vent. Drill a hole through the roof using the traced circle for reference, then cut the circle out with the reciprocating saw. Next, cut the shingles on the roof from around the hole without damaging the roof paper underneath.

Roof Vent Installation

Slide the top flange of the roof vent under the shingles above it and let the bottom flange rest on the shingles below it. Seal the roof vent by applying roofing adhesive to the underside of the flanges. Use roofing nails to secure the vent flanges and seal the sides of the roof vent by installing shingles.

Connect the Fan

Once back inside, attach the flexible duct to the duct connector and slide clamps over the roof cap and fan and also the tail of the roof vent and fan. Tighten the clamps securely and wrap the joints with HVAC tape.

Wire the Fan and Switch

First make sure you cut off power at the circuit breaker. After shutting off the power, if no wiring is present then run wire cable from the switch to the fan. Use the manufacturer’s instructions to help you connect the wiring, then plug the fan motor into the built-in receptacle. If the fan and light switch has existing wiring, splice the white “neutral” wires and connect the grounds with wire connectors. Always take safety precautions such as using tools with rubber grips and wearing shoes with rubber soles when connecting wires. Next, connect power to both of the switches via two pigtails spliced to the feed wire. Connect the red and black wire to t heir switch terminals. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for testing and operating your bathroom fan.

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How to become a c10 Electrical Contractor

If you would like to work as an electrical contractor in California on a project valued more than $500 then you are required to have a c10 electrical contractor license issued by the California Contractors State License Board (CSLB). You could face jail or be held legally answerable if you contract without a license. According to the California Code of Regulations, a c10 electrical contractor is any contractor that installs or connects any electrical wires, appliances, conduits, raceways, fixtures, solar photovoltaic cells, raceways or any system that generates, transforms, transmits or utilizes electrical energy in any form. Let’s look over the things you need to become a c10 electrical contractor.

When it comes to getting your c10 electrical contractor license in California, experience is a must. At least four years of job experience is required at a journeyman level or higher and there are two tests you must pass in order to be issued the license. There is an electrical contractor test and a business and law test.  Only upon successful completion of these two tests can you be issued your license. You will also need to complete one year of work as an electrical journeyman. However, you can receive three years of credit if you have completed an apprenticeship program and skip the four-year general requirement.

A copy of the Original Contractor’s License packet can be found at The California Contractors State License Board official website. This packet can help you familiarize yourself with the basics of the licensing procedure. The California Contractors State License Board requires applicants to submit a certificate of work experience from any employer. At least a year of work experience will be required.

Complete the application and turn it in for submission, ensuring you have provided all supplementary documents required and have paid any relevant fees. You will receive a request for your fingerprints as well as a notification to appear for examination. The CSLB will provide instructions on how send an electronic copy of your fingerprints from a local live scan facility. Once you have sent a copy of your fingerprints you will get a receipt from the live scan facility which should be submitted to the CSLB no later than 90 days after receiving your fingerprints request.

You will be required to sit for the two required tests after completing the above. The time and date of the tests will be sent with your exam notice. If you fail to appear for the exam at the requested time and date, you may be able to reschedule for a fee. Test results will be gathered before you leave the exam site and can be provided to you. After completing the exam instructions for submitting a surety bond and proof of worker’s compensation insurance will be given to you, along with a licensing fee. You should get a $15,000 surety bond and submit the original bond to the CSLB within a 90-day time frame of the bonds effective date.  You can get workers compensation insurance from any licensed insurance agency. Submit a copy of your insurance to the CSLB upon receiving it.

After passing the exams, submitting your fingerprints, getting a surety bond and paying the licensing fee, you can officially receive your wallet-sized pocket license in addition to a wall certificate. The wall certificate must be displayed in your main office at all times.

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How to Install A Light Dimmer

How to Install a Light Dimmer

Instead of switching your lights on and off, you can get a light dimmer that enables you to navigate through a wide range of light. Light dimmers are typically designed to fit the regular wall box opening, so replacing regular switches for incandescent or halogen lights is simple. There are two wire configurations that dimmers come with: single-pole standard dimmers and three-way dimmers. Single-pole dimmers enable you to control the light with a single switch. Three-way dimmers on the other hand, enable you to control the light with two switches. One switch lets you to turn the lights on and off and the other lets you dim the lights. You should use a three-way dimmer switch if you currently have two switches for controlling lights or even a group of lights.

Safety Precautions

Shut power to the circuit off at the breaker box before starting. Always use rubber-grip tools and wear proper shoes with rubber soles when handling wires. If the lights you currently have installed are regular compact fluorescent lights, you may want to consider swapping them out. Most dimmer switches are not intended to be used with fluorescent lights unless the packaging labels the CFLs as “dimmable.” Another thing to consider is if the switch is attached to a ceiling fan, as current fluctuations can burn ceiling fan motors out rather quickly.

The Tools

  • Wire cutters
  • Voltage tester
  • Slotted screwdriver
  • Philips-head screwdriver
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Wire Strippers

The Materials

  • Dimmers
  • Wall plates
  • Wire connectors
  • Electrical tape

Remove Existing Switch

After confirming that power to the circuit is shut off, remove the existing wall plate and the screws attaching the switch to the wall box. Pull the switch away from the wall carefully and leave any bundles of white wires you may see in the back of the wall. Test the wires with a voltage tester to verify that they aren’t carrying an electrical current. Switch off the correct circuit breaker if the tester detects voltage and then test again. If you are removing a three-way switch, one wire will be connected to a screw labeled “common” or a screw that has a different color. This is not to be confused with the ground wire which is usually connected to a green screw. Disconnect all of the wire from the old switch, removing any wire nuts around the switch wires in the process.

Connect New Dimmer

Use a wire stripper to cut off twisted ends of bent house wires and remove ¾ inch of casing from the end of the house wires if necessary. Connect the ground wire from the dimmer to the bare copper or green wire in the wall box then twist the ends together and cap them with a wire connector nut. Grip the wire ends from the dimmer and connect each one to a house wire by twisting them together. Dimmer wires are usually black, while the house wires could be red, white, black or have black marking. Twist a wire nut over each pair of wire ends securely. Trim the ends of bare exposed wires by unscrewing the wire connector and trimming the ends with a wire cutter. Re-cap the wires when finished trimming.

If installing a three-way switch, follow the same steps as above but connect the black dimmer wire to the common wire discussed previously. Then connect the two remaining dimmer wires, known as traveler wires, separately to the remaining wires in the wall. Mount the dimmer to the wall with the provided screws and then attach the wall plate.

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How to install a GFCI

Installing a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) can be simple and easy. A GFCI can prevent electrocution by cutting off power when it detects a foreign object coming into contact with it. It works by detecting a ground fault or leakage current and tripping the electrical circuits within milliseconds. Electricity is the cause of more than 100,000 fires each year and results in thousands of injuries. Let’s not forget the billions of dollars in economic losses! Avoiding electrical hazards are essential for modern day safety. A properly installed GFCI is the best safety device a home or business can have when it comes to preventing electrical fires. So how easy is it to install?

Safety First

Always remember to shut off the power to the outlet before you start the installation of the GFCI to avoid any risk of electrical shock. After shutting off power to the circuit, mark the breaker switch with a pen so you’ll be able to find it again in the future and if necessary, place a note on the panel warning others not to turn it on. You should wear shoes with rubber soles and use tools with rubber handles for extra precaution. The amp rating of the GFCI should match the amp rating of the wiring and breaker, this is very important! If this is your first time installing a GFCI you may want to take a photo of the current outlet before you disconnect the wires should you need to reference it later. Next, you should remove the wall plate and use the tester to verify the power is completely off.

Existing Outlet

After removing the outlet cover plate and using the circuit tester to verify the power is shut off, remove the two screws that hold the outlet in place. Gently pull the outlet out of the box. Now, you can start disconnecting the wires to the outlet. There are typically three wires connecting to the outlet. These wires include a green or pure copper wire, a black “hot” wire and a white “neutral” wire. Sometimes outlets have two pairs of white wires or two pairs of black wires connected to it, which means the outlet feeds power to the other outlets connected to the circuit. In this case, you will have to find out which pair of wires provides power from the primary panel.

After identifying the wires, remove them from the outlet and separate the ends so their bare tips will not touch each other or anything around. Restore power at the panel and use the circuit tester to determine which pair of wires carry the power. Those wires should be marked with masking tape. Now you can s hut the power off again to the circuit at the main panel.

GFCI Installation

GFCI outlets are pre-wired with two sets of wires marked “Line” and “Load.” The line wire functions similar to the hot wire and supplies incoming power. The load wire distributes power to additional outlets installed on the same circuit. Load wires on the GFCI also provide short-circuit and shock protection to those outlets. So the additional outlets also have shock protection, making it unnecessary to install GFCIs on every outlet.

  • Unscrew the terminal screws on the new GFCI then connect the black “hot” wire to the brass screw terminal labeled “line” on the GFCI outlet by inserting it into the wire hole and tightening the screw.
  • Next, connect the white “neutral” wire to the silver terminal screw labeled “line” wire on the GFCI outlet, remembering to tighten the terminal screw.
  • Tip: Always attach white to white and black to black.
  • If the outlet box includes four wires and a ground, take the second black wire and connect it to the brass screw terminal marked “load” and the second white wire to the silver screw terminal marked “load.”
  • Remember, the ground wire is always green or bare copper. Connect the ground wire to the green ground screw terminal and secure it in place by tightening the terminal screw.

Bend the wires carefully and push the GFCI into the wall, then tighten the mounting screws to secure the GFCI into the wall. Lastly, install the wall plate and go restore the power. Press the reset button on the GFCI. If it does not reset, then line and load wires may have been reversed during the installation process. In this case, contact a qualified electrician or refer to the “Testing” section of the manufacturer’s instruction sheet.

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