Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Year's Eve Eve!!!

Thanks for checking out Ask Doug The Electrician!
Happy New years Eve Eve to all!!! I hope that you take the time to reflect on the past year and become wiser from it. Even though some of us have had an unusually bad year, there are others who have had it so much worse, and still need help. I have seen so many people out on the streets lately that its unreal to me. I would like to help out people when I pass by, but I actually cannot help them out with something other than a hello or a conversation.
Next year my wife and I have decided to volunteer in some ways to help out people who are in need. We are not exactly sure yet where we will be helping or how we will be helping but we will be helping in some way, the best we can.
Next year will be awesome! Especially if you think and feel that it will be.
“It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things” Theodore Roosevelt

Talk to you soon,

Monday, December 7, 2009

Clean Energy

Welcome back to Ask Doug The Electrician!

In 2002, California established its Renewable Portfolio Standard Program, with the goal of increasing the percentage of renewable energy in the state's electricity mix to 20% by 2017. 2003 Integrated Energy Policy Report recommended accelerating that goal to 20% by 2010, and the 2004 Energy Report Update further recommended increasing the target to 33 percent by 2020. The state's Energy Action Plan supported this goal.

In 2006 under Senate Bill 107, California's Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) was created and codified the 20 percent goal. It is one of the most ambitious renewable energy standards in the country. The RPS program requires electric utilities and provicders to increase procurement from eligible renewable energy resources by at least 1% of their retail sales annually, until they reach 20% by 2010.

On November 17, 2008, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Executive Order S-14-08 requiring that California utilities reach the 33% renewables goal by 2020.

Solar energy—power from the sun—is free, inexhaustible, and can be used to directly generate heat, lighting, and electricity. All the energy stored in Earth's reserves of coal, oil, and natural gas is matched by the energy from just 20 days of sunshine. Solar photovoltaic technology is one of the fastest growing energy sources worldwide.

No single solution can meet our society's future energy needs. The answer lies instead in a family of diverse energy technologies that share a common thread: they do not deplete our natural resources or destroy our environment. Renewable energy technologies tap into natural cycles and systems, turning the ever-present energy around us into usable forms.

Thanks for stopping by Ask Doug The Electrician!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Holiday Lights Installation This Year

Hello and welcome to Ask Doug The Electrician!
I just wanted to let you know that we are installing holiday lights this and every year to come! We are also a distributer or ALL HOLIDAY LIGHTING now, so if you have any request's about any electrical issues, voltage issues or what types and pricing of any lighting, let me know!!!
Happy Holidays to ALL!
Ask Doug The Electrician!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Cool Solar Information

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! I hope that you are all able to have time to spend with the ones you love!
Here is some cool information that you may have not heard about.
Three key elements in a solar cell form the basis of their manufacturing technology. The first is the semiconductor, which absorbs light and converts it into electron-hole pairs. The second is the semiconductor junction, which separates the photo-generated carriers (electrons and holes), and the third is the contacts on the front and back of the cell that allow the current to flow to the external circuit. The two main categories of technology are defined by the choice of the semiconductor: either crystalline silicon in a wafer form or thin films of other materials.

Solar energy is dependent upon nuclear power. Solar Energy's nuclear power plant, though, is 93 million miles away.

An average crystalline silicon cell solar module has an efficiency of 15%, an average thin film cell solar module has an efficiency of 6%. Thin film manufacturing costs potentially are lower, though.

A Megawatt is 1,000,000 Watts; a Gigawatt is 1000 Megawatts.

The earth receives more energy from the sun in just one hour than the world uses in a whole year.

Two billion people in the world have no access to electricity. For most of them, solar photovoltaics would be their cheapest electricity source, but they cannot afford it.

Crystalline Silicon cell technology forms about 90% of solar cell demand. The balance comes from thin film technologies.

Approximately 45% of the cost of a silicon cell solar module is driven by the cost of the silicon wafer, a further 35% is driven by the materials required to assemble the solar module.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Save Money Now! Power Save Product's in Stock!

Hello all! Ask Doug The Electrician here! I just wanted to remind you about an immediate way to save money on your electricity bill AND increase the life expectancy of any motor driven appliance in your home or business. Our Power Save devices take about 1 hour only to install and as soon as it is turned on, its saving you electricity and money! The Power-Save unit's reduce the amount of power drawn from the utility by storing electricity otherwise lost from the motors in your home. The unit supplies this stored electricity back to your appliances, decreasing demand from the utility. Decreasing demand means less usage and lower electric bills!

Our Power-Save Solar Attic fan removes hot air from the attic keeping your home cooler while maximizing your air conditioner's efficiency. The solar powered fan draws no electricity from the utility and will cost you nothing to operate!

We also stock radiant barrier insulation. This is the insulation that is generally in you attic space helping keep the temperature in your home tolerable. In a test with standard R-19 insulation and the Power Save R-19 with radiant barrier, there is a difference of 59.3 degrees F between the two within a half hour. This difference is due to the Power-Save Radiant Barrier's ability to reflect radiant heat away from the insulation!Fiberglass re-inforced (perforated) aluminum foil insulation; Fire retardant; Reflects 95% of radiation heat Perforated aluminum foil radiant barrier to eliminating sweating; Use for attics, roof and walls ; Easily stapled into place in attic on ceiling joists or rafters, sealed with aluminum tape; Adhesion Good on clean and dry surface; No Discoloration Resistance Excellent resistance to water, water vapor, oxidation and weathering.

I hope this information helps you out! Thank you for stopping by Ask Doug The Electrician! Feel free to email anytime if you have any questions or concern.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Solar Lowers Your Carbon Footprint

Hello again from Ask Doug The Electrician! Just a quick note, by going solar, you can dramatically reduce your carbon footprint. Each solar kilowatt hour (kWh) offsets more than a pound of carbon dioxide (CO2).

For example, by installing a 4kw PV (photovoltaic) system, the average size for a California household, you can reduce your carbon emissions equal to driving more than 12,000 miles in an average passenger car, or equal to the amount of C02 absorbed by ~1 acre of trees.

Plus, solar systems are extremely reliable, able to produce clean energy from the sun for up to 25 years! There is quite a big difference in potentially changing the way we use electricity, so feel free to look into the possibilities of helping.

See you next time, thank you!
Ask Doug The Electrician!

Thursday, November 19, 2009



November 20, 2009
San Jose, California

Douglas Doherty Electric, a local residential niche electrician, is now providing renewable energy solutions for the local Bay Area. Recognizing the existing increasing demand for "On Grid" power supply, Douglas Doherty is taking a stand towards creating and installing innovative technology here and now, as a standard for our future.
As a dealer of renewable energy materials, Douglas is able to offer optimum products, pricing and service. To include solar panels and accessories, fuel cell's, wind turbines, home surge protection devices, electrical panels and disconnect units. All consultation's, city permitting and federal incentive paperwork, and installations are completed by Douglas himself.

Please contact Douglas Doherty at 408.499.1307 for an appointment.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Solar System Types

Hello again, thanks for stopping by Ask Doug The Electrician!
I have been asked recently what types of Solar systems are there and which one is best for a home in the local Bay Area. By harnessing the power of the sun, wind or water, people all over the world produce their own pollution-free reliable electricity. As more families, individuals and businesses generate their own renewable electricity we will reduce pollution, provide more electricity for all to use, reduce the use of fossil fuels, and make the electricity on the grid “greener”!
So, there are basically three types of renewable energy systems. Grid tie Systems, Grid tie with battery backup systems, and Off grid systems.
Grid tied systems do not use batteries! The panels work by producing DC power during sunlight hours and converting it to AC power through an inverter. The inverter then feeds the load required by the home, before pushing the remaining AC power through a "net meter" out to the grid.
Net meters are provided by your utility company when you install the system. The net meter is a bi-directional electric meter that spins forward as usual when you are using more power in your home than you are producing with your panels (at night, for instance), and spins BACKWARD when you are producing more electricity than you are using in your home. This is how you generate credits with your utility!
A grid-tie system with battery backup feeds excess solar electricity
to the grid and provides backup power when the utility
grid is down. With this type of system you sacrifice some power
generation efficiency in exchange for having power when there
is a utility power failure. The amount of backup power you
have depends on the size of the battery and electrical loads
that draw on them.
This type of power system is independent of the utility grid. It
can use solar modules, a wind generator, a micro-hydroelectric
generator, or a combination of any or all of them to produce
your electric power. Owners of this type of system often use
a gas or diesel generator for backup when the power system
does not meet all of the needs.
I hope that this helps you understand solar systems a bit better. There are also wind powered systems, fuel cell systems, and water systems. I will discuss these with you soon!
Thanks again for checking out Ask Doug The Electrician!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Solar Tax Incentives

Hello all, thanks for stopping by Ask Doug The Electrician!
Federal Tax Incentives On Residential Solar Thermal Systems Now Uncapped
The new economic stimulus plan passed by Congress, and signed by President Obama, removed the cap on residential solar hot water systems. Residential PV systems and commercial solar thermal systems now qualify for a 30% federal income tax credit with no cap. This means that customers now get the entire 30% of the cost of their system back, instead of the $2,000 limit that was previously in place.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Solar Backpacks

Hey, its Doug The Electrician! Check out these solar charging backpacks! Come on, you cant beat just walking around and generating free electricity!!! Keep your laptop running while you are waiting for the train, or plane or automobile!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Save Money Now! Power Save Unit

Hello All! Welcome again to Ask Doug The Electrician!

Save your money and electricity immediately! See 8% - 25% reduction on your next energy bill. PLUS provide Surge Protection for your entire electrical system for 2000 joules! What is this Doug, you ask? Its a 6" X 6" X 4" device that I can install in 45 minutes or less, start saving electricity needed for your house immediately and will pay for itself in about 6 months. I have been installing them for a couple of years now, and they work! Designed by a NASA engineer, approved by UL, the Department of Energy, and CSA certified. Its life expectancy is 60,000 hours at 95% survival!

The unit provides energy savings by reducing the amount of power drawn from your utility with the use of specially designed harmonic resistant capacitors. Power-Save 1200 systems optimize your home's power factor thus reducing the amount of energy your homes motor loads use such as air conditioners, refrigerators, freezers, washers, dryers, dishwashers, pool pumps, vacuum cleaners, furnace blower motors, fans, etc. Motor loads require more energy to do their work compared to other electrical equipment in your home. The Power-Save 1200's "Power Factor Optimization" significantly increases the efficiency of your motor load and stores waste energy resulting in decreased demand and usage of electricity from your utility company. This equates to significant cost savings for you, the home owner.

COMPLETE INSTALLATION WAS $825, but times are not too awesome right now.... So I’m offering my own economic stimulus and installing them for $685! Please call or email to reserve yours. Additionally, POWERSAVE guarantee’s 60 days Customer Satisfaction!

Check out these two links below. The first is a CBS news team showing an actual installation with savings results.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Solar Rebates

Hello from Doug The Electrician!

If you buy electricity from one of California's three investor-owned utilities (Pacific Gas and Electric, Southern California Edison, or San Diego Gas & Electric), and you have roof or ground space that gets unobstructed sunlight from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. year round, you qualify for cash back incentives through the California Solar Initiative. Customers of municipal utilities also qualify for incentives through their municipal service provider.
In January 2007, the State of California launched Go Solar California, which included two new solar incentive programs, with slightly modified program requirements compared to the older programs, like the Emerging Renewables Program and the Million Solar Roofs Program. The Energy Commission provides incentives to energy efficient new home construction under the New Solar Homes Partnership. All other facilities in investor-owned utility territories receive rebates from the CPUC-administered program, the California Solar Initiative.
The California Solar Initiative (CSI) offers financial incentives for solar installations based on the expected performance of a given solar installation. The expected performance is derived from the size of the solar array, and also takes into consideration the angle and location of the system installation. For larger systems, the incentive is based on the actual performance of the system over the first five years.
Stop by again for more information!
Thank you from Doug
Ask Doug The Electrician!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

We are now installing SOLAR/PHOTOVOLTAIC systems


I am excited to be a part of the growth of self-generating power! Photovoltaic/Solar solutions are a wave of the future, and the future is definitely now. With so many options now available, and a standard 25 year warranty on panels or Modules, and up to 50% in rebates, more and more customers are inquiring about ways to get off the "Grid". Installations that are available now range from residences to commercial buildings, and even portable weekend units for camping or charging your electric car! One of the newest products that I am excited about is a Photovoltaic paint. Thats right, paint it on and hook up your DC power charging system! Awesome ideas and innovative movements towards a greener planet. Its a great time to act and help become a part of a solution to helping our planet recover!
Thank you again!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Should I get City permits?

Hello All ! Are you questioning whether or not to request/pull a permit with your city because of work at your home? Ask Doug the Electrician ! In most cases, when you are dealing with electrical circuitry or devices, it is a good idea to get a permit before you begin work. Most contractors should know that it is a requirement, depending on the scope of work you are completing. Not all work needs to have a permit, like sheet rock repairs, painting rooms or walls, patching various holes inside or out, etc. You can change all the cover plates on the switch's and outlets too. Most city's have a website to answer any questions you have about detailed information about your project. The city wants your money, period. The city of San Jose, CA., requests that you pull a permit to change out 1 outlet or switch. I personally feel that is going overboard, but, if you were to have someone change out ALL of your outlets and switch's in your home, then I would absolutely recommend pulling a permit. First of all, the city will note the improvements on you home with city records, which brings the value of your home up. Second, even though you (SHOULD ONLY) hired a licensed electrician, national electrical codes are brought into the current law often, and the city will be sure to inform the electrician of any changes that need to be made in order to comply. Main electrical panel changes, upgrades or additions, should also be permitted for the same previous reasons.
So! On your next project at home, especially if you are hiring a contractor, ask them about permits as well. If they seem like they would really rather not, or they try to convince you not to and you are not to sure, DONT HIRE THEM. They could be unlicensed and do not have the correct knowledge to correctly complete your project. Its a good idea to get a couple or even three estimates for your project, so you can basically interview each person to make sure you are comfortable FIRST! Working with someone who you can relate and communicate exactly what you are hiring them for is the best way to make yourself feel accomplished, and satisfy your projects need the way YOU WANT IT!
Thanks again, please reply if you have any questions or concerns!
Doug The Electrician !

Monday, August 24, 2009

Save Electricity With Dimmers!

Dimmer switch's are a great and easy way to generate ambient light, and they can instantly start saving you money on your electricity consumption and bill. A low cost dimmer switch generally runs in between $18 and $35. DO NOT BUY ANYTHING CHEAPER! And, as a rule, I only purchase name brand devices such as Lutron, Hubbell, Leviton, Legrand or Watt Stopper. I have actually seen a $10 dimmer switch installed in the wall, catch on fire. It was at a friends home, who ordered it online.... We were both fortunate enough to be there to both witness and save the event from a catastrophe. The UL listing on every device you buy should also be apparent on the packaging.
Dimmer switch's come with an awesome variety of functions, including pre-programmed functions and remote dimming. There are "green" type dimmers now from Lutron that have an indicator light that shows you when you are saving at least 15% as compared to a "full on" setting. Most all dimmer types are available in 3 way, 4 way and so on, so you can install them in hallways or larger rooms with more than one entry. Remote dimmers, and IR ( Infrared )are becoming more popular because of their mobile capability's.
A typical residential single-location 600W dimmer ranges from
$18 for standard dimmers to $65 for advanced dimmers. This investment can be easily recouped by substantial energy savings that result from using the dimmer. Here’s how:

1. Average residential dimmer load = 300 watts
2. Average energy savings while dimmer is in use = 20%
3. Average daily residential dimmer use = 3 hours
4. Total electricity savings = decrease in load (300 watts x 20%) x hours used (3
hrs/day x 365 days) = 65.7kWh / year
5. Average cost of residential electricity = $0.112 per kWh
6. Average annual cost savings = 65.7 kWh/year x $0.112/kWh= $7.36/ year, per dimmer installed.

Dimmers are generally designed to last about 10 years. With that in mind, you can potentially save $73.60 in the 10 years of use X each dimmer in your home. The more you dim, the more you save
Dimmers operated for longer periods of time, at dimming levels greater than 20%, save
even more electricity and money. For example, here’s what happens when you dim a
light by 50% for 5 hours/day:
1. Annual electricity savings = decrease in load (300 watts x 50%) x hours used (5
hs/day x 365 days) = 270kWh/yr
2. Annual cost savings = 270kWh/yr x $0.112/kWh = $30.24/ a year. In this case, a single residential dimmer saves $30.24/year. This would reduce this
payback period for an average dimmer (at $16) to less than seven months. These calculations are available on Lutron's website at

Thanks for reading! Talk next time,
Ask Doug the electrician!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Ask Douglas Doherty Electric! Logo

Work Completed!

Changing cover plates in your house

Hi ! Its Doug... Does anyone have dirty yucky cover plates on their switch's or outlet's? It happens! Generally you can spray a cloth or paper towel with an antibacterial 409 type of cleaner, then wipe away the gunft and grime! If the plates are an older type or painted, chipped, cracked, wallpapered,etc. then changing them an is easy task. You only need one small flathead screwdriver, thin and tight (examination type) rubber gloves, and the new plates! Be sure to try to use a smaller flathead screwdriver because the cover plate screws have a small slot on them. You don't want to strip the screw, they are sometimes easy to do that with a larger screwdriver.
So here's your first step in replacing the cover plates in your home :

1. Put on your rubber gloves. If you don't, you will get the grime from touching the old plates on your wall. It always happens. So, now take one switch plate completely off, generally two small screws on top and bottom. Then take one outlet plate completely off, which is generally one screw in the middle. Take off your gloves, you definitely don't want to go to the store wearing them.
2. Take those plates to the supply store that your new plates await, and be sure to match the switch and outlet types with the new. This way you will avoid any unnecessary trips back and forth.
3. Once you are ready to install the new plates, lay them out at each of their new locations on the floor below. Be sure to open each cover plate package individually, at each switch or outlet. This way, if you drop the small screws out of the package, you can retrieve them because you are PAYING ATTENTION. Easy, huh?
4. Place the new plate on the wall with one hand, and set in the first small screw with the other. I usually have my screwdriver in my tool bags, but a close pocket works great for quick reaching! So, grab your driver and set/screw in the screw just until it gets slightly snug. DO NOT OVER TIGHTEN! The plate could break, so be easy. I usually set the screw/screws to face straight up and down, so it gives a professional look!
5. If the plate is not exactly straight, you can sometimes gently place the screwdriver at either top or bottom of the edge of the plate, and give a slight bump on the end of the driver to move the plate. Sometimes you need to bump a little tougher to move it into a straight position, but don't try too hard. If it does not move at all, then leave it alone. Your electrician will need to take a look at it and probably straighten up the circuitry behind the device. No worries, at least you have a nice new plate!
THATS IT! If you are not too certain about touching the switch's or outlets because of the electricity, you can always ask a friend to help. YOU KNOW HOW NOW THOUGH, so thats cool.

Thanks for reading, and please stay tuned for more electrical fun!

Doug the electrician!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Troubleshooting today - Friday August 7, 2009

Happy Friday! This week I completed a full kitchen remodel, which included all new circuitry and LED recessed lighting. We also are installing electronic ballast under cabinet lighting, which will be on a separate switch. This project is unique because we are installing plug molding made by TASK lighting. The Customer is installing a full backsplash with glass and tile, so they did not want to see the outlets and cover plates. Awesome idea, and it turns out really well. I will review the fixtures once I install them next week. We passed our city inspection and there are no code issues, so the Customer has a crew of sheet rockers to button up the walls, and tape and texture!
Our project today involved a existing junction box in the kitchen that was buried behind the sheet rock. We discovered it while working this week. The Customer did not want it there, so we had to figure a way to eliminate it. So.... We cut a bit more sheet rock open to trace our circuits and take off the stapling. Lucky! The buried junction box was an older switch box for the front entry lighting, and we were able to redirect our circuitry into the entry lighting box. Which is where the circuits belonged in the first place. NEVER bury circuitry in the walls. There in always a solution!
Doug the electrician!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Welcome to Ask Doug The ELectrician's Blog!

Hello to all! Thanks for checking out my blog. I'm new to this, but not new to electrical talk! Most of my jobs involve informing the Customer of the work done at their home or business. That way They feel comfortable about my work, and I do as well. Please feel free to ask me any questions about your electrical system or its components in your home or business. I have been in the construction industry for over 12 years, and I have been lucky to have learned a great deal about the different construction trades and their practices. I have been in the electrical industry since 2000, and I almost wonder what would have happened if I would have got into it much sooner... Wow! I like that thought! Anyway, please feel free to ask any question you may have and If I do not know the answer right off, I WILL FIND IT! I always tell my Customers to please feel free to ask me any question about anything electrical, because I'll get them an answer.
Doug The Electrician!