Category Archives: Blog

The Importance of Using Licensed vs. Un-Licensed Contractors

In today’s world where the economy is at a low plateau, people are trying to cut costs in any way possible. The main reason behind the old saying “there is a high price to the low bid.” is because of unlicensed contractors. Hiring an unlicensed contractor usually leads to problems. One of the most important things you’ll need when building a new office space, a home or opening up a business, is a licensed contractor.

There are several reasons why you should want a licensed contractor to complete your work.

First of all, perhaps the job wasn’t done properly, and you decide to take legal action, there’s a better chance that you’ll get the ruling in your favor. On the other hand, hiring someone without the proper certification just to save money, will look bad on your side.

Being aware that someone is certified allows you to feel confident in their skills. Hiring a licensed contractor also puts you in a better position to have your project completed properly. On the other hand, someone who lacks proper certification and skill could cause you to waste money and potential safety risks.

Finally, a licensed contractor could save you from the headache of having to do a job repeatedly. When a worker does a shabby job, the next thing to do is to find a professional to do the work over. So, now you’re forced to pay for the work a second time.

The Bottom Line
Please before hiring, check out your contractor. It could be straightforward telephone calls, checking the contractor’s state license board (cslb) to check the status of the contractor or asking for referrals. The time you spend being diligent can save you thousands down the road.

Grounding Outlets

3 Reasons To Have a Professional Install Grounding Outlets
If you own or rent a home with old electrical wiring, chances are that many of the wall outlets will not be grounded. Many years ago, before appliances and electrical devices were made with 3-prong plugs, electrical cords only had two prongs. The third ground wire was added to protect people and electrical devices in case of fault. The ground wire essentially gives the electricity a place to go in case it ever faulted. If a three-prong adapter is simply placed over the 2-prong outlet without rewiring it, you put yourself at risk for an electric shock, because the electricity will go through you instead of the ground, since it’s not there. What follows are three good reasons to have a professional install grounding outlets in your home.

Do It Right – The First Time
When it comes to matters of electricity and rewiring outlets or installing new, grounded three-prong outlets, it’s important to have an expert install them who understands how everything should be connected. The average homeowner doesn’t always have the knowledge or the experience in this field, and with something as precarious as electricity, it’s a good idea to contact a professional. Improperly wired outlets can result in ruining the electrical components of expensive gadgets, or at worst, giving you or another family member an electric shock.

Education and Know-How
Your local San Jose electrician has had specialized training the field – they’re going to know exactly what to do when it comes to hooking up grounding wires to your circuit breaker as well as proper procedures for installing new grounding outlets or rewiring existing two-prong outlets. Sometimes people think they can fix the problem themselves by just replacing the outlet covers with 3-prong covers, but that’s not the case – that plug still won’t be grounded, and it puts you at risk. New wiring that’s the correct size for the application needs to be installed correctly, and you can trust a professional who’s well-trained and educated to do the job right.

Save Money in the Long Run
When you hire a professional San Jose electrician to install grounding outlets, you can have peace of mind knowing you’re saving yourself money in the long run. It costs more of your money and time to try and do the research and do it yourself, purchase special tools, wiring, and other supplies that you likely won’t have on hand, as opposed to hiring a professional who has these things already. You’ll save yourself weekends of headaches and research when you decide to call a professional electrician who is an expert in the field.

If you need grounded outlets installed in your home, give us a call at Dollens Electric to find out how we can help. Our team of expert electricians is ready and willing to assist you, whether you need new grounded outlets or wiring for a new bathroom fan, we look forward to providing you with excellent customer service.

4 Tips for Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

Solar Panel Installation

If you own an electric vehicle, you know the importance of having a charging station available when and where you need it. Saving on fuel costs, being environmentally friendly, and all of the other benefits of electric vehicles are great, but they don’t always outweigh the inconvenience of not being able to charge when you need to. This makes it a good idea to have electric charging stations installed in all the places you visit most. There are several considerations you should take into account when hiring an EVC installer.

Where can your EVC be installed?
At Dollens Electric, we can install your EVC station at almost any location. However, we specialize in making electric vehicles convenient for owners; so we offer installations in homes, businesses, vacation homes, or anywhere else our customers spend a lot of time or visit frequently. Having a charger on hand helps you use your EV to its best ability and cuts down on the hassle of finding a charging station elsewhere.

Is the installer certified?
Your electric vehicle is important to you; so you want to be sure that the installer who is setting up your EVC station is highly skilled. Dollens journeymen electricians are all experienced and certified to install EVC’s. As a customer, you can feel confident that your station will be installed with precision and accuracy. Our electricians work to understand each customer’s individual needs and complete the installation accordingly.

Is your installation compliant with all applicable codes?
Our San Jose electric services have been dealing with electric codes for years. We understand what it takes to be compliant, and we insure that every job we do meets all requirements. When installing EVC’s, we are also aware of the Automotive standards which apply to EV’s. Our electricians make sure that your installation is compliant all the way around. You won’t need to worry about code violations from either the electric or the automotive industry.

Is your installation guaranteed?
No one wants to consider the fact that something with their EVC stations might malfunction. However, should this occur, it’s important to be prepared. Dollens Electric stands behind our work. We offer customers a three-year warrantee on parts. Furthermore, because of the confidence we have in the skill of our electricians, we offer a lifetime warrantee on craftsmanship. Our customers are very important to us, and we will work to remedy any issue they might have.

If you need San Jose electric services, we would be honored to work with you. Please feel free to contact us to discuss how we can help you with all your EVC stations needs.

Whole House Fans

whole house fans

Summer has arrived, and so has trying to find ways to keep a house cool during the warmer months. A recent article by ABC news says that electricity rates in California are due to go up by up to 80%! People do not always like to spend extra money on electric bills each month just to have an air conditioner for this task. There are cheaper alternatives to this costly increase on the electric bill. One of the best options is to use modern, whole house fans.

Savings on Electric Bill
One of the first things people will notice about their electric bills when using a whole house fan is that it does not raise the electric bill much. An air conditioner, on the other hand, requires 3000 watts or more of power. At the most, whole house fans will use at least 140 fewer watts than that.

Low Speeds are Good
Most modern fans are great at operating on low speeds. They do not break down over time as much as older fans, and they do so without using much electricity. These fans are also great at pushing cool air through the house and hot air out through the ceiling and then the roof. They can usually do so without higher speeds, which mean they will also be less noisy.

Less Dirt and Fewer Allergens
Older fans generally operated like a helicopter in the way that they would draw air into a house. Modern models do not do this task, so it does not force air and all of the debris in it into the house. Modern fans, especially when operating at lower speeds, do not work as hard to force air through the house, so it does not kick up dust and grime. This factor is essential for people who have asthma and other breathing problems as it means softening their breathing experience.

Installing a Whole House Fan
In most cases, a professional needs to be hired in order to install one of these fans. They will be able to make the right assessment of where to place the fan in the house and how to wire it into a home’s electrical system. The professionals at San Jose Electrician are the best option for this task. They provide a three year warranty on their work, and they work closely with people to make sure their goals for cooling their home is achieved.

Placement of the Whole Fan Unit
In most cases, people will place their whole house fan unit in their attic. In this location, it is easy to direct cooler air down through the house and elevate hot air toward the roof so it can be pushed out by ventilation systems. More accurately, a whole house fan ends up in the floor joists between the upper most story of the house and the attic for this very reason.

Operating a Whole House Fan
In most cases, whole house fans can be operated with a dial or control panel that sits in the wall. It operates similarly to a thermostat. In most cases, though,
people can use a remote control to control the fan as well.

Purchasing a whole house fan is a great way to replace an air conditioner in a home. It saves a great deal of money on the electric bill over time, too. The best company to go through for installing this fan system into a home is a San Jose Electrician. Dollens Electric will get the job done right the first time. Call (408) 929-6100 today to get your Whole House Fan setup!

3 Common Misconceptions About Solar Panels

Whole House Electrical Rewiring

Solar power is one of the oldest alternative sources of energy. People are increasingly becoming aware of the immense benefits associated with solar energy. However, there are a lot of false perceptions about solar panels out there. This article will debunk some of the common misconceptions.

1. Solar panels are similar but expensive

It is true that there are hundreds of solar panel brands being sold out there. We also acknowledge that it can be confusing to distinguish between these brands. However, companies have unique features in their panels. Some give 10-year warranties while others offer 20. The power ratings of the panels also differ greatly. The best way to distinguish solar panels is to ask for project references in your country.

People also view solar panels as being insanely expensive. The truth is that the cost of purchasing and installing solar panels has reduced significantly for the past two decades. Thanks to the government grants and incentives, most people can now afford them. Also, scientists have made major strides in making them more effective. People should stop viewing solar panels as expensive. Instead, they should view them as forms of long-term investments. Larger organizations today prefer solar panels as their primary source of energy.

2. Everyone can install a solar panel

Most people believe that they can install solar power systems by themselves. According to attic fan installers, who also specialize in solar panels, it is good to hire a professional to do the job. Though it is cheaper to install the panels yourself, there are a lot of risks involved you don’t want to take. Hiring a qualified contractor has a lot of benefits. You get to save a lot of time on the paperwork involved when applying for a permit with the local authorities. You can also be sure that the solar panel will not pose serious threats to your house or the neighbors.

You must also know that most states do not allow those who are unqualified to install solar panels. You are likely to face serious legal ramifications if you employ someone who is not licensed by the relevant authorities. To get someone who is qualified to install your solar power systems, ask for recommendations from those who have installed panels before. You can also ask for referrals from the state’s energy department.

3. Solar panels have hidden costs

Most past research projects indicate that there are hidden costs that you cannot predict when you own a solar power system. Such reports were common when the solar system was still being developed. The truth is that the cost of modern photovoltaic panels has been standardized and there are no hidden costs. Whether you hire attic fan installers or those who specialize in solar panels, you will pay the same amount. A typical residential solar system costs between $3,000 and $4,000 for a kilowatt capacity. The amount will reduce after you deduct the rebates and the applicable tax incentives. However, ensure you ask the manufacturer about extra charges before you buy a solar panel.

3 Unexpected Benefits of Whole House Surge Protectors

Many homeowners don’t understand that a whole-home surge protector offers unexpected benefits when severe storms impact an area. Although dozens of the advantages are practical, there are three reasons why the equipment can help teens and grown-ups avoid costly situations following major weather events.

Financial Benefits

In every home, there are numerous electronic devices that are equipped with a circuit board. When a electric current travels through power lines and into a wall outlet, the extra power can severely damage any items that aren’t properly protected. If you have expensive gadgets installed in your house, a whole-home surge protector can help you avoid high repair costs by shielding powerful electronic currents throughout a storm.

A whole-home surge protector can also block elevated voltage levels that affect large air conditioners. A typical power surge won’t severely harm the motor in an AC unit, but the extra juice can cause performance issues that could decrease efficiency. By installing a whole-house surge system, you’ll enjoy cool air throughout the hottest days because the technology effectively shields minor and major surges around air conditioners. Without protection equipment, an air conditioner system will be at risk since 80 percent of power surges generate in electronic components internally.

Tactical Protection

Because surge protection systems for an entire home are designed strategically, everything can be layered. This approach will benefit you if a variety of wires for home theater equipment are running to various locations throughout a space.

Layering a total-home surge protection system isn’t easy, so you may want to let an electrical professional tackle this task. This wiring approach is effective because it doesn’t compromise electronics that aren’t wired to a shared circuit.

Strategic Options

All whole-home surge systems are designed with unique hardware that regulates the amount of electricity that accesses a house. Many 80KA surge protectors are suitable for houses that use 120-volt services. Surge protection systems that have half of this voltage are ideal for houses with subpanels. In high risk storm zones, a standard unit can fully protect the electronics in a home; however, since different brands have unique hardware, you must select your system wisely. If you need help picking a whole-house unit that suits your specific situation, consult a reputable electrician.

Thanks to the great financial, tactical, and strategic benefits, a whole-home unit is worth owning. Without the equipment, maintenance and repair costs may be high because standard insurance policies don’t cover power surges.

Motion Detector Lights Protect Your Home

Homeowners are frequently looking for ways to protect their home from invaders, unwanted animals or other unwelcome guests. One of the best and inexpensive ways to add a level of security to your home is with motion sensor lights. These lights are designed to turn on automatically when there is movement within the range of the sensor.

If criminals target your home and rely on the darkness of night for coverage of their crime, motion detector lights can effectively thwart their plans. First, there is the element of surprise. If criminals are hiding in dark areas near your home and step into the motion light detector range, the yard is suddenly flooded with lights and will catch the criminal off-guard. Second, if you are in the home and see your motion detector lights activated, you will likely investigate the cause and possibly call authorities. And, third, even if you do not notice the lights, a neighbor or passing car might notice lights coming on suddenly and report suspicious activity. Unlike expensive security systems that detect actual entrance into the home, motion detector lights can provide protection before a criminal even reaches the home.

Motion detector lights are also helpful for you as a homeowner when you arrive home after dark. Coming back late from a long evening at work or from a fun party may mean you are quite tired and having lights turn on automatically when you arrive is comforting. This benefit is achieved without having to leave lights for many hours for no reason just to have them on when you return. You may also prevent injury from not having to stumble around in the dark to find a light switch or avoid trying to get into the home in the dark.

If you live in a more rural area or in the city where unwelcome animals are present, a motion detector light can help keep your home off-limits to these creatures. Many animals including skunks, raccoons, rabbits and foxes venture out at night to find food and establish nests in warm nooks near homes like under decks and garages. When these unwanted animals wander into the motion detector light range, they will be surprised and often deterred from staying near the lit area. The lights may also bring your attention to your yard and give you an opportunity to set traps for frequent animal visitors.

Homeowners have many options when it comes to purchasing and installing motion detector lights. You can choose from easy-to-install inexpensive flood lights to more expensive decorative sensor lights. An electrician like Dollens Electric can help you install and integrate higher-end motion detector lights both inside and outside your home.

Are Solar Panels Worth the Money?

Solar panels have been showing an increase in popularity over the past few years. They are a great way for homeowners and renters to reduce their carbon footprint and even save a little bit of money. These systems can get very expensive and it makes many people wonder if paying the high cost is worth it. When buying or renting these systems the homeowner needs to consider the cost of the system and the cost of maintenance and how it compares to yearly savings on electricity. One may estimate and check the costs of solar panels for one’s home here.

Overall, buying solar panels for one’s home is definitely worth it. For people who buy solar panel systems from a company, they get all of the electricity that is produced as well as the tax break for helping the environment. Despite the high price of these systems, buyers can expect to see it all paid off in a few short years from all the savings they see on their electricity bill. For those that do not want to take the full commitment of owning a solar panel system, they have the option of renting. This option gives the renter free maintenance and all the electricity that the panels produce. However, there is a small monthly fee to the company and the company gets the tax credits since the panels are under their ownership. In this case, the renter will still see high savings on their electricity bill each year that the panels are installed. But what if a person lives in a condo or apartment and cannot have solar panels installed? Instead, they can do what is known as community solar. In this case, the person buys the electricity produced from their local solar farm for a much cheaper price than their current electricity rates. This still lets the renter or owner reduce their carbon footprint and save money.

Buying solar panels are a very smart investment. They help the environment while still producing enough electricity for the home. These solar panels also come with a lot of incentives to purchase. When someone buys a solar panel system they are allowed to sell their excess electricity at the end of the month to the electric company. This helps the electric company use less harmful electricity and the person to save more money on their monthly bill. Also, houses on the market with solar panels already installed tend to sell for a higher price, which gives the homeowner more money in the long run. While the price is scary, buying or renting solar panels is a great way to save money and an even better investment.

The Ultimate Cheat Sheet on Electrical Hazards

Resolve to enjoy a safe New Year! With the arrival of 2017, many residents of the greater San Jose area find themselves contemplating some exciting new technologies requiring electrical work. From solar panel upgrades in solar power systems to EV charger installation projects, households and businesses across this dynamic California community often use electricity to enjoy a better quality of daily life. At Dollens Electric, we hope everyone will embrace this issue by placing a high priority upon safety.
Sometimes the convenience of using electrical systems causes people to forget the significant power an electrical charge can convey. Even experienced attic fan installers encounter electrical risks sometimes, for instance. Consider using this handy “ultimate cheat sheet” as a safety tool around your home or business. Adhering to some simple guidelines can make interacting with electrical systems easier and safer:


1. First, respect the power of electricity at all times. Most people today regularly utilize electricity for light, warmth and communications purposes. Yet this natural force exerts significant power. Every year, random lightning strikes during thunderstorms cause serious injuries or even deaths. Try and educate your loved ones and employees about potential electrical hazards.

2. Remember ions in water will conduct an electrical charge readily; NEVER mix water and electricity in your activities. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends never operating any electrical equipment while standing or sitting in water for this reason. Similarly, if you must operate machinery during damp conditions, inspect any electrical equipment first to ensure the cords and equipment appear sound and well insulated, without defects.

3. Malfunctioning electrical appliances can pose a fire hazard. Keep small electrical appliances unplugged when not in operation.

4. OSHA urges everyone to treat all overhead power lines and wires as though these fixtures can convey a lethal electrical shock. Never try to touch a fallen overhead wire, for instance. Even when well-insulated, some overhead wires can deliver powerful electrical charges. If an overhead wire falls on your vehicle, remain inside and drive slowly away from the wire. If the vehicle itself stalls call for emergency assistance but do not exit or permit anyone to handle either the fallen wire or the vehicle.

5. Always ask a qualified electrician to perform wiring and other electrical contracting services. These individuals have obtained extensive safety training in working with electricity. They can perform sub panel upgrades or whole house rewiring, for instance. If you plan to perform electric vehicle home charging, you might want to consider asking an electrician to inspect your garage and residential wiring first.

To ensure the safety of your family and employees, it makes sense to obtain capable, professional electrical contracting services for your residence and business. Whether you require qualified attic fan installers, assistance implementing new solar power systems, the deployment of new electric vehicle charging stations, or help with simple wiring and electrical outlet modifications, contact Dollens Electric in the greater San Jose area for fast, qualified service.

Whole House Surge Protector Installation

A couple of decades ago, power surges were really no big deal. Sometimes, you might see your lights flicker or sense a small interruption in your power supply. It would simply pass as you went about your daily business.

However, as technology in our homes has essentially exploded in the last 10 to 20 years, those power surges have gained the ability to shorten the lifespan of a whole host of electronic equipment from plasma televisions to computers. Many people rely on plug-in surge protection on individual electronics, and although this level of protection is nice additional insurance, it is not best to rely on them as your only surge protection. Plug-in surge protectors employ metal oxide varistors to block power surges, but unfortunately, you often get protection from a single surge before the metal oxide varistors fail to work optimally.

Professional electricians can help homeowners install a more reliable surge protection system for an entire home. Although a whole house system uses the same metal oxide varistors as plug-in protectors, they have versions that are designed to block large surges and last significantly longer. Whole-house surge protectors regulate the amount of electricity coming into a home, offering better protection for all your appliances and electronics.

These protective devices are usually connected to a home’s electric service box. Besides shielding the home from outside surges like in the case of lightning or a downed power line, they also protect surges that start inside the home from major appliances alternating through on and off cycles. Surges happen throughout the day as your air conditioner kicks on and off or you run your washer and dryer. In fact, about 60 percent to 80 percent of all power surges actually start inside the home in this way, according to the NEMA Surge Protection Institute.

It only takes a millisecond to harm your sensitive electronic devices. Although the damage may not even be noticeable to you at first, each small current spike zaps your devices and over time will shorten their life and usability. According to the Insurance Information Institute, average claims from power surges and lightning strikes are about $4,300.

By contacting a professional electrician, you can protect your appliances and electronics from this potential ongoing problem. Today, high quality whole house surge protection is available and affordable. Call Dollens Electric today for more information about whole house surge protectors or to obtain a quote. We are waiting to serve you