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Electrician - Electrician Questions
1.20 Circuit breaker tripped and no electricity to 1/2 my apartment...?

Q. I had my bathrooms remodeled about 1 1/2 years ago. The contractor installed GFCI outlets in both bathrooms. The outlet in the guest bath is the main source while one of the outlets in the master bath is connected serially from the guest BR. A second outlet was added to the master bath so now it has 2 outlets where previously, there was only one but I believe that is powered by a different line. Just last week, I had plugged in a laptop to the outlet in the guest BR and walked away for a sec. I heard a pop and checked to see if everything was alright and the laptop seemed to be fine and the light switch was still working. Later that day, I tried turning on the lights in the BR and they wouldn't come on. I also noticed that the hallway lights wouldn't turn on either. One of the outlets in my master BR was also out too. I went to the main circuit breaker box and saw that one of the breakers had tripped so I tried resetting it. But it would not reset. I called in a maintenance person to check to see what was wrong and he assumed it was something plugged in that was causing it to trip so we unplugged everything that was attached to this line and still nothing worked. He also tried replacing one of the switches believing that was causing the breaker to trip but that didn't work either. At this point, he recommended I get an electrician to check to see what was causing the outage. I called an experienced contractor who works alot in my building and he checked it out. He said it was because I had GFCI outlets in both bathrooms which was causing the circuit breaker to trip. He said I only needed one GFCI outlet in the guest BR because that was the main outlet. (I'm assuming the one GFCI outlet in the master BR that still has power is running on another line...not connected serially to the line that's having problems.) He said the other other outlet in the master BR should be a normal outlet. My question was, why would it work for 1 1/2 years and just now cause a problem? I'm a little handy and would like to try and fix the problem myself but does the suggestion of the 2nd contractor make any sense? Should I replace the first GFCI outlet and the other one with a normal one just to make sure it's not one of them that's causing the circuit to trip?.

A. It depends upon how the wiring was done. The wires might go to the first GFCI box but not go through the device or it might be wired through the device. In either event it is unlikely that a bad GFCI will trip the main panel circuit breaker without some other problem. As handy as you are I would suggest you have an electrician come in to do the work as you might not recognize something that was done that might immediately be recognizable to an electrician. As is true with many trades, the knowledge required for troubleshooting a problem is more than is required for an initial installation. You have to not only know what is right but what can go wrong and be able to find it. Good luck with whatever you decide.

1.20 How much should it cost to install a ventilation fan in a bathroom? And what type of contractor would do that?

Q. We have a second story bathroom with a plaster ceiling with an unfinished attic above, leading up to a roof with cedar planks and two layers of shingles above that. We want to hire someone to install a ventilation fan in the ceiling and vent it through the roof. What would be a reasonable price for something like that? And what type of contractor should we look for to do that - electrician, HVAC guy, etc?

A. Anyone who does renovations can install it for you...just make sure he doesn't vent it to the attic because you will have problems with condensation which will affect your plaster ceiling...make sure you discuss the job with him in detail so you know he knows what he's doing...it's not as easy of a job as you'd think.

1.20 Where to start while remodeling my bathroom?

Q. Ok so I have decided to remodel my bathroom. Most of it I will be doing myself. I am just wondering where I should start? Here is a list of things that will be done: 1. Take down old pink tile and put new tile in 2. Put in new bathroom sink/vanity 3. Put in new toilet 4. Convert bathtub to shower/tub combo ( there's pink tile around the bathtub as well) I will not be doing this myself. I am going to hire someone to do this. Any advice would be great

A. I attempted to answer, but there are things I do not know. What are you doing yourself and what are you hiring a professional for ? Is a plumber going to be hired for all the plumbing or will you do it yourself ? Do you have a second bathroom to use during the reno ? If not, then time is a factor and will affect the way you approach your project. Also, if you only had a tub before, you probably do not have an exhaust fan. I would highly recommend getting one installed if you are to install a shower to prevent moisture damage. Higher the sones, the quieter the unit & higher the price. You may need to hire an electrician if you cannot do this yourself. The more work you can take away from a professional, the more savings for you.

1.20 Who should I call to install an exhaust fan in my bathroom? And electrician or an air conditioning company?

Q. We desperately need an exhaust fan installed in our upstairs bathroom. There is one tiny window, which is not enough to expel all of the moisture (esp. living in FL!)... and no air conditioning vent. The bathroom is located on an exterior wall so I wouldn't think it would be too complicated. I just don't know who I should call to do it.

A. Actually, either one can do this job. When building new houses the electrician sets the fan housing and runs the wires, then the AC man runs the duct work when he roughs in his AC unit. Since there's gonna be a switch involved, I'd call an electrician first.

1.20 What do contractors charge per square foot to remodel part of an unfinshed existing basement to a bedroom? ?

Q. What do contractors charge per square foot to remodel part of an unfinshed existing basement to a bedroom? I am looking into converting part of my unfinsihed basement to a bedroom around 12ft x 12ft. There will be no Addition to the house, but there will be remodelling to already existing space putting up some walls to make a bedroom. Ballpark figure thanks.

A. Even a Ball Park figure would be difficult to produce for with out a visit. But lets say, the electrician could be about $1,000.00 total. X 15.15 divided by 144.

1.20 Carpenters: what is the approximate cost of removing and replacing new sheetrock in a 12x6 bathroom?

Q. I'd like to know the average cost per day for labor. This will include a bathroom exhaust fan/heater and the replacing sheetrock on the ceiling as well.

A. You're talking about a fairly labor intense job. You're remodeling a finished bathroom, which is a bit larger than average. Depending on where you live, contractor prices vary. You should hire a licensed/insured individual in case something goes wrong; ie, there are leaks, etc. If it can be all be done in one or 2 days, estimate around $300/day minimum for a carpenter or contractor. If extra help is called in, the cost goes up accordingly. Take into account that you're dealing with water & electricity in the same area. Plan on the extra expense of an electrician to come in & do the wiring for the fan. Removing drywall (sheetrock) is messy & there will be lots of fine white dust everywhere. Ask if they're totally clean up after the job. A good, rust-proof exhaust fan is approx. $100 for a quiet, rust-proof, 110cfi unit. If your drywall needs replacement due to water damage of any sort, there may be rotted wood beneath and/or mold. Repair of that, plus materials can significantly increase the total cost. To be safe, I'd put aside approx. $2,000 until the contractor has a chance to see what's behind that drywall. ~m~

1.20 Mobile home repairs? Can a contractor do them?

Q. I can't find any type of mobile home repair companies around. I recently bought a rather large mobile home, that needs A LOT of work. It has the potential to be a beautiful home, but it needs some rewiring, some floor repairs, a bit of dry wall, some new carpet, painting, a good cleaning, some new cabinets, a bit of plumbing. I'd like to find someone who can do it all for a set price, can a contractor do this, or who would I contact? I'm hoping to put less than $10,000 into the home. Some of it I can do myself like paint, carpet, drywall, but the wiring, plumbing, and flooring needs an expert.

A. Any competent tradesman should be able to do that stuff. Unless your mobile is very old. most of it will be very much the same as the same stuff in any house and if it isn't then someone with a little experience ought to be able to figure it out. Just make sure you get someone licenced and properly qualified for the plumbing and electrical. Ask around for a good contractor, or simply an experienced carpenter who can assess what order you should be doing things in. What he can't do, you get the electrician and plumber in for. If you can't afford it all at once, electrical is where I'd put my money first because it's a safety issue. Plumbing next, then probably the floor if it's structural. If it's just replacing floor coverings, do that last.

1.20 I'm barely going to turn 18 and i want to be a Construction worker, How do i go about doing that?

Q. Cause i have little construction experience. But that's what i want to do. Any advice/info?

A. First you need to decide what kind of construction work you wish to do. There are hundreds of different jobs in construction. To get into some fields like electrician or plumbing you will have to go to a trade school. Other industries get their new workers through an apprentice program. Look in the yellow pages and find listings for labor unions. (many construction jobs are union) and give them a call. Ask if you can talk to union reps for a few different fields to get an idea of which type of construction job you want. Then look in the yellow pages and call a few construction companies and ask to speak to someone who does the hiring. That person will also be able to give you good information about the skills needed to get hired. After you find out what you want to do, either go to school or start applying for jobs in the field you like. Good luck.

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