Wednesday, August 26, 2009

How a Refrigerator Works

A refrigerator doesn't actually cool things, it removes the heat from them. But then you probably don't want a physics lesson. But you may wonder where the "cold" comes from. So here is a little bit more physics. When a gas goes from a state of high pressure to a state of low pressure, the temperature of the gas drops.

Your refrigerator has a compressor and a closed system of tubing that contains a gas (the refrigerant). The compressor pumps the refrigerant and compresses it. The refrigerant flows through the coils on the back or under the refrigerator and through an expansion valve to the inside of the freezer. As the refrigerant passes through the expansion valve the pressure drops and so does the temperature. Inside the freezer a fan circulates air over the cool tubing and the refrigerant absorbs the heat from the freezer's relatively warmer air. If you prefer to just think of the fan blowing cold air into the appliance, that's fine, it all works out to pretty much the same results. But technically, the heat is being pumped out rather than the cold being pumped in.

The cold air in most refrigerators, but not all, comes from the freezer. The cold air in the freezer passes through vents to the refrigerator. A thermostat in the refrigerator activates the compressor whenever the temperature rises above the set point on the temperature control. In some newer models there is a separate cooling coil for the freezer and the refrigerator and thus two temperature controls.

As the air in the refrigerator cools, the water in the air (humidity) condenses. Water that condenses in the freezer will freeze into frost. Most modern refrigerators have an automatic defroster in the freezer which prevents the build up of frost. The defroster is simply a heating element that is controlled by a defrost timer and a thermostat. The water from the melted frost drains out of the refrigerator into a pan beneath the refrigerator and evaporates.

A door switch closes a circuit when the door is opened and turns on the interior light. When the door is open some refrigerators will disable some components such as the fan, defrost heater or "through the door" ice and water dispensing.

A common question we hear pertains to operating a refrigerator in the garage or other unheated space during cold weather. Bottom line, refrigerators and freezers don't cool efficeintly when operated at temperatures below, roughly, 45 degrees (F). The first reason is that the outside temperature may get low enough that the thermostat inside the refrigerator never gets warm enough to activate the compressor and so the freezer warms up to the outside temperature. Another problem is that if it gets too cold, the refrigerant pressure becomes too low to generate the necessary cold and so the freezer only chills down to the outside temperature.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Ceiling Fans and More!

Today’s ceiling fans are designed to combine both décor and function like never before. Here at Feder's, we offer a collection of fans of all different styles, blades, and functionality to both meet your needs and compliment your homes décor. A properly chosen ceiling fan can greatly improve the comfort of the room and also accent the look and feel of the room.

Our expert technicians will work with you to find a ceiling fan that compliments the room and provides the necessary capacity to handle the size of your room. Additional features are available, such as lights, remote control systems, speed controls, and reverse mode to circulate warm air in the colder months to help heat the room. Our technician will go over all the available options with you to find the perfect ceiling fan for you and your family.

Pools, Spas & More!

Feder's can handle of your electrical needs for pool, spa, or Jacuzzi. We both repair existing systems and install new ones. Here are some of the services and products we offer:
  • Pool/Spa lights - Standard, fiber optics, colored, and color changing lights
  • Pumps - We use only quiet, high quality, Energy Star rated pumps
  • Dedicated circuits
  • GFCI protected outlets and boxes
  • Electrical system repairs and replacements
  • Full diagnostic check of entire electrical system
  • Pool panels and timers
  • Remote control systems for pool and spa control
  • Yard lighting and gazebo lighting
  • Entertainment systems

Thursday, August 6, 2009

New Dedicated Circuits

When you install a new major appliance in your home, you may need a new dedicated circuit. In fact, the National Electrical Code requires some circuits in kitchens and bathrooms to be dedicated and even protected by a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlet. We often find older homes have only a few circuits that power the entire house, where a modern home of the same size is wired with 10 to 30 circuits throughout the house. This lack of power can cause appliances to fail quicker and fuses/breakers to blow more often. Our certified technicians can install more circuits to take the pressure off the original circuits to prevent this from happening. We install all kinds of dedicated circuits from 110v to 220v.

Home Automation Services

Feder's takes pride on staying on top of the latest technology and bringing that to our clients. Today’s home can be made fully automated to make life easier and more convenient! We can set up a system using timers and remotes to give you complete programmable control of your homes lights, ceiling fans, heating/cooling systems, yard lighting, home theatre systems, home networking, intercom systems, low voltage switching systems, pool/spa equipment, security systems, etc. We both install these systems and repair them. If you think it, we can probably do it, give us a call to find out or visit us @

Bathroom Fan/Heater/Light

Not enough ventilation in your bathroom? Is there mold or moisture damage starting to form in your bathroom? Is your bathroom cold in the mornings? Not enough light in the bathroom when getting ready? Well, Feder's can help! We are experts at installing new bathroom ceiling fans, lights, or heaters! We even have units that have all 3 built into one unit! Our expert technicians will work with you to meet your needs in a way that matches your homes décor. We have many types of lighting fixtures, fans, heaters and combo units to choose from, and we only use the best! We will install them cleanly with NO damage to your home as if they have always been there, call us today!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Yard Lighting

Nothing brings your home to life like illuminating your landscape. Yard lighting not only adds immense beauty to your home, but also adds safety and value to one of your largest and most important investments…your home. In fact, a properly designed landscape illumination system will produce many benefits, such as:

  • Adds beauty to your landscape and property!
  • Adds value to such an important investment…your home!
  • Extends the hours of nighttime use and enjoyment!
  • Makes it safer to move around the exterior of the home at night!
  • Increases security by illuminating previously dark areas which discourages potential burglars and wildlife!
  • Low voltage yard lighting is safe to use and poses no significant risk to anyone or any pets!
  • Recommended by police, fireman, and emergency services!
  • And of course, there is the added bonus of becoming the envy of your friends and neighbors!

Our expert technicians will work closely with you to design a long lasting system that meets your needs and style of your home. There are many types of lighting techniques to create dozens of effects that will greatly affect the mood and drama of your property. Using these techniques, along with various fixtures, bulb types, colors, and beam spread, our expert technician’s will create a system tailor made for your home through balance, simplicity, and elegance.

Landscape Lighting

Landscape Accent Lighting is not a luxury but a necessity… to keep your home and yard safe and illuminated, trust our professionals.

Enhance the beauty of your home and landscape. Create a warm, pleasant, and relaxing atmosphere while adding safety and security. The Complete Nightlighting system can handle all your needs from simple economical plans to extensive full-coverage lighting. Like our sprinkler system, it is fully automatic and can add tremendously to the value of your home. This low-voltage, durable lighting will give you security and safety. For enhancement of your property, a variety of lighting techniques are available.

Services Include:

Main Service Upgrades & Replacements

The heart of your home is the main electrical service panel. Over the years, with the influx of modern technology, the capabilities, quality, and condition of your homes electrical system has become very important. Servicing it, replacing it or upgrading it has become a necessary part of maintaining your home when you have a service panel that is outdated, showing signs of trouble, or doesn’t offer enough amperage support for the electrical needs of your home.

What is the purpose of the main service panel? Well, a common misconception is that its sole purpose is to distribute power to the home. However, one of the primary responsibilities of the main service is as a safety device designed to cut the power in the event of a problem. What this means is that just because your lights and electronics turn on and off in your home doesn’t necessarily mean that your panel is safe and working properly. Many problems in the panel go unnoticed until a bigger problem arises, that is why we always do a full inspection on every job we do to make sure your home panel can handle any new electrical work being done in your home, and more importantly, is operating properly and safely.

Much like the brakes in your car, replacement is recommended before the device completely fails because it is a safety device for you home. So if your panel is undersized, showing signs of wearing out, or causing electrical problems in areas of the house (flickering lights, partial power, burnt breakers, etc.) then upgrading it or replacing it now may be necessary.


Feder's recommends replacing panels manufactured by both Zinsco and Federal Pacific. These panels have a poor safety record and we recommend replacing them with a safer, more reliable and up to date panel. Both were popular designs a long time ago and are commonly found in older homes. However, they both have proven to have significant flaws in there design and have been shown unreliable to cut power in the event of an overload which can lead to damage to the panel, breakers, homes electrical devices, or even in some cases cause a fire or hurt someone.

For more information on the dangers of these panels, you can do your own due diligence on the internet as there is an abundant amount of information available about the dangers of these panels. Sites such as provide lots of insight to the flaws of these panels.

Home Safety Devices

Is there anything more important in your home than your family’s safety? Of course not, and that is why Feder's takes pride in making sure your home is protected by the best safety devices available.

  • Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI’s): It’s no secret water and electricity doesn’t mix. Did you know it takes only about 0.1 amps (one tenth of an amp) of electricity to stop a human heart? In areas like your bathroom and kitchen, you have 20 amps of electricity in each outlet in the vicinity of water. That’s enough electricity to stop 200 hearts in each outlet! This is precisely why engineers designed a safety device to protect you in the event of a shock.

GFCI’s are a very sensitive safety device designed to break the circuit and cut the power to the cord in milliseconds to protect you from these heart stopping attacks. All wet areas of your home such as your bathroom, kitchen counters, patio, etc. are required under the National Electrical Code to be protected by a GFCI device. Our expert technicians can show you where they are needed and test any existing ones you may have to be sure they are functioning properly.

  • Smoke Detectors: Today’s safety codes require smoke detectors to be present in everyone’s home. Since the introduction of this early warning device, fatalities in home fires have declined by more than 50%! Even fewer deaths would be avoided in cases where the smoke detectors were not functional because of a lack of power. That is why we install units that are both hard wired into your electrical system and also have a battery back up to insure your family is always protected.
  • Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Carbon Monoxide is known as the “Silent Killer” because it is odorless, tasteless, and invisible gas. It inhibits the bloods ability to carry oxygen to body tissues and vital organs potentially damaging them. It is formed in the home from incomplete combustion from any flame-fueled (i.e., not electric) device, including ranges, ovens, dryers, furnaces, fireplaces, grills, space heaters, vehicles, yard equipment and water heaters.

Adding to the dangers of this gas is that many of symptoms from exposure are misdiagnosed because they resemble flu-like symptoms. Higher concentrations of exposure can lead to more serious symptoms such as dizziness, serious headaches, nausea, impaired vision and reduced coordination. It is fatal at very high concentrations.

That is why Feder's recommends installing a carbon monoxide detector in all locations where smoke detectors are required. We even offer combination units that detect both smoke and carbon monoxide.

Child Proofing Services

Nothing is more important than the safety of your home for your children. Feder's understands how curious those little fingers can be around your home and can child proof your homes electrical system to keep them safe. We have various types of locks and covers for things like outlets, switches, extension cords, strip outlets, panels, etc. that can prevent your children from sticking their fingers or other objects into them.

As added protection for your family, we can install outlets protected by a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (or GFCI) where necessary that are engineered to cut the power to the circuit in a millisecond in the event of a shock to prevent serious harm. We also install smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors as an early warning system to protect your family when they are the most vulnerable. For more information on these three items, see our Home Safety Devices page.

Attic Heat Removal

Removing the heat that gets trapped in your attic from the hot Southern California weather helps keep your home cooler, makes the attic a better storage area and helps extend the life of your roof. It’s not unusual for your attic temperatures to reach 40° to 60° higher than the outside temperature. The excessive heat trapped in the attic can damage items stored in there, raise the temperature of the homes living spaces, make the homes A/C less effective by pre-heating the A/C ducts in the attic, and even shorten the life span of the roof by causing additional wear on it.
You can prevent all of this by properly ventilating the attic through the use of an attic fan. Our expert technicians will come out and design a system that best fits your needs and size of your attic. Our systems are quiet, efficient, and designed based on your homes needs to evacuate the excessive hot air trapped in your attic. The benefits include:

  • A cooler attic space turns it into a more adequate and usable storage space.
  • Makes your homes air conditioning more efficient by reducing the ambient temperature of the home, which can lead to reduced cooling costs.
  • If you have central A/C, ventilating the excess heat also significantly reduces the temperature of the A/C ducts adding even more efficiency in cooling your home.
  • Excess heat can “pre-heat” central A/C ducts running through the attic. Significantly reducing the attics temperature will reduce this and make your cooling system more efficient.
  • Reduces excess wear on your roof extending its life and reducing costly repairs.