Am I Being RIpped Off?

Reply

  #1  
Old 03-07-15, 06:04 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: United States
Posts: 11
Am I Being RIpped Off?

I got a promo and hired an electrician for an hour from Angie's List. They are highly rated

My issue is a light switch. I am okay at replacing switches however I am having trouble with one switch and decided to have someone in to replace it. The switch was working fine but wanted to replace with a dimmer. It is for a line of hallway lights which are controlled by two different switches on either end of the hallway. I took the existing switch off and did not label the three wires red, black and white. When i hooked up the switch it didn't work and I also caused a short which blew the fuse. So I decided to bring in a pro.

He did a simple test and said he needed a more extensive test which had three options ranging from $150 to $500. I asked him to leave and will call in an electrician who is recommended by my neighbor.

Is he ripping me off with this test? This is an outlet that has worked fine. Did I screw it up when I shorted it out? What should I do here?
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 03-07-15, 07:01 AM
pcboss's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Maryland
Posts: 14,357
Figuring out a 3 way switch is not that hard that extensive testing would need to be done. In fact you might get it right on the first try.
 
  #3  
Old 03-07-15, 07:23 AM
ray2047's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 32,646
wanted to replace with a dimmer. It is for a line of hallway lights which are controlled by two different switches on either end of the hallway.
You have a 3 way circuit.
  • Did you buy a 3-way dimmer?
  • Did you mark the common when you disconnected the old switch?
  • If a 3-way dimmer make and model number.
The answers may help us help you.
 
  #4  
Old 03-07-15, 07:26 AM
Temporarily Suspended
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: NY
Posts: 10,986
Installing a dimmer on one end of a circuit that is run by 2 3 way switches is not a good idea. There are 3 way dimmers but it's not worth the hassle. Leave it the way it was. As far as his price goes, service calls are through the roof. 3 way dimmers cost at least $40.
 
  #5  
Old 03-07-15, 07:48 AM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 9,213
I got a promo and hired an electrician for an hour from Angie's List. They are highly rated
Angie's List is highly over rated and sometimes rates trades people very highly who are not that good or qualified in their trade, but are very likeable people. I am reminded of the commercial about the lady who was so very pleased with her Angie's List plumber because she was late getting home and the plumber took her dog out and walked her to do her business. She rated the plumber with the best rating and wrote a glowing review. I'd walk her dog for $90-$100 an hour too.

Did you learn your lesson?
 
  #6  
Old 03-07-15, 07:49 AM
Tolyn Ironhand's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Twin Cities, MN
Posts: 11,981
I have no idea what kind of "test" he is going to do. To trouble shoot the 3 way wiring and install the dimmer (if that it is the correct part) should only take about an hour or so. ($150)

However, if the short circuit blew apart a connection and you no longer have a hot/neutral (which can happen) you are looking at a more extensive repair. ($$$)

As others have mentioned with a multi-meter, and some basic instruction, we might be able to get it fixed. I also agree that 3 way dimmers do not work very well.
 
  #7  
Old 03-09-15, 07:03 AM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Near Lansing, Michigan
Posts: 10,295
The "test" thing doesn't make sense at all. A three-way switch should easily be able to get hooked up during the first hour of a service call. It is reasonable for some additional cost for the dimmer itself which is maybe $40-$150 depending on what brand, style and type of lamps you're controlling.
 
  #8  
Old 03-09-15, 02:17 PM
Temporarily Suspended
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: NY
Posts: 10,986
AFAIK, the problem is that people try to connect an ordinary dimmer when a 3 way dimmer is required.
 
  #9  
Old 03-10-15, 11:28 AM
ray2047's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 32,646
Interesting Forbes article on Angie's List: Why Consumer Reports Says You Can't Trust Angie's List - Forbes
 
  #10  
Old 03-10-15, 01:31 PM
Temporarily Suspended
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: NY
Posts: 10,986
I don't trust Forbes or Consumer's Reports either. When I clicked on the URL posted by Ray, it first took me to some stupid quote that made no sense. Then when I clicked on Continue to site, it wouldn't go there because I refuse to let 3rd party sites, that pays Forbes to gather info, to run on my PC. To read the article, I have to use a Google operator to find the direct link. site:forbes.com intext:"angie's list"

I don't trust Consumer's Reports due to the 4th place rating of some paint that I consider to be total garbage. Sites like Angie's List & Yelp both accept advertizing so they can't be impartial. I would call the local Dept Of Consumer Affairs before I consult any of the above.
 
  #11  
Old 03-11-15, 11:11 AM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 4,059
If the 3-way switch was working before, it should take about 5-15 minutes to figure it out.

You first need to figure out which wires go where, I usually turn off the breaker, remove all the switches and use a multimeter on resistive setting along with a long wire to ensure red in box 1 goes to red in box 2, etc. I draw out each box, with where each wire/cable comes from and goes. (Sometimes it goes power-switch-fixture-switch, other times power-fixture-switch-switch, etc. With a little sketch and an understanding of how a 3-way switch works, it is then easy to reconnect the switches correctly.

If it's the first time you've done it, it may take an hour. If it's the 20th time, it should take about 5 minutes. Short of an actual wiring problem (unlikely since everything was working previously), it should take the electrician 30 minutes from the time he walks in the door to the time he walks out. Obviously he has to cover his travel costs, so round it up to an hour or hour and a half. $150ish.

He could probably rewire the whole lighting circuit for $500!
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes
'