Friday, June 3, 2011

Have Your Electrical System Inspected And Maintained By Licensed Electricians

If you are concerned about the safety of your family and home, then the inspection, maintenance and repair of your electrical system should be in order. Just like your car or your plumbing system, the electrical wiring and fixtures in your home needs to be checked at least once a year to ensure there are no faulty wiring or electrical hazards that can endanger your household. While hiring electricians can prove to be a bit expensive, you can lose a whole lot more should a wiring-related accident happen.

Switches, outlets and light sockets, in that order, are the most overworked devices in your electrical system. Like faucets, switches are turned on and off everyday while outlets can have many appliances plugged into it at a time. These devices get worn out or damaged over time through constant use. In this regard, inspection for wear and faulty wiring should be done to ensure safety and proper functionality.

Electrical mishaps can occur through the misuse of lighting fixtures. As an example, many people make a mistake of using a 100-watt light bulb in a 60-watt socket. This combination can make the fixture extremely hot, melt the wires and start a fire. See to it that the correct wattage is used before screwing in a bulb in its appropriate light socket.

Maintenance of your electrical system will allow an electrical expert to inspect your wiring. This will enable them to see if there are wires that are loose, burned or uninsulated and they will repair or replace them as required. If you plan to buy a computer or a home entertainment system, the technician will recommend additional wiring and circuit breakers to accommodate the electrical load.

Most electrical wirings are hidden from view so problems can be hard to spot. Most of the time, homeowners are unaware of the potential electrical hazards that lurk behind their walls and ceilings. Be sure to have a qualified electrical specialist check them out before they become a real danger. Hiring professionals with updated license, like the electrical contractors Los Angeles or electrician Raleigh, will give you the peace of mind that your electrical problems are addressed accordingly by a certified electrical expert.

Never ever allow inexperienced electricians to touch your electrical system as this will only cost you more later on. You may have to pay more for the services of established and reputable electricians but this will pay off in the long run in the form of an efficient and trouble free electrical system in your home.

Article Source:

Vacaville Electric is a full service Electrical Contractor based in Vacaville, California. Some of our company specialties include Residential, Commercial, Industrial, Service & Maintenance, Design, Lighting and Solar. When you need an electrician, you can count on us.
We will provide all your Residental needs. With over 1,000 track homes and 50 custom homes under our belt, we bring the basics as well as all the 21st Century technology options. Whether your home is "Colonial Cozy" or the "Next Generation," we will make sure you always get the best bang for your buck.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Great Ideas For Home Lighting Design

The lighting design of your house should be one of your priorities when interior decorating. It is often taken for granted and people just add it at the last minute, which results in bad choices. It is highly recommended that you include it even at the beginning stages of floor planning and space decorating. Lighting can enhance the ambiance, feel, and general mood of your home. Not many are aware that poor lighting can hide even your most perfectly decorated room. Since it can tremendously affect the aesthetic aspect of your environment, you need to plan your interior lighting well.

Here are some things to consider for your interior lighting:

Contrast. To give your space more personality, try to allow shadows and contrasts through lighting design. If you have an overly even lighting, it might appear bland and boring. Use it also to highlight the architectural details of your home. If you have a textured wall, for example, you might want a light that is not too bright so as not to whitewash your wall.

Fixtures. To save time and energy in choosing different fixtures for every light source, you might like to use fixtures from the same theme or collection. There are collections available in the same finish for chandeliers, wall fixtures, pendants, and even wall lamps.

Intensity. Nothing can transform a room as fast as a light dimmer. You can go from a functional work area to a romantic and dramatic room the next moment. Installing a dimmer can add flexibility in your lighting. It is also easy to install.

Efficiency. A brighter, more durable, and more energy efficient bulb will not only save the earth but also give you lots of savings. Electricity used from light comprises around 25% of your energy bill so replace all your bulbs with CFLs (compact fluorescent light bulbs). It is said that a CFL bulb will pay for itself in 6 months.

Existing Space. As with any other interior design aspect, you should always consider existing factors in the room when dealing with lighting. Think of your existing wall, its texture, color, and accessories, such as frames or artwork, when positioning and choosing your light fittings. Consider the function of the room as well. Is it going to be a work area, such as a home office, or will it serve many purposes? There are different types and approaches for different functions and styles. You should also plan your lighting design to match furniture placement. You can't have your reading light far from your bed or reading chair.

As long as you plan it well and you consider all these, you can light up your home and see the big difference.

Article Source:

Good light shouldn't be only be in art galleries and in the movies. Your home should have it, too! From the cutting edge of LED to Induction Lighting, Vacaville Electric can brighten your day and help you set the mood.
707-448-VACA (8222)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

NFPA's New Electrical Safety PSA

The National Fire Protection Association is encouraging you to get grounded in the basics of electrical safety.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Understanding The Carbon Footprint And How It Affects The Environment By Martin Barwise

First of all, the term carbon footprint refers to a measurement of greenhouse gases released by human activities based on the amount of carbon dioxide units that is produced. This helps scientists and government decision makers gauge how severe a particular human activity affects the environment by contributing to the so-called Greenhouse Effect.

You can compute your own primary carbon footprint, by taking into account your fuel consumption in your household and your travel activities per year.

In the first category which is fuel consumption per household, you should factor in the following:

o electricity consumption per year for your household

o natural gas consumption per year for your household

o LPG (liquified petroleum gas) consumption per year by your household

o household oil consumption per year by your household

o coal consumption per year by your household

o and the number of people who live in your household.

For the second category, which involves travel activities per year, you should factor in these:

o total mileage of your vehicle per year (for those who own their own private vehicle)

o total mileage of your second vehicle per year (for those who have an additional vehicle)

o miles traveled on the train per year

o miles traveled on both local buses and underground transportation systems per year

o miles traveled on long distance bus and coach per year

o yearly travel by air, in terms of short-haul return flights, medium-haul return flights, and long-haul return flights.

You can use an online carbon footprint calculator (like that found on and enter in all these factors. The online calculator will do the computing for you so you can see just how extensively your activities affect the environment by contributing to carbon dioxide emissions.

Once you know how your activities affect Mother Earth, you can start taking steps to minimize your contribution to carbon dioxide emissions. This is very important, particularly since African and Asian countries are revving up their economies which means a proportional increase in fuel consumption.

Some things you can do are:

o look for a green energy supplier who will supply power to your household. (A green energy supplier relies on renewable energy sources such as hydroelectric and wind power, which wreaks less havoc on the environment);

o turn off electricity-dependent machines if you really do not need to use them, or at least minimize usage of these items;

o minimize your central heating by up to 2 degrees;

o minimize water heating by up to 2 degrees;

o use a timer for your central heating at home so that it turns off when you leave home;

o only turn on the washing machine and clothes dryer if you have a full load of laundry to put in;

o try reducing water to heat in the kettle if you do not need that much hot water in the first place;

o do not overcharge your cellphone;

o defrost freezers and refrigerators periodically, even before ice builds up;

o try shopping only once a week, making bulk purchases so you can cut down on car fuel consumption;

o and minimize use of the tumble dry function - rather try using a clothesline and the sun to dry laundry.

There are many other things you can do to minimize your carbon footprint. Leave less of a carbon footprint and you will leave behind a more stable environment in the wake of your activities.

Article Source:

Monday, May 16, 2011

Lighting And Design For Your Home

Good light shouldn't be only be in art galleries and in the movies. Your home should have it, too! From the cutting edge of LED to Induction Lighting, Vacaville Electric can brighten your day and help you set the mood.

Lighting is important in so many ways and should be taken seriously in every project. At the end of the day, Vacaville Electric brings quality and education to every project.

Lighting consumes about 1/3 of most PG&E bills. Much is wasted in general space and not put where it is needed. Illuminating a product, creating a mood, emphasizing security, or entertaining, you have the ability to control all the lumens in the area! Remember, not all light is good light. Vacaville Electric can help you design or recreate something that will impress others forever. Your home, your clients, your friends and family will all enjoy and appreciate it.

LED Lighting for Your Steps





Thursday, May 12, 2011

Solar Panel Electricity - An Affordable Energy Source

Smart consumers today are looking no further than solar panel electricity as a natural and efficient energy source. The solar panel is a component used in a photovoltaic system to generate renewable energy from the sun that is used as electrical power in residential homes and commercial buildings.

The panels actually collect solar radiation found within the sun's rays and then convert those rays into energy which produces the electricity. The first solar panel was used to power a satellite made by Hoffman Electronics in 1958 and was used as the primary satellite energy source until the 1970's.

Solar panel electricity is a clean, natural and environmentally safe source of energy. Solar cells have been used to power calculators, outdoor light fixtures, street lights, satellites, water heating systems, air conditioners and heaters. Solar panels have become a great energy source for marine vehicles and recreational vehicles since they are a portable form of energy.

There is no need to plug in to an electric source while on the road or when boating. Solar generators are even available so you can take them camping in the great outdoors. They can heat water for a shower or keep your tent warm in the winter or cool in the summer. Solar panels will produce all the electricity you need for a great outdoor experience. They produce no harmful pollution compared to fossil burning fuels that produce toxic gases. The toxins are released into the atmosphere and are a danger to animals, plants and humans.

Since these panels renew the sun's energy at no cost to the consumer, once the initial hardware is purchased and installed there will be no future charges to renew the sun's energy. The sun is actually able to produce enough energy in the space of an hour to meet the needs of all mankind for the rest of their lives. The sun is a very powerful energy source and people are beginning to sit up and take notice of it. It is affordable and healthier for the planet as a wonderful way to discontinue or reduce the use of fossil fuels.

The federal and state governments continually offer rebates and tax incentives for consumers to purchase solar panel electricity in an effort to help offset the initial costs of setting up a solar energy system. These types of panels can be purchased from home improvement stores, building, heating and air conditioning contractors, and online merchandisers.

These sources can provide you with the most accurate information regarding prices, rebates and tax incentives on purchasing do-it-yourself kits or professional installation. Contact a solar specialist as soon as possible if you want to save money and help make your environment healthier.

Article Source:

Monday, May 9, 2011

How Things Work : How Is Electricity Generated?

Electricity is generated by introducing conducting wire, usually copper or aluminum, to a magnetic field. Learn more about how electricity is generated from a math and science teacher in this free video on electricity.

Expert: Steve Jones
Bio: Steve Jones is an experienced mathematics and science teacher.
Filmmaker: Paul Volniansky

Monday, May 2, 2011

Advantages of Solar Power - Top Ten Benefits of Solar Energy

 Solar energy benefits us on a personal, financial and global level. Listed here are the 10 most notable advantages of solar power.

Although the cost of solar energy could hardly be listed as an advantage, prices have been on a downward trend since the first solar panel was built and indications are that the trend will continue until prices reach parity with those of power plants and very possibly continue it's descent from there.

Without further ado, here they are from 10 to number 1, Solar Power at Home's Top Ten Advantages of Solar Power

* 10 -- Payback Factor It takes a significant amount of time for a solar power system to pay for itself at current prices but while we're making our fervent calculations to determine when we'll be getting free power we should remember that, currently, there are no power companies that are offering the possibility of free power at anytime in the future.

* 9 -- Low Maintenance Our number 9 benefit of solar power is that the system requires very little maintenance. In an off grid system, battery maintenance is the biggest regular task. If your system is tied to the grid batteries aren't necessary and your maintenance chores will consist of monitoring your system and occasionally removing debris or obstructions from the panels.

* 8 -- Long Life Relatively new in the energy arena, it was estimated, in the 60's and 70's, that a photovoltaic system would have an active life of around 20 years and that power production would be minimal or non existent soon after that. As the early systems have passed their 20th and 30th birthdays and still functioning well the estimated productive lifetime of a solar power home system has been adjusted upward to around 40 years. Most solar panels come with a 20 year (or better) warranty.

* 7 -- Remote Capabilities The more remote your location the less expensive it is to enjoy the advantages of solar energy in comparison to grid power. Additionally, because maintenance requirements are very low solar panels are exceptionally well suited for remote or difficult to access locations.

* 6 -- Home Equity Increase Not only will a photovoltaic system increase the value of your home but attention to environmental details make a home much more sellable in the future (although you can take it with you when you move).

* 5 -- Free Fuel The system costs money but the fuel to power it is free. Also there are no fuel taxes. Hopefully they never find a way to tax sunshine.

* 4 -- Independence Using solar energy can free us from dependence on not-so-friendly nations who would withhold resources for ransom given the slightest provocation. Besides, it's liberating making your own power wherever you want. (I write this as we are anchored in our sailboat off Mexico's west coast. My laptop is being powered exclusively with solar energy)

* 3 -- Renewable Fuel Solar energy is the most abundant source of fuel on the planet. So rapidly renewable that in 40 minutes the sun spills enough solar energy upon the planet to energize every power outlet on the globe for a year. The possibilities for this resource are difficult to conceive.

* 2 -- Zero Carbon Emissions One of the biggest advantages of solar power is it is simply soaked up. Clean solar power, produced at your home, circumvents the need for your energy to be dug up from deep within the earth, transported over land and sea (at great environmental expense when spills occur) and burned, producing clouds of gasses and toxins. A worthy opponent to crude oil we think.

* 1 -- Long Term Solution The Number one, numero uno, big Kahuna, advantage of solar energy... is that it is a solution that will be there for the long haul. Unlike fossil fuels which have been on the road to depletion since the first day we used them, solar energy is capable of powering the planet into the foreseeable future.

Article Source:

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Electricity as a modern convenience!

The Home Electrical was the name of this film by GE Co.
It promotes all the modern conveniences that were new at that time, which could be useful in the home. I noticed that some of those appliances could be a safety hazard waiting to happen. I looked at the gears by the washing machine and thought of how careful mother would have to be if children were nearby, while she was washing the clothes. The electric cup used for warm shaving lotion could fall in the sink if full of water with the cord plugged in and cause a shock. The electric cigar lighters would not be a safe thing to leave in a house with children, in case they wanted to stick their finger in it. Those were just a few of my thoughts when I watched this film. I wonder if anyone else may have noticed anything.
We are lucky that today the standards of safety have changed when it concerns electrical appliances. It was such a fad at that time people probably never gave it a thought.

This movie was taken from the open source files under CC license and public domain.
I gather it may have been made around 1915 or so.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Popular Alternative Electricity Sources

The need for alternative electricity sources is more important now than ever before, and the pressure is on each and every human being to do whatever it takes to conserve the precious natural resources of the Earth. There are a number of alternative electricity sources that can be used including wind power, solar energy, geothermal energy, bio fuel, and many others.

Wind Power

Perhaps one of the more popular alternative electricity sources is one which is created through wind power which essentially involves harnessing the energy of the wind through various methods in order to convert it into a valid source of electricity which can be used to power homes, businesses, and anything else that uses electricity. The wind turbine is a popular mechanism that is being used for the purpose of generating electricity from wind energy.

Solar Energy

Another very popular means for generating an alternative electricity source is through the use of the energy created by the sun. Solar panels are created to catch the light that is projected from the sun and convert that energy into electricity which is safe for household and business use.

Geothermal Energy

Geothermal energy is energy that is pulled from within the earth, particularly the various interior levels of the earth where thermal energy is present. The energy within the earth has been there since the earth was created.

Bio Fuel

Bio fuel is fuel that is made not from common sources such as coal or other materials, but instead is made from different types of plant materials. There are a number of different plant materials that can be used including wood, wheat, corn, and many others. Bio fuel can be used to power energy generators and other various equipment that is used to create electricity.

With so many different alternative electricity sources available, one would think that the need for using more common sources such as coal, nuclear power, and natural gas could be greatly reduced. There are a number of energy creating solutions such as wind turbines and solar panels that are being used more and more, but unfortunately the process of converting completely to alternative electricity sources is a slow one.

As time goes by, the need for alternative electricity sources grows more and more pressing due to gas shortages and wasteful natural resource consumption. Will we eventually resort to only using one of these renewable energy sources, or many of them? Only time will tell. Whether or not we as a population are able to switch completely to one of the many renewable energy sources mentioned above will depend on a number of factors such as technological development and cost efficiency.

Article Source:

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Home Lighting Design Tips

Home lighting design tips are important for homeowners who are not very aware of the best systems and trends. Home lighting isn't as straightforward as it might seem, because different areas inside the home have drastically different needs. The living room is completely different from the kitchen and the dining room needs lighting that is unrelated to the bedroom. It is therefore important to know which kinds of lighting are suited for which areas in the home.

By using the right elements, you can get a greatly aesthetic home that looks and feels just right. In addition, lighting greatly improves the value of a home, both for the homeowner and the resale value, so it is a wise investment for both the short and long term.

The living room is one of the most important rooms from a visitors' point of view, so you want the lighting to be just right. The best kind of lighting for the living room involves complete lighting of the area. There can also be task lighting to highlight some important elements in the living room, like medals, certificates, antiques, etc. Living room lighting should also preferably be flexible to accommodate different needs and times of the day. For this, having central lighting is not good enough; you should preferably have some recessed lights in the corner as well to complete the lighting needs.

The bedroom should really have the perfect lighting for you so that it can be changed from a bright lively room to a cozy romantic one within no time. Thus there should be minimal ambient light and on top of that, you should have elements that allow you to focus light as and when you need. The ambient light needs to be soft and romantic. Usually, a central bright light is used for general work inside the bedroom and side lights for reading. However, it is best to have dimmers so you can adjust according to your mood. Soft lights are also essential to ensure a good night's sleep.

The kitchen needs to be brightly lit, as you need adequate light to carry out cooking. Lighting is important in a kitchen to avoid any accidents as well, so they are needed from a safety point of view as well. There are areas in the kitchen that need more focused lighting, like a stove or a platform for chopping and slicing activities.

A bathroom also needs the right kind of lighting to give a good and relaxing experience. Areas like the shower and sink need additional lighting apart from ambient background light. Most lights inside the bathroom should be about relaxing and thus soft instead of harsh and bright. LED's work especially well for the bathroom.

Garden lighting is another important aspect that is often neglected by homeowners. You should have adequate lights in your garden to make it look aesthetic and beautiful. It is important to have dim and minimal lighting only, since you are only interested in highlighting specific plants and other garden elements. Step lighting into the garden is becoming fashionable and you can consider this for your garden too.

Article Source:

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Potato could provide electricity to millions

More than 1.6 billion people in the world have little or no access to electricity and most have no way of accessing modern electrical technology, such as like electric lighting, mobile phones or televisions.

But scientists at an Israeli university say they have made a remarkable discovery in relation to the potato which may bring electricity to millions of the world's poor.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Man vs. Electricity: Meet Dr. Megavolt

Sporting a stainless steel knitted mesh suit and a Tesla coil capable of producing 200,000 volts, Austin Richards ('Dr. Megavolt') puts on an electrifying performance at San Francisco's Exploratorium.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Wind Electricity - A Complement to Solar Power System

Wind electricity has made huge gains in the last couple of years, and today it remains one of the most cost-effective of all the renewable energy technologies. It is an excellent complement to the solar power system. In some parts of the world, when sun is not shining, the wind usually blows. Wind power is useful in the winter weather to capture both the strong and gentle mountain winds during the times of slightest sunlight and it simply fills in the gaps left by solar power. Why wind electricity? Wind energy is abundant and limitless. It is present in the four hemisphere on Earth. According to Home Power Magazine, wind electricity is created through rotating blades convert the wind kinetic energy into rotational momentum in a shaft. The rotating shaft turns an alternator, which makes electricity. This electricity is transmitted through wiring down the tower to its end use.

What are the benefits of using the wind electricity? Wind electricity helps us fighting climate change. We know already what happen to the world today. There is a sudden shift of changes in the weather. By using wind electricity, it avoids people using harmful pollutants that cause climate change. It does not produce ill effects in the environment. It reduces carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide emissions. Second, wind electricity is cheaper. Wind energy does not deplete natural resources. Wind is renewed every day as the earth heats and cools. It is more efficient compared to the conventional electricity using fossilized fuels. Engineers have design wind turbines that produced more electricity making it the cheapest form of renewable energy.

Third, according to study, wind electricity is gaining popularity because it is known for its cleanliness and it is known for its industrial safety. No accidents happen for people working in the wind industry. No one have ever been killed by a wind turbine. Fourth, conventional electricity requires hectares of lands to acquire the fuel such as mining, making pipelines, and building gigantic power plants just to generate electricity. But wind power uses only less land and turbines make up less space than the average power station. Windmills only have to occupy a few square meters for its base; this allows the land around the turbine to be used for many purposes, for example for farming.

The downside for the wind electricity is the noise pollution of the turbines. According to people who lives near the wind farm expresses that commercial wind turbines is compared to a noisy engine. Protests and petitions usually brazen out any proposed wind farm development. People feel the countryside should be left in untouched for everyone to enjoy its beauty.

Article Source:

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Mythbusters - Lights On or Off MiniMyth

Does it save electricity to turn off the lights every time you leave a room? Or does the power needed turn them on again offset the savings? The MythBusters settle the score.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

AnnMarie Thomas: Hands-on science with squishy circuits In a zippy demo at TED U, AnnMarie Thomas shows how two different flavors of homemade play dough can be used to demonstrate electrical properties -- by lighting up LEDs, spinning motors, and turning little kids into circuit designers.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Basic Home Improvements : About Old House Wiring

Old house wiring might only be set up to have a 60-amp service, as they were built before the increased electricity demands of modern electronics and appliances. Find out how to figure out the wiring of an old house with tips from a licensed remodeling contractor in this free video on home improvements.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Home Improvements : Types of Electrical Wiring in Houses

Types of electrical wiring in a house can include 220 volt outlets and 110 volt outlets to accommodate different appliances, such as the clothes dryer. Learn about different types of wiring common in most houses with advice from a licensed remodeling contractor in this free video on home maintenance.

Expert: Tim Gipson
Bio: Tim Gipson is a home repair specialist and remodeling contractor in Franklin, Tenn.
Filmmaker: Tim Brown

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Power Line Safety

Demonstration of the hazards associated with high voltage electricity. Presentation illustrates electrical arc flash, electrical faults, and downed power lines.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Solar Cell Explained

An explanation of how solar cells work. Suitable for an introduction to solar energy.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Though this was made in 1948, it is an excellent explanation of the basics of electricity!


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Large Or Small - We Can Do It All

If you are a Contractor, a Business Owner, or a Property Owner; may it be-Retail, Restaurant, Medical, T.I., High-rise, Cave, Existing or New-Vacaville Electric will help with site utility to ground up construction. From an entire Shopping Center to a Coffee Shop, we provide everything for a smooth operation.

When working with Vacaville Electric you will see the fast, smooth completion of your project with helpful insight and clean craftsmanship.

Crush Pad at Robert Mondovi in Rutherford, CA. Three stories with three presses and four conveyors and shaker tables; all controlled by hi-tech touch screens located on each floor.

Give Tom Jackson a call at 707-448-8222

Friday, March 11, 2011

Starmont Winery Electrical Job

Starmont Winery in Napa, CA

70,000 square feet; ground up; 1.2 million dollars in electrical which was started in November, 2006 and completed for "crush" November, 2008.

We ran over 5 miles of pipe and stubbed up 350+ locations out of the concrete before anything was built; working off blueprints and surveying stakes of where the building was going to be.

Large job or small household task, we can get it done. Give Tom Jackson a call at 707-448-8222

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Ubuntu Restaurant & Yoga Studio In Napa, CA

Lighting for Ubuntu Restaurant, an all-vegetarian restaurant and Yoga Studio in Napa, CA.

Let Vacaville Electric handle all of your lighting needs. Call Tom Jackson at 707-448-8222.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Time To Check Your Residential Breaker Panel? Been To It Often Lately?

Did you know your electrical panel may be in danger after 30 plus years?

Your home has probably had almost everything replaced by now; from water heater, furnace, AC, floors, doors, windows, appliances, etc.

Do you have breakers flipping off on a regular basis? Maybe it is time to upgrade your electrical panel. Most older homes (even as little as 20 years old) had no idea how many computers, hair dryers, curling irons, stereos and TV's we would be plugging into their old circuitry. Newer homes have adapted better, so it may be time to give your panel some better circuits to handle the load!

Also, those old breakers eventually wear down and out. We can replace them with fresh, new ones. Give Tom Jackson a call at 707-448-8222 and let him know what your symptoms are. He's the kind of doctor that will get your circuit panels back to health. Also visit the website at

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Great Lighting Makes A World Of Difference

Good light shouldn't be only be in art galleries and in the movies. Your home should have it, too! From the cutting edge of LED to Induction Lighting, Vacaville Electric can brighten your day and help you set the mood.

Lighting is important in so many ways and should be taken seriously in every project. At the end of the day, Vacaville Electric brings quality and education to every project.

Lighting consumes about 1/3 of most PG&E bills. Much is wasted in general space and not put where it is needed. Illuminating a product, creating a mood, emphasizing security, or entertaining, you have the ability to control all the lumens in the area! Remember, not all light is good light. Vacaville Electric can help you design or recreate something that will impress others forever. Your home, your clients, your friends and family will all enjoy and appreciate it.

Give Tom Jackson a call at 707-448-4222. He can help you decide on the lowest cost and best lighting choices. He has a wealth of experience. See the website at

Monday, February 28, 2011

Solar--Are Your Rerady?

Big Changes Are Coming To Our Industry. We're ready. Are you?

We can help you be ready. "Carbon footprint," "greenhouse emissions" and "global warming" are not just news stories. They are concerns that are driving change in electrical technology, revolutionizing our industry.

"Green" technology often translates into huge savings on electricity. Generating electricity from the sun is a technology we all know well. Whether you're powering a pocket calculator, satellite, or your home, solar electricity, also known as photovoltaics, can get the job done.

Give us a call today to see how we can help you be "green" and save money at the same time!

The cost of electricity is going up (both in dollars and in environmental and health impacts) and it doesn't show any signs of doing otherwise. About half of the energy in the American grid is coal generated. Electric energy is an intermediate form of energy. It is produced in thermal power stations (where fuel oil, gas, coal, biomass, etc. are burnt), in hydroelectric power stations and nuclear power stations. Smaller quantities are produced by wind, photovoltaic solar panels, sea tides, etc.

Did you know?

Enough sunlight falls on the earth's surface each minute to meet world energy demand for an entire year.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Flow Of Electricity

Did you know?Electricity doesn't move through a wire but through a field around the wire.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Did You Know?

Benjamin Franklin was the first to name the two types of charges, calling one positive and the other negative. He also established the convention that the charge that moves is associated with electrons, and that it has a negative sign. He assumed that electricity flows from positively charged to negatively charged regions.

Electric current is composed of moving charges. In metals, it is the free electrons that move, so the current is negative. In semiconductors, currents may be either positive or negative, due to the movement of holes and free electrons. Electric potential is a voltage. Charges flow when there is a potential difference applied between two different points. This potential difference creates a pressure that causes the charges to move, just like a pump does water. Potential differences are created from power sources such as batteries or generators, and are measured in units called volts. Volts are named after Italian physicist Alessandro Volta.

Current is measured in amperes or amps, for short. It is named after the French physicist Andre Marie Ampere. An ampere is equal to one coulomb of charge per second, which is in magnitude a billion billion of electrons. The coulomb is named after another French physicist, Charles Coulomb.

TEDxTucson Bruce Wright The Solar Zone

[A great video about solar and the near future of its expansion.]

We get a lot of sun in Tucson, a beautiful sunny 350 days of the year! So we're really excited about the new "Solar Zone" that recently got switched on and is providing the electricity for homes that suddenly became a lot greener. Bruce Wright is a national leader in economic development innovation and has made a tremendous contribution to our community. This new project is designed to educate people as well as inspire the adoption of solar power so that we can take better advantage of this abundant resource.

Bruce directs the University of Arizona's Office of University Research Parks where he has recently established the "Solar Zone" to serve as an interdisciplinary and collaborative hub for researchers and industry to develop and promote renewable energy. He also serves as president of the Arizona Center for Innovation, a specialized business incubator designed to meet the dynamic needs of developing technology companies.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

TEDxTucson Dave Follette Solar Energy At The Gigawatt Scale

In this talk, Dave Follette discusses an incredible new technology for harnessing solar power using a mirror array system to create gigawatt scale energy production.

Dave is the first employee of REhnu, LLC a spinoff from the University of Arizona, with the specific mission of commercializing solar power at a cost competitive with fossil fuels. Dave is a recent graduate of MIT's Leaders for Global Operations (LGO) program, which combines an M.S. in mechanical engineering with an MBA from the Sloan School of Management. Prior to graduate school, Dave worked at another clean energy startup, ISE Corp in San Diego, and led the team that developed and built the twenty fuel cell buses used in the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Vacaville Electric Will Meet Your Residential Needs

Vacaville Electric will provide all your Residental needs. With over 1,000 track homes and 50 custom homes under our belt, we bring the basics as well as all the 21st Century technology options. Whether your home is "Colonial Cozy" or the "Next Generation," we will make sure you always get the best bang for your buck.

We understand Residential including a keen awareness for the infrastructure of your home. When installing electrical devices we will meet your lighting needs while maintaining the integrity of your walls, ceilings and tiles. Not knowing what is going on is a shame when you are building.

Call today for a Prebuild Design Consultation. If you are already in your house and you need some help making it into a home, we are just a phone call away.

Listed are examples of some of the electrical work that we do. If there is something you do not see on our list, keep in mind that we are excited to welcome new challenges!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Tom Jackson: Owner/Operator Of Vacaville Electric

My name is Tom Jackson, Owner/Operator of Vacaville Electric. I have been an Electrician for 15 years and have hands-on field training in Residential, Commercial and Industrial electrical work. When I was 19 years old, I took over a friend's job doing Residential electric work and have been in the Electrical industry ever since. After a few years of Residential work, I wanted to learn something new and switched to Commercial work. A couple of years later, the location of the company's work started moving too far south.

At that time, I made the decision to join Local 180 and to work locally. I was sworn (organized) in as a Residential Journeyman. After a couple years, I challenged the Board and tested out for Commercial Journeyman.

The last five years have been spent working in the Napa Valley, doing Wineries, Caves, Restaurants, Shopping Centers and Custom Homes. Last year I decided it was time to bring my experience home and begin the last company I will ever work for. My experience includes everything from Design to New Construction, Existing Construction, Remodels, Tenant Improvements and Service/maintenance of existing systems.

In July of 2009, I started Vacaville Electric. We are Locally Owned and Operated. I was born and raised in Fairfield, and have been residing in Vacaville for the last 10 years. My family is a part of this community and we are here to stay.

Vacaville Electric stands behind our work. We will get the job done right and in a timely manner. Customer satisfaction is important to us.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Upgrading Your Lights Can Improve Business And Safety And Save You Money On Your PGE Bill.

This was a 8 foot t12 we changed to a 4 foot t5 that put out 320 watts. Lamps should be replaced every 5 years...the lumens start to fade but, the cost to run them does not.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Cheapest Electricity - How Do We Get It?

At this stage we are totally dependant upon electricity. Every aspect of our lives requires this form of energy and we cannot live with out it. Electricity is produced from burning fossil fuel. But fossil fuel - as a natural resource - is becoming rare and its extraction is becoming more and more complicated. The immediate outcome of fossil fuel scarcity is the high prices of electricity. That is in addition to the polluted environment caused by the burning of the fuel. All the above have brought to a situation where people are looking for better alternatives for cleaner and the cheapest electricity. This has become a real universal trend.

Burning of the fossil fuel should be restricted not only because of it becoming rare, but also because of the damage it causes to our environment. Dangerous and harmful gas is emitted while fossil fuel is burnt. Exaggerated exposure of toxic gases has lead to global warming and greenhouse effects. Today people are stressing more on environment friendly materials, in order to push the threat of global warming away. There are several different types of electricity utility suppliers in the market and all of them claim to provide cheapest electricity..

There are a few possible solutions, which can help you tame the rising electricity bills. The use of home electricity generators can definitely help achieving this task. There are several different types of renewable power generators, which are capable of managing your electricity bills each month. In addition, the pollution free nature of these power generators will not do any harm to the environment. The different types of power generators are solar panels, wind turbines, thermal energy, hydro power and a few others, but solar panels and wind turbines are widely used across the globe, both by commercial and residential properties. These two power generators can help us get the cheapest electricity.

Solar panels: This is a popular form of extracting energy from a natural resource. The energy in sunlight gets trapped by the photovoltaic cells of these panels and transforms the energy into electricity. Installing multiple panels will help you to retrieve substantial amount of power.The prices of the panels are dropping constantly and have become affordable to most people.. Usually, the prices of the photovoltaic cells vary from $3.00 to $5.00, therefore, if the rate of the solar cells is $4.30 per watt so it will cost you around $172 on 30 watt solar panels. The scrap cells or panels are also popular, because it will cost you much less money while purchasing, therefore it will provide you with cheapest electricity. You may even get less than $3.00 per watt with the help of scrap photovoltaic panels.

Wind turbines: Wind turbines are considered to be the most ancient technology of power generation. They were used on agricultural farms and propelling sailing ships. There are wind turbines for both commercial and residential purposes therefore you can choose according to your requirements. Usually, the price per 10 kilowatts fluctuates around $48,000. It is recommended to build these generators at home in order to save substantial amount of money on installation. If you construct wind turbines at home, you can definitely save up to or more than $200.

Simply by mounting these two popular power generators you can achieve cheapest electricity. Calculating and comparing the rates with your current electricity rates will make a clear picture of savings.

Electricity Generate News: Here you can find information about cheapest electricity, help decrease pollution, help fight the global warming and start using environmental friendly solutions. Discover how to generate free electricity on command with standard materials and an easy to implement plan.

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Saturday, February 5, 2011

Does Your Home Need A New Electrical Breaker Panel? When To Call A Licensed Electrician

How do I know when my house needs a new breaker panel? Why do I need a new breaker panel? Do I need a 200 amp panel? Is it because of the collection of small fuse boxes on the side of my house? Do you have Federal Pacific breakers?

Would it have anything to do with the new remodel, or the breaker tripping. Check the list below for items that might cause you to upgrade your home's electrical service and make your home much safer.

Added new kitchen appliances
Added electric central heat
Added a tankless water heater
Added a room or two
Added 240V tools in the garage
Added new lights and bath heater
Added more air conditioning
Finished the bonus room upstairs
Old fuse system continues to fail
Breakers trip and the old panel has damage
Insurance company won't renew homeowners policy
Storm Damage and the new Code requirements
You sold your home and the home inspector found defects
You want a lifetime warranty on your breakers and panel

When your home was built, the electrical system was big enough to satisfy all of your electrical needs. Most home builders try to save money and only pay for the minimum electrical system required by the Building code. If you built a custom home and were involved with the electrical contractor, you may never need to upgrade because you bought the upgrade electrical at a great price. (Before the walls were sheet rocked).

The Electrical Code in place at the time your home was built has probably changed and has many new requirements. Some cities require most or all of the new code features must be installed any time you do more than a minor repair. Some only require the repairs meet the new code requirements. Our section on permits is being assembled at this time and will be updated daily.

If your home is on the market and the new buyer is financing, the lending agency may follow the home inspectors advice (right or wrong) and require all defects be brought up the current code. This may not line up with state and local ordinances or statutes, but he who holds the money rules.

An Electrical Upgrade is a good investment. There is a large return on the dollars invested plus the intangibles. How do you put a price on your family's safety? What is the cost of a good night's sleep? Can you afford to be frugal with your family's life?

While we are here talking about this, now is a great time to protect the items in your home you don't normally plug into a surge protector. Let us add a whole house surge protector (life time warranty) to safeguard the new washer / dryer combo or that expensive new energy saving fridge. The Eaton surge protectors are so good at what they do, the manufacturer will give a lifetime warranty on the surge protector and an insurance policy to cover damage to equipment connected to or plugged into the electrical system.

Ask your electrician about energy savings by installing an energy monitor so you can control your energy usage, and save money!

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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Inspect Electrical Components With Infrared Imager

Infrared Electrical Inspection is primarily carried out by electrical engineers or certified Thermographers in order to detect potential electrical faults within an operational facility. It can be carried out due to a number of reasons; as a risk management activity, as a preventative measure on any potential technical faults, to increase efficiency and production, and to reduce system outages, costs and monetary losses.

With more technological developments taking place every day electrical systems are becoming highly complex and usually produce or channel high energy levels. This can result in excessive and high temperatures and often affects the areas with short circuits or faulty connections. Being able to detect these problems using a naked eye is very difficult, thus the need arises for an Infrared Electrical Inspection.

In a commercial set up, specific components like bus heads and breaker panels may be investigated during the inspection. Once done, the results are shown in a spreadsheet with the problem areas being presented in what is known as an Infrared Thermograph which basically enables one to see varying degrees in temperatures for each piece of equipment.

Some insurance companies use these inspections to underwrite certain risks in industrial and commercial businesses. Most companies who make use of these inspections do save a lot in terms of maintenance and operational costs, thereby achieving greater profits. This is because they are able to detect any possible failures beforehand as well as defective components so that appropriate action is taken.

Electric equipment can wear out and depreciate with continued use, thus resulting in faulty and poor connections as well as short circuits in some areas. This can lead to catastrophic accidents, defective products, downtime for the operations and unnecessary costs.

Besides reducing potential interruptions, inspections also mean a longer life span of the system which again comes as a great saving. Some companies and most experts recommend that annual inspections are performed. Usually the infrared electrical inspection is incorporated in the preventative maintenance plan of the business, this helps maintain and increase productivity and efficiency. Some companies encourage baseline scans on newly acquired electric machines so that any potential problems are identified as early as possible.

Infrared inspections must be done by trained and certified inspectors to avoid mishaps as faulty installations and miscalculations can result in major catastrophes. The inspectors undergo thorough training and are able to inspect and examine any complicated electrical system and present findings in reports.

With the infrared technology being readily available on the market, Infrared electrical inspection is a great activity to incorporate into your businesses preventative maintenance plan. It will help to identify problems in their initial stages - decreasing downtime, risk of injury and improving the operation of the business.

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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Vacaville Electric Is At Your Service

Vacaville Electric is a full service Electrical Contractor based in Vacaville, California. Some of our company specialties include Residential, Commercial, Industrial, Service & Maintenance, Design, Lighting and Solar. When you need an electrician, you can count on us. Whether you are a Business Owner, a Contractor, a Property Owner, or a Homeowner, we facilitate the smooth completion of your project. Working well with other trades, we look out for the owner's interests, delivering affordable quality every time. We always welcome new challenges and look forward to working with you.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Garage Heaters: Electric Versus Gas

Which is the Best?
If you're looking for a great way to heat your garage and lower your overall energy bills, garage heaters are a great way to go. If your garage is properly insulated, a garage heater can take some of the strain off of your homes heating system. Many homes have heating vents that try to heat the garage, but due to the construction of the garage (large metal or wood door, concrete floor, direct open access to attic) most of the heat is lost. But then there's the question of which kind of heater to go with for the garage. There are many models that produce different types of heat in different amounts, but it boils down to one difference: gas or electric.

Electric garage heaters have their pros and cons. They consist of electric coil heating elements and a fan. The coils heat up without any noise and the fan, located behind the coils, moves air across the coils to heat the room. They are easy to install because they just need an electrical output. They run off of a minimal amount of electricity and generally pay for themselves because they take some of the weight off of your house's energy. Now, that being said, electricity cost more than gas. If you compare the price of heating a typical two-car garage with electricity with using gas to heat it, it takes roughly 20% more energy to properly perform the job. If you're thinking about getting an electric space heater to do the job, don't. Most of those space heaters only put out about 1.5kw of power, and in order to heat a typical garage you need at least 5kw. The most popular garage heaters put out anywhere from 7.5kw to 10kw of energy. If you spend your money on a smaller heater, you're just throwing it away to keep a small portion of the garage relatively warm. However, electric garage heaters usually cost less to install than gas heaters because gas heaters require a gas line to run out to the garage.

Gas garage heaters are very similar to small furnaces. They use a flame to combust gas to heat air which is then moved out by a fan. Most people don't want to deal with the mess of installing one of these because, in the past, you would have to install a vent in the garage to remove all of the smoke and carbon monoxide. However, great advances have been made in this area and vent-less gas garage heaters are now available. They use natural gas and propane to burn cleanly and don't require a vent of any kind, thus, "vent-less" gas heaters. However, the cost of installation is still relatively higher because most garages don't have a gas line readily wired into them. Another downside to gas heaters is that there is concern that they deplete oxygen levels in a room and increase humidity. Increased humidity could lead to mildew and mold build up. However, most of these systems come with oxygen depletion sensors and walls can be treated for mold and mildew.

Gas heaters also bring the danger of unwanted combustion. Most people store paint and other chemicals in their garages. Since gas heaters use flame to heat the air, there is always the chance of combustion and fire. If you decide to go with a gas heater, it is important to always store these chemicals away from the heating unit.

Similar to most things today, there are a variety of different options to choose from with either gas or electric garage heaters. There are many models with different special features and some can even be integrated as part of the room.

As with anything else having to do with your garage, you can always contact your local garage door and garage service provider to help you decide which option would make sense to your home and your budget. But realize, that no matter how much you heat your garage, if it is not properly insulated you will lose whatever heat you produce. Garage door service providers can also help you figure out which route would be best in the insulation of your garage to make sure that you get the most bang for your buck out of your garage heater.

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Monday, January 17, 2011

How To Install A New Electrical Outlet Step by Step

Installing a new electrical outlet is easy to do as long as you take the necessary precautions.

First make sure you find the circuit breaker that feeds the old outlet. Go to the electrical service box in your home. See if the circuit breakers are marked as to where they are located. If they aren't marked then you will have to shut each circuit breaker off one at a time and test the outlet you are replacing. Most outlets run off of a 15 amp breaker so stick those switches. You can plug a light into the outlet and leave it on to see if it goes out when you flip the breaker off.

If the outlet isn't working properly then you may need to get a simple circuit tester and check the wires to the outlet to make sure the electricity is off. You could also short against the black and white wire with an insulated screwdriver to trip the breaker, but not necessarily a safe way to find out which one it is.

Once you have the electricity shut off you can remove the front cover plate, if you haven't already. Unscrew the old outlet and pull it out of the box. You will have at least two wires connected to the outlet, three if it is a grounded circuit to the main service box. You should have one white and one black wire with the ground being copper. If you have a very old house and the wiring hasn't been changed over then most likely you only have two wires and the colors may vary. The most common are white and black.

The white wire is the neutral wire and also referred to as the ground. The black wire is the feed or hot wire that supplies electricity. Before you remove any wires take note of where they are on the old outlet so you can replace them onto the new one. Many new outlets have two options of connecting the wiring. You can either connect to the screws on each side or slide the wires into the back of the outlet in their correct slots - they are usually marked for the color of the wire or say hot for the hot side.

Once you get the wires connected make sure they are tight and then slide the outlet back into it's box and tighten down with the new screws. Replace the cover plate and then go back to the service box and flip on the circuit breaker. If the circuit breaker trips back off quickly then you have somehow shorted out the wires or mis-wired the outlet. Recheck the outlet and make adjustments. Try the breaker again and make sure it doesn't trip. If all is well then plug in your electrical appliance and make sure everything works.

Electricity is definitely nothing to play around with, if you don't feel confident in replacing an outlet play it safe and have an electrician take care of it. It is pretty cool to be able to do it yourself as long as you take the necessary precautions.

Good luck and stay safe!

The author Mike Webb was an automotive technician at a Chrysler Dealership for 15 years and an agricultural technician for 5 years. He won the prestigious Toptech award from Chrysler in 1996 and is an ASE certified Master Technician. He currently owns and operates the Okinawan School of Karate with 2 locations. To learn more about Mike Webb you can go to his website:

The above article may be published freely as long as no content is changed and all links are included. Copyright Mike Webb 2007

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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Wire Cutters - What Are They?

One of the handiest tools to have around the home or work place is the wire cutters. These tools are classified as hand-tools used to cut wires made from silver, copper or gold-filled. The type of cutter depends on the blade configuration so there are flush cutters, bevel cutters, end cutters and diagonal cutters. The wire cutter can also be categorized according to its use like the cable or bolt cutters.

Wire cutters are mostly used in jewelry making and those who are doing crafts using wires. There is no better tool than a wire cutter to do precision cutting without damaging what one is doing as well as reach small crevices. In jewelry making, this tool is used to cut specific lengths to make various designs or to trim excess wire. Flush wire cutters are needed when trimming is made as close to whatever piece is worked on. This makes the wire as flat as possible rather than pinched or pointed at the end. Bezel cutters leave a larger pinch on the end of the wire and have its own purpose. End cutters cut off the end of a wire closely but they can only trim wire that is fairly short.

Below are some guidelines when selecting a wire cutter:

o The best type is the flush wire cutters. Though more expensive than the other types, it can be more useful for jewelry making and other hobbyists.
o A wire cutter with spring handle will help lessen hand fatigue.
o It would be good to have different types of wire cutters. Flush-cut pair for smaller diameters and a pair that can handle thicker wires.
o Quality is important for jewelry making thus it is important to have a wire cutter that is reliable and suited for the particular task.

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Electrical Safety Training - Work Practices

Electrical safety training is paramount to a safe and productive workplace. Because electricity is a part of every aspect of a workplace it is imperative that everyone in that workplace understands its safety and use. Just a single electrical accident can be catastrophic. OSHA has made the training mandatory and divides it into three categories - hazard recognition, proper work practices and hazards specific to different work environments.

Work practices start with understanding the most common electrical dangers - shocks, burns and fires - and how to avoid them. Here are some of the major reasons for these dangers and how to avoid them.

Faulty wiring causes many electrical accidents. Never pick up a tool by its power cord. It will damage the wire by pulling it away from the tool causing cracks and other defects. Any damages in the cord should be addressed immediately by putting the tool out of service and scheduled for repair.

Never run too many pieces of equipment on the same circuit. This causes overheating and increases the risk of fire.

Extension cords are designed for temporary use only and NEVER should be used as a permanent solution. Make sure you always check the extension cord for its rating.

3-pronged cords should never be fitted into 2-pronged outlets. This keeps the grounding wire from operating and makes you vulnerable to stray electricity.

Using "double insulated" tools will provide you extra protection when working with electricity. These types of tools should be mandatory in the workplace as they conduct electricity away from you increasing worker safety exponentially.

If there is any suspicion of a tool or piece of equipment not operating properly it should be reported immediately to your supervisor who can arrange for it to be locked and tagged.Lock-Out Tag-Out is an important component of electrical safety and should be trained accordingly.

Using the proper lighting is another important part of electrical safety. If you can't see what you are doing it's much easier to make a mistake and get hurt.

Avoid wearing metal jewelry, chains or any other metal objects as they can conduct electricity. All of these objects should be removed before beginning work.

All equipment should be kept in good working order and free of any debris and grease. This will help with overheating and prevent fires. When cleaning equipment avoid using liquids and metal cleaning equipment as they can conduct electricity.

Using the proper personal protective equipment is also imperative. Insulated hard hats and gloves can be the difference between life and death.

Work practices are the second category of training that OSHA requires and an integral part of electrical safety training. Make sure that your organization is up-to-date on electrical safety training. It might just save a life.

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Electrical Adapter - The Basics

An explanation of an electrical adapter may sound a bit simplistic, but it's important to know the difference between an adapter and a transformer, especially if you're going overseas and expect to use electricity to operate your personal devices like laptop computer, shaver or hair dryer. If you don't know the difference between an adapter and a transformer, you could ruin your electric device, and risk personal injury as well as fire.

To make matters worse, manufacturers often refer to their transformers as adapters. It's a misnomer that can cause confusion, so I hope to clear it up with this overview of the basics.

Electrical adapters are devices that change the physical configuration of your electric plug. This allows you to use your (male) plug where it normally wouldn't fit into the (female) outlet. An adapter will have both a male and female side. The female side is where you plug in your electric appliance. On the male side will be prongs, blades or studs so it can be plugged into the (female) wall outlet. Once you do that, electricity will flow from the wall outlet to your electric appliance.

Another type of adapter commonly used is one that plugs into the outlet and allows you to plug in multiple electrical appliances into that single adapter. It essentially turns a single outlet into many. Such adapters can allow you to convert the physical configuration as well - from three prong to two, or from polarized plugs (one blade taller than the other) to non-polarized plugs (both blades of equal height). Otherwise, they'll simply have the same configuration on both the male and female sides, and serve as an outlet multiplier.

There are adapters that serve as an outlet multiplier and allow you to plug in polarized or non-polarized two or three prong plugs, and plug into a polarized or non-polarized outlet. So, they can help you with a polarized plug that won't fit into an old fashioned non-polarized outlet. They can also serve as a simple outlet multiplier, and help you plug a three prong plug into a two prong wall outlet. I like these adapters the best because they allow me to do most anything, regardless of the configuration of my plug or outlet.

To remember the role of an adapter, just think of the typical adapter that allows you to plug a three pronged electrical plug into a two pronged outlet. The electrical adapter changes the physical configuration of your plug (or accepts multiple plugs) so you can use the plugs you have with the outlet that's available. Some adapters for use overseas come in sets so you can convert a range of plugs to fit a range of outlet styles.

So, now that the role of an adapter is clear, be careful not to simply hook things up to the power outlet unless you know there is a match between the electrical output and the power requirements of what you're trying to operate. You might need a transformer to convert the power to match the needs of your device.

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Sunday, January 9, 2011

Electric Light Bulb - The Origin Of Modern Technology

Unless you live in the Hurricane Belt or Tornado Alley of the United States and have experienced lengthy periods without electricity, chances are you've been taking the luxury of artificial lighting for granted.

The electric light bulb seems to be a boring subject of conversation for most people, but without its invention, a lot of the things which make our life fun and exciting would not exist today. The concept of a central electrical power plant as well as power cables, generators, switches, sockets and wiring came about as there has been a need for a source of power to illuminate the early versions of electric lighting.

Most of modern day music, cinema, video games, the internet and countless other things that entertain and give us comfort today would not be around without electrical power. As such, we owe the lowly light bulb and the brilliant minds that helped pave the way for its development a bit more appreciation.

Thomas Alva Edison, the "Wizard of Menlo Park", is credited by the general public to be the father of the modern-day electric light bulb as we know it, but he is far from being the only one responsible for its research, development and production. Englishmen Sir Humphrey Davey and Joseph Wilson Swan, Canadians Henry Woodward and Matt Evans as well as several other brilliant scientists and researchers all contributed to the emergence of the modern day tungsten-based electric light bulb.
The first forms of artificial electrically-powered illumination were known as 'arc lamps' which needed significant amounts of electrical currents to stay operational. These arc lamps were excessively bright and thus were an impractical way to illuminate individual average-sized rooms.

Gas-powered lamps were the accepted norm during the late 1870s when the earliest attempts at incandescent lighting first surfaced. Incandescent lighting is the process of running an electrical current through a thin strip of resistant material, making it hot enough to glow and give off light without catching on fire from the excessive heat. Scientists eventually discovered that encapsulating the filament in a vacuum did away with oxygen-fueled ignition and this is how incandescent light bulbs are made today.
Platinum was the first metal that showed potential in producing light, bright enough to be used effectively as a filament. Sir Humphrey Davy and Edison himself both attempted to harness this potential but due to its high value, platinum didn't really become a practical choice for mass-produced electrical light bulbs.

In his quest for a viable medium for illumination in incandescent light bulbs, Edison tested numerous carbonized plant fibers- hickory, cedar, flax, boxwood, bamboo, even arranging the shipment of plant material from the far-off tropics. "Before I got through," says The Wizard from New Jersey in an interview, "I tested no fewer than 6,000 vegetable growths, and ransacked the world for the most suitable filament material."

The first generation of incandescent light bulbs that were deemed practical enough for widespread use had carbon-based filaments but these thinned-out too fast and blackened the insides of the bulbs thus reducing illumination. It was the General Electric Company, itself a product of the merging of Edison's companies and the Thomas-Houston Electric Company, that found a low-cost way to manufacture tungsten filaments and got the first patent for the modern-day incandescent light bulb. Tungsten filaments burn out longer and glow brighter than the carbon ones that preceded it.

From the incandescent light bulb the more cost-efficient fluorescent lighting and longer-lasting halogen lights were developed. Today these find uses in several fields of society from live entertainment, photography, medicine, industrial and home applications. Without low-wattage lighting, which has been made possible by the invention of the electrical light bulb, our working hours would be shorter and hence production would slow down by the time the sun sets.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Power Outages - Why The Lights Go Out

During major storms, you may see Ameren crews in your neighborhood that do not stop to restore your power. This happens when we are working to repair the substation supply lines or large feeder trunk lines that ultimately serve you. Feeder lines typically run for several miles and crews must repair them before they can restore your service.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Static Electricity, Electronics and Humidifiers

Rub your feet across a rug, then touch a doorknob, person or pet. The zap you feel is static electricity. Static occurs when electric charges accumulate on an object's surface. Electrons are exchanged, and one object becomes electrically positive; the other electrically negative. Static is most commonly created when two materials rub together or move apart. When you touch another object with an opposite charge, or a ground (neutral charge), electrons flow and you experience that little zap. Static shock takes place more often in the winter when the air is cold and dry.

The amount of voltage involved in static electricity can be in the 10,000-to-12,000-volt range. Static voltage isn't life threatening because its amperage is miniscule. And it's amps, not volts, which are dangerous. Static shock must be 3500 to 4000 volts before you can feel it. But for electronics, it's the voltage below that level that is common, and insidious. It's entirely possible that you never have any sensation of static, and still have zapped the electronics. That's because the integrated circuits can be damaged or destroyed by static voltages as low as 400 volts. Low-voltage static charges can also cause latent damage, destroying a few gates out of the millions in a typical integrated circuit. That damage can be almost impossible to diagnose, and may not cause problems for a long time.

Humidifiers raise the humidity level in your home therefore reducing random static shocks and static cling. The water particles in humid air break up static charge quicker. Keeping the humidity in your home between 30-50% also limits electric shocks around computers and other electronics, which can cause serious damage. A static charge can be devastating for the sensitive electronics inside a PC and other electronics. Problems increase when you open your computer's case to add RAM, upgrade your CPU or hard drive, or plug in a new sound card or graphics.

These days its almost everything containing some electronic parts, it is wise to reduce static as much as possible. Running a humidifier in winter not only makes you feel more comfortable by eliminating chapped hands, cracked lips and bloody noses, it helps protect your investment in electronics.

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