Friday, August 30, 2013

LED or Compact Fluorescent Kitchen Lighting Fixtures: Weighing Your Options

Deciding on the best kitchen lighting fixtures is a real concern for many people. This is because of the information they get regarding the qualities of different types of lighting fixtures. It can be very confusing for someone trying to make a good decision relating to the best type of lighting fixture to use. Among the popular lighting available, the most confusion is in the decision between LED, and fluorescent kitchen lighting fixtures. The main reason for this confusion is that these two types of fixtures are presented as the most efficient alternatives in terms of energy consumption. However, each one of them seems to have other qualities that a homeowner must look at before settling for any of them.
Compact Fluorescent Lighting For A Kitchen Lighting Fixture?
The fluorescent lamp is not a very new concept in illumination. However, the ones that have been in use are the fluorescent tubes. They have been the most efficient form of indoor lighting for many applications. However, due to their relatively higher installation costs, many people settled for incandescent bulbs. As long as energy prices were low, they worked just fine. In the last few years, a new type of fluorescent bulb- the compact fluorescent light has come into the market. It is designed to fit in the existing lighting fixtures previously used for the incandescent bulbs. They are more efficient and hence they have been marketed as a green option. The main concern with the compact fluorescent lights is that they contain mercury, which is hazardous. They require careful handling both at home and at disposal centers because of the risk of mercury poisoning.
LED Lighting
LED kitchen lighting fixtures are the newest addition to the lighting options. They too have very outstanding efficiency credentials. However there are questions about their reliability because the technology is still in development. There are units which have been developed that can fit in existing fluorescent light fixtures but use much less power.
The choice of the most effective lighting between LED lights and fluorescent lights is really a choice between safety on one hand, and reliability on the other. LED lights are easy to handle and to dispose. They are slightly more expensive to acquire but they also promise a longer operational life when compared to fluorescent lights. On the other hand, fluorescent lamp technology is more stable because it has been polished over time. The two major disadvantages of the lamps are that they need careful handling and in case of breakage, they can cause mercury poisoning in the home. In addition, they are sensitive to power quality hence they can burn out easily under conditions of over or under-voltage, such as during a storm.
In the kitchen or in your home in general, safety should take precedence over anything else because a lapse in safety may result in exposing your family to mercury poisoning. The choice of LED lights seems best because of the elimination of any potential threat that could occur from breaking the bulb or the kitchen lighting fixtures themselves. Of course, this is a rare occurrence but a potentially lethal one nonetheless. It justifies the choice of LED Lights as the best kitchen lighting fixtures.

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Electrical Safety For Older Adults

Electrical failures or malfunctions are a leading cause of home fires every year. Older adults (ages 65+) have a higher risk of dying in fires caused by electrical distribution and lighting equipment than the general population. This high-quality 60-second public service announcement provides safety tips to help older adults identify and prevent electrical hazards that can result in a home fire.

This video is part of a new, multi-faceted Home Fire Safety for Older Adults program that has been developed by the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) with funding provided by a FY 2011 Fire Prevention and Safety (FP&S) Grant from the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Be sure to check out the other videos in the series - Home Heating Safety Tips for Older Adults and Cooking Safety Tips for Older Adults. Additional program materials are also available on ESFI's website at

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Hiding Your Entertainment System's Ugly Wires

Selecting, purchasing and installing a home entertainment can be a very time and energy intensive project. As a result, many homeowners just don't have the energy or motivation to go about hiding all of the wires after the theatre system is in place. Because you probably spent a good amount of money on your setup, you owe it to yourself to spend a little time making it look as good as possible. Each setup is different, but hiding and organizing your wires can be as easy or as extensive a project as you want to make it. The result is a clean, professional, great looking home theatre system that you can be proud of.
Cable Organization
The best place to start when hiding your unsightly cables is organization. For more basic setups, this just requires some simple cleanup. Take advantage of cable ties, organizers, and other organizational devices to help keep all of your cables together. This works especially well if you have an entertainment center with an open back. You can then use cable ties to run bundles of cables behind components, table legs or other obstructions so that they are no longer seen.
Organization can be much easier with a closed-back entertainment center. Rather than bundling everything together, you can organize your cables with cable tacks or screw hooks on the back of the console. Because it has a closed back, most of your cables are naturally hidden.
Hiding Your Cables
After you have organized your cables, there are many things that you can do to completely hide them. What you ultimately do depends on the way your system is set up.
If you have a wall-mounted television, there are several options for hiding your cables. If you are able to, think about having an electrician install an electrical outlet directly behind the TV. While they are they, they can also help you run your component cables through the wall and back into your components. You are left with a very clean looking setup with nearly no visible wires.
Hiding Your Components
If you want to achieve the cleanest, most minimal look possible, consider hiding your components as well as your wiring. This works best if you have a nearby room or closet to put everything in. You will also need to look into the equipment you will need to repeat the IR signals from your remotes back to your equipment. While this requires a little more work and planning, it can pay off when done properly. After running all of your cables through the wall and into your new, designated component space, you are left with nothing but your television visible in the room. Get ready for everyone who comes over to ask you how you did it. Make sure to work with an electrician or other professional to make sure that you cover all your bases. There is nothing more frustrating than spending hours on relocating your components, just to find out that you left something out.
Whether you are looking for the complete minimal setup, or just a less cluttered entertainment system, this type of project can be anything that you make it to be. Although relocated components and an ultra hidden setup may appeal to some, others prefer to keep everything close at hand. Whichever route you choose to take, spending some time cleaning, organizing and hiding the wires in your entertainment system will make the whole space appear more functional, clean and well thought out.

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

No More Wires for TV - Vacaville Electric

Tom talks about the nuisance of wires hanging from a nice TV and how Vacaville Electric can help. See more at

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Why You Should Use a Professional Electrician

Most people are sensible when it comes to working with electricity: they call in a professional or someone who is qualified. Carrying out electricity work isn't like plumbing work. Anyone with basic DIY skills can change a tap. If you do it wrong, you'll get wet. Botch an electricity job and you can die.
Check Laws and Regulations
Always do some research into laws concerning electrician work. They are changed regularly and often restrict the type of job unqualified electricians or the homeowner are allowed to carry out. In some countries, only certified people can carry out electrical installation work, or the work must be certified upon completion.
Some electrical work, such as repairs on existing circuits, can be undertaken immediately, while some work, such as adding new circuits, must be sanctioned by the local authority before the job is carried out. For this reason, it is best to always use a qualified, professional electrician who will assess the job, notify the local authority if necessary, and certify the finished work.
Certified electricians not only have the technical knowledge and expertise to carry out an electricity job to a high standard, they will also have the requisite knowledge of how to work safely. Sometimes it's not enough just to know to switch off the electricity supply at the mains, remove relevant fuses and seal the fuse panel, or test that the supply really is off.
Professional electricians will obviously know all the correct procedures to carry out before starting the job, but they will also ensure that the working environment is safe, and work safely with additional tools and electrical components.
Differences Between Pros and DIYers
While DIY enthusiasts may think they know the ins and outs of carrying out an electrical job, technical details and experience separate the amateurs from professionals.  Professional, qualified electricians will know the following:
  • Up-to-date regulations.
  • Up-to-date industry changes, e.g. cable core colour changes, mandatory types of circuit breaker.
  • Whether or not to notify local authorities about the job.
  • Remove flooring safely and with minimum fuss and disruption.
  • Exactly where to drill in a wall to fit cables.
  • The best places and ways to fit cables.
  • What thickness of cables to use.
  • What size of fuse or circuit breaker to use.
  • How many sockets can be run from one fuse.

Check Qualifications
Would you trust someone who is unqualified to rewire your home or business, or repair a faulty circuit? Make sure the electrician you use is fully qualified. In the UK, make sure the electrician is either NICEIC, ECA or ELECSA certified. In the US, ensure your electrician has passed a National Electrical Code inspection. This will give you peace of mind knowing that the job will be done safely and no damage will occur to your property.

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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Kitchen Lighting Design - Why so Important?

When you're designing your kitchen it's so easy to get carried away picking out all the pretty appliances, colour schemes and the different bits of furniture. However, be careful not to neglect your kitchen lighting design because the consequences can be quite serious.
Sometimes it's only when you fit that last appliance or lay that last floor tile that you realise there's something not quite right. Then you look up to the ceiling and see that one bare light bulb hanging down and realise where you've gone wrong. It's essential that you incorporate lighting into your kitchen design right from the start to ensure your finished kitchen has that immediate impact. It only takes a small amount of time and effort to get the lighting scheme for your kitchen right and is definitely worth it in the long run.
The first consideration should always be the size and shape of your room. If you only have a small box then that one light bulb bang in the middle might be all you need. However, for larger kitchens or kitchens that have a more unique shape you have to examine where you need to position lights to ensure the whole room is bright enough. Even with the smaller rooms, there might be an area that doesn't get enough light because of the positions of your furniture. Getting your room analysis done is the first step towards a well lit kitchen.
There are numerous solutions for lighting a kitchen properly which can make choosing the right one a confusing process. It really comes down to your personal taste and how much effort you want to go to. Instead of having one light in the middle of the room why not get an electrician to fit two lights, one at each end of the room. This will ensure that light flows into every corner and crevice of your kitchen. Alternatively, you can have small spotlights running up and down in rows or dotted around in scattered positions. This achieves the same effect but can look a lot neater because you don't have anything hanging down from the ceiling.
Task lighting is a buzz phrase in kitchen lighting design right now and most modern kitchens incorporate this idea. Task lights are small bulbs that you fit on the walls above your worktops making it easier to carry out tasks in your kitchen. They can also create a nice ambiance if you're trying to create a warm and inviting space.
Another place you can add lighting to is the bottom of your kitchen furniture. A lot of people find that putting small spotlights just above the floor level creates a really nice glow to a kitchen, as well as making a feature of their lighting system.
Whatever you choose to do, make sure you consider all your options and consult a skilled electrician to carry out the work.

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Monday, August 12, 2013

How to Choose a Good Commercial Electrician

For any building or construction it is important that a lot of care is taken on the wiring system of the building. Any fault on the system can cause loss of a lot of money and in other cases lives may be lost. Therefore it is important that you choose a good industrial electrician who will ensure that the wiring system is handled with utmost professionalism to ensure that there are no faults in the system.
When hiring someone to take care of your electrical system, there are various factors you have to consider in order for you to ensure that you have the right professional for the job. Taking time to select the electrician will give you an advantage of avoiding future problems with the electrical system of the building.
All electricians must undergo professional training because they handle a very sensitive issue. It is important that you learn the electrician's educational background. A professional electrician has to have a good educational background from technical schools. Technical schools give hands on education on different fields and therefore education background is important when you want to get the best electrician for your building.
They must also have experience in the field as and not an electrician fresh from school. Most experienced electricians usually take fellow electricians who are fresh from the technical schools to work under them. They are usually under a 4 year or so apprenticeship. Therefore it is important that you check what experience the electrician has had after the technical college. The electrician gets a lot of experience for the apprenticeship and so it is important that they undergo this phase before they can handle any contracts on their own.
Ensure that the electrician is licensed. Licensing of electricians take quite some time and this is one of the ways that one can gauge the experience of the electrician. Before and electrician can sit for the licensing exam, they must have hours of experience and only then can they be licensed to practice.
They are only allowed to sit for the exam if they clear the apprenticeship and have some hours of practicing. Every place has their own ways or exams that when successfully completed, the candidates are cleared to practice.
Much as the exams vary, they are usually aimed at ensuring that the person licensed has enough knowledge and experience on electric wiring systems. From there they can either join another experienced electrical contractor and get more hands on knowledge or completely start their own firms.
Experience is very vital in this field and this is one of the major factors that you must check on if you want to avoid hiring other electricians in the future for major electrical repairs in your building. A good job done in the building will ensure that the only wiring issue that comes up a very minor or in case there are extensions that have to be constructed later.
It is important to take time to choose a good commercial electrician for your building and this will ensure that you are free of any faults or disasters due to poor wiring.

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Friday, August 9, 2013

 Tom shows that Vacaville Electric is a full range contractor ready to tackle any commercial job. See more at

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Electrical Panel Repairs and Replacement - Vacaville Electric

Tom talks about the dangers of not servicing your electrical panel. Give them a call for a free inspection at 707-448-8222 or see more at

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Childproofing - Electrical Safety

Little is more important when childproofing a home than proper electrical safety. Electricity is something we use every day. Sometimes we forget that even though its use is second nature to us, we still have to use it safely to protect our children and ourselves. Here are a few basic ideas to help babyproof your home.
Install Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters Near Water
Always install ground fault circuit interrupters at all electrical plugs within ten feet of any water source. A ground fault circuit interrupter will detect stray current and interrupt the circuit to prevent electrocution. In comparison, a circuit breaker takes longer to detect stray current. Installing ground fault circuit interrupters is important because they save lives!
Cover Electrical Plugs
When our grandchildren were babies and toddlers, electrical outlet protection consisted of various types of plastic plugs. These had prongs which pushed into an outlet just as any electrical cord does. They filled the outlet holes, thus preventing a child from inserting a paperclip or some other conductive material into the outlet. The downside here is that kids quickly learned to pull these plastic plugins out of the socket. Modern technology has once again met the challenge. You can now buy plastic electric outlet covers that either slide to the side when you want to plug in a lamp, or they snap shut automatically when you disconnect a cord. Either way, faceplates or outlets are revealed only when it is time for an adult to use them. Plus, the spring-loaded covers are strong enough to prevent a toddler from opening them.
In today's electronic age, no home is free of electrical strips, surge protectors or computers. Both the strips and the computer's central processing unit rest on the floor, placing both within easy reach of a young child. This potentially exposes kids to electrocution hazards. Manufacturers have produced covers for both the surge protectors and the central processing unit. Even though light switches are a little harder to reach, they should also be protected by plastic switch covers. Don't underestimate a toddler's curiosity or determination.
To reduce the potential for children to asphyxiate themselves, apply cord shorteners to all lamp and computer cords that have more length than needed. To reduce the potential for a baby or toddler to accidentally bite (they put everything into their mouths) into a live wire, apply wire guards or covers to the wire and secure it to the baseboards in your home.
All of these safety devices can save the life of your baby or toddler. For a few dollars, you can substantially reduce the electrical hazard exposure to your child. All can be ordered on line or found in many local hardware stores. They are a fast and low-cost step to babyproofing your home.

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