Saturday, May 31, 2014

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Electrical Power Surge - Is Your Entire Household Protected Against Them?

Most homeowners are unaware that electrical power surges happen quite frequently on any power grid in the United States. These power surges don't just spike during lightning storms but can happen at any given moment. Read on to discover what electrical power surges are, how to ensure you are protected from them at all times , and the importance of doing so to protect all your household electronics and appliances.
There are many causes for electrical power surges including lightning and thunder storms, Utility contractors working up line on the power grid your home is on, or just a transformer along the line or grid to your home going bad. Most times the spikes are minuscule and don't affect your household electrical system in any way, however there are times that a major spike occurs and major damage is done to electronics and appliances that aren't protected by some sort of surge protection device.
In much the same principle as a computer is normally plugged into a surge suppression strip for surge protection your whole house can be protected as well by having a qualified electrician install what is known as a whole house surge suppression unit. These units are installed at the service entrance (load center) of your home and either clamp the surge or redirect it to ground thus protecting the entire household electrical system and everything connected to it such as air conditioners, furnaces, electronics , and appliances.
In essence a whole house surge suppression unit installed to protect your household and all electrical devices will bring a sense of security in knowing that any unseen power surges are addressed and give you a peace of mind about your home and its' contents. Without a whole house surge suppressor one rogue power surge could instantly do thousands of dollars worth of damage and render a lot of electronics and appliances useless.
In comparison a few hundred dollars spent to protect your investments in the electronics and appliances far outweighs the cost of having to replace them and not to mention all the time and hassle it would take in dealing with insurance company as well as shopping for all new replacements and installation costs of them all.
To summarize it only takes one major spike to do untold damage within your home so having a whole house surge suppression unit can provide great protection, peace of mind, and security in knowing that your entire household is covered and there is not much worry when the occasional thunderstorm rolls through your neck of the woods.

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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Memorial Day Tribute

A tribute to the men and women who fearlessly defend the freedoms we all enjoy. God bless them

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Electrical Panel: A Faulty Electrical Panel Can Be Deadly

Why is the electrical panel board important? This article will soon answer this question. If you have ever experienced a thunderstorm, natural disaster or otherwise large electrical event, then you have probably dealt with a power outage and needed to visit the electrical panel in your home to turn the power back on. The electrical service panel is what distributes currents of electricity to all of the various rooms and components of your home.
If you have not yet familiarized yourself with it (or even found where it is located) then it would be a good idea to do so, particularly in the case of natural disasters. Having the ability to get to the correct circuit breaker (both for turning power off and on) can mean the difference between life and death. The electric panel is usually located in basements, backrooms and other 'tucked away' areas of the house. Once you open the panel's door, you will have access to all of the circuit breakers or fuses in the house. Usually, there will be one panel for the whole house, but if there were additions to the house or remodeling (such as installing a new kitchen); there may be additional sub-panels for those as well. Because all of the circuit breakers are located in this one spot, this panel may also be referred to as the 'breaker box'. Within the breaker box, the circuit breakers are stacked and a lever that is labeled 'on' and 'off' controls each one.
There is a regulated amount of current that can go through each breaker, so if there is a short or an overload (such as when lightning strikes) it causes the breaker to trip and protect the circuit by cutting the power. In addition to all of the breakers for the individual circuits in your home, there is also a main breaker controlling the power entering your home. Like other circuit breakers, it can be either 'on' or 'off.' If it is not located in the breaker panel, it may be located in a separate panel board elsewhere in the house. In certain homes, you may also have a fuse box with screw-in fuses instead of circuit breakers, but the function and the way it works is basically the same. To see the main breaker, which you will need to do if you plan to add a circuit or replace one that goes bad, you need to take the electric panel cover off.
This can normally be easily accomplished with a screw driver as electrical panel covers are usually held in place with 4 screws, one in each corner. You can easily identify the main breaker because it has two thick black wires feeding into it from the electrical meter and is made of two circuit breaker handles put together. The main circuit breaker also identifies the amperage capacity (how many electrically charged particles flow past a given point on the circuit breaker per second) of the electrical panel and will have a number written on it indicating the number of amps. A 100 amp electrical panel board is the lowest allowed by code today, but 200 amp and even 400 amp panels are also available. The most common is 150 amps. Although we all hope to avoid natural disasters, shorts, or any other kind of potentially bad or dangerous situation, that situation can only be made worse, by not being able to get the power back on when you need it. As such, it is always good to take the time to find, and understand your electrical panel and electrical subpanel making sure you replace any faulty breakers as soon as possible.

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Monday, May 19, 2014

Careful Electrical Inspections That Help to Stay Safe

Electrical Inspections are a must for any building, irrespective of it being a commercial or residential space. It is for the safety of the residents inside and outside the area. Now, there are a number of things which an inspection brings to the forefront. In this field of electrical inspection, experts have put to use a new device called the IR camera. With the help of this device, you can test the electricity distribution in panel boards, transformers, switch boards. The inspectors can find where the connections are loose, which can cause short-circuiting or catch fire and the circuits which due to overloading can cause blackouts. There are various advantages of using this infrared camera.
1. It makes sure that the entire testing process is safe
2. It gives accurate results and is fast
3. They find problems way before any possibility of serious failure like short circuiting
4. It is a part of preventative maintenance and is vital
5. The device is portable and light
Different kinds of electrical inspections use the following details:
1. The place where the electricians have detected the problem
2. A detailed summary of the problem
3. Images are also provided if you use an IR camera
4. Any extra information against precautionary measures
Thus, when at a later point of time, if you decide to sell off your house, then you will be getting a handsome amount. The only reason being you have kept your house safe. Even if there be problems with electrical devices in your house, early detection can help them to undergo a quick fix. Besides, time to time inspections, you can also have security lighting. They are very vital for your building to stay protected. This will not only protect you but also save your costs in the long run.
Another important aspect that comes to feature along with electrical tests is that of earthing. It prevents any kind of shock or electrocution. This system basically connects a part of electrical connection to the earth. It helps to protect a building against lightning, limits any kind of electromagnetic disturbances and so on. It is a scientific fact that human body is a very good conductor of heat. Hence, if proper earthing is not done in the house, then there are chances that electricity can make the human body a medium to pass through and reach the earth. Hence, you must remember that during an electrical inspection, the earthing system must also be examined.

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Friday, May 16, 2014

Electric Panels - Why Your Older Home Needs An Update

Is your home constantly blowing fuses or tripping the breaker? Are the lights flickering more than they should or appliances don't seem to run as well as they could? If so, it's probably about time for an update on your electric panels.
I'm going to guess you love your family and your home, and you want it to be the best it can be. But sometimes homes run at a less-than-the-best capacity.
Now let's say you just bought an older home. Sure, it has charm, but in the renovation process you discover, much to your dismay, the wiring system is ancient and some of the wires are even stripped! If this happens, you can't afford to wait another moment to upgrade. A faulty wiring system can be a tremendous fire hazard and even cause electrocution.
Technological advances in electricity have changed the picture a great deal. Thomas Edison wouldn't believe what can be done with it today! But to keep up with the times, it's vital you keep your electric panels current.
Nowadays we have invested our hard-earned money in appliances, which were never heard of thirty years ago when the original electric panels were installed in most homes. Inventions like computers, surround-sound systems and home theaters are common in most households. Even up-to-date refrigerators and ranges draw a great deal more energy than their former creations.
An upgrade will not only provide the safety your family needs, but it will also be an easy draw on your budget. Why? Simply because state-of-the-art electric panels run appliances more efficiently.
If you decide to "move it on up", who are you going to call? Any professional electrical contractor will be skilled enough to do the job. He's up on all the current codes and specifications. A word of caution - do NOT attempt to upgrade yourself. You will need an electrical expert to do the job right. Besides, wouldn't it be grand just to sit back with your feet propped up while the highly trained expert does the work? Then you will KNOW it's been done right. This is how you get that peace of mind.
And one of the reasons why it's crucial you hire an expert is due to the fact that much of your home's wiring system is hidden within the walls of the house. They're trained to know where to look so the wiring can be correctly replaced or repaired as needed.
Let's talk about what all of this might cost if you upgrade to 100 amps with a new panel. A rough estimate is between $1,500 and $2,500. If you don't get a brand new panel and just upgrade your existing one, the charge will drop to between $800 to $1,200. Keep in mind these figures may fluctuate according to who you hire.
Updated electric panels provide your home and family with not only a greater degree of service, but they also give that wonderful peace of mind that no one can put a price on.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

An Electrician Explains How To Prepare For Rolling Brownouts or Blackouts

Any electrician will be familiar with rolling brownouts or blackouts. He or she can help prepare your home or business for them. It is important to know the difference between the two and how each one can affect you.
Rolling Brownouts
A rolling brownout happens when the electric power is temporarily reduced instead of being cut completely. Many people experience brownouts without realizing it. Lights may flicker and dim during a brownout. Brownouts can occur when the electrical grid becomes overloaded. They can last to from a few seconds to hours. Rolling brownouts happen when a utility company temporarily cuts voltage to some customers to keep the power grid from overloading.
Rolling Blackouts
Rolling blackouts are often associated with California during the hottest part of the summer. However, an electrician knows rolling blackouts are possible during the summer. This is especially true when the temperature climbs over 100 degrees.
Rolling blackouts are a deliberate cut of power by the utility. It is used as a last resort to keep the high demand from overtaking supply. Utilities try to avoid rolling blackouts by asking the public to reduce their power consumption during peak times. If consumption does not decrease, rolling blackouts are initiated.
While rolling brownouts and blackouts are not too common, they can happen. An electrician can help people to prepare to limit any problems.
Tips To Prepare for Rolling Brownouts or Blackouts
- Know where your fuse/circuit breakers are in your home. Make sure you know how to check for any problems. Call any electrician if you need help or are unfamiliar with fuse/circuit breakers.
- Ask an electrician if he or she can recommend the type of surge protection you need for your home or business. You will need to protect against the effects of a rolling brownout or blackout. This is especially important for any computers you may have because the damage irregular power surges can cause.
- Turn off and unplug appliances during brownouts or blackouts.
- Have a supply of flashlights, batteries and candles available in case a brownout or blackout occurs during the evening.
- Be aware of any announcements from the local utility company about the possibility of brownouts or blackouts.
By preparing for any rolling brownouts or blackouts, you are also preparing for any unexpected power outages. Having a plan to combat any electrical outage problem is important and will help in any planning for emergencies.

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Saturday, May 10, 2014

Replacing Electrical Wiring - Home Repair That Matters

The time of replacing electrical wiring has come. Your electric wiring has timed out, as it only has a limited lifespan. For the record, electric wiring PVC cables have an estimated lifespan of twenty years. By the time twenty years have passed, homeowners are advised to replace their electrical wiring as precautionary measures for the purpose of maintaining a safe home.
The condition of cables and wires deteriorates over time. If they are used continuously, lives are being recklessly exposed and properties endangered. This is why regular replacement schedules should be followed. Naturally, a licensed electrical technician or electrical engineer can perfectly replace the electrical wiring at home. A licensed electrical technician can determine whether the wirings are no longer safe to use and if so, he can make the necessary replacements.
Electric wirings are not only to be replaced at the end of their expected lifespans. When electric problems occur, electrical wiring should be replaced right away. To better identify electric problems, one should know first what a consumer unit is and the switches that go along with it. Basically, the consumer unit is responsible for electrical distribution in the panels installed at home. The panels are put together and enclosed. The miniature circuit breakers, or MCBs, are utilized to protect home appliances from electric fault and overheating of cables. When MCBs are switched off or tipped off, the electric supply to the affected circuit is cut off. This usually happens as the result of short circuit, earth-fault, or overload. If electric fault causes too much damage, the replacement of electrical wiring is necessary.
Fixing the air conditioner is another issue that may require replacing electrical wiring. There are two kinds of air conditioning systems. There is the window-type and there is the split-type. The window-type requires an electric plug for the power source. And, in order to mount it, a boxy rectangular hole-in-the-wall is necessary. On the other hand, the split-type is more complicated to install since its features are more sophisticated. The main two units of split-type units are the internal unit, where the cold air is blown, and the external unit, where the compressor is located. The two units are linked through the pipes to make the air conditioner cold, but the two units need two corresponding power sources. Frequent check-ups and cleaning of the plastic filters are the two simple ways of preventing the problem. If this is done, there is a small chance of experiencing electric failures.
Replacing electrical wiring is a serious and risky task. If you know the principles of wire replacement, you can save yourself from electric burns and other fatal injuries. This is a situation where being careful is of vital importance. Replacing electric wiring requires that you turn off the power to the circuits and then double check whether it is really switched off. And if you managed to successfully replace everything, such as the electrical receptacles, you need to use testers to know whether the receptacle is already working. Simple steps like these will help keep you and those who visit your home safe. Replacing electrical wiring can be a manageable task if done carefully. And if you are still in doubt of your own capabilities, it is a smart decision to hire a professional electrical technician.

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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Seven Reasons To Hire A Licensed Electrician

Looking to save money when you are making home improvements or repairs? To assure your home is safe, don't skimp when it comes to electrical work. Hiring a licensed electrician is usually more costly than doing a job yourself or having a handyman do it, but here are a few reasons why it's worth the extra cost.
Seven Reasons Why It's Worth It to Hire A Licensed Electrician
  1. You are paying for general knowledge. When you buy the services of a licensed electrician, you are gaining access to a thorough base of knowledge. Every licensed electrician has studied the National Electrical Code (NEC), a set of standards published by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). During his training and apprenticeship, he learned about local building codes. He is bound to follow these codes as a professional.

  2. You are paying for an accurate assessment of your home wiring. A licensed professional knows how even a simple job can impact your home wiring and will be able to tell you what is needed to make your system safe before making additions or modifications. If he finds that your outlets are not properly grounded or that you do not have the proper amperage of electrical service coming into your home, he will be able to make things right before performing the job at hand.

  3. You know he is qualified. If you want to verify that a licensed electrician has the training and experience to do electrical work in your home, you can check his credentials on file with the city or the state. Electricians have to pass rigorous tests to become licensed. With an unlicensed contractor or handyman, you have to depend on claims he makes about his ability to do the work and on references from clients, who are not always the best judge of whether he was qualified to do the job.

  4. You are paying for up-to-code work. Many DIYers and even handymen who do electrical work often think that some provisions in the electrical codes are "overkill" and unnecessarily rigid, so they take dangerous shortcuts. A licensed electrician is bound to follow current acceptable practices.

  5. You have a permit to verify that the job was done right. When a licensed electrician does a big job, he will pull a permit from the city, another step that less qualified people often skip. While this costs money and makes you subject to inspections, you have more assurance that the job will meet code.

  6. You are protecting yourself and your home. While a repair by an unqualified person can work out in the short run, the long-term consequences could result in a fire. If the causes were due to wiring, your insurance company might refuse to pay for damages when an unlicensed person made them. If a handyman had no business insurance to cover his work, you might be left in a serious bind. A licensed electrician is required to have insurance to protect you from the results of poor workmanship.

  7. You are better ready to sell your home. When you go to sell your home, you can give additional assurance to buyers that the work was done right. The work will pass inspections from the city (if this is required in your area) and private home inspectors, and save you from having to lay out money to have the work redone before closing.
Regardless of how small a repair you need, you can't go wrong hiring a licensed electrician. He (or she) has the know-how to do the job safely and in a way that passes current electrical codes.
Jillynn Stevens, Ph.D. is a writer with a vast array of subject matter expertise. Along with publishing articles for large and small businesses, she researches, writes and publishes reports on various public policy issues.

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Sunday, May 4, 2014

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Benefits of Professionally Installed Landscape Lighting

With properly installed landscape lighting, you can greatly change the look and atmosphere of your outdoor spaces. This is a great way to increase the safety, function and look of your entire yard. Many people choose to start with just one flowerbed, tree or outdoor living area. Regardless of the size of your lighting project, there are many options and lighting packages available. While it may be tempting to do it all yourself with a DIY lighting kit, you should also consider having your landscape lighting professionally installed by a licensed electrician. Professionally installed landscape lighting often looks better and lasts longer than its DIY counterparts.
Using DIY Lighting Kits
You can find DIY landscape lighting kits at nearly every store in town. They are available in a range of styles, sizes and levels of quality. In general, this route is much cheaper than having your lighting installed by an electrician. The tradeoffs, however, can be greater than you think. Unless you go with a very high-end lighting kit, most DIY kits will be nowhere near the quality of the lights that an electrician will use. As a result, your lights will wear quicker, leading to a shorter lifespan and diminished aesthetic value. Furthermore, many DIY kits leave you with unsightly wires, converter boxes and other items that will not exist in a professional installation.
Professionally Installed Landscape Lighting
Landscape lighting is not typically the first thing that you think of when you think about the services that are provided by the typical electrician. Many electricians, however, specialize in the installation of great-looking, long-lasting landscape lighting. Utilizing the services of an electrician means that you will have the utmost ability to customize exactly how you want your landscape lighting to look and function. This means that you can reach all of the hard-to-reach places, light all of your trees and ensure that your lighting will not disturb any cars that are passing by. Most electricians use very high quality, metal fixtures that can use higher-output bulbs than their plastic counterparts. This means that your lighting will function more efficiently than if you had gone with a plastic DIY kit. Furthermore, metal fixtures are sealed from the elements, giving them a much longer lifespan.
In addition to accenting trees and showing off flowerbeds, landscape lighting also has a very functional purpose. If you have outdoor walkways, decks or other living spaces, well-placed lighting can turn them into great places to be both day and night. Rather than stumbling around in your backyard at night, you can safely walk any paths, and enjoy company on your deck at all hours of the day. Because every home is different, a custom application can be very important to the overall look and function of your finished exterior lighting project. Consider working with your electrician to make sure that everything works just the way you want it to.

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