When people buy a home they tend to look at the interior and exterior of the property and overlook its ‘guts’ and nothing is gutsier in a house than its electric system. But, because the average homeowner knows or understands little about electricity – and this is not an indictment, after all electricity is a sophisticated subject – it is usually not discussed until something goes wrong! So, how can we help you as an electrical service company? Here are just a few of the services we provide to help put your mind at ease.
Today there are specialty doctors, lawyers, cooks, teachers and managers. In fact, as the world becomes more complex, it is almost necessary to choose a specific skill set due to the demands of the job market. Therefore, it should not be a surprise to learn that there are different types of electricians that perform specific jobs. You may find the following information interesting and valuable as you go about your personal and professional lives.
This is the age of convenience. We own appliances to replace the human being in all sorts of chores. Appliances keep our dishes clean, our clothes laundered, our food at its necessary temperatures, our floors vacuumed, and the latest appliance will fold your clothes for you! If you haven’t visited an appliance store lately, take a stroll up and down the aisles to get an idea of how technology is upgrading our appliances so we may never have to clean again!
Energy efficiency means to reduce the amount of energy provided for products and services. Another explanation of energy efficiency is the reduction of energy consumption by using less energy to attain the same level of useful output. One simple example is the installation of insulation to keep more heat in the home during the winter and the heat outside in the summer. This will lead to running your heating and air conditioning systems less frequently which will reduce your energy bill.
Americans have been at the forefront of finding ways to be energy efficient for two reasons. First, the price of energy continues to rise and the use of many forms of energy have caused problems in the environment. So, people are jumping on the ‘green energy’ bandwagon with increasing regularity and enthusiasm.
You can see this trend everywhere today. New appliances are being produced that are more energy efficient. Many are being labeled as ‘Energy Star’ appliances; not only are they more energy efficient but frequently have other technologies that make them appealing to consumers such as ‘noise dampening’ so the product operates more quietly. They may also use less water to complete a cycle or may have shorter cycles that took longer in previous models. These types of new technological advances have led to labeling the newer appliances as ‘smart’. Perhaps what they should be saying is that Americans are ‘smart’ for insisting that companies address energy efficiency!
Prospective homeowners are also joining the move for greater energy efficiency in their homes. Many now ask for energy ratings when they are house hunting. And, nationally indications are that energy consumption in the average household is falling and continues to do so despite the fact that we have more electric appliances in our homes.
Finally, homes are responsible for a little over 20% of all energy used in the country – a figure that also reflects the amount of emissions, too. The Department of Energy figures that each household could reduce their energy consumption by up to 30% if they install energy efficient appliances and use other energy saving measures.
Do you live somewhere where the power is subject to interruption due to the climate or poor service? Do high winds cause your electricity to go out at your place of business? Does your power provider need to do some serious upgrading?
Frankly, no matter what type of business you own your need for uninterrupted electric power is paramount to your success. Whether it is required for operating office equipment or is necessary for larger machinery or refrigeration, you simply must be able to rely on your power source to keep things running.
Today it is possible to install what is known as a UPS or Uninterruptible Power Supply. A UPS can be a life-saver in many situations. A UPS is a device that provides emergency power in the event of some form of general power failure. Of course, there are other resources that smart business people have on hand, including back-up generators or emergency power systems that are auxiliary to your main power source.
But a UPS is a device that ‘kicks in’ almost instantly when power is lost, keeping electronic devices such as computers, monitors, and printers operating for 10 – 20 minutes so that data can be saved and stored that might otherwise be lost between the moment of power loss and the start-up of backup generators. It also maintains power to your telecommunication equipment thereby allowing you to contact key personnel, the power company itself and family.
The United States relies almost exclusively on AC power grids to keep the country running. This includes everything from our fans to our coffee pots, and all computers, telecommunications, and medical equipment. Prior to utilizing a UPS, valuable information could and would be lost at the time of a power outage, even if the power was quickly restored by a back-up generator. A UPS lets you shut down your equipment properly and then start it back up without any technical issues.
In the world of automation and instant communications any down time can negatively affect your business’ bottom line. It’s worth the extra cost of a UPS for the peace of mind it brings.
Every room of the house has different electrical and lighting needs to perform its functions. The kitchen provides so many different services to a home – from food storage to food preparation, while also acting as a family gathering place – it might be helpful to focus on one room at a time when considering electrical needs. We could even narrow the focus even more and attend to the singular subject of lighting in the kitchen.
There are several types of lighting in the kitchen – under-the-cabinet lighting, ambient lighting and whole-room lighting. If you are remodeling or building a home the time to decide what type of lighting you want should begin at the planning phase. Start by taking a hard look at all the areas of your kitchen and determine what types of activities will occur where.
For example, if you will be doing food preparation largely by the stove or refrigerator, you may want stronger lighting to better see what you are doing. Ambient light does not lend itself well to cutting and chopping. Nor is it the best light in which to read a recipe. So strong under-the-counter lighting is recommended for this particular area.
However, walking into the kitchen for an evening snack or relaxing at the island with a morning cup of coffee while contemplating life does not call for bright lights. In these instances, the lighting over areas where the family gathers to snack and dine is better suited to a hanging light such as a chandelier with multiple settings.
Too, recessed lights all around the ceiling or placed in strategic areas can provide another level of light and enhance whatever mood you are trying to create. When planning your final lighting design, you should also take into account the amount of natural light the room receives and at what times of the day this occurs.
There are also multiple control options for your lights as well. For example, you can design your lighting so that they include dimmer switches in addition to the on/off switch. You might also look into putting a smart light system into your kitchen that will allow you to identify and create lighting set-ups that can be controlled by your computer or tablet.
While there are many positives to being a landlord – the first of which is the pride of being a multi-property owner that can provide housing for others while enhancing your own financial net worth – there are obligations that must be met. In this blog we will consider some of the electrical requirements of being a landlord.
• Landlords are legally obligated to ensure the electrical installations on the property are safe prior to renting out the space. It is also their duty to maintain the integrity of all electrical systems throughout the duration of the rental contract. In other words, landlords are obligated to keep in good working order all installations and equipment that supply electricity. This is especially true of the wiring in an apartment or other rented space.
• While the landlord may not be obligated to have annual electrical inspections of a property, it is recommended as a proactive measure and to better guarantee that your property insurance does not get pulled or questioned in the event of an unfortunate accident such as an electrical fire. Too, after a tenant moves out, an electrical inspection ensures that any wiring damage made by the tenant can be identified prior to new tenants moving in.
• Houses in multiple occupation (HMO’s) are usually required to have electrical installations inspected and tested an average of every five years. To be sure you are meeting the expectations of your local authorities, check with your city and state officials. Landlords should know that there are regulations allowing for inspections by a number of local and state authorities to ensure the integrity of your electrical systems on rental properties. If an electrical hazard is identified, the property owner will be served with a notice to attend to this situation.
• A specific landlord-tenant circumstance that can be problematic is the college student rental agreement. There are many properties in which multiple tenants occupy a single dwelling in a college setting. Landlords should collaborate with city officials to ensure they meet all the requirements regarding electrical installations and have the expectations for the use of electricity spelled out clearly in the lease.
If you are a landlord in need of electrical expertise, contact the professionals at J. M. Mullen Electrical Services. Electricity is our business.
If you are a homeowner, then you may get the occasional itch to take on a sophisticated do-it-yourself project or two. While there are some projects that lend themselves to hands-on efforts by the property owner, anything having to do with the electrical wiring in the house is probably best left to the expert – a professional, licensed contractor.
However, that does not mean you shouldn’t understand how the wiring is set up in your house or other aspects of electricity in the home. In this blog we will briefly review electrical wiring and what you must know before beginning any home electrical project.
To begin with, the average home in the United States has two hot wires, a neutral wire, and a ground wire coming into the house. The stated voltage they bring is 120/240 volts, but often it lingers around 115/230 volts. Called ‘single phase’ or ‘alternating current’ – this is the most common type of wiring found in residences. The most valuable thing about AC is that it can be transported over long distances.
The first AC power plant opened in 1894! The voltage of 120/240 accommodates most appliances and needs of a home. For example, lights and most small electrical devices use about 115 volts and larger items such as a stove or air conditioning require 240 volts.
Because electricity is so dangerous, we will again caution you – do NOT attempt to repair the electrical wiring in your home by yourself. This is the time to call in a contractor. Most people don’t realize there are a variety of local, county and state codes that must be met when working with electricity – this is also a job for the professional.
If you want to troubleshoot problems, there are some safety procedures you should follow.
Always be sure the power is off before proceeding.
Don protective gear. This could include safety goggles and a face shield, hard hat and safety shoes, insulating rubber gloves that have leather protectors and insulating sleeves, and, finally, flame-resistant clothes.
Find the circuit breakers in your home and identify what each circuit controls. There are usually a number of them, even in studio apartments. It is valuable to know in advance what circuit breakers go to what outlets / items in the event the power goes out and things need to be restarted.
As a certified and experienced electrical contractor, I find people coming to me for advice on any number of related subjects. As a result, this blog will be devoted to providing answers to some of the most common queries I receive.
Q. Could our home be in danger of storm surge?
A. Storm surge is an abnormal rise in water due to a storm that can cause flooding. There are certain locations in the country that are more prone to storm surges than others. If you live near water there is the possibility that a strong rainstorm could cause water banks to overflow and result in flooding to your home. Even in the driest states in the country, there have been occasional instances of flooding. You should speak to your insurer to find out more.
Q. I keep having outages in the same location and it is becoming more common. Then this morning I had the same thing happen but when I turned on the stove everything started to work again! What should I do?
A This continued occurrence is not a good sign as you now have evidence that there is trouble with the wiring in your house. The causes could be many; start with determining when your house was built and what were the electrical requirements at the time. For example, what type of wiring was used? It’s a good idea to contact a contractor and have a professional examination of your electrical system.
Q. I get shocked by static electricity often in my home. Do you have any suggestions on how to avoid this?
A. Static shocks are no fun and can be painful. One of the most common ways that static builds up is when you are walking around on carpet. After a while this redistribution of electrical charges ends in a release that hurts! One way to avoid static shock is to wear rubber-soled shoes as rubber is an excellent insulator. Also, the type of clothes you wear can make you more prone to electric shocks. Don’t wear synthetic fabrics, like rayon, nylon, and polyester, as they conduct electricity well. In addition, layering your clothes increases the likelihood of getting shocked. Finally, keep a humidifier going as this will also lessen the chance of static buildup.
Have an electrical question? Contact J. M. Mullen Electrical Services – we have your answer!
Home security systems are becoming very commonplace because of their wide availability and affordability. They are also becoming easier to install. Many are also becoming wireless although that does not negate the use of more traditional home security systems as good choices as well.
Today’s wireless security cameras and systems try to present themselves as a do-it-yourself job. For some this may be true. But, since you may be talking about interfering with the current wiring and electrical system in your home it is probably a good idea to call on your neighborhood professional electrical contractor to provide the appropriate support. After all, even if the security camera claims all you need to do is ‘plug it in’, there are plenty of opportunities for mistakes to be made during the installation process. Here are a few suggestions to make the job go easier.
• Start by making a diagram of what you believe are your surveillance needs. It is not necessary to monitor the entire surface area of your home and yard. Identify those areas you want to monitor and then do a physical check to be sure there are no obstructions prior to installing the camera. Some of the most recommended areas for cameras are windows, doors, driveways and porches. But you may also want to have monitors on your home’s valuables and the indoor / outdoor areas where your children play.
• Research the various security camera options then consider their pros and cons before purchasing. Weigh the advantages of a wireless system versus a wired system.
• If you are going to install a security camera system it is a good idea to see the breadth of coverage it offers before it is put in. Often, homeowners believe that one camera will give them complete coverage of their property and this is usually not true. Today’s security cameras do provide multiple perspectives by panning, tilting and zooming but even this does not guarantee a 360-degree view of your home.
• Finally, test out the equipment before you install it. Then once it is installed, be sure to work with it until you are comfortable with how to operate all its components.