home electrical,J.M. Mullen Electric
Written by John Mullen

A Primer on Home Electricity

Most people turn switches off and on and expect the miracle of electricity to happen without giving it much thought. But there is a sophisticated system behind the process of bringing electricity into your home and that is what we will discuss in this blog.

The system of home electrical service begins with the lines either strung from power poles or buried underground and the accompanying equipment that is placed strategically outside your home. Where the power enters your home is called the ‘service entrance’.

Power comes through an electric meter. This is how the electric company keeps track of how much you use each month and from which your bill is calculated. Generally speaking, you have three wires that provide your service. Two are cables that carry 120 volts apiece. The third cable is a ‘ground wire’.

The electric meter is usually located on an exterior wall of the home but may also be found within the breaker box itself. It measures the electricity that is used by the homeowners. Electric usage is measured in terms of kilowatt hours (kWh). An easy way to understand this is that a 100-watt light bulb burning for ten hours uses 1 kWh of electricity. While meters have been analog for the most part, more of them are being replaced by digital meters which provide a more accurate usage reading.

Of course, once the electricity enters the home it does not stay in one place! It has to be distributed through circuits across the entire area (indoors and out). To prevent an electric overload, each circuit comes with a breaker that can shut down the power. You are able to shut off the electricity that leaves the breaker to the various household circuits but not the electricity coming into the home itself.

Electric boxes in the home may be plastic or metal. It is from here that the wires and other devices, such as switches, outlets and more will be connected. All metal electrical boxes must be grounded while plastic boxes are non-conductive and do not need grounding.

It is important to know the components of your electric system. If you are in need of an expert, contact J.M. Mullen Electrical Services. We’ll help you keep the power on!

Electric, J.M Mullen Electric
Written by John Mullen

The Different Types of Commercial, Residential & Industrial Electric Services

The availability of electricity is so widespread and ubiquitous that people usually don’t give it a second thought. No matter if you’re in a high rise in the middle of a densely populated urban area or at a remote cabin in the mountains, people expect to walk in, flip a switch and find they are fully hooked up to electricity. But what does this involve? In this blog we will provide a brief overview of the different types of electric services that combine to keep the lights on (TVs playing, air conditioning running, etc.) across the country.

• Different types of properties have varying types of electrical needs. Usually residential structures may need circuit panel updates, upgrades or repairs. On the other hand, commercial and industrial locations can be subject to regular additions to their electrical systems as well as upgrades and changes to the control systems.
• Commercial sites are always in the process of being changed. For example, parking garages may be enhanced, store fronts and their insides may be changed as new owners and goods are switched. As a result, you will see construction projects constantly in process. This will likely require electrical services such as refurbishing and refitting or retrofitting the electrical systems. One of the most important services provided by electrical installation companies is attendance to the health and safety laws. Often, regular inspections of commercial electric systems must be conducted to ensure the ongoing safety of employees and the public.
• Industrial sites are those that include factories (large and small) and designated industrial parks where multiple types of industries have been zoned to operate. Just what types of electrical services are required in these areas? Plenty – and they are often highly sophisticated. For example, the design and installation of high-voltage boards and the accompanying machinery is a challenging task that is not prepared and completed overnight. These same locations will also need control system installations as well and then there is the issue of regular maintenance and repair required by such notable government overseers as OSHA. Again, this is for the safety and benefit of all.

If you are in need of commercial, industrial or residential electrical services, contact the experts at J.M. Mullen Electrical Services. We have been providing quality electrical support to companies and homeowners for the past 25 years…and our reputation is unmatched.

electrican,J.M. Mullen Electrical
Written by John Mullen

It is Always ‘Hire a Professional Electrician’ Day!

It seems that every day of every month is an observance of one kind or another. There are literally dozens of proclaimed holidays in the month of February to honor everything from reading in the tub to good old-fashioned love. But try as we might, we have combed the calendar and no mention is made of ‘Hire a Professional Electrician Day’!

But in our estimation, there should be. While there are few modern conveniences to rival the delivery of electricity to the home, it is also true there are few utilities that should be treated with greater respect. You call a doctor for an illness, right? Well, when you are experiencing electrical problems we suggest you call a professional electrician. Here are just a few of the reasons why:
• Addressing your home’s electrical problems is not the time to become a do-it-yourselfer! Everyone should have a healthy respect for the dangers of electricity. If you are having any electrical issues in your home, contact a professional electrician. They are trained to approach each project with the proper amount of caution and expertise.
• The use of a professional electrician should ensure that there are no reoccurring problems as they will be addressed by an individual who has knowledge and expertise in the field.
• An experienced and trained electrician understands home electrical systems from a comprehensive perspective. This allows them to come into your home and troubleshoot or identify potential weaknesses and problems that you as a layman cannot possibly identify.
• You will save money in the end. There is plenty of evidence that homeowners can get in over-their-heads pretty quickly when trying to identify and/or repair what appears to be a minor electrical issue that quickly turns into a costly and complicated project. If your plan is to save a few dollars by tackling an electrical issue around the house by yourself, be advised that usually the most cost-efficient route is to bring in a professional electrician from the beginning.

If you are having a problem with your home’s electrical system, contact the experts and professionals at J.M. Mullen Electrical Services. We have a quarter-century’s worth of experience to tackle your electrical problems.

Electrical, J.M. Mullen Electric
Written by John Mullen

Frequently Asked Electrical Questions

As a homeowner you may run into minor electrical issues that keep you awake at nights. In this blog we will answer some of the more common questions about electrical issues around the house.

  • Why do lights flicker? The most common reason for this to happen is a poor connection between the bulbs and the electric source. The first thing you should do is be sure that your bulb is screwed in correctly and tightly!
  • Should I upgrade my home’s electrical system? If your house is fifty years or older, it is probably a good idea to bring in an experienced electric professional to assess the current ability to meet all of the home’s electric needs (dishwasher, refrigerator, washer / dryer, technology equipment, etc.). The expert will be able to advise you on what route to take to keep your home safe and up-to-date. All too often older homes are not equipped to handle the modern electric needs of today’s busy families. Overloading current electric capabilities can put your home and family in danger. Better to be safe than sorry!
  • My breakers trip frequently – why is that? You probably have too many electrical devices on a single circuit. When everything is in use, it automatically trips the breaker to prevent further issues. The best advice is to divide your electric needs across multiple circuits within the home and don’t overload one area.
  • My doorbell has stopped ringing – what is the reason? The first thing to do is use a circuit tester to ensure the transformer is in good working condition. It is recommended you bring in a professional electrician for this. If there are no problems in this area, the doorbell has probably aged out-of-service and needs to be replaced.
  • What are CFLs? CFL is the acronym for compact fluorescent lights. These are the modern replacements for older bulbs that are more costly, wear out quickly and negatively impact the environment. Modern technology has created bulbs that last for months or years that rarely need replacement. As a result, they do not have the far-reaching ecological effects of previous generations of bulbs.

Have any more questions about electricity? The professionals at J.M. Mullen Electrical Services have the answer. We have been serving the greater Baltimore / Washington area for over a quarter of a century and intend to be here for years to come. We look forward to hearing from you!

Floods, J.M. Mullen Electric
Written by John Mullen

Floods and Your Home Electric System

We are quickly coming up on the wettest months of the year all along the East Coast. Winter and spring flooding are not uncommon and while it is not possible to stop Mother Nature, we can be proactive in our response. What follows are a list of measures to take before the water hits to ensure the greatest amount of safety and experience the least amount of damage.


• Make sure your gutters, downspouts and drains are clear. Keeping these areas unobstructed will allow the water to move away from the home’s structure as quickly as possible.
• Move as much of your goods and furnishings as possible from the lower floors to the upper parts of your home, such as to a second story or attic. Store materials in waterproof containers. This should include valuables, clothing, and small electronics.
• Create a record of your home goods, including the receipts and pictures of those items that may be very costly to replace. Make sure this information is tucked away in a dry, safe place and easily accessible.
• Turn off all utilities in advance of a flood. Your water, gas and electricity are all subject to creating potential hazards for homeowners and rescue personnel who may venture into the area. While it may be inconvenient to go without these utilities in the short-run, turning them off may save lives in the end. In response, be sure to have plenty of bottled water, flashlights and other non-battery-operated sources of light available. Today there are many options for staying out of the dark.
• Elevate your appliances on cement blocks to keep them off the floors. Contact your utilities expert if you need assistance. Do not unhook your appliances without the oversight of an expert. Wrap your air conditioner completely in plastic as well and be sure it is in the off position.
• Open the windows of the house on the lower levels. If there is flooding they will not be able to keep the water out and will only be subject to breaking. In this way you may not have to replace the windows after a flood event.


Again, no one is claiming a flood is on the horizon but it’s always better to be prepared. If you are looking for professional electrical support in case of a natural disaster, contact the experts at J.M. Mullen Electrical Services. It is our pleasure to serve you.

Electrical contractor in Annapolis MD
Written by John Mullen

Your Annual Electric Checkup

January is traditionally a time for making resolutions and refreshing your life. During this time of year, people are more inclined to visit the dentist, doctor, and optometrist for annual assessments of their health. It is also time to review the state of your home from top to bottom as well. Included in this to-do list is an annual electric checkup.

Here are the benefits

• An annual check up of the electrical wiring and boxes in and around your home will help to reveal any potential hazards that could result in a fire. Outdated wiring, fixtures and electrical systems are a significant cause of home fires, particularly in the winter when these systems are taxed more than most times of the year. Annual electric preventive checkups will ensure your home system is in healthy working condition.
• Annual checkups of your electric system will also uncover improper overloading of the system. For example, perhaps you have an extension cord with too many appliances drawing electricity from this single source. All too often this can spark a fire. Annual checkups help to ensure the safety of all occupants.
• These checkups will also include an assessment of your appliances and other electric-powered equipment that have the potential to cause a fire because they may be outdated or can no longer be operated safely. These are items that will need to be replaced – a seemingly costly choice that pales in comparison to losing an entire home or injuring or causing the death of occupants.
• Ensuring that your home is up to the latest local, state and national electric standards that are imposed on structures. These standards change over time and it is incumbent upon the homeowner to keep up with this information and be compliant.

An electric inspection will include:

• An examination of all outlets.
• An examination of the circuit breaker or panel.
• An assessment of scenarios within the home that are subject to potential overloads.

Now, do not expect these annual inspections to come without a cost. You have to pay for your other annual checkups – right? But, when you weigh the benefits against the cost, I expect you’ll be scheduling your appointment today.

If you are in need of expert electric services, including annual checkups, contact J.M. Mullen Electric Services. It will be our pleasure to serve you.

Solar Energy J.M. Mullen Electrical Services Annapolis Electrician
Written by John Mullen

The Most Common Renewable Energy Resources

While the most talked about renewable resource for generating power is usually solar, there are other resources just as popular and effective. That is not to say that harnessing the sun’s rays to generate electricity is not highly effective, it is one of the best alternatives for reducing carbon emissions that are instigating climate change.

As well, hydropower is an energy source that has been in use since 1880. People are usually unaware of the fact that hydroelectric dams have been the single largest source of renewable electricity generation for the past century.

But it is wind power that is stepping up to become the most common source of energy in 2019. A whopping $145 billion in investments over the last decade alone all but ensures this form of energy generation is expected to be permanent and a leader.

It should be noted that even with all this money spent on wind power it is currently only providing 6.5 % of electricity to Americans in 2018. This figure is expected to rise only marginally in 2019 to 6.6%. These figures are mirrored for hydroelectricity which, as an aside, tells us that our efforts to capture natural and renewable resources for the purpose of generating electricity fall short of our needs significantly.

Altogether, statistics show that 17% of electricity in the United States comes from renewable resources. That means solar only accounts for approximately 4-5% when combined with other renewables. Another 20% is generated from nuclear energy, leaving the remaining amount coming from fossil fuels (and negligible things like wood, biomass, etc.).

The purpose of sharing this information is not to persuade or argue for one energy source over another. However, it would be instructive to become educated on the various sources of energy that will be powering your home, this country and the world in the future and, perhaps, make energy choices that you believe will be most valuable in the long run.

Meanwhile, if you have questions about the state of electricity in your own home or business, we invite you to contact the experts at J.M. Mullen Electrical Services. We are here to serve the needs of our community.

Outdoor Lighting J.M. Mullen Electrical Services Annapolis Electrician
Written by John Mullen

The Pros and Cons of Leaving Christmas Lights up Year-Round

If you celebrate Christmas, then you likely enjoy the decorating that comes with it. Nothing puts you in a holiday mood quite like a tree lit up, carols playing in the background and festive lights highlighting your home’s exterior. The downside of this is the amount of time and energy it takes to install outdoor lighting. Never mind the threat to life and limb when it comes to putting up the lights and taking them down. Often, it must be done between weather events that include everything from snow storms to hail. So, while sitting by your fireplace enjoying a hot cup of chocolate, you may have been thunderstruck with the idea – why not keep your Christmas lights up all year round? Well, let’s investigate the pros and cons of this idea more closely.

• Use white lights to decorate your outdoors, that way they can be enjoyed year-round. While red, green, blue and yellow lights scream ‘Christmas’, white lights are pure and quietly elegant. Put these up all around your home and you can turn them on and off whenever the mood suits you. Just don’t use white lights that are indicative of winter weather, such as icicles.
• Today’s outdoor lighting is able to be programmed to change colors to match the season or holiday – red for Valentine’s Day, pastels for Easter, red, white and blue for the 4th of July. Even so, the most advanced lights are still only intended to be left out for perhaps up to 3 months, then it’s time to take them down. The reason is simple – the cords that cover wiring are subject to cracking and wearing out in regular weather. This makes them electric hazards instead of electric delights.

That’s right. Lighting that is left out too long can become dangerous to health and home. If left on the roof or trees they may spark and catch fire, leaving your home in ruins. In fact, if you take the time to read the warranty and instructions included in each package of lighting – manufacturers recommend you not keep them up over extended periods of time. For now, outdoor lighting should be used in limited time frames.

As for the hassle of having to put up and take down the lights, consider it all part of the season! For all electricity-related information, contact the experts at J.M Mullen Electrical Services.

Electrician, home,commercial, J.M. Mullen Electrical Services Annapolis Electrician
Written by John Mullen

Heated sidewalks and floors

Welcome to the 21st century where things that were never thought possible are now becoming quite commonplace. Need an example? Look no further than the concept of heated sidewalks and floors. If you live anywhere that experiences snow, ice, hail or freezing rain as part of your outdoor climate, these systems may be ‘just what the doctor ordered’.

Heated sidewalk and driveway systems are also known as ‘snowmelt’ systems. They work to prevent the buildup of snow and ice on everything from trails to driveways and patios to sidewalks. Snowmelt systems are even applicable to roadways. However, they do not come without a price. Therefore, the way to ensure their economic viability is to consider installation in limited amounts, such as within a specified area of a sidewalk (like the 3-foot center or middle area of the walking path).

The great thing about snowmelt systems is they operate throughout an inclement weather event such as a snow or ice storm. Their benefit extends to the cost-savings that are incurred through labor, such as highway and local snow removal and the use of deicers and chemicals that perform this duty, again saving money and the environment all at once.

Of course there are drawbacks, the first of which is the prohibitive costs that are incurred with revolutionary ideas such as this. Making snowmelt systems widely available across an area would appear to be more expensive than the current method of attack to precipitation. But as with any new idea, costs continue to go down as more homeowners, businesses and municipalities take this concept seriously.

The same can be said for heated floors in homes. Once an idea limited to futuristic cartoons and shows, it is becoming more commonplace in homes. Many homeowners consider heated floors to be a smart energy choice as the heat radiates upwards and warms an entire space versus the use of costly space heaters or simply raising the temperature on your thermostat.

If you are interested in learning more about snowmelt systems or radiated floors, contact the experts at J.M. Mullen Electrical Services. When it comes to your electrical needs, we have you covered.

Surge Protectors, J.M. Mullen Electrical Services Annapolis Electrician
Written by Stu Kushner

Whole House Surge Protection

It’s almost a certainty that somewhere in your house there’s a surge protector plugged into one of your outlets. Most people plug in their televisions, computers, chargers, etc. Every year our dependence on electronic devices grows and so does our need to protect those items. Most people think to protect their televisions, phones, and computers, but neglect the biggest units that need protection. Your stove, refrigerator, washer, and dryer are just as vulnerable to power surges as your personal electronic devices. Enter a whole house surge protector.

Unlike a power cord that plugs into the wall, a whole house surge protector is connected directly to your home’s breaker panel. Because the surge protector is properly insulated, it can be installed on the inside or outside of your home. The power strip surge protector doesn’t have the capacity to protect your electronic devices from large power surges. A whole house surge protector will catch the small and large surges for every outlet in your home.

Look for a surge protector that has multiple stage protection. It must be sensitive enough to take care of small surges and hefty enough to handle the major surges. It’s always best to have this type of surge protector installed by a professional electrician. If you install the device yourself, you’ll probably void the manufacturer’s guarantee and it may affect your insurance coverage. Protect your finances as well as your home and call on a professional.

The unit will have indicators to let you know that it’s working properly. LED lights on the panel will show you the status of your home’s electrical system. If both lights are on, the protector is working and there have been no surges. If one light is on, the unit is still working but there have been surges. If both lights are off, the unit isn’t working and needs to be replaced.

The proper sized surge protector installed correctly could last for the life of your home. And, it may increase the value of your home upon resale. Every safety system you add to your home is an attractive selling point. JM Mullen Electrical Services can recommend and install a whole house surge protector for your home. We’re fully licensed and insured and will provide you with the excellent service that’s built our business. Contact us today for an appointment. ty5

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