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!

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.

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.

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