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

Let’s Talk Energy Efficiency

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.

If you would like to learn more about energy efficiency or electric related information, contact the experts at J. M. Mullen Electrical Services. We are the energy efficiency experts!

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

UPS – A New Type of Delivery!

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.

If you would like to know more about UPS technology or other electrical equipment and services for your home or business, contact the experts at J.M. Mullen Electrical Services.

LightingJ.M. Mullen Electric
Written by John Mullen

Light Up Your Kitchen

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.

Kitchen lighting is an important part of the house. Don’t leave it to chance. Call the electric professionals at J.M. Mullen Electric Services. We can help create the perfect environment!

Electrical Repair,J. M. Mullen Electrical Services
Written by John Mullen

Landlord’s Electrical Obligations

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.

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

Electricity in the House

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.

If you have questions about electricity in your home, contact the professionals at J. M. Mullen Electrical Services.

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

Electrical Q and A’s

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!

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

Home Security Cameras

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.

Better yet, if you are in the market to install security camera equipment in your home, contact the commercial electrical experts at J.M. Mullen Electrical.

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

Back Up Generators

A generator is a machine that converts energy into electricity. Generators are usually classified according to the source from which they draw their power. For example, a generator can be water or gas-powered.

Many homeowners agree that a generator is a ‘must-have’ in today’s world where power can be disrupted by a climactic or other event without warning. Even so, you can’t just ‘hook up’ a generator and expect it to work. You need to do some advanced planning.

  1. Contact an electrician. It is best to bring in a professional when it comes to the electrical systems in your home. The professional will ask you to determine what appliances in your home you would like to keep running ‘off-line’ in the case of an electric power loss.
  2. Take the time to figure out how much electricity your generator will provide and how much fuel will be needed to keep it running on a 24-hour basis.
  3. You should know that you cannot plug a generator directly into a wall socket. You must be disconnected from the larger power grid first. To run a generator, you must install a ‘transfer switch’. This is complicated and should be done by a professional. The transfer switch will be wired directly into your electric service then the generator will be plugged into a subpanel. When the switch is activated, it removes you from the power grid.

There are other things that must be taken into consideration. For example, there are standby generators and backup generators. A standby generator will start up immediately in the case of a power outage. This would be especially important if you are operating medical equipment in your home. On the other hand, a backup generator must be started manually.

No matter what type of generator you invest in, you should always test it a few times a year to be sure it is in good working condition and that you are comfortable in starting it up and getting it running.

Remember, generators get hot! They also emit carbon dioxide, which can be lethal, so set the generator away from the home and on a level surface with plenty of unobstructed room.

Contact J.M. Mullen Electrical Services when you need assistance installing a generator and for all your residential electric needs.

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

How Much Energy Do Video Game Systems Use?

What home with or without children does not have at least one video game system? They are usually plugged in and ready to play at a moment’s notice and remember, video games are not just for kids anymore. The games have long since graduated to have adult appeal. And for those who are really into it, the newest wrinkle to video gaming is virtual reality, which allows you to immerse yourself in the middle of the action.

But, have you ever wondered how much electricity these video game systems are using? Let’s take a closer look at the answer to this question. First, it should be noted that many game consoles have what is known as a ‘standby mode’. Standby mode lowers the amount of electricity the console is consuming when not in active use. The problem is that most game consoles are now streaming everything. They have become the entertain hubs and as a result they are using much more electricity than before.

Whenever a device is plugged in and left on, even in standby mode, it is still consuming electricity. You may have seen commercials urging consumers to unplug your phone’s power cord when you are not charging it because it wastes electricity. Well, the truth is most game consoles left in ‘standby mode’ also waste electricity. Experts suggest that the average household wastes nearly $200 dollars a year on wasted energy consumption. I am sure you could think of other ways to use that money!

Researchers have calculated the average energy use for various game consoles. They have found that the newest Xbox and PS4 consoles use 3x the amount of energy than even the generation before! The Xbox consumes an average of 72 watts an hour and the PS4 89 watts an hour. The government’s Energy Star standard is 50 watts per hour, so it is easy to see they exceed that number. Too, this does not take into account the amount of energy used when they stream live Netflix or Amazon Prime games.

Do you have questions about your appliances and the amount of energy they are using? Contact the experts at J.M. Mullen Electric Services, we’ll be glad to assist you.

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

Six Reasons to Contact an Electrical Contracting Service

In this era of DIYers many people might be inclined to try to replace a socket or figure out why a kitchen appliance keeps shorting out. While we applaud the do-it-yourself spirit on which the United States was built, there are some thing that are better left to an expert. This would include anything related to repairing and installing electrical devices. Here are a few reasons why you should hire a professional electrician to get the job done.

  1. Hire a professional electrician to be safe. Electricity is a dangerous commodity, even when you know what you’re doing. In the hands of a novice it can be deadly.
  2. Worry about tomorrow. So, maybe you have been able to handle what you think is a minor electrical job around the home. The question is have you addressed it correctly so that you are sure there won’t be problems in the future.
  3. Hiring a professional electrician is a safer choice because they have the training, education and background to ensure they are able to complete the job appropriately. You should never hire an electrician that is not licensed. There are too many things that could go wrong that could place your family in a dangerous situation.
  4. If you want to save money it is best to hire a professional electrician. They are more likely to get the job done right the first time, thereby saving you money.
  5. Get work done that is guaranteed. When you hire a professional electrician be sure to get a written guarantee for the work being done. That protects you and the worker so there is no disagreement about what is expected.
  6. Hiring a professional electrician helps to ensure that your appliances and electronic devices are protected. There is nothing more damaging than a power surge; it can destroy everything you own.

If you need more good reasons to turn to a professional electrical service company, contact the experts at J.M. Mullen Electrical Services. We have been in business for four decades and we have all the answers to your electrical needs!

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