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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
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.
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!
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.
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.