When purchasing whole house generators, there may be lots of questions, which is why we’re highlighting five key points that will help you become informed about them. Here they are:
1) Know your surroundings. Do you have neighbors that are relatively close? Will you be installing a home generator on the same side of the house as your bedroom or main living area? If so, then be sure to look for the quietest unit possible. The decibel or loudness rating of each generator is readily available usually. You can find extremely quiet units that are as quiet or quieter than a typical outdoor heat pump.
2) Do you want the generator for whole house or most of the essentials? Remember as the size of the generator gets larger, the bigger of an investment will be required. However, some must haves that can be powered via generator include a heat or cooling source (lots of ways to accomplish this depending on what type of heat you have), water (well and or electric hot water tank), refrigerator, freezer, septic system, cooking source (microwave and or small burner plate works great and can save you from a larger generator), communications (like phone, modem and routers), lights and receptacles to get you ready in the morning. And of course the coffee pot!
3) Get a very qualified electrician installer to set up your system. You could purchase the best system in the world, however the most important day in the life of your new whole house generator system is the day it’s installed. Make certain the installer is licensed and bonded, and make sure they have done lots of these installations. Then, ask to see other projects they’ve done or if you can call the past 2-3 customers they installed generators for like yours, do so.
Some of the things you should be finding out include whether they seem thorough and intelligent about the product and if they are able to offer solutions to problem area. Ask if they take down calculations for the gas appliances and make sure your gas meter or propane tank will accommodate the new home generator system. If they are not asking these things, find a different installer. Making sure your new generator will work with your existing natural gas or propane system is possibly the most important solution electricians should be able to answer and solve.
4) Compare warranties and guarantees not only on the generator itself but the installer too. After the installation is done, can your home generator electrician support you if there is a problem? What assurances do they give you? Do they just want to install it and then not service it? If so, I would stay away from that installer and go with one that will take care of you and support you through the life of your system.
5) Make sure you have whole house surge protection installed not only on your home electrical panels but on the emergency back up generator panel that is controlled by the generator as well. While home generators today deliver very stable and reliable power quality, you never want to take a chance with all your homes electronics on the system. It’s a fairly inexpensive item that provides a very large amount of protection. They also have their own warranty that will give you lots of peace of mind as well.
Mister Sparky Electrician, America’s On-Time Electrician serves the Northwest Arkansas area with a team of certified electricians. In addition to flickering lights, some of the electrician services provided by the company include electrical outlet/switch repair, ceiling fan installation, lighting installation, aluminum wiring repair, landscape lighting installation and home electrical inspections.
Electrical outlets, or as some people call them, receptacles, are necessities we just can’t live without. They power our lamps so we can read at night. They charge our smart phones, which we can’t live without, and they power our alarm clocks so we can wake up for work on time. Because they’re so important to keeping us in sync with our daily routines, it’s almost as if the world has ended when there is a power outage or an electrical outlet is not working. If you are having electrical outlet problems, or have ever had flickering lights or dead power outlets, here are 3 possible reasons why.
1. Loose Contact Points
Power outlets have no moving parts. However, they do have contact points made of metal. These metal contact points have ground connections that eventually wear down and loosen over time, which causes exposed contact points. This is problematic due to the chance of increasing resistance and heat. Increasing resistance and heat leads to problems with electrical wiring often causing blown fuses in the electrical panel or a blown breaker. To prevent this from happening, call Mister Sparky to replace power outlets when outlets appear to be cracked or burnt.
2. Loose Wires
Loose wires at connection points can not only cause abnormal amounts of heat generation, but they also cause sparking in breaker boxes, which can lead to arcing. Arcing can cause hazards such as fire or burn marks in terminals. If you see fire from an electrical outlet you may need an emergency electrician. To make sure there are no loose wires in your electric outlets, call Mister Sparky for a home electric inspection.
3. Low Quality Power Outlets
When getting power outlets installed, cheap and low quality is never a good idea. The life of power outlets relies heavily on the quality. To be safe, only install power outlets that are professional grade. These outlets are built to withstand heavy usage since they have a more reliable construction and heavy duty contact areas.
Mister Sparky, America’s On-Time Electrician serves the Northwest Arkansas area with a team of certified electricians. In addition to flickering lights, some of the electrician services provided by the company include electrical outlet/switch repair, ceiling fan installation, lighting installation, aluminum wiring repair, landscape lighting installation and home electrical inspections.
When the lights are flickering, panic sets in. People begin to sort through different scenarios they could be facing. Is it an earthquake? Is there an electrical panel problem? How much is it going to cost to get this problem fixed? Mister Sparky understands your concerns about flickering lights, and we’re going to address them on the blog to put you at ease. We’ll talk about different causes of flickering lights before educating you about different situations that would require our emergency electrician services.
A few causes of flickering lights include bad light bulbs, bad electrical connections between bulbs and sockets, large power-sucking appliances, loose conductors in the electrical panel, or problems with your electric company. We realize that’s a lot to worry about, but again, that’s why we’re writing this blog for you.
First, it’s inevitable that light bulbs will eventually burn out. If a single light bulb is flickering, try replacing it with a new one. If the newly installed light bulb is still flickering, you may have a circuit breaker problem. In this case, call Mister Sparky to come out for a complete circuit diagnosis. A faulty circuit with loose hot or neutral conductors is nothing to leave alone, as it can be dangerous. Please make sure and call to get us out to your home. After the diagnosis, our licensed electricians will find the problem and fix it only if you want the work done.
Appliances that use lots of electricity also lead to flickering lights. Many homes’ electrical panels only carry up to 200 amps so when appliances that draw 100+ amps are first started, of course lights will flicker. To fix this problem, call Mister Sparky to rewire your outdoor A/C unit for max capacity while also checking for problems with wire size or fusing. Lastly, there are problems that arise due to unforeseen circumstance with your electric company.
For example, when your neighbors are telling you they are experiencing flickering lights while you are too, it’s almost always an electric company problem. It could be a downed power line or that something was fried by an electric strike. However, it could also be an issue with wildlife messing with electrical equipment or tree limbs resting on power lines. In situations like these, call your electric company and let them resolve the problem.
There you have it! Now when you encounter a flickering light problem in your home, you’ll know how to address it. Just remember not to panic if you have an emergency electrical problem or electrical power outage.
Mister Sparky, America’s On-Time Electrician serves the Northwest Arkansas area with a team of certified electricians. In addition to flickering lights, some of the electrician services provided by the company include outlet/switch repair, ceiling fan installation, lighting installation, aluminum wiring repair, landscape lighting installation and home electrical inspections.
At Mister Sparky, we take ceiling fans very seriously. Did you know that ceiling fans were originally powered by water when they were invented in the mid-1800s? Talk about an emergency electric problem waiting to happen, right?! Inventor of the ceiling fan, Duchess Melissa Rinaldi, would be proud of her creation today.
Appliances such as the ceiling fan have advanced exponentially since then; so much we can’t live without them because of the convenience and comfort they provide us. This is why it’s not surprising that we get lots of calls about ceiling fans and ceiling fan installation daily. When we mean a lot, we mean a lot. Mister Sparky receives thousands of calls about installing ceiling fans each year.
Some of the electrical services we get requests for include ceiling fan installation, re-installation, light switch wiring, re-wiring and tightening. We are the electricians that do all of those electrical services for you. If you haven’t guessed yet, this blog is basically ceiling fans 101. We’ve already covered the history of ceiling fans, but next we’ll discuss top brands of fans, different types of fans and when it’s time to reverse the direction of ceiling fan blades.
Whether you take brand names into consideration or not before making a ceiling fan purchase, hear us out. We’ve found that ceiling fan brands such as Araya, Casablanca (link is external), Discus II and Hunter (link is external) always perform well and stand the test of time. Minka, the Involution, and Westinghouse Bendan (link is external) are also good choices! Anytime you need ceiling fan recommendations, please get in touch with us. There are not only several brands to choose from, but there are also several types as well, which can make the selection process overwhelming.
Many styles of ceiling fans have been developed due to changes in style preference, technology improvements and the movement for energy conservation over time. Some of the more popular styles of ceiling fans include direct-drive ceiling fans, stack-motor ceiling fans, belt-driven ceiling fans and cast-iron ceiling fans.
Direct-drive ceiling fans utilize spinner motors with blades attached to them. While they are the least expensive ceiling fan option, they are the noisiest, unfortunately. In contrast, stack-motor ceiling fans are powerful and efficient as they utilize a dropped flywheel where the blades are mounted. Belt-driven ceiling fans are modeled after the early, water-powered ceiling fans except they use electric motors instead of water to operate. Finally, cast-iron ceiling fans, a blast from the past, are made up of oil-bath motors, which must be oiled one or two times a year. They have been known to last 70-80 years because of their durable construction.
Now that you have a solid understanding of the many different types of ceiling fans, we’ve got to educate you on the proper time to reverse the direction that your ceiling fan turns. Winter is right around the corner! It’s simple. In the winter, turn your blades clockwise to warm your room. By keeping your blades going in a clockwise direction, you can save up to 15% on your energy bill. It’s the opposite for summer time. In the summer, turn your fan’s switch to counterclockwise. This way the blades will create a cooling effect that will allow you to keep your air conditioner at a higher temperature, thus saving you money.
There you have it- ceiling fans 101. You’ve learned about the history of ceiling fans, some of the services we provide for ceiling fan installation, top ceiling fan brands and then you learned about which direction to set your fan blades in the summer and winter. Now you can add ceiling fan connoisseur to your résumé! We told you we take ceiling fans seriously.
Perhaps everyone is enjoying some of the first official days of fall? We’ve been busy as always around here! In the past, we’ve discussed how exterior lighting can help keep homes secure. Here are a few key points to remember:
According to Forbes, exterior lighting and certain types of landscaping help keep burglars away from homes.
Bright and highly responsive outdoor security lighting works best to protect your home.
A Mister Sparky home electrical inspection will help us analyze your home situation so we may provide the best suggestions moving forward with your exterior lighting installation.
However, now we’re moving on to discuss your main electrical panels. Yes, we’re talking about electrical panels because they’re important! We’ll discuss the purpose electrical panels service and top manufacturers we prefer. Then we’ll go into life expectancy of electrical panels, and what to do when you face problems with them.
First, what is the purpose of an electrical panel? Well, the electrical panel is much like a heart. Hearts pump blood to your lungs and other important systems in your body through veins and arteries to keep you alive. Electrical panels serve as distribution centers for electricity, as they push electricity through wires or circuits to different electrical systems in your home to keep it powered on.
Without a highly reliable and functioning electrical panel, you can expect that nothing will work the way it is supposed to. That’s why picking an electrical panel made by a trusted, reliable brand is important. When we do installation we use Cutler Hammer and Square D electrical panels because they are the best! However, we do repairs on many brands of electrical panels and we do lots of them- especially on Zinsco and Federal Pacific electrical panels. These brands cause lots of problems from over-current or short circuits due to the overheating of bus bars. This is one of many reasons why it’s important to have a certified electrician check the functionality and safety of your electrical panel annually.
As people age, their hearts may face complications. Same goes for your home. As it ages, your home’s electrical panel may stop protecting the home against over-current or short circuits, among other problems. Electrical panels normally last around 25 years, but this depends on how you treat them. Exposing electrical panels to harsh environments or overloading will only cause them to stop working faster. If you experience a problem with your electrical panel, call a professional, certified electrician.
If you are sure something with your electrical panel isn’t working correctly or you think it may need an inspection, get a hold of a certified electrician (preferably Mister Sparky). DIY electric work is often dangerous. We would be happy to come out to your home to help. If you want to save money, check out our preventative maintenance program, PowerClub. With a PowerClub membership, you get a 10% discount on all service and repairs, special privileges, and other perks.
Well, we hope this blog has enlightened you regarding all things electrical panels. It’s always enjoyable to have the privilege of sharing our passions. Don’t forget to come back and visit our website soon since we’ll be blogging regularly each month. Contact us if you have any thoughts, questions or concerns about electrical panels.
Could someone you know use a $2000
Here’s your chance to make a difference!
Exciting things are happening at Mister Sparky. We just launched our Mister Sparky Makes a Difference campaign, and we wanted to give you all the details about it in case you have not already heard about it.
This summer, we’re giving away $2000 worth of home improvement services including general electrical maintenance, rewiring, generator installation, lighting installation, ceiling fan installation and more. Why? Because we care about our local communities, and we want to put a smile on someone’s face.
Some people either don’t have the resources to maintain a home or they spend the funds they would normally use for home maintenance to help others out. These are the people we want to assist. However, we need YOUR help to do this.
First, visit mistersparkyhelps.com. Once you’re there, we’re asking you to nominate deserving family, friends and humanitarians for the $2000 prize by typing a short blurb explaining why Mister Sparky should select your nominee. It’s that simple! Nominations for the $2000 prize opened on June 14, 2015, but they will close on June 30. Mister Sparky announces a winner on July 8.
Thank you for your continuous support of Mister Sparky. We enjoy serving you. Check out our Facebook page for more information, and please spread the word about Mister Sparky Makes a Difference via social media with the hashtag, #MisterSparkyMakesADifference. Have a great summer and thanks for helping us make a difference!
Mister Sparky electricians pledge to maintain a clean, safe, respectable and reputable place of business that reflects the high standards of the Mister Sparky brand every day. Safety is a part of our Code of Ethics. We don’t just talk about safety, though. We are committed to it. Did you know that every Mister Sparky electrician completes more than 150 hours of training per year?
We do this to ensure your safety and ours alike. At Mister Sparky, safety is important to us no matter the time, day, month or year. However, May is National Electrical Safety Month, which gives us a special opportunity to further discuss electrical safety practices with our friends and family.
Did you know that since 1992, fatal electrical injuries have declined by more than 50% on an annual basis according to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI)? We like to think that the decrease in accidents we’ve seen is due to an increase in electrical safety knowledge. To ensure a continual decline in electrical injuries over time, more safety knowledge is key.
Instead of boring you with a long list of electrical safety tips, we suggest you go check out ESFI’s 360-degree-rotating, virtual home to brush up on your electrical safety knowledge or better yet call us to schedule your own in-home electrical safety checkup today!
Celebrate National Electrical Safety Month while learning more about electrical safety practices here:
It’s starting to get chilly in the evenings and that means winter is on the way. It’s amazing how quickly we move from fall to winter each year. With the colder weather families usually spend more time in their homes. You might not be in the middle of a home renovation or an electrical emergency – but there are other reasons to think about calling Mister Sparky.
We can save you money this winter. Hiring an electrician for some service ideas can actually help you lower your winter bills. With higher electric or gas utilities during the winter, saving money probably sounds pretty good. Here are three easy service projects you will want to consider.
- CEILING FAN USAGE – Most of our customers think of using ceiling fans in the summer to stay cool. But when you set your fan blades to turn clockwise it changes the air flow to push warm air that has risen up to the ceiling back down into the room. This is a great easy technique to help increase the temperature of your rooms. Adding a new ceiling fan to your sitting room or bedroom will also enhance your home with all the styles from which to select.
- DIMMER SWITCHES – these wall mounted switches help you modulate your wattage output. Dimmer switches are great in both summer and winter. They will really help you control costs and keep your family comfortable. It’s amazing how much lighting can heat up and room and run up an electric bill. Plus you will add fantastic ambiance to any room.
- BATHROOM EXHAUST FANS WITH HEATER – Exhaust fans in the bathroom help control moisture accumulation. Many fans come with spot heaters. The combination of keeping the air dry and spot heating will make your morning shower comfortable and keep you from paying more to turn up a main thermostat.
Upgrading your electrical system doesn’t have to mean a complete overhaul of your home’s wiring or something equally major—a few minor tweaks can get you saving money and living more comfortably, day in and day out! If you’re interested in any electrical upgrades in your home, call Mister Sparky today!
Sometimes the easiest upgrades to your home make the biggest difference in your family’s comfort. Call Mister Sparky today to schedule your appointment and keep more money in your pocket this winter!