09 Aug 2018
It’s important to keep your home up-to-date regarding your electrical equipment and panel. Most consumers are not familiar with the work that electricians do, so it can sometimes be difficult to know when you should upgrade your electrical panel. There are a few important things to look for when considering whether it is needed in your home or business.
Signs you need to upgrade
Dimming or flickering lights
Do you have frequent tripping of appliances due to overload? If so, it may be time to check your electric panel for problems. One of the most common reasons for house fires is faulty wiring. Wiring that is not properly installed or that is no longer working correctly is dangerous. It is also a sign that you may need to upgrade your electrical panel. Never try to fix faulty wiring yourself, it is extremely dangerous. Always hire a professional electrician for any wiring work no matter how simple it may seem.
Whether it is an appliance or breaker panel, any sparking coming from an electrical device spells trouble. If it is an appliance that is sparking it is probably a localized issue in the appliance itself. However, if it is your breaker box that is sparking you need to get an electrician in there ASAP!
Constant humming or buzzing.
Typically a well functioning electrical grid or appliance should operate with very little noise, save for a quick, quiet hum that sounds when the device kicks on. But, if you are hearing a constant hum from any of your electrical systems this should sound the alarm. Often the result of loose prongs, outlets or fraying wires; this sound is the result of an error cause the current to jump.
Important note: If the humming or buzzing is coming from an outlet stop using it and call an electrician ASAP.
Pros and Cons of an Electrical Panel Upgrade
Not every electrical problem means that you need to upgrade your panel or electrical equipment. However, if you do need an upgrade, only an upgrade will help. Below are some pros and cons to updating your electric panel.
An upgrade helps keep your equipment up-to-date for future changes.
It may avoid electrical hazards caused by overloads
It helps save energy because your home electricity will be more efficient.
The problem may not be your electric panel.
It could affect your homeowner’s insurance policy
The problem may be a faulty breaker instead.
Seek the Advice of a Professional
When it dealing with electrical problems with your home, you can’t afford to make mistakes. It is dangerous to replace your electric panel as well as to work on most electrical wiring problems. So, if you suspect a problem, contact a professional first.
Why Piper Electric?
At Piper Electric, we have 35 years of experience installing electrical panel system upgrades, as well as working on a variety of electrical problems within both residential and commercial buildings.
We are conveniently located in Denver, Colorado, and we can offer a free estimate on your problem and advise you as to whether you should get a system upgrade based on what we find. Then you can contact your insurance company and make sure the work will not influence your homeowner’s policy.
Don’t take it on yourself. Don’t risk getting shocked. Call us instead and stay safe!
25 Jul 2018
We’ve all been there. You are preparing for a nice dinner or, you are in the middle of work when it happens. The power goes out. Leaving you quite literally in the dark. It is not a pleasant feeling.
The first thought is that you forgot to pay your bill, then you realize your payment went through last week. So what happened?
Most likely something tripped your circuit breaker, and it needs to be reset.
There are many common reasons circuit breakers can trip leaving you in the dark.
Circuit Overload- Perhaps the most common reason your circuit blows is due to an overload. This is also the most dangerous reason, and faulty electric wiring or electrical overload is considered one of the main reasons for house fires. To handle this problem, avoid overloading the circuit breaker by limited the number of high-voltage appliances you plug into one outlet.
Short Circuit- If you smell burnt wires after a circuit breaker trips and shuts off your appliances, you may have experienced a short circuit. Look for black circles around your outlet or other signs that your wiring has short-circuited. Do not try to repair this problem yourself. Instead, contact a professional to do it.
Ground Faults- Another dangerous condition that may cause your system to short out is a ground fault. This happens when a live wire comes into contact with the grounded area. This involves the grounding setup of your wiring and can lead to electrical shock. Call an expert on this issue to avoid an accident.
Storms & Lightning- One of the most common reasons for circuit breaker issues is a storm. If you have recently had a storm or are in the middle of one when it happens, this can be considered a suspect. Lightning can hit any area of our home that is grounded in your electrical system. Sometimes lightning hits something near your home and temporarily suspends your electricity. If it lasts longer than this though, there may have been a direct hit that could have damaged your equipment. Get a professional to check this out as soon as possible.
Appliance Breakdowns- Sometimes your circuit breaker can trip because of faulty or damaged wiring. This usually stems from a central electrical source and can cause a fire or total blackouts. To avoid this problem and to keep from overloading your power source, contact an electrician expert to check your appliances before you plug them in.
Coming Out of the Dark
If you are sitting in the dark due to a circuit breaker tripping, you need the expert advice and help of the experts. At Piper Electric, we can handle electrical issues no matter what the cause is. We can go in and run tests on your electrical system., your circuit breakers, and appliances to see which part of the system needs repair. Then we will work harder to make your home safe from electrical issues that may endanger you and your loved ones.
To find out more about how we can help, contact at 303-558-5853.
The summer heat may make your home feel very uncomfortable. Using an air conditioner is a popular way to keep your home cool. Yet, it may be quite costly to install and maintain air conditioning in your house. Plus, wading through all the available options can be frustrating. The good news is, you can always get expert help from the professionals at Piper Electric. You should also take a look at the following tips to help you get started.
Reduce the amount of sunshine entering the house
The sunshine entering your home can cause the air inside to heat up pretty quickly. This can be avoided by covering your windows. Using drapes and curtains is a simple way to reduce heat in your house. You can even buy special blackout curtains that will help keep your home’s temperature down. At the very least, cover the windows that are directly in the sun rays’ path.
Use ceiling fans
Ceiling fans are an affordable way to cool down your house. They cost much less than air conditioning. And, you won’t have to spend as much money on your electricity bill. Using fans will improve how air circulates in your house. In fact, using fans together with your air conditioning will keep your house cool without increasing your energy costs. When in doubt, it might be best to speak to an expert. They will be able to advise on the best way of keeping your house cool in an efficient way.
Keep your house properly sealed
When your AC is running, it’s important that the house is properly sealed off. You don’t want the cool air to escape through an open window. On the flip side, hot air entering the house will put make it more expensive for your air conditioner to keep you cool.
However, if the temperature outside is less than what it is inside, try turning your AC off. Instead, open windows that oppose each other. Then, sit back and enjoy the cool breeze rushing through your house!
Manage your air conditioner
As much as possible, your air conditioners should be kept in the shade. If you can, have your AC installed on the North side of the house. That side of the house gets less heat during the day. Doing this will help to reduce your running costs.
It’s also best to switch your AC unit off when you’re not at home. Your house will not stay cooler just because the AC was on the whole day. The next tip gives you a much better option.
Use a programmable thermostat
A programmable thermostat will ensure that your AC only runs during certain times of the day. That way, you can ensure that the unit doesn’t stay on when it’s not needed. This is a crucial step if you want to save money while keeping your house cool.
Make sure that there are no heat-emitting objects around your thermostat. This includes lamps, ovens, or even desktop computers. The extra heat will “confuse” the device about the room’s temperature. As a result, the AC unit will work harder to keep the room cool. In turn, this will end up wasting money due to high power consumption.
When it comes to cooling your house, it’s always best to speak to an expert. They can help you figure out the best options for your budget. You will also avoid a lot of trouble that can come from buying the wrong cooling equipment. Find out how you can get your needs met – get in touch now!
21 Jun 2018
Flickering lights can be incredibly frustrating, causing headaches and a lot of discomfort. However, you may not realize that they can also be really dangerous. When your lights are continuously flickering, it’s often a sign that something is seriously wrong with your home electrical system. Electrical fires cause over $1.3 billion in property damage every year and around 10% of home fire fatalities are a result of electrical malfunctions. This means it’s important to get to the bottom of why your lights are flickering, in case it’s something truly dangerous. Here are the top 5 reasons why your lights are flickering:
Reason #1: You’re using LED or fluorescent lights
Some types of light fittings naturally flicker more. When you turn on fluorescent lights, the phosphors have to reach the right illumination, and they’ll often flicker in the process. LED lights will also commonly flicker as they’re trying to connect to their drivers. It’s quite normal for LEDs and fluorescent lights to flicker right after you turn them on, so don’t let this flickering worry you.
Reason #2: The bulb is loose
Your light bulb may just be too loose. If you haven’t screwed the bulb into the socket tightly enough, it will flicker. Obviously, you should turn the light off, wait for it to cool, and then screw the lightbulb in more tightly. Always screw your light bulbs tightly into the sockets. If your light bulb keeps flickering, however, then you’ve got a different problem.
Reason #3: Your light switch isn’t working properly
If your light switch isn’t properly connected to the light bulb, you will get some flickering. Try turning the light on and off a few times. Or, you can leave the light off for a little while before turning it back on. If either of these solutions fixes the problem, then you’ve simply got a faulty light switch. An electrician can replace this for you quickly and easily.
Reason #4: Your home’s voltage is fluctuating
Your lights may be flickering because the voltage in your home is fluctuating a lot. This is particularly likely if the lights flicker when you’re using a high wattage appliance. You’ve probably got a voltage problem if you experience other problems like; your light bulbs burning out and lights going dim for no clear reason. If the voltage in your home is fluctuating a lot, then you’ve got a real problem. Your home voltage should always be between 115 and 125 volts, and you can check it using a voltmeter. If you’re getting more variability than that, it could be a sign that something is seriously wrong. Consult an electrician as soon as possible if this is the case.
Reason #5: Your home wiring is loose
The worst-case scenario is that your flickering lights are caused by loose wiring. Loose wiring is the biggest cause of electrical fires in homes, so you don’t want to ignore it. You should turn off the light at the circuit breaker before you remove the light fixture and take a look at the wiring underneath. If it looks loose or you aren’t sure how steady it looks, call in an electrician as soon as possible.
Flickering lights would annoy anyone, but you should also be concerned for your safety if you notice them in your home. If you’ve got flickering lights in your home, or you’re concerned about any other electrical issue, get in touch with the experts at Piper Electric. We’ve been working with home electrical systems in Denver since 1983 and we’ve got all the expertise you need.
07 Jun 2018
Due in part to the plethora of DIY inspired home renovation shows and magazines on the market today, many homeowners get it into their heads that they can tackle any home repair. Unfortunately, many homeowners quickly become aware that home renovation projects are often more complicated than they seem. One of the most complicated and dangerous elements of home renovation that no homeowner should handle themselves is electrical work. Before you delve into your home’s electrical wiring, take a look at the FAEQ.
FAEQ #1: When do I need to call an electrician?
While we recommend hiring a professional and licensed electrician for any electrical work, there are a few other occasions when you would benefit from having a professional in your home. Call an electrician right away if:
- Your lights are flickering on & off, if they are frequently dim, or if you find yourself changing fuses all the time.
- You notice a burning smell coming from any of your electronics or outlets.
- You need additional power outlets installed or updated.
FAEQ #2: How much electrical work can I do by myself?
Legally, most states will let you do pretty much whatever you like in your home. However, tinkering with electrical work can be dangerous, especially if you don’t really know how they work. Changing a fuse and rewiring a socket is probably manageable. But, for anything else, just call an electrician. The danger and damage that you can do by messing around with your home electrical grid usually aren’t worth it the minimal financial savings. And of course, if you mess up, you’ll end up paying more to have everything repaired.
FAEQ #3: What are the different electrical outlet grades?
Outlets are organized into three main grades, homeowner grade, commercial grade, and hospital grade. Homeowner grade outlets are the least expensive and the most common but, they’ll generally wear out within five to ten years of use. Commercial grade is a better option as they cost more but will last around one hundred years! Hospital grade outlets are much more expensive and aren’t needed in the average home, as they’re built to be so fail-safe that they can stay on to power medical devices and so on.
FAEQ #4: What’s a “short”?
A short is just another name for a short circuit. It essentially occurs when a wire carrying electrical current (usually the black wire) touches the grounded conductor (the white wire) or the equipment ground (the green or bare copper wire). A lot of heat builds up and can cause sparks. This is why your home’s circuit breakers will cut off your power if a short circuit occurs, so this excess heat doesn’t turn into a fire.
FAEQ #5: What’s the difference between a circuit breaker and a fuse?
Both circuit breakers and fuses have the same job – when there’s an issue with your electrical system, they’ll stop the flow of electricity. The difference is in their longevity. You’ll have to replace a tripped fuse, but a circuit breaker can be put back into use and doesn’t need replacing. This makes circuit breakers the more popular option these days.
FAEQ #6: Why do the light bulbs in one of my fixtures keep blowing?
It’s probably an issue with heat, vibration, or voltage. If the light fixture has an enclosed lens, then the bulb can easily get too hot and burn out the bulb. You need to remedy this, as the excess heat can increase the risk of catching fire. Make sure not to install light bulbs that are too big (you can check the label on the fixture to find out the right size). If the fixture is next to a door then the constant movement may cause the bulb, and its filament to vibrate, which will also cause the bulb to blow. If this is the problem, you can try using a halogen light bulb, which has a stronger filament and is less likely to break. Your lightbulbs may also be too low in voltage for your home. Many modern homes have voltages as high as 125 volts, whereas many common light bulbs are just 110 or 120 volts. The high voltage in your home will run them out quickly, so in this case, it can help to use a 130-volt bulb.
FAEQ #8: Is my home electrical system safe?
If you’re experiencing any of the problems we mentioned in FAEQ #1, then your home electrical system may be unsafe. Similarly, if your home is quite old then your electrical system may not be able to safely handle modern electronics. If you’re concerned about your home electrical system, the best thing to do is to get it checked out by a professional electrician.
Electrical systems can seem confusing but, hopefully, this FAEQ has answered some of your burning questions! If you have any more, just get in touch with us here at Piper Electric. Providing top quality services to customers throughout Denver since 1983, we are the electrical contracting experts.
21 May 2018
It can be all too easy to forget about the wiring in your home. After all, your brain happily focuses on more visible issues like paint chips and broken kitchen appliances. However, your home’s wiring is a vital part of your day to day life and your safety. Electrical fires cause around 300 deaths and over 1,100 injuries every year, and over a billion is lost per year to property damage resulting from electrical fires. In fact, bad electricals result in around 51,000 fires every single year. You don’t want this to happen to your or your family but it easily can if you neglect your home. But how do you know when you need to rewire? Here, in no particular order, are the top ten signs which indicate that it’s time for you to rewire your home:
If you can often smell burning and the scent doesn’t seem to go away, you may be having serious wiring issues. You should always turn off the power at the circuit and get in touch with an electrician immediately if you suspect that there’s a burning smell caused by an electrical issue in your home.
If you often get an electric shock when you plug something into outlets in your home, this could be a sign that your wiring is faulty. This can easily happen over time or as a result of a bad original job, and it should be corrected by a professional rewiring.
Similarly, if your outlets often spark when you plug something in or out of them, you need to beware. Don’t ignore this sign that something is wrong with your rewiring. Consult an electrician if you notice continual sparking from your outlets.
Dim or Flickering Lights
If the lights in your home are continually dim or flickering, there could be something wrong with your wiring. One dim or flickering light is usually nothing to worry about. However, multiple imperfect lights is a sign that you need to rewire.
Does your house sound like you’re grilling in the backyard, even when everything should be quiet? Then you’ve probably got an issue with your wiring. Sizzling sounds can be a sign of electrical faults, so start thinking about rewiring your home if you keep hearing them.
Tripped Circuit Breaker
Your circuit breaker will trip if your electrical system can’t handle the amount of power running in your home. There are a few other reasons why your circuit breaker might trip but it is often a sign that you need to rewire, so consider calling an electrician if this keeps happening.
Equally, if the fuses in your appliances keep blowing, you might have a problem. One blown fuse could be a fault with the product or a coincidence. Continually blown fuses are a cause for concern. Your house may need rewiring if your appliances keep blowing, so don’t ignore this important sign.
Discoloration on Outlets and Switches
Your switches and electrical outlets will often end up discolored as a result of old or bad wiring. Tiny sparks and fires can cause a charred appearance which will become noticeable over time. If you start noticing this discoloration, contact an expert about getting your home rewired.
Your home may need to be rewired if your outlets are hanging loosely from the wall. Even if they’re just a few millimeters off the wall, they could easily cause electrical fires.
An Old Home
Sometimes, it’s simply the most obvious problem. If you’ve got an old home and you haven’t rewired it in a long time (or ever!), then it may be time for a rewiring. An expert, like the ones at Piper Electric, can help you figure out if it’s time to rewire your home.
Here at Piper Electric, we’re always happy to assist you with your electric needs. If you’re thinking about rewiring your home, get in touch with us to find out about your options. With over thirty-five years of experience in electrical contracting, we’re always ready to help you get the best service possible.
Around 51,000 home fires and 500 deaths are caused annually due to electrical faults. While all new buildings have to meet certain electrical safety regulations, it is older buildings that pose a great concern. Many buildings that are over twenty years old are not equipped to deal with the present electrical load and pose a high risk of electrical fires.
Electrical safety concerns in older buildings
- Outdated regulations: Buildings that were built in the 70s, 80s, and 90s met a certain standard of electrical safety but, those standards are completely outdated now. Every three years, the National Electric Code (NEC) makes revisions to its safety laws to reflect changes in technologies that make buildings safer.
- Increase in load: Over the past few years, the concentration of buildings using electricity in each area has grown. The electrical consumption in each household has increased with the influx of new gadgets and appliances. The considerable increase in load on the electric supply has also increased the probability of electrical fires in homes with outdated electrical installations. In fact, electrical fires are responsible for $7 Million worth of property damage every year.
- Age: Overtime it is not uncommon for the wiring in buildings to wither and crack, exposing loose wires that are essentially leaking electrical charges that can easily catch fire.
- Home improvements: DIY home improvements over the years could have damaged the electrical installations in a home. Adjustments in electrical sockets, lighting fixtures, or remodeling a room by an unqualified person could damage the integrity of the electrical setup in a house.
- Other problems: A number of other problems have been observed in older homes that give rise to concerns of electrical safety; overloaded circuits get overheated, improper or no earthing for sockets, no residual current devices in bathrooms, etc. All these and more have a high risk of an electrical accident.
What can be done?
Older homes need to be inspected regularly and up to date fire safety regulations need to be put in place. Installation of working smoke detectors and fire alarms, AFCIs, Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs), and Tamper Resistant Receptacles (TRRs), could all help reduce the number of fires caused by electrical faults.
Because of the fast growth in the number of residences in cities and towns over the last few years, there has been an additional load on the electrical supply. Many older homes were not equipped to handle this load and now are at risk of electrical accidents. A proper system when put in place to evaluate these risks and take the necessary measures, will help combat the problem.
Skyrocketing energy bills daunt millions of homeowners these days. No matter how much they skimp on the time they spend running electronics and home appliances, the number never seems to reduce. Instead, it goes beyond the budgeted limit, thus pushing homeowners to switch to cheaper, more energy-efficient options. If you are interested in such devices, perhaps you should read on to know about a few of them:
The biggest energy drain in every home is its heating and cooling systems. But a smart thermostat can perhaps block this energy outflow and push down your utility bills drastically. These devices are so smart that they can store your preferences and process your and your family’s comfort settings for creating a comfortable indoor space. These devices are supported by a mobile app, which allows you to control settings from anywhere, anytime. You are sure to save whopping sums of money every month after installing a smart thermostat.
Smart outlets and plugs
Standard outlets can consume a lot of energy owing to their manual control settings. But smart outlets are a gust of fresh air among the standard ones because they come with a wide range of features. You can operate these outlets using a smart application, which allows you to schedule the on/off times and also increase the efficiency of humidifiers, fans, lamps, water heaters, coffee makers and many more. You should also consider smart plugs, which plug into your existing outlets without requiring a major rewiring project.
Sensor switches are becoming a part of smart home designs owing to their energy efficiency. These switches are equipped with advanced sensors that know you and your family are leaving or entering the room. They do so from several feet away, without you having to turn on or off the lights manually. Some sensor switches also have natural light-detecting capabilities, which save an incredible amount of energy and money. It’s truly a great installation if you still fumble for the light switch after entering a dark room.
Some home appliances and gadgets suck out outrageous amounts of energy. But you can tackle this problem by installing smart surge protectors. It’s very simple to use: connect your device and create a charging station for your mobile device for protecting your expensive appliances against power surges. You can control everything through an app or an automatic scheduler, both of which can hack down your energy consumption and expenses substantially.
High summer temperatures mean high usage of air conditioners. But air conditioners are not only expensive but also harm the environment. But, smart blinds come as a blessing in such a situation. These blinds can open and close themselves automatically after reaching a predetermined temperature. These are simply a great alternative to expensive HVAC systems that suck out energy and money.
Energy-efficiency is something no homeowner can achieve within a day. It takes time. But they have to install energy-efficient, smart devices at home that create a win-win for both homeowners and the environment.
16 Jan 2018
Share energy saving tips
With every new year comes a list of new year’s resolutions. While most people have the best intentions of keeping their (often lofty) resolutions, many do not. So instead of resolving to go to the gym more or eat healthier, think about making small changes that make your life easier. One of the most life-altering resolutions everyone should make is to take control of their finances, and one of the easiest ways to do so is by re-evaluating your utility bill. Here are 5 easy and affordable fixes you can make to your home right now to cut your utility bill dramatically.
Lower Your Thermostat
Want to save money on your heating bill? When you are away from home be sure to lower your thermostat by 8-15 degrees Fahrenheit. After all, why pay for heat that no one is using? In fact, for every one-degree drop, you can reduce your energy bill costs by 1-3 percent!
Set Your Water Heater to 120 Degrees Fahrenheit
Your water heater uses more energy than any other appliance in your home, which is why changing the temperature has a huge effect on your utility bill! Thankfully, changing the setting of your water heater is incredibly easy to do, and only needs to be done once.
Wash Clothes In Cold Water
Did you know that 90 percent of the energy used to operate the washing machine is to heat the water? By washing your clothes in cold water, you can save nearly $60 a year on energy costs alone!
While most people choose to install dimmers on their light switches for aesthetic reasons, dimmers actually can prolong the life of your light bulbs. Because dimmers limit the amount of energy that is distributed out to the bulbs, light bulbs do not burn out as quickly.
Use LED Light Bulbs
Unlike incandescent light bulbs, LED lights are much more efficient. Not only do LED light bulbs last 50 times longer than incandescent bulbs, but they use at least 75 percent less energy than traditional bulbs.
Looking for other ways to reduce your energy bill? Let the experts at Piper Electric upgrade your home. We offer a wide range of electrical upgrades that are designed to make your home more energy efficient. Call today for a free estimate.
Piper Electric Co., Inc. has been awarded the Gold Star Certificate from the Better Business Bureau again in 2013. This certificate is given to BBB Accredited Businesses who have had no complaints over a three-year period.