Monthly Archives: November 2017

Ways to Reduce Gas Bill, Cut Heating Costs & Save Heat Energy in Your Darien, CT Home

Fall and winter is not just the cold season, it is also the holiday season. Needless to say this is the time of year where people see a sudden drop in the bank account as they shop for gifts, fine food, and even travel expenses. Just because you have the additional expenses doesn’t mean you have to cut down on the essentials. We at Sentry Electric would like to offer some tips and advice on ways you can save on energy costs without sacrificing the holiday indulgences on activities and making memories.

Ways to Save on Heating Costs & Conserve Heat in Your Home

1) Seal the holes, gaps, and cracks. Inspect your home and look for places where the home is leaking the heated air you already paid for. These places are common utility cut-through for pipes, gaps around chimneys, around windows and doors, recessed lights in insulated ceilings, as well as unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets. Weather stripping is the optimal solution around windows and doors in addition to the caulk, and all the other places need to be proper sealed with caulk or more intricate repairs.
2) Maintain heating systems. The central heating system should be maintained by a professional to ensure the unit is operating at maximum efficiency and energy is not being lost due to insufficiency. Additionally, ensure you replace the furnace filter monthly.
3) Water heating. A good safety tip to avoid scalding hands and to save money on water heating costs is to lower your water heating costs turn down the temperature of your water heater to 120 degrees.
4) Cost effect Christmas lights. To reduce the cost of traditional decorating, replace your Christmas light display with LED (light-emitting diode) holiday light strings. In addition to LED lights, invest in Christmas light timers to help defray the costs.
5) Traveling. When you leave your home from holiday traveling for a weekend or more, be sure to unplug the unnecessary appliances and electronic devices, even these things turned off will draw power.
6) Invest in power strips. For every day us, invest in enough power strips around the house that can cut the power at the flick of a switch when you are away at work or sleeping.
7) Optimize sunlight. The sun can help heat your home, even during the winter. Open up the curtains for the south-facing windows during the day as the sun will contribute to warming your home as well as maximize the lighting without using lights in some cases. Don’t forget however, to close up the curtains after the sun has set to ward off the cold.
8) Treat drafty windows. During the cold months, you can better retain the heat on those drafty windows by taping a heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet on the window frame. To help keep the cold out and not use extra cost in heating to compensate, ensure the windows are tightly sealed. For aesthetics and a little more cost, invest in custom tight-fitted insulated drapes to those windows that still feel chilly. To further improve the energy efficiency, there are additional window treatments or even energy efficient window replacement options.
9) Adjust your thermostat. Most homes are outfitted with a programmable thermostat these days, be sure to adjust your settings. Keep the thermostat as low as you can be comfortable, during the hours the house isn’t empty and people are awake. Turn the thermostat back 10-15 degrees for around 8 hours to save 10% a year on your heating bills while everyone is asleep or out of the house.

Electrical Inspections, New Circuit Installation & More in Greenwich, New Canaan, Darien, Norwalk, Westport, Southbury, Stamford, CT & Fairfield County, Connecticut

Call Sentry Electric for a specialist to come to your home and perform a comprehensive energy audit. At the conclusion, you can where all the energy costs is being used, and our expert will offer some solutions to help reduce the energy consumption to help you save some cash. Contact us today!

Christmas Lighting Safety Checklist in New Canaan, CT; Inspect & Use UL Listed Light Bulbs & More

With the Christmas holidays right around the corner, many will begin to decorate their home with lavish light and holiday displays. Most Christmas lights and the displays will require the use of electricity. To ensure that your lights and other holiday decorations don’t short out or cause an unwanted fire, Sentry Electric will share a safety checklist you can use to ensure that your home stays safe and one that will reduce if not eliminate the possibility of an electrical fire.

Christmas Light Safety Tips

1. Inspect each strand of lights that you will be using, both inside and outside of your home. Check for broken or cracked sockets and frayed or exposed wires along with any loose connections. If any of the strands of light have any of these problems, don’t use them or you will risk a fire hazard.
2. Avoid connecting the lights together while you’re hanging or wrapping the lights around a tree. Instead, unwind the lights and stretch them out. Inspect the plugs and then plug them in all together before hanging them.
3. Lights that can be used for either inside or outside use should have been tested for safety. Lights that have been tested and approved will be labeled with a (UL) or Underwriters Laboratories right on the box.
4. Lights on the tree should never make direct contact with the tree or the needles. The bulbs can create enough heat to start a fire. You can use paper clips to help keep the bulbs away from the needles.
5. Always unplug all lights and electrical decorations, both indoor and outdoor, each time you leave your home or go to sleep for the night.
6. When buying an artificial tree that is pre-lit, check the label and make sure it clearly states that it is flame resistant.
7. Make sure that cords and plugs stay dry and out of water. Additionally, make sure that the plugs don’t make contact with metal objects to prevent blow outs or electrical fires.
8. Often extension cords are used for elaborate outdoor and sometimes indoor decorations and displays. If you’re using extension cords, make sure that they are UL approved.
9. Before using your extension cords, inspect them first. Make sure that none of the wires are exposed. Additionally keep the cords away from any heat sources.
10. Don’t cover any of the cords with door mats, rugs, or other materials that are not approved to be used. Don’t feed extension cords through windows or squeeze them through door ways.
11. Never over use one outlet. Often over using a single outlet causes sparks which often results in electrical fires.

Electrical Inspections, New Circuit Installation & More in Greenwich, New Canaan, Darien, Norwalk, Westport, Southbury, Stamford, CT & Fairfield County, Connecticut

Many fires break out each holiday season and cause house fires. This ruins such a joyful holiday. Due to the extra demand on your home power usage, you will want to make sure to take every precaution and make sure your home is safe. Sentry Electric hopes with this checklist that you make sure your holiday display is safe and that you won’t have any mishaps this holiday season. For all of your commercial and residential electrical needs, contact Sentry Electric today!

Winter Electrical Wiring Problems & Solutions in Greenwich, CT; Overloading Circuits & More

With each season there are common problems. The hot summer months usually mean that your AC unit will need some work to keep it going. The spring time is bad for allergy sufferers. The fall is the start of the holiday season and the winter is cold! The needs that you have with your electricity also changes. There are some problems that occur more often in the winter when you are dealing with your electrical outlets and more. You need to be aware of the most common troubles so that if they happen to be a problem in your home you are prepared and know what to do. It is also good to know so that you can do what you can to prevent a potential electrical hazard.

Sentry Electric Lists Common Electrical Problems That Occur in the Winter Months

Overloading Electricity Circuits: The winter time means there are additional items that will be plugged in. This is extra holiday lighting, cords for interior decorations and even heaters to try and stay warm. Adding all these extra items to the outlets in your home can end up overloading the circuit. The problem is that one circuit in your panel may be overloaded more so than the others. This is why you want to try your best to spread out the electrical use if you can. You can easily determine if you are overloading a circuit if it trips often. If this happens you need to rethink your outlets or call out an electrician and have another circuit added. We can come out to the house and look at where the needs of more outlets are and look at the circuits to see where an addition can be made.
Moisture On Electrical Connections: There is a huge problem in the winter months when water or other forms of moisture disrupt the electrical connections. Everyone knows that water and electricity don’t mix and that is why all the electrical devices you use have a warning label to keep away from water. Besides the label when you are plugging in something in a room such as a bathroom or a kitchen there are also GFCI outlets. The outlets are made so that if there is a shock to the electronic device that is plugged in the circuit will separate and pop open. This has saved people from being electrocuted. If you have other areas that don’t have this GFCI on them and they get wet the entire circuit can be fried. This will require an electrician to come out and identify the problem as well as replace the wires and circuits that have been damaged by the water or moisture.

Electrical Inspections, New Circuit Installation & More in Greenwich, New Canaan, Darien, Norwalk, Westport, Southbury, Stamford, CT & Fairfield County, Connecticut

Sentry Electric offers professional electrical wiring and custom lighting services. Contact us for all your electrical needs!

Old House Aluminum Electrical Wiring in Fairfield, CT; Rewiring to Prevent Fires & More

A home fire is devastating, and the fact that most of them can be completely avoided just adds insult to injury. Thousands of homes experience an electrical fire each year which leaves homeowners with millions in repair costs. The problem often lies in outdated electrical wiring, that had it been replaced, would have eliminated the risk all together. Sentry Electric is here to talk about some of the hidden dangers within the walls of old homes, and the steps that need to be taken to ensure your home is safe.

Inspect Old Electrical Wiring

Did you know that most old homes were built with electrical wiring prepared to handle about 30 amps? With the increase in appliances as well as electronics that we use, your home needs to be equipped to handle much more. Today, the electrical wiring in your home needs to be able to handle at least 200 amps to avoid risk of fire. Signs of inadequate power may include frequent power loss due to blown fuses or tripped circuit breakers. Another huge sign that you need to update your wiring is the overuse of extension cords. Too many extension cords is a red flag and a qualified electrician should be called to assess the situation before danger strikes.

How to Make Aluminum Wiring Safe

In the 1960s and 1970s, many electricians used aluminum wiring. For short term use this is okay, but over the years this type of wiring oxidizes and corrodes much faster than copper wiring will. Terminals and splices are known to overheat and are a real risk of electrical fire. You may not need to have the entire system replaced right away, but an electrician will be able to assess the situation and repair potential problems. Copper connectors can be used to buy you a little bit of time before replacing the entire system.

Electrical Arcing Faults Are a Leading Cause of House Fires

When there is any damage to the wiring in your home, it can cause an arc fault. This happens when electrical current veers off the intended path due to damaged wire. Arc faults are the leading cause for electrical fires, and can be avoided completely. Damage to your wiring happen easily when you are hanging pictures on the walls and other small household tasks. When you have an AFCI, or arc fault circuit interrupter, installed in your home, these abnormalities in the wiring or your appliances will shut down the circuit before it gets the chance to overheat. AFCIs are very valuable in older homes where there is often undetected damage to wiring.

Electrical Wiring & Lighting Consultations in Greenwich, New Canaan, Darien, Norwalk, Westport, Southbury, Stamford, CT & Fairfield County, Connecticut

If you live in an older home and are concerned about the electrical wiring, you have good reason to be. The skilled electricians at Sentry Electric offer electrical inspections and upgrades to get your electrical system up to code and safe for your family. Don’t let an ignored issue end up causing an electrical fire in your home. Call us today!