Monthly Archives: June 2018

How to Fix an Electrical Outlet that Sparks, Pops, Smokes & Turns Black in Darien, CT

Have you ever experienced sparks coming from your outlets when you plug in an appliance, vacuum cleaner, or electronic device? If so, this could signal a problem that needs attention. While occasional, random sparking could be harmless, if you notice a certain outlet in your home omitting sparks frequently, don’t ignore it! Stop using it immediately and call Sentry Electrical to come out and give a proper diagnosis of what is causing the sparking. Sparking precedes fire, the more you use that outlet, the more likely it is for a fire to start. Almost 40% of all residential fires each year are caused by electrical mishaps that could have been prevented. Between 2010 and 2014, fire departments in the U.S. responded to an average of 45,000 home structural fires caused by electrical malfunction. Accidents like these have caused more than 1.4 billion dollars in property damages and claimed the lives of more than 400 civilians. Finding a small problem and fixing it before it gets out of hand can save lives.

Why Does My Electrical Outlet Spark when Unplugging or I Plug Something In

Plugging in a Device While it is Turned On: One way of preventing sparks from happening is to ensure anytime you plug something in, the power switch is in the “off” position. The power switch on your appliances has the job of opening and closing the circuit located in the device, when the switch is “on” it allows the electricity to be transferred from the electrical outlet to the device. When you plug in any device while the power switch is on, you are making an immediate connection between the outlet and device which could cause sparking to occur.
Weathered Electrical Outlets: Outlets get their fair share of use in the household. After years of continued use and plugs being inserted then removed from the outlets many, many times, it is normal for electrical connections to become worn down. The metal contacts come loose and present more “slack” in the connection which can cause sparking to occur. Have you ever plugged something in to an outlet and noticed it wasn’t as tight of a fit as it used to be? Time will do that to an outlet, this is a good sign that it is time to upgrade to newer GFCI wall outlets. GFCI outlets provide additional protection from electrical short circuits by cutting off power to the outlet when electrical surges occur, greatly reducing the risk of fire from occurring.
Moisture Buildup: Electricity and water do not mix! Water coming into contact with electricity of any kind is extremely dangerous. The most common places we find water damage to outlets are outside, but water damage to electrical outlets can also occur inside the home due to a water leak or in bathrooms where moisture has built up on the wall outlets. Water coming in contact with outlets can cause sparking too. For more than 20 years, GFCI outlets have been mandatory for all 15A, 20A, and 125V receptacles in bathrooms located inside homes.
Short Circuiting: When this happens, electrical charges begin flowing along a different path than it was intended to, which causes wire insulation to break down or melt. When this happens, wires can become exposed and makes way for overheating to occur which can cause fires or even explosions.

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

Sentry Electrical offers electrical inspections and can trouble shoot your electrical system to find out where the source of the sparking is originating from. If you notice an outlet in your home sparking more often than it should, call Sentry Electrical as soon as possible to schedule your inspection today!

Should I Upgrade My Electrical Panel in New Canaan, CT; Flickering Lights, Hot Outlets & More

When you own a home most people know that there are things that you will constantly need to work on and upgrade. The home is a place that you want to live in and you want to be comfortable. That is why knowing what to look for and signs that something needs your attention is a good idea. One of the areas of your home that will need to be taken care of and upgraded is the electrical system. The system is made up of lots of different components. They include the wiring through the entire house, the outlets, the switches, the fixtures and much more. The other part of the system that acts as a main frame is the circuit board or electrical panel. There are some signs that you need to be aware of that mean your board is not working properly and you need to consider an upgrade.

Sentry Electric Lists Signs Your Electrical Panel is in Need of an Upgrade

Flickering Lights Electrical Problem: If you are sitting in your house and you notice that a light here and there are not staying with the same level of light then there might be a problem. The lights should have enough electricity going to it to stay lit without flickering. The light usually can stay lit when there is not a surge but when the electricity is being sent out to another outlet or appliance like your air conditioner the lights may start to flicker. If you notice that there is flickering at any time you want to make sure that the circuit panel is looked out and inspected. This often means that the panel needs to be upgraded and replaced.
Hot Outlet Or Switch: There is another sign that you need to look into when it comes to a problem with your circuit panel. The outlets and the switches should be able to run and send electricity to them without overheating the are. There should not be an area of the house that has a hot spot and you want to make sure that you address a hot spot as soon as possible. It can mean that there is a problem behind the wall in that area with the wiring but it can also be a problem with the circuit that is sending currents to that outlet. This is a problem that needs to be addressed and repaired because it can end up becoming a fire hazard.
Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping: The other sign happens to be if you are stuck with a breaker that is being tripped regularly. They are not supposed to trip unless there is a surge that might damage that circuit. If you notice that you are resetting the circuit often then it could be a sign that the panel is out of date and it needs to be upgraded. Be sure to have an electrician out to inspect for the problem and offer services to correct the problem.

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

Sentry Electric is able to send an expert electrician to your home to do an inspection. Call us today!

How to Draw a House Lighting Plan & Choose Recessed Lighting for Installation in Greenwich, CT

As a versatile means to provide both ambient and task lighting, recessed lighting as a versatile approach and can be implemented in nearly any area of your home. Commonly mounted in the ceiling and capable of being mounted in the wall, instead of being mounted on the surface, recessed lighting is also known as pot lighting and can lighting. Whether you are looking for aesthetics or function, recessed lighting does both. We at Sentry Electric would like to elaborate on recessed lighting if you are considering it for your Fairfield County, Connecticut home.

Draw a House Lighting Plan

A qualified professional is needed to plan and install the recessed lighting. We can help you decide on the right fixtures because of the technical aspects and compatibility with your home. Having the professional design your light plan is the first step. When it comes to recessed lighting you can incorporate layers of lighting that include ambient, task, accent, and decorative options to optimize the results. Part of the plan is ensuring you have enough lights in the area you want the recessed lighting as well as the layering and the correct bulbs, along with selecting the fixture and trim. With the help of the professional, you plan the lights accordingly to bring the right amount of illumination balanced with a beautiful display.

Types of Recessed Lighting Bulbs

Incandescent, fluorescent and LED (Light Emitting Diode) are the three types of lighting, based on the lamp, or light bulb, you can use to brighten your home. The housing and trim are the two main components of recessed lighting. The housing may be limited to the technical factors. But the trim is generally based on your taste.

New Construction VS Remodel Recessed Lighting Guide

A remodel or new construction is first element to determine the housing for your recessed lighting. The different circumstances dictate the accessible space for light placement. With a new construction, you have more allowable space, giving you more options with the bulkier selections. A remodel limits the space, so smaller housing is typically required. Another technicality is if the housing needs IC or Non-IC rated components. An IC (insulation contact) rating is given to a fixture that can come in direct contact with thermal insulation. The Non-IC (non-insulation contact) rating indicates the fixture that can’t come in direct contact with thermal insulation; forcing them to be installed at least 3” from any insulation. Finally, a technicality for the housing is if you want the recessed lighting to have line or low voltage. A standard residential 120 volt current is all that is needed to operate line voltage, which is why it is typically recommended. A special transformer to reduce the voltage along with special modern-dimmers if you want the dimming feature is needed for low voltage because it uses a 12 volt current; it is more energy efficient however. This option is recommended for those that want to see a high contrast or want accent or task lighting for their recessed lighting.

Recessed Lighting Trim Rings

The trim is chosen mostly for style as it is the visible part of the lighting. Multiple sizes are available for trim, ranging between 1″ and 6″ in diameter. The larger the trim the broader amount of light is produced, the smaller trims are inconspicuous and are often the more popular option. There are styles of trim that also influence the choice. Popular for commercial use, high ceilings, and kitchens are the reflector trims. They maximize the light produced with a smooth interior. TO allow for a floating bulb to direct the light to target areas, adjustable trims are used in general lighting, accent lighting, task lighting, and wall washing. To reduce glare baffle trims are optimal and they can be black or white. Dining rooms, living rooms, dens and bedrooms are typically seen with baffle trim. The trending option is the decorative trim since it provides a more aesthetically pleasing. For applications in bathrooms, above showers, and in closets, the lensed trims are best because they protect the bulb from moisture or direct water contact.

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

Sentry Electrical is readily available to help you with your recessed lighting planning and installation in Greater Stamford, CT. Call us today to schedule your lighting consultation.

American Electrical Wiring Outlet Types in Stamford, CT; GFCI, 20A & USB Receptacles

When you are looking around your house at the outlets that you have you will notice that there is almost one on every wall. The outlets are placed in rooms at specific levels to accommodate the general needs of that room. The outlets in most of the rooms are typically about 12 inches from the ground level. The outlets are set so that you can use them to get electrical current to your phone, computer, lamps and televisions to name a few. You want to make sure that you use the outlets the way they are recommended which means not overloading them and only plugging in plugs and cords that are not damaged. You may not really notice any difference in the outlets but there are several types of outlets that could be installed or upgraded to in your house.

Sentry Electric List Electrical Outlets that May Be Installed in Your House

GFCI: This is the outlet that you will find in your home already. The purpose of this type of outlet is to add a level of security if there is water introduced in the circuit. The GFCI stands for ground fault circuit interrupter and will prevent a running shock if water is near the area. You can walk around the house and check areas that may be prone to water such as the bathrooms, kitchen and outside outlets as well. You will know that you have these outlets because they are outfitted with a button that will pop up if the circuit is interrupted. You will notice that the outlet no longer works unless you reset the button.
20A: The outlets that are in your home have a rating for amps. The amps that the outlet is able to cover and produce will be what the name of the outlet is. In this case the outlet is named a 20A because it has the capacity to cover appliances that need to pull more amps than a standard outlet. You will be able to locate these types of outlets in your garage where often the outlet us used on larger equipment. You can also find them in your laundry room and kitchen to accommodate the appliances that are usually running. You want to make sure that you have your outlet checked if you plan to use an item that is not standard like a generator to ensure that is has the ability to send that much power out.
USB: You may notice that over time everything upgrades to fit the needs of daily life. The same goes for the outlets that you have access to in your house. If you go into just about any house you are sure to see cords that are in outlets to charge phones and tablets. These are all being transferred from a USB to an electrical outlet. The great thing is that you can use the USB port to charge your smart device too which outlets can give you now. There are outlets that not only have a plug but also USB ports you can plug right into.

Electrical Outlet Upgrades & More in Greenwich, New Canaan, Darien, Norwalk, Westport, Southbury, Stamford, CT & Fairfield County, Connecticut

Sentry Electric can come out to your house and upgrade your outlets to fit your needs. Call us today to meet with one of our expert electricians.

Where is the Best Place to Put Security Cameras in Southbury, CT? Placement Guidelines & More

Installing a security camera in your home is a great addition to your security system. There are three reasons homeowners want to have security cameras installed.
1. Prevent Break-ins. Security cameras are a great way to prevent break-ins from happening to keep all your belongings safe
2. Evidence. This is to verify that an expected situation has occurred. For example, checking in on your children to see if they made it home from school.
3. Knowledge & Documentation. This can include a few situations. You might want to catch a burglar in the act or checking see if you kids are sneaking back into the house after curfew.
After you have determined what the primary reasons are for installing security cameras, you can think more about positions to put them.

Security Camera Placement Guidelines

• Place a camera at the front door as this is the main entry
• The back door is also another good place to put a camera
• Cameras can be hidden on the top of cabinets to record a lot of foot traffic
• Kitchens are another good place to put a camera. Positioned off the garage as they are another point of entry to the home
• Hallways to bedrooms should also have a camera

Outdoor VS Indoor Home Security Cameras

Outdoor Security Cameras – There are a few things to keep in mind when placing outdoor cameras. It’s harder to hide them outside, you’ll have to consider the elements when they are installed outside and you’ll will need to position cameras to have access to power. This may affect where you can place them, and a recording of an outdoor event isn’t always considered a crime. If these issues aren’t a problem, then outdoor cameras can be a great deterrent to crime and can help you monitor what’s going on around your home.
Indoor Security Cameras – If you want to have cameras inside your home, you’ll have more flexibility. You will need to consider all the points of entry and high-traffic areas. Indoor cameras are a great way to prove that a crime has been committed. While a stranger walking around on your property isn’t necessarily a crime, getting into your home is. Undetected cameras can be instrumental in proving a crime has occurred.

Security Camera Sales & Installation

Just like other security equipment, home security cameras have lots of options. You may only need a simple system rather than a top of the line model.
• Which features are you most interested in?
• Do you want to have a wireless or wired system?
• How many cameras do you want?
• How secure will the camera(s) be?
• How much will it cost?
• Will the camera record constantly or reactively?
• Will the camera blend in or look like a camera?

Security Camera Wiring, Installation & More in Greenwich, New Canaan, Darien, Norwalk, Westport, Southbury, Stamford, CT & Fairfield County, Connecticut

Obviously, you want home security cameras in your home that will take care of all your needs. This is when it’s time to call the professionals at Sentry Electric to get you started on the peace of mind that home security cameras can provide. Contact us today!