Monthly Archives: January 2019

Basic Electrical Terms & Definitions in Darien, CT; from Amperage & Alternating Current to Voltage

We’ve all purchased a new appliance, browsed through the owner’s manual and understood everything it said. Not true. Don’t feel bad, you are not alone when it comes to understanding the electrical terms that come with new appliances. You’ll be left more confused than you were before. Let’s go over some of these terms so you’ll understand what they mean whenever you hear them.

Common Electrical Terms

Amperage. This is the measurement in the flow of electricity. It’s similar to the way water moves through a hose, only it would measure the water volume moving through the hose.
Current. This is the rate of flow of electrical energy though a conductor or wire. It’s similar to the volume of water moving through a pipe. Current is measured in amps (amperes).
Alternating current. This is the electrical current where the flow of electrical change will change direction periodically.
Direct current. This is the current that moves in one direction at a steady flow. A typical household’s electricity is alternating current (AC) and changes its direction. Many electronic devices need DC and will need to convert the current into DC before it can be used.
Hertz. This is the measurement of frequency and equals one cycle per second. Most devices in the United States are usually 60 Hertz and international devices are usually 50 Hertz.
Polarity. This is a term used to define the positive (+) and negative (-) ends of a magnet or electrical measurement like a battery or a coil.
Ground fault. The electrical path between a source of power and a grounded surface is a called a ground fault. When electrical appliances are “grounded”, they can be used safely. While devices can still lose their grounding, electrical currents will be diverted to the nearest channel. It can be done safely as it provides a path to the ground. Homes are equipped with ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) to help protect appliances and you from electrical shock and fire.
Overload. Wires that get extremely hot get that way when a circuit has carried a little too much energy for too long. This becomes unsafe and will cause the breaker to trip.
Transformer. This is a device that is made of two coil windings that transfers voltage from one to the other. This happens through electromagnetic induction. The number of windings per coil will determine the way the transformer is designed to work. It will either step-up or step-down its output voltage from its input voltage. Transformers only operate with alternating current (AC).
Series circuit. One path for a flow of current is created through a series circuit where the parts are connected end to end, positive pole to negative pole.
Voltage. This is the “push” or force driving electrical energy through a conductor or wire. It can be compared to the pressure of water in a pipe.

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

Do you need electrical services in your home? The experts at Sentry Electric are here to help! Our experienced electricians are trained to provide you with exceptional service. Give us a call today!

Ambient, Task & Other Types of Indoor Lighting System Fixtures in Interior Design in New Canaan, CT

Do you want to add some lighting to your house? If your answer is yes you may have already started researching what types of lighting would best fit your needs. There are so many different types of lights for you to choose from. Each type of light provides its own unique purpose for your house. Sentry Electric wants to go over the three main types of lighting and some options within each type to help you with your decision.

Ambient Lighting

Ambient lighting is one of the most common types of lighting. Ambient lighting gives your room a nice soft glow that gives your room just enough light to function. It does not cast off a harsh glare in your room. The light cast from ambient lighting is not meant to highlight the space that it is in. The purpose of ambient lighting is to help your room have a nice relaxing environment. Mood lighting is one type of ambient lighting. To create ambient lighting many people will use recessed or track lighting; chandeliers; pendants; wall sconces and wall lights. If you choose recessed or track lighting we recommend using more than one light in your room. Most of the time track lights are installed in groups. You will want to make sure that you do not put too many in though. Chandeliers are an excellent choice for foyers or over the tub in your bathroom. They provide gorgeous soft lighting and they are beautiful fixtures that can add interest to your room. Pendants are frequently used in kitchens over islands or bars. Wall sconces and lights are versatile enough to go almost anywhere in your home. They are most effective as ambient lighting when they are used sparingly.

Task Lighting

Task lighting provides lighting for when you have a specific task or job that you need lighting to complete. It can also be called office lighting. Some examples of tasks that need some lighting are reading, cooking, writing, and sewing. Task lighting helps your brain be naturally stimulated while you complete your task. Task lighting contrasts with the natural light in your room which helps you be more alert and allows you to concentrate better. It also helps you with projects that have finer details that you need to see properly. If you need task lighting in your home or office some of your best options are lamps. Lamps are so versatile that they should be able to help you get lighting in whatever space that you need. You can purchase a lamp for your desk, your nightstand, your coffee table, or anywhere else that you may need lighting. Floor lamps are a great option for many rooms too. Another option for task lighting is under the cabinet and vanity lights. Under the cabinet lights in your kitchen can help give you all sorts of extra lighting as you chop and cleaning the ingredients that you need for your meals. Installing vanity lights in your bathroom help provide the necessary lighting for you as you get ready each day.

Accent Lighting

Accent lighting is the perfect way to draw attention to a certain area of your home. Accent lights help add your own unique style to your home. They can help display certain features in your home that you would like to stand out. People will frequently use accent lights to showcase artwork, bookcases, collection, or architectural features. Wall lights, recessed lighting, and spotlights are the best choices if you want to add accent lighting to your home.

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

No matter what your goal is in adding lighting to your home Sentry Electric can help you with the electrical work that is needed. Give us a call today and we can come out and discuss design options with you.

GFCI Electrical Outlet Requirements in Greenwich, CT; How Outlets Work, Testing Procedure & More

What is a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI)? How do they work? A GFCI outlet constantly monitors electricity flowing in a circuit, to sense any loss in current. Different than a home’s fuse, the GFCI is integrated in the outlet itself. If you were to plug a hair dryer into it, it would monitor the amount of power going to the device. Accidental contact with water causes the GFCI to detect the current interruption and cut the power. These are very important outlets to have in your home because water and electricity don’t mix. These outlets are found in bathrooms, kitchens and any other rooms that use water and will reduce the chance you’ll get electrocuted, burned or shocked. A GFCI outlet will also help prevent electrical fires. If there is an electrical fire, it can decrease the severity and damage that can occur. These outlets are important to meet local building code requirements, but also work to prevent accidents that can be fatal in some situations.

How Does a GFCI Outlet Work?

A GFCI device protects us from getting an electrical shock from faults in the electrical devices we use in our homes. They work by comparing the input current on the hot side to the output current on the neutral side. In the event there is the slightest difference in current, even a few milliamps, it indicates that there’s a current leaking out somewhere, this might be a human body. The protection comes when the device quickly cuts off the power supply to the device that leaking, within 20-30 milliseconds. This greatly reduces the chance that any human tissue will be damaged from the current. This can save your life! Before GFCI outlets were introduced, around 800 people died every year in the United States. In areas with water, that number is now about 200 a year.

GFCI Outlet Testing Procedure

In order for GFCI outlets to keep you and your home safe, they need to be tested. Each outlet has a red button on it that activates the outlet after the built-in breaker is tripped. It will also have a black button that can be used to test it to makes sure it’s working correctly. These outlets should be tested at least once a month, after they have been installed, after any electrical power outage and as recommended by the manufacturer. The easiest way to test your GFCI outlets is to plug something into it, like a lamp. Turn the lamp on and push the black button. The outlet is working correctly if the lamp goes out. If the lamp stays on, you will need to call a licensed electrician to figure out what’s going on. Trying to evaluate the problem on you own is not a good idea because you aren’t trained to handle electrical currents and wiring safely.

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

Save yourself the time it will take to test your GFCI outlets and all other electrical components in your home by calling Sentry Electric. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment for all your electrical needs.

Electrical Outlet & More to Run a Refrigerator in the Garage in Cold Weather in Fairfield, CT

If you have a large family you probably purchase an insane amount of groceries every month. Some large families spend more money on groceries than they do on their mortgage. When you are buying tons of groceries it is hard to find room in your fridge to put them all. An option that many people think about is putting a fridge in their garage. We will get calls from some of our customers who want to know if their garage can safely support a fridge.
Before you put a fridge in the garage you will want to make sure that you have the necessary electrical outlet to plug your fridge into. Since a fridge uses a large amount of energy you will want to make sure that the outlet that you plug the fridge into can adequately support it. If you are not sure what kind of outlet to plug it into give Sentry Electric a call and we can talk to you about it.

Keeping Refrigerator in Unheated Garage

The next thing that you need to understand is how a fridge works. Your fridge uses the temperature in the outside environment and compares it to the temperature of the freezer to determine how much cold area is needed to keep your fridge cool. Your fridge is designed to lower the temperature as needed to keep your food safely cooled. If your garage is extremely hot your garage fridge will have to work extremely hard to keep your fridge cool enough. This will result in your fridge wearing out before it should. It will also make your electric bill extremely expensive. If your garage is at freezing temperatures it will confuse your freezer. Your freezer will think that it has already reached the appropriate level of refrigeration and it will stop working. If this happens all of your food will spoil. So what do you do to make it so those things do not happen?

Insulate Refrigerator in Garage with Enclosed Space & Other Solutions

One thing that you can do is build an enclosed conditioned space for your fridge to go in. All you need to do is frame an enclosed space around the fridge. This will allow you to control the temperature around the fridge so that it can run properly. If you do not want to build an enclosed space around the fridge you can try a few other options as well. If you live in an area where it gets hot you may want to set up a fan near your fridge’s cooling coils. A ceiling fan or a pedestal fan set up near the fridge should work. If you live somewhere humid you may want to set up a dehumidifier to help keep things dry inside the garage. If you live where temperature gets below freezing you can install a heating coil around the thermostat on the fridge. Many manufacturers actually make heating coils for their fridges and freezers.

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

We hope that if your family would benefit from a fridge in the garage that you take the necessary precautions to make it work effectively. If you need an outlet or fan installed give us a call today and Sentry Electric can come out and get everything installed for you.