Monthly Archives: February 2019

Safety Tips for How to Prevent Electrical Hazards in Stamford, CT; Bad Wiring, Wet Outlets & More

Each and every day we reap the benefits of modern electricity. We are so used to having electricity that when the power goes out many people will panic. Electricity is something that all of us are genuinely thankful for. Sometimes we fail to realize that there are some hazards that can be caused by electricity. Today Sentry Electric wants to go over some common electrical hazards and what to do about them so that you can keep your home safe and sound while enjoying electricity each day.

Bad Electrical Wiring

One of the most common causes of electrical hazards in the home is poor wiring and defective electrical wires. It is important to have good quality wiring that is in line with safety standards. Poor or defective wiring can increase the chance of an electrical fire, power surges, arc faults, and more. One potential hazard is loose or improper connections. Frayed appliances or extensions cords; pinched wire insulation; cracked wire insulation; overheated wires and cords; damaged electrical appliances; and electrical wires that have been chewed by rodents all can put your home at risk. If you notice any problems with your wiring you will want to address them right away so you do not end up with an electrical fire. Sentry Electric can come out and inspect your wiring to see if any of it needs to be replaced.

Moisture in Electrical Outlet

Another common electrical hazard is having your outlets get wet or be too close to the water. If you are building a home you will want to make sure that your outlets are not too close to a water source. You will want to check your building codes for proper placement. If you do end up with an appliance that is plugged in and it gets wet do not unplug it! Unplugging it while it is still plugged in could cause an injury. You will want to turn the power source to that outlet off at your electrical panel and then unplug. You can also get electric shock if you handle electrical appliances when your hands are wet. You will want to dry your hands thoroughly before touching appliances.

How Many Things Can You Plug into a Power Strip

Many homeowners feel like they do not have enough power outlets. A nice solution to needing more outlets is a power strip. Power strips allow you to plug multiple electronics in while just using one of the plugs from your wall. You do need to be careful if you do this in your home that you do not overload the power strip or the outlet. You do not want to plug in several high voltage devices into one power stripe. You also do not want to plug two power strips together. All of these things could overload your power strip or outlet and trip a breaker. When breakers are tripped sometimes they will start an electrical fire. If you need more electrical outlets in your house one of our electricians here at Sentry Electric can help you do that.

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

Sentry Electric wants all of our customers to keep their house free from electrical hazards. If you are ever uncertain about something with your electrical wires please give us a call. We are always happy to answer any questions that you may have.

Signs You Need to Call an Electrician in Southbury, CT; Blown Circuit Breaker, Wet Wires & More

Electrical issues can happen any day, any time and they usually happen when you least expect it. Electrical issues can be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing and should be taken care of by professional electricians. Sometimes you can see what the problems are, sometimes you can’t. But there are usually signs that will let you know there’s a problem.

Warning Signs of Electrical Fires & Other Problems

1. Tripped circuit breaker or blown fuses. When the unit of amps a circuit breaker is designed for is exceeded, the circuit breaker will trip. This happens to prevent wires from catching fire. This of course keeps your house from burning down! Fuses will also blow out to avoid a fire hazard.
2. Flickering and dimming lights. When a circuit becomes overloaded, you will notice a dimming of lights. This usually happens when your electrical systems wiring gets old. The lights in your home may also blink if the circuit is experiencing too much pressure. Occasional flickering is normal but constant blinking and dimming means there’s an issue with the wiring or circuit and can get dangerous quickly.
3. House smells like burning plastic or has other strange smell. Houses can smell odd for many reasons. When the smell is caused by damaged wires, it means your electrical system has been overworked. The wires can burn out and spread a foul odor throughout your home.
4. Wet electrical wires. Wires become wet after flooding or heavy rains. Electrical systems that have become wet need the help of professionals because anytime water and electricity mixes there’s the chance of electrocution. Professional electricians have the tools and experience to fix the problem in a safe manner.
5. Electrical sparks. This issue is very common in homes. These sparks can’t be corrected until the source has been discovered. Homeowners would be hard-pressed to figure out the cause on their own. If the cause of the sparks in your home are due to the fuse box, breaker panel or electrical outlets you will need the help of an electrician.
6. Electrical noise. When your electrical system is working properly you shouldn’t hear a thing. If you hear a buzzing or popping noise coming from the electrical system, there may be loose prongs or faulty wiring. When electrical noises are not addressed and fixed, it can seriously damage the appliances in your home and force them to quit all together. These sounds can be heard from circuit breakers, main hums or electrical switches.
7. Loss of electricity. There are many reasons that your home will experience a loss of electricity. Some happen after a storm or your system is just old. Check with your neighbors to see if their power is also out before calling an electrician. You may just need to put a call into the utility company.

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

Electrical systems should not be tinkered with if you don’t know what you’re doing, even if it seems like a simple task. You can make an electrical problem worse or disastrous with one wrong move. Do you need electrical services? Contact Sentry Electric for prompt emergency services.

Best Lights & Lighting Fixtures for Kitchen Ceiling, Walls, Island, Under Cabinets & More in Westport, CT

If you are looking to make a statement in your kitchen you can always make some major changes. This might be updating the color on the walls, installing new countertops or even remodeling the entire space. One of the other ways that you can make a change without breaking the bank is to update some of the lighting in the space. The lights that you are using can be out of date or just not be as fun and unique as you want them to be. A kitchen usually should have a nice bright light so that you can work in the space and see clearly. That does not mean that you have to just stick to can lights. You can use under cabinet lights and even a lighting fixture over your island as a way to make a statement. You want to make sure that you know what options you have.

Sentry Electric Lists Ways to Add Unique Lighting to Your Kitchen

Repurpose Old Glass & Other Items to Light Fixtures: One of the best ways to create a lighting fixture that is both functional and creative is to do what many homeowners are doing. They are using supplies that they have found around the house or at antique shows and making them into a lighting fixture. You can stay with a kitchen type of theme and use things like mason jars, colanders or other materials that are found commonly in a kitchen. The great thing is that this has been used more widely and there are great options for you.
Glass Pendant Lights: One of the other options that you have when you are choosing a light fixture for your kitchen is to go with a pendant light. These are becoming more and more trendy and are a great addition to hang over your kitchen island or your dining room table. They are a sting of lights that are affixed to the ceiling and hang down to create light through a pendant shaped vessel. The vessel can be made of many materials but one of the most sought after is glass.
Modern, Rustic or Farmhouse Chandelier: If you think that using a chandelier is a thing of the past or that they are only for a mansion you are wrong. The great thing is that you can purchase a chandelier that fits your unique size and style. Be sure that you are aware of the space that you have to work with and use one over your dining table. This will create some ambiance when you shut the other lights off and you use just your chandelier. They are great when installed using a dimmer switch.
Square Flush Mount Ceiling Light Fixtures: The last option that you can use when you are upgrading your kitchen lights is square lighting fixtures. These are a great take on a modern look for lights and can be outfitted with any number of lights. They also can be made from any material depending on what your kitchen is made of.

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

Sentry Electric offers services to upgrade the lighting throughout your whole home, including your kitchen. Call us for a consultation today!

Best Home & Business Backup Power Supply in Norwalk, CT; Standby Generator Installation

Between weather, earthquakes, manmade catastrophes and overburdened grids many parts of the country are forced to deal with brown outs as well as total blackouts, leaving the home owner without power for days at a time. Even areas with reliable power grids will lose their power occasionally. For the occasional power outage, a mobile backup generator will suffice, even the smaller ones could power a light or two, refrigerators and freezer. However, these smaller units may struggle to keep the AC working. The typical home of about 2000 square feet will require 10-15 kilowatts (kW) to run the home under normal conditions. Larger homes and businesses will require more. Above 20 kW is beyond the capacity of the typical portable generator, with 15 kW being about the maximum. These may have a single 240-volt 50-amp output receptacle. But is this going to be sufficient to supply power to a 400-amp service?

Power Outage for Your Business

For the small business, power loss represents sales loss and non-productive labor costs as employees stand idle. In the home the very young and the elderly are vulnerable to heat and cold extremes. As the freezers go out perishable food stores can be compromised and it is not unreasonable to face the loss of $300 or more in consumables if the fridge-freezer loses power for multiple days.

Standby Generator Installation

The answer may be a standby generator. The larger portable generators will provide up to 15,000 watts or 15 kW. At most a 30-amp and/or 50-amp 240-volt outlet and will have difficulty supplying power to the typical 200-amp service of a modest home. You can power an electric range or your AC but not both at the same time. Most portable units are fueled by gasoline or propane.

Best Fuel for Standby Generator; Gas or Diesel?

A word on fuels. Propane has the lowest density of energy per volume of all the fuels. Natural gas provides better energy density per volume and if the gas system works, it can provide nearly an inexhaustible fuel supply. Gasoline is volatile. In other words subject to high evaporation rates making it much more flammable than diesel. Storing quantities of gasoline to see you through multiple days of electrical production is some what problematic. Large quantities of gasoline are dangerous fire hazards and local ordinances may limit storage supplies for the home. Gasoline will also deteriorate over long storage periods and being volatile and mixed with the need to vent to the atmosphere there is loss of volume do to evaporation. Diesel presents that largest energy density of any easily available fuel on a per gallon basis. Diesel is much less volatile than gasoline. And for a fuel to burn is must be in a gaseous state. Diesel is safer to store in quantity, but modern diesel fuels with all the required additives required to meet pollution standards are not as stable in long term storage and can deteriorate. Not big problem if you live in the northern areas subject to regular winter blackouts. In due course your diesel supply can be rejuvenated back to a usable standard, but this adds to the cost of operation. The standby units can be had up to 35 kilo watts, can fully supply a home with all the energy needs and requirements for full operation. Two fuel options exist. In areas of natural gas delivery this would be an ideal fuel except for areas subject to flooding or earthquake, municipal natural gas supplies are generally very reliable and offer a limitless and affordable fuel supply. It is generally very safe, and the modern electronic controls will provide monthly startup and diagnostics as well as automatic startup and switching for the home service. The other option is diesel.

Generator Transfer Switch Installation

Most portable generators supply power through an extension cord of at 14 gauge but a commercial 10 gauge is recommended depending on the generators output. A dedicated outlet with an auto switch will complete the installation. Wiring panels can accommodate those circuits that are critical. Refrigerators and freezer, or a circuit for medial support. Most portable will not be able to supply all needs of a house, so you will have to be ‘choosy’.

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

Standby generators are hard wired into the service via a manual or automatic switch and provide enough power for household requirements. Having a means of providing power during an outage can literally be lifesaving and let’s face it comfortable equates to high morale making it easier to weather the storms and emergencies we encounter on our life’s journey. Contact Sentry Electric for all your electrical needs.