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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.

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.