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(515) 556-5543


(515) 556-5543



What to Look for in an Electrician


While it may be tempting to do it yourself, get help from a friend or family member, or find a cheap option online, having your electrical work done by an electrician is crucial to the safety and success of your projects. But when you’re looking for an electrician to help you with your electrical work, what do you look for?

What is a Qualified Electrician?

A qualified electrician is someone “who has demonstrated skill and knowledge related to the construction and operation of electrical equipment and installations and has received safety training to identify and avoid the hazards involved”–basically, a qualified electrician has trained for 4 to 5 years in their field to have the skills, safety practices, licensing, and equipment to safely complete the job.

Here’s why it’s important to have a qualified electrician do your electrical work:

Not only will a qualified electrician have years of training, they will also be trained and up to date on your state’s Code, and will be licensed, insured, and bonded to work in your state. These qualifications can give you peace of mind that your electrical work is in safe hands. 

Qualified electricians should be able to take pride in and stand behind their work–with them, you’ll find a paper trail behind all of their jobs, with the correct permits, warranties, and certifications. They’ll be reachable by multiple different methods, and will surely communicate clearly and efficiently. No ghosting here!

With their years of experience, these qualified electricians know how much better products from reputable retailers and distributors are over cheaper, counterfeit, or duped products, and will also be able to provide the most energy-efficient solutions. They’ll do safe work, protecting you, your family, and themselves. 

Trying to do it yourself or having a sketchy, unqualified electrician might save you a couple of bucks, but could cost you a fortune in the long run. From having to replace and redo work due to cheap materials and fixtures to having work done that is unsafe and not up to code, going the cheaper route with an unqualified electrician probably isn’t worth it. At Coffin Electric, our electricians are not only qualified, highly trained, experienced individuals, but are also friendly, helpful people, always willing to lend a hand!


Why Hire Local?

We know that when you hire an electrician for any project, whether it be a repair on your home’s electrical, an overall inspection, a renovation, or anything else, you have a ton of options. From big names to your local small businesses, the world is your oyster when it comes to choosing which path to go down. Before you make that decision, consider these reasons for hiring local companies. 


When you work with local electrical companies like Coffin Electric, you can have peace of mind in knowing that you’ll receive open and honest communication about your electrical system and what the process entails. We’ll answer your questions, have discussions, and help you make the best decision for your space and your life. 

Upfront Pricing

We are just as transparent with you on our pricing as we are with our processes. Because we’re a small, family-run business and not a big company, you can expect upfront pricing and no hidden fees. With local electricians like us, there are no surprises, no confusion, and no unexpected charges. 


Our standards are high for our work and our team. Each of our electricians are reputable and certified, professionally trained, friendly, and drug tested so that you know when you work with Coffin Electric you can trust that we’ll tackle whatever project you have safely and effectively. 


At the root of Coffin Electric is a family, and we strive to treat each of our customers as we would our family members. This is more than just a job to us, this is about serving our familial community, building relationships with you, and making sure the job is done expertly, safely, and with the most respect for you and your space.


So next time you have an electrical project you need an electrician for, remember that those big names are not always the best. When you hire local, you know we’re here for you.


Faulty Electrical Wiring? You Need a Professional

Your home’s electrical wiring is one of the foundational elements of your day-to-day life, so it’s crucial that it is always operating successfully to keep powering your life and to keep you safe. But repairing and maintaining it is definitely not a DIY job or as simple as watching a quick YouTube tutorial, so you’ll want a professional electrician, like any of our great team members at Coffin Electric, to take on that task for you. For the sake of energy management and safety, we always want to ensure that we keep an eye on your wiring and any issues that may have cropped up over time, so here are some red flags to look out for.

Dimming Lights & Burning Bulbs

Lights often dim or burn out for much simpler reasons such as mismatched wattages to bulbs and fixtures, or simply just needing to be replaced from time to time. However, this can also be a sign of something more amiss in your wiring. Dimming lights may be a signal for worn-out wiring which can cause dangerous short circuits, sparks, or electrical arcs. If you have to continue to replace burnt-out bulbs too frequently, contact a professional electrician ASAP. There are many things that could be the cause in your electrical wiring, and a licensed electrician will be able to diagnose and fix the problems. 

Circuit Breaker Trips

If your electrical wiring was not properly installed, overloaded circuits could become an issue, which will cause your circuit breaker to trip very frequently, cutting off electrical power to keep your home safe. However, although the breaker cuts off power, it’s essential to remember that these faulty wire connections, if not addressed, will lead to electrical fires.

Electric Bill Spikes

If you notice an increase in your energy bills, this could indicate an issue with the circuit. Bad wiring can lead to sparks that will be a risk to you, but will also constantly consume power, stacking on dollars to your bill. An inspection performed by a licensed electrician can determine the source of the spikes in your electricity and your bills, and evaluate how to address the power surge.

Electrical Surges

While electrical surges are not entirely out of the ordinary during a storm or lightning, or if there is an issue with the electric company, it can be a bad sign for overloaded circuits or faulty connections. You may have to remove devices or appliances that could be causing dips in the power input until your wiring can be repaired or upgraded. Be cautious with surges if you experience them, as they can be a huge risk to valuable appliances in your home, so you’ll want to get your wiring addressed whenever you can.


Whatever the case may be for your wiring, it’s always good to have your electrical system inspected by a qualified electrician to ensure that all issues can be diagnosed and repaired so that you can have peace of mind knowing that your electrical system is safe and fully functional.


Why Electrical Work is No DIY

DIY definitely has its place in home improvement. 

If you can get the results you want yourself without having to hire someone or drop too much money on materials and resources, DIY is a great way to go. On the flip side, there are some aspects of your home that you shouldn’t try to tackle on your own, and electrical work is one of them. Getting the help of a professional for your electrical needs is the best option, for your safety and for successful results. Here’s why:



Electrical appliances and parts can cause fires simply in your day-to-day usage of them, like misusing a space heater or using an appliance with a frayed or damaged wire. When you get deeper into electric work and attempt a DIY, the risk of fire goes up exponentially.  Just an overloaded circuit, faulty connections, or the wrong part can lead to overheating, sparks, and even a house fire. What might be a little misstep in a DIY project can lead to danger and harm.


Working with electricity is no laughing matter. In your other DIYs, the consequences of a little slip-up might be a splinter, while the consequences of a little slip-up in an electrical DIY like touching the wrong wires together could be far more disastrous. Unless you’re trained in this field, you might not even know it’s a mistake until it’s too late, which can produce fatal electrocutions. 


Code Violations & Permits

Without a full understanding of the electrical industry standards, your DIY may not be up to code, which can not only be dangerous for you or your property, but also lead to more costs in the long run. With DIYs that violate electrical codes, you might end up paying much more to repair the work and get it up to par. 

In addition, there are a lot of different steps to getting started on your electrical work that could be easy to miss. Depending on where you live and what kind of electrical project you’re taking on, you may need different permits. Without the correct permit to ensure the work is done safely and correctly, you could face dangerous consequences.

To avoid all these risks, it’s best to just go with a certified electrician to avoid any expensive mistakes. 

Wrong Materials 

Without experience and proper training, you might not know the many types of wires, outlets, switches, or other parts and which materials you may need for your DIY. It may not seem like a huge difference to you, but using the wrong product could lead to unfortunate repercussions. 

It’s not as easy as it looks!

In the age of the internet and YouTube, many DIYs might look achievable for you to tackle on your own. You might think following a tutorial you found online could save you money, but in reality, you’re running a big risk. Even a project that may seem simple like replacing an outlet or a light switch can go really wrong, putting you in danger and costing you more money to repair. 

Before you move forward with tackling an electrical DIY, remember how wrong it could go. By having your electrical work done by a certified electrician, you circumvent a lot of these dangers to your safety, your property, and your money. You can find the right person for the job here at Coffin Electric, just check out more here on our website!



Stay Warm Safely: Space Heater Safety

The weather outside is frightful, but the warmth of that space heater is sure delightful! 

Portable space heaters are a great way to stay cozy and warm in chilly winter weather, but they can also pose a danger to your home. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, these space heaters are responsible for an average of 1,700 house fires yearly, which is about 43% of all house fires. Keeping your property and family safe from these fires is easy, if you use space heaters safely:


  • When placing or moving your space heater, remember that these appliances are intended to sit on a hard, level, nonflammable surface, like the floor rather than a table, counter, or shelf.
  • Don’t plug another electrical device or extension cord into the same outlet as a heater to keep the outlet from overheating.
  • The heater should be at least 3 feet away from anything combustible like furniture, bedding, curtains, etc. If your space heater is taller, it may have to be even farther away.
  • Establish a 3-foot zone around the heater that your pets and children cannot access.
  • Never place a space heater in a child’s room–your child could play with it, knock it over, or leave flammable toys too close to it.
  • Never use a space heater in a workshop or garage near paint, gas cans, matches, or other flammable materials.
  • When not in use or when you go to bed, turn it off and unplug it from the outlet
  • Check the space heater’s cord periodically for damage, wear, and tear.
  • Make sure you have smoke alarms on every level of your home and in every bedroom, and test them monthly.

If you’re looking for a new space heater, there are plenty of options on the market. However, when you’re looking, keep an eye out for these safety features for your peace of mind:


GFCI (ground-fault circuit interrupter) Plug: Many space heaters don’t come with a GFCI plug, which prevents electric shock. Heaters with one will be safer and give you more peace of mind, while heaters without one are more likely to spark or shock, and should not be used around water.


A good cord: You’ll want to find a space heater with a long and sturdy cord. Because you can’t use extension cords with space heaters, you want a cord that’s long enough (6 feet or more) to maintain a 3-foot radius while also being able to be placed where you like.


Certification: Any heater you buy should carry a safety certification label from an independent testing organization, like the UL mark, the ETL label from Intertek, or a certification from CSA International. 


Shutoff features: Some newer space heater models come with smart sensors that automatically shut off when it overheats or a tip-over switch that automatically shuts off the heater if it’s knocked over. These features are absolutely essential in making sure you are as safe as possible. 


So while you’re staying warm this winter, also stay safe with these tips and these safety features!


Electrical Safety Tips for the Winter

During the winter, there are unfortunately more hazards to look out for than icy roads and freezing temperatures. With your home’s electrical, the winter brings more challenges. Look out for these three home essentials this year to ensure your home is as safe as possible.


Check your carbon monoxide detectors

With more use of common fuels like natural gas, wood, or coal, the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning increases. Installing a carbon monoxide detector, replacing the old one you have, or even just changing out the batteries can do a lot for your safety and your peace of mind. 


Use space heaters safely

Space heaters are common appliances for many homeowners in the winter, but it’s important to be extremely careful with their usage in your home. These heaters can cause electrical fires if left alone to overheat. To use your space heater as safely as possible, keep them at least four feet away from furniture, curtains, or clothes, and never plug them in using extension cords or leave them turned on when you’re sleeping or leaving the room.

Be cautious with your heated blankets

We get it, these cozy heated blankets are super tempting to keep you warm. But these, like space heaters, can be dangerous if used unsafely. Check your blanket for any worn or damaged areas. If there are any signs of wear and tear, most likely from the heating element, you should get rid of that blanket, it’s time for a replacement. Also, although it may seem counterintuitive, never use your blanket while you’re asleep. An electrical fire caused by your heated blanket is not something you want to wake up to. 


Keep Your Holiday Decorations Safe


With the last of this decent fall weather, we’re trying to make the most of warmer temperatures before it gets too cold to put up our holiday decorations! If you’re decorating for this winter like us, you’ll want to follow these essential tips to help with safety tips!


Read the Fine Print

When you’re getting ready to put up your lights, whether new or dug out from deep in your basement, you’ll want to double-check the details. Make sure that: the lights are UL-listed and approved for outdoor use, review the wattage and voltage information before replacing broken bulbs, unplug the lights before you replace them, and check the manufacturer’s instructions for the maximum number of strands that can be safely connected. 


Always Use the Proper Extension Cords

If you’ve been keeping up with our blogs, you’ll know we’re big on extension cord safety! In this case, you want to make sure that you’re using the proper outdoor extension cord. These cords come with thicker insulation that withstands harsh outdoor elements like the cold and snow, so they’ll last all season long. The cheaper ones won’t offer this benefit and are more suited for plugging in your phones or laptops within the controlled environment of your home. 


Only Plug Into Protected Outlets

Once you’ve mapped out which lights are plugging into what, you’ll want to make sure that the outlets you’re using are safe. These outlets are protected by Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) and are usually placed wherever water or moisture may pose a danger and will trip and shut off the outlet if there is too much current being drawn. You may have some of these outlets outside, or you may have to feed a wire through a window or door.
If you’re in need of more protected outlets to really bring your decor to the next level, don’t hesitate to give us at Coffin Electric a call, and we’ll be happy to help. For your outdoor holiday decorations, make sure they are plugged into the proper GFCI outlet for the most safety and security.


Never Staple Lights to Your Home

While a staple gun might be an easy and convenient tool to help you attach your holiday decorations to your home, they are not the safest course of action. They pose a risk of piercing through or damaging the protection around the electrical wires of your decorations, which could cause a fire. Staples also often have smaller abrasions for better adhesions, and those burr-like spikes themselves could be enough to break through the soft plastic wires. It wouldn’t take much for all of those hundreds of volts to surge through the staple, causing it to heat up and melt, which could start a fire.


Use an Auto Timer 

One of the most common reasons for electrical fires caused by our holiday decorations is overheating or overuse. More companies have been building cheaper components, leaving you with lower-quality products. These lights and decor don’t last as long as fixtures that use higher quality parts, so they’ll fail and give out after a while, which can potentially spark a fire. 

With an automatic timer, you don’t have to break the bank getting expensive lights and decorations and you can limit the amount of time your festive display stays on. These devices are available at most big box or home improvement stores, and allow you to program your lights to turn on or off at a specific time. This way, you and your neighbors can enjoy the lights when you can see them, and they’ll turn off automatically when no one’s awake to look. You won’t have to worry about remembering if you shut them off or not, or get out of your comfy bed to go and unplug them. Plus, you can rest easy knowing you’re safer from overheated lights causing a fire.


How to Inspect Your Electrical System

How to Inspect Your Electrical System

At Coffin Electric, we recommend that you have your home’s electrical system inspected by a licensed electrician at least once a year. However, between your inspections, you can keep an eye on your home’s system, regardless of your level of electrical knowledge. This preventative maintenance can help you keep tabs on your home, avoid common electrical failures, and keep you in the loop as to when you may require repairs from a licensed professional. 

Light Switches and Outlets

Do they work correctly?

Do plugs fit into your outlets properly?

Can you hear any strange noises in your switches like buzzing or popping?

Are there any strange smells around your outlets or switches?


Are there any damaged electrical cords?

Are all appliances plugged into GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlets?

When not in use, are your appliances unplugged?

Is there any debris or dust on the back of your refrigerator?

Electrical Panel

Is your panel marked with the date it was last serviced?

Are all of the circuit breakers correctly labeled?

Do your fuses blow or breakers trip often?

Does each circuit have the proper amperage indicated?

Is there a sulfuric smell like rotten eggs or roadkill?

If these processes leave you with any concerns, Coffin Electric is here to help. Give us a call


What You Can Expect from an Electrical Inspection

What You Can Expect from an Electrical Inspection

If you’re someone who generally doesn’t dwell too much on your home’s electrical system, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Usually, it isn’t on most homeowners’ minds–until something goes wrong, in which case, you’ll likely have a pricey repair on your hands. Thankfully, with a whole home electrical inspection, you can get out ahead of these potential breakdowns or failures. 

When should you have an electrical inspection?

      We suggest getting an inspection done if:

  1. You’re buying a new home 
  2. You’re remodeling your home
  3. You have an older home (40 or more years old)
  4. You’re buying a new large appliance

What to expect from an inspection?

There are many steps of a home electrical inspection, each focusing on different elements of the entire electrical system, though usually, these steps fall into three main categories. 

Rough-In Inspection

This part of the inspection involves a licensed electrician checking all conduits, wires, and electrical panels and boxes. During this, the fire safety of your electrical system is also addressed by checking elements like smoke detectors and surge protection. 

Service Inspection

This stage involves your licensed electrician taking a thorough look at your main electrical panel. They want to ensure the panel is installed and grounded correctly. If they come across any issues, this will be a priority repair, as an ungrounded panel presents risks of electrical shock build up. 

Final Inspection 

During this step of the inspection, various trial runs will be conducted on your electrical system to ensure that it operates safely and efficiently; that common issues like exposed or damaged wiring, ungrounded plugs, and outlets are not present; and more complex issues have not arisen in the system.

When a new system is installed, it is always inspected. However, things go wrong, parts wear out or become damaged, and you never know how your electrical system may be operating. At Coffin Electric, we recommend that you have your system inspected by licensed electricians once a year, at least. 

At Coffin Electric, we strive to give you peace of mind in any service we provide, especially your electrical inspection so that you can rest assured that your home is safe. With our whole home visual inspection, you can ensure that all parts in your system from wiring, to circuit breakers, to outlets, switches, and fixtures, are working safely and properly. 


5 Ways Outdoor Lighting Can Elevate Your Space

5 Reasons To Upgrade your kitchen with under cabinent lighting

Enjoying the great outdoors and fresh air is a simple luxury that we take for granted with so much of our time going elsewhere–usually dedicated to some sort of technology. With outdoor lighting, you can extend your time spent in your outdoor spaces and truly make them an extension of your home. 

Elevate Safety

In the darkness of late night hours, many hazards can arise. With the right outdoor lighting, you can move much easier and safer in the dark. For your driveway or stair railings, places where slipping, tripping, and falling are common, outdoor post-mounted lanterns are a great way to illuminate your way. For the steps themselves or for other walkways, path and step lights help you see where you’re going. For your doors and entryways, outdoor wall lights can help you better see door handles, knobs, and especially, keyholes to help you get inside faster and easier. And finally, to make your home easier to find, address lights are a great addition.

Elevate Security

There are outdoor lighting options that are triggered by motion or timers to protect you and your home from intruders. These lights offer increased security without having to sacrifice looks–outdoor wall lights can be carefully added to the design of your home to keep you safe and light up your home in style. 

Elevate Aesthetic

Speaking of looks, outdoor lighting is a great way to elevate the natural beauty of your home’s architecture. With it, you can highlight your favorite features: add a glow to the welcoming ambiance of your home with an illuminated path and entry, spotlight the hard work you’ve done on your garden or landscaping, or capture the beauty of a water feature with underwater LEDs. The options are endless and can be customized to perfectly suit you and your home. 

Elevate Home Value

Outdoor lighting is one of the easiest, most affordable ways to boost your property value and curb appeal. When you can highlight your design elements, make areas look larger, heighten beauty, increase the usability of outdoor spaces after dark, and skyrocket your security and safety with this one strategy, why leave these benefits on the table? With Coffin Electric, we can help you elevate your home in more ways than one simply by enhancing your home’s outdoor lighting.

Elevate Your Enjoyment

Even after all of these amazing ways your home will be elevated, above them all is the increased enjoyment you can get out of your home. Now you can maximize your time in the great outdoors since you don’t have to retreat inside when it gets dark. Cozy up, grab a drink, relax, or have a meal with your loved ones, and enjoy the new glow of your outdoor spaces.