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Safety

So You Want to Save Energy at Your Commercial Building

So You Want to Save Energy at Your Commercial Building

When you own a business or other commercial building, saving money is probably one of your top priorities. If you want to reduce your excessive electricity bills, you’ve got options. Here’s 3 tips for you to not only save money, but to also reduce your negative impact on the environment. 

 

Upgrade the lighting

How many hours a day do you think the lights in your space stay on? If the lights are flickering, a few years old, or often forgotten and left on, installing motion-sensing lighting is a good next step. Rooms that aren’t in constant use, like conference rooms and breakrooms eliminates human error and helps you save big on lighting costs. Your lightbulbs in your space also makes a big impact on your electricity bill. Switching to efficient lighting options like LED bulbs last longer and require less maintenance in the long run compared to traditional incandescent bulbs, so making this change can reduce the lighting portion of your electric bills up to 60%. 

 

Check Your Thermostat

As much as you might try, you probably won’t be able to make everyone in your business or commercial space happy–someone will always feel too hot or cold. What you can do is ensure you have programmable, energy-efficient thermostats and make energy-conscious choices as to the setting throughout the year. There are even ‘smart’ thermostats that will make those settings for you.

 

Manage Office Equipment

Most computers, printers, and other office equipment have energy saving features available so that they aren’t draining your wallet when they’re not in use. You’d be surprised how much energy that screen saver on the computer’s sleep mode is spending over time, so the blank black screen will be a welcome sight. But you’ll have to be careful and keep checking in on your equipment, as these settings can get reset or overridden every once in a while. It’s good to double check these settings once a month, especially when the seasons change, just to be safe. 

 

Every commercial space and business is unique, and while these tips will help you make a dent in your energy bill, getting an inspection to dig into the details will give you a huge boost. Coffin Electric works with both commercial and residential spaces, so give us a call and we’ll be happy to give you a hand!

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Safety

How to Childproof the Electrical in Your Home

How to Childproof the Electrical in Your Home

At Coffin Electric, we’re all about protecting what matters most. Even if all parents had eyes on the backs of their heads, kids are curious by nature, and will most likely get into something they shouldn’t. That includes our electrics in our home. With homes today being full of all different kinds of appliances, outlets, and cords, it’s hard to have peace of mind knowing that the little ones are as safe as we’d like. 

The only way to really know your home is safe, is to walk in your kid’s shoes. If you get down and look through a child’s eyes at their level, you’ll be able to better spot the dangers that they might be curious about. Here’s what you should look out for. 

Outlet covers

You might be familiar with the supposedly child proof plastic or rubber outlet covers that slide into your outlets. But they might not provide as much safety as we’d like to think. We wouldn’t recommend them, as they are very easy to remove–easy enough for a toddler–and don’t do much to keep curious minds and little fingers away from the outlet. 

Tamper proof outlets

Instead, utilizing tamper-proof outlets will get you the results you’re looking for. They cut off access to outlets completely with spring-loaded shutters when the outlet isn’t being used. With a dual-lock, no tiny fingers or tiny tools like butter knives, forks, or toys, can get in.

Reduce electrical strip usage

These strips are right within the range of a child to grab or try to play with, and are full of more outlets and dangers for them to get into. Using so many strips probably means that you don’t have enough outlets! The best and safest course of action is to install more safe outlets. With the help of a professional electrician, outlet installation is fast and easy and will help keep your home safe and make things more convenient for you, too! 

Strip protection

If installing new outlets isn’t an option for you, there are certain ways to add a layer of defense to your electrical strips. There are some strips made with built-in covers, or you can buy a dome or box cover separately. They might not look the best, but they will provide the safety you’re looking for. 

Loose cords

Long cords, left on their own, can not only pose a trip hazard, but can also be tempting for little ones to grab, yank, and play with. This can cause appliances to fall, leaving your child at risk. To be safe, use cords with better suited lengths, tape them down, or you can purchase helpful products like cord organizers or covers to get them out of the way. 

Damaged wiring

As always, damaged wiring is dangerous to more than just your child. As soon as you see frayed or broken wires, you should repair or replace them for the safety of your family and property. 

With these added safety precautions, you can have peace of mind in knowing you’ve made your home as safe as possible for your loved ones. 

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Safety

Should You Switch to Energy-Efficient Lighting

Can lighting change your home?

Energy Efficient appliances are one of the quickest and simplest methods to improve efficiency in your home, with a wide array of appliances and products that provide increased performance while also using less power. There are even high efficiency light bulbs that will help you make the switch to energy efficiency without having to make big changes like replacing your kitchen appliances. There are two main options for these bulbs, CFL (compact fluorescent light) bulbs and LED (light emitting diodes) bulbs. LEDs are the best option on the market today, as they generate light without generating heat, which is a big issue with standard incandescent bulbs. These incandescent bulbs use energy to run power through its filament, which is that little metal wire you can see in the middle of your bulb. This results in light from heat generation, which is where the inefficiency lies–most of that power is lost in the heat that is produced rather than the light generation. CFLs are similar and also highly efficient, but are often outlived and outperformed by LEDs.  Taking the plunge in including energy efficient appliances in your home, even just in your lighting, will provide great benefits to you and the environment.

 

Less Energy

The greatest benefit to adapting your lighting to energy efficient solutions is that both LED and CFL bulbs consume energy at a much lower rate than your traditional incandescent bulb–as little as a tenth or less wattage for LEDs and half to an eighth for CLFs. While replacing just one fixture’s bulbs won’t do much to your energy bill, upgrading your whole home to energy efficient lighting will make a drastic difference in your energy costs. 

 

More Life

Energy efficient bulbs, while more expensive than the traditional bulbs you might have in your home now, are a great investment in your home because they outlive those cheaper traditional bulbs by years. After you’ve made the switch to LEDs or CLFs, you won’t have to regularly repurchase bulbs to replace the burnt out ones for years to come.

 

Increased Stability

All of these energy efficient bulbs also outperform incandescent light bulbs in extreme temperatures. Whether in freezing temperatures or sweltering heat, they fail far less often than a traditional bulb. Furthermore, because they produce less heat, you might even save a bit on your cooling costs over the summer without the added heat of lighting. 

 

Better for the Environment

Not only will you be doing your part for your wallet, energy-efficient lighting will help you do your part for the environment. With these bulbs, you’ll be replacing them less and consuming less power, which will make a dent in your carbon footprint. 

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Safety

Can Lighting Change Your Home?

Can lighting change your home?

If you’re looking for a way to revamp your home that’s a little less complicated than knocking down walls and replacing floors, you might want to consider changing up your lighting. There are a lot of different creative ways to change up the feeling of your space with light, from temperature to brightness. We can help you utilize these techniques to suit your home, your needs, and your budget. 

 

Brightness

Installing dimmers in your home allows you to control the brightness in your space, so you can customize the ambience of your space.

The level of brightness in your space is actually correlated to emotional response, partly due to the association with heat. During the day, you might notice the natural light helps put you in a good mood. In the same way, bright, glowing lights in your space can significantly improve the general atmosphere of your home.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a more cozy setting, low level lighting helps to make your space feel warmer and cozier. With a dimmer, you can change what kind of feeling you want in your home through the brightness of your lighting with the simple touch of a finger.

Bulb Type

The temperature of the lighting in your home is also an easy way to transform your space. For warmer, yellower light, the type of bulb you might be looking for would be something like a fluorescent light, while an LED bulb will give off a cooler, bluer glow. The room that you’re lighting might play into your decision on bulb type and temperature. For example, lighting in bedrooms is more likely to be softer and comforting, while your kitchen’s lighting is usually brighter for functionality. 

 

Placement 

The placement of your lighting can make a big impact on your home and is an easy process. Adding ambience can be as simple as adding accent lighting to give your space a focal point. In your kitchen, a great way to elevate your kitchen is to install under cabinet lighting. It’s easy to install, cost-effective, energy-efficient, and helps to increase safety, while also making the space feel inviting. In other areas of your home, like your living room, accent lighting helps to highlight your favorite parts of your home and create the ideal ambience. Spotlighting a focal point, like artwork or a unique architectural feature draws the gaze to these areas and can completely transform the feeling of the room. 

 

If any of these ideas sound like something you want to tackle to change the feel of your home, call us at Coffin Electric. With the help of our professionally trained technicians, you can have peace of mind knowing that your transformation will be safely and correctly installed, and will look great too. 

 

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Safety

Safely Light Up Your Outdoor Space!

Safely Light Up Your Outdoor Space!

Looking to shed some light outside? Whether you’re looking to add a twinkle to your deck, wanting to see your grill after dark, or seeking extra security, there are multiple ways to light up your outdoor space. Let’s weigh the pros and cons to help you find the best way that fits your needs.

 

Plug In Lights

Pros: The simplest and easiest way to brighten things up is as easy as plugging in a strand of string lights into an exterior outlet. Most building codes require a certain amount of outlets outside your home, and you’ll usually be able to find at least one near the front and back doors. With splitters, extension cords, or remote-plug ins, you can take full advantage of the outlets you have access to. 

 

Cons: If you decide to use extension cords, be sure to check that they are intended for outdoor use and be careful with how you utilize them. If used improperly, cords can not only be a trip hazard, but can pose worse risks like fire or shock hazards. 

 

Solar Lights

Pros: If an outlet isn’t accessible or you’re looking for something a little different, solar powered outdoor lights offer a variety of choices. Without wires or battery packs, they’re good for the environment and easy to place. From floodlights to path lights, you should be able to find the light for you without the stress of tangled cords or far-away outlets. 

 

Cons: Solar lights are easy and eco-friendly, but their placement is key. They need to have access to adequate sunlight to store power, which can even be impacted by weather if clouds obscure the amount of sunlight the receptors can gather. 

 

Wired Lights

Pros: Hardwiring outdoor lighting to its own circuit will give you the most consistent power source without the extra elements like outlets, extension cords, or the sun. This is a great option for your outdoor spaces, as it is more than a temporary option, can reach harder spaces like sheds and patios without the need of an outlet, and you won’t have to worry about hiding any ugly extension cords. 

Cons: DIY isn’t an option for wiring your outdoor space. To ensure your lighting looks great and works safely and properly, you’ll need a licensed electrician to do your wiring. But there’s a bright side to this con: Coffin Electric is here to help. Our team is made up of qualified licensed electricians who are happy to help you bring your vision of your outdoor space to life.

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Safety

Energy & Money Saving Tips

Energy & Money Saving Tips 

With more technology being used day to day and temperatures outside increasing, you might be seeing your energy bills get a little bigger each month. If so, you might want to explore what you can do to reduce your energy usage in your home. 

 

Upgrade old or unreliable appliances

It might be time to get rid of that old refrigerator that doesn’t stay cold, or even just to replace those flickering lights. These appliances often aren’t energy-efficient and increase the risk of electrical fires. Using newer, correctly working, energy efficient appliances might be an investment, but it will be one that will save you money in the long run.

 

Cut back and unplug

Even with new or energy efficient appliances, you might not be able to make as much of a dent in your energy bill if you’re not using your appliances wisely. It’s always a good idea to unplug or power off power strips for devices or appliances you’re not using often in your day to day life. But your biggest culprits of energy usage in your home will be your air conditioning and heating system, so using these only when needed will help you save money and energy. Look out for nice days to open the windows and let in some fresh air!

 

Better bulbs

Flip the switch on your incandescent bulbs and replace them with LED bulbs or compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFL). CFLs use 75% less energy than your average incandescent bulb and can last 10 times longer, while LEDs are 80% more efficient than incandescent bulbs. Either way, you’ll be happy you saw the light of energy-efficient bulbs. 

 

Watch out for air leaks 

After all of this hard work trying to make your home more energy-efficient, you can still lose energy to this problem! Air leaks are a huge source of energy loss in your home. Look around your walls, ceilings, windows, doors, fixtures, switches, and outlets for telltale signs of air leaks–gaps, improper caulk or weatherstripping, and doors or windows that don’t close properly. Sealing these leaks is one of the quickest ways to save money and energy in your home.   

 

Get an electrician’s opinions 

When all else fails, getting an electrician to inspect your home can never hurt. Without a trained eye, there may be something you’re missing in your home’s electrical system that’s eating away at your energy usage. Coffin Electric is proud to provide professional, expert service and help you get the most out of your electrical system. 

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Safety

5 Home Electrical Warning Signs to Watch For

5 Home Electrical Warning Signs to Watch For

At Coffin Electric we strive for safety to give our customers peace of mind. By keeping homeowners aware of warning signs, we can catch problems before they become dangerous. Look out for these 5 signs in your home, and if you need help with any of them, Coffin Electric is here for you. 

  • Old wiring

In the late 60s and early 70s, many homes used aluminum wiring. Unfortunately, buildings with wiring of this kind have been found to be 50 times more likely to experience fire damage. Now, we use copper wiring, as it is more resistant to heat. If your home was made during this era, or if you’re uncertain about the type of wiring, it’s best to double check with a home inspection.

  • Flickering lights

No, your house (probably) isn’t haunted. Unless the weather has been windy or stormy, your home’s electrical wiring may be outdated and unable to handle the increased energy demands of your home. 

  • Frayed wiring

Frayed wiring is an extremely dangerous fire and shock hazard. Whether due to remodeling allowing access to the wiring in question, or just a damaged wire on an everyday appliance, never ignore frayed or damaged wiring.

  • Frequent circuit breaker trips

While it’s not uncommon for a circuit breaker to trip, if it’s happening too frequently, it could be cause for concern. Normal trips are often caused by running multiple appliances from the same circuit, causing an overload. On the other hand, if you have to head to your circuit breaker panel more often than not, there could be a dangerous problem with your wiring or electrical panel. These panels last 25-40 years, but outdated panels won’t be able to keep up with the electrical needs of today’s homes. If you’re installing new appliances, like a larger refrigerator or hot tub, upgrading your panel might be a good idea.

  • Unusual outlet signs

Your outlets are an easy thing to keep an eye on, as they provide some tell tale warning signs for problems. If your outlets are emitting a buzzing or sizzling sound, it could be a sign of a potential wiring problem. If you smell smoke in your home and you’re not actively burning dinner, check your outlets. If the smell is stronger or you see scorch marks near your outlet, you’ll want to take immediate action. If any of your outlets have warmth or a vibration feeling coming from them, damaged wiring is probably at fault. An outlet that’s working correctly will be cool to the touch and definitely won’t be moving or vibrating. This problem is not one you can hold off on fixing, as it could lead to a house fire. If you’re experiencing any of these issues, unplug your appliances and call us as soon as you can. Our background checked, drug-tested, and professionally trained team is ready to help! 

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Safety

6 Home Electrical Tips You Need to Know

6 Home ElCoffin Electric Tips You Need to Know

6 Home Electrical Tips You Need to Know

     1. Electricity and Water Don’t Mix

We know this is common knowledge for most, but a reminder never hurts. In our day to day, it’s easy to get caught up in routine like drying your hair with a hair dryer after a shower while standing on a wet floor or using wet hands. Even little instances like this cause a risk to your safety, so remember to keep your surroundings dry when handling electrical outlets or appliances. 

      2. Keep Children in the Loop

It’s important to help any children in your home understand how to be careful around electricity. Simple things like keeping water away from electricity and the dangers of exposed electrical cables are crucial to start teaching them from a young age, as well as things to know in the event of less frequent occurrences like storms that cause damage to electrical lines. Let them know to stay away from electrical wiring that has been downed during a storm.

      3. Practice Cord Safety

With so many electrical appliances in our homes today, there are also many opportunities for danger. Watching out for frayed or broken cords and replacing them when need be, giving cords enough space from anything flammable in case of sparks, not overusing or overloading extension cords, and plugging appliances into the correct outlets are all important habits to keep up with. Broken cords present a risk for electrocution, cords underneath rugs can increase risk of fire, and plugging appliances like portable heaters or air conditioners into extension cords won’t provide enough energy to your appliance. 

      4. Don’t Overload Sockets

If you can, it’s better to distribute your electrical load for appliances between multiple electrical outlets, rather than plugging many into one. Properly distributing your appliances and unplugging them when you’re not using them will decrease the risk of overloading circuits. 

      5. Test GFCIs

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters help protect people from electrical shock and electrocution. These GCFIs are self testing, meaning all you need to do to test your outlet is press the test button on your outlet, which should make a snapping sound. That means the receptacle has tripped. If it doesn’t trip, you should contact a certified electrician like Coffin Electric to check things over. 

      6. Match Bulb Wattages

Before putting a lightbulb in an appliance, you should check to see if it’s the right wattage. Lightbulbs that are rated below appliance output can get too hot and could spark a fire.

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Safety

Fire Safety in Your Home Part ll

Coffin Electric Fire Safety in Your Home Part II

Fire Safety in Your Home

Last week we shared three tips for the best fire safety electrical practices in your home. To finish off your fire safety checklist, here’s our final two tips!

Look For Warning Signs in Your Switches and Outlets

Are your switches and outlets working?

Switches that don’t work properly can indicate an incorrect or unsafe wiring job, which could be a fire hazard. When you get a home electrical inspection from Coffin Electric, we look for these switches and outlets to check your wiring and get them working again.


Is there anything out of the ordinary happening in your switches or outlets?

If any of your switches or outlets are warm to the touch or are making any strange noises like crackling or buzzing, these are warning signs that could point you towards a potential fire hazard. They usually indicate unsafe wiring conditions, like a loose electrical connection. Stop using these switches and outlets until you can get them looked at by a licensed electrician.

If All Else Fails, Smoke Alarms Save Lives

Your smoke alarms keep your home and family safe.

Having enough smoke alarms in proper locations, regularly testing and changing the batteries, and keeping tabs on age are all important steps in helping your smoke alarms do their job. Nearly two-thirds of fire deaths in the home happen in homes without working smoke alarms, so enduring some slightly annoying beeping is worth it in the long run. There should be smoke alarms on each level of the home, outside each sleeping area, and inside each bedroom. They should be tested at least once a month, and their batteries should be replaced every year (or sooner, if they start “chirping”). Without regular testing, smoke alarms can fail without showing any warning signs, so regularly checking them and replacing their batteries are crucial to keeping them working. Finally, you should know how old each of your fire alarms are. Over time, the components inside of these alarms wear out and limit operation, so they need to be replaced every 10 years. If you don’t know how old they are, you should replace them to be safe. Labeling them with the month and year on the outside is helpful for remembering and keeping tabs on when it’s time to replace them. 

Don’t let your home or family be at risk. Checking your home for proper electrical fire safety is easy to implement into your regular habits, not only providing an extra layer of safety to your home, but giving you peace of mind.

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Safety

Fire Safety in Your Home

Coffin Electric June 20th Fire Safety in Your Home

Fire Safety in Your Home

Electrical fires in the home account for an estimated 51,000 fires each year, nearly $1.3 billion in property damage, 1,400 injuries, and nearly 500 deaths. We want to ensure that you aren’t included in those numbers. You can take preventative measures to keep your home and your loved ones safe.

 

Get to Know Your Electrical Panel

 
Do you have Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupting breakers or AFCIs? 

An AFCI is a type of circuit breaker that detects and protects against electrical arcs, which can become hot enough to cause house fires (check our last blog for more information on arcs). These breakers have been required in homes since about 2002, but if you have an older home that hasn’t been renovated you may not have them.

 

Have you tested your AFCIs?

You should try to test your AFCIs monthly. When the power is on and the breaker switch is in the ON position, find and press the AFCI Test button. The AFCI should trip, causing the switch to move to either the OFF or TRIP position, depending on your breaker. If it trips, your AFCI is working! Turn it off and on again to reset, and don’t forget to test it again next month. However, if the AFCI doesn’t trip, contact our licensed electricians at Coffin Electric to replace it. 

 

Are all circuit breakers the proper size?

The size of your breakers and fuses varies from home to home. For a circuit breaker, the size is the maximum current that can go through it without tripping the circuit, which would result in a loss of power. So, the breaker that controls the circuit should be 125% of the continuous load, 

(which is the maximum current expected to last three or more hours) and 100% of the non continuous load (which are shorter bursts of power).

 

 

Use Lamps and Appliances Safely

 

Are you using the correct bulb for each appliance?

Believe it or not, there are right and wrong light bulbs for each of your electrical appliances. If the wrong bulb is used, it could potentially start a fire–like a higher wattage bulb on a lamp that uses a lower wattage. Always compare wattages from your bulb to your appliance.

 

How do you use space heaters?

There are a lot of rules for space heaters, but it’s easy to slip up and forget when you’re trying to warm up. Keep flammable items at least 3 feet away from your space heater (or any other heat source) and place it on a level, flat surface on the ground. Make Finally, never leave your 

space heater unattended and don’t forget to turn it off when you go to bed! 

 

 

Practice Safe Cord Use

 

Are your cords damaged?

Make sure your cords are all in good condition. Watch out for frays, cracks, pinches, and punctures. Damaged cords are dangerous, putting you at risk not only for electrical fires, but electrocution too.

 

How often do you use extension cords

As convenient as they are, it’s important to know that extension cords are not intended to be used as a permanent wiring solution, only temporary. If you’re relying on extension cords daily, that is an indication that your home electrical system needs upgrading as you have too few outlets to address your needs, you should have new outlets installed where you need them. When used improperly, plugging them into one another, covering cords from airflow, or relying on them for permanent wiring, extension cords can overheat and cause fires.

 

These are the first steps in practicing fire safety in your home. For the crucial final two steps, check back with us next week!