Landry Mechanical Inc Blog: Archive for the ‘Electrical’ Category

How a Professional Replaces an Electrical Panel

Wednesday, September 14th, 2022

The heart of every residential electrical system in Sutton is the electrical panel. Most of the time, electrical panels operate smoothly without any need for human interaction. Sometimes, though, you’ll experience a problem with your panel that will require it to be replaced. When that happens, it’s good to know the steps the pros take to swap out your old electrical panel for a new one. It’s worth mentioning here that replacing an electrical panel is absolutely not a do-it-yourself project. Here is a basic guide to the process that the electricians at [company_name] follow when they replace an electrical panel.

Understanding Electrical Panels

Your home’s electrical panel serves two primary functions. One purpose of the panel is to distribute the power supply coming into your home. Stepping down from the large supply wire into individual circuits, the electrical panel sends electricity to the different switches and outlets in your home. This prevents you from having to run a thick electrical supply line to each outlet. Instead, you can run a relatively thin wire that’s easy to handle. The other purpose of an electrical panel is to house the circuit breakers. Circuit breaks can stop the flow of electricity to a circuit if an electrical overload occurs. This greatly reduces the risk of death due to electrocution.

Electrical Panel Problems

Two big problems often require a new electrical panel to be installed: The first is when your panel becomes more than 25 years old. After this point, the circuit breakers, insulators and other components in the panel tend to break down to the point that they can no longer safely carry electricity. The second is any type of damage to the electrical panel. If the panel becomes exceptionally rusty, hot to the touch, or if you notice that multiple breakers are tripping frequently, it’s a good time to consider having [company_name] replace your electrical panel. It’s always important to consult an electrician regarding panel replacement because the electrician may be able to replace individual components without replacing the entire panel.

Panel Upgrades

Additionally, you’ll need to upgrade your electrical panel if your current panel can no longer supply sufficient amperage to power your home. This occurs most frequently if you add another room to your home or put in a pool or other outdoor feature that consumes a lot of electricity. Trying to run excess electrical devices on an undersized panel is a serious fire risk that’s not worth taking. When upgrading, it’s important to talk to your electrician about the size of the panel. It’s a good idea to install a panel that’s large enough to accommodate your current needs as well as any future growth.

Turn Off the Power

Before replacing the electrical panel, either you or your electrician will need to call your local utility company to shut off the power to your home. Since replacing an electrical panel requires working past the point where any breakers can interrupt the flow of power, this step is an absolute must. With complicated wire routings and large amounts of electricity involved in the project, it would be easy to cause injury to yourself or damage to your home if you’re not a well-trained electrician.

Remove Electrical Connections

After the power is off, our electricians can begin removing the electrical connections. First, they will remove the main connection from the utility company to your home. If your home has above-ground power lines, this is done at the top of a riser, which is a metal conduit through which the main electrical supply cables pass. Underground service lines must be disconnected at their termination point underground. Typically, the utility company will have to locate the termination point to avoid slicing into the main service line. With the main electrical connection broken, our electricians will then remove the connections in the meter box and the individual connections on the breaker panel.

Take Down Existing Equipment

With every electrical connection broken, our electricians will then proceed to remove the existing riser, meter box and breaker panel. When removing the breaker panel, they will pay special attention to protecting the electrical wires so that these wires can be used again on the new electrical panel. After the old equipment is down, the electricians will fill in any holes that won’t be covered by the new equipment and take any necessary measurements in case you need your panel moved to a new location.

Attach New Equipment

When installing the new equipment, our electricians will make sure that the equipment is level before attaching it to the wall. They must also make sure to screw into studs so that the heavy equipment doesn’t come loose over time. If you have above-ground utilities, most locales require that the access point for the main electrical supply line is at least 10 feet off the ground to prevent accidental contact with the exposed wire. Another important step in the installation process is making sure that proper stress-relief couplings are in place so that the metal in the panel and conduit doesn’t wear through the insulation on the wires.

Install Main Supply Lines

The main electrical supply lines are thick and can be unwieldy. [company_name] takes time to carefully route these wires to provide a neat and organized finished product. The lines have to be routed through the meter box and attached to the correct terminals in the box. The electrician has to pay careful attention to the arrangement of the positive, negative, and neutral wires so that the utility company can correctly connect the supply wires to the power line.

Make Circuit Connections

After attaching the main electrical supply lines to the main breaker, our team can make connections to the individual circuits. In some cases, the lines running to the outlets and switches in your home may not be long enough to reach the correct circuit breakers. An electrician from [company_name] will carefully study your specific situation to determine whether new wires are needed or if spliced wires will suffice. In some cases, by carefully routing the neutral wires, an electrician can find enough slack to overcome the problem of short wires.

Finishing the Project

Once all of the electrical connections are made, one of our electricians then has to install the front cover of the electrical panel and meter box. These covers prevent accidental electrocution caused by touching bare electrical wires. The final step in the process is to test the individual circuits to figure out which switches and outlets they control. After figuring out which circuits go where, our electricians will label each circuit going into the electrical panel to allow for easy circuit identification.

Your Electrical Experts

At [company_name], we take pride in every job we do. Whether we’re installing new electrical panels, repairing or maintaining air conditioners and furnaces, repairing sewer pipes or performing one of our other services, you can be sure that we won’t stop until the job is completed correctly. For over 10 years, we’ve been serving the Sutton area with top-notch home maintenance and repair services, earning countless five-star customer reviews along the way. To learn more about upgrading your home’s electrical system, contact us today.

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Should You Unplug Appliances to Save Electricity?

Monday, June 20th, 2022

When you walk out of a room, you know that you should turn off the lights to conserve both energy and money. However, perhaps you’re starting to wonder if the same idea makes sense when it comes to appliances. In other words, you may be wondering if you should unplug your appliances to save energy when the devices are not in use.

The Short Answer

In sum, yes, unplugging appliances when not in use does save energy. Even when appliances are off, there is still a small electrical draw. You might be surprised to see lower energy bills by simply starting to unplug appliances. Now, you can learn about other benefits of unplugging appliances and decide which devices to leave plugged in.

Protection Against Fires

The thought of an electrical fire at home is frightening, but these unfortunate events do happen. Unplugging appliances when not in use can help to reduce the risk of such a fire. Since the appliance is not drawing any electricity at all, the risk of an electrical fire from that appliance is reduced. Do keep in mind that electrical fires can start in other ways, such as through a faulty outlet or bad wiring.

Protection Against Power Surges

If a power surge happens in the house, appliances could be destroyed, especially if you’re not using a surge protector. Protecting the appliances themselves means unplugging the devices when not in use.

Longevity of the Appliance

Since appliances still draw energy when they are plugged in, even if the unit is turned off, unplugging them can increase the longevity of these devices. In other words, since the appliance is totally off, the device is not using any energy. The appliance is not on in any capacity. By starting to unplug appliances when not in use, you might find that these devices last for a longer time. This benefit is also a money-saving one as you will not necessarily need to replace the appliances in the near future.

Limitations

However, you should also recognize the limitations of unplugging appliances. In other words, you cannot realistically unplug every appliance in your house. Unplugging the refrigerator and freezer is certainly not a possibility. Unplugging the oven constantly doesn’t logically work out either. For the most part, smaller appliances are the ones you should unplug when not in use.

Televisions and Radios

Unplugging the entire television setup when you’re done watching a show is unrealistic. In many households, residents are accustomed to turning the television on and off regularly throughout the day. Radios, on the other hand, can be unplugged when not in use. It doesn’t take long to plug a radio back in, and you may have other ways of listening to music.

Washer and Dryer

As far as large appliances go, you could consider unplugging the washer and dryer when you aren’t doing laundry. When it comes to house fires, dryers can certainly be a cause, so unplugging this appliance can give you greater peace of mind. Of course, you should never leave the dryer running when you’re out of the house, and you can take an additional safety step by removing the plug from the outlet.

Having said all that, washers and dryers are quite heavy and bulky. If the outlet for these devices is located behind them, they are simply too heavy to move frequently. Practicality has to be part of the consideration.

Internet

Unplugging the modem every time you’re not surfing the web is likely to be a hassle, especially in a world where many people work from home and take classes online. While you shouldn’t plug in unnecessary devices, you will likely want to keep the internet on at all times.

Smart Devices

While plugging a smart device back in doesn’t take a lot of time, doing so defeats the purpose of many such units. In other words, you likely use at least some of your smart devices for safety, comfort, and security around the home. If these devices are not plugged in, they are unable to do their jobs. In most cases, leaving smart devices plugged in makes sense as these tools are typically consistently in use or at work monitoring the house.

Charging Devices and Stations

Walking into the kitchen to plug your phone into the wall right away is simpler than digging around the drawer looking for the charger and cord. However, leaving charging devices and stations plugged in is a waste of energy. Also, some of these devices can be hazardous when plugged in. If you have a device or charging station from a disreputable brand, the tool could overheat and catch on fire.

Lamps

You’ll have to decide if unplugging every lamp in the house is practical. In a house with multiple lamps in every room, this endeavor could take up an unrealistic amount of time. In a home where most of the lights are overhead, though, you could take the time to unplug the few lamps that you do have when you don’t them to see.

Laptops

Once your laptop is fully charged, there is no need to leave the computer plugged into the wall. If you are working from home for the day, you can simply plug the laptop back in when the battery starts to run low. If you’re going to be out of the house at work or school, bring a charger along with you.

Instruments

You might play an instrument, such as a keyboard, that needs to be plugged in for usage. Since you can easily plug an instrument in and pick up where you left off with your lessons, you can also unplug these items when you aren’t playing tunes.

Beauty Tools

Virtually any person who has used a straightener or curling iron has also had the frightening moment of wondering if the appliance was left on in the house unattended. Unplugging beauty tools immediately after using them can help to alleviate this fear. Additionally, unplugging these devices can help to reduce the risk of house fires and save energy.

Create a Checklist

Now that you know what appliances to unplug and which devices to leave plugged in, you’re likely wondering how you can remember all of the information. Go through each room in your house making a checklist. Take your time so that you don’t miss any appliances. You can post this checklist on the refrigerator or in another central place where your household members can easily view the information.

Post Reminders

Another practical way to remember which appliances to unplug is to post reminders around the house. For example, you could put a note on the bathroom mirror reminding all of your family members to check that the outlet is clear before they leave the room.

Unplugging appliances is important, and so is taking other steps to reduce the amount of energy used in your home while increasing protection from fires. The professionals at Landry Mechanical in Sutton can help to make your home a safer and more efficient dwelling. Our team members can also upgrade your home’s heating and cooling systems. Plumbing services, such as repairs and drain cleaning, are available as well. To get started on any of your related home projects, give us a call today.

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Why Does My Circuit Breaker Keep Tripping?

Thursday, February 3rd, 2022

A circuit breaker that’s frequently tripping is often a sign of electrical malfunctions. To prevent hazards, you’ll need to identify and address the fault as soon as possible. Here is an outline of the potential defects in your electrical system.

What Happens When the Circuit Breaker Trips?

A circuit breaker is a safety device that interrupts the flow of current when there’s an overcurrent or short circuit. The breaker contains multiple switches that control different circuits.

When the device detects a fault, the switch will automatically turn to the off position. But you’ll have to turn it back on manually to restore electrical power to the circuit.

If the breaker keeps tripping, there could be a critical flaw in your electrical system. The fault could trigger an electrical fire in your home. According to the National Fire Protection Association, electrical distribution and lighting malfunctions account for half of all residential fires.

So, if the circuit breaker keeps tripping, it’s advisable to schedule a professional inspection. A certified electrical team from [company_name] in Sutton will troubleshoot the system for arc-faults and short circuits.

Short Circuit Faults in Your Electrical System

One reason your circuit breaker keeps tripping is a short circuit within the electrical system. A short circuit occurs when there’s contact between two electrical conductors. When wires touch, your breaker will trip due to the sudden rise of the electrical current.

Several factors may trigger a short circuit in your electrical system. Rodents can damage the wiring, increasing the risk of a short. A short could also be from defects in your electronic appliances, or an outlet or lighting fixture may have a loose connection.

If you suspect that an outlet is causing the breaker to trip, use another piece of electrical equipment on the same outlet and check if it will work. You can perform a similar test to determine if the issue is the appliance. Try testing it on a different receptacle.

Once you identify the source of the short circuit, avoid using the outlet or appliance. Besides increasing the risk of fires, faulty outlets and appliances can cause an electrical shock. Wait for an inspection to protect your home from hazards.

An Overloaded Electrical Circuit

Your electrical system operates within specific parameters of voltage and current. The purpose of the circuit breaker is to disrupt current flow when the power exceeds the rated level.

Therefore, a frequently tripping circuit breaker can be a sign of overloading. It indicates one of the circuits is overburdened by the electrical load. Several factors may trigger an issue with overloading.

Older homes tend to have outdated electrical systems with a shortage of outlets. In such situations, an extension cord can increase the risk of electrical fires. If you’re anywhere in the Sutton vicinity, you can trust [company_name] to upgrade your electrical system.

The issue could also be an appliance drawing more current than the circuit can allow. You can perform a test to determine the overloaded circuit.

Unplug all the appliances and turn off all the circuit breaker switches. Turn the switch back on and plug in the electrical appliances one at a time. Wait for a few minutes and repeat the process until you find the appliance overloading the circuit.

A temporary solution is to avoid using the appliance or outlet. If you choose to buy an extension cord, check the power ratings. Also, avoid using energy-demanding equipment like a washing machine or space heater on a suspect outlet.

However, an upgrade of the electrical circuit is the best approach for the long term. That way, you can use multiple appliances in your garage or kitchen without the breaker tripping. It’s a more convenient option that will keep your home safe from fire hazards.

A Faulty Circuit Breaker Device

Another reason the circuit breaker keeps tripping could be that the device itself is defective. A defective circuit breaker is a significant risk for your home. If it allows more current than the rated value for your system, it can melt the wires, causing electrical arcing.

According to independent tests, faults within a circuit breaker are quite rare among the top brands. You can expect the device to last between 10 and 15 years with less than a 1% failure rate.

Nevertheless, the device in your home can develop faults due to corrosion or manufacturer defects. Installation problems can also lead to overheating, which causes the panel to fail.

Some of the tell-tale signs of a defective circuit breaker include burning odors from the breaker panel. You may also spot signs of corrosion and discoloration. Schedule an inspection of your electrical system as soon as possible to avoid hazards.

Protecting Your Electrical System From Ground Faults

Your circuit breaker could also be tripping due to ground fault problems. A ground fault occurs when the current diverts from its intended path to the ground.

As with lightning, the electrical current tries to find the shortest path to the ground. If there’s water inside an outlet or wiring fixture, it can trigger a ground fault. The current in the circuit will surge, forcing the breaker to trip.

A ground fault can cause electrocution. When current deviates from the circuit, your body could complete the path to the ground. Ground faults are common in bathrooms, kitchens and outdoor outlets.

Building regulations require the installation of GFCI receptacles in places with a high risk of electrocution. A Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter disrupts the circuit when it detects a ground fault. It can respond to the surge in a fraction of a second.

Defective wiring could also be a factor that causes a ground fault. Moisture can create a path that diverts the current as well. At [company_name], we recommend routine electrical maintenance to detect issues before they can endanger your home.

Why You Should Consult an Electrician

A tripped circuit breaker is a complicated issue that often requires the expertise of an electrician. If you notice that the breaker keeps tripping, switch off the system and consult a professional.

The circuit breaker is part of the distribution system. Therefore, it’s the first line of defense when an electrical malfunction triggers a surge in current. If you don’t have any experience troubleshooting electrical systems, you can cause fires or risk electrocution by tinkering with them.

An electrician has the experience to pinpoint the precise source of the fault. For example, circuit overloading can cause wires in the outlet to melt, but fixing the outlet is only a temporary solution. You may need to upgrade the electrical panel to address the problem conclusively.

Additionally, government agencies and local authorities are always updating the electrical code. A certified professional can install electrical panels and outlets that comply with regulations. Consulting a licensed electrician is a wise investment for your home’s safety.

Whether you need a generator, re-wiring, a panel upgrade or custom lighting services in Sutton, you can rely on [company_name]. We have a highly skilled team that can handle virtually any electrical project, big or small. We also provide air conditioning, furnace, boiler or ductless system HVAC installation, repair and maintenance solutions. You can talk to our experts for comprehensive plumbing services as well. Contact [company_name] today for more details or to schedule an appointment.

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