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The Best Blogs of 2016

on December 29, 2016

The Best Blogs of 2016

Simple Home Electrical Fixes

Unless you designed it yourself (and sometimes, even if you did), there will always be one or two things about your home that can use changes or upgrades over the years.  The electrical system for your home is no different.  The number of fixes, upgrades, and additions required to make your home more like how you want it increases the older your home is. The good news is that it isn’t all that difficult to fix some of these problems.  Some of the fixes come with upgrades you want to make anyway if you do it correctly.

The Problem with Dimmers

They help save money, reduce energy use, and give customizable light levels for any room in your home, but dimmers seem to be the finickiest and most failure prone control in the home.  How can something that is basically a glorified light switch be so difficult to install or upgrade without problems?  Don’t worry, there’s an answer to your problem, whether it’s buzzing wires, heated dimmer plates, or flickering lights.

Lightning Storm Safety

Lightning bolts can travel over 25 miles, with the majority of that travel taking place through air (a common electrical insulator).  While lightning will take the shortest path, small metal objects are unlikely to attract lightning that isn’t already coursing towards their location.  Still, if you find yourself outside when a storm begins, it’s best to seek shelter as soon as possible.

Ballasts, Transformers, and Drivers

Lighting sounds like a simple thing.  Plug a lightbulb into a socket and turn on the switch, right?  While incandescent lights are often that simple, energy-efficient and high-power lighting requires a little more effort (and some extra devices) for installation and operation.  At some point or other, you’ve probably heard of ballasts, transformers, and drivers.  While they aren’t all the same thing, they all serve a similar function for the systems they operate.  Allow us a moment to illuminate the differences.

Smoke Alarms and Electrical Fire Safety

Electrical fires are account for nearly 500 deaths and more than 1,400 injuries in the United States every year.  Prevention is the best defense against injury, death, and home damage, but mistakes can happen and you can’t completely account for every problem every time.  Items outside of your control can lead to fires just as effectively as a lack of care or electrical maintenance can.  Rodents and vermin can nest in wiring and chew through insulation while leaking roofs or plumbing can lead to an electrical short that starts a fire.  Whatever the reason, when prevention fails your only recourse is an early warning.  The sooner you know that a fire is present, the faster you can respond and the higher your likelihood of survival.

Energy Conservation

At Mainstream Electric, we talk a lot about electrical safety and repairs you can make at home.  Another thing we enjoy discussing is ways you can reduce just how much energy you use on a daily basis.  Energy consumption is an expensive part of daily life and, while that’s what energy is there for, reducing the amount we use can be a boon to your household’s economic bottom-line each month.

How to Choose a Water Heater

Hot water, while not as essential to life as clean water, is pretty important for modern living.  From washing dishes to taking a hot shower in the middle of winter, hot water gives us access to powerful and comfortable cleaning year round.  It might surprise you to know (or not) that water heaters come in more than just the electric tank style.  Learning to choose the water heater that’s the right combination of energy efficiency and convenience can be difficult, especially when choosing between both tank and tankless water heaters.

How to Fix a Doorbell

Everyone knows someone who has a home with a broken doorbell.  It’s so common that it’s difficult to know if the door hasn’t been answered because no one is home or the doorbell is simply broken.  I can’t tell you how many people I know who simply ignore the bell and knock instead.  While many homes are upgrading to wireless, battery-operated doorbells, there are still homes on the market with traditional transformer-controlled doorbells.

Power Failure Preparation

They happen throughout the year.  Power surges, lighting strikes, auto collisions, overheating, and heavy snow or ice can lead to downed power lines or blown transformers, leaving your home or neighborhood without power for hours or (in the worst case) days.  While an outage during the summer or the fall can be annoying, winter outages can be disastrous if not prepared for in advance.  While it’s still warm outside, it’s best if you take the time to prepare your home and family in the event of a power loss.

Ceiling Fans and Climate Control

Warm weather seems to be safely behind us.  Most of us have already turned off our air conditioners, possibly for the last time this year.  While temperatures are cool enough outside to stay comfortable and even chilly at some points during the night, indoor temperatures are going to be warmer, especially during the day.  This is where fans come into play.  Of course, while the most popular – not to mention stylish – fans are ceiling fans they aren’t the only option.  But in the cooler months of the year, ceiling fans are a better option than other portable fans.

How to Become an Electrician

It’s an interesting factor of our society that everyone goes to a four-year university or college.  In fact, the pursuit of office jobs has been so strong that many of those fields are being over-saturated with college graduates and are now requiring graduate degrees for the same work instead.  There’s nothing wrong with pursuing your dream job or entering a narrower field if the work is what you want to do, but America has been rediscovering the value of trade schools and vocational, blue-collar work recently.


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