Top Tips to Ensure Electrical Safety on Commercial and Business Properties
Owning and managing a commercial building comes with a unique set of important responsibilities, one of which is taking care of occupants by establishing and maintaining electrical safety. Taking care of electricity safety will not only protect you from financial implications in case of an accident, but also go a long way in promoting employee welfare and business reputation. Here are a few recommendations you can follow to ensure electrical safety in commercial and industrial buildings.
Choose Licensed Electrician
In case you are involved in the original construction of a building, it is most important to hire a licensed Los Angeles electrician well versed in all the latest building codes. Consulting a licensed electrician can help ensure install professional grade wiring is installed and the best safety standards are followed. A commercial electric system requires special attention to various aspects such as insulation, guarding and grounding to support a wide variety equipment, devices and specialized needs. An experienced commercial electrician can help in wiring design and deliver fast, professional installation along with safe maintenance services.
During Renovations and Extensions
It is imperative to hire to hire a qualified electrician for renovations and building extensions since some of the work is likely to take place during office hours when staff are on the premises. Professional electricians look after compliance with building codes and make sure that workers do not trip or come in contact with electric equipment while work is in progress, thereby preventing worker injuries. Without proper care and attention, injuries due to electric accidents can be devastating resulting in electric burns, electric shock and partial or permanent loss of muscle control.
Stay Safe with Regular Inspections
Make plans to schedule regular inspections by a qualified, licensed electrician to test your building’s electricity system for potential problems such as circuit overloading, faulty equipment or connections, lack of proper earthing, improper wiring, code violations and other electrical defects. A licensed electrician can ensure your building meets current NEC codes, deliver actionable reports summarizing everything that needs to be addressed and carry out necessary repairs at the earliest.
Take Care of Emergency Lighting
How would you ensure occupant safety in case of a power outage? It’s important to have a backup plan and install an emergency lighting system that does not use main supply. In case of emergency, the system will automatically kick in and provide occupants with safe evacuation. The emergency lighting system should be installed and checked by a qualified Los Angeles electrician to ensure it functions efficiently during a power outage.
Fires are a common result of electric malfunctions and having good quality smoke detectors installed at strategic places by a skilled electrician will go a long way in preventing a potentially serious situation from going out of control. Periodic rehearsals of fire drills will ensure complete preparedness in case of a real time emergency situation.
In case you have any concerns about the electrical system of your commercial building, consult an experienced, licensed Los Angeles electrician for professional advice.
Emergency exit signs are vital details to a wide variety of properties such as commercial, industrial, religious and educational buildings but they hardly get attention except in case of an emergency. When they work well, they help building occupants determine a safe and speedy escape from a building with minimum confusion and panic. Here are a few tips to help you in their selection and placement.
Exit Sign Considerations
There are several local, state and federal codes and regulations that govern exit sign requirements including those provided by OSHA which sets standards to ensure safe evacuation of employees in case of an emergency. These standards relate to display of signs and guidelines for easy evacuation. For example, the letters of emergency exit signs must be legible and visible at all times. They must be free of decoration and illuminated by a reliable light source. In addition to this, arrangements must be made to ensure proper illumination in case of power outage.
Emergency exit signs are available in a wide variety of styles, designs and finishes. Options include signs with LED lighting, signs with traditional incandescent or fluorescent lighting, signs with built in lighting and outdoor signs with wet location ratings. Customers can choose from designs that can be ceiling mounted, wall mounted and end mounted. Your choice should depend on several factors including price, application, aesthetic appeal, construction, lifespan, installation method and maintenance requirements to name a few. These systems can be hardwired to a building’s electricity supply in an effective and efficient manner by a licensed and skilled Los Angeles electrician.
LED Exit Sign Systems
The emergence of LED lighting technology heralds a new era in the design and efficiency of emergency exit signs. LED based emergency exit signs are popular because of their low energy consumption that can be as less as 5 watts, longer lifespan of up to ten years and affordable prices. Most of them come with battery backup that allows them to remain illuminated in case of power outage. They can be incorporated in many elegant and efficient exit sign designs ranging from nouveau acrylic panels and durable aluminum panels to stylish and robust steel panels designed for the harshest environments.
Outdoor Exit Sign Solutions
Commercial grade emergency exit signs with wet location ratings function efficiently on building exteriors. They mostly come with fiberglass housing built to withstand harsh environment elements such as sleet, snow and dust that might interfere with the proper functioning of an exit sign. They can be equipped with an internal heater to ensure optimal functioning in cold weather conditions.
It is important to be aware of local codes before choosing and installing an exit sign. With their industry experience and in depth knowledge, licensed Los Angeles electricians can help you make the right choice for your application. They are up to date with the latest building codes for installation and wiring, making them best suited for the task of safe and legally compliant installation.
Attic fans are a great way to keep residences and business premises cool during hot summers. Heat buildup in attics can make temperatures to rise above 100 degrees Fahrenheit during summer. This kind of heat can damage belongings in your attic, reduce the shelf life of your roofing materials and increase your energy bills as the heat eventually permeates into other areas of the building. Having an attic fan is beneficial since it clears out hot attic air and draw in cooler air from outside. Here are some tips for attic fan selection and installation.
Attic Fan Solutions
There are a wide variety of attic fan models in the market today including solar powered fans, wind powered fans and electric fans. Solar powered fans and wind powered fans might seem like good environment friendly choices but one big drawback is that they are at the mercy of nature and they lack consistency as well as reliability. Their efficiency declines when faced with unfavorable weather conditions.
Electric Attic Fans Features
Electrical attic fans are the most popular option among home owners today. They are capable of effectively circulating lots of air and usually come with a thermostat that allows them to be run only when required. Users can set the fan to automatically switch on and off at certain temperatures, a useful feature that aids efficient energy consumption. Consumers can also find manual fans in the market but these are less popular among modern day home owners and business establishments. Some models have a humidostat that helps control excess humidity which can otherwise cause issues such as mold and mildew growth, decaying shingles, warped beams, damaged floorboards etc. during winter.
Attic Fan Installation
Attic fans can be installed either on the ceiling or on a gable wall. Installing one over an existing gable wall vent is a more cost effective option since it does not involve any structural changes, if it is at all feasible. However, it may involve enlarging the opening to fit the fan. Roof attic fan installation involves cutting a hole in the roof and mounting the fan on plastic or metal sheet bases that function as flashing. Once the attic fan is installed, you’ll need to shingle around and above the flashing. An experienced Los Angeles electrician will be able to tell you the type and number of vents best suited for your attic depending on several factors including roof design, impact of direct sun and house location.
No matter which type of attic fan you select, make sure that the room is properly insulated and ventilated during both warm and cold seasons for effective results. Improper insulation allows cool air to escape and hot air to enter inside during warm summers, eventually raising your utility bills. Improper ventilation can lead to moisture build up during winters that can result in immense damage to a building’s structure. It’s best to hire a licensed and skilled Los Angeles electrician to ensure safe and effective installation.
Pros and Cons of Wired and Wireless Security Camera Systems
After sturdy locks, it’s a security camera that gives home owners some peace of mind. A home security camera can do a lot to make a family feel safe, whether they are at home or away. Wired security systems and wireless security cameras are the two most popular options available to homeowners today. Both of them have distinctive features and it’s important to do thorough research in order to make the right choice for your individual requirement.
Wired Security Systems Drawbacks
Wired security cameras are hardwired to a home’s interior or outdoor area. They require homeowners to run unsightly power and data cables from the recorder device to the monitor where the captured footage is displayed. If the cables are not placed securely, they can pose a tripping hazard. One solution for this is to have licensed Los Angeles electricians install and conceal the cables. Wired security systems can be placed anywhere but once they are installed, it’s difficult to move or reposition them, especially if cables have been professionally concealed.
Wired Security Systems Advantages
One big advantage of wired systems is that they are not subject to different types of disruptions such as signal interference, bad weather conditions and improper frequencies – all of which may cause audio/video feed loss. In wired security systems, data is compressed and transferred via cables that connect directly with the display or recording device. They don’t rely on signals, transmitters or receivers to capture and carry images. Wired systems do not carry the risk of being hacked or remote controlled by unauthorized individuals which makes them a more secure option.
Wireless Security Camera Advantages
Wireless security cameras are gaining in popularity among homeowners due to a number of reasons. They are compact which makes them easier to conceal, they come with a simple set up process and they can be quickly repositioned within range of a wireless receiver. Their ease of use, high quality audio and video out and affordability makes them a popular choice among homeowners. Internet abled systems are very useful and allow homeowners to monitor their homes in real time from wherever they are located.
Wireless Security System Disadvantages
In wireless security systems, the audio/video feed is transmitted to a receiver wirelessly which then transmits the data to a display or recording device – they do not have unattractive data transfer cables running all over the premises. However, they carry an enhanced risk of signal loss or interference due to a wide variety of reasons including thick walls or floors, inclement weather conditions, sunspots and much more. They can get hacked or remotely compromised if the homeowner is not careful. One way to counter this is by changing passwords frequently.
If you require an aesthetically pleasing system which provides ease of use and good quality output, a wireless system may be right for you. If, on the other hand, you want a reliable, permanent camera with reduced risk of tampering, a wired system may make more sense. No matter which system you choose, call a licensed Los Angeles electrician for professional, safe and effective installation.
Protect Yourself from Toxic Carbon Monoxide with Professionally Installed Detectors
Having a carbon monoxide detector is necessary for all domestic residences and commercial buildings. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, inodorous and tasteless gas that’s virtually unnoticeable without a functioning detector. If inhaled in high concentrations, it can have potential life threatening consequences. To have complete peace of mind, you need a trusted detector that will alert you when there’s a risk of toxic exposure.
Common Carbon Monoxide Sources
There are many commonly found sources of carbon monoxide – your automobile, gas stove, fireplace, gas water heater, charcoal grill and electricity generator to name a few. While all these sources do produce small amounts of carbon monoxide (CO), they are generally designed and placed in such a way that they don’t become harmful. Problems arise due to sudden malfunction and improper use of equipment. A build-up can become a safety hazard in homes and commercial premises.
Toxic Effects of Inhaling CO
Carbon monoxide inhibits the body’s ability to absorb and carry oxygen to various vital organs such as the heart and brain. Even in low concentrations, CO affects an individual’s energy levels and health, making one feel fatigued and tired. Symptoms can be varied and depend on several factors such as exposure level, duration of exposure, age and general health of individual. When exposed to high levels of carbon monoxide, a person may experience dizziness, nausea, confusion and impaired vision. Individuals suffering from a preexisting heart disease may experience pain in the chest.
Popular CO Detector Devices
There are many types of carbon monoxide detector models in the market. How do you know which one is most suited for your building? Digital read out detectors are great for home use since they have display panels that allow users to see prevailing as well as previous CO levels in parts per million. Hardwired detectors are directly connected to a building’s power supply and mostly come with a battery backup. Some models come with digital read-outs that increase their functionality. There are other models such as AC plug in detectors and combined smoke and carbon monoxide detectors that are commonly used for home applications. No matter which type you choose, make sure it has battery backup and can be placed at about eye elevation on the wall.
CO Detectors for Commercial Properties
Interconnected carbon monoxide detectors are widely recommended for commercial buildings since they can be connected with other alarm and monitor systems such as smoke sensors and burglar alarms. These devices can help broadcast alarms to other parts of the building quickly and efficiently. It is recommended to have one CO detector for each floor of a building along with an additional monitor near high risk appliances for maximum safety. It is important to consult the manufacturer’s installation instruction and your local Los Angeles electrician who can tell you where exactly to place the device and how to ensure proper functioning.
The installation of hardwired CO detectors and interconnected CO detectors should only be done by a licensed electrician since they involve coordination with multiple systems. A profession installation will go a long way in ensuring reliability and safety.
Electrical Switches – Safety Ignored?
When we step into our homes, one of the first things that we reach for is the light switch. They are an integral part of living a comfortable life. Switches that are placed in accessible locations are important if you have small children. Even for an adult, finding a light switch in the dark can prevent silly accidents at home. At the same time, the risk of electric shock from a damaged switch or an electrical outlet needs to be considered if little children are around.
Life of the Switch
Just as with other electrical fittings, the electrical switch has a life that reduces over repeated use. Usually switches are built to last for many years and some even decades, but over time, they might fail. If the switches are more than a decade old, it is likely that they may not meet the current UL standards for safety. If you are planning to do an overhaul of the electric wiring at home, it will be the right time to change the electrical switches. A licensed electrician will be able to identify the requirement, suggest if the wall boxes need replacement and give you an estimate based on the work involved.
Mechanical Vs Sensor Switch
Thanks to advancements in technology, we now have electronic motion sensor switches that can power on lights when some moving object triggers the sensor. It rarely requires any user control unless the settings need to be changed. You no longer need to be worried about the switch assembly failing or breaking as there is hardly any touch involved in operating the switch. Mechanical switches on the other hand need someone to physically operate the switch to On / Off position. This can result in wear and tear over a period of time.
Based on considerations of cost vs safety vs convenience, sensor based switches may be a much better investment. Besides, they are much more energy efficient since they are designed to switch on and off based on external motion. The light will switch off automatically if no one is present in the room. This is really convenient for many of us who forget to switch off the lights while we leave the room.
Consider contracting your electrical work to a licensed electrician. An electrician will easily be able to identify the correct switch required based on the input circuit wires/ earthing and the output load based on the number of lights connected to it.
Designer Lighting – Bring Out the Beauty in Your Room
A room’s true beauty can only be brought out with some innovative lighting ideas. In the last few years, designer lighting options have increased thanks to cheaper LED technology. It is now not uncommon to find designer lighting used even in bathrooms. If your house is in need of a makeover, changing the lighting from ordinary light bulbs to designer lighting might be one of the cheapest ways to transform the look and feel of your house. Let’s examine some of the best ideas used by interior designers these days.
If you have a wall with photographs or a showcase, focus lights are a great way of subtly enhancing the beauty of that wall. You will find sconces with LED focus lights in the market that can be installed easily with the help of a licensed electrician. You can even have focus lights installed on the wall for your study table, so you can free up the space taken by a table lamp. Focus lights are also great for the exteriors of your building and for the patio.
The concept of concealed lighting has now found its way to homes from offices, bars and discos. The light bulbs are not visible directly as they are hidden behind a false ceiling or a wall partition. If you would like to unwind after a long evening over a drink with your friends or would like to relax with your partner, concealed lights are a great way of enhancing the feeling of relaxation. A professional interior designer will be able to easily guide you through the design and installation process with the help of an electrician.
Fixtures and Brightness
Depending on the type of interiors (furniture and furnishings), you can choose different types of fixtures (sconces) – from antique or Victorian to contemporary. Some sconces are also adjustable in its direction, so it gives some flexibility in your lighting arrangement for the room. Adding a pedestal lamp to your living room can greatly enhance its beauty.
Chandeliers are expensive, but if you can afford it, there are many beautiful designs available in the market at a fraction of the cost compared to a few decades ago. Pendant lights are a cheaper alternative to chandeliers and will look great in the dining area. Make sure that you choose the wattage carefully. Depending on the room or the corner, the light should not be too bright or too dull. Some designers also suggest layering of light by using ambient lighting and focus lighting.
Am I Doing Enough to Save Power at Home?
Electric power like water is precious. Electricity is generated either from a hydro electric power plant, a thermal/ natural gas power plant or a nuclear power plant and is heavily dependent on several natural resources for its production. The more we save electricity, the better we do in terms of conserving water, using less pollutants such as coal and ensuring that power is saved for future generations. What are some of the simple steps you can take at home to conserve electricity?
Switch Off When Not in Use
Switching off the light or fan when stepping out of the room may not come as a natural habit to most of us. Leaving the iron powered on and forgetting all about it is something most of us have been guilty for at least once in our lifetime. Falling asleep while watching TV, leaving the refrigerator door ajar, or the window open when the AC is switched on; are all little extras that add on to your monthly electricity bill. While you might be happily paying the extra amount on the bill, remember that you are not doing much to help conserve nature and its resources.
List down all that you can do to reduce your power consumption, just by making some minor adjustments to your daily routine. Learn to use daylight more and avoid sitting up late in the night. If you are living in a humid area, check with your architect how natural ventilation can be improved at your home.
Consider Changing your Appliances and Lights
A lot of research is being done into how appliances and light bulbs can use lesser energy to power themselves. Every few months, you will find new technology in devices that improves the power rating over its previous iteration. Light bulbs have changed so much in the last decade from incandescent 60 watt bulbs to LEDs that are equally bright but consume a fraction of the power.
Your electrician will be able to suggest simple, but cost effective steps that you can take to save power. While you may not be able to invest in new energy efficient appliances immediately due to their cost, your electrician can help by changing your lights and light fittings to more energy efficient models such as LEDs.
Over time, you will also realize that the monthly power bill is a lot less than what it used to be.
Electrical Wiring – Get It done Right the First Time
Los Angeles Electrical wiring is an integral part of your house construction. If you don’t get it right the first time, the amount of money and energy spent on correction can be quite significant. We will describe below some of the common mistakes by first time house owners and what you can do to avoid these mistakes.
Not Factoring in the Layout Changes
When your home is designed, it might have a specific layout plan. However, what most owners do not realize is that their room and furniture layout ideas are limited to the electrical outlets and lighting points available. If you were smart at the design stage about the wiring plan, you could change the layout of the rooms every few years and surprise your guests.
As far as possible, be liberal with the electrical outlets and lighting points. Have them on opposite or alternate walls (if not on every wall) instead of having it on a single wall in the room.
Power Outlets for Heavy Duty Appliances
If you have appliances such as portable heaters and irons, make sure that there is at least one power outlet in the room that is capable of taking the load. You might want to add a split air conditioner in one of the rooms a few years after you move in and if it does not have a heavy duty power outlet, then getting rewiring done will also involve some amount of cosmetic damage to the wall. A Los Angeles licensed electrician will be able to recommend additional wiring points based on your future requirements. In hindsight in a few years time, you will realize that this was money well spent. Consider providing additional electrical outlets for heavy duty equipments in your kitchen and dining area, especially for a refrigerator, microwave and mixer-grinder.
Inverters for Power Back Up
Power cuts are common these days. However, most houses are equipped with a power back up system with inverters being the most popular amongst them. If you live in an area with erratic power supply, make sure that adequate provision is provided for adding an inverter into your electric circuit. Talk to your electrician about the number of appliances, lights and fans that must function on the inverter so wiring plan can be done in advance.
As discussed above, a little bit of foresight at the construction stage can save you a lot of problems later.
Your Home might be in need of an Electrical Overhaul
Unsafe electrical fittings and wiring are among the biggest reasons for fire hazards at homes in the United States. As per the statistics available from the U.S. Fire Administration department, accidents related to electrical fires cause about 1100 injuries and over 300 deaths per year. The estimated damage to property is in excess of 1 billion dollars per year.
There are many reasons why there could be a fire in your building. We will examine a few of the major causes here.
Wiring that is Outdated
Most of the houses that were constructed in the late seventies and early eighties were fitted with aluminum wires instead of copper wires that are commonly in use now. Though aluminum wires were certified for safety then, it was later found that they might not be able to handle excessive loads.
Excessive Wattage of Appliances and Lighting
Each electrical outlet has a recommended maximum wattage. Any appliance that is connected to it over a prolonged period of time can damage the circuit and this poses a significant risk in terms of a fire hazard. Outdoor lighting connected to a home circuit is also dangerous since the wattage will be much higher than indoor lighting.
Common Circuits for Electrical Appliances
If you have a common circuit for all the appliances in your home, it’s time to think about finding a licensed electrician to fix some of the risks this may cause. National Electrical Code guidelines recommend that each electrical appliance must have a dedicated safety circuit. This is to ensure that any overload will ensure shut down or tripping of the circuit breaker and prevent collateral damage to your expensive equipments.
Old and Worn Out Main Circuit Breakers
Main Circuit Breakers or MCBs are the electrical equivalent of a security guard at your gate. MCBs ensure that any excessive load from the external electrical grid is blocked from entering your home circuit. Similarly, any spikes or short circuits will ensure that the corresponding MCB circuit breaker will activate and protect the appliances and electrical circuitry. If your MCB is more than 10 years old, the system may not work properly since the connectors will be worn out over time.
You might be inclined to attempt some of the repair work yourself, but you risk electric shock and damage to the appliances due to work that was not done properly. A licensed electrician will be able to identify areas of concern and make suggestions for improving the protection of your building from electrical hazards. With professional tools and equipments, an electrician will be able to handle any work required, safely and efficiently.