Category Archives: Electrical

What Residential Electricity Rate Plan Is Best for You?

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Deciding which electricity rate plan to use can be a confusing experience. Residential rate plans are designed around the square footage of your home, size of your family, schedule, and budget. Are you currently

on the best plan? Let’s take a look at some typical electricity rate plans to see which option may fit your household’s lifestyle.

Fixed Rate Plan

Electricity on this type of rate plan stays the same no matter what time of day or night, for any day of the week. There are no on- or off-peak hours on this plan. Energy usage is calculated on a per kilowatt-hour (kWh) basis. This plan works best:

  • If you don’t use a lot of energy.
  • Your home is small to average in size.
  • Limited usage of high energy appliances like an oven or dishwasher on a daily basis.

To save money on this plan, you’ll need to limit energy usage all year long.

Time of Use Rate Plan

Energy used on this plan is based on the time of day. For instance, you’ll pay more for electricity during high-demand, on-peak hours such as 5am to 8am and 3pm to 8pm weekdays.  This may be a good plan for your family if:

  • You’re able to use less energy during the higher cost weekday hours.
  • The size of your home is average to large.
  • You have flexibility when using major appliances like an air conditioner and stove.
  • You have a pool.

To maximize savings on this plan, you’ll need to take advantage of a programmable thermostat to save energy during on-peak hours and utilize a home energy assessment to determine which devices contribute most to your energy usage.

Predictable Bill Plan

The predictable bill plan lets you pay the same amount, every month, all year long. This plan is good when:

  • You want to control the amount you pay and avoid seasonal monthly bill spikes.
  • You want peace of mind all summer long when electricity usage dramatically increases.

This plan is good when you want to have more control over the amount of electricity you pay for. As long as your monthly energy usage doesn’t exceed a certain level of kWh used per month. You’ll pay a higher price per kWh when this threshold is exceeded.

Call Cool Blew

Quality, trustworthy service is available whenever you need it. Cool Blew is here to help you understand how to avoid breaking the bank with your energy usage. Our certified and experienced technicians are available 24×7. Call us today to schedule your home appointment at 623-872-2900.

Electricians Advice for Electrical Storms

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The summer months of June, July, and August are when most lightning strikes happen in the United States. Arizona is particularly prone to electrical storms during our annual monsoon season. The key ingredient is moisture coming into the state, which triggers some of the world’s most spectacular lightning displays. With every home in the Valley of the Sun at risk of a lightning strike’s electrical surge, here are some basic precautions to keep your family and home safe.

Home Wiring Protection

What year was your home built? Some homes built in the 1960s and 1970s were equipped with aluminum wiring instead of copper wiring. Aluminum wiring was less expensive for home builders to install, and over time, it was discovered that aluminum connections would overheat. Not having copper wiring and proper grounding can impact wall switches, outlets, your HVAC system, and the breaker panel. Check your wall outlets. If you see three-prong outlets, you’re in good shape. If there are two prong outlets, you could have a problem and may need to call a professional electrician to replace outlets and wiring.

Whole Home Surge Protector

You most likely have surge protectors for some of your home’s computer equipment and televisions. A whole home surge protector absorbs the electricity from a lightning strike, so that it doesn’t damage your home’s electrical system. A whole home surge protector is installed at the main breaker box and provides protection for all appliances connected to the power line. Make certain that the surge protector is rated for the expected electrical load. This protection device doesn’t affect your home’s day to day operation. It protects your home and appliances against a spike in electricity caused by a lightning strike.

Unplug Appliances and Electronics

Power surges can quickly wipe out appliances, computers and tablets, cellular devices, televisions, modems, and other electronic devices plugged in and not protected by a surge protector. Before a storm hits, unplug these items. Because electricity can travel through electrical wiring and phone lines, do not touch any outlets or landline phones during a storm.

Avoid Water

Electricity can also travel through plumbing. So, avoid the bathtub, shower and indoor swimming pools and spas while there is active lightning.

Stay Inside

According to the CDC, about 32% of lightning injuries happen indoors, and 66% of all lightning casualties occur between noon and 6pm. It’s important to note that lightning can continue to strike from a departing monsoon storm. If you see lightning or hear thunder, stay inside.

Want to learn more about protecting your home from lightning during electrical storms? Call the experts at Cool Blew. We can provide you with the information and solutions you need to stay safe through monsoon storms and all year long. Call us now at 623-872-2900.

Warning Signs of Home Electrical Problems

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Over 24,100 residential electrical fires happened in 2019, according to U.S. Fire Administration statistics. Warning signs of most electrical hazards can be recognized early before they become major issues. Take a few moments to learn about some of these warning signs.

Burning Smells

Do you smell something burning other than food in your kitchen? A burning or smokey odor is a warning signal to immediately pay attention to. It may be an exposed wire, an outlet sparking, or other fire hazard in the kitchen or laundry room. Unplug everything from an outlet if it is the source of the hazard and immediately contact an electrician. If it’s something more extensive, don’t wait; call the fire department.

Erratic Flickering or Dimming Lights

Flickering lights may mean a power surge due to a weather event or an electrical system malfunction. Dimming lights may mean the lights are not receiving enough electricity. Faulty wiring or an appliance on the same circuit, using up the majority of the available power, is the most likely causes of dimming lights. When you cannot accurately diagnose the lighting issues, it’s time to reach out to an electrician.

Getting Shocked

When there are electrical wiring grounding issues, you’ll receive shocks when touching metal objects. Anything metal connected to your house’s electrical system can result in these shocks. In worst case situations, wiring not properly grounded may result in a fire or severe electrocution.

Damaged Wiring

Check your house’s power strips, surge protectors, appliances, and light fixtures for split, frayed, chewed or smashed wiring. Pulling on cords over time can split wires or fraying may be caused by wires deteriorating. If you notice electrical cords looking like they’ve been chewed, you may have rats or other vermin inside your home. Rats often chew on wires until they’re exposed to trim their teeth. Now you may need both an exterminator and an electrician if the damage is extensive.

Hot Fixtures

Lights can become dangerously hot to the touch when bulbs are too high in wattage. For example, using a 100-watt bulb instead of a 60-watt bulb recommended by the light fixture manufacturer. Improperly installed bulbs can overheat. Even long-lasting energy efficient LED lights can overheat. Halogen light bulbs burn hotter than LED and incandescent bulbs and they can become extremely hot. Incandescent bulbs left on continuously may overheat. Electrical outlets and light switches should never be hot to the touch unless they are dimmer switches.

Be on the lookout for subtle odors or signs of electrical problems. When you see or smell any electrical warning signs, call the professionals. Cool Blew’s team of expert electricians are here to inspect and repair any type of home electrical wiring issues. Call us today at 623-872-2900.

6 Spring Cleaning Electrical Safety Tips

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Spring is the perfect time to ensure your home’s electrical safety. Overloaded circuits, loose connections, short circuits, and splitting power cords are commonly overlooked and can cause property damage and injury. Inspecting your electrical system is an often overlooked, but critically important part of any home’s spring cleaning and maintenance.

House electrical fires accounted for hundreds of thousands of fires each year in the US, causing property damage, injury, and even death. You can substantially reduce your risk of an electrical fire by using the following electrical safety tips.

Inspect Electrical Cords

Check all your home’s electrical cords for frayed wires, cord pinching, loose-fitting plugs, or anything metal holding cords in place. If you see any damage, do not use them and replace as soon as possible. Overloaded cords may trip home circuit breakers or blow fuses. Unplug and move electrical items to a different outlet if they are overloading outlet panels or surge protectors.

Test GFCI Outlets

Walk around your house and check all GFCI (ground-fault circuit interrupter) outlets. These outlets in areas near water, such as bathrooms, kitchens and outside your house, help protect you from electrical shock. You’ll see a “Test” and “Reset” button and possibly an indicator light built into the outlet. Press to confirm your GFCI outlets are working properly.

Check Fire Extinguishers

Your fire extinguisher hose, nozzle, and pressure gauge should be checked yearly. The pressure gauge needs to be in the “green” range, and the extinguisher will need replacement if past its expiration date. Properly rated fire extinguishers marked “C” can prevent small electrical fires from growing into large ones in a matter of seconds.

Test Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Test smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors every 30 days by holding down the “Test” button to ensure they’re working properly. Dust can clog the sensors, so clean with a soft cloth and replace the batteries annually. Remember to replace any smoke or CO detectors 10 years or older.

Examine Appliances and Devices

You probably have quite a few appliances and electrical devices plugged into your home outlets. Check all appliances and devices including TVs, laptops, and stereo equipment for cord or plug damage. Move any appliances in the kitchen area away from water and make sure cords are not near heat sources, such as a stove or oven.

Schedule An Annual Home Electrical Safety Inspection

Before summer arrives, have your home inspected by a qualified electrician to ensure it is current with local electrical codes. Your expert electrician will troubleshoot and discuss with you how to safely fix any potential electrical hazards.

Call today to schedule your spring home electrical maintenance with Cool Blew at 623-872-2900. Our team of professionals are here to answer your questions and schedule service at your convenience.

Understanding Home Electrical Outlets

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Did you know that the average home has nearly 70 electrical outlets? Cool Blew’s team of licensed and insured electricians can expertly repair and install outlets throughout your home or business. Here’s a brief list of the most common types of outlets:

Three-Prong Standard Outlets

Standard outlets are key to providing power to your plug-in devices and appliances. This type of outlet provides two long uppers slots and a bottom u-shaped slot for grounding to help prevent electrical shock. Typically, home outlets are either 15-amp or 20-amp. High demand appliances, such as cooking ranges and clothes dryers, may require outlets for 30 to 50 or more amps of power. It’s important to install the right outlet amp, so the outlet can provide electricity without tripping your home’s circuit breaker.

GFCI Outlets

Ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) need to be installed in areas of your home near water or prone to moisture, such as kitchens, bathrooms, crawlspaces, laundry rooms, and outdoor areas. Cool Blew has the expertise to install outlets that must have GFCI protection. They are easily identifiable by the two small buttons in the center and cut off power to equipment if current leaks or spikes to hazardous levels. GFCIs have a “test” button and a “reset” button. When you want to test the outlet, push the “test” button and if power to the device shuts off, it’s working correctly.

Tamper-Resistant Outlets

These specialty outlets protect children from electrical injury blocking insertion of almost all small objects by a built-in shutter mechanism. These essential tamper-resistant outlets offer continuous electrical injury protection and are safer than plastic outlet caps that can be removed.

Specialty Outlets

Rotating outlets are perfect for accommodating large plug types such as cell phone chargers and hair dryers in the same outlet. USB outlets offer an easy solution to mobile device charging overload. Surge suppression outlets protect electronic equipment from power spikes, avoiding the need for power strips. Switch outlet combos allow you to add an additional switch for a light fixture to the outlet without the need for additional wiring.

Want to learn more about electrical outlet service from Cool Blew, including the installation of specialty outlets? Call us today at 623-872-2900. Our team is here to answer your questions and schedule service at your convenience.

Just a Few Common Electrical Jobs We Can Tackle for You

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When it comes to electrical work, Cool Blew handles everything from the installation of outlets to full rewiring of homes. Our fantastic team of licensed and insured electricians are proud of the work they do and are ready to assist with whatever electrical need you may have. Here a few of the most common electrical jobs that we can tackle for you:

Outlets and Switches

We offer installation and repairs on outlets, switches and sockets. This includes dimmers and remote-control electronic switches.

Ceiling Fans

Need a ceiling fan installed inside or outdoors? We have you covered. Instead of attempting a DIY fan installation, call us instead. We have the experience and expertise to ensure wiring and installation are professionally done for optimal safety and comfort.

Light Fixtures

Like ceiling fans, we can also help you with light fixtures. Whatever type of fixture you have, from hallway lights to entryway chandeliers, we can install them.

Whole House Surge Protectors

Power surges can follow any wire in your home, damaging plugged-in devices and appliances in your home, including air conditioning units, TVs, refrigerators and computers. While you can gain some protection from plugging a device into a low-cost, multi-outlet surge suppressor, complete surge protection can only be gained by hardwiring it into your main electrical panel.

This is why we recommend whole house surge protectors for our customers. Once installed, a whole house surge protector can withstand power surges for many years, regardless of their source.

Want to learn more about electrical service from Cool Blew, including the installation of a whole house surge protector? Call us today at 623-872-2900. Our team is here to answer your questions and schedule service calls at your convenience.

Protecting Your Home’s Electrical System During a Storm

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While the monsoon has seemed more like a non-soon so far this year, we still have two more months to go. This means there’s plenty of time for at least a few wild and wooly summer storms. With the much- needed rain, these storms can also bring plenty of wind and lightning, which can wreak havoc on your home’s electrical system. To address these concerns, the team at Cool Blew is here to provide some guidance.

Power Surges

One of the most common types of damage that can occur during a summer storm is a power surge. This can happen when lightning strikes on or near a power line. It will increase the amount of electricity through the line, which can overwhelm electronics, appliances and machinery that are plugged in. The best way to protect against power surge damage is to unplug items before a storm. Of course, that may not always be possible. The next line of defense is a home surge protector which can tame significant power spikes.

Breaker Damage

If your home is actually struck by lightning, it can cause damage to your breakers and impact your entire home’s electrical system. This is more likely to happen if you have an outdated electrical system. With newer homes, the circuit breaker is more likely to withstand the strike and protect your home’s electrical equipment.

Power Outages

With lightning and rain comes wind. Strong gusts can knock out power to your neighborhood, leading to a surge that trips your home’s circuit breakers. If you experience a tripped circuit breaker for your HVAC system, it’s important to know how to reset it. Here’s how:

  1. Turn your HVAC system off at the thermostat.
  2. Find the circuit breaker in your electrical panel for your HVAC system.
  3. Turn the switch to OFF and then back to ON to reset the external circuit breaker.
  4. Leave your HVAC off and wait 30 minutes and then turn it on.
  5. If your system doesn’t turn on, it may have experienced electrical damage.

To learn more about the professional electrical services we provide after a storm, give us a call. We’re here to help.

Your Electrical System and Coronavirus

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Around the country, COVID19 has propelled countless companies to go into work-from-home mode. This means employees are working remotely from home offices and kitchen tables and relying more than ever on their homes’ electrical systems.

Along with an internet connection, electricity is vital for any home office employee. The following are some guidelines to ensure the lights don’t go out on productivity while working from home.

Sufficient Power

Aside from power outages and power system overloads, there are other causes of decreased power that can slow down work. The most common is old, faulty wiring. Corrosion, poor insulation and neglected connections can impact your ability to power the tools you need to work from home. If you’re struggling with power issues, it’s a good idea to call in a licensed electrician who can identify the issue and safely make the necessary repairs.

Surge Protectors and Power Strips

Whether you have a designated home office or are setting up shop on your couch, you’ll want to ensure all your devices (laptop, monitors, etc.) are grounded and protected from the possibility of a power surge.

Safety First

Safety is always the top priority when it comes to anything electrical. As you work from home, follow these general practices:

  • Don’t use laptops or other electrical devices near a water source.
  • Unplug all appliances and electronics from the plug, not the cord.
  • Don’t use sockets if they appear singed, or if you see sparks.
  • Don’t use frayed or worn power cords.

At Cool Blew, our team of licensed electricians is available throughout the greater Phoenix area for all your home’s electrical needs. We’ve enacted a range of safety precautions during this time of social distancing to ensure your safety, and we’re available around the clock to help you keep it business as usual – even in these highly unusual times.

Improve Your Home’s Value and Comfort with These Electrical Improvements

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Just venture into your local home improvement store, and you’ll be bombarded by a bevy of options to enhance the aesthetics of your home. Everything from new flooring to the latest paint shade can add value and pizzazz to your residence. Yet, one of the most impactful improvements that you can make is often overlooked. By focusing on home electrical improvements, you can not only improve the look of your home, but also increase its value and comfort.

  • Fans

    The days of brass and fake wood ceiling fans are thankfully over. Today’s fans come in a wide variety of styles that can fit everything from an Asian-inspired bungalow to an ultra-modern loft. The key is choosing one that fits your room and offers the low-cost cooling that you’re looking for. Whatever style you settle on, remember that ceiling fans are well worth the investment and should be used in living rooms, bedrooms and more because of their ability to help control AC costs.

  • Pendant Light Fixtures

    Choosing pendant light fixtures can definitely jazz up the look of a kitchen, dining space or office. They also create ambiance and can be matched with whatever décor you have. From retro to classic style, you can find pendant lighting to complement your décor.

  • Dimmer Switches

    Turn a ho-hum room into a romantic space while lowering electrical costs by dimming the lights. In fact, the use of dimmer switches in your home can save up to 10 percent on your energy bill while reducing the wear and tear on lighting and bulbs.

  • Smart Technology

    The Internet of Things has hit the residential market – and in a big way! Smart technology is being incorporated into lights, thermostats, appliances and even plumbing to make your home more functional and energy efficient.

Want to make electrical improvements to your Phoenix area home in 2020? Call the experts at Cool Blew at 623-872-2900 today!

Avoid These Common Thanksgiving Electrical Problems

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Thanksgiving is that time of the year when our thoughts turn to family and feasts. It’s not the time when you want to be struggling with an electrical problem. Yet, the holidays are primetime for “technical issues.” Here are some helpful tips to ensure an electrical malfunction doesn’t throw a monkey wrench into your Turkey Day.

Don’t Overload Outlets

There’s a lot going on in the kitchen with Thanksgiving meal preparation. Simultaneously plugging in the mixer, electric knife, food processor and can opener can overload outlets and cause a short. Before cooking comes to a screeching halt, carefully consider what you’re plugging in and where. In some cases, it may be necessary to rotate countertop kitchen appliances being used to not cause an overload.

Be Careful with Electric Ranges

Your stovetop and oven are absolute essentials when it comes to holiday food preparation. It goes without saying that you want to ensure your electric range is working properly prior to Thanksgiving. If it’s not, make sure to check for a blown fuse before calling for appliance repair. There are also safety issues to consider. With all the holiday kitchen commotion, accidents can happen – like throwing a dish towel accidentally onto a burner or grabbing a pan out of the oven without a potholder. Throughout the day, use caution around heat and limit the number of people around the electric range.

Limit Energy-Thirsty Decorations

Decorations requiring electricity are very common during Thanksgiving and throughout the holidays. Tree ornaments and strings of lights, both indoors and out, create a festive atmosphere. But, they also can increase the risk of electrical problems like overloads, blown fuses and even fire.

The best way to avoid a holiday electrical problem is to use non-electric holiday décor when possible. If you are going to use lights, choose low-wattage, LED lights that draw less energy and produce less heat. This will reduce the risk of overloads and fires. Electric lights and decorations should also be spread across multiple circuits to avoid placing too large a load on a single circuit. Finally, don’t use damaged or tattered lights with frayed or torn insulation.

At Cool Blew, we wish you a safe and happy Thanksgiving with your loved ones. And, if you run into an electrical issue, remember to call us at 623-872-2900.