Category Archives: Electrical

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.

5 Haunting Electrical Problems You Can Avoid

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In the spirit of Halloween, we thought it was a good time to run down some common, yet somewhat haunting electrical problems that often spook homeowners. The good news is these malfunctions are quite fixable, but they often require the help of a skilled, experience electrician.

  1. Light bulbs burning out frequently

    Could it be the work of a pesky poltergeist? Probably not. However, this baffling issue is worth investigation. In some cases, it’s just a matter of frequent use of a light or lamp. It can also be a more challenging problem, such as a loose connection in a socket or circuit. If you think bulbs are burning faster than they should (or if you see them flickering), contact a licensed electrician to check out the electrical connections.

  2. Outlets cease to work

    Are zombie-like outlets leaving you in the dark? Like with flickering or rapidly burning bulbs, outlets that stop working can be caused by a faulty circuit connection. Of course, it can also be due to a tripped breaker, so it’s always worth checking your breakers before calling an electrician.

  3. Breakers tripping

    Are goblins playing with your electrical system? Doubtful. But, you could have a circuit that’s drawing too much electricity, causing an overload. This is another problem that requires calling in an expert.

  4. Hot fixtures or switches

    Did a witch cast a spell on the switch to your antique chandelier? More likely, a hot electrical fixture or switch is an electrical issue that requires immediate attention. This isn’t the time to mix up a magic potion. Rather, you need to call an electrician.

Don’t Get Fooled by Tricks or Treats. Choose Only a Licensed, Experienced Electrician

Not all electricians are created equal. When you’re experiencing a problem, you want a skilled, experienced specialist who can make sure your home and its electrical system is safe and working as it should be. If your home is being haunted by an electrical issue, call Cool Blew at 623-872-2900 and we’ll chase the ghouls away.

When It Comes to Home Electric Repairs – It May Be Wiser to D-DIY (Don’t Do It Yourself)

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The popularity of HGTV’s home renovation network indicates that there are more do-it-yourselfers with fixer-uppers out there than anyone ever suspected. Completing home repair projects can be both satisfying and financially rewarding. Who doesn’t like saving money on expensive remodeling projects? Painting and plastering, simple plumbing jobs, such as replacing a toilet seat or fixing a leaky faucet, door jamb or deck repair, and general fix-it jobs can make for a fun Saturday or Sunday afternoon. One thing is for certain if the faucet still leaks, or if you have streaks on the wall confirming your amateur status as a plasterer, you can learn to live with it. However, some home repair jobs carry heavy consequences if not done correctly and are best left to professionals. Unless you are a trained technician and for the safety of you and your family, home electric repairs should be performed only by certified, insured and bonded electricians.

Some Shocking Home Electric Accident Statistics

The Electrical Safety Foundation International reports that every year, electrical issues cause over 50,000 fires, resulting in loss of property, physical injury and even death. Last year, home electrical fires caused over $1 billion dollars in property damage. Damage to your home is unacceptable. However, injury to a family member is unthinkable. Yet, emergency rooms all over the U.S. treat children and adults for electrocutions every day. Is it really worth taking a chance?

Common Electrical Home Repair Danger Zones

Electricity is so incredibly useful and omnipresent, we tend to take it for granted. However, one should never underestimate the potential danger electricity represents. Defective wiring, exposed wires, overloaded circuits, broken lamps or light switches – all are accidents waiting to happen. If you have an electrical issue at your home, we urge you to take action, as soon as possible. Here are some of the most common home electrical problems that may require immediate attention:

  • Uncovered Light Switches or Junction Boxes

    Open junction boxes or uncovered light or dimmer switches and other unfinished home electric projects can pose a serious danger, especially to curious children. Electrical outlet covers and light switch covers are often removed during the process of remodeling, however, they don’t always get put back on in a timely manner. Believe it or not, thousands of children (and adults) are shocked every year due to exposed outlets and switches.

  • Extension Cord Overload Due to a Shortage of Outlets

    With an endless array of mobile devices, laptops, TVs and appliances all requiring electricity, many households over-use of extension cords can cause problems. If you find yourself constantly running extension cords because you have a shortage of electrical outlets, why not give us a call?

  • Old, Worn, Questionable Wiring

    This is a problem exacerbated by the dry, desert heat in Arizona. If your home is older, the extreme temperatures (especially in the attic) may cause the insulation around your electric wires to dry out and become brittle. If it has been many years since your wiring has been checked, it might be time for a home electric general inspection.

Let the Pros at Cool Blew Handle Your Electrical Repairs

We at Cool Blew understand that electrical issues often get overlooked because many homeowners simply are not aware of the potential problems that may exist in their home. If you have electrical issues, lights dimming, power surges or other potential electrical problem areas, please give us a call today.

Do You Need an Electrician?

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With the wealth of home improvement shows and online how-to videos now available, it’s no wonder that do-it-yourself projects are more popular than ever. Homeowners are increasingly emboldened to tackle a bathroom renovation or paint a bedroom. Yet, not all home improvements are wise to do without professional help. And, some can even be risky if they’re not executed correctly. When it comes to potentially dangerous projects, those that involve electrical work top the list.

In other words, when it comes time to fix, rewire or repair electrical work, don’t take chances. Call a professional electrician.

Unlike painting, tiling or demo work, electrical wiring is complex and potentially dangerous. Amateur electrical work can result in poor wire connections, overloaded circuits or faulty grounding. All these issues can be hazardous to your home, as well as to you and your loved ones. Just how common are electrical malfunctions? According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, over 50,000 house fires each year in the United States are caused by an electrical problem.

Don’t be tempted to save money by doing it yourself or trusting an unexperienced friend or family member. It’s better to be safe than sorry by getting the job done right.

Experience Matters

Licensed electricians undergo extensive education and training and stay up-to-date on the most current electrical codes. They also must pass an electrical licensing exam which requires an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the National Electrical Code – a set of standardized guidelines adopted for the United States for the installation of electrical wiring and the operation of equipment and tools that may be needed on the job. While licensing requirements vary from state to state, most require electricians to first gain electrical work experience as an apprentice for three to six years before they can be licensed.

Also, some electrical work requires a permit, and cities are reluctant to issue permits to unlicensed electricians. Working with a licensed electrician means the work in your home will be done according to both city requirements and safety guidelines.

Whether you need wires fixed or installed, choosing a licensed electrician offers you peace of mind and protection. Call Cool Blew today for all your home’s electrical needs.

Electricity and Your Air Conditioner – The Shocking Truth

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The U.S Census Bureau reported that Phoenix recently surpassed Philadelphia as the fifth largest city in the United States. 50 years ago, the number of residents in the Valley of the Sun hovered around 500,000. The current population of Phoenix is 1.6 million. This astonishing growth can be attributed to many factors. Perfect winter weather, a general migration in the U.S. from the colder Northeast to the warmer climates of the Southwest, the abundance and availability of affordable electric power and, of course, two very important words: air conditioning. Reasonably priced home air conditioning systems popularized in the 60’s and 70’s made it possible for Arizona’s exponential population growth. Air conditioning made the population grow. But, it’s electricity that makes your air conditioner go.

Facts About Air Conditioning and Electricity

It takes a fair amount of electricity to power the air conditioning system that cools your Arizona home. In fact, your AC unit uses more electricity than any other appliance (approximately 3000 to 5000 watts of power for every hour of use). This translates into extremely high energy bills during the summer months. Two-thirds of all homes in the US have air conditioning. However, in Phoenix it’s over 90 percent. Nationally, over 11 billion dollars per year is spent on electrical power for air conditioning.

Air Conditioning Breaker Switch

In the summer, when your AC unit is running constantly for weeks at a time, it is not uncommon for the breaker switch to be tripped – sometimes for no apparent reason. Possible explanations for your breaker switch to go off might be power dips or surges on the power grid or electrical issues due to lightening from storms. When your air conditioner mysteriously stops working, always check the breaker switch first. If your breaker switch is constantly going off, that might be an indication of a more serious electrical problem. You may have an undersized breaker, a faulty breaker switch or a loose breaker, which might need to be replaced.

Common Electrical Problems with Your Air Conditioner

Air conditioners are loaded with electrical circuits, wires and parts as well as fans and compressor motors. Over time, these components are subject to wearing down and may be degraded by heat, sunlight, extreme weather, gnawing critters, etc. You may be tempted (after reading a book or watching a YouTube video) to work on your own electrical issues. However, if you’re not an electrician or an AC technician, it’s best not to mess with wires, connectors and electrical problems in general. The advice we give our customers is to stick to changing the air filters and resetting the breaker switch. Electrical issues can cause serious damage to your air conditioning unit and more importantly, to you. Please be safe and call us immediately when you notice electrical issues.

What’s a Capacitor?

Capacitors are quite common, critical parts, central to all electrical motors, including the ones in your air conditioner. Capacitors regulate the start energy for the electric motors. Capacitors come in many shapes and sizes. Used mainly to store and release electric charges (similar to a short-term battery) capacitors regulate the motors in the compressor, blower and fan. If you have a faulty capacitor, you may notice a clicking sound upon start up or a loud hum if the motor can’t get going. Both sounds mean you should call for service immediately.

Leave Electrical Problems to the Professionals

When it comes to electricity and your air conditioner, the shocking truth is many people are injured each year in home repair related electrical accidents. Please remember electrical accidents can cause serious damage to you, to your air conditioning unit and to your home. When you have electrical issues, call the professionals at Cool Blew.

What Electricians Want You to Know about Electrical Storms

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Monsoon season is in full swing, and it’s difficult to not be in awe of the amazing displays of lightening that happen during our impressive summer storms. Yet, those lightning strikes can also cause costly damage to homes. With every home in the greater Phoenix area at risk of a strike’s electric surge, our team of professional electricians wanted to share some basic precautions to keep you, your loved ones and your home safe.

What to Do Before a Storm

Protect Appliances
A safe home begins with having proper copper grounding and wiring. If your home was built before the 1970s, you may have wiring that puts your appliances, including your HVAC system, at great risk. Not sure if your home is properly grounded? 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.

Consider a Whole Home Surge Protector
You probably already have surge protectors for some of your home’s electrical appliances and equipment, but did you know you can protect your entire electrical panel? A whole home surge protector absorbs the electricity from a lightning strike so that it doesn’t damage your home’s electrical system. These incredibly useful devices offer a tremendous amount of assurance for a relatively low price.

Check Homeowner’s Insurance Coverage
There are wide variances in coverage when it comes to damage caused by lightning strikes. Considering we live in an area where lightning is common, it’s a good idea to know what your policy will cover if your home is hit.

What to Do During a Storm

Unplug Appliances and Electronics
Power surges can quickly destroy appliances, computers, TVS, modems and other electronic devices. Before a storm hits, unplug 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 lightning.

Stay Inside
Lightning can continue to strike from a departing storm. To stay safe, stay inside at least 30 minutes following the last strike.

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.

Protect Your Home Electrical System This Monsoon Season

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Are you ready for monsoon 2018? The damaging storms that come with summer monsoon season in the Valley of the Sun can wreak havoc on your home electrical system. Lightning strikes that hit power lines can send surges of electricity down the wires into your home. Most household appliances running on a 120-volt alternating current can handle surges up to 169 volts. Yet, surges caused by electrical storms can far exceed this. In fact, lightning-caused surges can reach up to several hundred volts.

Throughout the season, which runs from mid-June through mid-September, large storms are nearly guaranteed to cause at least one power outage, either from lightening or a dust storm. And, there is a higher potential for damage to your home’s electrical system, as well as to household electronics.

The following are some tips to help protect your home during a monsoon storm:

  • Watch current weather forecasts on TV or the internet.
  • If a storm is approaching, turn off and unplug appliances, including your computer, TV and other media equipment. Voltage fluctuations can occur during an electrical storm, causing circuits to overload following an outage.
  • Use plug-in surge protectors for cable TV and phone lines.
  • Turn of your AC during a storm to prevent damage from a power surge. If there has been an outage, wait several minutes before turning on your system. It only takes one power surge to lead to costly repair bills.
  • Turn off other electrical appliances but leave one light on to serve as an indicator for when power is restored.
  • Invest in a whole house surge protector to prevent surges in electrical current from reaching your appliances, including your HVAC system.

Summer storms in the greater Phoenix area are amazing to experience. By taking the steps to protect your home against unexpected power surges caused by the storms, you can enjoy the show and avoid costly repairs. Call Cool Blew today to schedule an appointment to discuss your home electrical system.

Should You Replace Your Electrical Panel?

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Your electrical panel is a vital part of your home and something you want to ensure is working properly. As the location where the main power line from outside enters your home and routes power through your electrical system, it’s important to watch for problems. Particularly if you have an older service panel, you should be looking for signs of failure and perhaps even consider a replacement. Here are some of the warning signs that indicate you may need a new panel:
Regularly Tripping Circuit Breakers A panel that is past its prime may not be able to handle a power surge and will start to disconnect circuits. This can also occur because your home energy needs have exceeded the capacity of the panel. If breakers require resetting more than once a week, this is an indicator that it’s time for a new panel.

Charred or Discolored Marks Around the Circuit Breakers

Worn down wires inside the electrical panel can spawn fires that often burn themselves out. The most common indicator is charring around the circuit breakers or an unusual smell from the panel. If you suspect a panel fire, even a small one, take it seriously and get help from a licensed, professional electrician right away.

Breakers That Won’t Reset

Usually, if a circuit breaker trips, you can flip the switch, and the problem is solved. However, if the circuit breaker won’t stay reset, or if it just doesn’t restore power, the problem can be in your panel.

Have an Old Fuse Box?

Antiques around the house can be charming, but not when they can cause electrical fires. Old fuse boxes are hazardous and insufficient for supporting today’s electrical needs. It’s time for a new, more modern electrical service panel.

Electrical Panels Aren’t DIY Projects

This isn’t the project to attempt by yourself. If you’re struggling with problems with your electrical panel, or if it just looks antiquated, it’s time to call in the experts. At Cool Blew, we’re here to help with all your electrical needs. Call us at 623-872-2900 today.

How to Choose an Electrician

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Although many homeowners enjoy tackling DIY projects, most choose to call in a professional electrician when it’s an electrical job. This makes sense when you consider the serious consequences if something goes wrong. So, the question is who to call when you have an electrical issue.

Unfortunately, there are many unskilled, unlicensed electricians out there who are more than willing to take a job, even if they’re not qualified for it. Because safety is a big part of electrical work, it’s important to vet anyone who you’re considering whether it’s for a simple task like hanging a ceiling fan or more complex work like rewiring. Here are a few things to look for:

Education

A reputable electrical contractor will gladly provide you with details on the education they require for their electricians. This includes ongoing training courses to stay current with the National Electrical Code.

License

In Arizona, it’s required for electricians to be licensed. Bad wiring, overloaded circuits and problems with an electrical panel due to poor workmanship can all cause serious injuries and fires. So, it’s important to only work with a licensed contractor. For additional protection, make sure they are also bonded and insured.

Specialization

There is a broad spectrum of electrical work. Some specialize in smaller, household tasks like replacing switches and outlets while others are focused on commercial projects that involve wiring large buildings. You will want to make sure you choose an electrician who is well-matched with the work you need done.

Permits

For some electrical work, a county permit is required. The cost of the permit is typically included in the bill for work, but not always. Make sure to find out.

Warranty

Any qualified electrician will offer a warranty on parts and labor because they stand behind their work. Get clarification on the specifics of a contractor’s warranty before you give the go-ahead.

As a licensed electrical contractor, Cool Blew is dedicated to providing you with the highest quality work and customer service. We work with both residential and commercial customers in Peoria, Surprise and throughout the greater Phoenix area. We even offer emergency electrical repair. Call us now at 623-872-2900.

Winter Electrical Safety Tips

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Home fires are more common during the winter months than any other time of the year – even in the greater Phoenix area. The increase in electrical product purchases along with colder weather means an unfortunate jump in electrical fires, electrocutions and injuries. Many homeowners are surprised to learn that heating equipment is the second leading cause of home fires. In fact, over 65,000 home fires are caused by heating equipment every year. Other electric appliances are also a leading cause of fires. Thus, it’s necessary to be extra vigilant during the winter months.

The following are some electrical home safety tips that can help keep you and your family safe through the cool winter months.

Space Heaters

Follow the manufacturer’s instruction manual before using any space heater. All space heaters should be kept at least three feet away from any combustible material, including clothing, bedding, draperies, furniture and rugs. Test the shut-off function of any space heater you’re using to ensure it automatically turns off when tipped or knocked over.

Do not use space heaters in any part of the house where children are not supervised, along with areas near water. Heaters should never be used in bathrooms or kitchens.

Electric Blankets and Heating Pads

Heating pads and blankets can warm you up on a cool evening, but they are not risk-free. Don’t use any heating pad or electric blanket that is worn or frayed. Don’t fold when in use and avoid placing other blankets or other items on top of them when in use.

Furnaces

Fall is the right time to ensure your furnace is working properly. Schedule a tune-up to check for problems like cracked heat exchangers, frayed electrical wires and other hazards that can potentially cause a fire. Keep the area around your furnace clear and change the air filter to eliminate any restriction to your furnace. Test your carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms to ensure they are functioning properly.

Call Cool Blew

Whether you suspect a heater or electrical problem or just want a maintenance check, Cool Blew is your resource for all your home electrical and heating needs. Call us today to schedule an appointment at 623-872-2900.