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The so-called “Internet of Things” is a hot topic these days, and is not without controversy. On the one hand, being able to see inside your house from your phone or tune into the Weather Channel on your refrigerator door has definite advantages—plus it’s pretty cool. At the same time, tales abound of home networks being hacked by everyone from cyber crooks to Peeping Toms. Among the many things you can add to your collection of “smart” devices is an electric meter. If you’re considering switching to a smart meter ... Read More
Spending hundreds (or even thousands) on new AV equipment only to discover annoying hums, clicks or hisses coming from the speakers can turn excitement into frustration in a hurry. While a malfunctioning component may be the cause, the problem more likely comes from the multitude of electronics in your home. Eliminating the problem may be as simple as changing outlets, or it may require more elaborate measures. Here’s a quick guide to troubleshooting, starting with the simplest first. Ground Loops Electronic cables are shielded to block electromagnetic radiation from both entering and leaving the cable. The shielding is ... Read More
Just like there can be underlying causes for your indigestion or headaches, annoying electrical problems can be caused by things you can’t figure out on your own. But just like your doctor, professional electricians know what to look for, no matter how well they’re hidden or disguised. Sure, there are some things a DIYer can do on their own, but are you sure that replacing an outlet or switch has really solved the problem? Maybe those flickering lights or frequent circuit breaks are symptoms of a more serious underlying problem—one that could end up ... Read More
High winds cause all sorts of problems with electrical systems, and in Colorado, we see them all. From hurricane-force blasts roaring across mountaintops and through passes to tornados and microbursts on the plains, windstorms account for millions of dollars’ worth of damage in the state every year, and downed power lines are a leading cause of wildfires, especially during extended dry spells. Along with economic losses, windstorms frequently cause injury and loss of life. Staying Safe in High Winds Strong winds can create numerous hazards, from flying debris, downed trees and power lines, to building collapses. The safest place ... Read More
Colorado’s semi-arid climate is particularly noticeable in the winter when furnaces heat up outside air and squeeze the last few drops of moisture out of it. Indoor humidity can drop to 15% or less at a mile high, causing dry skin, throats, and eyes along with startling shocks of static electricity. It can aggravate asthma, allergies, nosebleeds and sinus problems as well as make everyone more susceptible to colds and flu. Humans aren’t the only things to suffer from desert-like dryness, either. Pets, especially birds, are affected, as are musical instruments, furniture, floors, and even paint and ... Read More
Colorado winters can be extremely dry. Snowfall can be unpredictable and can melt away and evaporate quickly in our intense high-altitude sunlight. The dry weather has an especially large impact on farmers and ranchers, not only on crops and livestock, but farm equipment, as well. An important part of that equipment for many ranchers and farmers is their electrical fencing, and extended dry weather can cause it to lose its effectiveness in keeping livestock where they need to be. This can be a concern to users of electrical fencing in urban locations, too. Poor Grounding from Dry, Cold Soil ... Read More
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have determined that there is no safe level for lead in young children’s blood. Even extremely low levels have been shown to have irreversible, life-long effects on IQ, academic achievement, physical development, and attentiveness. To prevent lead exposure, the CDC warns that children and pregnant women should not be present when repairs or renovations are underway in housing built before 1978, when lead was banned from paint. That includes any activities that disturb old paint or involve cleaning up dust or debris after such work is completed. It’s also ... Read More
Earlier, we pointed out the need to use a Lead-Safe Certified Electrician to be sure your electrical work conforms to EPA lead safety standards. At the state level, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has its own set of rules and regulations for working with lead and lead-based materials and lead contaminated environments as well. In 1997, the state legislature developed a comprehensive plan to reduce elevated levels of lead in the blood of children and put measures in place to control lead hazards in residences and child-occupied facilities. Those measures include: Pre-Renovation Education Contractors, property management staff, ... Read More
You’re probably aware of lead concerns with paint and plumbing, but did you know it’s a concern in electrical work, too? The Lead, Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule Reducing lead levels has been one of the most successful health goals, with anover 90% decline in blood lead levels since the mid-1970s. But the research that has accompanied it has discovered that even small amounts of lead can be harmful, especially to young children. Even ordinary maintenance and renovation activities can create harmful lead dust. That’s why The Lead Renovation, Repair and ... Read More
If you’re remodeling, adding on, or doing a full fixer-upper, you need to know if your existing electrical service will safely handle any new loads your project will add. First Things First In order to supply power, you need to have power, and many older homes simply don’t have enough for today’s loads. The main service panel (the one where the power feed enters your home) will state its capacity in amperes (amps). Depending on your home’s age and size, this could be anywhere from 60 amps to 200 or more amps. If ... Read More
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