Seattle Commercial & Industrial Electrical Contractor
4826 B Street NW Suite 101 Auburn, WA 98001
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05 Apr 2018
power strip

Discover the Correct Way to Use a Power Strip

Nowadays, current home devices require some source of power. Having power strips and extension cords are beneficial because a home only has a certain amount of outlets. It is important to understand that incorrectly utilizing a power strip can potentially cause electrical damage to the strip itself and plugged in home devices. Read on to discover the safest and correct way to use a power strip.

Power Strip vs Extension Cord

First, there is a difference between a power strip and an extension cord. A power strip is a single length of a cable, which features a plug on one end and a line of sockets inserted in a plastic box on the other end. Extension cords are relatively similar, but are considerably longer and include only two to three plugs. It is important to note that extension cords are less stable and used for hours on end. On the other hand, a power strip can be used over a period of a few days.

Important Information to Know

Power strips are evidently easy to use (plug and use), but here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • They are intended to handle small loads: a power strip allows one to use many devices all at the same time. However, they are not intended to power large or major home appliances such as a space heater or oven.
  • Pay attention to different voltage ratings: when selecting a power strip, find one that fulfills your voltage needs. If not, exceeding the maximum voltage on a strip can cause electrical fires and malfunctioning appliances.
  • Be mindful about avoiding extended use: although power strips have the capacity to power devices for a few days and potentially up to two weeks, they are not a proper replacement for electrical outlets. Likewise, overuse will cause the power strip to fail and defect plugged in devices.
  • Surge protection device: Make sure a power strip includes a surge protection device, which can be discovered on the box and by a small light or switch indicator. It protects the equipment if a short or surge happens.
  • Do not plug them into another power extension: If you plug in power strips or extensions into one another, the power becomes weaker and less stable. Worst of all, it can result to device damage and cause an electrical fire.

Overall, power strips and extension cords are excellent for powering up a home with multiple devices at the same time. Equally important, it is imperative to pay attention to voltage ratings, length of use, and being proactive. Correctly using a power strip means a safer home!

Kirby Electric is a Premier Electrical Contractor Serving the Greater Seattle Area

As Seattle’s premier electric company, Kirby Electric specializes in commercial and industrial lighting. We provide top electrical services that best fit your building’s needs and present energy management solutions. Such solutions provide economically and environmentally beneficial services. Contact us today and request a quote at (253) 859-2000 or online here to learn more about our services.

26 Feb 2018
electrical damage

Malfunctioning Appliances can Cause Electrical Damage

Whether it is due to over usage, disrepair, or need of replacement, home appliances eventually experience problems. The contrary belief is the appliance alone will experience trouble, but faulty appliances may cause greater problems to your electrical system. . Damages can range from simple wear and tear to a catastrophic electrical fire. Read on to discover how malfunctioning appliances can cause electrical damage and what you should do if a serious problem is detected.

What can Happen?

When malfunctioning appliances start to fizzle, it sends an enormous amount of electricity to the electrical system. This will cause the circuit breaker to trip, which is the first sign of a problem and also recognized as a safety mechanism.

The circuit breaker should not be flipped on when the root of the problem is not discovered. This can result to even more inconvenient electrical damages to deal with (such as surge, physical, and fire damage).

Surge Damage

Is there a surge protector or whole-home surge protection in your home for everyday use electronics? This particular technology secures sensitive microprocessors that can be easily impaired from power surges. For example, refrigerators and air conditioners use a surplus amount of energy when in use. Then, other home appliances that are sharing the same circuit receive surges of power. With malfunctioning appliances, they can potentially send bigger surges.

As a result, microprocessor-based electronics may experience instant permanent damage. In other cases, they may experience damage over time, reducing an appliance’s lifespan.

Physical Damage

When large surges occur, they can burn connectors in light switches, electrical outlets, and other given electrical components. Moreover, it only takes a fraction of a second for a flash like this to make an outlet or switch defective.  We strongly encourage you to contact a licensed electrician to assist with replacing damaged components and configuring other electrical problems.

Fire Damage

In the worst of events, a malfunctioning appliance can lead to an electrical short that stimulates a fire.  In metal appliances, tiny fires can occur and flicker on their own. Based on where these tiny fires take place, they can inflame curtains, wallpaper, insulation, or other materials that may cause them to rapidly spread.  Keep fire extinguishers and smoke detectors in sight to be proactive in case of a disaster or fire occurrence.

Remember:  It is important to discover the root of the problem in appliances. Call an expert to help figure out appliance failures during the earliest stages of detected malfunction. This can save you from further problems and potential life-threatening situations.

Kirby Electric is a Premier Electrical Contractor Serving the Greater Seattle Area

As Seattle’s premier electric company, Kirby Electric specializes in commercial and industrial lighting. We provide top electrical services that best fit your building’s needs and present energy management solutions. Such solutions provide economically and environmentally beneficial services. Contact us today and request a quote at (253) 859-2000 or online here to learn more about our services.

18 Jan 2018
resolutions

3 New Year Resolutions for Your Office Electrical System

As 2018 has arrived, setting goals and resolutions are meant to improve personal development. Have you considered any improvements on your lifestyle by creating resolutions for your office and business? With electrical systems, common goals focus on reducing energy bills and figuring out what to replace or update. Consider our three simple resolutions to help keep your business’s electrical system in optimal shape this year.

Shut Down Computes After Work Hours

Computers use a considerable amount of energy during work hours. As a business, you probably have multiple, dozens, or even hundreds running at the same time. Are computers left on after work hours? If so, your business could be potentially wasting an extensive amount of money just by leaving computers powered on. Turning your computers or running devices off during afterhours is one solution to be mindful of energy savings. Need to leave your computer on? To save energy, one solution is to leave computers on “sleep mode”.

Update Outdated Bulbs for LEDs

Business owners should highly consider LED light bulbs for their office. While LEDs may cost more upfront, your energy bills will not suffer. In fact, they use 75% less energy than incandescent light bulbs. LED lights also last 35-50 times longer in comparison. Want to improve safety in your office? LEDs emit little heat and the danger for an electrical fire is greatly reduced.

Reduce Total Energy Consumption

The start of the year is the best time to ponder about ways to reduce bills and overall energy consumption. Below is a various list of ways to reach that goal:

Note: Remember, being mindful and aware of can go a long way in the present and especially the future. Make sure the electrical system electrical tips and usage is up to date with energy efficient appliances and items. Start and end the year saving money and/or cutting down bills by eliminating over usage of electricity and keeping up with necessary maintenance. Happy New Year!

Kirby Electric is a Premier Electrical Contractor Serving the Greater Seattle Area

As Seattle’s premier electric company, Kirby Electric specializes in commercial and industrial lighting. We provide top electrical services that best fit your building’s needs and present energy management solutions. Such solutions provide economically and environmentally beneficial services. Contact us today and request a quote at (253) 859-2000 or online here to learn more about our services.

13 Dec 2017
holiday lights

Safety Guide for Holiday Lights

Holiday lights instantly transform a home during the holiday season. In 1882, the very first holiday light was created and homeowners have been decorating their homes with holiday lights since the 1930s. Now, there are numerous variations for holiday lights in style, size, and color selections to participate in the festive spirit. With so many selections, which lights are the best and safest lighting options for your home? Explore our blog to discover the best and worst holiday lights with valuable safety tips.

Best Option: LED

The best choice for holiday lights are LED lights. Not only are they energy efficient, but they have a long life cycle and are safe. LED lights also last approximately 25 times longer than incandescent light bulbs and consume 75 percent less electricity. Another benefit is LED lights increase safety with a lowered risk of a possible fire as they produce minimal heat. Best of all, though LED lights cost more than traditional incandescent lights, you will be saving money in the future as LEDs use less energy and do not need to be replaced as often.

Worst Option: C-9 Retro Bulbs

C-9 light bulbs are typically large with a bright light and retro aesthetic. The downside to these lightbulbs is they get dangerously hot and use a great deal of energy. For your own safety, you need to periodically check C-9 bulbs for excess heat production due to the possibility of a fire or electrical short. If you plan to use your holiday lights all night, you can expect your energy bills to increase.

Safety Tips:

  • Never nail or staple light strings to roofs, walls, and/or baseboards (this can impair wire insulation)
  • Hang lights over nails for exterior lighting, use hanging clips for interior lighting
  • Use a timer for holiday lights to help reduce energy usage or dangers of a fire
  • Make sure to use outdoor lights outdoors and indoor lights indoors- exterior lights will produce too much heat for indoor usage and in order to use lights outdoors, they must be weather-resistant (double check to see if lights are safe for both outdoors and indoors)

Kirby Electric is a Premier Electrical Contractor Serving the Greater Seattle Area

As Seattle’s premier electric company, Kirby Electric specializes in commercial and industrial lighting. We provide top electrical services that best fit your building’s needs and present energy management solutions. Such solutions provide economically and environmentally beneficial services. Contact us today and request a quote at (253) 859-2000 or online here to learn more about our services.

 

17 Nov 2017
lighting

The Impact of Lighting on Workers and Productivity

Workers today are spending more of their time in the office. While investing more time at work can be beneficial, are workers productive? Companies that recognize the factors that help drive productivity get more out of their employees, which results to better service, effort, and higher revenue for a business. Lighting is one component in the office that has an on one’s physical and mental state. Explore our blog to see how lighting has a direct impact on workers and their productivity.

Color Temperature Effects on Workers

Different light temperatures influence our work environment.  Lower color temperatures (warm colors) are typically used in intimate settings to help create an atmosphere of comfort and ease. Mid-range color temperatures are generally implemented in conference rooms to bring a welcoming presence, but the coolness can help bolster alertness. Lastly, high color temperatures that are “cold” colored are utilized in rooms where employees can brainstorm. This type of lighting has the ability to improve alertness and mood and reduce fatigue.

Blue Light: Best Choice for Productivity

High color temperatures/cooler colored lights are the most beneficial for employee productivity. Sun light, or natural light is favorable for workers stuck in the office all day. From the beginning to the end of the day, natural light has the potential to decrease depression and negative thoughts and boost one’s mood and energy. Plus, blue light bulbs have the capability to reduce eye strain and melatonin. A lowered melatonin will help workers be alert as melatonin is what helps control your sleep and wake cycles.

All in all, the best area to implement blue lighting is in areas or rooms where employees brainstorm or host meetings. This will help them feel more excited and engage in discussion or sharing ideas.

Call Kirby Today to Improve your Office Lighting

As Seattle’s premier electric company, Kirby Electric specializes in commercial and industrial lighting. We provide top electrical services that best fit your building’s needs and present energy management solutions. Such solutions provide economically and environmentally beneficial services. Contact us today and request a quote at (253) 859-2000 or online here to learn more about our services.

 

19 Oct 2017
static electricitiy

The Effect of Static Electricity on Data and Business Electronics

Remember as a kid when you would rub a balloon on your sweater and lift it over your head to make your hairs stand? Static electricity occurs when two objects rub against each other as one object leases its electrons, becoming more positively charged, while the other collects electrons, becoming negatively charged. While the balloon example appears harmless, static electricity can be a danger as it can damage electronics and potentially initiate explosions. Read on to explore how static electricity can be potentially dangerous and how it can affect business electronics and data.

Static Shock Dangers

Creating static shock can be dangerous in particular situations. For one, gasoline or other airborne flammable materials in the air can create explosions when in contact with static shocks. In very rare, but possible situations, static shocks can be dangerous for those with pacemakers as well.

Static Electricity and Electronics

To ease the mind, it is rather quite unlikely that one would be injured from an encounter with static electricity, although that should not be counted out. On the other hand, computers, office machinery, and other electronics are more prone to damage caused by static discharge.

For one, electrostatic discharge (ESD) is the release of static electricity when two objects touch, in comparison to a scaled-down replica of lightening. ESD can be dangerous to circuit boards on the micro level. The reason being so, is energy from a shock reaches through the closest object, destroying integral elements along its path.

Ways to Prevent Damage to Equipment from Static Electricity

Other than being informed, it is imperative to understand the ways to prevent damage from static electricity to equipment. Try implementing the following preventative measures:

  • Make sure that technicians that work on electronic equipment should utilize a ESD wrist strap—It will help deplete charge away from circuitry
  • Do not use compressed air to clean circuit boards
  • To prevent static buildup, treat the carpets. If possible, invest in static proof mats if problem persists
  • Abstain from placing synthetic materials and items (ex: plastic, polystyrene) near electronic devices—these materials are known to cause static discharge
  • Apply only non-static forming sprays on electronic devices

Do not forget that static charges can potentially destroy electronic equipment. In order to avoid damage by static electricity, it is important to be precautious, informed, and aware. If needed, contact your electric company to make sure that your residence, office, or business is properly protected from power surges and electrical storms. Also, surge protectors can help ensure that your building and electrical systems are intact and correctly grounded. Lastly, having “Zones of Protection” in your building can make not only the electrical devices safer, but also the people and employees will be safe as well.

Kirby Electric is a Premier Electrical Contractor Serving the Greater Seattle Area

As Seattle’s premier electric company, Kirby Electric specializes in commercial and industrial lighting. We provide top electrical services that best fit your building’s needs and present energy management solutions. Such solutions provide economically and environmentally beneficial services. Contact us today and request a quote at (253) 859-2000 or online here to learn more about our services.

 

 

18 Sep 2017
LED Lighting Myths

5 LED Lighting Myths Debunked by Kirby Electric

Lighting is essential with most everything we do—how we create it varies. Follow along to discover some of the most common and not so common LED lighting myths. Some of them may even surprise you!

LED Lighting Myths #1 – LED Bulbs Are Expensive

This is most definitely an LED lighting myth! Initial costs of LED lighting are usually higher; however, they require less energy to operate. This can result in significantly lower electric bills over time when compared to conventional systems. LED fixtures have a longer life, are more durable, and reliable, meaning they require less maintenance.  Annual lighting costs of LED lighting systems can reduce lighting bills up to 80%!

LED Lighting Myths #2 – LED’s Last Forever

Do LED bulbs really last forever? This is a myth. Like any light source, LED’s will fade over time. Although, well -designed LED lighting packages are said to retain 70% of their initial light output for six years or 50,000 hours. Furthermore, if you run your LED lighting system 24/7, you can expect your lights to last twice as long as fluorescents and many, many times longer than incandescent bulbs.

LED Lighting Myths #3 – LED’s Offer Poor Dimming Capabilities

This is most definitely an LED lighting myth! Kirby Electric’s LED lighting retrofits offer convenient, targeted dimming options based on your facility needs. Our advanced systems provide gradual dimming across a wide range of increments to create the perfect lighting conditions needed to carry out a productive workday.

LED Lighting Myths #4 – LED Bulbs Contain Mercury

LED bulbs absolutely do not contain mercury. Unlike their counterparts such as fluorescent and compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs, which contain hazardous mercury. Inevitable heat released from lighting is also lower with LED lighting. This can be beneficial when building managers are looking to achieve optimal working conditions for employees.

LED Lighting Myths #5 – LED Lighting is Too Blue

This is a common misconception. When LED lighting was initially introduced, the bulbs were heavily scrutinized for producing a harsh, cool light. Thankfully LED lights have evolved and are offered in a wider range of softer, warmer hues. Now there is a bulb for each and every room, depending on the desired ambiance and effect you seek to create.

Kirby Electric is a Premier Electrical Contractor Serving the Greater Seattle Area

As Seattle’s premier electric company, Kirby Electric specializes in commercial and industrial lighting. We provide top electrical services that best fit your building’s needs and present energy management solutions. Such solutions provide economically and environmentally beneficial services. Contact us today and request a quote at (253) 859-2000 or online here to learn more about our services.

11 Aug 2017
power

Electricity, Energy, and Power: What’s the Difference?

At Kirby Electric, we aim to educate others on proper electrical techniques and plans. Correct use of language makes a difference when discussing electrical construction and services. Electricity, energy, and power have become interchangeable in common, every day speech. However, these three terms have very distinct definitions and should not be used interchangeably. Read on to explore the differences between electricity, energy, and power and how to properly define them.

Electricity

Most define electricity as a form of energy or the flow of energy. Both of these definitions would be incorrect to assume. Electricity has to do with the charge of atoms. Atoms are the basic building blocks of everything, including you and the device you are reading this blog on. Breaking it down even further, atoms are made up of protons, neutrons, and electrons. Electrons move between atoms based on their electrical charge and magnetic forces. As these electrons move quickly, electricity is created.

Electricity can also be thought as being in two different categories, static and current. You can see static electricity when you pull laundry out of the dryer or when you rub a balloon through your hair. Current electricity is what flows through the lines and cables to your electric devices. Electricity, however, is not to be confused with electrical energy, or stored energy.

Energy

Energy gives things the ability to move and work. The definition of energy is the “capacity to do work.” In other words, energy is the total amount of work that is done. Work is defined as exerting a force over a distance. When you push something around, whether that be a box or a sofa, that is work. Energy makes it possible for you to do this work.

Energy is calculated by the strength of the force needed to move something over a distance. While there are many different types of units to measure energy with, the most common is watt-hour.

Power

While energy is about the total amount of work, power is how fast you are able to accomplish that work. This means power is how fast something can produce or consume energy. Say you are planning a cross country road trip. You have two means of transportation, a sports car or a racehorse. Assuming all other factors are equal, both can accomplish the means to cross the country. However, the sports car will be able to finish this task much quicker than the horse. Therefore, this means that the car can transfer the energy much quicker than the horse. The sports car has the higher power level and, thus, can travel faster.

Putting It All Together

While electricity, energy, and power all seem the same on the surface level, they are, in fact, very different. It is helpful to know their differences as you further your electrical knowledge. At Kirby Electric, we take pride in our electrical knowledge, and we are ready to assist you. We provide excellent electrical services for commercial and industrial contracting. Consider contacting us today to discuss electrical plans for you.

About Kirby Electric

As Seattle’s premier electric company, Kirby Electric specializes in commercial and industrial contracting. We provide top electrical services that best fit your building’s needs and present energy management solutions. Such solutions provide economically and environmentally beneficial services. Contact us today and request a quote at (253) 859-2000 or online here to learn more about our services.

13 Jul 2017
electrical hazards

4 Common Electrical Hazards in the Workplace

Electrical safety is imperative to a safe work environment. Reports show that about 1,000 electrical related accidents occur a year in the workplace, which leads to about 30 recorded fatalities. Legally, employers must provide a safe work environment for their employees. Here at Kirby Electric, we promote electrical safety in commercial buildings. Therefore, we have comprised a list of the four most common electrical hazards that can occur in the workplace and how to prevent them.

Faulty or Damaged Wiring

Any wires or cables that are not functioning properly should be removed immediately as they pose a serious electrical hazard. Electrical cables that are frayed, loose, or have exposed wires need to be attended to and replaced. Damaged wires and cables can cause electric shocks and fires.

To prevent this, make sure to schedule regular check-ups for your electrical wiring. We can assist you in the design and construction of your electrical system.

Equipment Safety

Regardless of the type of electrical equipment, they can pose as dangerous electrical hazards if not used properly. Exposure to equipment that is live but presumed dead can cause severe injuries. Shocks from electrical equipment can also lead to falls from scaffolds, ladders, or other suspended platforms.

This is why it is imperative to practice equipment safety protocols when using electrical instruments. Having routine safety seminars and other educational sessions can help inform both employees and employers on safe electrical handling. Checking equipment properly before use is also a way to ensure that equipment is safe.

Overused Outlets

Outlets can only handle so much strain before it becomes a serious shock and fire hazard. Overusing the outlet can lead to overheating or a power shortage. This is a severe misuse of the outlet and should be handled immediately. If the outlet is posing as a threat, do not try and handle it yourself. We can help with any electrical concerns that you may have.

Water

When electricity or electrical outlets are exposed to water, there is a greatly increased risk of shock. Make sure at all times that electric equipment is kept away from any source of water. This includes making sure that all hands are dry when dealing with electrical equipment to prevent life-threatening shocks or burns.

Maintenance and Safety Checks with Kirby Electric

Preventative measures should be taken in order to provide a safe work environment for everyone. At Kirby Electric, we have a variety of services that can assist all of your electrical needs. Our inspection services can help you should any electrical concerns arise. Our preventative maintenance services is a proactive step in keeping your building safe. Plus, our emergency service repair hotline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is our job to immediately help solve your problem, so you can get back to doing yours.

Kirby Electric Prevents Electrical Hazards

Kirby Electric, Inc. offers premier electrical services for both commercial and industrial contracting. Our dedicated team can help manage your facilities and present energy management solutions. Contact us today and request a quote by phone at (253) 859-2000 or online here to learn more about our services.

09 Jun 2017
natural light solutions

Natural Light Solutions in Commercial Buildings

Sitting in a dark office space not only can be discouraging, but it can also be bad for your health. Incorporating natural light in your commercial building can help to motivate employees and increase productivity. At Kirby Electric, we can help you create an electric system that benefits your building’s structure and takes advantage of natural light. Read on to find out more about different natural light solutions, and how Kirby Electric can help you.

Health Benefits

Studies have shown that there are many health benefits to having natural light in your commercial building. Not only does it appear to improve productivity of employees, it can help with your sleeping patterns too. CNN discovered that those with more exposure to natural light in their buildings throughout the day received 46 more minutes of sleep a night on average than those who were not exposed to natural light in their workspaces. More natural light can improve one’s mood as well.

Seat Positioning

Your workspace may be expansive, and natural light might not reach all parts of the building. This means that some employees in those darker areas might not be exposed to natural light. In a study done by Northwestern Medicine and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, they found that the best place to put workstations is within 20 to 25 feet of the peripheral walls that have the windows. Daylight seems to vanish outside of this 20 to 25 feet area. This is a simple natural light solution to expose employees to natural light through a reordering of your building’s interior design.

Windows

If your building is fitted with lots of windows, you might be concerned about having too much natural lighting. Issues like too much glare can hinder employee performance. Heat from natural light too can make the building uncomfortable and end up costing you more money. A solution to this problem is to make sure that your windows have proper glazing. Windows and skylights with proper glazing can help reduce this glare while still providing enough natural light to boost employee performance.

If your building has no windows and no source of natural light, there are still some solutions for this problem. Forbes found that a change in interior design can help create an essence of natural light in your building. However, having a proper artificial lighting system can also help make the building a little brighter and more cheerful. The goal is to choose the right type of lighting, which we are more than happy to help with. Encouraging your employees to go outside during breaks and getting some actual natural light throughout the day can also prove to be beneficial.

Energy Saving Lighting

LED lighting and energy saving lights can help you take advantage of natural light while also giving you the most cost-effective solution. Here at Kirby Electric, our goal is to save you money and energy while also protecting the environment. With a LED lighting design, we can take create an electrical system that is most beneficial to you. Bloomberg also found that installing blue lights can help boost your brain, especially during the sluggishness of the midday. We can help meet these particular needs of your employees and provide you with great natural light solutions.

How Kirby Electric Can Help

Kirby Electric provides a number of services that can help you choose the right type of lighting for your building while also taking advantage of natural lighting. From electrical design, engineering, and construction, we can help find natural light solutions that are most cost-effective for you. With technology such as LED lighting and daylight responsive sensors, there are many different artificial lighting solutions that can assist in boosting employee exposure to natural light while also keeping your building properly lit. Not taking advantage of natural light can be a costly decision, and we want to help make sure that your building saves energy and saves you money.

Find Natural Light Solutions with Kirby Electric

As Seattle’s premier electric company, Kirby Electric specializes in commercial and industrial contracting. We offer electrical services that best fit your building’s needs and present energy management solutions. Such solutions provide economically and environmentally beneficial services. Contact us today and request a quote at (253) 859-2000 or online here to learn more about our services.