Seattle Commercial & Industrial Electrical Contractor
4826 B Street NW Suite 101 Auburn, WA 98001
Mon-Fri: 7AM- 4PM
18 Sep 2018
lighting

Indoor vs Outdoor Lighting: Are They Interchangeable?

When lighting needs replacement in the office, it is important to pay attention on whether the light bulbs are for indoor or outdoor use. Outdoor light bulbs are more variable. Typically, they are interchangeable for indoor and outdoor use. In contrast, indoor lights are not designed to withstand outdoor temperature changes. Discover which light bulbs are for indoor or outdoor use, or both.

UL Rating

First, the best way to figure out whether a light bulb can be utilized outdoors is by discovering the UL rating. Generally, most lighting fixtures are rated and tested by Underwriters Laboratories (UL). Also, UL has a specific rating for particular locations as well. Below are the different locations and with the corresponding UL rating:

  • UL Listed- Dry Locations: labeled: “UL Listed”
    • includes living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms, hallways, kitchens, most bathroom areas
  • UL Listed- Damp Locations: labeled “Suitable for Damp Locations” or “Suitable for Wet Locations”
    • includes bathtubs, showers, indoor pool areas, utility rooms
  • UL Listed- Wet Locations: labeled “Suitable for Wet Locations”
    • used both wet indoor and outdoor locations
    • includes gazebos, walkways, open patio and decks, outdoor dining areas

Note on damp rated products or fixtures. Utilize in outdoor areas only when they are fully covered and not exposed to water. For example, a covered patio.

Safe Light Bulb use for Specific Locations

Discover which types of light bulbs can be used indoors, outdoors, or both:

  • LED Lights: used both indoors and outdoors
  • Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs: used indoors and outdoors
    • check the max temperature the bulb can endure from its packaging for outdoor use
  • Incandescent Flood Light Bulbs: used both indoors and outdoors if not in contact with water
    • used outdoors: incandescent flood light bulbs created to withstand elements
  • Halogen Spotlights and Flood Light Bulbs: used indoors and outdoors
  • Xenon Bulbs: used both indoors and outdoors (double check packaging for particular use)
  • Metal Halide Light Bulbs: used indoors and outdoors

Contact Kirby Electric to Inspect Your Office Today

As Seattle’s premier electric company, Kirby Electric specializes in commercial and industrial electrical solutions. We provide top electrical services such as, lighting retrofitsemergency service repairspreventative maintenance, and electrical inspections that best fit your building’s needs. Contact us today and request a quote at (253) 859-2000 or online here to learn more about our services.

 

 

12 Jul 2018

What Causes Office Lights to Flicker?

Occasionally, offices can experience flickering lights. While this many appear normal, flickering lights can cause distractions. If this happens often, improper lighting can cause headaches, deplete energy, and eventually turn dim. Initially, why or how does this occur? Read on to discover why your office lights may be flickering.

One Bulb Flickering

Is there only one light that flickers in the office? LEDs and fluorescent lights tend to flicker more than other types of lightbulbs, therefore, it could be a normal issue. However, it does not hurt to be proactive. First, check if the light is screwed in or properly inserted in the light socket. Safely remove the lightbulb and screw it back in. If everything appears to be fine, the office light may be reaching the end of its lifespan. It may be time to invest in new LED lights.

Single Circuit Flickering

Flickering lights can also be a result of an overloaded circuit. Too many appliances plugged in on the same line can cause a power shortage. Plus, it could be possible the circuit wire is outdated. Typically, this issue commonly happens in old office buildings or residential homes that have outdated wiring that is not up to industry standards. If your office continues to experience flickering down the road, or the circuit breaker is not working properly, it may be time to hire a professional electrician for an inspection.

Office Building Flickering

Flickering lights that extend beyond a single room or circuit means there is a bigger issue to resolve. When an entire office experiences flickering lights, there could be a problem with the cable connections to an even larger power source. Protect your employees and office building by contacting a professional electrician to handle this large scale issue. Especially, since this problem can result to a fire hazard.

Contact Kirby Electric to Inspect Your Office Today

As Seattle’s premier electric company, Kirby Electric specializes in commercial and industrial electrical solutions. We provide top electrical services such as, lighting retrofitsemergency service repairspreventative maintenance, and electrical inspections that best fit your building’s needs. Contact us today and request a quote at (253) 859-2000 or online here to learn more about our services.

31 May 2018

How to Check if an Office Space is Electrically Safe Before Renting

Is it time to discover the perfect office space for your business? Most important factors renters tend to focus on are the location and price. On the other hand, an imperative factor to pay attention to is safety. Is the space considered electrically safe? Being able to point out and understand potential safety issues can help avoid future fire hazards in such a busy environment. Read on to discover how to check if your potential office space is electrically safe to rent.

  1. Acknowledge Spacing

Where you place your electrical equipment is important. Avoid placing electrical equipment near other products or equipment. For one, equipment in close proximity can experience overheating and electrical fires. Therefore, make sure the office provides plenty of space and storage. Be able to conveniently store electrical items and office equipment safely.

  1. Control Dust with Proper Ventilation

Whether at home or in an office, make sure that dust does not compile in any given space. Dust can create a potential choking hazard. In worst case scenarios, small areas that are not properly ventilated and collect a build-up of dust can become explosive. Make sure to remediate dust and clean dusty areas on a regular basis. Select an office that includes proper ventilation to avoid dust hazards.

  1. Ensure Socket Safety

It is important to inspect all wall sockets. Nonetheless, insufficiently fitted or improperly grounded sockets can lead to electrocution. They can also fry and damage plugged in electrical equipment. Plus, sparks can occur, likely leading to a fire. Speak to your landlord or building management if you suspect any problems with any of the wall sockets. Contact a professional electrician to inspect any sockets and other specifics you are unsure about before selecting an office space.

Contact Kirby Electric to Inspect Your Office Today

As Seattle’s premier electric company, Kirby Electric specializes in commercial and industrial electrical solutions. We provide top electrical services such as, lighting retrofits, emergency service repairs, preventative maintenance, and electrical inspections that best fit your building’s needs. Contact us today and request a quote at (253) 859-2000 or online here to learn more about our services.

27 Apr 2018
energy saving

Energy Saving Tips for Spring

Have you started your annual spring cleaning? While focusing on enhancing or tidying up your office or home, expand maintenance by also focusing improving how electricity is utilized. There is nothing better than to save money! Discover Kirby Electric’s quick and easy energy saving tips for spring to cut down on monthly electric bills.

Regulate the Thermostat

How often do you pay attention to a thermostat Even a simple change of two degrees can have some significance on reducing energy costs. Turn up the thermometer during the warmer seasons, and turn them down during the winter. By doing this, a consumer can potentially save approximately $180 in overall energy costs throughout the year.

Dusting

Dusting may be one of those office/home chores that are often overlooked, but make time to do so this spring! Electronics run less efficiently the more dust collects in a residence. Vents and computers happen to be one of the top items that are affected by dust, as it can cause overheating. Try to dust on a regular basis to ward off electrical issues and computer fires.

Unplug

Another energy saving tip is to utilize standby power settings. Also, turning off electronics that require electricity can help save an average of $5 each month in a home. Try unplugging electronic items that display lights or a clock to help reduce energy costs.

Reverse the Direction of Your Ceiling Fan

Are you aware that most fans include a switch that lets the fan spin in the opposite direction? Spring and summer are the best seasons to reverse the direction of the ceiling fan to reduce bills by 10%. Also, the wind-chill effect that the fan creates cools a residence in addition to preserving electricity.

Landscaping

A top energy saving seasonal tip for spring is focusing on strategical landscaping. Use your plants for shade! Placing trees and shrubs in vital areas around your home or office has the potential to save approximately 25% on heating and cooling usage. We advise placing desired plants to shade the west and east-facing windows. It is important to note to not plant anything by power lines.

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.

 

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.

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.

 

 

15 Feb 2017
Excellent Electrician - Kirby Electric

Which Qualifications Make For an Excellent Electrician?

When it comes to being an electrician, there is more to the job than being certified. While certification is mandatory, an excellent electrician typically has all of the following qualities and characteristics that we look for when bringing on someone new.

Academically-Minded

We understand a college degree is not necessary in order to become an electrician, but a high school diploma certainly is! At Kirby Electric we stress the importance of having a studious background and an ongoing willingness to learn and adapt. The following intellectual skills are what we look for in an excellent electrician.

Basic Algebra – It is typical to encounter some form of algebra throughout day-to-day work activities as an electrician. If you are feeling unsure about your algebraic capabilities, enroll in your local community college to brush up on your skills.

Reading & Writing Comprehension – Blueprints, documents, memos and more. All of these are part of your daily job as an electrician. What we care about is how well you can effectively communicate to others along with understanding written and verbal communication in return.

Critical Thinking – Assessing a situation, critically thinking, and analyzing before acting can save you time and money. That is why on every jobsite this may be the most important skill to master. Smart decision making is why Kirby Electric is the best in the Greater Puget Sound region.

Time Management

An excellent electrician can manage his time wisely. This is a skill often learned not taught, but an important one to say the least. We care about our customers, and consider their time just as valuable as ours. When we set a date of completion, we mean it.

Team-Oriented

When joining Kirby Electric, you are joining a team of highly trained and skilled professionals. An excellent electrician has the ability to seamlessly integrate their work style with others. Along with a team-oriented mindset, comes great communication and listening skills as well.

Superb Customer-Service

Nothing wows our customers more than our excellent customer service. Our dedicated and knowledgeable team of electricians is led by senior leadership whose core philosophy is focused on consistently delivering exceptional customer service.

Kirby Electric is Hiring!

Did you know Kirby Electric is currently hiring? If you are looking for a vibrant work environment that offers career growth and full benefits, including paid vacation, a 401K plan, health benefits and paid holidays, consider a future with Kirby Electric. Our open positions can be found here.

Join Our Team – Apply Online Today

Do you think you have what it takes to be an excellent electrician or employee with Kirby? Apply here. Kirby Electric is a premier electrical contractor specializing in commercial and industrial electrical construction.  With over 20 years of experience serving the Greater Puget Sound area and Western Washington, we have acquired a solid, loyal growing customer base. Help us grow even more!  Learn more about our services here. Have questions? Contact us online or by calling 253-859-2000. We look forward to hearing from you.

24 May 2016

All About LED Lighting

In recent years, there has been advanced improvements in lighting technology for light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs. Known for energy-efficiency, LED bulbs continue to excel in durability and lighting quality. According to energy.gov, LED lighting has the greatest potential impact on energy savings and the future of lighting in the United States. Explore this blog to get all the information you need to know about LED lighting and how it can benefit your home.

Energy Savings

Did you know that residential LEDs use approximately 75% less energy and last 25 times longer than incandescent lighting? Plus, by selecting a quality LED bulb, they can last beyond 25,000 hours, which is equivalent to over three years if used the entire 24 hours each day! Moreover, regular light bulbs discharge 90 percent its energy as heat, while LED bulbs retain heat and use energy more efficiently. Starting in 2012, relatively $675 million dollars was saved when approximately 49 million LEDs were equipped in the U.S. Shifting to LED lights altogether for the next 20 years could save the U.S. $250 billion in energy costs and can also positively impact the environment by evading  1,800 million metric tons of carbon emissions!

LED Lighting Differentiation

Light source: Compared to other light bulbs (such as incandescent and CFL’s), the LED light source size is miniscule compared to the size of a pepper fleck. Also, the light source colors are combined with red, blue and green to produce a white light.

Direction: LEDs also radiate light in a certain direction, which lessens the need for diffusers and reflectors that are used to trap light. Also, this component helps with efficiency for a variety of uses (such as recessed downlights or task lighting).

Kitchen Under-Cabinet Lighting

LEDs are also excellent for kitchens, countertops and reading recipes. Essentially, the color can appear more “cool”, which is typically preferable for kitchen areas. It is important to understand that there could possibly be “shadowing” in your selected space and also always check and compare which products will best fit your preferences.

Recessed Downlights

Recessed downlights are regularly used in a variety of spaces such as bathrooms, hallways, offices, kitchens, and beyond. According to energy.gov, DOE has estimated that there is about 500 million recessed downlights in U.S. homes that have already been installed and over 20 million are sold every year. Not to mention, CFL and LED technology is able to reduce downlight wattage by 75% or more.

Visit energy.gov/energysaver/led-lighting for more information regarding LED technology and the additional benefits for your home.

About Kirby Electric

Kirby Electric, Inc. is a premier electrical contractor specializing in commercial and industrial electrical construction. Our dedicated and knowledgeable team of electricians, low voltage technicians and office staff are led by senior leadership whose core philosophy is consistently delivering exceptional service. Kirby Electric offers a wide array of services to meet the needs of our customers and ensure a smooth operation of their facilities. Learn more about our services by calling 253-859-2000.

04 Jan 2016

Ways You Could be Losing Energy in the Winter Time


When winter arrives, the chilled weather causes people to stay inside to keep warm and cozy. Unfortunately, this causes a lot of folks to use a ton of energy. Whether it means using a furnace increasing electricity use, bills tend to be higher in the winter because of this. On top of holiday spending with purchasing gifts, you don’t need extra bills to dampen your seasonal spirits! Discover how you may be losing energy in the winter and how to avoid costly energy bills.

  1. Close your Windows and Doors

According to The Energy Information Administration, approximately one-third of heat loss in homes occurs from just your windows and doors alone. With that being said, one of the best ways to prevent heat loss is to simply add blinds or draperies to help trap the heat to establish a thermal barrier. It is also critical to note that indoor cooling won’t occur when blinds or draperies are open during the early day time. This actually brings direct solar gain to your home to eliminate the cooling.

  1. Thermostat Set Too High

A common mistake everyone may go through in their homes is setting their thermostat high for various reasons such as: trying to make the house warmer the fastest way possible, or to maintain the heat throughout the day. Energy experts have acknowledged that households during a 24 hour period can save around 3 percent on energy bills for every lower degree you set on the thermostat. Also, do you have a digital programmable thermostat? You can actually adjust when you want your thermostat to turn on and off any time of the day. One suggestion is to have your thermostat placed at a moderate temperature of 68 degrees as you are up and about. Then, set it lower while you are out of the house or sleeping. This way, you can save around 5% to 15% a year on your heating bill!

  1. Inefficient Lighting

Are you using LED/fluorescent bulbs in your household? It may be time to do so if you haven’t considered them for the winter! Adding these bulbs could essentially save you $75 per year. Also, another reason to consider LED holiday lights is because older lights use approximately 10 times the energy of newer lights. Plus, LED lights are safer because of the fact they are cool burning.

  1. Electronic Tips

Staying at home means lounging around, which will probably cause you to watch TV and use all sorts of electronic devices. Here are a few ideas to keep in mind on how electronics are contributing to energy usage in your home:

  1. Standby mode on electronics: Even if you turn off plugged in devices and set to standby mode, this is still using energy to power little things such as displaying the time.
  2. Try considering purchasing a laptop over a desktop computer; laptops initially use less energy and don’t need to be permanently plugged in.
  3. Make sure to unplug fully charged electronics or batteries. Even at 100%, some chargers will continue to charge even when the device is not plugged in.

Want more tips? Check out energy.gov for more incentives on how to save up on your energy bill this winter.

About Kirby Electric 

Kirby Electric, Inc. is a premier electrical contractor specializing in commercial and industrial electrical construction. Our dedicated and knowledgeable team of electricians, low voltage technicians and office staff are led by senior leadership whose core philosophy is consistently delivering exceptional service. Kirby Electric offers a wide array of services to meet the needs of our customers and ensure a smooth operation of their facilities. Learn more about our services by calling 253-859-2000.

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