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

Office Lighting Safety Guide During the Holiday Season

From a variety of styles, sizes, and colors, holiday lights are one of the most common office holiday decorations. For safety, it is important to realize which lighting options are best for your office. Plus, holiday lights will also require a source of power with the proper use of power strips or extension cords. Prevent potential office hazards by discovering our office lighting safety guide during the holiday season.

Best Holiday Lighting Option

LED lights are the best choice for holiday lights. In comparison to incandescent light bulbs, LED lights are energy efficient. For one, they use up 75 percent less electricity and last essentially 25 times longer. Most importantly, they are safe to use. Plus, utilizing LED lights reduces the risk of potential fires as they emit minimal heat. Spending a fortune already on holiday gifts? LED lights cost more up front, but last longer than other bulbs. The average rated life is up to 50,000 hours!

Lighting Tips

  • Avoid nailing or stapling light strings (to walls, roofs, etc.) to prevent impaired wire insulation.
  • Place lights over or above nails for outdoor lighting. Utilize hanging clips for indoor lighting.
  • Use a timer for holiday lighting can help prevent fire hazards and reduce energy consumption.
  • Use indoor lighting indoors, outdoor lighting outdoors (check packaging for usage instructions).

Power Strip vs Extension Cord

Holiday lights are often placed in unconventional places, such as ceilings or walls. Thus, several power sources to power office lighting may be required. Thankfully, that is where power strips and extension cords come in hand. For optimal safety, understand their differences. One, a power strip is an individual segment of a cable with one plug on the end with a row of sockets featured on a plastic box. Two, an extension cord is much longer and contains two or three plugs. Additionally, it is imperative to understand that power strips can be utilized for a period of a few days. Extension cords should only be used for hours on end.

Power Strip Holiday Tips

  • Avoid overloading power strips with major home appliances (space heater, oven). They are intended for small loads of power.
  • Do not exceed the maximum voltage on a power strip to avoid catastrophic electrical fires and malfunctioning appliances.
  • Abstain from overuse to avoid defecting devices. Power strips are not an efficient replacement for electrical outlets.
  • Always check for a surge protection device. This helps preserve equipment if a short/surge occurs.
  • Lastly, avoid plugging power strips and extension cords into each other to prevent weakening equipment, device impairment, and worst case scenario—an office home.

Note: All it takes is staying proactive about lighting hazards. Also, pay attention to voltage ratings to remain safe during the holidays. Remember to not overuse and to time or turn off holiday lights when necessary. Happy Holidays!

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 2018

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.



23 Nov 2015

How Does Lighting Affect Your Mood?

Lighting has an effect on our mood and on the intensity of our emotions. Studies have shown that the brighter the lighting, the more intense a person’s emotions become. This is why our moods tend to change with the seasons, because of the difference in amount of light received throughout different parts of the year.

Bright Light

When it is sunny outside, we tend to be more optimistic, energetic, and helpful and our well being is higher. Bright lighting also causes an increase in feelings of warmth, even if the temperature in the room is not increased. People feel warmer when there is brighter lighting because the intensity of their emotions is being increased as well. For example, a person placed under brighter lighting will crave spicier sauce, see a person as more attractive and think of positive words as more positive and negative words as more negative. If that same person were placed under darker lighting, they most likely would crave sauce that was less spicy, and wouldn’t see a person as attractive as they did in brighter lighting.

Lack of Light

Lack of light and poor artificial lighting can cause us to have lack of energy and can trigger symptoms of depression.  The brain chemical serotonin which is responsible for maintaining mood balance, decreases on dark days and increases on brighter days. This explains why we are likely to experience seasonal depression during wintertime and why our level of energy is decreased in locations where there is less lighting. Dim lighting can also result in drowsiness and lack of focus, which is why most work places have brighter lighting, to improve employee motivation.

Light does have an effect on a person’s mood. Simple adjustments in lighting both in homes and offices can make a difference in the way a person thinks and feels. If you are thinking about your office and would like to change up the lighting, give Kirby Electric a call and see what kind of changes to your lighting system you can make!

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.

30 Jul 2015

Choosing Office Lighting

Don’t let old lighting affect your employees’ safety and performance. Having the right office lighting is important. Not only can it save you money and energy, but it can also affect how productive your employees are. Dim lighting is unhelpful to finishing any task, and doesn’t make those under it energetic.

3 Types of Office Lighting

Depending on your industry, different types of light are more effective than others. If you have an open office space, you’ll need to ensure the lighting you chooses works for everyone. And if you have an industrial area, like a warehouse, your lighting must be adequate for the work being done beneath it.

  • Recessed Lighting

Recessed lighting is incredibly common in offices, medical facilities, and many professional buildings. Its bonuses? It adds uniform, adequate lighting for employees without creating dark corners. Plus, unlike suspension, recessed lighting doesn’t use up any valuable ceiling space, important for lower ceiling buildings and workplaces with special machinery or extra storage.

  • Motion Activated Systems 

Motion-activated lighting could save you money. How? In infrequently used areas, motion-activated lighting turns on exactly when you need it, and not a second before. It also helps if this lighting is an areas like a stock room where employees need both hands to transport items and don’t have to worry about flipping a switch on and off.

A time not to use motion-activated systems: in rooms that workers are constantly in. If employees are present nearly all of the time, a motion-activated light probably won’t save much electricity, and time won’t be lost flipping the switch.

  • Suspended Lights

Suspended lighting lives up to its name, hanging (an often short distance) from the ceiling. It’s common to see suspended lighting extended from the ceiling via sturdy chains, and these lighting fixtures come in metal to be sturdier than their name suggests.

One place suspended lighting might not work well: stock or storage rooms with tall storage fixtures. High shelving that employees access frequently can mean ladders and heads coming into contact with suspended lighting if not installed properly.

Lighting and Employee Health

Another important factor in choosing commercial lights is how the lighting affects your employees physically. OSHA warns that too much light can lead to headaches or eyestrain, and that workstations should be carefully situated to reduce glare on computers.

It’s not just the lights you switch on that affect our eyes. According to OSHA, brightness contrast from the computer to the office is at risk for causing headaches and optical fatigue. To reduce risk, keep walls and ceilings in “light, matte colors and finishes” that help keep contrast to a minimum. Keep this in in the next time interior design choices are made!

Whichever lighting you choose, make sure it’s with your office and industry in mind. What keeps  a warehouse running isn’t what an office needs, and vice versa. Avoid an ineffective work environment with the right lighting, and make it energy efficient so you and the environment benefit in the long term. From car dealerships to pizza places, we’ve handled the unique needs of businesses around the Seattle area. Find out more: request a quote for what your business needs.

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.

(Image courtesy of Antranias via

24 Jun 2014

Lighting Controls Might Take Off After LEDs Flood the Market

Lighting Controls Might Take Off After LEDs Flood the MarketFor many commercial and industrial operations, upgrading to long-lasting, energy-saving LED lighting systems is a no-brainer. Not only do these innovative new lighting systems help cut energy costs significantly, but they also provide a higher quality lighting solution to replace older, inadequate lighting systems in warehouses and other commercial settings.

As LEDs gain steam in both the commercial and residential markets, lighting manufacturers face a challenge while consumers enjoy the benefits of energy efficient lights. With modern LEDs lasting as long as 50,000 hours depending on usage, the slow replacement cycle has serious potential to sink revenues for lighting manufacturers, according to CE Pro.

Lighting Controls & Smart Lighting Projected to Boom

As the market becomes saturated with LEDs and fewer new bulbs are purchased to replace these long-lasting bulbs, lighting manufacturers will be faced with making one of three decisions, CE Pro explained:

  • Dramatically reduce the price of bulbs to boost sales before burnout (and thus chip away at their bottom line)
  • Decrease the lifetimes of the bulbs so consumers must replace them more often (and thus risk losing business to competitors whose bulbs have longer lifespans)
  • Develop new LED lights with advanced functionality, features and advanced controls that residential and commercial customers will want to adopt before their existing bulbs burn out

Since the first two options are not in the best interest of the manufacturer or the consumer, the lighting manufacturing industry is expected to make significant advancements in controls to keep consumers coming back for more.

In fact, one report from Navigant Research projects that over the next seven years, annual sales for occupancy sensors, photosensors and lighting network gear associated with LED lighting will grow from $1.1 billion in 2013 to $2.7 billion by 2020, according to Forbes.

Why Are Lighting Controls Expected to Boom?

Since LED lights involve semiconductors, they have great potential to be controlled in a variety of ways that commercial or residential customers might find beneficial. For example, the ability to dim the lights when it’s bright outside or turn off the lights when no one is present are money-saving options. Sophisticated sensors can be integrated to make the system smoothly gather data on a room’s temperature, occupancy and other factors and self-adjust accordingly, Forbes explained.

Other applications for sensors and controls associated with LED lights are as limitless as the minds that think up the ideas.  For example, the Forbes article noted that it was possible for sensors integrated with LED lighting on city streets to collect data on what parking spots are open on certain days and send it to a mobile app in real time. By the same token, a system with cameras could collect data on parked vehicles that could result in parking tickets being issued more efficiently.

The Takeaway

In conclusion, as LED lights become more prevalent in the U.S. and their cost goes down, lighting manufacturers are expected to develop new “smart LEDs” and innovative controls that will keep lighting manufacturers profitable and present residential and commercial consumers with more options than ever before for getting more out of their lighting systems.

About Kirby Electric

Kirby Electric is a premier electrical contractor in Seattle specializing in commercial and industrial electrical contracting. We can help with any electrical needs when it comes to upgrading older buildings, including equipment hook ups, rewiring or relocating panels, and lighting upgrades. We also work with electrical companies like Puget Sound Energy, Tacoma Public Utilities, Lakeview Power and others that will provide a rebate for upgrading to a more efficient lighting upon approval of the project. Contact us today to learn more about our services or to get a quote.

14 Nov 2013

4 Key Services Kirby Electric Provides

services_lightingKirby Electric provides a variety of services to our valued commercial and industrial customers and even offers electrical maintenance long after the initial project is complete.

But did you know that Kirby Electric offers other services as well? Here are 4 other areas of Kirby Electric expertise.

Controls for Equipment

The Kirby Electric industrial division has experience with complex industrial equipment and can wire systems and controls according to customer specifications. This includes wiring complete motor control centers and even complex conveyer systems. We’re also comfortable partnering with engineers and other experts assigned to a particular industrial project to ensure the customer’s needs are met.

Retail Projects

Kirby Electric has vast experience working with contractors on design/build projects for retail facilities such as Lowe’s and Kohl’s. We have a strong track record of providing a high-quality work for a reasonable price and ensuring all of our commercial projects are completed on time and on budget.

Lighting Retrofits

Kirby Electric specializes in lighting retrofits using the most current technology and energy-saving products available. We’ll even reach out to our customer’s utility company and work to help our customers receive lighting rebates for upgrading their lighting. Anytime we can solve an electrical problem and reduce our customers’ energy costs in the process, we consider it a job well done.

Street Lighting

Kirby Electric design and installation teams have worked closely with cities and municipalities throughout the Puget Sound region to design street lighting and provide high-quality installation services for many communities.

About Kirby Electric

Kirby Electric is a premier Seattle electrical contractor specializing in commercial and industrial electrical contracting. We can help with any electrical needs when it comes to upgrading older buildings, including equipment hook ups, rewiring or relocating panels, and lighting upgrades. We also work with electrical companies like Puget Sound Energy, Tacoma Public Utilities, Lakeview Power and others that will provide a rebate for upgrading to a more efficient lighting upon approval of the project. Contact us today to learn more about our services or to request a quote.

28 Aug 2013

Cutting Edge LED Lighting Makes Its Debut

LED Lighting is cutting edgeWhen most people think of LED lighting they think of their uses in traffic signals, consumer electronics and appliances, signage lighting or even of LED lighting showing up in the automotive and aviation industries.

However, LED lights are quickly positioning themselves to be the future of commercial lighting because they are more efficient than other lighting options and could lead to significant savings on lighting costs. They’re also appearing with more modern styling than ever before.

The Groundbreaking WaveStream LED Series

Take for instance the new WaveStream LED Series from Cooper Lighting. This series includes the SkyRidge and Encounter Series through which Cooper aims to make high-performance LEDs the industry standard for lighting commercial interiors.

These lights provide a cost-effective solution for commercial enterprises to boost energy savings while delivering better optical performance and brightness control, according to a recent Cooper announcement. Cooper Lighting hopes the new technology can be applied to a wide variety of residential, industrial and office lighting projects.

“LED technology has come a long way over the past few years, but most manufacturers are still struggling to develop and offer cost-effective solutions that not only look great but also perform well,” said Mark Eubanks, president of Cooper Lighting, in the announcement. “Our new WaveStream line addresses that challenge, providing users with an unparalleled balance of form and function all at affordable price points. The Metalux Encounter series is the first of many WaveStream products rolling out this year that make LED lighting possible for a wider range of applications.”

What’s the Big Deal about LEDs?

The question arises: if we already have options like incandescent and florescent lighting, why would we need LEDs? The advantages of LEDs over other light sources include less energy consumption, a longer lifetime and cooler temperatures than other types of lighting. Cooper’s WaveStream products also have “less glare, dimming capabilities and the potential for great lighting quality,” according to a recent blog written by an industry expert.

Cooper reports that its SkyRidge Series provides energy savings of more than 50% and its Encounter Series offers savings of more than 45% when compared to fluorescent troffers, the current industry standard for commercial light fixtures.

What Are LEDs?

LED stands for light-emitting diode. While incandescent lights and fluorescents emit light using filaments in glass bulbs or through gases inside a bulb, LEDs generate light through semiconductors.

About Kirby Electric

Kirby Electric, a premier Seattle electrical contractor specializing in commercial and industrial electrical contracting, strives to stay informed on the most cutting-edge advances in the industry, such as the use of LEDs in commercial or industrial lighting projects. We can also help with any electrical needs when it comes to upgrading older buildings, including equipment hook ups, rewiring or relocating panels, and lighting retrofits. We work with electrical companies like Puget Sound Energy, Tacoma Public Utilities, Lakeview Power and others that will provide a rebate for upgrading to a more efficient lighting upon approval of the project. Contact us today to learn more about our services or to request a quote.

(Photo courtesy:

02 Jul 2013

Energy-Efficient Lighting for Your Business

Choosing energy-efficient lighting for your business is an important but often daunting task. According to an article by the US Small Business Administration (SBA), “Depending on the type of business you operate, lighting accounts for 20% to 50% of electricity consumption” and usually offers the “highest return-on-investment of major upgrades”. Make sure you are doing all you can to light your business efficiently with these quick tips.

Tips for Improving Lighting Efficiency

  1. Upgrade Old Systems: You do not need to start from scratch in order to improve your business’ lighting efficiency. If your business has pre-existing lighting systems, there are many affordable upgrades you can make, like replacing incandescent lamps with fluorescent lamps. Consult your electrical contractor to discuss your options.
  2. Choose a Quality Commercial Electrical Contractor: Choosing a qualified commercial  electrician to install energy-efficient lighting is essential. Sloppy installation jobs and seemingly small mistakes could end up costing you valuable time and money later.
  3. New Construction Projects and Large Retrofits: The larger the project, the more time and effort you will often need to invest. It may be helpful to have a professional generate computer models of your lighting system to help ensure that the completed project will meet your business needs.

The formula for efficient lighting success is, “Technology + Effective Design = Performance and Energy Savings”. The latest proven technology coupled with an effective, efficient design will help your business maximize performance and energy savings.

About Kirby Electric

Kirby Electric Inc. is Seattle’s premier commercial and industrial electrical contractor. For over twenty years Kirby Electric has been helping companies go green and save money. Whether you’re looking for Seattle lighting retrofits or electrical services for your industrial or commercial building, Kirby Electric is here to help. Kirby Electric is a Puget Sound Energy Contractor Alliance Network Certified Specialist. Contact us today to learn more about our services or to request a quote .

29 May 2013

5 Facts About Electricians

kirby_cocacolaThe electrical profession is no walk in the park. Check out these 5 facts about electricians from a recent article:

1. Master Electricians Train Nearly as Long as Doctors

There is no room for error when it comes to electrical projects since the slightest mistake could have devastating or even life threatening consequences. This is why master electricians put just as much time and effort into their training and education as any other highly skilled professional.

2. Electricians Tend to Specialize

Like doctors, electricians tend to specialize in a specific area where they have the most knowledge.

  • Residential: electricians who deal with home issues.
  • Commercial: electricians who service commercial buildings.
  • Industrial: electricians who are familiar with and are specially trained to handle industrial electrical equipment.
  • Outside Lineman: Electricians who deal with outdoor electrical structures such as power lines, substations, and transformers.

3. Electricians Must Be in Good Shape

Electrical equipment can be extremely heavy or difficult to access. Sometimes electricians must work in cramped quarters, in areas that must be accessed by ladders or in other hard-to-reach areas.

4. Electricians Need to Have Good Thinking Skills

Electrical projects involve more than just simple wire rearrangement. To be successful, an electrician must have a solid mathematical background that enables them to read and analyze blue prints and other technical schematic material. Electricians must also constantly be aware of local and federal safety codes. Furthermore, as some electrical projects can be dangerous, electricians must have good organizational skills and the ability to recall crucial information under stressful circumstances.

5. Electricians are Going Green

Most people do not associate electricians with environmental conservation. However, master electricians are highly-trained, environmentally conscious professionals who are constantly searching for new ways to conserve energy using new technology and offering eco-friendly services like lighting retrofits.

Kirby Electric

Kirby Electric is a premier Seattle electrical contractor specializing in commercial and industrial electrical contracting. Contact us today to learn more about our services or to request a quote .