Blog – Nipper Electric

Pool Lighting Options to Brighten Summer Swimming

Brighten Summer Swimming With Pool Lights

patio and pool lightingPools need specialized lighting for safety purposes. You can also add special touches that enhance and improve your pool all summer long. Nipper Electric will safely install pool and hot tub wiring and/or lighting that will bring your pool a whole new look. We are fully licensed and insured with over 20 years of experience in the Virginia Beach Area. To help you create the perfect backyard retreat, here are a few options you can consider for your pool and/or hot tub.

Fiber Optic Lighting- For lower energy use and design options, fiber optic lighting is a great choice for your pool. You can create a cool neon look for your pool with fiber optic lighting strips or a star ceiling design.

Hanging Lights- Strands of hanging lights can be very pretty around your pool or hot tub. However, you can’t just hang up any type of light strand. Outdoor lights have to be water proof and weather proof. To stay safe, follow these rules for hanging lights outdoors or over any area of water.

Lighting Around the Pool- Besides creating a beautiful setting, the lights surrounding your pool also add extra safety for you and your guests. Nipper Electric provides beautiful landscape lighting options for pool patios and decks. Consider adding lights in the following areas:

  • pool design lightPathways
  • Border lighting along the outside or your pool patio.
  • Lights along the edge of the pool itself.
  • Lights near seating or dining areas.

Floating Lights- Floating lights can add a fun touch to your pool and can be changed to fit any occasion. While these lights shouldn’t be used as a primary source of light for your pool they can certainly transform your pool into an oasis.

LED Lights- LED pool lighting is the top choice for most pools today. The bulbs are versatile, long lasting, and provide a wide range of design options. If you still have incandescent lighting in your pool, consider having LED bulbs installed through a professional LED conversion.

The design possibilities for your pool are endless. Make sure that you consult a professional electrician to have your pool lighting properly wired and installed. At Nipper Electric, we will provide you with safe and beautiful pool and hot tub lighting and wiring while you relax. Call us today at 757-842-1710 or make an appointment online, we’ll turn your backyard pool into your personal retreat.

Get Ready For Summer with Outdoor Wiring

Professional Electrical Contractors in Virginia Beach Make Your Outdoors Fun

patio table and lightningSummer comes and goes quickly. You can add extra hours to your summer fun with a few quick outdoor changes. Nipper Electrical offers a wide range of outdoor electrical services to extend your summer fun, like landscape lighting and hot tub wiring. To get you started, we’ve come up with a list of some of the most popular outdoor wiring additions and installations for summer to help you enjoy the season.

Pool & Hot Tub Wiring- When it comes to wiring and water, you should always seek professional help from your trusted electrician.. One mistake could cause a serious or even fatal injury. For your safety, consider adding the lights to the following areas:

  • Pool Patio and Pathways-Slips and falls are one of the top injuries at pools. Keep your pathways lit and beautiful with a few soft but not dim lights.
  • Entrances, Steps, and Ladders- Lighting along entrances provide safety and a beautiful atmosphere that is relaxing and enjoyable.
  • LED Lights Along The Pool- For efficiency, effectiveness, and design options, you can’t beat LED lights in your pool. They use less energy, last longer, and can change colors easily.

Landscape Lighting- The perfect landscape lighting can turn your home into a castle. Consider adding the following landscape lighting touches:

  • Patio or Deck Lighting- If you love spending time outside, adding lights on your patio or deck brings hours of fun. Remember:
    • Stay away from super bright lights.
    • Don’t point lights where they’ll be in someone’s eyes as they sit.
    • Design the lighting to make entertainment easy and comfortable.
  • Pathway & Driveway & Landscape Lighting- Lighting along pathways, driveways and landscapes create safety and beauty. Consider adding lighting in the following ways:
    • Parallel lighting or Symmetrical Lighting
    • Patterns of lights
    • Along Steps
    • Inside the pathway with special recessed lights.
    • On favorite landscaping features to protect and highlight special pieces.

Deck Out Your Deck!- Adding electrical wiring to your deck can create a whole new space for your home. Here are a few great ideas for your deck this summer:

  • flat screen installations - NipperElectricOutdoor Flat TV installations– Imagine enjoying BBQ while you watch the big game outside.
  • Outdoor Ceiling Fans– These fans are specially made and wired for the outdoors. They can cool you off during hot summer days and warm you up on cool summer evenings.
  • Outdoor Lighting– Landscape lighting will lengthen your summer nights. They also make pathways and steps safer and deter criminals.

No matter what outdoor wiring project you choose, Nipper Electric is fully licensed and insured to meet all of your electrical needs. No job is too big or too small. Call us today at 757-842-1710 to get your summer started or make an appointment online.

Finding an Electrician You Can Trust in Virginia Beach

Finding an Electrician You Can Trust in Virginia Beach, VA

nipper-electric-hoodie with logoChoosing the right electrician or electrical contractor in Virginia Beach can be overwhelming. To help you find the electrical services you need, here are a few things to consider when you start searching for a dependable electrician.

  • Are They Fully Licensed and Insured?- Fully Insured and licensed electricians have the proper licenses to perform the services you are looking for. They will also be covered so that should any damages occur during the work will be covered by the insurance of the electrician.
  • Does Their Labor Come with Warrantees? An electrician who provides trusted and reliable work will be happy to put a warranty on their labor. Then, should any issues come up that are tied to the work, they will be happy to come out and fix those problems at little or no cost to you.
  • What Kind of Experience Do the Electricians Have?- Look carefully at the projects the electrician has previously performed and the years they have been active. Ask the following questions:
    • Are they experienced in many areas of electrical work or do they only specialize in one area?
    • Do the offer commercial and residential services?

    • Can they work with new technology?

    • How long have they been providing services in the area?

All of these questions will help you see just how much experience the electrician has before you hire them. Look for a business that works in residential and commercial services as well as someone who can work on new technology and equipment.

Also look for an electrician that has been working for more than a few years. The more experienced an electrician has, the better they will be able to serve you.

  • Check Out Their Reviews- In today’s world of constant comment on social media, it isn’t unusual to come across a bad review every now and then. However, when you find overwhelmingly positive reviews, you can bet you’ve found an electrician that will work hard to meet your standards.
  • Look for an Official Place of Business- Some electricians are more like a handy man. An electrician who has an official office is an established and trusted electrician, someone you can depend on and go to when you have issues with your electricity.
  • Look for Simple Straight-Forward Pricing- Professional electricians should be able to give you an estimate or show you a clear bill. Those who can’t, might be taking more of your money than they need to. Nipper Electric provides clear-cut pricing for all of our clients to keep the guesswork out of electrical work.  We also offer multiple discounts to our hardworking neighbors and friends in the Virginia Beach area.
  • Don’t Choose the Cheapest Option- Sometimes the cheapest offer is not the best offer. Good work costs money, that doesn’t mean it can’t be affordable too. Take a close look at other aspects, like the ones we mentioned here.

Your Trusted Electrician in Virginia Beach

You can get the electrical services you need from a dependable electrician right down the road. Nipper Electric has been providing trusted electrical services to Virginia Beach for over 20 years. If you have any electrical issues or are looking for a new electrician, call us today at 757-842-1710. We offer licensed and insured electrical work that you can trust. You can even make an appointment online today so you can keep up with your busy schedule.  

Improving Lighting in Your Workspaces

Professional Electricians in Virginia Beach Bring Better Lighting

A lot of people don’t pay close attention to lighting choices, especially in workspaces and offices.. However, choosing the perfect lighting plan for your home workspace or office can make all the difference.

Nipper Electric can help you choose lighting that will improve your work efficiency, productivity and even improve your health. We offer multiple styles and designs for lighting installations including:

  • bright-kitchen-lots-of-lightRecessed Lighting
  • Pendant Lighting
  • Under Cabinet Lighting
  • Chandeliers
  • Track Lighting
  • Energy Efficient Lighting options

Choosing the Right Lighting Can Improve Your Productivity and Health.

Lighting is an important part of an efficient and effective office. It can also turn a healthy and happy staff into a team that is struggling to make it through the day.

Poor lighting can lead to:

  • Headaches
  • Bad Posture
  • Back Pain
  • Neck Pain
  • Lack of Concentration
  • Lowered Productivity
  • Eyestrain

Depending on your workspace and personal preferences, you might want different types of lighting than those originally installed in the space. A professional electrician will be able to help you choose the right type of lighting for the work you want to do.

Here are a few options:

1) Small Study or Office

If you are short on space, under cabinet lighting. recessed lighting or track lighting can help you get the focused lighting you need.
You can easily place cabinet lighting into cabinets to help easily find books, papers, and other important information or under cabinets to combine storage and work spaces.
Track lighting takes up little to no room when installed inside the ceiling and it can be moved to focus on different areas of the space.
Recessed lighting offers, even more, space since it is installed into walls or ceilings.
Add a dimmer and you can create different levels of lighting to help you adjust the space to the needs.

2) Corporate Offices

2 bulbs onWhile a little larger than your average home office or study, corporate offices come with their own set of lighting challenges. You don’t want to make the lighting so bright that it distracts from the work or makes guests feel uncomfortable. You also don’t want to have lighting that is too dim. Creating levels of lighting is often the best option for a medium sized or corporate office.

Make sure your workspaces are properly lit with both brighter lighting and warm lighting. The layering of these lights will help you avoid the headaches often brought on by overpowering lights or dim lights.

Create layers of lighting at different levels within ceiling lighting or pendant lights, lamps, and under-cabinet lighting.

Conference Rooms – Conference rooms are often the most difficult to comfortably light due to their size and open space.

You can easily use track lighting or pendant lighting for overall lighting. Including some accent lighting to help soften the feel of the room or bring a  little style to an otherwise boring room.
Be sure to add dimmers so you can utilize the space for presentations too.

Work Benches/Drafting Tables

Some work requires extra attention to lighting choices. In spaces where you need to have extra attention to detail, like workbenches or drafting tables, create focused lighting close to the work area.

Make sure the lighting can be dimmed or complemented with other lighting options. Pendant lighting with bendable posts or adjustable lamps are great options to add in these spaces.

Lighting Options for Every Space

No matter what kind of office or workspace you have, Nipper Electric offers lighting options to match your needs. Call us today at 757-842-1710 or make an appointment online. We’ll turn your old office into a brand new work retreat!

Energy Tax Credits Save Even More Money

Professional Electrical Contractors Provide Energy Efficient Services in Virginia Beach

Tax time is just weeks away. If you’ve made energy efficient changes this year or forgot to claim some from 2015, you could be saving more money this year on your tax return. Nipper Electric has been providing the best in energy efficient and green technology in the Virginia Beach, VA for 20 years. Some of our green technology services include:

  • Electric Vehicle Charging Stations
  • Lighting Retrofit Installations
  • Solar Energy Panel Installations
  • Solar Energy Security Lighting
  • Generator Installations

To better serve you, we’ve provided a quick rundown of just a few of the energy tax credits you might be missing out on.

1) Residential Energy Efficiency Tax Credit- This tax credit is for energy efficient improvements on existing homes. It includes the following improvements:

  • trees growing on coinsInsulation Materials
  • Windows and Doors
  • Heating
  • Cooling
  • Water-Heating Equipment

Can be used for improvements made from 2011–2016, if the deduction has not already been taken.

Maximum Total Savings: $500

2) Net Metering- Did you know you can actually claim a credit on the solar power you produce? Net metering is available to Virginia residents on a first-come basis up until 1% of the electric companies energy peak load has been met. It is not available to municipal utility consumers. Nipper Electric regularly installs solar power panels that save our customers money all year round.

Maximum Total Savings: Varies (estimated savings for Solar Power in Virginia, including solar loans)

3) Section 179D or EPAct- This particular credit gives owners the opportunity to receive accelerated tax deductions for the cost of any energy efficient retrofit lighting project.

Manufacturing companies, distribution centers, and other commercial buildings are all eligible for this tax credit.

Maximum Total Savings: Most companies find that they can save approximately $.60 a square foot on this deduction.

4) Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit-

People who have added renewable energy technologies can receive a tax credit of up to 30% of costs for the additions. Eligible renewable technologies include:

  • solar panels on the roofFuel Cells
  • Solar Water Heat
  • Solar Photovoltaic Panels
  • Residential Wind Turbines
  • Geothermal Heat Pumps

Maximum Total Savings: Up to 30% of Costs for Additions

5) Exemptions for Solar Energy Equipment and Recycling Equipment- The state of Virginia allows the option for cities, towns, and counties to exempt their solar energy equipment from their local property taxes.

You must first have the equipment inspected and certified professionally to get a concrete value of the equipment.

Systems included in the tax exemption include:

  • Solar Photovoltaic Panels
  • Solar Thermal Heating
  • Storage for Solar Energy

Maximum Total Savings: Dependent on the Value of the Equipment

6) Electric Vehicles- If you have purchased a new electric vehicle after 2009, you could be eligible for a tax credit. To get the credit, the electric vehicle must be brand new, have four wheels or more, have a weight rating of lower than 14, 000 lbs, and an electric motor that utilizes a rechargeable battery for a minimum of 4 kilowatt-hours.

Companies that have Electrical Vehicle Charging Stations (or EVs) installed can also save 30% of the installation costs.

Maximum Total Savings: From $2,500 to $7,500 for the car and up to $30,00 for businesses who install EVs.

Using energy efficient technology can save you a bundle on your tax returns. Nipper Electric loves working with green technology and energy efficient equipment. If you have any questions about energy efficient and green technology, call us today at 757-842-1710 or make an appointment online. We’ll make sure you’re ready to save money all year long with energy efficient electrical systems and lighting.

Electrical Inspections Save Lives

Routine Electrical Inspections Save Money & Lives

A professional electrical inspection is one of the best ways to keep your home or business running smoothly. Keeping your home running not only helps you save money, it can also keep you safe. Every year, there are over 350,000 house fires.  These fires might have been avoided with a routine electrical checkup.

Electrical Inspections Save Lives

The Nipper Electric team of professionals is dedicated to serving the needs of the Virginia Beach area. To keep you and your loved ones safe, here is a checklist of tips to help you prevent electrical issues and hazards in your home or office.

  • Perform a Quick Checkup At Least Twice a Year- Harsh weather in the winter and summer can easily stretch your wiring and damage different areas of your home. It is important to do a quick walkthrough of your home and/or business at least at the end of winter and the beginning of fall.  Also, try to keep track of any changes during the year. When you do this you can find electrical equipment that is becoming worn down. Worn out equipment creates a drag on your power.
  • Inspect Outside Wires and Cables, Especially Where They Connect to the Home- The areas where your cables and wires connect to a building are often more vulnerable to damage. Look for the following issues:
    • Frayed Wiring
    • Loose Connections
    • Gnaw Marks from Animals
    • Disconnected Wires
  • Inspect Tree Limbs Near Power Lines, Cables and Wires- During winter, snow and ice can weigh down branches. The extra weight can make tree limbs bend, break or start to touch dangerous electrical wires. The sometimes dry weather of both winter and summer can make branches brittle and dry. These dry branches can also break and land on wires or cables, causing increased danger. If you see any loose branches or branches that have grown close to the wire, immediately contact your power company to have them removed.
  • Have Your Wiring Inspected, Especially in Homes Built in the 1960s and 1970s.- During the 1960s and 1970s, aluminum wiring replaced the copper wiring. While aluminum wiring can still work, it can come with a few issues. Signs of faulty wiring can include:
    • Burnt Wire Insulation
    • Flickering Wiring
    • Warm Plate Covers
    • Warm Switches
    • Warm Receptacles
    • Loose Plugs
    • Outlets Sparking
    • Noticeably Higher Electrical Bills
    • Loose Connections

Aluminum wiring can easily be repaired by professional electricians like your trusted experts at Nipper Electric. The solution can quickly save your home money and prevent electrical dangers.

  • Check Your Panel- Over the winter and summer months, panels tend to carry heavier electrical loads. When your panel becomes overwhelmed by the electrical demand of your household, it can become overheated. Signs of an overheated or overloaded panel include:
    • outside-electrical-panel-workBuzzing Sounds
    • Sparks
    • Overheating
    • Frayed or Damaged Wiring
    • Power Outages

An overloaded panel can cause a lot of issues for your home or business. Contact your trusted electrician in Virginia Beach if you experience any of these issues.

Simple Inspections Done By Professional Electricians in Virginia Beach

A quick routine inspection of your home is important to keep it running smoothly and safely. If you’ve experienced any electrical issues in your home, call Nipper Electric today at 757-842-1710. To avoid future issues, you can schedule an appointment online or in person. Our professional electricians are here to help you with any electrical job, big or small.

Electrical Adjustments Brings Comfort

Creating a Relaxing Retreat in Your Home With Electrical Devices

There is nothing better than relaxing after a long day. You can easily create the perfect retreat in your home with just a few simple touches and lighting adjustments. Nipper Electric provides trusted electrical services in Virginia Beach. Our skilled team of experienced electricians can transform any room into a cozy retreat.

Life is stressful and hectic, but taking the time to relax is important for your health and happiness. Here are a few quick ideas for your favorite rooms in your house.

Living Room/Den Your living room or den can easily convert from home theater to relaxing retreat with a few easy changes. Consider these additions:

  • home-ceiling-fan---Nipper-ElectricCeiling Fans To keep the room cozy all year, consider a quick ceiling fan installation. Ceiling fans will keep the room cool in the summer and help warm it in the winter. They also add a touch of comfort to any room, especially living rooms and dens that can get overcrowded or hot.
  • Pendant Lighting Placing pendant lighting near your favorite reading chair can give you just tranquil and focused lighting you need to sit back and relax. Add a dimmer to adjust the light to the strength you need so you can do projects, read, or simply unwind in the same spot.
  • Home AutomationWith a simple click of the button or even just a swipe on your phone, you could control your whole living room from the comfort of your couch. Home automation for entertainment and electrical systems is a quick and easy installation that makes everything easier.
  • Throws and Pillows For even more comfort, place a couple of warm blankets or throws and some soft pillows to cuddle up in. Enjoy a lazy weekend afternoon curled up on the couch.

Bathrooms- Your bathroom can be a great place to unwind after a long hard day. Create a spa-like setting with some simple touches like these:

  • chandelier-installation---Nipper-ElectricChandeliers-  Chandeliers add an elegant touch to your bathroom while giving you warm, relaxing lighting. Today’s chandeliers can be anything from rustic to sophisticated to match your bathroom’s design and color scheme.
  • Wall Sconces- Adding sconces near your vanity mirror give you the perfect amount of light. They also come in a variety of designs so you can easily match your style.
  • Candles and Scented Soaps- Keep a few of your favorite scented candles and soaps nearby. Not only will you have them ready when you need a soak, they’ll also make the bathroom smell great and feel luxurious.
  • Soft Rugs and Towels- Adding just a few soft and cushy rugs and towels can make your bathroom feel like a spa any day of the week.

Bedroom- Your bedroom should be your personal sanctuary. Simply add these touches and you’ll feel like you are living in luxury:

  • Bedside Accent Lighting- Adding some wall sconces, pendant lighting or simple lamps by the bed give you easy access to lights any time of the day or night and create a warm glow in the room.  You can add dimmers to these lights so you can read at night without disturbing your spouse.
  • flat screen installations - NipperElectricFlat Screen TV-  Installing a flat screen TV in your bedroom can allow you to relax in bed while you watch your favorite programs. These TVs can be easily installed over dressers or on the wall to take up less space.
  • Closet Lighting- Making a few changes in your closet lighting can transform your closet into a deluxe dressing room. A simple addition of some lighting strips on the floor or under cabinet lighting along the ceiling provides elegant lighting to dark spaces inside the closet.

No matter how you design your special place, you can relax when you leave the installations to Nipper Electric. We have been providing trusted electrical services in the Virginia Beach area for over 20 years. Call us today at 757-842-1710 to get started on your private retreat. Or you can make an appointment online. We can’t wait to help you create your perfect relaxation spot.

Is Your Old Wiring Creating a Fire Hazard?

Professional Electrical Inspections Can Save Your Home or Business

Many businesses are based in historic buildings or older buildings that were designed and constructed over 20 years ago. While these buildings are beautiful, they often have wiring issues that put them at risk for electrical fires. Nipper Electric works to keep homes and businesses in the Virginia Beach area safe.

We provide multiple trusted electrical services to ensure the safety of your homes and offices, including:

If your business is located in an older building, it may be time to have your electrical system inspected. Here’s a list of possible wiring issues we frequently come across:

  • Changes in Codes: Electrical codes change over time. Buildings that were built 80, 50, or even just 20 years ago are often not up to current codes. Failing code inspections or not meeting codes could affect your insurance payments as well as any claims should anything go wrong.
  • Bad Modifications: In order to bring buildings up to code or update electrical systems, the wiring is often modified or given basic repairs. Often owners have done DIY projects over that only temporarily fix one problem while creating much bigger electrical issues. Loose wires, bad connections, frayed wires, and live currents could be hiding behind your beautiful walls. These issues could lead to electrical shocks, overloaded panels or electrical fires. An experienced electrician can easily fix these modifications safely, so you don’t have to take the risk of hurting yourself.
  • Worn or Weakened Insulation- Over the years, it is easy for insulation to become worn out or weathered, especially on older wiring. Animals can chew or claw away at the insulation. Weather makes the insulating material dry or brittle. Nails and screws can accidentally tear apart insulation. Without proper protection, your wires become exposed. When exposed wires become hot they can spark or arc and quickly cause a raging electrical fire.
  • Knob & Tube Wiring- Popularly used for many years, knob and tube wiring isn’t dangerous on its own. However, as time goes by, many knob and tube electrical systems are chewed by rodents, modified by owners or simply wear down with age. When wires begin to creep out of their connections or are no longer properly connected, they can become a big fire hazard. Wires can spark, arc, or overload.
  • Wrong Amp Measurements- Electrical usage for today’s businesses is a lot more than the average electrical load commonly needed when these older buildings were constructed. If you have a wiring that is rated for a lower electrical load than your electrical usage, your circuits will soon become overloaded and increase the risk of electrical fires.

electrical-wire-testingAll of these issues can be resolved with a quick inspection by your trusted Virginia Beach electrician. At Nipper Electric, we put the safety of our clients first. We can inspect your wiring and diagnose any issues. Our team of experienced and licensed electricians will work with you to make sure your home is safe and up to code. Call us today at 757-842-1710 or make an appointment online. We’ll keep your business safe and run smoothly.

How To Protect Your Company’s Data from Power Surges

Experienced Electricians in Virginia Beach Can Save Your Data

Generac Installation - NipperElectricIn today’s fast pace world, an electrical power surge can drastically affect your company’s productivity and customer service or, even worse, cripple your data communications and networks. Nipper Electric knows how important your technology and data are to your company. We provide multiple services that will help protect your company from unpredictable power surges.

Keeping Your Business Running Through Power Surges

From electrical storms to city-wide blackouts to internal electrical issues, power surges can disrupt your business and destroy data. Here are a few ways to minimize or prevent damage during a sudden spike of power.

  • commercial-electrical-panelCreate Firewall Sections- Instead of having all of your systems integrated together, section them off. This is a very simple fix that your trusted electrician in Virginia Beach can do quickly. Having sections will create a firewall protect each section from being damaged or affected by the other sections.
    Have your electrician simply run lines for your data communications programs into separate systems. Now, when one part of your data communications system goes down or experiences a virus, you will still have 3 or 4 extra sections operating.
  • Surge Protector Installations- A surge protector provides extra defense against power spikes or surges. The surge protector blocks out any extra power before it can reach your computer or data systems.
    Nipper Electric can determine what level of surge protection your company needs and how many different surge protectors are required to provide a strong enough guard against power spikes and surges.
  • Generac Installation - Nipper Electric IncGenerators- Backup generators can provide protection, backup power, and even extra energy for your operating systems. When a storm hits or power becomes disrupted, a backup generator will provide you with the power you need to continue your work and the protection you need to back up your data. Also, consider uninterruptable power supplies for each computer.

How Power Surges and Outages Affect Your Computers

Almost everything is run by computers, especially in the world of business. Computers are extremely complicated and even delicate pieces of equipment with delicate circuit boards. If these circuit boards become overloaded, you could have a very expensive problem on your hands.

Overheating can damage components and circuitry, causing your entire computer to malfunction. You might even need to purchase an entire system to replace burnt out computers or data systems.

Another issue that computers face is corrupted software. Viruses are sent via email or encrypted in the data from a website. These viruses attack your computer every day, sometimes without you even knowing it.

Using surge protectors, generators, and sectioned firewalls can all help protect your computers and data systems from serious physical damage or malware viruses.  Having backup data and power sources keeps your company running smoothly through emergencies.

If you have any questions about protecting your company data from power surges and viruses, call the experts at Nipper Electric at 757-842-1710 today. We can offer you the technical and electrical support you need to keep your business running no matter what happens. You can also make an appointment online. We’ll provide the protection you need to keep your data safe.

Your Electrical Panel a Fire Hazard?

Professional Electricians Share Tips to Keep Your Home or Office Safe

nipperelectric-working-on-panel-boxEveryone wants their home or office to be safe and welcoming. However, outdated or faulty equipment can put you and your loved ones at great risk for electrical fires. One of the most common issues are outdated or recalled electrical panels.

With 20 years of experience, Nipper Electric knows how to spot a faulty equipment and repair or replace your panel. We love providing our friends and neighbor with top electrical services in the Virginia Beach area. To keep you safe, we have a list of the top dangerous electrical panels.

Federal Pacific Electric- From around 1950 to the 1980s, these electrical panels were extremely popular panels in the U.S. Unfortunately, Federal Pacific panels are extremely dangerous.

When overloaded, the circuits in these breakers fail to trip or shut off, causing numerous fires across the country. Even worse, there have been many reports that circuits stay on even when they are manually shut off. This means dangerous currents of electricity are still running through the wires, even after the breaker has been switched off, creating dangerous opportunities for electrocution.

What to Do: If you have a home built between the years of 1950 and 1990, check your electrical panel. If you see “Federal Pacific Electric” written on the cover of your breaker box, or if the name “Stab-Loc” is written inside the box, call your trusted electrician in Virginia Beach right away.

GTE Sylvania/Zinsco Panels- During the 1970s, GTE Sylvania Zinsco panels were popular for use in the construction of homes. Unfortunately, these panels come with a fatal flaw. Circuit breakers in the panel would melt to the main bus. This makes it impossible for the breakers to trip. Any type of overload or short would cause the wires to melt and cause electrical fires.

outside-electrical-panel-workWhat to Do: Have an experienced electrician in Virginia Beach inspect your box. While many GTE Sylvania boxes are safe and very reliable, the Zinsco product of panels cause these big issues. They can be difficult to identify. The skilled and knowledgeable electricians at Nipper Electric can quickly and easily identify these panels and get them removed and replaced.

Modified Fuse Boxes: While fuse boxes aren’t usually dangerous, modifications made to update them can create electrical hazards. Here are a few to look out for:

  • Using the Wrong Fuse- Your wires and fuses need to have equal loads to ratings. This means if you have a wire that is rated for 15 amps, it needs a fuse that carries 15 amps. Replacing a 15 amp fuse with a larger fuse, like 20 amps, will work temporarily, however it is a dangerous switch. Your wires will overheat and cause an electrical fire.
  • Replacing a Fuse with Metal- Sometimes homeowners use metal objects, like copper pennies to replace fuses. Instead of solving the problem, they create a bigger problem. Your wires are now able to pull much bigger loads of electricity and create a fire.
  • Overloaded Circuits- Most fuse boxes have fewer circuits, this means they can supply less electricity to your home. Often homeowners will try to use too many devices or appliances in one plug. This blows the fuse and could overload your wires, putting you at risk for an electrical fire.

What to Do: If you have a fuse box and you’re not sure if you have these problems, your electrician can come by for a quick inspection. We can check your fuse box for any incorrect fuses, overloading or faulty wiring, so you can stay safe.

electrical-panel-boxSplit Bus Panels-  Most of the today’s panels have a single metal bus bar. In this case, electricity enters the panels and goes through your main breaker to the single bus bar. This bar connects to each circuit breaker and brings power throughout your home. This means you can easily shut off power to your entire home, just by turning off the main breaker.

With a split bus panel, there are two buses but no main disconnect. There can be as many as 6 different breakers that are each labeled main. One breaker will handle half of the circuits while the other handles the other half.

While split bus panels were not initially unsafe, they are so outdated that they haven’t been used for over 30 years. They also don’t follow current electrical codes, which doesn’t allow for multiple disconnects. The age and the multiple disconnects often create issues with circuits not tripping properly.

What to Do: Check your electrical box. Are the breakers split into two groups? Is there one disconnect breaker or many? If you see more than one group of disconnect breakers and/or your breaker is split into two groups, it is time to update your panel.

An unsafe or outdated panel is a serious fire hazard. Do not hesitate to contact Nipper Electric. Your safety is very important to us. We can check your panel and make sure it is up to code and work safely. Call us today at 757-842-1710 or make an appointment online. We are here to serve you with safe, reliable work at reasonable prices. Protect your home from electrical fires before it is too late.