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Optimize Your Office with Network Cabling

Offices these days are using a wider range of devices that use wireless network connectivity, but that doesn’t mean structured cabling systems have become outdated. Though wireless has become standard for convenience, there is no denying that structured cable networks still provide a significantly more reliable connection and greater security than wireless.

Here are just a few of the reasons why you should focus on optimizing your office with network cabling with the help of our commercial electrical contractors in Alexandria, VA:

  • Structured cabling systems are simpler: The vast majority of businesses use a variety of devices and equipment all at the same time. Single cabling systems significantly cut down on the complexity associated with the use of multiple wiring infrastructure in a single location. This means that if a problem occurs and you’re using structured cabling, you will have a much easier time pinpointing the problem that you need to solve. The result is greater efficiency and ease of use for everyone in your office, and an easier job for your IT professionals.
  • Less downtime: We already noted that structured cabling makes for better organization. This means it becomes easier to solve connectivity problems, and your business won’t suffer from as much downtime. Considering downtime can lead to lost sales opportunities, this is an important benefit. In this way, structured cabling can help save your business some money.
  • Network Cable

  • Flexibility: Structured cabling is a highly flexible type of network system. It can easily accommodate new additions and moves to new locations. This means if you ever relocate, you won’t need to worry about having to start from scratch with your cabling, which can be a big source of relief for companies that have invested a significant amount of time in it already.
  • Adaptability: Structured cabling systems provide very high bandwidth to those who use it. This means you’ll be able to support a wider variety of applications that might require more bandwidth, such as video conferencing, streaming and various other forms of multimedia, all without interrupting your connection and the system in general. This also helps you future-proof your system—with greater bandwidth and a wider range of capabilities, you’ll be prepared for new technologies and features as they get introduced, which, given the speed of technological innovation we’ve seen in our modern world, is a crucial benefit to be able to take advantage of.
  • Simple management: A structured cable system allows you to keep better track of which cable is connected to which location, meaning you don’t have to constantly get in touch with a network support team to deal with cable management. Again, this also makes it much easier to find problems when they do occur within your system.
  • If you’re interested in learning more about structured cable networks and the various benefits associated with them, we encourage you to contact the commercial electrical contractors in Alexandria, VA at Walsh Electric today. We’d be happy to answer any of your questions and tell you more about your options.

Use Occupancy Sensors to Automate Your Lighting

Are you looking for a way to save some money on your utility bills at your office?
We encourage you to look into using occupancy sensors to benefit from greater automation of your lighting throughout your facility. Studies show that lighting can account for 20 percent of energy use in an office building. The use of lighting controls like occupancy sensors can reduce that amount by 25 percent, which, over a number of years, can add up to some significant savings.

Occupancy sensors are not a particularly new feature for electrical lighting installation in Alexandria, VA, though the technology has certainly become more sophisticated over the decades. If you have been under the assumption that occupancy sensors don’t work well or can be an inconvenience, you are likely basing that off of the outdated, inferior sensor technology. Today’s sensors will almost completely eliminate issues of lights turning off while occupants are in the room but sitting still, which had previously been the most common complaint associated with these sensors.

Here’s a quick sampling of some of the types of technology used in today’s occupancy sensors.

Ultrasonic motion detection
Ultrasonic technology is ideal for locations in which there are small movements that occur over extended periods of time, such as a person typing at a computer. The technology involves the release of a pulse into the space, and that pulse bouncing back. If there is movement in the space, the bounce back comes with a different reading, and the sensor will then know there is movement. The sensor is also capable of reading these pulses around corners. This technology does have slightly higher power requirements, but it is highly effective at reading what might otherwise be considered minute movements.

Passive infrared motion detection
Passive infrared (PIR) sensors are ideal for detecting major sources of motion, such as a person walking through a space. It works by tracking heat sources and their movement when in direct range of view of the sensor. These sensors are less expensive, and have lower power requirements.

Dual-tech motion detection
This type of sensor comes at a higher price, but also gives you greater flexibility, as it detects both major and minor movements as described above. Occupancy sensors will not turn on the lighting until both PIR and ultrasonic elements in the system have been triggered.

The most holistic occupancy sensor setups will make use of each type of technology as much as possible. There might, for example, be hallways in your building where PIR sensors are more than sufficient for your needs. Rarely will you have a person just sitting in the hallway for long periods of time, so it makes sense to use PIR technology there.
Office spaces that are actively used throughout the day, however, are better served by ultrasonic or dual-tech motion detection to track those smaller movements.

For more information about how you can make effective use of motion detection and occupancy sensors, contact Walsh Electric to discuss your electrical lighting installation in Alexandria, VA.

How to Prepare Your Electrical Panel for the Winter

Getting ready for the winter season can involve more than you might have considered—for example, have you thought about making sure your electrical panel is in good working order? With the extra heating and holiday light needs, it is useful to make sure that everything is in good working order so that your holiday season goes smoothly. Read on for some tips from the residential electrical contractors in Alexandria, VA at Walsh Electric.

Proactive steps

  • Be efficient: Have you heard of “phantom loads”? That’s the measure of electricity that your appliances require when plugged in, even if you’re not using them. By keeping your appliances and other electrical items unplugged when not in use, you’re reducing your energy load.
  • Prepare a generator: If you live in an area prone to power outages, making sure your generator is charged and ready to go is key. This is especially important because having a power outage in the winter can mean frozen pipes.
  • Test your outlets and detectors: Use a multimeter to detect any electrical outlets that are underperforming or may be failing.
  • Close and cover your panel: Keeping your panel closed prevents it from acquiring moisture, which can seriously damage your electricity.

Sources of problems

  • Space heaters: Space heaters require a huge amount of electricity, and thus can create a heightened risk for house fires. When you use them during the cold and rainy weather, be sure to unplug them after use.
  • Static electricity: Static resulting from dry air can result in sparks and fire damage. To combat this, use a home humidifier to keep your air at the proper level of moisture.
  • Power outages: Power outages can be dangerous to your home—is your panel over- or underloaded? Getting your home’s electrical system inspected can help you prepare, as can getting a generator to compensate for additional outages.
  • Tripping breakers: When you have the furnace, space heaters, microwave and Christmas tree lights going, you’re almost certain to trip a breaker. Ask your electrician about how you can prevent fires or power outages.
  • Old equipment: When your appliances—especially space heaters—are outdated, you run the risk of creating an additional fire hazard. Many older appliances are simply not compatible with newer homes and today’s electrical loads. If an appliance is over five years old, it may need to be replaced, but check with an electrician to be sure.

If you’re in doubt, get a residential electrical inspection. Walsh Electric can come inspect your home and give you the peace of mind to get through the winter.

Residential electrical contractors in Alexandria, VA

Not sure if your electrical panel will survive the winter? When you need residential electrical contractors in Alexandria, VA, call Walsh Electric. We’ve served the community for over 30 years, offering a high level of expertise for all your electrical needs. From commercial and industrial clients to residential customers, we provide a range of services that can’t be matched. Best of all, we have licensed technicians on call 24/7 to provide support right when you need it. Contact us today and get a free estimate!

What Are the Benefits of Electrical Submetering?

In a world where energy conservation is of the utmost importance, electrical submetering can be a crucial tool for eliminating waste. Electrical submetering is an increasingly popular technique used in the residential, commercial and industrial sectors to pinpoint and eradicate unnecessary energy use in every form.

The best part is that homeowners can get the job accomplished with a little help from local residential electrical contractors in Alexandria, VA.

What is electrical submetering?

Simply put, electrical submetering is the division of the flow of energy into its individual channels before they hit the primary electrical meter. Say, for example, that an apartment owner has a building with three units, and he or she wants to determine how much power each individual tenant is using month over month.

Installing power monitors that measure that use can accomplish the task with ease.

Why should I use electrical submetering?

Though you may not have considered it beforehand, there are many benefits to hiring residential electrical contractors in Alexandria, VA and putting electrical submetering to use as soon as possible:

  • It can save you money: The most apparent benefit of electrical submetering is the cost-saving aspect. As your new power monitors help you locate and remove electrical waste, you’ll be saving money on your monthly electrical bill. That’s not just pennies, either. Some experts suggest that electrical submetering can pay for itself in as little as two years.
  • Do your part for the environment: As more and more people become environmentally conscious, it’s essential to change with the times and embrace new philosophies. Learning to save energy is one of those new lessons; electrical submetering can help you do just that.
  • Learn the details of your establishment: No matter which industry you’re in, a little bit of knowledge is never a bad thing. Electrical submetering can help you find out which aspects of your business or home are using the most energy, where potential excess is in play, where spikes are occurring on your grid, where possible repairs may be needed and so much more.
  • Get accurate feedback before you get your bill: Electrical submetering offers users the opportunity to get accurate feedback on a near-instantaneous basis. The result is that you get specific information firsthand, right away. Knowing the numbers can also add an extra layer of financial verification when the electrical bill comes due.

Walsh Electric is your one-stop electrical shop

Owning a piece of property comes with so many chores, and finding a great electrician shouldn’t be one of them. If you’re looking for the most experienced residential electrical contractors in Alexandria, VA, then look no further than Walsh Electric. We’ve worked tirelessly to ensure that every one of our valued clients walks away satisfied—that’s why we’ve been a treasured part of the community since 1985.

Whether you need repairs, upgrades or maintenance, if your problem is electrical, Walsh Electric can handle it. Give us a call and schedule an appointment today—we look forward to hearing from you soon!

Tips for Setting Up Your Wireless Smart Home Technology

More people than ever before are using smart home devices to control some of the basic functions of their home. Which specific device you use is really up to you—there are plenty of options available these days. But if you’re a beginner to the technology, you might be wondering how it works, what types of devices you can control and how you can get set up with the technology.

Here’s some information from our residential electrical contractors in Alexandria, VA about getting prepared to set up your smart home technology.

Taking control

As a general rule, it’s a good idea to look for smart home devices that give you the widest range of compatibility so you can easily build up the functionality of your home without having to worry about whether or not you’ll have an issue finding compatible items in the future. Here are just a few examples of some of the most basic features you can control with your smart home technology:

  • Lights: Smart bulbs allow you to control individual lights or groups of lights in your home, as well as their brightness levels and color temperatures. You can set them to automatically turn on or off based on certain triggers. You don’t necessarily have to use smart bulbs, though—you can instead use smart switches to control the lights you already have set up in your house.
  • Smart thermostats: Smart thermostats have exploded in popularity in recent years, as they give people a way to control their heating and cooling without having to get up and walk to their thermostat. As long as you have an internet connection, you can control your heating and cooling from your phone. You could, for example, set your air conditioning to turn on right as you’re leaving work so it’s ready for you when you get home.
  • Security systems: You can build security systems into your smart home functionality. This includes cameras, door sensors, emergency sirens and much more. These features help you more effectively monitor your home and be aware of issues such as break-ins or trespassers.
  • TVs: You can connect your home theater setup to your smart home functionality, allowing you to control multiple devices at once with a smart remote and enabling you to integrate it with other systems that you’ve already connected.
  • More: There is a near-limitless number of possibilities for your smart home system. You can control sprinkler systems, appliances and just about anything you’d plug into a wall outlet by using smart outlets. All of this can be paired with smart home systems that allow for both voice and phone control.

The hub you select is really up to you—some people have preferences based on brand loyalty, while others simply go with whatever’s on sale. But most of the hubs you’ll find today are highly compatible with smart devices and support numerous protocols. You just want to make sure that whatever hub you select gives you room to grow your network of smart devices.

For more information about setting up your smart home technology, contact Walsh Electric today to speak with our residential electrical contractors in Alexandria, VA.