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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  • Old equipment: When your appliances—especially space heaters—are outdated, you run the risk of creating an additional fire hazard.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.

Get the Best Network Cabling for Your Business

If you have bad network cabling for your business, you open yourself up to a whole slew of annoying problems like a slow network, unreliable connections and potentially significant downtime. Therefore, it’s important to set yourself up for success when developing your company’s network by getting the best network cabling you can and hiring professionals to install any high voltage wiring in Alexandria, VA.

Here’s some important information about why network cabling matters so much and what you can do to make sure you’re setting up a smoothly operating network:

  • Categories of cabling: When you first begin to research your network cabling options, you’ll notice that there are several primary categories of ethernet cabling. They’re labeled with numbers and letters going up to 6a. Generally, the higher you go, the better the speed. Categories 6 and 6a will give you the best results, though 5e is still used in some particular areas, especially if the cable is only traveling a short distance. Lower category cabling is only used when there are significant budgetary restraints or if data transfer needs are particularly low.
  • Speeds: One of your primary goals with network cabling should be to do what you can to keep your speeds consistently high. Make sure the cabling matches up with the hardware you’re using so you’re giving yourself the best ability to benefit from consistently high speeds. It should also be fairly easy to upgrade your system so you can keep it running at speeds that allow your business to remain as competitive and as efficient as possible.
  • Reliability: Just as important as speed is reliability. The last thing you want is to have to deal with major slowdowns or potential downtime that could destroy productivity in your workplace. Cabling technology has seen some significant enhancements over the past couple decades. We’ve now reached the point where fiber technologies have created the capability for 1,000 Mbps networks. Even if you’re not achieving that blistering level of speed, there are still plenty of opportunities to give yourself a boost. Today’s cabling is faster and more durable than ever before, though there are still some types that are more affected than others by noise caused by temperature changes, electromagnetic interference and other issues. So not only do you need to get cables that are resistant to these types of interference, but you also need to lay them out in a way that protects them as much as possible from various forms of signal interference.
  • Future proofing: Whenever you’re working in your business’s network, it’s a good idea to keep potential future technological developments in mind. This can be difficult, but IT professionals can advise you about current trends in world of IT and advise you on any future developments that may occur and strategies you can employ to help you future proof your network.

These are just a few tips you should be sure to keep in mind when selecting network cabling for your business. To get more information from commercial electrical contractors in Alexandria, VA, reach out to Walsh Electric and we’ll be happy to answer your questions.

Why You Should Leave Hot Tub Wiring Jobs to the Pros

There are few things better than a summer evening spent lounging in a hot tub! The warm water and feeling the jets on your muscles can really help you to relax and enjoy life after a long day. Of course, if you’re having problems with your hot tub, you’re going to need to get those resolved before you can make full use of it this summer.

While there may be a few types of hot tub maintenance you can perform yourself, there are certain jobs that you should always leave up to the professionals. For example, anything involving the electrical system should only be handled by skilled technicians. It’s a big safety risk to start messing around with high voltage wiring in Alexandria, VA if you don’t know what you’re doing, and there is a fair amount of wattage that gets used in a hot tub’s electrical system.
With this in mind, here are just a few reasons why you should leave the job to the pros if you believe electrical issues are to blame for your hot tub malfunctions.

Safety

Obviously, a lack of training and experience is not conducive to safe installation or repair of electrical systems. There’s the simple fact that water and electricity right next to each other is a big safety risk as it is, but messing with electrical systems when you aren’t properly equipped and trained to do so is a big hazard as well.

A professional electrician has all the safety training and practical experience you need to get the job done. They’ll be able to make sure all of the electrical units are properly protected in the system to prevent electrocution, as well as make sure all circuit breakers and other safety measures are functioning properly.

Proper setup

If you’re performing a new hot tub installation, then you also need to know exactly how to configure your hot tub system. For example, the control panel, timers and switches must all be located a certain distance away from the tub to prevent any of their electrical components from being damaged by splashing water. A person must not be able to touch the switches or controls while they are in the tub—otherwise, it could result in electrocution. A professional will understand these issues and be able to properly setup the wiring to ensure safe use of the tub for all.

Permitting

Working with professionals allows you to pass off the responsibility for securing all the proper permits for wiring. Electricians go to the proper local office in your area to pull the permits needed for the job, so you don’t have to worry about handling that task yourself.

These are just a few examples of why it’s such a good idea for you to place your trust in commercial electrical contractors in Alexandria, VA when dealing with high voltage wiring for your hot tub repair or installation. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, please get in touch with the experts at Walsh Electric today.