What to Do About Flickering Lights

February 25th, 2015

Flickering lights have been a horror movie staple for decades, and are usually a sign that all is not well in the dark and troubled houses where those movies take place. In reality, though, lights flicker for pretty mundane reasons. There’s no poltergeist, or demon, or any other supernatural being messing with your lightbulbs. Rather, it’s caused by an interruption in the electrical circuit. Let’s take a look at what could cause that kind of interruption, and what you can do about it.

Parts to Check

As mentioned above, flickering lights are a common symptom of an interruption somewhere in the system. The first thing you’ll want to check if your light is flickering is the lightbulb. Turn the light off and wait a minute for the bulb to cool, then unscrew it and screw it back in. Turn the light back on and see if that works. If not, you may have a loose fitting. Turn the light off again and check the fitting this time, making sure that it fits snugly into the socket. If that doesn’t work either, try replacing the lightbulb. You’ll want to eliminate as many possible factors as you can, to try and isolate the problem. If the light is a portable one, try unplugging it and plugging another light into the same outlet. If the flickering stops, your problem is within the light itself. If the flickering continues, you’ve got a slightly bigger problem.

Wiring Issues

If the flickering affects multiple lights, or any light plugged into the same outlet, then the issue is somewhere in the wiring of the house. Often, these kinds of electrical issues are caused by the insulation failing on two adjacent wires, causing them to arc to each other and divert electricity from the circuit. This is an enormous fire hazard, and something you’ll need to have an electrician fix for you. So, if the problem is widespread, turn off the flickering lights and call an electrician as soon as possible.

If your lights are flickering, call Electrical Connection, Inc. We provide professional electrical repair services throughout Farmington.

Common Generator Malfunctions

February 16th, 2015

If you’ve ever been inconvenienced by a power outage, a whole-house generator may be a useful addition to your home. Whole-house generators can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars in repairs over time in some homes. Power outages cost homeowners a lot of money, especially if they have to replace spoiled food items, seek alternative shelter, or schedule repairs for burst pipes and damaged electrical equipment. In other cases, a power outage can be even more serious if someone in the home requires medical equipment to run at all times. Whole-house generators offer many advantages over small portable units, as they can power your entire home seconds after a power outage with very little hassle.

And as an added bonus, generators rarely run into any problems that necessitate major repairs. Most generators aren’t used very frequently, so as long as there’s a reliable fuel source (propane or natural gas), the generator should kick in soon after the power shuts off. However, there are a few potential malfunctions you may want to look out for when you bring a new generator in your home.

  • Wiring Issues – A generator is wired directly into your home’s electrical system so that it can sense when there is no longer an electrical current running through the home. Wiring issues are rare but they may result from poorly-maintained equipment or faulty installation. Be sure to schedule maintenance for your generator from time to time to make sure all of the electrical equipment is functioning.
  • Battery Failure – In some generators, batteries will need frequent replacement. Batteries can wear down if they become exposed to the air as this can allow lead sulfates to develop.
  • Refrigerant Leaks – Generators have a small supply of coolant inside of them in order to keep the system from overheating, and while this shouldn’t dissipate, it could leak over time.
  • Oil/Fuel Leaks – Most generators run on either propane or natural gas. If you encounter a leak, it could be not only detrimental to the system, but also dangerous, another reason regular maintenance is so important.

Contact Electrical Connection, Inc., a company experienced with repairs, maintenance, and installation of propane and natural gas generators in Newington. Give us a call today!

Some of the Unusual Movies Released for Valentine’s Day

February 14th, 2015

Hollywood has always tried to match movies up to the seasons to draw droves of viewers to the theaters: October is packed with fright-offerings, while the winter holidays skew toward warm and pleasing family films (as well as Oscar hopefuls). Valentine’s Day falls in an odd spot when it comes to the movie release calendar, however, since February tends to be a slower time for the film industry. The studios are as likely to slot strange movies that don’t fit anywhere else in their annual schedules into the Valentine’s Day weekend as they are films with powerful romantic appeal.

So, while the second weekend of February has featured hugely successful romantic comedies like Hitch, The Wedding Singer, and (of course) Valentine’s Day, some truly weird choices have debuted in this weekend as well. And a few have even gone on to tremendous success despite the bizarre match with the holiday. Here are a couple of the odder Valentine’s Day movie releases:

  • Dracula (1931): Yes, this Halloween perennial and the start of Universal Studio’s Classic Monsters actually came out on Valentine’s Day! But perhaps this makes some sense, as the Dracula legend has often received a “doomed lover” approach in the many years since Bela Lugosi made the aristocratic vampire a screen icon.
  • The Silence of the Lambs (1991): Does any film seem less appropriate for Valentine’s Day than this unnerving and sometimes very violent psychological thriller? What’s even more astonishing than the film’s release date is that The Silence of the Lambs eventually nabbed the Oscar for Best Picture, an almost unheard of occurrence for a movie released so early in the year.
  • Daredevil (2003): This Marvel comic adaptation featuring Ben Affleck as a blind superhero does contain a romantic subplot, but the stronger connection to Valentine’s Day may just be that Daredevil wears a bright red costume.
  • A Good Day to Die Hard (2013): The least successful of the Die Hard film franchise, this is an excellent example of a studio dropping a film into a weekend where it doesn’t fit in the hopes that it works as counter-programming. (It didn’t.)
  • Wayne’s World (1992): Now here is an example of counter-programming that clicked with audiences. This comedy based on a Saturday Night Live sketch turned into one of that year’s biggest hits and spawned a sequel.

Whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day with a trip to the movie theater, or you have your own special plans, everyone here at Electrical Connection Inc. hopes you and your loved ones have a wonderful weekend.

The Benefits of Attic Fans

February 4th, 2015

The air temperature and ventilation in your attic space can have a significant effect on your home’s energy efficiency. One of the best ways to keep the air in your attic space balanced during the warm months is with the installation of an attic fan. Attic space can become very hot during the warm months – upwards of 150 degrees – which can makes its way into your home via heat transfer. With the professional installation of an attic fan by a trained electrician, your attic can have the ventilation it needs. Electrical work is complicated, so when looking for an expert, look to the company you can count on: Electrical Connection, Inc.

How Does It Work?

Attic fans help ventilate your attic space by drawing cool air from the outside into your space and pushing the hot, stagnant air to the outside. Keeping the hot air moving in your attic space helps prevent it from sitting and increasing in temperature throughout the day.

Benefits of an Attic Fan

Attic fans offer you and your home the following benefits:

Reduces Stress on Your AC

When excess heat transfers to your home from your attic space, your air conditioning system has to battle this excess heat in order to cool your home to the temperature you’ve set. With an attic fan, the excess heat is circulated out of your attic space, allowing the space to stay cooler, which helps take the load off your air conditioner.

Saves Energy

When your AC doesn’t have to work as hard to battle the excess heat from your attic space, it doesn’t have to work as hard. This can help save energy.

Keeps Your Roof Healthy

The heat from your attic space doesn’t just try to move into your home, it also heats the roof and the roof shingles. Heat dries things, and if your attic space becomes hot enough for a long period of time, the heat from the attic can dry out the roofing materials and cause damage.

Attic fans can be improperly installed, which can cause the cool air to be sucked into your attic space and vented to the outside. Hiring an electrical expert in Hartford, CT helps ensure the proper installation of your new attic fan. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment.

Why Consider a Lighting Retrofit for Your Home?

January 30th, 2015

Have you ever wondered how nice it would be to get the most from your home’s lighting, both indoor and outdoor? The fixtures may be great, but the life of your light bulbs and cost to keep them on may have you wondering if there is a way to maximize the life of the bulb while reducing your costs. The answer is yes, there is: by scheduling a lighting retrofit for your home in Avon.

What Is a Lighting Retrofit?

A lighting retrofit is a package of hardware that installs right into your current light fixtures that allows the light bulb to operate with better efficiency. Kits include different pieces of hardware, including brackets, fasteners, screws, sockets and a reflector; the reflector helps direct the light precisely for maximum illumination. Additional parts that may be needed are ballasts, which is something your technician will determine.

Why Not Just Redesign?

Redesigning your lighting is an option, but if you are happy with both your lighting layout and fixtures, a lighting retrofit may be a better way to go. A retrofit allows you to keep your current fixtures and lighting design; the retrofit simply enhances the ability of your current light fixtures to perform better. As such, a retrofit can save you a considerable amount of money over a new lighting redesign.

What Are the Benefits of Retrofitting?

Here are a few reasons why you may want to consider retrofitting the lighting in your home:

  • Better energy efficiency – retrofitting allows you to use better-performing light bulbs, so you can see an energy savings of up to 30%.
  • Less bulb changing – newer, longer lasting bulbs that fit with your retrofit kit will last for tens of thousands of hours; instead of changing a light bulb every three months, you can change one every few years.
  • Stronger illumination – the retrofit kit and bulbs are designed to illuminate better and more precisely, which helps you and your home be safer and more secure.

If you’ve been looking to get more from your home’s lighting, call Electrical Connection, Inc. today and schedule an appointment for our lighting service for your Avon home.

Can Outdoor Lighting Make My Home More Secure?

January 21st, 2015

Many people look at outdoor lighting as a decorative addition, but the truth is that a good outdoor lighting plan adds a level of security to a home along with warmth and attractiveness. Well-lit areas typically ward off potential thieves and also allow you and your loved ones to see at night, no matter the time of year. By keeping certain design aspects in mind along with a focus on security, your professional outdoor lighting technician in Berlin, CT can create great outdoor lighting for your home that also offers a level of security:

Placement

The placement of outdoor lighting is important. While many properties tend to use highly-placed, bright lights, there are other locations that lighting can, and should, be placed to maximize security. Some locations include in or behind shrubbery; up and down walkways; inside all doorways; under steps and ledges; and at the base or in the canopy of trees.

Use Sensors and Timers

Sensors and timers are great for making sure your lighting comes on as soon as it starts to get dark. One type of sensor called a photosensor can detect when daylight is diminishing and automatically turns on your outdoor lighting in accordance with the day’s disappearing light. Timers can be set to turn the lights on and off at a specific time, ensuring that you’ll have light when you need it.

Install Shielded Fixtures

It may seem counter-intuitive to install lighting fixtures that have some light shielding on them, but there’s a reason for this: glare. Outdoor lights that do not have any shielding can create tremendous glare that negates the point of having a light in the first place.

Use Different Types of Light Bulbs

There are a number of different types of light bulbs available for homeowners, including LED, vapor, solar and high-wattage bulbs. Mixing the bulbs to maximize your outdoors can create a lighting plan that highlights your home while also creating security.

Working with an expert is the best way to ensure that your outdoor lighting does what you need it to. Call Electrical Connection, Inc. today and schedule an appointment for outdoor lighting installation in Berlin, CT with one of our trained experts.

When Should I Schedule Generator Installation?

January 13th, 2015

Generators are a great tool for those in the right circumstances. However, they aren’t necessary for everyone. As such, the first thing you need to do when considering generator installation is consider why you need it in the first place. The question should not be “when should I install my generator?” but “do I actually need one?” Once you answer the latter question, the answer to the former is simple: right away. Let’s examine the reasons why you might install a generator as soon as possible.

A Need for Reliable Power

This is really the entire point of having a generator. There are places across the country where electricity is not a guarantee, especially during inclement weather like snowstorms or hurricanes. Unfortunately, it is precisely during those times that you need power the most. A generator will keep the most vital parts of your home up and running, even when the electrical grid goes down. This will also help keep you safe, by keeping appliances like your refrigerator up and running so that you can feed yourself until the crisis is over.

Keeping Vital Equipment Running

There are all sorts of situations that necessitate the installation of specialized equipment in someone’s home. Usually, this equipment is medical in nature, allowing someone with a serious condition to remain at home while still receiving care. If this medical equipment fails during a power outage, it can put a person’s life in danger. A generator will ensure that vital equipment keeps running long enough for a person to survive until the power comes back on.

Convenience

There are plenty of people who work from home, using their computers and other devices to transmit data across the world. Though some can afford a short power outage here or there, others are working with extremely time-sensitive material and can’t afford a delay. For those who cannot have their work interrupted, a generator can enable them to keep working.

If you’re interested in scheduling generator installation, call Electrical Connection, Inc. We provide professional generator installation services throughout the Hartford area.

Why Consider Track Lighting for Your Home

January 7th, 2015

You have multiple options today when you want to install new indoor lighting for a house. Whether you are building a new home, remodeling sections of your current home, or simply want a lighting face-lift for a room, a quality lighting design can make all the difference. Poorly chosen and installed lights will create harsh, unpleasant conditions or leave a room too dark, so make sure that you only rely on skilled lighting professionals when it’s time to put in new lights.

With all the choices you have for lighting, start by making the best choice for lighting installers: Electrical Connection, Inc. We provide comprehensive lighting services in Hartford, CT and the surrounding areas, and with our assistance you will receive the high quality new light design for whatever rooms in your house require it.

One popular idea for indoor illumination is track lighting. Here are some of the reasons you may wish to consider track lighting for your home:

  • Adjustable: Track lighting gives you the benefit of fixed lights, but unlike recessed lighting, you can move and adjust track lighting to fit changing needs. This makes track lighting very beneficial in a kitchen, where glares from surfaces can become distracting and cause eye-strain, but where large amounts of lights are often necessary for effective food preparation. You can set the track lighting in the kitchen for either ambient or direct illumination, depending on what you need at the time.
  • Art accent lighting: With track lighting, you can easily create accent lights for pictures, sculptures, and other decorations, while still allowing other lights on the same track to create softer ambient illumination elsewhere in the room. If you decide to move the décor items that you want accented, you only need to adjust the track light to accommodate the change—something you can’t do with recessed lighting.
  • Easy installation: You can have track lighting put anywhere—ceilings, beams—without having to worry about boring into building material. Since that lights all receive power from the track, they do not need to have separate wires run to each to lamp. Not only is installation a fast, unobtrusive job, but it is very flexible and allows you many options.

But for all these benefits, track lighting won’t help you unless you have the lights properly installed by professionals. Call Electrical Connection, Inc. and our Hartford, CT lighting designers will figure out the best way to put track lighting into your home so you enjoy all of its advantages for many years. We also offer repair services 24/7 to keep your home lit the way you want it.

12 Grapes for 12 Months: An Unusual New Year’s Tradition

January 1st, 2015

Across the world, many cultures have specific traditions to celebrate the transition from the old year to the new. In the U.S. and Canada, we associate New Year’s with the ball in Times Square, kissing at the stroke of midnight, resolutions, and singing “Old Lang Syne.” But for many Spanish-speaking countries, one of the key traditions has to do with eating grapes as fast as possible.

The “twelve grapes” tradition comes from Spain, where it is called las doce uvas de la suerte (“The Twelve Lucky Grapes”). To ensure good luck for the next year, people eat one green grape for each of the upcoming twelve months. However, you cannot just eat the grapes during the first day of the new year any time you feel like it. You must eat the twelve grapes starting at the first stroke of midnight on Nochevieja (“Old Night,” New Year’s Eve) as one year changes to another. And you have to keep eating: with each toll of midnight, you must eat another grape, giving you about twelve seconds to consume all of them. If you can finish all dozen grapes—you can’t still be chewing on them!—before the last bell toll fades, you will have a luck-filled new year.

Where did this tradition come from? No one is certain, although it appears to be more than a century old. One story about the Twelve Lucky Grapes is that a large crop of grapes in 1909 in Alicante, Spain led to the growers seeking out a creative way to eliminate their surplus. But recent research through old newspapers shows that perhaps the tradition goes back almost thirty years earlier to the 1880s, where eating grapes was meant to mock the upper classes who were imitating the French tradition of dining on grapes and drinking champagne on New Year’s Eve.

It can be difficult to consume grapes this fast, and the lucky grapes of New Year’s Eve have seeds in them, making the job even trickier. (Seedless grapes are not common in Spain the way they are over here.) For people to manage eating all the grapes before the last stroke of midnight requires swallowing the seeds as well and only taking a single bite of each grape.

Oh, there is one more twist to the tradition: you have to be wearing red undergarments, and they have to be given to you as a gift. The origins of this part of the tradition are even more mysterious, and it’s anybody’s guess why this started.

Whether you go for the grape challenge or find another way to ring in New Year’s, all of us at Electrical Connection, Inc. hope you have a great start to the year and a, uhm, fruitful 2015.

The Composition of Snowflakes: Are No Two Alike?

December 25th, 2014

“No two snowflakes are alike.”

This is a statement nearly every schoolchild has heard at least once, either while crafting unique snowflakes with a sheet of folded paper and some scissors or while learning a lesson on the science of snow. While even most scientists don’t quite understand what causes a snowflake to form such complex and beautiful columns and points and branches, one thing is for certain, the composition of snowflakes guarantees that no two will ever be identical.  However, it is possible for two snowflakes to appear to be nearly exactly alike.

A snowflake begins to form when a piece of dust catches water vapor out of the air. Water is created when two hydrogen molecules attach to an oxygen molecule. The two hydrogen molecules are angled from one another in such a way that they form a hexagonal shape when they come together during the freezing process; thus, a snowflake begins as a simple hexagonal shape or as layers of hexagons called diamond dust. The emergent properties that follow from the original hexagon are what differentiate one snowflake from another, as the humidity, the temperature in the air, and many other factors (some of which remain unclear to scientists) allow each snowflake to form in an entirely unique way with a seemingly endless variety of shapes.

However, in 1988, a scientist named Nancy Knight claimed to have located two that were the same while studying snowflakes as part of an atmospheric research project. And it appeared to be so; when put under a microscope, the emergent properties looked nearly identical. But while it is feasible that two snowflakes can appear to be exactly alike on the outside, they are never identical on an atomic level. Deuterium is an atom that appears attached to about one in every 3000 hydrogen molecules in the air. Because there are millions of atoms that make up a snowflake, the random assortment of deuterium in any two snowflakes—even in two that so very closely resemble one another—simply cannot be the same.

Here at Electrical Connection, we’d like to remind you to grab a cup of cocoa and relax with your family this holiday, perhaps by crafting some unique snowflake creations of your own. We wish you a very happy holiday season, from our family to yours!