Circuit Breakers and Fuses

The Answer to Keeping You Cool this Summer… It’s Not What You Think!

We can all agree, the summer heat has arrived. While we love the heat when we’re relaxing by the pool or discovering a new beach or lake, we don’t love it inside our homes. Maybe you’ve noticed your home isn’t getting as cool as it did last year or it’s taking a lot longer for it to reach a desirable temperature? You may be on the market for a new HVAC system. But, you may be surprised to realize that when you replace or upgrade an HVAC system, you may need an electrician to replace or upgrade your electric service panel as well.

Circuit Breakers and FusesSo, how does your electric service panel have anything to do with your air conditioning system? Great question. Adding or upgrading any major appliance can take a toll on an old electrical system. Your current electrical panel may not provide adequate energy. If this is the case, any time you power up your new appliance, your circuit breaker will trip. This is because your electrical needs exceed your amp capacity. The result will be no electricity, no air conditioning, and lots of headaches!

Additionally, you should have one of our Sacramento or San Jose electricians upgrade your electric service panel if:

  • You own an older home with outdated electrical wiring
  • Circuits and fuses are frequently “blowing out”
  • Your computers or cell phones are being damaged by your electric outputs
  • You have frequent “brown outs”
  • You’re planning on “adding on” to your home

Don’t spend another hot summer day suffering inside your own home. Hiring an electrician to replace or upgrade your electric panel to a higher amperage might be your answer to keeping your air conditioner functioning properly. The result? A much cooler home! If you’ve just replaced your HVAC unit and are concerned your electrical panel may need to be upgraded, contact one of Main Stream Electric’s experienced panel replacement electricians for a free consultation. We offer convenient appointments and personalized electrical services. In Sacramento, call 916-439-5253 or in San Jose call 408-422-8730.

Electric Charging Stations

An EV Charging Station as a Business Perk? Definitely!

When we think of employee benefits, an Electric Vehicle (EV) charging station probably doesn’t come to mind immediately. We may feel a benefit is more about medical or dental perks? Or preferred parking and time off? But, as we all get a little “greener”, start to realize the impact our vehicle’s fuel emissions have on our environment, and vehicle operation costs, the idea of an electric car becomes more appealing.

Most EV owners hire electricians to install charging stations in their homes. It’s convenient to plug your car in at night because it’s ready to go in the morning. But, what about those with a longer commute or errands to run after work? Plugging your EV into a charging station at your office is the perfect solution!

There are many benefits to having one of our Sacramento or San Jose electricians install an EV charging station at your commercial business.

Electric Charging StationsEmployee Retention and New Employee Attraction

When businesses decide to hire an electrician to install EV charging stations on site, they not only give employees an added benefit, increasing retention, they offer a unique benefit that attracts new employees. A business with EV charging stations also tells employees and future employees they care about the environment and want to help them make the most of their EV.

Manufacturing of Battery Electric Vehicles is on the Rise

Electric Vehicles and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) vehicles are now being made by many big name car manufacturers including Nissan, GM, Ford, BMW, and Mitsubishi. The concept continues to grow and change based on personal mobility needs. But, it’s safe to say, EV’s are redefining the transportation industry.

Convenient Recharging Stations

While the primary “refueling” stop is usually at a home garage, EV drivers also look for alternative spots while they are out and about. If charging station are available at their place of employment, it takes the stress out of finding another spot during a lunch break or shopping trip. Additionally, owners of restaurants, coffee shops, or classic “pit stops”, can offer EV owners an easy place to “fuel up”.

Gain a Competitive Edge

Employers will attract clean-driving candidates to their business. Retail stores, restaurants, or a businesses can offer a practical value to patrons. EV drivers will look for grocery stores or shopping establishments that have EV charging stations so they can shop and recharge in the same place.

Increased Traffic and Value

Businesses with EV chargers will draw EV drivers to their establishment. Since charging takes some time, customers may need to “linger” longer in a store. This could literally mean more sales and traffic to a business. If office buildings, business parks, parking garages, and restaurants offer EV chargers, they will build loyalty and offer value to EV-driving employees.

If you’re considering having an electrician install EV charging stations at your business, also consider that even those who do not own electric vehicles will notice the convenience of the station. Maybe they’re tired of spending so much money on gasoline or love how smooth electric vehicles drive? Whatever the case, hiring an electrician to install an EV charging station at your business is worthwhile and beneficial. Main Stream Electric can install EV charging stations at your business. We are a Tesla preferred electrician and a Bosch Certified Contractor. If you’re interested in learning more or how to get started, contact one of our knowledgeable Sacramento or San Jose electricians today.

Energy Efficiency Retrofits

Ready for Some Serious Savings? LED lighting retrofit!

Energy Efficiency RetrofitsSee how a simple LED lighting retrofit can save your business bundles

If you are a commercial building owner, it’s time to consider a LED lighting retrofit. While you may have contemplated the idea in the past, it’s time to take action. There are huge financial incentives, rebates through your local municipality, government tax credits, deductions, and energy savings associated with LED upgrades. Here are just a few of the ways you can save with a new LED retrofit in your commercial space.

Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E): PG&E offers financing with 0 percent interest to help pay for inefficient and worn-out equipment. Loans range from $5,000 to $100,000 and payments are through your PG&E energy statement. Click this link for more of what PG&E has to offer: http://www.pge.com/en/mybusiness/save/rebates/bybusiness/index.page

Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD): SMUD offers an Express Energy Solutions (EES) program to its commercial customers. This straightforward rebate program pays businesses to install new, energy-efficient equipment at their business location. Check out their website for more information. https://www.smud.org/en/business/save-energy/rebates-incentives-financing/express-energy-solutions.htm

They also offer a Small Commercial Deep Energy Retrofit (DER) demonstration program for qualified small businesses. For more information on this program, click here: https://www.smud.org/en/business/save-energy/rebates-incentives-financing/small-commercial-DER.htm

Silicon Valley Power (SVP): Silicon Valley Power offers rebates for commercial business owners who purchase new Energy Star® lighting equipment to reduce their energy costs. They also offer a separate rebate for new construction buildings. For more information: http://www.siliconvalleypower.com/for-businesses/energy-savings-and-rebates/rebates/lighting

Green Building Tax Deduction: If you’re ready to make big energy changes beyond an LED lighting retrofit, you should check out the 2016 Green Building Tax Deduction, also called “Section 179d”. This tax incentive offers new or existing building owners a one-time depreciation deduction of up to $1.80 per square foot for their installation of energy efficiency measures. Qualifying systems must reduce the building’s total energy and power cost by 50% or more. For more information, check out the full list of requirements here: https://www.poplarnetwork.com/news/5-green-building-tax-incentives-2015

Tax incentives can change year-to-year, so it’s best to move quickly so you don’t miss out.

Main Stream Electric has been providing our commercial customers with LED retrofits for many years and have experienced electricians who will get the job done right. Government tax incentives are only the beginning. When you choose Main Stream Electric for your commercial building LED retrofits, you’ll:

  • Reduce energy costs while providing the same amount of lumens
  • Reduce maintenance costs because typical LED life cycles are 10 years or more
  • Receive high quality installation by local, experienced Main Stream Electric electricians
  • Choose from multiple eye-catching, sleek lighting design options
  • Increase aesthetic value and communicate quality to your employees and customers
  • Increase employee productivity
  • Lower your cooling bills because LEDs give off very little heat

Why wait any longer? Start saving money today! Call Main Stream Electric today and one of our highly trained commercial electricians will help you with all your LED lighting retrofit needs.

residential electrical contractor services

Residential LED Lighting – Is It Worth It?

residential electrical contractor servicesThe idea of switching from traditional incandescent lights to LED lighting is not a new concept but recently more people have starting converting their lighting systems. Why is this? Is it really worth it?

The short answer is YES! You may have heard that residential LED lighting uses less energy and lasts much longer than incandescent lighting. You may have also heard that LED lights are expensive so you assume they are out of your budget. While they initially were more expensive than incandescent bulbs, technological advances in LED light bulb development has manufacturers competing to design cost-effective bulbs that work in all applications in your home. Now, these bulbs are much cheaper and can be installed by our electricians in virtually any space in your home.

LED lighting is different than incandescent lighting so there is a slight learning curve. Before you purchase LED lights, here’s a few tips.

  • “Lumens” replace “Watts”: Lumens now represent the amount of light released by the light source and is a more accurate measure of bulb brightness. Here’s a handy chart comparing lumens and watts.
Incandescent Watts LED Watts Lumens (Brightness)
40
60
75 – 100
100
150
4 – 5
6 – 8
9 – 13
16 – 20
25 – 28
450
890
1210
1750
2780 
  • No Mercury: There is no mercury in LED bulbs. You can handle and dispose of them with no special concerns!
  • Instant Light: LED lights give off instant light and last a LONG time.
  • No Added Heat: Incandescent bulbs produce a significant amount of extra heat and contribute to the overall temperature of your home. This is especially uncomfortable in the hot summer months. In contrast, LED lights stay cool and do not cause additional heat buildup in a room.
  • Insect-free: There will be no insect build-up around your UV-free LED bulbs because insects are not attracted to this type of lighting. This makes it ideal for both indoor and outdoor use.
  • Initial Investment Cost: LED lights tend to be more expensive than incandescent lighting. But, don’t let this cost scare you. You will make up the cost in the long run. Not only will the bulbs last longer, you’ll see the savings in your energy bill.

Before our electricians begin the project, they will determine the best places for your LED lighting and tell you about your strength and color options. They have extensive experience wiring LED lights in various locations around your house. Our electricians will recommend the best lighting for every part of your home and offer solutions that will fit any budget.

We love LED lighting because it not only saves money and conserves energy, it provides brighter light without the heat. As an added bonus, with LED lights, you are not constantly changing bulbs!

If you’re ready to make the switch from incandescent bulbs to LED lighting, give our electricians at Main Stream Electric a call. We can professionally install them in any room in your home. Our trained electricians have the knowledge and experience to get the job done right – the first time. Call us today!

Need electrical support for your retail space?

Main Stream Electric can help!

Metro PCS Commercial Electrical ProjectNo commercial electrical retail job is too big or too small for Main Stream Electric’s experienced electrical technicians. We recently were awarded a large electrical remodeling job for MetroPCS. As one of the leading providers of unlimited 4G LTE wireless services, this company needed experienced commercial electricians who could get the job done correctly and efficiently. The job included remodeling six corporate stores in Campbell, Santa Rosa, Sacramento, Modesto, Stockton, and Pittsburgh. The extensive project included a full electrical remodel of more than 35,000 square feet of sales floors.

This project had many facets and included a wide variety of commercial electrical updates. Our trained commercial electrical technicians completed the following services:

  • Relocating cash registers
  • Relocating voice data
  • POS & electrical
  • LED lighting installation on all displays
  • Relocating power and data to ATM and pay point stations

We understand that in order to be successful, businesses need to operate even during commercial electrical projects. We worked with MetroPCS to complete these projects in a timely manner. All six locations were completed over a 90-day period.

Superior Retail Installation, Maintenance, and Upgrades

Main Stream Electric provides all types of electrical retail installation, maintenance and upgrades. Whether your business needs lighting system repairs, the latest computer technology, or installation of surveillance cameras on the property, we’re here for you! Our expert commercial electricians will visit your establishment, examine the electrical system and recommend the best service options. Main Stream Electric only hires qualified, professional, and respectful electrical technicians and guarantees all our work.

You have better things to do than worry about your business’ electrical work. Whether you own a large, multi-facility business or you’re looking to set up your first start-up, we are dedicated to you – our customer. Contact Main Stream Electric today for a free estimate.

Water damage in your home? What should you do?

Lighting Recessed Lighting and FixturesIt’s officially rainy season in Northern California. After a very dry summer, most of us welcome the rain with open arms. But, weather forecasters are predicting the very wet winter will cause possible flooding. In fact, the Insurance Information Institute (III) states, “about one in 55 insured homes has a property damage claim caused by water damage or freezing each year.” So, as much as we need the rain, we need to be aware of the potential electrical hazards that can occur. Even a few little drips within your wall can eventually cause mold, fire, and structural weakness. Additionally, whenever wire and cable products are exposed to water or excessive moisture, there is a risk of a fire.

According to Walters Forensic Engineering (waltersforensic.com), this is how a leakage current can start a fire in your home:

“Leakage current occurs when water is in the presence of electricity. Exposed wiring, which exists primarily at connectors and switches, can come in contact with water. Since water conducts electricity, a current will flow through the water between contacts or from the live to ground or common. Over time, the water will accumulate salts which increases its ability to conduct a current. This current can eventually develop to a point where it generates a significant quantity of heat which begins to pyrolize and carbonize the combustibles in the area. This can eventually result in a situation where a carbon bridge is formed, creating a continuous arc or significant generation of heat. Ignition of surrounding combustibles can result in a fire. Fires have also been known to initiate this way in electrical boxes which become damp or wet.”

So, what should you do if you encounter water around your electrical components? As a general rule, electrical components and wiring should be assessed by a licensed electrician whenever they encounter any amount of water. Mildew and corrosion can damage components, causing electrical failure.

If you have standing water in your home, it’s important to exercise extreme caution. Do not enter your home if you believe any electrical components, including circuit breaker boxes, electrical outlets, or live wires are in water. Before entering, call your utility company and ask them to turn off the power in your home. Then, turn off your power locally as well. Next, call a reliable, licensed electrician to assess the situation and determine whether it’s safe to enter your home. You do not want to risk any sort of electrical shock. It’s also important to turn off your fuel oil, natural gas, or propane lines along with lines that lead to appliances.

Sometimes water-damaged occurs immediately and other times it happens over time. If you’re experiencing short circuits and improper operation, this is due to immediate damage. Corrosion and high resistance connections usually happens over time. Sometimes everything works great for a while and then fails a few months later. If your home has been exposed to any water or flood damage, you should call Main Stream Electric to determine the extent of the damage and how to safely proceed. We understand electrical safety and can give you the information and assistance you need to fix your home’s electrical wiring and components. Call us today!

Simple Ways to Save Energy (& Money) in your Office

commercial-electrical-contractor-servicesHas anyone ever told you they are “going green”? For many of us, the first thing that comes to mind when you hear that phrase is recycling. Recycling is quickly becoming part of our everyday life, especially in our homes. But, did you know there are lots of other ways we can “go green” and create even more positive change in our office space?

Many Americans spend at least one-third of their day in an office. Imagine if we applied the same conservation rules we use in our homes to our offices? The results would be astounding! But, where do you begin? Below are some simple, yet effective ways you can save money, energy, and the environment in your office.

Turn off Lights

One of the simplest ways to save energy is by turning off lights. According to the DOE, 44% of the energy used by an office each year comes from the lighting. Simply reminding co-workers to turn off lights when they leave a room will save energy and money. Put a friendly reminder sign next to light switches. This will help everyone remember. Motion-activated lights are another option for common areas and rarely used hallways. They will only turn on when an employee is in the area and will turn off when the space is not being used.

It’s also critical to upgrade your lights to Energy Star-qualified bulbs. Not only do they last 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs, they use about 75 percent less energy. Consider upgrading to LED and UID lights. Even exit signs are sources of high energy use. Don’t forget to upgrade them to LED lights as well.

Unplug Technology

It seems that everything in the office needs a plug! Your computer, the office printer, and the countless phone chargers are literally sucking the energy out of your building. Computers have energy saving options built in. If it’s not in use, consider setting it to “sleep mode”. It will automatically “go to sleep” if idle for more than 10 minutes. Unplug laptops and phone chargers when they aren’t in use and try using power strips for all your equipment. Then, you can shut everything down at the end of the day with a push of a button. Also, always look for the Energy Star label on new technology purchases.

Go Paperless

Did you know the typical office worker using 10,000 sheets of copy and printer paper each year? Although many companies are opting to “go paperless” to help save money and natural resources, some companies don’t have that luxury or need paper to run their businesses. To cut paper usage, try:

  • Putting employee manuals, forms, and documents online
  • Setting your printer to print double-sided
  • Buying recycled paper
  • Sharing large manuals with co-workers

These are just a few of the ways you can help save energy and money in your office space. If your office needs any electrical upgrades or you have further questions about how to help conserve energy in your office, contact one of our highly trained electricians at Main Stream Electric today.

Preparing for a Power Outage

lighting management servicesLosing the power in your home can be very scary. While we tend to think of the power going out during the winter months, it can actually go out any time of the year. During the summer, a heatwave can overload the electrical grid and cause a major outage. During the winter, power outages are usually caused by large rain, wind, or snow storms.

There’s no need to worry about power outages as long as you are prepared for them. Below are a few tips on how to prepare yourself and your home for a power outage.

  1. Designate an area to store flash lights, extra batteries, candles, and matches. A plug-in flashlight is a great option because it remains charged until you need it. When purchasing flashlights or lanterns, consider ones that use LED bulbs. They have a much longer battery life.
  2. Become familiar with your circuit breakers and know where they are located. Your outage could simply be a tripped breaker switch.
  3. Consider investing in a battery-powered radio or television. Cell phone batteries will only last so long and it’s important to stay updated on the latest weather and news, especially during a storm.
  4. Place the emergency number of your electric utility company in an accessible location. If a power line is down near your house, you need to contact the electric company and let them know.
  5. Keep an ice chest handy to store any medication or special foods that must remain cold. Freezer ice packs are critical and you should have some ready at all times.
  6. Store a few days of water in a large container. You need about one gallon of drinking water per day/per person. This is especially important if you use electricity for your water, such as an electric pump.
  7. Consider investing in a back-up generator.
  8. Make sure your home’s first aid kit is fully stocked.
  9. Create a home disaster plan for you and your family.

By following these tips, you and your family will be ready and safe if your power goes out. Additionally, consider the following tips when your power actually goes out.

  1. Turn off any lights that were left on when the power went out. Keep one light on so you will know when the power has been restored.
  2. Try and locate a neighbor to determine if the power outage includes your neighborhood or larger community.
  3. To help preserve the food in your fridge and freezer, keep the doors closed. Only open if necessary and eat the most perishable foods first.
  4. Unplug major appliances and any smaller appliances that were on when the power went out. This could include clothes dryers, televisions, radios, toasters, clocks, computer printers, and computers. If too many appliances turn back on at the same time, you could overload your circuits.
  5. Save your heat! Heat escapes homes quickly. Make sure all doors and windows are shut and secure. Consider placing towels below doors to retain your home’s heat.
  6. Only dial 911 in a true emergency. A power outage is stressful so keep yourself busy by reading books or playing games with your family. Emergency lines should stay clear for true emergencies.

Power outages are unavoidable. By following these simple tips, you’ll be ready when they happen. Contact one of our electricians at Main Stream Electric if you have any questions or concerns about power outages. We’re here to help keep your home and your family safe.

Circuit Breakers and Fuses

When to Leave the Electrical to the Professionals

Circuit Breakers and FusesWe all love a good DIY project. There’s a great sense of accomplishment when you complete a difficult project, especially if it’s done without the help of a professional. With the abundance of You Tube videos, how-to books, and endless Internet resources, where should you draw the line when it comes to DIY electrical work?

We believe there are many projects you can do on your own. But, when it comes to electrical work, it’s important to remember you’re dealing with electricity – and electricity can be dangerous. One small mistake could cause serious harm to you, your family, and your home. While many DIY projects can save you money, you have to determine if the extra savings is worth the risk. Additionally, if your DIY electrical project goes wrong, you could potentially cause more damage to your home or others and have to pay more for a professional to come in and fix the problem.

Here are few of the more dangerous and/or complicated electrical jobs best left to a professional.

  1. Upgrading an outlet: Replacing a like-to-like outlet is a fairly simple project as long as your power is turned off. But, it’s critical you hire a licensed electrician when you upgrade an ungrounded outlet to a grounded outlet and add a GFCI switch. It can be extremely dangerous if you add a grounded outlet without a true path to ground.
  2. Connecting to the grid: If you have any new construction that requires a permit, you will need the electrical to be completed by a licensed electrician. When it’s time to connect to the grid, power companies will require this to be done by a licensed electrician. Power companies do not want to risk damage to their equipment or injury to employees due to someone’s DIY mistake.
  3. Repairing or replacing your circuit breaker box: It’s imperative that circuit breakers are installed correctly. When wires get hot, they can short out and cause a fire. When you hire a licensed electrician, you can be confident they will design the circuits correctly and with appropriate breakers. Circuit breakers also contain a large amount of electrical energy. Whenever you’re dealing with this much electricity, you should leave it to the professionals.
  4. Wiring: Professional electricians should handle all new wiring in your home. Overloads in your wall can cause a fire in your home. Additionally, if you or an unlicensed contractor replace, repair, or add new circuits to your home and a fire occurs, your homeowner’s insurance may not pay the claim.

Whether big or small, all electrical projects should be handled with caution and care. While minor repairs like changing a light switch or ceiling fan may seem simple and safe, one mistake can still cause serious damage or injury. The highly trained electricians at Main Stream Electric can tackle even the toughest electrical projects. When you hire us to perform the electrical work on your home, you can have confidence the job will be done right. Keeping your home and your family safe is our top priority. We’ll get the job done safely and right! Contact Main Stream Electric today.

Home Safety Inspection

Home Electrical Inspections – Are they REALLY necessary?

We all know buying a home is a long, time-consuming process. In addition to the endless paperwork, there are inspections! While most people understand the importance of a getting a general home inspection, they often assume that’s all they need. General inspectors are wonderful and can help ensure your home is in working order before you move in. While inspectors do their best to spot any potential hazards, they usually don’t have the time or resources to thoroughly inspect your home’s electrical system and wiring.

Home Safety InspectionToday, nearly everything requires an outlet. Whether it’s your appliances, television, laptop, tablet, or phone, it’s important to know that your home’s electrical system is functioning properly. Not only is an electrical problem an inconvenience, it can be dangerous if not found early. Faulty wiring is the cause of many house fires. In fact, according to the National Fire Protection Agency, an estimated 144,000 house fires were caused by electrical failure or malfunction between the years 2007-2011.

Detecting faulty wiring is tricky and often overlooked by a general home inspector. When you hire an electrical inspector, you can have confidence your home is electrically sound.

Efficiency and Conservation

If your home is more than 20 years old and it still has the original electrical system, it may be due for an overhaul. Older systems tend to be less efficient and very expensive to run. By replacing your breakers, fixing shorts, and thoroughly examining the wiring, you will not only ensure a safer home for you and your family, you’ll conserve energy and reduce your overall monthly electricity costs.

Who Should Get an Electrical Home Inspection?

In general, the Electrical Safety Foundation recommends an electrical home inspection if you:

  1. Recently purchased a new home
  2. Own a home 40 years or older
  3. Added a major appliance
  4. Recently renovated your home

If your home falls into any of the above categories, call Main Stream Electric today. Our expert electrical home inspectors can answer any questions you may have about home inspections and schedule a visit to your home.