If you’re a homeowner in Jacksonville, you’ve probably witnessed firsthand how extreme weather can affect your home. Whether it’s summer heat waves that reach 100 degrees and cause your energy bill to skyrocket, or serve storms that bring damaging winds and flash floods, extreme weather can be very costly. Unfortunately, extreme weather can also affect your HVAC system, causing it to underperform, or worse yet, damaging it beyond repair when you need it the most. 

To help you protect your investment and keep your HVAC system performing efficiently, we’ve listed some of the ways weather can damage your system.  

HEAT WAVES
Summertime in Jacksonville can do a number on your HVAC system and your power bills. With the summer heat and rain comes extreme humidity, which means your AC unit will have to work overtime to cool your home and remove the excess moisture from the indoor air. 

Most systems are designed to keep your home about 20 degrees cooler than the outside temperature. So, the hotter the outside air is around your HVAC system, the warmer the inside air will be. An easy way to lower the Freon temperature in your unit is to place a sprinkler near it and use water to cool it down. You can also try planting trees or tall plants next to your HVAC system to give it some shade. But be sure that your unit isn’t overcrowded and has plenty of room for air intake.  

STRONG WINDS
Severe thunderstorms are quite common in Florida, and lately, hurricanes have caused extensive damage to the Jacksonville area. These types of storms produce strong winds that can strike your HVAC unit with flying debris. This is difficult to prevent, but tying down any loose objects nearby will help protect your investment. If your unit has been damaged by debris, have an HVAC professional take a look at it. 

FLOODS
Jacksonville is no stranger to flooding. From Hurricane Matthew to summer afternoon downpours, flash floods have wreaked havoc on homes and their HVAC systems. Your HVAC system is engineered to be impervious to rainfall, but not flooding. Water that exceeds 15 inches in depth can damage your system and require repairs or full replacement. 

Most concrete bases for HVAC systems are flush with the ground or only a few inches off it. Placing your system on a higher concrete base is a good way to keep it high and dry if flooding occurs. 

SALT AIR
If you live near Jacksonville’s beaches, salt air can damage your HVAC system and shorten its lifespan. The sodium chloride in the salt air interacts with the aluminum on your unit, creating damaging corrosion. An easy way to help prevent this is by frequently hosing down your HVAC system with fresh water.

If your HVAC system has been affected by extreme weather, call the pros at Thompson Electric and Air, Inc. We’ll help you find the perfect replacement or get your existing unit working like new. 904.353.1500. 

Jacksonville’s trusted electric company has expanded their services! You can now call Thompson for your HVAC service and repair! We have combined these services to make your experience with us easy and seamless, and to provide you with more quality services.

Our HVAC team is qualified to provide a wide range of services for all of your air conditioning needs! Below is a current list of new services we offer:

– AC Repair
– AC Service
– Changing filters
– Commercial HVAC
– Heating Repair
– Quarterly Maintenance
– Heating Service
– Air Conditioning Installation
– Heating Installation

If you need a reliable and quality HVAC service or repair in the Jacksonville area, we are here for YOU! Call us today to schedule an appointment: 904.353.1500. We’ve got you covered!

 

As simple as turning on a light can be, it is good to know the different types of light bulbs that are available to you, and which ones are the best for your home or office.

Below labels out the different types of lightbulbs you can purchase, and what the benefits are for each bulb so that you can choose the right bulb for you.

Incandescent

Typically the cheapest of all bulbs, it is also the most common, but they are not as energy efficient as other options out there. It has a warm light, and is very complimentary to skin tones. It also has a psychological appeal. Typically a bulb will last for 700 – 1,000 hours. They can also be used with a dimmer in the house.

Halogen

These are a variation of Incandescent bulbs, but use a “white light” instead of a warm light, giving you the feel of natural daylight. Colors tend to appear more vibrant under halogen bulbs. While they are a little more expensive and burn at a higher temperature than incandescent bulbs, they are more energy efficient.

An important note is to NOT touch a halogen bulb with your bare hands. If you get any skin oil on the bulb, it could explode when it’s turned on because it can warm up too quickly.

Fluorescent

Similar to Halogen, these are daylight-equivalent, but are often blue-ish and harsh, bright lights. These bulbs will typically last longer than an incandescent bulb, but are not able to be put on a dimmer. Typically, these are used to light large areas, such as an attic or basement.

Compact Fluorescent Lights/Bulbs (CFLs)

One of the more popular options. These bulbs last 10 times longer than an incandescent bulb, and consumer 1/4 of the energy as a them. They are quiet, and turn on instantly. They have warmer, color-corrected tones, and can be used anywhere you’d use an incandescent bulb. This is the second most common one found in homes today.

IMPORTANT: These bulbs do contain mercury, so extra care is needed to be safe. They will need to be recycled once they have burnt out.

LED

LED stands for “light-emitting diode”. These bulbs are not really for everyone, even though they are energy efficient and long-lasting. They only provide directional light, which makes them idea for under-counter task lighting, but not to light up an entire room. These types of bulbs are also much more expensive than CFLs.

Basics of Electrical Power at Home

When owning a home, it’s important to understand how your electricity works, so you know what to do incase something goes wrong. Learning how your electricity works can be daunting for some, so we have provided the basics you can understand how electricity powers your home.

 

To start, electricity flows from a service provider, such as JEA in the Jacksonville area, through high voltages wires, like the ones birds like to sit on. The electricity then flows into neighborhood transformers where the current is reduced for residential and commercial properties – like your home or your office. A meter will record the amount of energy you are using, and route it to the electrical box or circuit breaker. The circuit breaker is like the nerve center of electricity for your home, and can usually be found in your garage or basement – somewhere that is not as obvious and might be a little more hidden.

Electricity typically comes in through 3 wires: 2 hot wires and 1 neutral wire. Each hot wires carries 120 volts and runs through the main electrical panel. Individual circuit units, which are connected to the main panel, control a section within your house, such as a light switch, and the hot wires power each of these circuits. And, each unit is connected by a circuit breaker, and when it is overloaded, it will trip or trigger, and electricity will stop flowing to the circuit, turning the unit and the connected devices off. Electricity travels in a circuit, meaning it flows in a circular route and starts and finishes in the same place and keeps repeating. The circuit will shut off the current of energy if the breaker is activated. The currents enter through a hot wire (usually black or red colored), and returns through a neutral wire (usually white). Most electricity systems use a ground wire, which is typically bare or copper in color. If a circuit breaker is tripped, the electricity will safely travel into the ground via one of these wires.

Dedicated circuits could have multiple areas or services that they control, such as outlets and light switches, but some appliances or heavy use items, such as a refrigerator or washing machine, may have their own circuit.

A current is carried through insulated copper or aluminum wires and is dispersed throughout your house. The larger the wire, the more current or ounce it can carry. If a wire uses more amps than it can carry, it will overheat. This is why a properly rated circuit breaker is very important. A switch completes a circuit when it is turned on, and disrupts it when it is turned off. There are several kinds of switches you can have in your house, such as dimmers or toggles.

A standard grounded outlet, which is the most common way to plug anything in, is designed to carry 15 amps. It has 1 slot a little bit wider than the other so that a plug can only be inserted one way. This is actually a safety feature that prevents power from running through an appliance, even when it’s switched off.

A ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet will turn off the power immediately if it detects the slightest change in current flow. These are most commonly found in kitchens, bathrooms, and outdoor areas. They typically have a 2-wire circuit and will typically have a “test” and “reset” button in the middle of the outlet. If an outlet stops working, you can push the “Reset” button to reset the circuit breaker.

Smart Plugs For Home Automation

A smart plug is a plug that you insert into your typical wall outlet and is controlled with a smart phone or app. The device that is plugged into the smart plug (that is plugged into the wall) can be controlled remotely from your phone, even when you’re not home. Through the app, you’ll be able to turn off your living room TV – even from another location. You can turn on a coffee maker when you’re on the way home, or turn on a slow cooker while you’re still at work.

You can also program or create schedules for devices to turn on and off at certain times. So you can set your coffee to start every morning right on the dot. You can also program the lights to turn on and off periodically with an “Away” mode to make it appear that you’re home. Most plugs are compatible with Amazon Alexa and other voice assistants to turn on your device with just your voice.

 

While most plugs are for indoor use only, there are some that are specifically designed for outdoors. These weather-resistant outdoor plugs can withstand the elements but keep your Christmas holidays displays list. Some plugs are designed with multiple outlets so that you can plug in more than one device at a time.

Smart for Your Jacksonville Home

One of the biggest benefits of using a smart plug is that it will help lower your electricity bill. These devices can help save money by automatically shutting off devices when you leave the house, which helps to lower your bill. Some devices will even take it a step further by telling you how much energy you are consuming and which devices are using more energy than others. This can also help you determine which lamps should have energy-saving lightbulbs, and which appliances aren’t worth the amount of electricity they need.

Overall, smart plugs have many specific benefits and great ways to use it:

1. They can help determine which appliances are energy efficient
2. They can help control appliances and set up schedules to help cut down on energy usage
3. They can be programmed to turn on and off, and help you appear to be Jacksonville home, which can ward off intruders
4. You can help make your morning routine more efficient by turning on multiple appliances at one time.
5. You can save time and program devices to turn on sooner (such as a slow cooker, coffee)
6. Turn your lights on at a certain time every morning to help you wake up
7. Save money by turning on the AC or fans at certain times

Contact our Jacksonville office to schedule our electricians to come out and help you set up Smart Plugs and other automation electrical equipment for your home or office.

While flickering lights can be cool for aesthetics or creating a spooky atmosphere for Halloween, lights in your home should not be flickering consistently. It is normal for your home to have a little bit of light fluctuation, but if it becomes constant, it may be time to contact an electrician. Below are some possible reasons why your lights may be flickering and if you can identify an issue, definitely call our our Jacksonville office so we can get a certified electrician out to your home or office quickly.

Loose bulb

If you notice that your light bulb is flickering it may simply be that it’s too loose in the socket and needs to be screwed in. Before you check to see if that’s the problem, make sure you turn off the light. If you turn the light back on (using a glove incase it’s hot) and it’s still flickering, then the issue is probably something related to the hardware.

Faulty light switch

A faulty light switch could be the source of why your light bulb is flickering because your light switch may not be connecting to the bulb properly. Try turning your switch on and off a few times, or turning off the lights for a a few minutes to see if that fixes the problem. If that doesn’t work, then you may need to contact one of our electricians to come change out your light switch. We

Appliance Overload

Depending on how many bulky appliances you have in your home, it could be pulling large amounts of currents away from other areas of your home. If you notice that your lights dim whenever you turn on your washing machine or air conditioner, the issue may be a circuit overload. This means that the appliances are pulling more electrical current than the circuit can handle and an electrician should come by to assess your home or office to make the best recommendations.

If the flickering is minor and only happens for a few moments when the large appliance turns on, it may not be much of a concern. However, if the flickering is consistent and severe, it may be the appliance itself or a sensory overload. If it’s very severe and continues, it might be time to call the electrician to find the source of the problem.

Voltage fluctuation

Your home could be putting off some high voltage fluctuations which is causing your lights to flicker. If you notice that lights in your home will randomly dim or you’re constantly replacing light bulbs due to a fast burn out, your home is probably emitting high voltage.

You can find out how much voltage your house is emitting by using a voltmeter. Electricity usually flows through your house at 120 volts.  Although some voltage fluctuation is ok, it’s best to check and make sure it’s not too high.

Loose electrical wiring

Loose electrical wiring is the most technical reason for a flickering light bulb. This problem can cause a high resistance connection that can become very hot, which can cause a house fire. If you suspect that is the reason, you should turn off the lights and turn off your circuit breaker, then contact your electrician right away.

It’s never a good idea to leave your lights flickering. If it’s not a simple light bulb screw in, you should always contact your Jacksonville electrical resource and have someone certified come take a look.

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Electricity is something we often take for granted. Power is so integrated into our lives, we tend to not notice how much we rely on it. There’s almost no time point during the day that electricity isn’t being used. Let’s take a moment to go through what a day without electricity would be like, and when you eventually get to a time when you have lost power – give us a call at our Jacksonville office to get a certified, professional electrician out to your home and office, and we’ll get you back up and running.

How would your usual morning rituals be altered?

Most people don’t rely on a traditional alarm clock anymore, since the majority of people use their smartphone to set an alarm. And some even set a few alarms throughout the morning just to drag themselves out of bed and make it into work on time (including some of our staff). Without power, there’s no sound to wake you up and you’ll be late getting ready and late to work.

Lights

If you get up before the sun rises, you typically turn on your lights to shower, get dressed, maybe shave or apply make up, and some of the other morning routines to get you ready for the day. Without electricity, some of those todos will be impossible to do and you may end up with patches of hair on your face and missed matched clothes. We also discussed the benefits of good lighting in our most recent blog.

 

Showers

Your plumbing isn’t the issue in situations where you lose power, you don’t lose water when the power goes out. But without power, there’s no heat – which means there’s no hot shower to start the day, or hot water to wash your hands. You get to have an ice cold shower instead, and this is probably one of the things you’ll never take for granted after you’ve had to suffer through a cold shower in the morning.

Breakfast

Are you addicted to coffee and have to have it every morning to put you in a better mood? Well, you’re going to be a bit irritable because your coffee maker won’t be brewing anything. And if you thought about toasting a bagel or taking cream cheese from the fridge – well that’s out of the question. You can’t even make a bowl of cereal because the milk has spoiled from a warm fridge. Looks like your breakfast is going to be coffee grounds with a side of un-toasted bagel – yum!

Noon

You managed to get to work, and now you’re trying to prepare for a big meeting that you have today with your team. Let’s see what your work day would look like without power.

Laptop

Your laptop is on 8% (you forgot to charge it). It dies pretty much right away. You reach for the charger and plug it into the outlet. You won’t be able to charge your laptop without electricity, which means you’re going to be behind on all of your projects for the day. Why’d you even come to work? That’s a different blog post altogether, but this is a good time to think about what you’d do if you lost power at your office. What would you do? Hint: you’d probably call our Jacksonville office to help get things back up and running.

Lunchtime

Similar to breakfast, you’re going to have a little more difficulty in choosing what to eat for lunch, since you can’t have a hot meal. Without electricity, you can’t even have a sandwich – unless it’s PB&J (new jar) – or heat up your dinner from last night. I’m sure a can of cold corn sounds real good right about now.

Meetings

You have an important meeting today in your office. Your laptop is dead and even if it wasn’t dead, there would be no way to project your PowerPoint presentation for the whole group to see on the big screen TV. You’ll have to reschedule the meeting for a time that you have power – but you can’t even reschedule the calendar invite because your laptop is dead. Might as well go home and call it a day.

Evening

You’ve clearly had a rough day without electricity. The power is still out in your home. You really should have called a Jacksonville electrician about this problem, but your phone is dead. Next time, stop by our office during business hours – but this time, you’re already home.

Oven and fridge

You can’t open your fridge or you’ll help speed up the defrosting of your frozen foods, and the decay of your refrigerated foods. Which means that roasted chicken you were dying to make won’t be made tonight, because your oven also uses electricity. Looks like you’re having more peanut butter sandwiches and canned corn.

TV

At this point, you really just want to unwind and relax because your day was a total mess. You grab your remote to turn on the TV to watch your favorite primetime show, but the screen stays black. Your TV needs an outlet with power, which you still don’t have. I guess you can read a book by candle light, like back in the day – just be safe about it. Don’t hold the candle next to paper, or have it in a position where it could start a fire. You’ll have a lot more problems than no power.

Laundry

You’re on your last pair of underwear and need to wash your clothes for work tomorrow. You head over to your washing machine to put a load in, stumble over more clothes because you can’t see in the dark and hit your head on the broom that was sticking out from behind the washer. You’ll have to wash your clothes the old fashion way, with a wash board and some good old fashion laundry soap, then hang your clothes on a clothes line to dry in your backyard. The only saving grace you have is that the nights are beautiful in Jacksonville, and there’s enough light pollution from the surrounding area that you can see what you’re doing in the backyard.

With all of that said, having electricity is such a key part to maintaining your daily routine. Without electricity there are so many simple tasks we couldn’t do without it. We take it for granted, there’s no doubt. So to keep life running smoothly, to keep you on schedule, fed, cleaned up for work, etc. – you need to reach out to our office the second you have an issue. We’re right here in Jacksonville and ready to get you back up and running when you need us most.

 

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Do you know the difference between a circuit breaker and a safety switch? Most people don’t know the differences, or think they do the same thing. While these devices are very important for your home, they both handle different aspects of safety. Today’s blog is written to help educate consumers on what they’re getting into when making changes, but please always keep in mind – electrical work should be completed by a licensed, professional and certified electrician.

 

What is a circuit breaker?

A circuit breaker – also known as a “fuse” – provides electrical protection for the circuits in your home. The circuit breaker will cut off power when it detects a high amount of current flow, which can happen when too many appliances are wired or plugged into one power point. Each circuit breaker is designed to shut off or trip at a certain amperage load to protect your home from an electrical fire.

The circuit breaker is located in your main switchboard and comes in different sized breaker boxes depending on how much of an electric current it can take. While circuit breakers look very similar to safety switches, they do not protect someone from an electrocution. They provide over current and short circuit protection to your home.

What is a safety switch?

A safety switch or residual current device (RCD) overlooks the flow of electricity from the circuit and detects any irregularities in the neutral or live wires. The safety switch is activated when there is a potential risk of electric shock. Once activated, it helps reduce the risk of the electric shock by turning off the circuit within 0.03 of a seconds.

Having one safety switch may not be enough to protect you from an electrical shock. A safety switch will only protect you if it’s on that specific circuit. You should consider putting safety switches on all important circuits in your home for the best home safety practices, and they should be installed by a certified electrician.

What’s the difference?

Safety switches are there to protect you and ensure you won’t get a serious electrical shock. Circuit breakers turn off a certain electrical supply and will trip if the flow of electricity is too high at one power point. All certified electricians know the difference and can help you with your Jacksonville residential or commercial property.

An easy way to distinguish between a switch and a breaker is to check and see if there is a test button. If there’s not a test button – then you’re looking at the circuit breaker. Knowing the difference between these two important parts of your electrical panel is just one more way to practice electrical safety. Give us a call at our Jacksonville location to help service your home or office and make sure your up-to-code with our certified electricians.

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As hard as it may be to believe, lighting has a big effect on us. Since the majority of people spend the bulk of their day inside an office, it makes sense that the quality of lighting in the office is important. The right lighting is determined by many factors including natural light and variations of dim lighting. Besides the visual asthetics of good office lighting, it is also important for employee’s health and productivity! Here are a few reasons good office lighting is crucial in your Jacksonville office space:

 

Safety

If you’re in an office space with poor lighting, it can become a safety hazard. Tripping over objects and dropping work materials can cause damage to your workers and your office environment. Our electricians make sure that all office stairwells and common areas are well lit to prevent workers from falling, but we won’t over do it with flood lights or unnecessary wattage. And keep in mind, with good lighting your staff will be able to see better and avoid any accidents which will end up costing you far more than the electric bill.

 

Health

Poor lighting can cause some health issues like eye strains and headaches from not being able to see, as well as some of the safety concerns noted above. Back, neck and shoulder aches can occur from feeling tense and straining your eyes all day and that leads to poor morale and work productivity.

Poor lighting may also cause forms of depression. Research has been done to show that poor lighting can cause some psychiatric conditions, which can include mood disorders. Jacksonville is the sunshine state, so hopefully you have windows but we can ensure a steady stream of healthy light in places that don’t have access. We also highly recommend fixing any flickering lights as these can cause migraines, as well as seizures.

Productivity

Different types of lighting can help with productivity. Natural light is a good if you want a more productive office – but it’s not always possible, and therefore we can install lighting that has a similar spectrum as natural light, keeping our circadian rhythm in sync despite not having the windows to support a natural enviornment.

Lighting can bring positive attitudes into the workspace which results in a healthier mindset, more productivity and hopefully more success for your First Coast business. If you don’t have windows in the office space, consider encouraging staff to take regular breaks outside.

Having the proper lighting in your office space can make a huge impact on your staff, their efficiency, and the work they are creating. Consider different lighting options in the office to maximize safety and productivity and reach out to your local, Jacksonville electrician at Thompson Electric Co to help make the most of your space.

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With concerns for the environment and a growing population, technological advancements in trying to find alternative ways to power the world is powering up. Learn about new technology, and the future of the modern utility that powers the world.

Flexible Thermoelectric Generators

A flexible thermoelectric generator is a small device that can convert heat into electricity without having any moving parts. This break through in electrical engineering will help high-performance devices function without a battery or cool down.

Generators could be used to power light sources, or power health devices for patients.

Recycling Radio Waves

Researchers have developed an electromagnetic energy harvester that can collect energy from radio frequencies.

Instead of the radio waves being emitted, the energy that is created will be collected and reused to keep devices charged.

This energy source will be able to operate small devices like Apple Watches and other wearable devices.

Since the unveiling of this research, researchers have been able to broaden the capabilities to collect energy from tv channels, WiFi and cellular devices.

Triboelectricity

Triboelectricity allows an electrical charge to occur from friction by two different materials coming into contact with each other.

Even though this method has been known for centuries, it has been excluded from further research because it can be unpredictable.

With the help of research, triboelectirc nano-generators have been created and can power small electronic devices.

Rectenna

Rectenna’s are part antenna and part rectifier. This technological development will help convert electromagnetic energy into electrical currents. The key point to this technology is that the antenna’s will be small enough to get the wavelength of light.

This energy source will be more efficient and less expensive than today’s solar cells. Instead of converting particles of light like solar cells do, rectenna’s will be collecting waves of light.

With all of these technological advancements in energy, we’ll be able to power the world cleaner and efficiently.

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