Our Jacksonville-based commercial and residential electrical company is weathered in hurricane preparedness and ready to help you prep for the storm, or clean up after it. The past few years, we have been sacked by large, devastating storms – knocking out power to large swaths of Jacksonville, Jacksonville Beaches, Yulee and St. Augustine.

Thompson Electric staff worked to prep our customers before Matthew and Irma, and came out in full force to get our customers back up and running after the flood waters subsided. Typical flood work includes pulling everything out that has been touched by water, however there are many things you can do to be better prepared and minimize the damage from storms in the future:

1. Stay up to code.

Having old electrical systems, out-of-date and worn down plugs and breakers, can lead to even more serious issues when a storm blows in. The best preparation you can do for a storm, is make sure your electrical systems are up-to-date and up-to-code. Building codes, although some times more expensive and more antiquated than you’d like them to be, are put into place to protect you.

As a licensed, professional, and experienced residential and commercial electrical company for almost 30 years, we follow everything by the book. Our team ensure that our work is up-to-code and sometimes beyond what is required, in order to mkae sure you have the best quality work that’s reliable and safe for years to come.

2. Shut the power off before it gets worse.

Shutting the power off at your home or office can help prevent additional damage from happening from a storm. Water, whether from heavy rains on the roof or flooding from the ground up to your sockets or breaker box, can get into your walls, clump up electrical insulation and cause fires. Most people think that water brings mold, rot, mildew and can sometimes push sewage into properties, but it can also wreck havoc on electrical systems and cause a fire when you’re in the middle of dealing with Hurricane force winds and rains.

Water can ruin your electrical wiring, corrode the metals, and water can actually cause a fire. Electrical fires are a far harder to control than a typical fire, and water does not put it out – it makes it worse. People trying to put out an electrical fire with water are typically shocked and end up spreading the fire because they don’t recognize that the fire is caused by electricity. If the power were turned off, this would not be an issue. Electrical fires are caused by simple things and can be prevented with a quick call to Thompson Electric to have our certified and professional team to have a hurricane preparedness assessment.

3. Call the professionals to repair electrical systems after a storm.

Although it may seem easy to change out a light socket, or a switch, that has been damaged from water after a storm – you may be doing more harm then good. DIY electrical home repairs are a risky decision and could result in shock, death or fire. Especially if water has come into your breaker boxes, into your sockets or touched exposed wires.

That’s where the professionals come in. We will shut your power off, assess all of your electrical systems from the entry point all the way through your breakers and walls, and out of your sockets, switches, lights and appliances. We can meter all of the circuits to make sure nothing was damaged in the walls, that you may not be able to see with the naked eye.

And our electrical professionals come prepared to jobs to switch out breakers, sockets, and wires to make sure your safe, and back up and running after a storm. Check out our project portfolio to see some of our post-storm electrical work in Jacksonville and North Florida.

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Every trade has it’s tools to get the job done. Electricians are no different. They even have special tools specifically invented to help with safety and tight spaces they can’t even see.

Whether you’ve though about it or not here are some tools you can find in an electricians tool belt.

Linemen  Pliers

Wires need to be cut and have a good set of pliers will do the job. Linemen or side cutting pliers can cut, pull, twist and bend are important to help get the cutting done.

Needle Nose Pliers

For the very small to reach areas needle noose pliers can help save the day. Electricians can cut, grip of bend tiny wires that hands and bigger tools can’t get to.

Voltage Tester

A voltage safety is an important safety tool that indicates whether a wire is live, and does this without making contact with the wire. It is very important to know if a line still has electricity flowing through it. Failure in knowing if a wire does can have some serious consequences.

Electrician Leveler

Electricians have to make sure that they’re putting things on the wall straight. An Electrician Leveler can help in that situation. If an electrician needs to place an electrical cabinet on the wall a leveler will definitely come in handy.

Some levelers even come with magnets, so electricians can have both hands free.

Fish Tape

You will definitely find this in an electricians tool belt. Fish tape is used to route new wires  through the walls and  conduits using a leader. With help from the fish tape, wires can be guided through tight spaces like wall cavities.

Screw Drivers

Screw drivers are a must in an electricians tool belt. Electricians need to be able to unscrew outlets and see what’s going on inside the wall. Most electricians have screw divers that come in all different shapes and sizes and each has a specific purpose.

Next time you need an electrician, see if some of these tools are in their tool belt.

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FPE panels were America’s go-to circuit panels during the 1980s and many can still be found today. However, the dangers surrounding these panels may not be as well known. At Thompson Electric we specialize in electrical work and identifying circuit panels that pose a risk to households and businesses.

A Fire Hazard

Millions of Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) panels have been installed across the country and work perfectly fine until they don’t… If these panels short circuit or experience any kind of overcurrent, they quickly become a fire hazard that could put you or your family at significant risk.

After realizing the numerous issues involving the FPE panel, a New Jersey State court ruled that the Federal Pacific Electric Company “violated the Consumer Fraud Act” due to the company having previous knowledge of the dangers that the circuit panels posed.

What Causes These Problems?

The root of the problem with the FPE panel is that they are more likely to fail to trip than the average circuit panel. When a panel fails to trip, an excessive amount of power surges to the home’s or building’s circuit breaker and increases the likelihood of the panel overheating and catching fire.

If you, or someone you know, own an FPE panel or an outdated panel, contact Thompson Electric to have an electrician conduct an inspection of the panel.

Living in Jacksonville Florida, it’s important to know what to do in case of emergencies – especially when it has to do with electrical. Do you need a generator? Which generator is best for you in times of power outages or damage from severe weather vs camping or tailgating?

There’s a lot of decisions that need to be made prior, and you should weigh out all the pros / cons – or consult a licensed, certified and professional Jacksonville electrician if you have any questions or doubts. Depending on which portable generator you choose to use, the methods of connecting to a power source may vary. At Thompson Electric, Inc. we provide a range of electrical services to accommodate your electrical needs, including setting up portable generators before or after a hurricane or storm.

Cords vs. Transfer Systems

There are two methods of safely hooking up a generator to your house. The first and easiest method is to use an extension or generator cord to connect appliances to the generator. The second and more complicated method involves the use of a power transfer system from the generator to an entire house.

Extension or generator cords are for a small-scale emergency and are used to power individual appliances only. Power transfer systems are for large-scale emergencies such as power failure from a hurricane, which can power entire rooms.

DIY Generator Setup

To determine the best way to connect your portable generator, first reference the owner’s manual and assess the severity of your situation. You may want to call in assistance, or you just might be able to set it up yourself with a little bit of guidance from a local, professional electrical company.

Connecting with a generator cord:

  1. Consult the generator checklist.
  2. Place the generator outside and approximately 10 feet from any windows or doors.
  3. To connect the generator to an appliance you can either:
    1. Run one generator cord to connect several appliances or…
    2. Run many extension cords to connect the appliances
  4. Start the generator.

*Never plug the generator directly into a wall socket. This could cause an issue called backfeeding*.

Generator and Extension Cords

Using extension cords can be dangerous and hinder maximum power from the generator to run your appliance efficiently. Before using extension cords with your portable generator, make sure you are using the proper gauge for your generator power output. Extension cords are really only effective for a few appliances and are best used with an inverter (small) generator.

Generator cords are best for a medium-sized generator and should be plugged into the amp on your generator. This provides several outlets for the appliances located at the opposing end of the cord.  

Connecting with a transfer system:

  1. Connect the transfer switch to the generator using the generator cord.
  2. Start the generator.
  3. Flip the switch on the transfer system from “line” to “generator.”
  4. On the circuit breaker, you can choose which appliances you would like to run power.

Power transfer systems are the most powerful and efficient option for a large generator as they can run power to circuits rather than individual appliances. When running power to a circuit breaker you are able to power hard-wired appliances such as air conditioning units and ceiling fans.  

If you have any questions about which portable generator is best for your home and how to properly install it contact one of our local, certified and insured electricians at Thompson Electric.

 

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It takes a lot of time and skill to be a licensed electrician at Thompson Electric and very little to pretend to be a licensed electrician on Craigslist. Many people and businesses have looked to Craigslist for electrical work and did not get the results they were hoping for…

False Advertising

Usually, the “electricians” on Craigslist advertise their services at a significantly discounted price from their licensed competitors in order to attract business. If the price is right, an individual or company might be more inclined to turn a blind eye. This can be detrimental to any business and consumer as the unlicensed electrician is not technically qualified to do any kind of electrical work.

Ceiling Fan Debacle

One such Craigslist electrician service went haywire (pun intended) when an unlicensed electrician was hired to repair a faulty ceiling fan motor.

Though the motor was the only component of the fan that was having issues, by the end of the five hour visit not only was the motor now completely inoperable, but the light in the fan was now disconnected and not turning on. In the end, it was found that the unlicensed electrician had severed the wires to the light and failed to repair the fan motor.

Generator Mixup

In another instance, an electrician was hired from Craigslist, with no legitimate credentials, to configure a generator. Rather than simply checking to make sure everything was functioning before hurricane season hit, the electrician mistakenly switched the “Water Heater 1” and “Kitchen” power and was unable to eradicate his mistake.

 

To avoid these Craigslist electrical horror stories, contact one of our licensed and fully qualified electricians at Thompson Electric. We offer a variety of electrical services to meet your needs.

 

 

 

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