Commercial Electrical Issues: When to Repair

Many commercial electrical systems are somewhat complex and detailed, and as such it’s not unusual for the occasional glitch to take place. At what point, though, do repeated such glitches in a common area signal a potential need to replace a certain component, wire or other element in your commercial system rather than a basic repair need?

At Orange Electric, we’re here to help commercial building owners with a variety of needs, from basic commercial electrical repair services to several replacements, such as lighting installations and more. Our electricians are also happy to evaluate issues taking place in your building and determine the most cost-effective source of action. Is it repair or replacement in your case? In this two-part blog series, we’ll go over several specific situations you may encounter and which they signal is necessary – part one here is on situations that often can be handled with prudent repairs.

commercial electrical issues repair

Warm Spots

Warm spots you find on your walls or light switches in your building are potential signs of short-circuits in your wires, which can be dangerous due to fire risks posed. In many cases, this takes place due to older or worn-down wires fraying away their insulation, which exposes the actual wire and often allows a vented current to be run into a beam, drywall or another area connected to your structure.

Luckily, temporary warm spots can pretty easily be repaired by our commercial electricians. If you notice this issue taking place repeatedly in the same area, however, a different course of action may be needed.

Note: If you have dimmer switches in your home, these sometimes warm up a little as part of their normal operation. Do not be concerned here unless they are extremely warm or even hot.

Limited Breaker Issues

Another area that may experience occasional glitches in a large commercial setting is the building’s circuit breaker. If this happens once in a while to the same circuit, you should call our pros for repair. In part two, however, we’ll go over other breaker issues that might require a replacement.

Odors

Have you begun to notice a burning or acrid smell somewhere in your building? This may indicate an electrical fire touched off by some kind of minor issue like a blown fuse – the immediate attention here should be paid to any fire risks, which can spread quickly. Once these are addressed, however, a simple repair will usually stop this from happening again.

Temporary Flickering

If your lights are flickering, you should first attempt basic DIY fixes. Make sure the bulb is tightened and slotted in properly, for one, as you’d be surprised how often this is the cause of flickering lights. If you’ve confirmed this and the same light or group of lights continues to flicker, you could be dealing with other issues that require professional attention.

For more on repair versus replacement for commercial electrical needs, or to learn about any of our commercial electrical services, speak to the staff at Orange Electric today.

Signs and Actions for Commercial Electrical Emergencies, Part 2

In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some of the basics of why electrical emergency preparedness is important, plus some of the possible signs of such emergencies. Knowing this information is vital for building owners and managers, not only for the safety of all occupants but also for long-term themes like building quality and value.

At Orange Electric, we’re proud to offer a wide range of emergency electrical services for commercial buildings, from emergency backup generator installation to several other emergency electrician solutions. In today’s part two of our series, we’ll dig into some of the specific electrical emergencies that might take place within a building, plus how you should respond to them in the safest and most prudent way possible – often involving assistance from our electricians or other emergency responders.

actions commercial electrical emergencies

Specific Power Outage

One of the most common electrical events in both commercial and residential buildings is a power outage, and as many are aware, this sort of event often isn’t an emergency. There are several relatively common situations where power might go out temporarily for a given area, whether due to adverse weather of some kind or a problem with the local power supply, and it usually comes back on quickly enough.

In other cases, however, you may notice your building is experiencing a power outage while no neighboring buildings are impacted. In such cases, especially if the outage is prolonged and the reason for it is undetermined, this absolutely qualifies as an electrical emergency – the underlying cause of the outage could be a risk, for one, and long periods without power can also be concerning to several areas within a commercial building. In such cases, contact our electricians immediately.

Sparks or Fire

If any fire is taking place within your building, no matter the original cause, call 911 right away and take proper precautions. This may include evacuation of the building if the fire is large enough.

In other cases, you’ll notice minor sparks or smoke coming from outlets or other electrical areas. In such cases, call our emergency electricians immediately and follow all their directions while awaiting their arrival, which may include shutting off your building’s electrical breaker.

Exposed Wires

If any of the above events, or other electrical concerns, take place in a situation where you can visibly see exposed wires, this is a significant hazard. Proceed no further on your own, but rather call our electricians for assistance.

Water Contact

In any situation where water could come into contact with wires and the electrical system in any way, this is a significant and potentially dangerous emergency. An electrician should be called right away, and in cases where such contact could be very soon, 911 should be called as well.

For more on how to recognize and handle commercial electrical emergencies, or to learn about any of our electrical services, speak to the staff at Orange Electric today.

Signs and Actions for Commercial Electrical Emergencies, Part 1

Both within residential and commercial buildings, being prepared in case of an electrical emergency is a vital task for building owners or managers. While such emergencies are rare, especially for structures with proper electrical servicing and maintenance, they can still take place in certain situations and you’ll be at far higher risk if you haven’t readied yourself and the structure.

At Orange Electric, we’re here to provide a variety of commercial electrician services, including emergency solutions ranging from emergency backup generator installation to several other emergency preparedness areas. Why is electrical emergency preparedness important, and what are some of the common signs that such an emergency might be taking place? In this two-part blog, we’ll go over all these areas plus dig into several common electrical emergencies and what you should do if you’ve confirmed they’re taking place.

signs commercial electrical emergencies

Importance of Emergency Preparedness

Emergency preparedness within the electrical realm is important first and foremost for safety reasons. Commercial buildings often house numerous people at once, and electrical emergencies that have not been prepared for could put numerous individuals at risk.

However, being prepared for an electrical emergency has value beyond this primary area as well. A building that has proper emergency preparedness solutions in place will be at far lower risk of injury or property damage, for one, which limits liability concerns for building owners. In addition, emergency preparedness and awareness often includes minor areas of upkeep or maintenance that allow you to prevent minor issues from growing into larger ones over time.

Common Signs of Electrical Emergency

One of the top areas when it comes to electrical emergency preparedness: Understanding the potential signs of an emergency and when you should take further action. Such signs may include:

  • Heat from panels: If you try to turn on a light and notice the panel is hot to the touch, this is an early sign of a potential problem. It could mean a variety of wiring issues taking place, including those that could pose fire risks.
  • Burning smell: A burning odor from any electrical area, whether it’s a wall or outlet, cord, appliance or any other, is also a sign of a potential emergency. Unplug devices immediately and make sure everyone present in the structure is aware of the potential hazard while awaiting service from our pros.
  • Power outage: In many cases, a power outage can be explained in a way that does not signal an emergency. However, there are some others where such an explanation is not readily available – in this case, be very careful and contact our team of electricians before taking further action.
  • Carbon monoxide: Another potentially dangerous electrical-related emergency is carbon monoxide poisoning, which you may not notice until people in the building have physical symptoms like dizziness, headaches, shortness of breath and blurred vision. This is why all homes and buildings must have carbon monoxide detectors that are checked regularly for battery life.

For more on signs of a potential electrical emergency, or to learn about any of our commercial electrical services, speak to the staff at Orange Electric today.

How a Commercial LED Lighting Retrofit Adds Value, Part 2

In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some of the primary benefits of taking your commercial building through a commercial lighting retrofit with LED fixtures. Short for light-emitting diode, LED lights are both more efficient and better aesthetically than many incandescent light forms, bringing several major positives to business spaces and facilities.

At Orange Electric, we’re proud to offer a variety of commercial electrician services, including a wide array of lighting installations and retrofits for any building. In today’s part two of our series, we’ll look at a few additional benefits of LED retrofits for your commercial space, including some environmental positives plus the impact such an upgrade will have on your long-term building value.

commercial LED lighting retrofit value

Environmental Friendliness

More and more business owners are looking for ways to minimize their environmental footprint, and installing LED lights is one fantastic route here. LED energy-efficient lights use anywhere from 25% up to 80% less energy than traditional light bulbs, plus last anywhere from three to 20 times as long.

This means that not only are you saving major quantities of energy for the same amount of light use – savings that also show up on your monthly energy bill – you’re also using up fewer materials to light your building. The environmental impact here grows the larger your building is, allowing you to keep it lit without a major environmental strain. And as we noted in part one, this attention to the planet around us also comes with several incentives that benefit your business specifically.

Building Safety

Not only are LED lights more efficient and longer-lasting, they’re generally a major upgrade when it comes to the quality of the lighting itself. Particularly for any commercial facilities that involve any kinds of physical hazards or risks, such as warehouses or packaging locations, the value of improved lighting is massive when it comes to basic safety and daily operations.

This, in turn, will have a major impact on employee comfort and productivity. We’ve talked a lot about savings here so far, and this is yet another area where you might see some financial benefits.

Long-Term ROI

Finally, there’s the simple reality that investments in energy efficiency today tend to pay off double or even triple in the long run. This is because, unlike many other kinds of building upgrades, a lighting retrofit or a similar attempt to improve efficiency will continue giving back value to you for years into the future. For every dollar you spend on these kinds of retrofits today, you’ll see multiples coming back in terms of your energy savings and employee productivity.

For more on why it pays to upgrade to an LED commercial lighting retrofit, or to learn about any of our commercial electric services, speak to the staff at Orange Electric today.

How a Commercial LED Lighting Retrofit Adds Value, Part 1

There are several ways commercial building owners or managers might consider upgrading on the electric side, and one of the most common and popular such upgrades is the commercial lighting retrofit. Designed to help you improve both aesthetics and costs in terms of lighting, this retrofit generally involves an upgrade to LED lights from a previous type, plus possibly a few other related areas.

At Orange Electric, we’re happy to offer numerous commercial electrical services, including lighting installation from our quality electricians. We’ve assisted numerous clients with an LED commercial lighting retrofit, and can easily sit down with you to explain the potential benefits of such an upgrade for your business. This two-part blog will evaluate all the relevant factors to consider.

commercial LED lighting retrofit value

LED Retrofit Basics

Simply put, an LED retrofit is the addition of new LED lights to replace previous lighting systems that were less efficient and less aesthetically pleasing. LED stands for light-emitting diode, a semiconductor light source that uses far less energy and lasts much longer than incandescent light sources.

LEDs are used in numerous industries and applications, including everything from automotive areas to medical devices. In your business, though, they serve as a far more efficient and practical upgrade over most existing lighting systems.

Our next several sections will go over why this is the case.

Cost Savings

For many business owners, the primary benefit of an LED lighting retrofit will be cost savings. You’re looking most closely at return on investment (ROI) here – how quickly and easily will you be able to recoup the value of what you paid for the retrofit?

In the case of a commercial LED retrofit, the answer tends to be very quickly. It usually only takes a couple years for a building owner to save enough on lighting costs and decreased maintenance needs that they’ve completely recouped their investment, and these benefits continue to showcase themselves every year after this.

Deductions and Incentives

In addition to simply spending less on your daily lighting costs, a retrofit also provides several potential financial incentives for business owners:

  • Energy Policy Act of 2005: Allows business owners to deduct $0.60 per square foot for installing energy-efficient lighting, for which LED lights qualify.
  • Bonus depreciation: Business owners will qualify if their lighting assets have a life of 20 years or less.
  • Rebates: Utility companies often offer rebates for energy-efficient lighting installations, meaning a single LED retrofit in your commercial building might bring you multiple areas of savings in one fell swoop.

To learn more about all the potential benefits of a commercial lighting retrofit to upgrade to LED lights, or for information on any of our commercial electrician services, speak to the staff at Orange Electric today.

Themes and Trends for Modern Commercial Lighting, Part 2

In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some of the modern themes associated with commercial lighting. Both for practical and aesthetic reasons, there are several trends involved with commercial lighting today that building owners and managers should be aware of.

At Orange Electric, we’re proud to offer numerous commercial electrician services, including lighting installation and several related lighting themes. In today’s part two of our series, we’re going to get a bit more detailed and dig into some of the lighting trends present in various types of commercial buildings to give you an idea of how different industries may take advantage of the wide variety of modern lighting components available.

themes modern commercial lighting

Restaurants

Restaurants are in a strange position, as the COVID-19 outbreak has damaged their in-person business in many cases – and returns, where possible, must feature distancing and care. This means restaurants must continue to focus on factors like ambiance and natural lighting to keep customers comfortable.

One great method here is switching to LED bulbs, which not only bring ambiance and environmental friendliness, but are also easily affordable. A particular type of LED bulb to look into is known as the Edison bulb.

Retail Areas

Retail areas have also had to make some changes, and a big focus this year has been tailoring light to various customer profiles. This is especially true for smaller retail groups, since big box stores are less impacted by such trends – these larger stores tend to prioritize energy efficiency over all else given their volume of customers.

Hotels and Hospitality

Hotels and other various hospitality areas must focus heavily on eco-friendly lighting, as more and more customers have begun to list this area as one that’s important to them. There are numerous such bulbs available that do not limit style or aesthetics in any way.

Healthcare Facilities

There are even forms of modern lighting that are known to provide benefits to human health, and these are vital within healthcare facilities. LED lights are once again valuable here – not only do they come with a reasonable cost that most hospital administration groups can easily afford, they also provide low levels of heat emission – this makes it easier to control the temperature in patient rooms while also providing ambient light themes that assist with comfort and care.

On top of this, quality LEDs can mimic the appearance of natural light, which has shown to be connected to health promotion. This is particularly true for long-term care patients who spend most of their time under these lights and see very little (or no) time outdoors.

For more on lighting trends in commercial facilities, or to learn about any of our commercial electrician and electrical repair services, speak to the staff at Orange Electric today.

Themes and Trends for Modern Commercial Lighting, Part 1

While they may not shift or change as often as an area like fashion, per se, the world of commercial electrical services does include several general trends and themes. One great example here is lighting – both for technological and aesthetic reasons, the world of commercial lighting goes through regular changes and trends based on the products available and what’s “in” during a given period of time.

At Orange Electric, we’re proud to offer a wide variety of commercial electrician services, including lighting installation and several other themes related to lights in your commercial building. In this two-part blog series, we’ll start by going over some of the top themes out there for trendy modern commercial lighting systems – and then in part two, we’ll delve into specific commercial industries and some of the lighting trends present in these areas.

trends modern commercial lighting

Environmental Friendliness

For starters, one of the top themes at play in modern commercial lighting is energy efficiency and environmental friendliness. Not only can you save yourself some major funds here, you can also provide benefits to the environment around you.

For those looking to really promote these areas, you can apply to be a LEED-certified building (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). Many LEED buildings take on such projects as harvesting daylight, using light and energy control systems, and sending their own contributions to public power grids.

Health Themes

Commercial building owners are also spending more time thinking about the health of their employees and other occupants in modern times, and one example is lighting. There are several commercial lighting options out there that mimic natural light flow for human circadian rhythms, helping balance physical and visual needs. The infusion of natural light, even through non-natural sources like these, is one of the major benefits of modern lighting technology.

Safety Features

Commercial lighting is also often used as a safety feature within the space. Many building owners use motion sensors for their exterior lights to ward off potential burglars, for instance, and larger companies with parking lots on-site should install parking lot lights for employees who stay late.

Low-Cost Style Upgrades

Finally, there are many ways for building owners to use lighting as a low-cost way to upgrade their aesthetics. Much of this comes down to personal style and taste, plus a combination of strong aesthetics and practical value for employees, managers and other staff. But you’d be surprised how much you can do even on a very limited budget, as modern lighting options are generally affordable and easy to source.

For more on some of the latest trends in modern commercial lighting, or to learn about any of our other commercial electrician services, speak to the staff at Orange Electric today.

Tactics for Saving on Commercial Energy Costs, Part 2

In part one of this two-part blog series, we dug into some tips for limiting commercial energy costs. Many building and company owners are constantly on the hunt for such savings areas, which in many cases can have a big impact on margins and a company’s bottom line.

At Orange Electric, we’re proud to provide numerous commercial electrical services, including a number of certified electrician services that have helped numerous commercial building owners save major sums without sacrificing energy quality. In today’s part two of our series, we’ll go over a few additional tactics to keep your energy bill low, both in terms of DIY projects and those where you should call our electricians for assistance.

saving commercial energy costs

Energy Star Equipment

Anytime you’re considering the purchase of new office equipment that requires a power source or energy usage, take care to look closely for the Energy Star logo. This logo, which will be found on virtually any kind of electrically-powered item, signals approval by this industry-leading resource.

Items that have this certification can be expected to be far more energy efficient than those that don’t. In addition, many will be outfitted with automatic power-down or sleep features that remove this task from individuals in the building, helping save loads of energy during nights or weekends where the space isn’t in active use. Even HVAC components like AC units should be sourced for the Energy Star label as you browse.

Alternative Energy Sources

In many cases, business owners looking to be more environmentally conscious – or those looking for related tax breaks and energy savings benefits – will turn to renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power. These have become far more popular in recent years, powering many components in a commercial building with clean, low-cost energy. There are even commercial solar energy storage systems you can install in your building to collect and store solar energy over a period of time.

Entryway Sealing and HVAC Quality

Finally, while they don’t necessarily speak directly to electrical components, one major way of saving energy within a commercial setting is ensuring the HVAC system is operating efficiently. One major area here is sealing any gaps or cracks in entryways that are allowing air to escape, forcing your HVAC system to work harder and raise your costs.

Another important factor here is ensuring your HVAC systems are properly maintained. Confirm that multiple yearly inspections are done on such components, plus make sure units are cleaned and kept clear of furniture, electrical items or other major components.

For more on saving money on commercial energy costs, or to learn about any of our commercial electricians and how we’ll serve you, speak to the staff at Orange Electric today.

Tactics for Saving on Commercial Energy Costs, Part 1

A commercial electrician serves many roles for their clients, and one primary area that’s vital to a number of businesses is energy savings. Particularly for workplaces or facilities that involve significant electronics and the need for power and proper circuitry, ensuring these elements while maintaining a manageable energy bill each month is the goal for all business owners.

At Orange Electric, we’re here to help. Our commercial electrical contractors handle numerous areas for our clients, including several that trace back to keeping your energy bill low while maintaining all the proper electrical needs present in your building. In this two-part blog series, we’ll go over a number of ways commercial business owners and managers can look to limit their energy costs, both in terms of DIY areas and those where you should call our electricians for assistance.

saving commercial energy costs

Natural Light

One major tip not enough commercial buildings internalize: Utilizing natural light wherever possible to reduce the need for powered lighting. Most businesses operate primarily during the day when the sun is out – use this reality to your advantage by opening window shades or coverings throughout the space, particularly during the winter periods of the year when a little additional light might also assist with heating tasks.

Non-Use Items

While it may seem like a basic area, you might be shocked at how many companies do not have a policy for turning off major electronics when leaving the office for the day or night. From computers to monitors, printers, fax machines and several others, sleep mode or outright powering down should be carried out when they won’t be used again for a period of hours or days.

In addition, electrically-powered amenities like microwaves, toasters, radios and others in the office should receive the same kind of attention. Many office managers use power strips for many of these items, allowing them to be turned off with a single push of a button.

Energy Audit

One area we’ve gone over in detail in this space previously is the commercial energy audit, which involves a professional inspection from our team that will help you identify your major sources of electrical expenses and make the appropriate tweaks to become more efficient. Speak to our electricians about scheduling an audit in the near future.

Component Themes

There are a few suggestions we can offer when it comes to components in a commercial building that will assist with energy efficiency, including:

  • Automatic lights: Between motion detectors, automatic dimmers and related technology, there are several light formats designed to turn off and on based on human presence in a given room or area. These installations within the commercial space often lead to drastic savings.
  • Programmable thermostat: A type that allows you to pre-set HVAC temperature and related needs, including limiting energy use during periods of non-use.
  • CFL or LED bulbs: Both these options refer to light bulb types that bring enormous energy savings compared to standard bulbs. In larger office spaces, such bulbs may save you thousands and thousands of dollars over the course of a given year.

For more on limiting your commercial energy costs, or to learn about any of our commercial electrician services, speak to the staff at Orange Electric today.

High-Voltage Power Line Safety Risks and Approaches, Part 2

In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some of the basics on high-voltage power lines and the proper safety approaches to take when near them. Whether your business is located near such lines or you’re performing contract work in such an area, ensuring the right precautions are taken is vital to not only safety, but also maintaining the quality of the power lines in question.

At Orange Electric, we’re proud to provide a wide variety of commercial electrical services, from minor repairs and maintenance areas to electrical installations and builds. In today’s part two of our series, we’ll evaluate how anyone in situations where they’re close to a high-voltage power line should evaluate the hazards present, plus some of our top safety recommendations for working or staying safe in these locations.

high-voltage power line safety

Distance

As we noted in part one of our series, distance is a primary safety factor when dealing with high-voltage power lines. It’s also one of the easiest precautions to take: It’s simple to set up a basic boundary around all high-voltage lines, ensuring no one crosses into unsafe territory.

How large should this boundary be? The answer depends on the voltage present in the area. Some general voltage ranges (using nominal, phase-to-phase voltage), plus the OSHA minimum distances from any exposed energized parts (including overhead power lines), include:

  • Under 50,000 volts: 10 feet or more
  • 50,000-200,000 volts: 15 feet or more
  • Over 200,000 volts: 20 feet or more

People, machinery and even crops should all be kept at these distances or more. If you do not know the voltage of a given power line, we recommend assuming the higher range and keeping at least 20 feet of distance until you know for sure.

Insulation and Objects

Another important piece of knowledge here is that, generally speaking, high-voltage electrical power lines are not insulated. This means electricity can travel not only through the lines themselves, but may also enter the air and even charge objects that are close by.

This means that not only should the wires themselves never be touched, great care should be taken around other nearby items. Even parking certain machinery too close to a line could present significant shock or electrocution risks.

Tree Safety

If your business is located near a high-voltage power line, we strongly recommend against trimming or otherwise working on trees in the area. Trees can absolutely carry electrical current, meaning you should only call trained professionals for these needs. If you find a tree on your property has fallen into a high-voltage power line, call you power company and our team right away.

For more on staying safe around high-voltage power lines, or to learn about any of our electrical contractors or services, speak to the staff at Orange Electric today.