electrician denver, co

How to Avoid Overloaded Outlets

If you have ever had to switch the circuit breakers to restore power after your electricity shuts off you due to overloaded outlets you may be asking yourself, “how many watts can a standard outlet handle?”

Living in a space with a limited number of outlets can force you to make some difficult choices. You might need to have the hairdryer plugged in, but you also need the electric razor, iron and space heater going, too. Your outlets can only handle a certain number of watts as well as the circuit breaker its associated with.

 You’re Not Overloading An Outlet, You’re Overloading A Circuit.

First, it’s important to understand that each circuit usually supplies power to several outlets and lights.  For example, Circuit A might supply power to the four outlets in the master bedroom plus a ceiling light, Circuit B might supply all power to the kitchen, etc.  Each circuit is controlled by a breaker or a fuse.  So if you lose electricity you don’t overload an individual outlet, you overload an entire circuit.

A breaker will automatically shut off power when there’s an overload. It’s designed to work as a safety device. Not having a breaker on your circuit can result in electrical hazards. 20-amp breakers must only handle up to 80% of their amperage rating. An amp rating means the most amount of current the circuit can safely handle.

 How Much Can a Single Outlet Handle?

The typical American wall outlet can handle a maximum of 15 Amps, or 15 amps * 120 Volts = 1800 watts. However, the National Electric Code (NEC) says that no more than 80% of that should be used if continuous power is used, i.e, and toaster, hair dryer, lamp, etc.

That means any single device or a combination of devices plugged into any and all of the outlets (or hardwired devices) wired to the same circuit breaker, should never require over 1440 watts (or 12 amps) for a 15 amp outlet. Using an extension cord does not preclude this rule.

 Safety First

Aside from the inconvenience it causes, overloading an outlet can pose several safety risks. Consider these points before overloading an outlet:

  1. Overloaded outlets can cause fires — an estimated 5,300 annually in American households [source: CPSC].
  2. Overloaded circuits or outlets can cause burned out wires, damaged appliances and even electric shocks.
  3. Only use products backed by The Consumer Product Safety Commission The CPSC tests products and finds that many counterfeit products can’t stand up to even the most basic safety testing.
  4. Electrical devices that are built to put out heat, like space heaters and hair dryers, tend to use more power than other devices.
  5. Faulty circuit breakers can cause unnecessary overloads leading to fires and other damage in the house.

If you suspect you have a faulty circuit breaker or need additional outlets installed contact a qualified electrician.  High West Electric is based in Denver, CO and serves the entire metro area. Our customer service-based approach ensures that each client enjoys the process from installation to the end product – no matter the size of the job. Our goal is to be YOUR electrician and offer an experience that goes Beyond the Wires. We offer free estimates. Visit our website to learn more.

home electric vehicle charging station

Home Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

Unlike a gasoline-fueled car, one major perk of an electric vehicle is that you can plug it in to a home electric vehicle charging stations or at an EV charging station on the go.

This blog will provide answers to what is admittedly a very different infrastructure for electric cars than what you are used to with gas cars. Once you work out the basics electric cars are a cinch to charge.

What You Need To Know About Home Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

The most convenient places to charge your electric vehicle is where it will be parked most often: home and work.

There are three different levels of charging power available for electric vehicles: Level 1, Level 2, and DC fast charging.

Level 1 Charging: Level 1 charging stations operate on a 120-volt AC system. The same power as a standard household electrical outlet. Level 1 chargers take about 8 hours or more to fully charge a drained EV battery. You will commonly find them in homes.

Level 2 Charging: Level 2 charging stations are the most common chargers. They operate on a 240-volt AC system and charging a drained battery can take as little as two or three hours. Even just one hour of charging can replenish a significant amount of battery. Level 2 chargers tend to be the best popular for restaurants, retail shops, employee parking, hospitals and schools, and apartment buildings.

Direct Current Fast Charging: A third class of EV chargers is known as DC fast charging. These use DC power and can fully charge a battery in under an hour. They are very expensive and require stricter safety measures. Also, older electric vehicles aren’t compatible with them, whereas virtually any EV can plug into a Level 1 or Level 2 charger.

 Home Electric Vehicle Charging Station

At home, you’ll want a Level 2 charger, which requires 240-volt power and you’ll want it located reasonably close to the car. This needs to be installed by a qualified electrician.

The 240-volt electricity is generally easy to add to a garage. The plug needed for a charger is the same as an electric clothes dryer. While there obviously is an expense to have one installed by a qualified electrician, the state and federal rebates for owning an electric vehicle can be significant. Xcel Energy offers a home electric vehicle charging station rebate as well.

The car charger plugs into your 240-volt outlet and features a cable that plugs into your car. Longer cables are available for most chargers for drivers who need the charger inside a garage but must park outside.

An electric vehicle charging station requires a licensed electrician. High West Electric has extensive experience with installing home electric vehicle charging stations. We can help you choose the best option and educate you on all the incentives and rebates available once installed. At High West Electric we help homeowners and businesses tackle electrical projects and issues to create safe, efficient and comfortable spaces. We go beyond the wires to professionally assess electrical systems, troubleshoot issues, and deliver safe, smart solutions. Contact us today for a free estimate on a home electric vehicle charging station.

managing holiday stress

Managing Holiday Stress

We’ve identified tips for managing holiday stress at home and in the workplace. Holidays are usually the happiest time of the year because we have additional quality time with family and friends and often share in meals and other uplifting social functions. But at the same time, hanging the lights, the added scheduling pressures, sometimes indulgent eating, and other departures from our normal routines adds stress that can be difficult to balance, not to mention the added stress around COVID!

While we can fix any of your electrical stresses, we unfortunately can’t fix holiday stresses, so we have compiled these useful tips for managing holiday stress. We hope you find it as useful as we did.

  1. Don’t over-commit 

As much as it seems like you want to attend every holiday social, party, and dinner, sometimes it is absolutely overwhelming to do it all and still manage your daily life. Select those things that matter most and politely decline the things that don’t, and you will thank yourself later. No one expects you to do it all, so don’t expect it of yourself.

  1. Plan self-care activities

If the joy and chaos of the holidays really does overwhelm you, then schedule some planned downtime. Set time aside to treat yourself to a facial, beauty treatment, get a massage, or engage in a quiet activity that lets you reset and gather your energy.

  1. Maintain as much routine as possible

Holidays are terrible for routines. While a few can just go with the flow, most of us rely on regular structure to keep our lives manageable. If you stick to the basics of your routine (when you get up, when you eat, when you exercise, etc.), then you will have more emotional and physical energy to manage the holiday chaos. Sticking to #1 (don’t over-commit) is helpful in this regard.

  1. Don’t neglect sleep

When it comes to schedules and routines, the most important routine might be sleep. If you neglect sleep, then everything else will be more stressful and harder to manage.

So stick with your regular sleep schedule as much as possible. It might get disrupted by a party or two, or holiday travel, but if you can keep a regular bedtime and a regular waking time on as many days as possible, your body will better tolerate the stress that comes your way. If you have trouble sleeping due to stress, there are natural products you can take to promote better sleep.

  1. Stay active

Exercise is recognized by experts such as those at Mayo Clinic as an important stress-management tool that can keep your body and mind more stress-tolerant all the time.

Too often at the holidays we let regular exercise go by the wayside (eh-hem routine…) along with the rest of our self-care. Keeping exercise on your calendar is challenging but still very important.

Helping Employees Manage Holiday Stress

There are a few simple actions managers can do to help boost morale and help employees manage holiday stress including:

  • Incorporate wellness breaks to give employees a chance to refocus‍
  • Help employees prioritize projects to manage pending deadlines and/or incorporate a consulting partner to help manage back-end office activities‍
  • Encourage employees to stay home when sick
  • Educate employees about wellness related activities including sharing this blog

High West Electric is based in Denver, CO and serves the entire metro area. Our customer service-based approach ensures that each client enjoys the process from installation to the end product – no matter the size of the job. Our goal is to be YOUR electrician and offer an experience that goes Beyond the Wires. Visit our website to learn more. The team at High West Electric wishes you a wonderful holiday season!

 

electrical tips for holiday lighting

Five Holiday Lighting Tips

This month’s blog features five holiday lighting tips to keep your family safe this holiday season. Did you know that one out of three Christmas tree fires are caused by electrical issues? According, the U.S. Fire Administration that’s the reality each holiday season. This information should serve as a stark warning to homeowners in the Denver metro area, especially to those who love to light up their homes with twinkling lights.

Follow these 5-holiday lighting tips to keep your family safe this holiday season:

#1 Avoid Overloading

If you plan to put up lots of lights this year, this electrical tip is for you. Do NOT overload extension cords, and make sure light strands are distributed through multiple cords. Remember, your extension cord has a wattage limit. Do NOT exceed the wattage limit. Exceeding its wattage rating could cause overheating and might put your home at grave risk. Hire a licensed electrician if you need additional outlets installed to prevent overloads.

#2 Check Labels

Christmas lights should be examined and verified by the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) to ensure safety and prevent fire or electrical hazards in your home. UL is a third-party organization that sets standards for different product categories and tests them to ensure they meet the safety requirements. Always check the labels and purchase ONLY the UL-labeled decorative lights.

#3 Use Indoor/Outdoor Lights Appropriately

It is important to note that Christmas lights come in two types—outdoor and indoor lights. When you try to hang lights outside your home, make sure they are designed specifically for that purpose.

#4 Give Your Lights a Break

It’s not wise to leave Christmas lights on at all times. Yes, they may look joyful and alive, but they can also cause a dramatic rise in your energy bills and, worse, safety issues when left on for a long time. Unplug all the lights before you go to sleep or when you leave for a holiday vacation.

#5 Choose Fire-Resistant Trees

Fire-resistant artificial trees can resist burning much longer than conventional trees. Choosing the right material for your Christmas decorations will help keep your holiday celebrations a safer one. So be sure to buy only a fire-resistant tree and safe-to-use holiday materials for your decorations.

Christmas will be as holly-jolly as you expect when you celebrate safely. Follow these electrical safety tips to keep your holiday season merry and bright.

High West Electric is based in Denver, CO, and serves the entire metro area. Our customer service-based approach ensures that each client enjoys the process from installation to the end product – no matter the size of the job. Our goal is to be YOUR electrician and offer an experience that goes Beyond the Wires. Visit our website to learn more. The team at High West Electric wishes you a wonderful holiday season!

6 Reasons Why Every Household Should Have a Standby Generator

6 Reasons Why Every Household Should Have a Standby Generator

Severe weather, such as high winds, lightning, or ice buildup can cause overhead power lines to break, resulting in loss of electric, having a standby generator can save you money and peace of mind. Depending on the size of the storm and number of homes affected, you could be without power for days.

The Difference Between a Standby Generator and a Portable Generator

A standby generator is a generator that runs on natural gas or liquid propane and is hooked up to an existing gas line. Standby generators are designed to kick in automatically when the power goes out so that you don’t experience an interruption in power.

Because their combustion engines emit fumes, portable generators should be kept outdoors during operation, although extension cords can be used to carry the power indoors.

Portable generators must be manually plugged in and require you pour gas into it to function. They emit fumes and will usually only power a couple of appliances in your home. A standby generator has the capacity to power an entire home or business.

6 Reasons to Own a Generator

  1. Your Refrigerated Food

If your refrigerator and freezer are fully stocked like most homes, you can lose hundreds of dollars in spoiled food. The USDA recommends throwing out perishable foods just four hours after a refrigerator loses power. If, however, you can connect your refrigerator to a generator, you can avoid the expense of restocking.

  1. Computers and Data

Since COVID, more Americans are working from home than ever before. Productivity is important to a company’s bottom line. A generator can provide the continuous power you need to run your desk and/or business for days and prevent damage from a power surge. A power surge is most often caused by a loss of electricity. When the power comes back on, the surge can damage electrical components and even cause a fire. If you have a backup generator, however, it can prevent these hazardous power surges from destroying your equipment, tools, computers, and other electrical devices inside your house. A generator can automatically sense when the power fails and will instantly reroute power to the generator.

  1. Electric Cars

A power outage can completely strand electric car owners. If you depend on an electric car as your main transportation, having a generator will ensure that you can drive to work, get essential groceries, get to an emergency room, even during a blackout.

  1. Medical Equipment

Lack of power to a piece of medical equipment can have detrimental effects. Having a generator will prevent unnecessary medical emergencies, keeping you and your loved ones safe.

  1. Prevent Burst Pipes

Freezing pipes can burst, ruining your plumbing, and possibly causing water damage by flooding your house. With a backup generator, your water heater can still run at normal capacity, providing the necessary heat to prevent your plumbing from freezing.

  1. Property Value

A standby generator is considered a bonus when trying to sell your home. Potential buyers place high value on peace of mind and safety when considering what home to buy. Consumer Reports states that in some cases, your home value can increase by 3 to 5%. In some cases, having a standby generator can also lower your homeowners insurance.

A generator installation requires a licensed electrician. As a certified Generac Service Provider, High West Electric is proud to offer top-of-the-line generators to help you stay safe during rolling blackouts and power outages. We provide standby generator solutions that will greatly reduce the impact of power outages. Contact us today for a free estimate.

New Look, Same Quality

At High West Electric we’ve always been committed to providing a top notch, quality customer experience, and that includes our brand. So, we decided it was time to update our logo and our website to reflect that commitment. We are very excited to announce the launch of our newly designed website: highwestelectric.com Designed to make your experience faster, more user-friendly and informative.

As a leader in the electric industry, it is important for us to make information regarding our services and trends in the industry easily accessible for our current and prospective clients. Amongst the new features the site contains integrated social media buttons, about the team section, review us feature, and a blog to foster improved communication.

Whether you are a residential or commercial property owner, you’ll want to check out our services page that lists all our offerings, including a maintenance offering.

We will be constantly updating our content with helpful information to help you be a more informed homeowner and/or building owner. We appreciate there are many options when choosing an electrical contractor and partner and our goal is to provide you information that makes you 100% confident in choosing High West Electric as your long-term partner.

Take a look around the site and let us know your thoughts – and be sure to tell your friends and family about your experience with our services. If you have suggestions for topics you’d like to hear more about, send us a note we are always interested in feedback.

High West Electric is based in Denver, CO and serves the entire metro area. Our customer service-based approach ensures that each client enjoys the process from installation to the end product – no matter the size of the job. The High West staff are highly trained and licensed professionals, who know how to get your job done right. Our goal is to be YOUR electrician and offer an experience that goes Beyond the Wires. Visit our website or call us today at 303-335-9323 to schedule your project.