Tips To Prevent Electrical Damage During Summer Storms

Midwest weather is notorious for having storms that can cause property damage. Unless issues are addressed properly and promptly, homeowners may be without power for a lengthy period of time. Once a storm passes, it may be tempting to try and repair any damage on your own; however, electrical repairs should be left to the professionals. Diving into any electrical repairs could result in a fire or even bodily injury. Keep reading and learn a few simple steps you can do to prevent electrical damage and what to do once damage occurs.

Take Preventative Measures

Get your trees trimmed!

Make sure any overhead power lines on your property are clear of tree branches. This will help prevent downed trees from doing damage, such as ripping the electrical service off your house.

Invest in a whole house SURGE Protector.

When professionally installed, your expensive electronics are warrantied.

In the event of a lightning storm, unplug computers, TVs, and any appliances that may be damaged by a power surge.

If your power goes out, report the power outage to Ameren (or your local electric provider) right away. And be sure to report any downed power lines.

 Contact the Professionals

Safety during the storm should be your first priority. Then as soon as the storm has passed, it’s time to assess the damage and get it repaired. Many people make the mistake of thinking that Ameren will take care of any and all electrical storm repairs. Note that if your home’s outside service panel or service entry is damaged during the storm, you will be responsible for getting it fixed (not Ameren or your local electric provider). Paramount Electric is fully equipped to handle all types of situations. Our crews can replace or repair your outside service, panel and service entry so that Ameren can turn your power back on. Give us a call at 314-266-6551.

Simple Outdoor Lighting Ideas to Transform Your Space This Memorial Day

Summer is the season for grilling and outdoor gatherings! As Memorial Day fast approaches, it’s time to think of ways to spruce up your patio and backyard. To help you get your backyard ready and at its finest, we’ve rounded up some outdoor lighting favorites to help transform your space:

Hidden LED Strips

Placing LED strips along the base of your stairs or under furniture is a simple way to brighten up your backyard or patio. It creates a modern look and transforms the outdoor area into a place that can be enjoyed at all hours of the day and night.

Uplighting

Make a statement in your backyard by positioning lights under trees and plants, or even against a wall. Uplighting brightens the space while also making it look more dramatic and cozy.

Pots & Planters

Chances are, you already have planters in your yard. Why not make them a focal point and a light source for those warm summer nights? Illuminated planters come in a large range of sizes, so whether you’re planting a few flowers or a massive hedge, an illuminated planter is up for the job.

Pendant Lights

If you have a dedicated dining area in your backyard, pendant lights can be used to shed some light on mealtime conversation and let the outdoor festivities carry on late into the night.

Paramount Electric is your one-stop-shop for all outdoor lighting needs. We will help you create a personalized design as well as take care of all the necessary permits, wiring, and installation. Ready to get started? Call our office at 314-266-6551 or email info@paramountstl.com for a free estimate.

April Showers Bring Power Outages

With all of the storms, what does that mean for your electric? Because of the thunderstorms we have been getting, it’s no shock that our electric will be affected. While light April showers bring May flowers, they can also bring up some serious electrical issues. We’ve created a list of things to help you in case of any kind of power outages you may have.

 Find any kind of Flashlight or Candle you may have

  • You will need some means of light to help you see since it will be very dark. Your home may be full of different types of scents from the candles, but at least you will be able to see
  • where you are going.
  • Keep your Refrigerators and Freezers shut
    These typically run on electric, so when there is no power, there is nothing running your refrigerator/freezer. The more times the door is opened, the warmer your food will be from the cool air getting out. Keeping the door shut will keep that cool air inside which will keep your food at the temperature it should be.
  • Disconnect Appliances or Technology
    They can get fried if you keep them plugged in and lightning strikes. Your phone may be charged, but it may die from a power surge if it is kept plugged in.
  • Fill your Bathtub up with Water
    Your water supply could be disrupted during a storm, so play it on the safe side and fill up any kind of containers and your tub with water prior to the storm.
  • Break out the Board Games
    Since you won’t have any power, you will need to do something in your spare time. Dig up those old dusty board games and play a quality game of Monopoly in the dark.

Here are some tips on what you can do to help prevent these power outages

  • Install a Home Backup Generator
    When your power goes out, your generator will be there to restore the electric. It will keep the lights, air conditioning, refrigerator, freezer, computer, security system, etc. anything that requires electric, running. You won’t have to worry about any outage because you will have this in your back pocket. We can help you install a backup generator.
  • Get your Trees Trimmed
    Trees can conduct electricity. Make sure any overhead power lines on your property are free of tree branches. The tress can interfere with your electric service, especially during these storms. Getting them trimmed can help prevent any issues like ripping the electric service off of your house during a storm.
  • Install SURGE Protector
    A whole house SURGE Protector is designed to protect your appliances from any kind of voltage spike that may occur. This will keep your tech and appliances safe through the April shows and storms.
  • Report any kind of Power Outage to your Electrical Provider
    They will typically have reasoning indicating why the power is out as well as an estimated time for restoration.
  • Unplug any Appliances During a storm
    If lightning strikes near a local electric pole, this could cause a power surge that bursts through the power lines. Because your typical appliances aren’t able to sustain a certain amount of voltage, this power surge coming through the wall socket and will essentially fry.

Why Electrical Wiring Shouldn’t Be Your Next DIY Project

Home repairs can be costly, so it’s understandable that you may want to fix certain issues yourself to save time and money. Replacing weatherstripping or oiling a sticky drawer are easy projects with little risk. But when it comes to electrical wiring, mistakes can be downright dangerous. Here are four reasons you should always call a licensed electrician.

Safety

The foremost concern when it comes to wiring is safety. If you’re not aware of best safety practices, there’s the risk of electric shock. Faulty wiring is also a fire hazard, putting your house at risk long after you’ve finished the project. Professional electricians are trained not only in industry practices but in the local codes and ordinances that must be met when wiring a home.

Proper Equipment

An important aspect of safe electrical repair is having the right tools. You may find that what you thought was a quick fix is actually an extensive issue. Obtaining the correct equipment to resolve the problem may be incredibly expensive and difficult to find. Licensed professionals, however, likely already have the appropriate gear.

Licensing

Depending on your area, it may not be legal for unlicensed individuals to perform certain installations or repairs. Beyond legal trouble, these standards are set to ensure residents’ safety.

There’s also the issue of insurance. If your wiring isn’t up to code or wasn’t covered by the appropriate permit, you may not be able to get the home insured. This can lead to even more stress if you need to sell or lease your house. In the end, you may end up paying fines or having to hire a licensed electrician to do the work again—the correct way this time.

Quality

Your home is your investment, and you want to take care of it. Sometimes that means admitting that you can’t do the best job yourself. Without training and experience, you may end up over your head and spending an inordinate amount of time trying to resolve what seemed like a relatively minor issue. Professionals, on the other hand, may be able to quickly recognize the root of a problem because they’ve seen similar situations. They can also suggest high-quality materials or parts to last longer and save you a future headache.

If you’re in need of an electrician in St. Louis, MO, look no further than Paramount Companies. Let our experts save you time with our friendly, professional service. Call 314-266-6551 or contact us for a quote.

Why Install a Home Backup Generator?

A power loss can be a dangerous event for homes and families—and not to mention inconvenient. With the frequency of thunderstorms and extreme weather in the St. Louis area, homes are at greater risk for outages. What’s the best way to avoid the risks and inconveniences of an electrical outage? Install a home backup generator to keep your household running safely and smoothly until utility power is restored.

How Do Backup Generators Work?

Residential backup generators are a reliable source of standby power. In the event of an electrical outage, power will automatically switch over from the utility to your home backup generator in a matter of seconds, with the help of an automatic transfer switch (ATS). Then when the electricity comes back on, the ATS will automatically switch the power back over to the utility source. So you don’t have to lift a finger. You don’t even need to be home during the outage!

Benefits of Installing a Home Backup Generator

There are many advantages of having an alternate source of power on standby. A home backup generator:

  • Keeps the lights, air conditioning, and heat on during an outage
  • Powers your refrigerator, freezer, computers, and home security system
  • Does not require refueling, since it runs on your home’s natural gas
  • Helps keep your family safe
  • Provides convenience and peace of mind

Businesses can also benefit from backup power. To see a standby generator in action at both a residential and a commercial property, check out this video from Kohler. For related info, check out our previous post: Why Install a Commercial Backup Generator?

Want more tips on how to protect your family during the spring storm season? Read our previous articles: Electrical Safety During Storms and Floods and How to Deal with Electrical Storm Damage.

At Paramount Electric, we are experts in providing reliable standby power. Our electricians will evaluate your property and make recommendations for your generator’s size and location. We will take care of all the necessary permits and installation. Contact us to schedule a free estimate for your backup generator installation! Call our office at 314-266-6551 or email service@paramountstl.com.

What Is Color Temperature and Why Does It Matter?

Shopping for light bulbs is a pretty simple task, right? And yet it can quickly become overwhelming when you realize how many different options you have to choose from. Color temperature is one of the most important factors to consider. If you’ve been browsing the light bulb aisle recently, you may be wondering, “What is color temperature? And why does it matter when selecting light bulbs?”

What Is Color Temperature?

Color temperature is the warmth or coolness of a light source, measured in Kelvins. Lower temperature bulbs (2700–3000K) produce warm, soft whites—similar to firelight or standard incandescent bulbs. Medium temperature bulbs (3500–4100K) produce neutral whites. And higher temperature bulbs (5000–6500K) produce cool whites—similar to natural daylight. Yes, you read that right; lower temperatures give off “warm” (red-yellow) light, while warmer temperatures give off “cool” (green-blue) light.

Why Does It Matter When Selecting Bulbs for Your Home or Business?

Color temperature is important because it actually affects the mood of a room. Warm light (which has a lower color temperature) creates a calm, relaxed atmosphere and is more flattering to skin tones. Cool light (which has a higher color temperature) is brighter and more energizing. Medium light is more neutral and is often preferred for office and work spaces.

LED vs Incandescent Bulbs

People often delay switching to LED because they have concerns about the difference in color temperature between LED bulbs and traditional incandescents. The good news is that LED light bulbs have come a long way in recent years. LED technology has advanced to the point where they are now available in a broad range of color temperatures and brightness levels. Today’s high-quality LEDs can indeed give you that “warm glow” you’re after. If you really love that warm, vintage look, LED bulbs are available in color temperatures as low as 1900K.

For more info on the advantages of LED lighting, check out our previous posts: Switching Your Home to LED and Switching Your Business to LED.

If you have more questions related to home electronics—like “What is color temperature?,” “Why install a home backup generator?,” or “How can I lower my electric bill?”—browse our blog. Ready to switch your home to LED? Contact us! Call our office at 314-266-6551 or email service@paramountstl.com.

Why Replace Aluminum Wiring?

Does your home have aluminum wiring that needs to be replaced? According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), “Aluminum wiring in a house presents a very serious potential fire hazard.” If your house was built or remodeled between 1965 and 1973, or if you notice any warning signs—such as flickering lights or warm-to-the-touch face plates—call the experts at Paramount Electric right away. We will inspect your home and replace aluminum wiring as needed to keep your family safe.

Background Info: The Use of Aluminum in Residential Wiring

Many older homes built in St. Louis and across the U.S. in the 1960s and early 1970s were built with aluminum wiring. Copper is a better conductor and is generally the most common material used in residential wiring. However, aluminum wiring is both lighter and cheaper than copper. When copper prices shot up in the 1960s, aluminum became a popular alternative. But it fell out of favor again around 1972, due to quality and safety issues.

What to Do If Your Home Has Aluminum Wiring

It’s a good idea to have any existing aluminum wiring inspected and then repaired or replaced as soon as possible. Even if you haven’t noticed any warning signs indicating bad aluminum connections—such as flickering lights, warm-to-the-touch outlet plates, or electrical appliances that suddenly stop working for no apparent reason—it’s probably just a matter of time. While repair options are available, the best and most permanent solution is whole-house rewiring. We will replace all aluminum wiring throughout your home with safe, reliable copper wiring.

Can You Replace Aluminum Wiring Yourself?

No! As a homeowner, you should not attempt to repair or replace aluminum wiring yourself. With DIY electrical work, you run the risk of property damage, injury, and even death. To avoid shock, electrocution, and fire hazards, be sure to call the certified professionals at Paramount Electric. We are experts in aluminum wiring repair, whole-house rewiring, new construction electrical wiring, and more.

For related info, check out our previous post on how to Prevent Electrical Fires with AFCIs.

Ready to schedule an appointment to replace aluminum wiring or have your home wiring inspected? Contact us. Call our office at 314-266-6551 or email info@paramountstl.com.

5 Great Ways to Lower Your Winter Electric Bill

Have you noticed your energy bill creeping up over the past few months? St. Louis winters can be tough on the wallet, especially if you live in an older home with poor insulation or aging appliances. Luckily, there are several things you can do to help save energy and lower utility bills during cold weather. Read on for five great tips on how to reduce your winter electric bill.

How to Save on Your Winter Electric Bill

Use the following tips to help step up your winter energy savings.

  • Install a smart thermostat. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can save up to 10% on your heating bill by turning your thermostat down 7–10° for 8 hours per day. With a smart thermostat like the Nest Learning Thermostat, you can save even more.
  • Switch your home to LED! According to the U.S. Department of Energy, “By replacing your home’s five most frequently used light fixtures or bulbs with models that have earned the ENERGY STAR, you can save $75 each year.” By switching every light bulb in the entire house, you could save much more. Learn more about switching your home to LED.
  • Power down and unplug. This one’s pretty straightforward. Unplug things when you’re not using them and turn things off before you leave the house. Home automation is a fantastic option if you have trouble remembering these simple tasks.
  • Upgrade to energy efficient appliances and electronics. Click here to search for ENERGY STAR certified products. Or contact us for recommendations on the best energy efficient electronics.
  • Seal out the cold. Winterize your home with proper insulation and well-sealed doors and windows. If your home heating runs on an electric furnace, this will go a long way in cutting down your winter electric bill.

Want more info on summer energy savings? Check out our previous post for 5 Easy Ways to Lower Your Electric Bill in the Summer.

Additional Energy Saving Tips to Keep in Mind for Next Year

The holidays have come and gone, but there’s always next year! When you’re putting up decorative holiday lights, remember to use LEDs and incorporate low-output fixtures into your lighting scheme. And when shopping for Christmas gifts, consider the gift of home automation or brand new energy efficient electronics—such as an ENERGY STAR certified UHD smart TV.

Have questions about how to lower your winter electric bill? Ready to switch your home or business to LED? Contact us for a free consultation. Call our office at 314-266-6551 or email info@paramountstl.com.

Energy Efficiency Rebates through Ameren MO

Time to make electrical upgrades to your home or business? As a Missouri resident or business owner, you may qualify for energy efficiency rebates through Ameren MO. Our St. Louis clients are often curious about what types of energy rebates they can get, how much money they can save, etc. Keep reading to learn about the different types of energy savings available.

Energy Efficiency Rebates for Homeowners

Ameren MO offers cash-back rebates for various residential upgrades. Here are several ways you can save money while reducing your family’s carbon footprint:

  • Get up to $2,000 cash back for heating and cooling upgrades. To qualify, install an energy-efficient AC, heat pump, or geothermal system.
  • Get up to $500 cash back for installing ENERGY STAR® certified products—such as a heat pump water heater, swimming pool pump, or room air purifier.
  • Get $100 cash back for buying and installing an eligible smart thermostat—such as the Nest Learning Thermostat.
  • Qualify for reduced prices when purchasing LED light bulbs.

Learn more about Switching Your Home to LED.

Energy Efficiency Rebates for Businesses

Ameren MO also offers incentives for businesses that invest in energy efficient upgrades, such as equipment upgrades. Follow the links below to learn more about available cash incentives for your specific business.

  • Click here to search for cash incentives by business type.
  • Click here to search for cash-back rebates by equipment type.
  • Click here to learn how to earn cash incentives by installing energy efficient lighting, such as LED bulbs.

Did you know that about one fourth of a typical commercial building’s energy output comes from lighting? At Paramount Electric, we can advise you on the best money-saving lighting upgrades, design and install your entire system, and help you apply for the appropriate cash credits.

Learn more about Switching Your Business to LED.

Have questions about energy efficiency rebates through Ameren? Ready to get started? Contact us. Call our office at 314-266-6551 or email info@paramountstl.com.

Prevent Electrical Fires with AFCIs

Did you know that many residential fires are started by an electrical hazard called arcing faults? Luckily, these fires can be prevented using AFCI technology. Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCIs) replace the standard breakers in your home’s electrical service panel to provide enhanced fire protection. Keep reading to learn how these advanced circuit breakers help prevent electrical fires in the home.

What Are Arcing Faults, and What Causes Them?

Arcing faults are electrical fire hazards often found in damaged or deteriorated wires and cords. When electrical wiring becomes damaged, stressed, worn, or overheated, electrical arcing can occur—which may lead to a fire starting in the home. Common causes for hazardous arcing conditions include:

  • Puncturing of wire insulation from cables that are improperly nailed or stapled too tightly
  • Puncturing of wire insulation from picture-hanging
  • Poorly installed outlets or switches
  • Furniture pushed up against outlet plugs
  • Cords caught under furniture or in doors
  • Cords exposed to heat sources—such as heating vents and sunlight
  • Natural aging of old cords and wires

How Do AFCIs Prevent Electrical Fires?

AFCIs detect the presence of arcing faults and prevent electrical fires from occurring by shutting off the electricity before a fire can start. If you live in a newly constructed home, AFCIs may already be installed in the bedrooms and main living areas. If you live in a slightly older home (built before 2005), you likely have standard circuit breakers. Standard breakers can easily be upgraded to AFCIs by a licensed electrician like Paramount Electric. To ensure maximum fire protection, they should be tested monthly using the “TEST” button on the AFCI.

For more fire safety tips, visit esfi.org for info on Holiday Fire Prevention. Plus, check out our previous post on Fire Prevention Week for a list of fire preventions tips that will keep your family protected all year round.

Have questions about how to prevent electrical fires with AFCIs? Ready to upgrade your breakers? Call our office at 314-266-6551 or email info@paramountstl.com. Have a safe and Happy New Year!