Signs of Problems with Your Electrical Wiring

April 3rd, 2014 by Roger Thompson

It’s important for your daily convenience and safety that your home’s wiring remain in excellent condition. At the first signs of trouble in the wires, you need to call for trained electricians to come to your home, track down the source of the problem, and safely repair it. Do not attempt to troubleshoot the electrical issues yourself, since you will risk a high voltage shock. (In some areas, it’s illegal for anyone who doesn’t have proper certification to work on high-voltage wiring.)

Here are some of the warning indicators that you have electrical problems that require professional attention. Call G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc. for electrical repairs in Mill Creek, WA that will keep you safe and keep the lights burning.

Warning signs of electrical wiring faults

  • Dimming, flickering lights: If your circuits can no longer handle the electrical load, it will cause lights to begin to dim and flicker. This isn’t abnormal when another large appliance turns on, such as the compressor in a refrigerator or AC, but if it happens continually, you may have bad wires.
  • Constantly tripped circuit breakers or blown fuses: Occasionally, a circuit breaker will trip because an appliance or multiple appliances plugged in at one time demanded too many amps from the system. However, if tripped circuit breakers (or blown fuses if you have an older electric panel) begin to happen routinely without an obvious direct cause, there may be trouble along the circuitry.
  • Shocks from switches and outlets: If you frequently receive shocks from touching a switch or an outlet, a wire is probably shorting out inside. Usually, an electrician will need to replace the switch or outlet.
  • Charred or discolored outlets and switches: If you notice these signs of burning on switches and outlets, the problem is serious and you need to call for an electrician immediately. This usually indicates that wiring troubles have caused a small fire in the outlet, creating the charring and discoloration.

We need to emphasize once again that you should leave the electrical repairs to electricians. You not only risk injuring yourself with amateur repair work, you could start a fire in your house. Play it safe and cautious, and call for experts to handle the task.

When problems like this occur in an older home, you should consider upgrading your wiring or upgrading your circuit panel. This will make your house safer and make it easier to add more powerful modern appliances without causing shorts.

For all electrical repairs in Mill Creek, WA, call G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc. We’ve taken good care of the electrical needs of the Puget Sound Area since 1977.

Running Wires to an Entertainment Speaker Set

April 1st, 2014 by Roger Thompson

Wiring up an entertainment center (flatscreen HDTV, game console, receiver, streaming device) is perhaps the most, well, entertaining electrical work that can be done in a home. It’s far more exciting than connecting functional devices like surge protectors, whole-house generators, or smoke detectors: the end product in this case is exciting and immediately enhances your life.

But that doesn’t mean this job is necessarily an easier one than those other tasks. In conjunction with the increasing complexity and capabilities of home theater systems also comes an increase in wiring complexity. The issues become tougher if you don’t want your living room to look like a mess of cables and wires that will make it dangerous for guests just to cross it to reach the kitchen. (And let’s not even get into what pets can do to exposed wiring.)

But you can hire help from professionals: with experts in electrical installation in Lynnwood, WA assisting you, the wiring for your 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio System can hide in the walls and ceiling, making for a more pleasing space with no tripping hazards. Plus, the electricians will make sure the wiring all goes to right places and remain secure. Call G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc. to talk to our installers about wiring up your home theater speaker set and other components.

In-wall wiring is the best way to create an attractive entertainment center in your home. It can serve not only for the wires going to the speaker set, but also to hide Ethernet cables and various A/V cables. This is generally a safe set-up, because the wiring for entertainment system is what electricians call “low-voltage wiring,” and therefore unlikely to cause a fire. (Large light fixtures and HVAC systems are “high-voltage wiring.”) Local codes usually permit homeowners to perform their own low-voltage wiring, but that doesn’t mean you should try it on your own. A number of different, technical skills are involved—such as knowledge of construction material and layout—that go beyond what you can perform with a basic how-to guide or set of instructions. The tools needed are also expensive, and you probably won’t get extensive use out of them once you’re done wiring up your speakers.

When you bring in professionals to run wires for your speaker set through walls, they’ll select the right wire gauge for the job, use high-grade equipment that lasts, make unobtrusive holes into your walls, and plan out the entire route for maximum efficiency. They’ll help you test the system once it’s done so you’ll know that everything was connected right and you are all set to enjoy the rumbling thunder of that Blu-ray of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

With the assistance of our technicians skilled in electrical installation in Lynnwood, WA, you will have an entertainment system that merges perfectly with your décor—and which will work perfectly as well.

3 Advantages to a Ductless Heating System

March 31st, 2014 by Roger Thompson

The most common way to distribute heat through a home is with air ducts that run from the heater (furnace, heat pump) to the registers. However, not all forced-air heating systems require ducts. Ductless mini split heat pumps, which first started in commercial spaces before transitioning over to homes, bypass the problems ductwork can cause and instead send warm air straight into rooms through individual blower units mounted on walls.

Although not every home will benefit from the installation of a ductless mini split heat pump (they work best for new construction and homes without previously existing ventilation systems), many will. Here are 3 advantages of going ductless to consider. Call our staff at G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc. to find out how to install ductless heating in Everett, WA for your home.

  1. No space-gobbling ductwork: Even the most efficiently put together ventilation system takes up a significant amount of space in a home, and it often dictates design. But ductless systems eliminate this problem, and work particularly well if you are designing a new home or creating an add-on room.
  2. No dust or other contaminants from ducts: A serious problem that ducts can create for homeowners is the amount of dust they will pick up over time. This dust (and other pollutants like dander and pollen) wafts out into your home to circulate, lowering your indoor air quality. Going ductless takes away this damaging aspect of ducts and means you no longer have to schedule regular cleaning.
  3. Room-to-room temperature control: Because ductless mini split heat pumps use individual blowers mounted in separate rooms to distribute air, you can control which rooms receive heat. A central heating system with ducts must heat the whole house at once whenever it comes on, but ductless systems only need to heat the rooms that require it. You won’t need to heat guest rooms or empty studies. You’ll see savings on your energy bills each month because of ductless mini splits.

Find out if a ductless mini split will benefit your home

If you already have ductwork in your home for a furnace or an air conditioner, ductless may not be the ideal choice. But if you don’t have ducts, deciding to go ductless will save space and installation costs. A ductless system also works great if you want to add a room to your house, since you won’t have to worry about linking it to the current HVAC system and unbalancing the airflow for your entire home.

For an expert opinion on ductless heating in Everett, WA, call G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc. today.

Why Low Refrigerant Levels Damage Heat Pumps

March 31st, 2014 by Roger Thompson

If we compare a heat pump to a human body, the compressor is like the heart, and the refrigerant is like the blood. The compressor provides that energy that moves the refrigerant through the lines of the heat pump, allowing it to do its job—in this case, the movement of heat from one place to another. A heat pump’s mechanical parts, such as the compressor, can work perfectly—but without sufficient refrigerant, the heat pump cannot do the task it’s supposed to.

However, low refrigerant causes a heat pump other problems aside from making it less effective at providing your home with heating and cooling. Low refrigerant damages a heat pump. Our expert technicians pride themselves on diagnosing and treating your heating system. That is why it’s vital that you have your heat pump repaired when you notice refrigerant loss (or any sign of malfunctions) so a technician can recharge the refrigerant to its proper level and discover the source of the leaking.

G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc. has years of experience with heat pumps in Shoreline, WA that make us the right people to call when low refrigerant affects your heat pump.

There are two main damaging effects that a drop in refrigerant has on a heat pump:

  • Icing When refrigerant drops in a heat pump, it interferes with the standard balance of heat exchange in the system. Less refrigerant means a reduction in heat absorption along the evaporator coil (either the indoor or outdoor coil, depending on what mode the heat pump is in), resulting the refrigerant’s low temperature freezing the moisture along the coil. The frost from this process will start to grow until it becomes a solid block of ice along the coils. Aside from blocking heat exchange, this is incredibly damaging to the coil and the cabinet. Trying to forcefully chip it off will only cause further damage. You’ll need heat pump technicians to fix the problem.
  • Compressor trouble – The compressor for a heat pump is designed to handle a specific refrigerant charge. If the charge is too low, the compressor’s operation will become impaired and it will start to overwork. The oil that lubricates the compressor so it operates smoothly is actually part of the refrigerant: if refrigerant leaks, so does the lubrication oil, and eventually the compressor will burn out. Also, if the refrigerant is leaking from the compressor itself, it will damage its components.

Call for professional assistance right away

Heat pumps are complex machines that require a precise balance to run correctly. Only technicians with special training should attempt repairs. When you have leaking refrigerant, you cannot attempt to recharge the heat pump yourself; you may put in too much refrigerant, or the wrong type, and this is as destructive as having too little refrigerant. Call our specialists in heat pumps in Shoreline, WA at G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc. when you need help. They’ll get the job done quickly and correctly.

Signs That Your Wiring Needs to Be Replaced

March 31st, 2014 by Roger Thompson

If you live in an older home, you probably have wiring that was designed to support far less voltage than the demands of today’s modern equipment, like computers and home entertainment centers. The wiring might also be starting to decay, leading not only to potential power losses, but fire hazards as well. In many cases, you should invest in at least partial—if not whole-house—rewiring to upgrade your home so it can handle the electrical load and prevent hazards.

Call G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc. to look over your home if you suspect aging and insufficient wiring. Our skilled Mill Creek, WA electrical repair technicians will determine the best route to take to replace your wiring.

Here are a few signs to look for that may warn you it’s time for wiring replacement.

Signs that it’s time to re-wire

  • Constant power surges: Power surges aren’t just problems that occur during electrical storms or when trees fall over power lines. Surges occur regularly when large appliances make increased voltage demands on the electrical system that are too much for it to handle. With aging and declining wiring, power surges will become more and more common, and you will start to notice lights dimming around your house every time an air conditioning compressor comes on or the laundry machine starts. Either select or whole-house rewiring is necessary to increase the electrical load of your system.
  • Power outages and tripped circuit breakers/blown fuses: The next stage beyond constant power surges are frequent power losses. If you find that you often have to make trips to the fuse box or circuit panel, a flashlight grasped in one hand, then either you need to upgrade the fuse box or the wiring. (Most of the time, you should do both.)
  • Hot, sparking, or buzzing outlets/switches: Poor wiring often manifests first at outlets and switches, where loose connections can cause an increase in heat that can eventually cause fires. If you notice abnormal heat emanating from switches or outlets, or burn marks around them, you need to call for an electrician immediately before the fire hazard becomes more serious. Sparking from the outlets also indicates a wiring problem; at the very least, you will need to have the outlets or switches replaced, but it will also probably call for more thorough re-wiring to keep your house safe in the future.

Stay safe: call an electrician

Do not try to make wiring fixes on your own. The potential for a high voltage shock is too great, and you will unlikely be able to make any effective changes anyway. Call for professional electrical repair in Mill Creek, WA from an experienced company like G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc. We will help you with the re-wiring you need.

3 Things to Think About when Installing New Lighting

March 31st, 2014 by Roger Thompson

You’ve decided that you are finished with simply changing out the light bulbs in your home: you want to re-design the lighting, whether in one room or across the entire house. A light re-design is an excellent way to enhance your home and give it a new feeling without going through expensive and disruptive remodeling. With the right electrician assisting you, you can transform your living spaces into something more vibrant, attractive, and inviting. For this project, you’ll need electricians with years of experience.

G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc. has provided electrical installation in Lynwood, WA since 1977, and we have a powerful reputation for quality and reliability.

Three things to consider for your new lighting installation

  1. Lighting for purpose: This means adjusting the type of lighting in your home for the purpose of each room. Too often, houses have the same general scheme for all the lights in the rooms, giving the home a unified yet unsatisfying and bland look. When you install new lights, work with your electrician to come up with a softer scheme for bedrooms, while brightening up the kitchen and other spaces that require work as well.
  2. Upgrade to energy-efficient lights: One of the opportunities that installing new lights affords you is a chance to put in lights that burn less energy than standard bulbs. LED lights are an improvement over incandescent and fluorescent lights with a longer lifespan, consistent color quality, reduction in the amount of heat created, and 75% more lumens released for the same amount energy used in other lights. You can make major cuts in your electrical bills with LED lights, and have superior quality lighting at the same time.
  3. Don’t forget the outdoor lights: Improving the outdoor lighting for your house can serve multiple functions. It increases the value of your home, makes it more attractive to guests, allows you to use outside areas such as patios and decks virtually anytime, and is statistically proven to reduce crime. You can specifically have security lights installed to make your home safer.

Ask your electrician about lighting options

There are many more upgrades and possibilities for installing new lighting inside and outside your home. Your electrician can help you get the most for your new installation with ideas on how to light your home, whether it’s new fixtures or energy-efficient lighting schemes.

When you call G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc. for electrical installation in Lynwood, WA, you’ll work with technicians experienced with indoor and outdoor lighting who will help you find the right new lighting to enhance your life.

How Professional Electricans Can Plan Your Entertainment Center

March 21st, 2014 by Roger Thompson

Current home theater technology has granted us the power to create enveloping experiences using high-definition televisions with state-of-the-art sound providing 7.1 channels of discrete lossless audio and intense low-frequency emitters that can shake the walls. Add in special mood lighting and you have a full cinema experience in your living room or your specially designated space.

But… those stupid, ugly, annoying wires! People tripping on long strands, the dogs chewing on them, and the general mess they can make as you try to crisscross speakers, Blu-ray players, the monitor, receivers, video game consoles, and lights. It can be a nightmare… but you can avoid it if you turn to professional electricians in Shoreline, WA. Contact G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc. and ask about how we can help you plan an entertainment center that’s tidy, attractive, and effective.

How can professional electricians help?

If you have an elaborate entertainment system in mind, it will place a large demand for power on your home’s electrical system. Before you start to plan what you want, consult with an electrician about your home wiring’s voltage capacity, and whether you should have an upgrade to your electrical panel. You may also consider installing a whole-house surge protector, since the power requirements of all the electrical systems involved in an entertainment center can cause numerous small surges that will lead to damage to other appliances.

When the time comes to install your home entertainment center, an electrician can plan how to wire it so that the many connections and wires remain hidden. This will involve snaking the wiring behind drywall to remain unobtrusive; you’ll be thankful to have professionals handling this work, since they will leave your wall as undamaged as possible and keep the various access holes disguised. Best of all, they’ll make sure that all the wiring is safe, and there are no dangers of electrical fires starting.

Finally, let electricians help you with the indoor lighting around your entertainment system to create the best mood. You can install lights with the right amount of illumination so you can easily see the monitors and screens without plunging yourself into pitch darkness. Electricians will know the lighting scheme and fixtures that will provide you an imaginative and comfortable space.

Make your entertainment center truly entertaining

If you’re a movie lover, or you like holding sports-viewing parties or gatherings to play video games, then a professionally set-up home entertainment center will be a major upgrade to your life, a place where all your friends and family members will want to gather. Call up G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc. to assist you with the planning: our electricians in Shoreline, WA will make sure you have the best-wired, and the most inviting, center possible.

How Does Ductless Heating Save Me Money?

March 17th, 2014 by Roger Thompson

Heating without using ductwork isn’t a new concept. Boilers have done it for over a century. The modern forced-air ductless systems—ductless mini split heat pumps—have enjoyed commercial use for years. Now, more homes are taking advantage of the benefits of forgoing ducts… one of which is saving money.

G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc. has installed numerous systems for ductless heating in Everett, WA since we started in business in 1977. Call us if you think that ductless heating and cooling is ideal for you.

The savings of ductless heating

The primary way that a ductless mini split heat pump lowers your bills is that it permits you to only heat (or cool) the parts of your home that need it. With a central system, you must heat everything or nothing. But mini split heat pumps don’t use a central indoor cabinet and air handler, but a series of smaller blower units mounted on the walls of different rooms, each of which can be locally controlled. You no longer need to send conditioned air to rooms no one is using, like guest rooms or downstairs rooms during the evening. Depending on how you use the system, this could cut your heating and cooling budget in half.

Ductless systems will also save you money because they do not require you spend extra money keeping an extensive ductwork system clean and repaired. Ducts need cleaning every one or two years to make sure they aren’t lowering your indoor air quality, and any breaks or leaks need immediate professional repairs. Obviously, ductless systems don’t have such troubles.

Finally, you’ll receive the regular savings that you would receive from a standard heat pump. Heat pumps only use a small amount of electricity to run their mechanical parts to move heat from one place to another, while furnaces and boilers must burn fuel to create heat. Switching from a gas furnace to a heat pump can save the average family up to 30% from their yearly heating bills. Switching from an electric furnace will save even more.

Find out if a ductless system will work for your home

Despite all these benefits, ductless systems won’t match every house’s needs. If you already have a ductwork system installed, a ductless system is best for when you have add-on rooms, or wish to provide heating and cooling to a space that doesn’t currently have a connection to ductwork vents. (For example, if you want to convert attic space to a room.) For new home construction, however, going ductless may be the ideal comfort solution.

At G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc., we are happy to discuss options with you. Talk to our technicians experienced with ductless heating in Everett, WA and learn how you can gain the benefits of leaving ducts behind.

Signs That Your Electrical Wiring Needs Repairs

March 14th, 2014 by Roger Thompson

We usually expect to find wiring troubles in old homes where the wires are made from out-of-date material that is no longer up to code. But electrical repair needs can crop up in the most modern homes: all it takes is a bit of shoddy installation or damage to a few connections and you can end up with wiring that malfunctions, leading to power loss or—in the worst case scenario—an electrical fire.

Your home’s wiring will give you warnings that it needs repairs; you should know how to read the signs, which is what we’ll help you with in this post. For all your needs for electrical repair service in the Everett, WA area, get in touch with the experienced professionals at G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc.

Warnings of electrical repairs you may encounter

  • Flickering lights: No, it’s probably not ghosts trying to set the mood. When your lights start to flicker, it can indicate small power surges are placing voltage demands on your wiring that it lacks the capacity to handle. This may require wiring upgrades or the installation of a whole-house surge protector. Flickering lights can also point to bad connections, and you’ll need a professional electrician to track these down and fix them.
  • Constantly tripped circuit breakers/blown fuses: Having an occasional tripped breaker isn’t usually a sign of major trouble. However, if tripped breakers or blown fuses occur on a regular basis to the point that you feel you’re spending too much quality time with your electrical panel, then you have wiring that needs professional work on the double.th
  • Warm spots on walls: This is an urgent problem, since it could mean bad wiring that is growing hot enough that it could cause the insulation or drywall to catch fire. Don’t hesitate about calling for repairs.

Don’t grab your tool box, grab the phone!

Do not attempt any repairs to your wiring yourself unless you are a trained electrician with access to pro-level tools. High-voltage shocks are something to take seriously. Pick up your phone instead and put in a call to your local electrician and arrange for repairs.

G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc. does work on all types of electrical systems. Whether it’s upgrading your fuse box, installing whole-house surge protectors, or replacing old wiring, we can handle your electrical repair in Everett, WA.

Common Signs of Heat Pump Problems

March 6th, 2014 by Roger Thompson

A heat pump will work for you all through the year, unlike a standard air conditioner or furnace. That makes it particularly important for you to pay attention to possible repair needs and call for professional assistance as soon as you can. Don’t try any repairs on your own: modern heat pumps are intricate pieces of equipment that require years of special training to service.

However, it’s easy to find people with the right training: G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc. We’ve handled heat pumps in Mill Creek, WA for more than three and a half decades.

Frequent indicators of heat pump malfunctions

  • Ice along the indoor or outdoor coils: Depending on the heat pump’s mode, ice and frost can start to develop along the indoor or the outdoor coil. This either indicates that the coil has become overly dirty or the heat pump has lost refrigerant because of leak; both situations will cause the coil to lose the ability to absorb heat during evaporation, leading to icing. You can’t fix this problem by scraping off the ice; you’ll need a repair technician to either detach and clean the coils, or seal the leak and recharge the refrigerant.
  • Heat pump is stuck in one of its two modes: If the heat pump will not change modes and either keeps blowing out hot or cold air, then a number of different problems could lay behind it, such as a thermostat malfunction. The most common reason for this trouble to occur is a failed reversing valve. The reversing valve changes the direction of the refrigerant flow, which allows the heat pump to both heat and cool. This is, thankfully, an easy fix: the repair technician simply needs to replace the old valve with a new one.
  • Reduced airflow: If the flow of air coming from your room vents starts to drop, then there is probably an issue with the air handler. The air handler contains the blower that sends out the conditioned air from the heat pump, and if the blower fan motor starts to run down or become dirty, it can cut into the fan’s power and reduce airflow. A clogged air filter can also choke off airflow, and you should make sure you replace it once a month during its regular operation.

Call for heat pump repairs from professionals

If you think anything is wrong with your heat pump, don’t wait and hope that the problem will get better—it won’t. Call up G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc. and we’ll send a technician to get your system working again. When it comes to heat pumps in Mill Creek, WA, you can put your trust in our 37 years of experience.