Office Lighting Equals Productivity

Office Lighting Equals Productivity…

Lighting can simply transform a space, inside or outside. From something drab and dull to simply gorgeous. A space that resembles a cave can be changed to an inviting and warm- feeling space that makes people want to be there. It is a fact that good lighting increases productivity, and the attitudes of employees. A study conducted by the American Society of Interior Design showed that 68 percent of employees complain about the lighting in their offices. So good lighting can help make happy employees, and who doesn’t want to enjoy going to work? The lighting design group at R&D Electrical can help you make your space bright and inviting with custom lighting. Here are just three options, there are more fixture types than you can even imagine, and we install, maintain, and repair all of them.

Recessed Lights…

If you have low ceilings or a small room to start with, some fixtures can make a space feel cramped, or leave shadows, or glare on a computer monitor. In these spaces we recommend recessed can lights for an even lighting pattern that does not fill up a space. We can help custom install the lights and even use long lasting and energy efficient LED fixtures, they are cost effective and are nearly invisible. Dimmers are a great choice to control the intensity of the light output and make the mood you are looking for.

Track Lights…

Track lights used to be big, bulky, unsightly fixtures mainly used to accent wall art or products on shelves at retail stores. The architectural style low voltage lights were expensive and only had a niche in the marketplace. Today, especially with the introduction of LED technology, track light fixtures have become a great way to accent around a conference table, light up a galley style break room, or be a focal point at a reception desk in a main lobby. They still work well to accent wall art or product on a shelf, the possibilities are endless.

Exterior Lights…

We know what it’s like to go to work in the dark, and go home in the dark, we all do it this time of year. It’s not just a matter of inconvenience, it’s a matter of safety. There are several types of fixtures that can light up your sidewalk, or parking lot. Options such as path lights, building accent lights, bollard lights, post lights or pole lights. Exterior lights can highlight the architectural style of your office and adding an extra layer of security to the property when the sun goes down. Exterior lighting equals safety and curb appeal.

If you’d like more bright ideas about improving the lighting for your building, call 817-541-7550 and talk to the experts at R&D Electrical.

Generator Rentals keep the power on!

Generator Rentals keep the power on!

The team at R&D Electrical assists commercial businesses, maintenance people and other customers to select the appropriate rental generator, transfer switch or switch gear. Do you have a contingency plan in place?

Our electricians will be able to determine what size and type generator you are going to need, they will measure the load on your panel and the electrician will usually be able to tell you what you need and help get it for you ASAP.

A tap box can be connected to generator. The tap box is permanently installed, and a rented generator plugs into it. Some businesses don’t want to buy the generators because then they are on the hook for maintenance and repairs. By renting, they get the benefit and do not have to worry about fixing any problems themselves. This unit works with an emergency power transfer box, also known as a Transfer Switch. The transfer switch is permanently installed and is wired to your electrical panel, and to the tap box, and will switch power between the two sources. These units can help restore power in an emergency minutes after the generator appears on the scene. If you don’t enjoy down time, this is an economical option to deliver temporary or long term electrical power. This can power a plethora of applications; including but not limited to:

  • HVAC systems
  • Lights
  • Banks
  • Gas Stations
  • Convenience Stores
  • Office Buildings
  • Hospitals
  • Small Business
  • Stadiums
  • Universities

Finding electricians, who have the experience to install this equipment is important. There are many local and national codes to consider so working with a group like R&D Electrical is key. For many, a disaster recovery plan needs to address kilowatt size, voltage, cable length and which critical systems need emergency power. Let us help you with your contingency plan to help provide a way to bypass any guess work.

With a plan in place and the equipment installed, power can be recovered in just a matter of minutes from the moment the generator arrives. This ensures that power is quickly restored, allowing your business to resume normal operations for the short or long term, all without the need of a permanent generator.

Since commercial buildings differ from one another, we can design and customize a system to fit specific requirements.

What is a torque and clean and why do I need one?

What is a torque and clean and why do I need one?

A torque and clean is a process done by a qualified electrical contractor, to perform required maintenance to your electrical system’s components. Your electrical gear is just like anything else and needs preventive maintenance. It is usually done after hours or on weekends during a scheduled shutdown, and is done with the power off and the system locked and tagged out. The torque and clean will ultimately prevent several common causes of failures your electrical system could experience over time. Here are a few situations that will be addressed.

First are loose connections. Electrical components are bolted or screwed together to make a solid metal to metal contact. These connection points can loosen over time. When wiring is installed the connections are torqued to a specific foot or inch pounds of torque. Electricity during peak loads creates heat due to the electrons moving across the conductors, voltage is basically pressure that is the force that moves these electrons. Copper is a soft metal, which is good because it is flexible to allow it to be pulled into conduit, and make bends in wire. When copper heats up it expands, when it cools it shrinks, and this can cause a connection to get loose over time of repeated use. During the shutdown all connections are checked and re-torqued to their specific requirements, so a future failure is eliminated.

Second is dirt, oil, dust and debris. You don’t need dirt, oil, dust, ants, geckos, or anything else that may live in your nice warm electrical gear to cause a failure, it never happens at a convenient time! During the torque and clean, your panels and electrical gear are cleaned of debris with alcohol and clean lint free towels and vacuumed out to remove all of these foreign particles. Cobwebs themselves can collect moisture on a humid day, and droplets of water can group together and run down the web to cause an electrical short of even worse, an explosion.

Third is often overlooked but very important. Many of your switches and breakers contain springs. These springs are compressed and over time, a metal spring will create a memory. How this affects you is that the instant that spring needs to open a breaker during a fault, or keep a set of contacts closed tightly when a large breaker is re-set, it might not want to do it. I feel that way every time I sit for long periods! During the shutdown breakers and switches are exercised and this gives the springs a chance to stretch out and reduce some of that memory.

Fourth is correct lubrication. Although you don’t want oil and grease on some parts, other components require different forms of lubrication. Handles of disconnect switches, and other moving parts will be checked for proper lubrication to make sure if they need to move, they won’t be stuck in place and forced to move, which could cause the part to break if forced, possibly causing a metal part to fall into a live conductor. It’s not just a matter of spraying it with WD-40, you should always consult a professional electrician to perform your work and know how to properly lubricate equipment.

The schedule to do this work varies, depending on the environment the electrical components are in, the type of equipment it is, and how dependent you are on your electrical power…. Can you afford to have a failure during the day at peak business? Do you want to deal with an emergency after a storm when the power goes off, and your main breaker won’t re-set? These are situations that a torque and clean can often prevent from happening.

What to do when your business is struck by lightning

What to do when your business is struck by lightning

What to do if your business is struck by lightning?

Mother nature can be beautiful with the birds chirping and fluffy clouds on a blue sky. But here in the Lone Star State, just wait a minute and it’ll change. Storms baffle even the best weather forecaster, they come and go quickly, and sometimes they decide to stay a while. During the high winds, pounding rain, there is also lightning. Lighting can strike your business when you least expect, and what should you do if it does?

If you know you’ve had a lightning strike, and your power is out the first thing you should do is call your utility company. If the entire area is dark, your call can help them narrow down where on the grid the problem is so they can get to it and fix it fast. If you know your building is hit, and breakers are tripped, call your electrician.

It is never a good idea to re-set large breakers yourself, they tripped for a reason and typically a ground fault. Re-setting a breaker when it has a ground fault condition only sends power to the grounded fault again, causing another fault and the breaker to trip again. The fault is high energy going to ground, and this can be dangerous.

Lightning is extremely high electrical voltage and current, totally untamed and in it’s most natural and primal state. Lightning like any electricity is looking for a path to ground. It can damage your electrical equipment even when the grounding is done correctly. Lightning looks for conductive substances that can bridge that gap between air and ground, which is exactly what the wiring to your building is made of.

When you call a qualified electrician like R&D Electrical, a trained and licensed electrician will do a visual survey of your equipment, and has the proper personal protective gear to open any covers to look into your equipment and look for things like burns, melted wires, damaged components, and any other situations that look out of place. As long as power is restored to your area from your provider, we will be able to use test equipment to ensure there are no current carrying components going to ground, and step by step get your power back on. We will also be able to list any damaged components and help you with your insurance company to get things repaired or replaced if needed. R&D Electrical has the experience and equipment to help in an emergency.

Backup Power System Pro’s and Con’s

Backup Power System Pro’s and Con’s

There are few things that are more disruptive to a business than the power going out. Whether your business relies on computers alone or complex machinery, it cannot operate without power. In areas where power failures, blackout or brownouts are common, or where equipment uptime is critical, that means that you need a backup plan. The two primary options are a backup generator or a UPS system. Here are the pros and cons of each.

 

Pros and Cons of Backup Generators

Backup generators use propane, gasoline or diesel to generate power, and they are available in a range of sizes, from small portable units that can power one or two items, to large, wired in versions that can power an entire factory or warehouse. Smaller units are relatively easy to come by, and simple to operate, while larger generators can take time to arrive from a manufacturer, and will definitely require professional installation.

The downside to generators, aside from their fuel requirements, is that there is a lag between the power going off and the generator starting up. That lag can be as much as thirty seconds, down to a hospital grade unit that transfers power in 10 seconds or less, depending on the size and configuration of the generator unit. Generators can also be noisy, give off fumes, and while they are usually fairly simple machines, you will still have to have a contractor inspect them from time to time, and set up a maintenance and run schedule to keep it reliable.

 

The Pros and Cons of UPS Systems

UPS systems, also known as Uninterruptible Power Supplies, are essentially very sophisticated batteries that are installed as an element of your power system. While the power is on, they charge on the current flowing through them, building up a store of power, and when the power goes out, they continue supplying power from the backup they have built up.

There is no lag or delay with UPS systems, which makes them great for critical installations where power must be stable at all times. They are also available in a variety of sizes and types, including small personal UPS systems, which can be used to ensure that computer systems remain on long enough to shut down safely (well worth the investment for any business) to rack mount or full battery room units that can power your whole building.

UPS systems tend to be expensive, and they get more expensive the longer the battery back-up time provided. Because they are based on batteries, they can also be trickier to maintain and service

 

A Hybrid of Both

If you are looking for an option to give you the best of both worlds, you could design your backup power supply to power critical systems using UPS power, while other elements of your business run off a backup generator. There are many possibilities, and if you are concerned about power quality and backup power, it’s a good idea to discuss your needs with an electrical contractor like R&D Electrical, who can advise you about your options. You may even decide to install solar or wind power, or to use some other method to power just the elements of your business that cannot be interrupted. Call R&D Electrical at (817) 541-7550 to get more information on if a Generator or a UPS is right for you.

With leadership that has more than 50 combined years of experience in the industry, it’s easy to see why R&D Electrical, LLC is one of the Dallas and Fort Worth area’s leading providers of electrical services.

Why does my outlet spark?

Why does my outlet spark?

Why does the plug spark when I plug something in?

Being a professional electrician, I get asked this question quite often, “why does my plug spark when I plug something in?” The answer is easy, “well, that all depends….” Is my standard reply. There are several reasons that sparking could occur when you plug something in. Let’s look at the most common issues, what you can do, and most importantly, is it a safety issue.

The first thing I’d ask someone is this, was the appliance you were plugging in “on” when it was plugged in? Electrical current itself typically won’t arc when a plug is plugged into an outlet. However, when a load is applied and if it is a substantial load such as a space heater or an electric motor, that instant application of load to the circuit can create the spark that could startle you. First thing to do when plugging something in, make sure it is turned off. Once it is plugged in you can turn it on and most often nothing will spark.

The next thing I’d ask someone is, did you check the item you plugged in for any damage or a broken cord? A faulty piece of equipment could be a safety issue, a broken cord or an electrical short could create the spark, so be sure to inspect your device and be sure it’s in good working order, if it’s not don’t use it.

Another thing I’d ask is, was the plug in the wall loose when you plugged into it? Movement of a plug in the wall could lead to loose connections, if the spark sounds like it is behind the plug in the wall, call a qualified electrician right away to look at it. In the meantime, try to use another outlet if you can. If an outlet is broken internally it could cause a short, especially in commercial buildings where the main type of box holding the outlet is make of metal.

A few other problems I’ve personally seen are faulty wiring, voltage issues, and circuits fed with incorrect circuit breakers. Sadly, not all electricians are created equal. If your 15 amp outlet is fed with a 20 amp or higher breaker, you could have excessive load going through the circuit that could lead to a melted outlet or damaged plug. If you have damaged wiring a higher load appliance could cause a spark. I’ve also seen situations where an outlet is fed incorrectly with power greater than 120 volts, it may have been tied to the wrong circuit entirely and that can damage whatever it is you are plugging in, all of these could lead to serious problems. Call R&D Electrical, commercial master electricians in Dallas/Fort Worth with trained and licensed electricians who can diagnose and repair any problem you may have, and explain what is going on. We must all respect electricity, it is an amazing resource when it is working correctly for you. That spark is a warning, and a clue as to what’s going on.