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What You Need to Know About Smoke Detectors

What You Need to Know About Smoke Detectors

Smoke detectors are essential to the safety of your household, property, and personal belongings, so they should be checked regularly and repaired quickly by an experienced electrician to ensure proper operation and to reduce fire hazards. If you’re looking for an electrical service company that you can trust with your Sterling, VA home’s electrical system, call to speak to a LTJ Electric, LLC skilled electrician about our smoke detector services.

How Do Smoke Detectors Work?

Smoke detectors are small electrical devices that activate alarms when fire or smoke is detected. Homeowners can hire an electrician to install different types of smoke detectors, including photoelectric smoke detectors and ionization smoke detectors. Photoelectric smoke detectors involve beams of light that will activate the alarms if disrupted by smoke. These smoke detectors are usually placed in bedrooms and kitchens because they work well during electrical fires in walls. Ionization smoke detectors electrically charge the surrounding air, and the alarms sound if the charge changes. These smoke detectors suit areas where a fire could ignite quickly, such as furnace rooms.

You can also purchase smoke detectors that use both photoelectric and ionization technology, and you can choose from smoke detectors that are powered by internal batteries or by household currents that are backed up with internal batteries. Additionally, your electrician can connect your smoke detectors to your home security system.

Common Smoke Detector Problems

Even if you’re diligent about smoke detector maintenance, these devices are still prone to malfunctioning. Don’t hesitate to contact the trusted electrical service professionals at LTJ Electric, LLC if you experience any of the following problems in your Sterling, VA home:

  • No alarms when there is smoke
  • Alarms without any smoke
  • Chirping smoke detectors
  • No alarms after cleaning smoke detectors

If you are looking for Outdoor/Indoor Lighting Professionals in Sterling, VA (855) 749-1833 or complete our online request form.

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Choosing The Right Wire For Your Sterling, VA Home Audio, Video, Phone, & Data Wiring

Choosing The Right Wire For Your Sterling, VA Home Audio, Video, Phone, & Data Wiring

The type of in-wall wiring and cables you choose for your home will largely depend on what kind of signal you need to carry, where you’re going to route the wire, and how far the signal will have to travel between your various peripherals. Whatever type of wiring you choose to go with, you want to be sure you get one that’s rated for in-wall use by the Underwriters Laboratory (UL). This is usually going to be indicated with a CL2 or CL3 rating when it comes to speaker wire and audio/video cables. A good number of Ethernet cables are rated for in-wall use as well, usually indicated with a CM, CMR, or CMP rating. When choosing the right rating for each specific type of wiring, the UL looks at a range of different factors, including the heat being generated from current flowing through the wire, how quickly the cable will catch and spread fire when exposed to flame, and the wire’s vulnerability to damage from external stresses.

It is also important to look for a cable that’s rated for your specific needs. For instance, you are going to want a cable that is rated as CL2P or CL3P if you are planning to run it in your heating ducts, or if you are looking to run your cable underground to connect to your outdoor speakers, you will want to make sure your cable is rated for direct burial. It should also be noted that when you are making the decision of what custom wiring you will need for your home, you need to be aware of your local fire codes and make your selections accordingly.

Choosing The Right Speaker Wire

When you are looking for the right type of speaker wire for your home, there are two things you need to factor into your decision: the gauge and the number of conductors. The gauge of wiring you choose should depend on how far the wire is going to have to travel from the receiver to the speaker. Significant power loss can occur over long runs of wiring, reducing your system’s performance. This might not be a significant issue in a single-room setup, but it is something to keep in mind if you are looking at a multi-room system. In terms of conductors, speaker cable comes with two or four. Two should be all you need for wiring a single speaker, but if you are looking at doing a multi-room setup, or a system with volume controls, you will most likely want four.

Getting The Right Ethernet Wiring

No home wiring setup would be complete without a solid Ethernet setup, but knowing which type of wiring to use can be a little confusing. When you are looking to create a wired computer network in your home, or carrying audio/video and control signals all across the home, CAT-5 cables have been the standard for a long time, but a better option these days might be to look at CAT-5e or CAT-6 cables. These newer cables can pass more data along the wire at a much faster rate than the older wires. The CAT-5e and CAT-6 wiring options are also backward compatible with devices that were designed to work with the older CAT-5 wiring, meaning you won’t have to buy all new equipment. Ethernet cabling actually stands up to interference better than almost all audio/visual cables, which is a large reason it has become so popular in recent years for whole-house audio/video systems. It can also be a more cost-effective option to run long lengths of Ethernet cabling than it can be to run the same length in audio/video cable.

If you are looking for Outdoor/Indoor Lighting Professionals in Sterling, VA (855) 749-1833 or complete our online request form.

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Planning Your Home Standby Generator Installation

Planning Your Home Standby Generator Installation in Sterling, VA

As spring fast approaches, so too will the many storms we see on the East coast. When the power goes out it can be a real lifesaver to have a generator ready to go, helping to provide you with uninterrupted power. However, it is important to remember that having a generator ready to take over involves more than just being able to plug one in. The successful installation of a generator also requires proper planning, permits, and the assistance of an experienced, licensed electrician. Here are the steps to consider when setting you your home standby generator.

1. Interview Electricians

A great first step is to interview electricians and obtain quotes to do a price comparison. However, it is important to remember that sometimes spending a little bit extra can help you to hire an installer who knows exactly what he or she is doing. It is also important when interviewing an electrician that you determine whether or not they have extensive experience with home standby generator installation. You may also wish to request references to speak with past customers of theirs.

2. Obtain Permits

Do you need to acquire a permit? Well, it depends. To determine if you need one it is best to speak with someone at your local municipality. When you hire an installer though, they will obtain the permit on your behalf. Just keep in mind that the paperwork will take a few days to go through.

3. Select a Location

Before purchasing the generator, you must figure out a location for it where it will remain in compliance with all electrical codes and the manufacturer’s recommendations. You should install your generator in a safe location so that it poses no threat concerning carbon monoxide. A standby generator must usually be installed a minimum of two feet from the residence with a minimum of three feet on its front and sides. You can figure all of this out by speaking with an electrician. This works out because most areas require that an inspection be done to verify compliance. Having an electrician help with installation can also prove effective and cost-efficient. If you install your generator close to your gas meter it will increase fuel efficiency, which may help to bring down costs.

4. Prepare the Surface

When it comes to preparing the surface for your generator, it is important to keep in mind that small air-cooled standby generators usually have a composite base on their bottom so that a concrete pad underneath is not required. However, the surface underneath the generator must be flattened before being raised by at least four bags of level pea gravel. Small air-cooled standby generators are equipped with a composite base on the bottom, so you are not required to pour a concrete pad.

5. Receive the Delivery

While this may seem obvious, not everyone thinks about the difficulty of bringing a thousand-pound generator off of the back of a truck. That’s why it can be imperative that you order liftgate service, which allows the driver to safely lower the generator to the ground. Before signing for the delivery, be sure to inspect the package for any damage that could have occurred during delivery.

6. Installation of the Generator

After you have completed the above steps, you will be ready for installation. The job of installing the generator is often more complex than the basic knowledge that homeowners possess. This is why it can be extremely important to consult with an electrician who is experienced in installing residential standby generators. If you need a standby generator and want to ensure its safe and effective installation, the professionals at LTJ Electric, LLC Electrician can help. With over a decade in operation, our LTJ Electric, LLC electricians are highly educated and experienced.

If you are looking for Outdoor/Indoor Lighting Professionals in Sterling, VA (855) 749-1833 or complete our online request form.

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Beautiful Outdoor Lighting Ideas That Focus On Home Safety And Security

Beautiful Outdoor Lighting Ideas That Focus On Home Safety And Security in Sterling, VA

When it comes to increasing your home’s safety and security, there’s nothing like making sure you light up the dark areas of your property. Outdoor lighting is no doubt one of the most beautiful ways to increase your home’s value and security.

With the right aesthetic upgrades, your outdoor lighting design can play other roles, including increasing your home security and safety. At the very least, it will make your backyard more enjoyable and your front yard safer for anyone visiting your home after dark.

As you make decisions about the different types of outdoor lighting you can install for the patio or exterior areas of your home, be sure to consider the following ideas.

Outdoor Lighting For Your Front Entry

Outdoor lighting installation on your front entryway or patio increases the safety and security of the area. Remember that the patio or entryway is where you need to see who is at the front door. Consider having your local electrician install motion sensor lights to light up the driveway area, as well as a bright front door light to illuminate the entryway. Some recessed lights under the patio ceiling could also help deter criminals.

Lights For Sidewalk Safety

Is there enough light for you to see well when you come home after dark? What about your guests, will they trip on the sidewalk or path? A series of low-voltage lights are a good idea if you need additional outdoor lighting. They’re beautiful, and they help light up the yard for your guests who need to make their way to the front door.

Don’t Forget The Back Patio Lights

Sitting on the patio in the dark without any type of visible light to see by isn’t fun, and it’s not always safe. Backyards are usually pretty dark, so some outdoor patio lights would be an excellent idea for both the front and back porch areas. After the install, you’ll be able to the outdoors after dark at any time. Plus, you’ll be able to see vermin or snakes if they’re headed toward the patio area.

Other Areas Good For Additional Outdoor Lighting

Outdoor lights don’t just need to be confined to the front or back porch. Most homeowners also want to place outdoor lighting around their properties, such as along fence lines, near the garden shed, by the pool, and other areas. As long as they’re strategically placed in the darker areas, you’ll be able to enjoy the maximum illumination achieved while using the least amount of energy to power the outdoor lighting.

There are all different types of outdoor lighting to help you achieve this goal, including:

  • Spotlights
  • Motion-sensor lights
  • Up-lights & down-lights
  • Porch lights
  • Lantern lights
  • Curb lights
  • Dusk-to-dawn lights
  • Pole lights
  • Pool lights
  • Walkway lights
  • Recessed lights

If you are looking for Outdoor/Indoor Lighting Professionals in Sterling, VA (855) 749-1833 or complete our online request form.

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The Importance of Electrical Safety Inspections for Your Sterling, VA Home

The Importance of Electrical Safety Inspections for Your Sterling, VA Home

Hiring an electrician to check out your electrical wiring in Sterling, VA may seem like a hassle at first, but scheduling electrical safety inspections is extremely important to the well-being of your home and family. The National Fire in Sterling, VA affirms that electrical complications are responsible for more property damage resulting in fires than any other problem.

Hiring a trained electrician to inspect your wiring will alert you to the visible and hidden damage in your wiring, and repairs can be done to correct the problems discovered, preventing an electrical hazard in your home. Homeowners should schedule an electrical safety inspection at least every 10 years, but if they rent to tenants, an inspection should be done every 5 years.

During your electrical safety inspection, your electrician will perform many tasks, such as checking for DIY or outdated wiring, testing smoke alarms, searching for damage from rodents and other pests, scanning for weather damage, testing lights and outlets, looking for uncovered or exposed permanent wires, examining the power box and the main breaker’s amperage, and recommending repairs and replacements.

Don’t rely on your electrician alone. Conduct your own inspections regularly so that problems do not persist without your knowledge. Several hazards could be lurking in your wiring, including incorrect voltage that could damage your appliances, improper ventilation for your electrical devices, an improperly sized fuse box, or covered wires. Take care of your electrical wiring, and it should remain in good condition, eliminating your need to see your electrician before your next inspection.

Electricians advise people to schedule an inspection if the house is over 25 years old or if outdated or DIY wiring is present. You should also have the wiring inspected before you buy a house, after a major storm, and regularly. If you’re due for an electrical safety inspection, reach out to an experienced LTJ Electric, LLC electrician at Sterling, VA.

If you are looking for Outdoor/Indoor Lighting Professionals in Sterling, VA (855) 749-1833 or complete our online request form.