Author Archives: dianeD_admin

Seeking a generator maintenance technician

Seeking a generator maintenance technician for flexible work hours. Immediate need.

Mechanical ability is a must. Generators are as much of a machine (like a car) as they are electrical and/or electronic appliances. Mechanical and electrical experience are a plus, but work ethic and personality are more important. Willingness to learn is paramount. Will train the right person.

Maturity and the ability to relate to customers are a must. Competitive wages commensurate with experience and competence. Non-stuffy work environment – we have fun on the job.

Military veterans, auto mechanics, and semi- or totally-retired people who would enjoy a challenge and an opportunity to earn additional income are also encouraged to apply.

Please email your resume to [email protected].

Window Air Conditioners – Don’t Assume You Can Just Plug Them In!

 Before long, furnaces will be turned off, and air conditioners will be cranked up.  Here in the Mid-Atlantic region, with its long history, many homes and businesses have been around for years. Because they were built before central air was available, they rely on window air conditioners.  Window air conditioning units can actually be the most cost-effective and efficient way to cool down a space, without cooling the entire building.

AC Size and Requirements

The size and electrical requirements of a window AC unit are the most important factors in determining whether it will need a dedicated circuit.   Some units are 110/120 volts, but most of those that I run circuits for are 240 volts, which does require a special receptacle.

A note here – when installing a special circuit, HVAC contractors and electricians should work as a team.  The electrical specifications from the unit’s “spec sheet” should be shared between them, as communication is paramount.

How Large is Your Space?

The size of the room being cooled is another factor and includes not only the square footage but the ceiling height.  Double-height ceilings are a relatively recent phenomenon, and I’ve found that homes and businesses with high ceilings almost always have central climate control.

Consider Other Appliances

AC units require a lot of power, so they should not share a circuit with other appliances or other loads and equipment.  Refrigerators, computers, washing machines and water heaters are examples of power-hungry appliances.

What Can Happen if I Don’t Have a Needed Dedicated Circuit for Your AC Unit?

Failing to consider all the above factors can cause several problems:

First, circuits can overload.  A circuit is a loop through which electrical current flows to power electrical devices and equipment.  Different circuits are built to supply varying amounts of electric current, based on the devices that will use the circuit.

When something is connected to a circuit that requires more electricity than the circuit can supply, the circuit overloads, which causes the breaker for that circuit to trip, and everything on that circuit will shut down.

Also, watch for overfusing, which means that the circuit wiring is too small for the rating of the breaker protecting the circuit. For example, 14-gauge wire in a circuit should not be protected by any fuse or breaker rated higher than 15 amps. An overloaded circuit may not trip if it is over fused.

A break in a hot wire can cause a series arc, which will not trip a standard circuit breaker or blow an old-style screw shell fuse, but it can cause a fire.

Finally, don’t plug your AC unit into an extension cord.  An undersized extension cord can cause overheating of the cord, which is a fire hazard. A bad connection between the appliance plug and the cord, and/or between the cord and the receptacle it is plugged into, could also be a fire hazard. Extension cords are not recommended except as a very temporary fix until a new circuit can be installed.

If you have questions about your AC unit, please use our Contact Us to give us a shout!

Generac generator

Catherine trained on new standby Generac Protector series

Catherine Nazarene, Little Sparkie’s managing member and a working licensed Maryland and Virginia Master Electrician, recently passed the Generac Generator exam and is now recertified by Generac as a technician. She received her first technician certification in 2007.

At the training she did a lot of work on the new Protector Series QS gaseous generator line. These units power sensitive business technologies and appliances during power outages, in addition to the usual necessary lights and receptacles.

Generac’s QS series offers benefits over other competitors. Engineered to run at only 1800 rpm Generac generatorfor substantially quieter performance, the Protector QS Series packs more power into a smaller footprint than some other models. They also have lower fuel consumption and longer engine and alternator life than other generators.

Weekly tests and remote monitoring

All of the Protector series backup generators run a weekly test to ensure the system is running properly. The Protector Series generator runs its self-test at a lower, quieter RPM, and can be programmed to run weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly.

This series also offers improved customer connection access, which helps to decrease installation costs. Generac also offers a cellular remote monitoring system that allows business owners to check the status of their generator from anywhere in the world, using a computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Automatic backup for large or custom homes and businesses

Looking to back up your entire home, or more items than usual? The Protector Series also has models for large or custom homes to power essential appliances and modern technologies during power outages, allowing homeowners and their families to continue living life comfortably and without interruption.  Businesses and their necessary operations are covered too.

Protector series generators are available in both single-phase and three-phase models, and while training for recertification as a technician, Catherine did quite a bit of work with Protector three-phase generators.

Three-phase generators work by producing three separate waves of AC power that operate in a sequence, ensuring that there is always a continuous flow of energy and that the power supplied tends to be steadier and more consistent as it may with single-phase generators. The type used depends on the application. Three-phase service is generally not available to residences in the USA. It is used in most commercial and industrial buildings. Three-phase power also allows the use of smaller motors and smaller wires to supply and utilize the same amount of energy.

For more information on our generator services, visit

Electrical Safety While Working from Home

Are you still working or spending more time at home? Be sure to always plug into power safely and ensure #electricalcords do not become tripping hazards. Never run cords under rugs, carpets, doors, or windows. Follow these electrical safety tips from the Electrical Safety Foundation International to keep you and your home safe from #electrical hazards.

Get the full details on this downloadable pdf.

We Honor Our Veterans

Veterans Day is a time for us to pay our respects to those who have served. For one day, we stand united in respect for you, our veterans.

This holiday started as a day to reflect upon the heroism of those who died in our country’s service and was originally called Armistice Day. It fell on Nov. 11 because that is the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I. However, in 1954, the holiday was changed to “Veterans Day” in order to account for all veterans in all wars, according to

Today we continue to celebrate the day as Veterans Day, still recognizing the original tie with November 11. That means Veterans Day is on the same day every year — November 11 — regardless of on which day of the week it falls. When the date falls on a Saturday or Sunday, government officials or businesses may recognize it on both the official day and the following Monday.

This year Little Sparkie did its part to honor Veterans Day by lending our bucket truck to the City of Mt. Airy to use in hanging flags in honor of Veterans Day!

Here’s a video about five additional things you may not know about Veterans Day.

Fire Prevention Week™ is October 4-10, 2020!


This year’s Fire Prevention Week’s campaign theme is “Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen!TMThe campaign’s goal is to educate everyone about the simple but important actions they can take to keep themselves, and those around them, safe in the kitchen.

Unattended cooking is the leading cause of fires in the kitchen.  Keep kids safe and avoid accidents and injuries by keeping them three feet away from the stove while you are cooking.

Other basic kitchen fire safety guidelines include:

  1. Keep appliances serviced, clean, and in good repair.
  2. Unplug electric appliances when not in use. This saves power by reducing the amount of energy a device consumes even when it’s not being used, and protects against overheating and power surges that can damage equipment.
  3. Install a smoke detector near, but not in the kitchen.
  4. Use caution when lighting the pilot light or burner on a gas stove.
  5. Don’t use metal in the microwave.
  6. Don’t overfill pots or pans with oil or grease.

Additional fire prevention guidelines include:

  • Avoid “over-fusing” circuits…the modern-day version of putting a penny in a screw-in fuse socket to keep the fuse from blowing. If a breaker is tripping, but will allow you to reset it, there is a problem on the circuit. It may be overloaded. Replacing the breaker with one of a higher amperage rating is a potential fire hazard. Enlist the help of a licensed electrician.
  • If your lights flicker, or appliances start working and then stop, whether they are plugged in or hardwired, or you hear crackling or sizzling noises at a switch, receptacle, or inside a wall…stop using the equipment, turn off the breaker, and call a licensed electrician. There may be arcing on the circuit, which is a potential fire hazard.

Fire Prevention Week is observed each year during the week of October 9th in commemoration of the Great Chicago Fire, which began on October 8, 1871, and caused devastating damage.

In 1925, President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed Fire Prevention Week a national observance, making it the longest-running public health observance in our country. During Fire Prevention Week, children, adults, and teachers learn how to stay safe in case of a fire.

Firefighters provide lifesaving public education in an effort to drastically decrease casualties caused by fires.

When you need a trusted licensed Electrician, Call on Little Sparkie Electric!



Ensure that your business or home is wired for the best connections

With so many people working virtually, and kids getting their classes online, it is more important than ever for your business or home to have structured wiring.

Structured wiring refers to a whole-office or home network of audio, video, data, telephone, television, or security signals. Structured wiring begins with a structured networking panel (SNP), which accepts cables from outside providers and distributes the signals directly to each office, area, or room. These direct lines are called “home runs” and they ensure the strongest possible connection and signal to each of your electronic devices.

In spite of what you may read online, this is not a DIY project. Hire a reputable, licensed electrician to design and install a comprehensive system that will meet all your needs. Many businesses are remodeling to adjust to the distancing and other requirements brought about by the coronavirus.  We can assist with the initial design to retrofit your business or home during your remodel. We can also fit a wiring system into an existing business.

“When I managed the Regus Business Center in Frederick, I had a customer that needed a remote TV TV_Studioset-up with special electrical connections in his office.

“I immediately recommended Little Sparkie Electric because I needed someone I could trust. It was a complex job that also required making connections to electrical boxes in other parts of the building and coordinating with the building manager.

“Catherine knew what she was doing – I didn’t have to worry about anything – she did a wonderful job for my client.” — Jean Wright, former General Manager, Regus Business Centers

Create ambiance with outdoor lighting

This is a great time of year to build that patio or deck and make it an enticing evening gathering spot with perfect lighting. If you have a restaurant, think dining al fresco.  As you plan your outdoor space, think about how the space will be used, and plan the lighting around that.  As you envision your lighting, remember the importance of light layering in getting the right effect, and being able to create spaces for different uses.

You want to get enough light but not overdo it. The trick to a well-lit patio is directing the light just where you need it and having the right controls.  Overhead lighting, be it string lights, outdoor pendants, or wall sconces, can create the ambiance of an Italian piazza, among other possibilities…which are almost endless.  If you plan to include fans, many outdoor fans also come with lights, or they can be added.

Consider low to the ground lighting for steps or curbs to focus light where it’s needed without glare.

Plan to hire a licensed electrician upfront to:

  • Check that your outdoor connections are safe and secure. You also may need to add additional outdoor receptacles or a dedicated circuit to your electrical panel, which should definitely be done by a licensed electrician.
  • Ensure proper installation that won’t overload existing circuits.
  • Recommend the most cost-efficient options.

Summer storms need a generator back-up plan

These past few months, we have learned the importance of having back-up plans.

Now, even as many shuttered businesses reopen, we have another factor to consider: the summer storm season!

An above-average hurricane season (which runs between June 1 and November 30) has been predicted by Colorado State University (CSU) hurricane researchers and AccuWeather.

The CSU Tropical Meteorology project team predicts 16 named storms during the Atlantic hurricane season. The research models indicate as many as eight storms will become hurricanes and will reach major hurricane strength (Saffir/Simpson category 3 or higher). Both hurricanes and fierce summer storms are important reasons to have a backup generator!

For homeowners, a permanently installed standby generator protects your home automatically. It runs on natural gas or liquid propane (LP) fuel and sits outside just like a central air conditioning unit. A standby, or backup, generator delivers power directly to your home’s electrical system, supplying your entire home or just the most essential items when the utility power goes out.

Potentially devastating losses for businesses

The potential loss a business faces from power failure can be devastating. From losing customers and data to spoiled refrigerated inventories, the costs are often substantial. Generac offers a broad range of commercial options, making backup power a reality for thousands of businesses. Generac’s commercial line features affordable generators with LP, natural gas, diesel fuel, or dual-fuel, for both single- and three-phase systems.

On the industrial front, there are mission- critical businesses that are legally required to have automatic standby power, such as hospitals. Data centers, 911 call centers, and so forth, cannot operate at all without backup power. Generac’s range of industrial solutions has been proven dependable in the most severe power outage situations.

Little Sparkie Electric has been selling, installing, and servicing Generac generators for many years, including large commercial generators that have a rating up to 150 kW. Catherine Nazarene, Managing Member, is a Generac factory trained Commercial Level II Certified technician. We also install manual transfer switches for portable generators.

If you already have a generator, here is a quick reminder that they should be serviced twice a year; a well-maintained generator lasts much longer!

If you are interested in a generator for your home or business, call us at 301-606-5181 or e-mail Catherine at [email protected].

For a free homeowner’s guide to preparing for hurricanes, click here:

Fire extinguisher

Ways to Keep Your Workers Safe

These days, when we speak of workplace safety, we usually think of personal protective equipment, like face masks, gloves, etc. and social distancing.

However, as employees gradually return to workplaces, we also need to protect them from fire, electrical hazards, dust explosions and accidents.

An important protection against workplace fires is fire extinguishers.  They need to be in a handy spot where they can put out or control a fire until the fire department arrives.  Fire extinguishers must have the seal of an independent testing laboratory, and be labelled with standard symbols for the kind of fires it can extinguish:

There are four classes of fire extinguishers – A, B, C and D – and each class can put out a different type of fire.

  • Class A extinguishers will put out fires in ordinary combustibles such as wood and paperFire extinguisher
  • Class B extinguishers are for use on flammable liquids like grease, gas and oil
  • Class C extinguishers are suitable for use only on electrically energized fires
  • Class D extinguishers are designed for use on flammable metals

Multipurpose extinguishers can be used on different types of fires and will be labeled with more than one class, like A-B, B-C
or A-B-C.

Extension cords can be another workplace hazard.  They’re fine for a lamp or small appliance, but they should be a temporary fix, because over time extension cords can deteriorate and become an electrical shock, fire, or tripping hazard.  For more extension cord safety rules, click here.

Depending on your business, anti-dust equipment is a must.  For example, coal, cement, asbestos, grain, flour, wood, metals leather, rubber, silica, and so on, can produce hazardous dusts. Concentrated dust can be combustible and cause fires or explosions. It can also be hard on your staff, causing rashes, asthma, eye and nose damage, and even cancer.

An exhaust ventilation system, dilution ventilation or vacuum can be used.  Protective equipment and clothing can also be used to keep your employees safe.

It’s easy to forget to unplug electrical equipment, but it’s also important to do, especially prior to a storm or heavy rain.  If you lose power during a storm or flood, switch off electrical equipment and then unplug it. Be sure to grab the plug and not the cord to prevent damage to the wiring.

And remember, before you enter a flooded business or home, have a licensed electrician and utility personnel check to make sure the building is safe from shock and electrocution risks.