Category Archives: Blogs

The Importance of Electrical Inspections Before Hurricane Season

As the summer approaches, so does the potential for severe weather, especially hurricanes. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30, bringing with it the risk of strong winds, heavy rainfall, and flooding. These conditions can pose significant threats to your home’s electrical system, making it crucial to ensure everything is in top shape before the storms hit. Here’s why scheduling a professional electrical inspection before hurricane season is essential.

1. Identifying Vulnerabilities
A thorough electrical inspection can reveal potential vulnerabilities in your system that might not be apparent to the untrained eye. Loose connections, outdated wiring, and faulty components can become major hazards during a hurricane. Identifying and addressing these issues beforehand can prevent electrical fires, power outages, and other dangerous situations when the storm arrives.

2. Ensuring Backup Power Systems are Ready
Many homeowners rely on generators for backup power during hurricanes. An electrical inspection can verify that your generator is correctly installed and in good working condition. This includes checking the transfer switch, fuel supply, and overall functionality to ensure it will perform when you need it most.

3. Preventing Power Surges
Hurricanes often cause power surges that can damage appliances and electronics. An electrician can install or inspect surge protectors to shield your valuable equipment from sudden voltage spikes. This preventative measure can save you from costly replacements and repairs after a storm.

4. Checking Grounding and Bonding
Proper grounding and bonding are critical for electrical safety, especially during a storm. An inspection will ensure that your home’s electrical system is properly grounded, reducing the risk of electric shock and enhancing the overall stability of your electrical system during adverse conditions.

5. Safeguarding Against Flooding
Hurricanes can bring heavy rains and flooding, which can severely impact your electrical system. An inspection can identify areas at risk of water intrusion and recommend solutions, such as elevating electrical panels, outlets, and wiring above potential flood levels. Additionally, installing ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) can protect against electric shock in wet areas.

6. Peace of Mind
Perhaps most importantly, a professional electrical inspection provides peace of mind. Knowing that your home’s electrical system is prepared for hurricane season allows you to focus on other aspects of storm preparation and ensures the safety of your family.

As hurricane season approaches, don’t leave the safety and reliability of your home’s electrical system to chance. Scheduling a professional electrical inspection can identify potential hazards, ensure your backup power systems are ready, prevent damage from power surges, and safeguard against flooding. Taking these proactive steps not only protects your property but also provides invaluable peace of mind as you face the uncertainties of hurricane season.

common lighting issues

3 Common Electrical Lighting Problems & What to do About Them

Here are some common household and business electrical lighting problems that can potentially cause fires.

1. Light switches that don’t work correctly.

Poor workmanship or substandard products can contribute to dimmer switches that don’tlight switch adjust light level properly.

If you’ve just moved into a new house and find switches that don’t seem to activate anything it could be a sign the switches have been superseded and fixtures removed, a switched receptacle or a problem in the outlet, circuit or wiring. It can also mean that a ceiling box is prewired for a fan.

Wiring issues can be dangerous, so if you’re not sure, call a licensed electrician.

2. Lights that are too bright or too dim.

There are several probable causes for these issues.  You may have different types of lights with different wattages; check to see that all light bulbs are the same. The second issue could be a bad neutral connection in the affected circuit, which will continue to cause problems until it’s fixed by a licensed professional electrician.

3.  Recessed lights that go out and come back on.

Recessed lighting is equipped with safety devices that cut out power to the light when it gets too hot.   If so, chances are you’re either using a bulb of too-high wattage, there’s a loose connection, or the insulation in the ceiling is too close to the bulb.

Safety is number One!  It’s always best to work with a licensed, experienced electrician.  Call us or use the contact form for all of your electrical needs.

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.


Celebrating Nine Years in Business!

Nine-YearsNew Year’s Day 2016 marked the 9th anniversary in business for Little Sparkie Electric! It’s hard to believe. Time flies when you’re having fun, as the saying goes! We are excited to reach such a milestone, and we want to say a huge THANK YOU!! first and foremost to our customers, who are the biggest factor in our success. We also want to acknowledge our suppliers, fellow contractors, vendors, and advisors, who play important roles in helping us get the job done and keeping our house in order. All of you are the best, and we look forward to many more years of working together. We couldn’t do it without you all.

Catherine (aka Little Sparkie) has maintained her Commercial Level II certification from Generac Power Systems, which qualifies her to sell, install, and service larger generator units up to 150 kW as well as smaller units and all residential ones.

She has also participated in seminars on PV (solar) system installation, data and communications wiring, fire alarm installation, and up-to-date information on workplace safety and personal protection equipment for electrical contractors and their employees. The latest in lighting technology and lighting controls are also a big emphasis. Ongoing learning is always a priority with the company.


Generators and Extended Power Outages

Power-GeneratorRemember the summer of 2012? One 20-minute storm at the beginning of July knocked out electricity to homes and businesses all over the region. Although most customers had their power restored within a week, some customers were without power for more like a month. And then there was Super Hurricane Sandy that same year, in the fall, and there it went again, only worse.

It really hits home how much we depend on electricity when we are without it for an extended period of time. So many homes and businesses are equipped with backup power.

Some have portable generators that can handle a few smaller loads that can be plugged in, such as a refrigerator, a freezer, a microwave oven or a lamp. Some have portables that are paired with a manual transfer switch, which allows hardwired equipment such as well pumps to be supplied with power when the utility goes out.

Others have standby systems, that start automatically when utility power fails, and shut themselves down when it returns. These systems can handle any load, as long as the unit is sized correctly to power the load without harm to the unit or the equipment it supplies.

You have to go out to get gasoline, sometimes diesel fuel, for a portable generator. If the filling station doesn’t have power either, their pumps won’t work. The weather is often bad as well, which is why the power went out in the first place…a summer thunderstorm, a winter ice storm, a tornado or hurricane. Standbys connected to a natural gas source don’t run out of fuel unless the gas utility does…a highly unlikely occurrence. Those connected to propane tanks need only monitor the tank gauges to be sure they have sufficient supply in case the weather turns suddenly fierce.

In an extended outage, all “species” of backup power units need maintenance to stay healthy and continue to run. We recommend that customers shut them down every 24 hours or so, for half an hour or thereabouts, to check the oil, give the generator a rest, allow it to cool down a bit, and add oil if needed since most of them will shut themselves down on a low-oil fault if they get too starved for it. All engines need lubrication to run without damage.

Please check your manufacturer’s specifications for the type of oil needed. If you use the wrong kind, it won’t necessarily harm the generator, but it very well could hamper its efficient operation.

Every owner of a backup power system needs to be aware that there is a specific order of tasks for a safe shutdown and restart of any backup power unit. Neither shutdown nor restart should happen under load, for important safety reasons. When you shut down a generator, whether portable or standby, please follow these steps:

  • Turn off breakers and/or unplug extension cords that supply protected loads;
  • Shut down unit via control panel switch, ignition kill switch, etc.;
  • Check oil, add to “full” mark on dipstick if necessary, refuel portable units WITH IGNITION TURNED OFF AND AFTER THEY HAVE BEEN ALLOWED TO COOL;
  • Note any other problems or questions for immediate or future attention;
  • Restart unit with loads still off;
  • When engine reaches full speed, usually within 15-30 seconds at most, reconnect extension cords and/or turn breakers back on.

Don’t forget regular maintenance. Just like your car or your body, your backup power source will run far better and tend to break down less often with scheduled checkups. We offer maintenance contracts on Generac products, since we are part of the manufacturer’s servicing dealer network, and will also work on other brands although our ability to obtain direct technical support and parts may be limited.

Happy powering! Isn’t it far better to have a backup system and not need it very often, than to not have one and wish you did when a storm upsets everyone’s applecart for miles around?

(Please note that we cannot be responsible for anyone’s use of information contained in this column or events resulting from same. Readers can feel free to contact us for specific advice or service.)