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Power Surge Protection ??? Your power strip is not safe!

Posted on April 3, 2015 at 10:30 AM


If you’ve got power strips all over your home and you think you’re protected, you may want to think again! If lighting strikes near your home, a surge of electricity can travel right through the wiring of your home— this wave of electricity can do some serious damage. It can permanently disable your most expensive home appliances, including your washers, dryers, refrigerators, televisions and computers.

Power Surges in Massachusetts and New Hampshire

Power surges usually only last a few seconds or less, and are for the most part, harmless. But power strikes caused by downed power lines or even lighting strikes can be absolutely devastating, sending thousands upon thousands of volts throughout your home. A surge like this can result from a simple change in electricity from a nearby factory or the cycling of your appliances.

Why You Need Whole House Surge Protection in Your Home or Business

Your expensive electrical appliances are all too valuable to risk losing them to the devastating effects of a power surge. While major surges can start a fire, just a minor surge can do damage that cannot be fixed. If you have a whole house surge protector installed, you can bet that your risks of damage will be significantly reduced, even when you’re on vacation.

Installing whole house surge protection in your home will not only offer you peace of mind, but you can actually add value to your home with this new addition to your property.

That’s why Northern Electric & Automation, LLC offers complete power surge protection for your entire home or business. It’s completely reliable and affordable for nearly any budget. Contact us today for a quote.

Incadescent vs. Fluorescent: Which Should You Choose and Why?

Posted on March 27, 2015 at 12:45 AM

At NAE Electric & Automation, we specialize in all things electricity related. If there is a job for us to do, we’d love to take it on. However, service doesn’t always come with a price. Being a customer-centered company is incredibly important to us. That’s why we provide tips and guides online at no cost to you. This guide focuses on the difference between incandescent and fluorescent bulbs in an effort to provide you with the most efficient type of home lighting system.

Incandescent bulbs
are what you think of when you think of a light bulb. They pop up over people’s heads when they get a good idea. Not literally, but you know what we mean. Incandescent light bulbsproduce a yellowish type of light. Most incandescent bulbs are incredibly affordable and range anywhere from 15-150 watts. One very beneficial caveat of incandescent lights is their versatility; not only in wattage, but in shape as well. Customers are able to purchase a standard-shaped light bulb, a version shaped as a globe, and some incandescents even come in the shape of a candle flame.

On the other end of the spectrum, we find fluorescent bulbs. In recent years, there has been a large push to get consumers to move towards fluorescent light bulbs, and you are about to find out why. While requiring more of an initial investment, fluorescent bulbs are much cheaper to power than incandescent bulbs. Fluorescent bulbs can use up to 67% less energy than incandescent bulbs and even last longer in the process! Fluorescent bulbs are also able to use less wattage than standard incandescent bulbs while providing the same amount of light.

Despite these benefits, there are downsides to each type of bulb. As previously mentioned, incandescent bulbs are not energy efficient. Although they might be easy on the wallet at the store, this is not the case on your electrical bill. And while fluorescent bulbs do save money on your electrical bill, they require more cash up front.

In order to make an educated decision, it’s imperative that you decide what is important to you as a consumer. If you are looking to save cash in the long run, fluorescent bulbs enable you to do that simply and effectively. However, if you are looking to use a light bulb that is safer for the environment, but may cost a little more cash, then incandescent bulbs are for you.


Electricity doesn’t always have to be a complicated subject. While there are some instances in which you must call your local master electrician, there are many questions that can be answered with a little research and determination. Choosing a type of light bulb is not likely to be an incredibly difficult decision, but diving into the endeavor with some extra information will always prove to be helpful. If you’ve got bigger problems to deal with than a simple light bulb switch-up, then contact us at Northern Electric & Automation, we’d love to help.

Electrical Safety Checklist!

Posted on March 25, 2015 at 8:00 PM



Daily life would be unthinkable without the availability of electricity. While the occasional power outage reminds us that candles and barbecue grills are poor substitutes for reading lamps and microwaves, prolonged problems with a home’s electrical system have the potential to cause significant interruptions in daily living. There are three steps to ensuring that you will enjoy continued access to electricity in all situations.

System Inspection

A system inspection is the first step to enjoying your home’s electricity safely and with a minimum of interruptions. Walk through your rooms and take note of your outlets. Are there some that do not support any electrical appliances? Are there others that seem to have one or more extension cords plugged in? If so, you are looking at an unbalanced use of the home’s circuits.

Extension cords – although handy – should be a temporary fix rather than a permanent solution to your power needs. If you are uncertain about your circuit loads, give Eric at NAE a call. He would gladly come out and do a system inspection for you.

Problem Mitigation

If you discover that you have outgrown your available number of outlets and circuits, we can easily install new circuits and outlets to power your new appliances. In the alternative, consider a reduction of any appliances that are currently plugged in. Are there some machines that you do not really use all the time? Perhaps you could store them in a cabinet or at least unplug them until you have a need for them. This frees up not only useful counter space but also opens up some much-needed outlet space.

Professional Improvement

Of course, there comes a time when a professional should be consulted. This free electrical safety checklist highlights the occasions when NAE not only ensure your continued enjoyment of electrical power but also your continued safety.


  • Dimming lights. If your lights occasionally flicker or dim, you may be looking at light bulb troubles. If this problem affects all lamps plugged into a circuit, you may be looking at wiring problems. This is a job for the professional.

  • Outlet troubles. Does your outlet feel warm or even hot to the touch? Are the edges somewhat discolored? Do you notice sparks coming from the outlet? You could be dealing with frayed wiring, which is a serious fire hazard! Do not let another day go by without calling a professional. Protect your safety by not using the outlet until after you get it fixed.

  • Appliance troubles. Does it seem like every toaster that is plugged into a certain outlet seems to break right away? Do you get a bit of a tingle when you touch an appliance? Does the coffeemaker have a burning smell when you turn it on? Sure, you could have bad luck with your appliances. Then again, you might be encountering uneven power flows that are causing your appliances to burn. An electrician is able to quickly ascertain where the trouble lies.


By the way, if you lose electricity every time a storm hits, let us know. We can easily install a BACK-UP GENERATOR that powers selected circuits in your home. Never lose another refrigerator or freezer filled with food again! 

Spring Safety Tips from Northern Electric and Automation

Posted on March 25, 2015 at 8:00 PM

As spring-cleaning time approaches, don’t forget to add “electrical safety” to your annual checklist. Chasing dust bunnies is a worthy goal, but protecting your family and home is one of the most important chores you’ll ever tackle.

10 Electrical Safety Tips

  • Keep power cords and electrical equipment away from moisture. Making contact with charged water is more than dangerous; it is life threatening. If you accidentally drop a dryer or other plugged-in appliance into the water, NEVER unplug it or pick it up before shutting off electricity to the proper circuit. Allow the device to dry for a few days and have an electrical professional examine the appliance to determine if it is still safe and functional.

  • Call before you dig. Prevent damage to underground electrical equipment and avoid potential injury by making sure you are safe to dig. New Hampshire and Massachusetts law requires residents to call at least three full business days before digging. Dial 811 to be connected to Dig Safe.

  • Plug countertop appliances into GFCIs. Should an appliance malfunction or fall into the water, the GFCI shuts off electricity to the appliance before electrical shock can occur.

  • Check electrical devices for UL labels. Underwriters Laboratories certifies the safety of electrical devices, but the appliance and electrical market has seen a growing number of counterfeit UL labels. Look for the UL label on your devices, and read this article by Underwriters Laboratories to learn how to spot a fake label.

  • Clean your exhaust hood after a long winter of indoor cooking. Food particles, dust, and oil buildup encourages bacteria growth and is a potential fire hazard. Remove and clean the hood filter, and use a degreaser to clean exposed surfaces.

  • Vacuum the coils behind your refrigerator. Dirt buildup contributes to appliance inefficiency and is also a potential fire hazard. Carefully clean the coils every few months. When you return the refrigerator to its proper place, leave room behind it for air to safely circulate.

  • Clean dryer ducts. Dryer fires are a major hazard that can be avoided by cleaning the interior and exterior of your dryer hose each year. Every six months, inspect the dryer vent for clogs and lint buildup. There are many professional HVAC companies that provide a thorough dryer vent inspection and cleaning if you are unable to do this, yourself.

  • Check lamp and fixture wattages while you are dusting. Bulb wattages should be equal to or less than manufacturer recommendations, which are listed on the individual fixture.

  • Check power strips and surge suppressors. These electrical devices are designed to manage a specified electrical load. Avoid plugging too many items into the same outlet, which may cause a circuit overload or lead to a fire.

  • Schedule an electrical inspection. Inspections are especially important for homeowners moving into or out of a new home. Northern Automation and Electric can perform visual inspections, inspects circuit panels, and brings all electrical systems up to date with code corrections.


Learn More About Electrical Safety


According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), the risk of electrical fire is a big concern for homeowners. Over 28,600 annual electrical fires lead to 310 deaths, 1,100 injuries, and more than $1 billion in property loss and damages. At NAE Automation and Electric we educate the community about electrical safety so families can feel secure in their homes. View our FREE SAFETY CHECKLIST and information about preventing generator hazards, putting out electrical fires, and keeping children safe around electricity.


To schedule an electrical inspection or discuss safety concerns contact Eric at Northern Automation and Electric 603-662-2108 today!

Common House-Hold Energy Drains

Posted on March 20, 2015 at 12:25 AM

Many appliances use electricity even when they aren’t powered on. This property is known as standby power, which is used to perform functions that must operate continuously. Energy saving measures often include unplugging electrical devices to eliminate the cost of keeping them in standby mode. This strategy requires you to estimate the cost of standby power for each appliance since it may not be worthwhile to unplug a device when it is not in use.




A year is about 8,766 hours long, so a month has an average duration of about 730.5 hours. This means you can multiply an appliance’s standby power in watts by 0.73 to obtain the kilowatts of energy it consumes each month, assuming it is always plugged in. A typical cost of electricity in the United States is 10 cents per kilowatt-hour. You can therefore estimate the standby cost of an appliance in dollars by multiplying its standby power consumption in watts by 0.0731.


Satellite Decoder

A satellite decoder draws about 12 watts in standby mode. It costs 12 x 0.0731 = $0.88 per month to keep a satellite decoder plugged in.


Cable TV Converter

A cable TV converter decoder draws about 11 watts in standby mode. It costs 11 x 0.0731 = $0.80 per month to keep a cable TV converter plugged in.


Compact Audio System

A compact audio system draws about 9 watts in standby mode. It costs 9 x 0.0731 = $0.66 per month to keep a compact audio system plugged in.


Video Recorder

A video recorder draws about 6 watts in standby mode. It costs 6 x 0.0731 = $0.44 per month to keep a video recorder plugged in.

Television Set

A television set draws about 5 watts in standby mode. It costs 5 x 0.0731 = $0.37 per month to keep a television set plugged in.

Inkjet Printer

An inkjet printer draws about 5 watts in standby mode. It costs 12 x 0.0731 = $0.37 per month to keep an inkjet printer plugged in.

DVD player

 A DVD player draws about 4 watts in standby mode. It costs 4 x 0.0731 = $0.29 per month to keep a DVD player plugged in.


Microwave Oven

A microwave oven draws about 3 watts in standby mode. It costs 3 x 0.0731 = $0.22 per month to keep a microwave oven plugged in.


Power Tool

A power tool draws about 2 watts in standby mode. It costs 2 x 0.0731 = $0.15 per month to keep a power tool plugged in.


Video Game Console

 A video game console draws about 1 watt in standby mode. It costs 1 x 0.0731 = $0.07 per month to keep a video game console plugged in.

5 Common Electrical Hazards

Posted on March 20, 2015 at 12:20 AM

Electricity is a staple in most homes today, and our reliance on it means that it’s important to learn how to handle it safely. Unfortunately, electrical fires and shocks aren’t as rare as you might think, but the good news is that most of them are completely preventable. By keeping a few basic ideas in mind, you can safeguard your home from electrical hazards and still enjoy helpful appliances and beautiful light fixtures!


1. Water

 Most people know that water and electricity don’t mix, and yet many of us end up reaching for the hair dryer or electric razor after a shower as our hands are still wet. Do not touch electrical outlets or appliances with wet hands, and never reach into water to pull out an appliance that’s plugged in. Be very careful about outlets and electronics near water, including swimming pools. Any radios, TVs, phones, curling irons, hair dryers, radiators, lamps, and cords should be kept away from sinks, bathtubs, and pools filled with water. Completely dry hands and feet before touching electronics.

2. Extension Cords

Although they can be very helpful, do not use extension cords for a long period of time. They are designed for temporary applications, so unplug and safely store them between each use. Do not run extension cords through ceilings or walls, as it may cause them to overheat which can cause electrical fires. The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) reports that improper use of extension cords causes 3,300 residential fires each year. If you’re constantly needing a longer cord to plug in an appliance, you’re probably better off installing a new outlet.

3. Curious Children and Pets

If you look around your home or office, you’ll notice that most outlets are located near the ground; this makes them convenient for plugging in electronics, but it also places them at a height accessible to children and animals. This doesn’t mean you have to move all your outlets, but there are a few simple changes you can make to keep your home and loved ones safe. Place plastic covers over outlets to prevent children from placing fingers or objects into the sockets. Plug-in covers are easy to find in any hardware store. Also make sure to keep loose cords away from pets, who may chew on them. You don’t need to cover them (this can actually lead to overheating) but securing cords or taping them down can prevent pets from playing with them.

4. Damaged Wires and Cords

Never use cords that are corroded, melted, frayed, or have turned black. If a cord’s outer sheathing is torn or is exposing the wires within, you run a risk of shock, burn, or electrical fire. To prevent cord tears, always unplug appliances and electronics by pulling on the plug itself, not the cord. Additionally, do not try to “fix” run-down cords by taping the tears; just replace them or have a licensed electrician look at them if you’re unsure. Dealing with faulty cords is a tricky process that is best handled by a qualified professional.

5. Broken Smoke Alarms

Your smoke alarms are one of the most important safety features in your home, but they’re useless if their batteries are dead. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that approximately two-thirds of all home fire deaths occur in homes without working smoke alarms. With a statistic like this, it’s tough to argue against installing functional smoke alarms. Ideally, alarms should be placed in each bedroom/sleeping area and on the floor of every home. Check to make sure they’re working each month by pressing the “TEST” button located on the alarm. If your alarm is sounding off a single “beep” at periodic intervals (versus a constant beeping that indicates smoke detection), that means the batteries are failing and need to be changed immediately.

Does one of these issues sound familiar to you? For residential and commercial electrical services in Massachusetts and New Hampshire call NAE Automation and Electric Today!

Why Are My Lights Flickering?

Posted on March 20, 2015 at 12:10 AM

Flickering lights do not always signify a serious issue with your electrical system. What’s more important to note is which lights flicker and how. This is a relatively common issue that can have a variety of explanations. To get a better idea of how to address your flickering lights, tailor your solution to the specific situation.

 Causes of Flickering Lights

 1. One Flickering Light


If a single light bulb is flickering, then the issue likely begins and ends with that particular bulb. First, check to make sure that the light bulb is screwed in all the way (when bulbs get out of place, the connection with the socket is compromised). Sometimes it helps to unscrew the bulb completely and re-screw it back in to make sure it isn’t crooked or loose. For your safety, switch the light off before you do this. If the light is still flickering when turned back on, it could mean that this particular bulb is at the end of its lifespan and needs to be replaced altogether.


If none of the above apply, try investigating the light switch itself next. Switch the light on and off a few times to see if the flickering dies down. If not, you may have a faulty switch that needs to be replaced by an electrician. Similarly, if you replace the bulb on a plug-in lamp and it still isn’t working, try plugging the lamp into a different outlet. It’s possible that the issue could be stemming from the socket. This type of issue should also be troubleshooted by a professional, as in-depth electrical work can be dangerous.


2. All Lights Flicker


When all the lights in your house are flickering, you may have a bigger problem on your hands. This can be caused by inclement weather, but if it is happening on a regular basis, your home’s voltage may be fluctuating. Take note of when the flickering happens and call an electrician to give them the details. You should have a professional take a look as soon as possible before further damage is caused.


3. Lights Flicker And Then Fully Light Up


A third scenario is that your lights flicker for a moment immediately after being switched on, and then reach (and maintain) full illumination moments later. If you have fluorescent bulbs, this is completely normal. This occurs naturally in these types of lights and as long as the flicker stops after completing lighting up, there should be no issue. Many energy-saving bulbs take a few minutes to fully brighten. If the light bulb is a typical incandescent bulb, follow the suggestions in scenario 1.


If you’re not sure what might be causing the problem, it’s wise to call NAE Automation and Electric to check it out. The tips above can help you narrow down what might be going on, but doing risky electrical work yourself isn’t recommended.

10 Energy Saving Tips for Your Business

Posted on March 19, 2015 at 11:50 AM

The cost of energy always seems to be rising and in response, people are always looking for ways to save on their electricity bill. When you have a business that uses a substantial amount of energy each month, it becomes even more important for you to find some ways to reduce your overall costs. Here are ten very good ways that you can do just that.

Conduct an Audit

You can conduct an audit of your own business so that you can get a better idea of where and how you are using the most energy. Â Knowing where your businesss weaknesses are when it comes to energy usage will help you with the next tip on this list.

Monitor Your Bills

Always make sure that you are looking at your bills closely each month and learn which days you are using the most energy.  Look into curbing your usage on those days (if possible). Monitoring can help you gauge this more accurately.

Reduce A/C and Heating Usage

Make sure that you are not keeping your air conditioner or heater running when no one is in the building. If you dont have people coming into work until 7AM, it makes no sense to have the same heating and cooling settings overnight as you do during the day. Adjust them. Also, keep the blinds shut during the day, which keeps the heat out in the summer. Do the opposite in the winter.

Replace Your Bulbs

Its always a good idea to change from old bulbs that use high energy to the energy efficient bulbs (like CFLs). They use less power and they last much longer, which can help you save quite a bit.

Turn Off the Lights

Instill the importance of turning off lights when no one is in the room. This is important for offices, as well as break rooms and bathrooms. For some rooms, it might be a good idea to install a motion sensor that will shut off the light when no one is in the room.

Energy Saving Appliances

Always look for energy saving machines when it comes to copiers and printers, but dont forget about the appliances in your break room as well. Look for high quality coffee pots and refrigerators that have a good energy efficiency rating.

Better Insulation

Have professionals come out and check to see if the insulation you have at your business is sufficient to help you save energy.

Generate Your Own Power

Some companies are starting to use solar panels to help them generate all or at least a portion of their energy. This could be a good solution for your business as well.

Turn Off Computers

At the end of the day, make sure that everyone turns off their computers and monitors, as they take up energy even when theyre not running.

Programmable Thermostats

Having a good programmable thermostat will make it easier for you to keep the temperatures at the perfect setting no matter the time of year.

NAE has the resources and knowlege to provide a customized quote for your buisness or cost-saving opportunities for your home.

Remodeling Your Home this Spring: Electrical Wiring Upgrades to Consider

Posted on March 14, 2015 at 8:00 AM

You may be surprised by how many electrical elements there are to consider:

Electrical Wiring

  • Most older homes will need upgrades to the electrical system at some point. The appliances and technology we have now demand a certain level of reliable power.
  • If not already the case, you will want to upgrade your service to 100 amps or more to support modern power usage.
  • Most homes have 120V electrical circuits. Some major appliances might require a 220V current.
  • You may want to add, or you may be required to add additional outlets if the existing number is below code.


Electrical – Safety

  • Older homes may not have proper grounding on the electrical outlets. Grounding provides protection from electrocution by channeling current into the ground instead of into the body. Electricians can install grounding on all outlets.

  • Power outlets located in bathrooms, kitchens, home offices or outdoors should be protected with a GFCI circuit breaker. This kind of grounding shuts off power to the outlet if it detects irregular current in the power flow.

  • State and city codes often impose guidelines in this area. Improper electrical wiring can result in electrical shock, circuit shorts, appliance failures or electrical fires.



  • As part of your electrical wiring home review, inspect all light switches and make sure they work properly.

  • You may find that some older homes are not wired for ceiling lights in every room. You may choose to use floor lamps plugged into an outlet that is controlled by a light switch. Or if you are already opening a ceiling in such a room, you might take advantage of it to wire for ceiling lights instead. Think carefully about where new light switches should be placed.

  • Room additions will obviously require ceiling wiring as well.

  • Consider if you want to install additional outdoor lighting for safety or visibility.

  • Keep in mind that lighting plans must be reviewed as part of the city design review and permitting process.

  • There are many light mounting options, including recessed lighting, flush and semi-flush mounts, track lighting, pendant lighting, chandeliers and wall mounted lights. Each option offers its own aesthetic. You will want to select the type of lighting mount for each location when deciding on the wiring plan.

  • Finally, if you are interested in automation you can explore the possibilities of lighting automation with programmable light settings.


TV and Data (Internet)

Data and TV connections come in many forms. The most common are: coaxial cable, telephone wire and ethernet cable (CAT-5 / CAT-6). Many Internet and TV service providers are delivering multiple services to your home, including TV, telephone and Internet on the same line. Planning your data in advance is good to consider for several reasons:


  • Different services require different types of wiring (e.g. cable service providers like Comcast use coaxial cable, while DSL providers tend to use telephone or ethernet cable).

  •  Where the service reaches your house can differ depending on the type of service (e.g. Satellite TV providers are often mounted to your roof).

  • TV and data can reach into many rooms in your home.

  • It’s a good idea to plan out in advance how you want to be accessing your TV and Internet.




Data refers to the wired or wireless transmission of IP (internet protocol) information. No house today is complete without high-speed internet service. You will likely get your connection through one of several options:


  • DSL through your data ready phone wiring – call your cable company.

  • A cable modem through a coaxial cable connection.

  • Once inside the home you will have LAN cabling or wireless LAN to connect your networked devices.

  • You should test the wireless signal strength in your home to find the optimum location for your wireless hub.


What about wireless internet?

Wireless internet is a great way to avoid having to update your wiring. Unfortunately, wireless internet is generally not as effective as wired, and is less reliable for data intensive needs like distributing HD TV signals.


TV used to be simple – plug it in and adjust the antennas. Then it became – plug it in and plug in your cable or cable box. Now your TV is likely to be mounted on the wall with hidden wires and the cable or satellite box in a different location. There are many choices for how to get the signal to your TV with devices like DVD players, Apple TV and gaming systems, all with different wiring needs to consider.

Planning is key – here are some things to consider:

What kind of service provider, if any, will you be using to get live TV programming? There are three common options depending on where you live, and they may require different connection types:


      • Cable
      • Telephone / DSL provider (e.g. AT&T Uverse)
      • Satellite

  • Which rooms will you place your TV’s in?

  • Will the TV’s be on a TV stand or wall mounted? (Make sure to note which wall the TV will be on.) Wall mounted TV’s can look great, but have special requirements for getting the electrical wiring into the wall.

  • What devices will connect to each TV? What type of connection will they use and where will they be located relative to the TV?


Plan ahead and plan flexibly to give yourself the most options. We recommend at least 2 Ethernet (CAT-6 or better) and 1 Coax connection to each place where you plan on having a high definition television. This wiring should terminate in an electrical wiring closet or central location where your services can easily enter the house.

Why 2 ethernet connections for each TV? Three reasons:

  1. It’s cheap – if you’re already bringing one line in, why not 2?
  2. Flexibility – many devices, from DVD players to TV’s, now have Ethernet ports
  3. If you choose to keep your TV receivers in a hidden place and want to send the signal to your TV over some distance, your best bet is to convert the signal from HDMI to Ethernet. These devices are HDMI Extenders.


Home Theater

Wiring a home theater brings an additional set of considerations. Most home theater systems have several common components:


  • Receiver – generally connected to your TV and its components

  • Speakers – typically 5 speakers with front (front left, front right), center and rear (rear left and rear right) locations

  • Sub woofer – typically one large box-like speaker that is located away from the TV and components


The basic electrical wiring requirements above will accommodate connecting the receiver to your TV and other components, but the speakers have an additional set of considerations. Most notably:


  • Rear surround speaker locations and wiring – A smart home theater configuration will have the rear surround speakers wired into the wall where the speakers will be positioned. Rear surround speakers can be one of several types: self-standing, in wall or in ceiling. The wiring is typically traditional speaker wire.

  • Sub woofer wiring – sub woofer wiring varies but is typically coaxial, speaker wire or RCA cabling. In any case you’ll need to consider how to get the wiring from the receiver to the sub woofer location.


What about wireless home theater speakers?

These have become more common in recent years and can have excellent sound quality, in some cases close to that of directly wired speakers. We recommend going to your preferred home audio electronics store and demoing the equipment. From there you can identify the proper wiring required.

Complete Home Distributed Audio Systems

If you want to able to hear music throughout your house and control what you hear in each room, take the opportunity during your remodel to wire appropriately. Unless you choose a wireless solution like Sonos, you will need to choose your equipment and speaker configuration ahead of time. In-ceiling or in-wall speakers are an excellent option but require you to plan ahead where your speaker wire will terminate and how you will control the distribution of your sound. An interesting and lower cost option to Sonos in this area is to look at Apple’s AirPlay compatible devices.

In-wall or in-ceiling speakers

For home theater or distributed audio or both, you can reduce the clutter by getting the speakers off the floor and into your walls or ceilings. Your electrician will need to know about this during the rough electrical phase.

Phone Wiring

Your house will already have phone wiring in place, but it may be an analog system that you are not able to integrate with your other technologies. Digital phone systems are now the norm. Phone service can also be bundled with cable and high-speed Internet by many different providers.

IP telephony is an emerging trend in home telephony. This is where you connect a device to your internet router that you also plug a telephone into. You can then receive phone calls through your internet connection at very low cost. One of the leading companies here is Ooma.

NAE Recommendation: If you’re considering rewiring or adding phone wiring for the first time, consider running Ethernet wiring instead. This wiring can support phone and future data needs.

Thermostat Wiring

If you are interested in installing a digital, programmable thermostat that connects to your wireless network and is controllable from your smartphone like the NEST, you may want to double check that your current wiring is compatible.

Ceiling Fan Wiring

If you are planning to install a ceiling fan where there isn’t one currently, be aware that a specific type of electrical wiring and switch might be necessary, as well as a mount in the ceiling to give the fan extra stability. Also check that you have adequate ventilation in your bathrooms and

Home Automation

Home automation is where the various electronic systems in your home can be centrally or remotely controlled from a single device or system. Systems that can be controlled by home automation include virtually every system noted in this article. Control4 and Crestron make two popular systems.

NAE Recommendation: These systems tend to be very expensive and less expensive alternatives are emerging. This article notes the Nest, for instance, which provides a way to remotely control your home heating and cooling. In addition, technologies like Belkin’s Wemo allows you to remotely control selected power outlets from your smartphone or based on predetermined conditions.

Security Monitoring

For those interested in installing security systems and cameras, numerous wireless options exist. There are trade offs and you should plan ahead to have this wiring integrated in your home as well.

Electrical Wiring Access Tip

Leveraging outside walls, attics and crawl spaces can minimize the number of openings you need to make and repair in your walls.


Understanding Panel Switches and Panel Boards

Posted on March 6, 2015 at 1:25 PM

Electrical components are a part of our everyday lives in both residential and commercial use. The problem is that most of us don’t understand the basic concepts that are used within the industry. This leads to inefficiency and delay when an electrical system fails and is in need of repair. Having a basic understanding of the various electrical components that are used in everyday life will help in cases of a system failure. The more you know the easier it will be to help come to a resolution to get the system restored.


One component that is often ignored is the panel board even though they are used throughout in providing electricity in residential, commercial and industrial facilities. Without the panel board, often referred to as the power distribution panel, electrical power could not safely be distributed through the facility be it your home or business.


In residential use the power we receive is purchased from a local utility company and is processed into our homes through a meter device located on the outside of our homes. The power enters the system and is distributed from there to various circuit systems throughout the home. This is how electrical power is distributed to various parts of the house to power electrical outlets, lights and appliances that are located throughout the house.


In commercial and industrial settings the power distribution is a bit more complex. The system is complex and consists of a device to measure power consumption, disconnects, switching devices, conductors and transformers. The power is then distributed through various switchboards, transformers and panel boards. A distribution system that is solid and works well is something that doesn’t just happened it is planned out and carefully put together. The distribution center must be engineered carefully in order to safely and adequately provide electrical services to the current electrical load and possible expansion.


A panel board is a single panel or group of panel units that forms a single unit of bus plugs, switches and over current devices. They are used to control light, heat or power circuits. They are often placed in a cabinet or a cutout box and can be mounted in or against a wall. The panel board is only accessible from the front.


Electrical components such as transformers, switches, breaker panels, panel boards and more are a part of our everyday lives. They are hidden and as long as we are receiving uninterrupted supplies of electricity we aren’t concerned with how it is occurring. This is incredibly naive though because we know that any system with multiple components will eventually break down and need to be replaced. With a little bit of knowledge of electrical components and electrical systems you will be well on your way to understanding what part of the puzzle has broken down. This will help you narrow down what needs to be replaced within the system to fix the issue.


NAE Automation and Electric, LLC is a full service electrical equipment company. At NAE, we supply contractors, end users and supply houses with new surplus, quality reconditioned and obsolete electrical equipment. Contact us today for all your bus plug, circuit breaker, switchboard, fuses, disconnects and more.