Spring 2016 is just around the corner in St. Charles, Missouri and St. Louis, Missouri

Here we are in the dead of winter so who is thinking about spring? Your St. Charles, Missouri electricians at Grasser Electric have been thinking about spring already.
Even before the “big box” stores start displaying their patio furniture and bar-b-que grills for the new season, your St. Charles Electricians at Grasser Electric are getting ready for the severe weather season.
If you have been considering options for stand by power in your home when the storms start to rumble through our area, NOW is the time to make plans and talk to your Kohler Generator experts at Grasser Electric. Whether you go with very minimal power coverage or want to keep your entire house powered during a storm related power failure, your St. Charles electricians at Grasser Electric have the perfect solution for your needs and your budget.
We have teamed up with Kohler Generators to provide the industry’s best products, built in the USA. Take advantage of pre storm season specials and call your St. Charles generator specialists today and keep the lights on while your neighbors sit in the dark.

LIGHTNING – BANG!!!!!!! WHAT WAS THAT?

Every year we get calls from very frustrated homeowners and business owners here in the St. Louis and St. Charles, Missouri areas that have been affect by either a close or direct lightning strike. TV’s stop working, microwaves, computers, even furnaces and air conditioners. The extreme voltages that pass through your electrical system can and will totally cook electronic devices.

Just today, 10/2/14 a residence in St. Charles, Missouri burned to the ground and the cause according to fire department personnel was a direct lightning strike. A lightning bolt can reach temperatures of 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s hotter than the surface of the sun!

Anything subjected to that temperature even if for a millisecond will burst into flame.
Often these fires start on the roof or attic where the strike occurred. They can slowly work from a smoldering hot spot to a fully involved house fire within hours if not detected early.

All new houses in St. Louis and St. Charles are required to have smoke detectors in bedrooms, hallways and other areas. But what about the attic? What if a lightning strike occurs while you are sleeping or away? The only way you will know you have a fire is to look up in the attic or a passer by sees it. Often news paper delivery people or a passing police officer will observe these fires in the middle of the night which was the case earlier today.

We can install whole house surge protection on your electrical service panels that will stop the extreme high voltage surges generated by a lightning strike. In some cases the manufacturer offers a “money back” guarantee to off set insurance deductibles in the event of a loss with their equipment in place.

Grasser Electric also has Lightning Protection contractors at our disposal that can install lightning rods on your home. Old technology? Yes. Does it work, apparently so. Most all government and commercial buildings today are equipped with lightning rods. In Florida, the lightning capitol of the country, lightning rods are a familiar sight and according to folks there, they do work!

Call Grasser Electric to discuss protecting your house from the problems that can arise due to lightning.

Cooler Weather….what next?

It’s officially FALL. Say good bye to the heat and humidity and hello to great fall weather. However we all know what is next…WINTER!!!!!
Cold, Snow, Ice, and who knows what else.

Have you given any thought to what you would do if the power is out for more than a couple of hours? How about several days? An ice storm can cripple the grid and leave thousands of electrical customers in the dark and cold. Even if you have underground electrical services, the larger primary lines that feed your underground service can fail in an ice storm.

Grasser Electric, your local St. Charles and St. Louis electricians have teamed up with CK Power and KOHLER Generators to provide the most reliable standby generators available. These generators can start automatically on a power failure and are connected to your natural gas or propane supply. You can continue to live normally. Keep your furnace operating, refrigerators working, prevent frozen pipes due to no heat, and even enjoy your home entertainment equipment while everyone else around you is scrambling in the dark to figure out what to do.

NOW is the time to make your plans. If you are considering a whole home standby generator system, please call your St. Charles and St. Louis Missouri electrical experts at Grasser Electric. Together with KOHLER and CK Power, we will come up with a solution that will fit your budget. Call us today at 636-441-5200.

Thinking about Winter now? Why?

Now that we are in the second half of the summer season, your St. Louis electricians at Grasser Electric are already looking forward to the fall and even early winter months.
Though colder weather seems so far away we all know it will be here in the blink of an eye. Now is the time to begin thinking about your electrical needs as the days get shorter and the temperatures eventually start dropping.

We often get calls to obtain quotes for automatic standby generators in the middle to late fall. People begin to worry about winter storms, in particular ICE storms which can damage the power grid to the point that power can be out for days. We suggest you begin thinking about that NOW instead of later in the fall. From the time we provide your quote to the time the generator is on the ground, installed, tested, inspected and approved, four weeks can elapse. We can help you “budget” for a standby generator system and even provide financing assistance.

Other colder weather projects like installing outdoor outlets for Christmas lights are projects we can also assist with.

We are always thinking ahead so we are prepared for the problems we will be confronted with in the next few months. We want you to be prepared also. Give you St. Louis and St. Charles, Missouri electricians at Grasser Electric a call today.

MY LIGHTS KEEP DIMMING WHEN MY A/C COMES ON………..

Now that we are finally into the “WARM” St. Louis weather we have started getting requests for service to check out possible problems with residential electrical systems due lights dimming when the air conditioner kicks on.

In many homes, this is a “normal” occurrence. This happens because the lighting circuits share the same service as the air conditioner. When large motors such as air conditioner compressors start up, they require a higher voltage to “kick” them into motion. This is accomplished by electronics built into the air conditioner. This high voltage “kick” lasts only 1-2 seconds then the voltage drops to the normal 240V that the compressor is designed to operate on.

When this “kick” happens, it drains available electrical current to other devices on the same service. The result is seeing lights dim briefly. Sometimes older televisions would show the effect by the picture shrinking in size for a second. In fact every electrical device on the circuit is affected but you only notice the lights because you can see them.
It’s like a localized “brown out” but it lasts for a very short time.

There is no real fix for this other than to attempt to re-distribute circuits in your breaker box. But even this may not correct the problem.

Very rarely do we find a dangerous situation in the breaker box. If we do it’s either a breaker that is burning up or a loose connection. But 99% of the time, this dimming of lights an inconvenience and not a danger. As the air conditioner gets older, it gets harder to start and will even take more current to get it running. An HVAC contractor can check it and see if there is anything they can do to “help” it along. We can refer you to a qualified HVAC contractor if you do not have one already.

GFCI’S are a big pain in the……………..????

In today’s world, the GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) receptacle is being required in more and more locations throughout the home. These devices are designed to protect you from electrical shock hazards.
Many people think that your circuit breakers or fuses are supposed to do that but that is not the case. Circuit breakers and fuses merely protect the wiring from overloads and short circuits. They don’t prevent you from getting a nasty shock form a faulty appliance or other electrical device.

In the past these devices were required in bathrooms and locations that were considered to potentially be wet like garages, unfinished basements and outdoor outlets. Today the codes have been revised to include some plug in appliances, kitchens, garage door openers just to name a few. As a St. Louis and St. Charles electrical service contractor that deals with these issues on a daily basis we feel some of the new required applications for GFCI receptacles are problematic at best however we are obligated to follow the new codes.

GFCI’s can be a life saver in a critical situation where a shock hazard exists. However in other cases they can be a “pain in the……..” In some newer homes less than a couple of years old, we are being required to install GFCI protection on outlets with garage door openers, freezers, refrigerators, and other appliances, even sump pumps. The issue we have with these applications is the problems people have when the GFCI ‘trips’ when no one is home. Can you imaging coming home to find your refrigerator/freezer to be at room temperature with a huge puddle of water on the floor and all your food items spoiled? How about driving up to your garage door in a torrential rain storm only to find out that the door won’t open because a GFCI tripped? And there is that water issue in your basement when the GFCI on a sump pump circuit trips and the sump pump no longer works.

We have been asked by homeowners to remove GFCI’s in such locations that have been causing problems. We feel your pain but as a licensed contractor, we can not honor requests of this type. If there was an event such as a shock or fire and we had removed a GFCI previous to the event, we could be held liable for the damages.

When requirements such as these newer GFCI requirements come up, we along with other contractors throughout St. Louis, St. Charles take time to talk to the people that write these new codes and requirements perhaps getting them to think about unwanted consequences of a particular paragraph of code.

If you are having problems with GFCI receptacles or other electrical issues, please let us know so we can assist you in relieving that problem.

LIGHTNING!

This is the time of year when we see a spike in the number of lightning strike related calls. First of all most lightning damage isn’t from lighting striking your house, it’s from lighting striking a tree somewhere close or even an overhead utility line. The strike could be up to a mile or more away and still cause damage in your home.

For items like electronics, microwaves, ranges, furnaces and air conditioners, all of these now have delicate electronics built into them and these electronics don’t handle the extreme high current levels a lightning strike generates. Other items such as light dimmers, ground fault interrupters and arc fault circuit breakers often fail when exposed to these conditions.

If you receive a direct hit on your home from lightning the damages can be more extensive. It could “vaporize” wiring in walls, and destroy your whole electrical system. There are certain tests we can perform on your electrical system to check for such damages but these tests take some time but are very good at locating damaged wiring. In addition, if you suspect you had a direct lighting strike, don’t be afraid to call the fire department immediately after the strike. If your house phone is out, use a cell phone. Remember that calling “911” from a cell phone may not provide the exact location where you are so be ready to give them your exact address. Lightning fires can smolder for hours in walls and attics before they finally explode into a full blown house fire. The fire department has equipment that will allow them to quickly determine if there is a fire lurking in concealed areas of your home.

Lastly, there is no 100% way to guarantee a lightning strike won’t damage your home, appliances and electronics or cause a fire, but there are things that can be done to minimize the threat.

  1. Lighting rods installed by a qualified contractor can provide protection to your home by bleeding off the electrical potential that builds up during a thunderstorm. If lightning does strike, it will be directed safely to ground by the heavy copper cables and ground rods driven deep into the ground. We can refer you to a contractor for this type of work.
  2. Whole house surge suppression devices installed by Grasser Electric can provide protection to your entire electrical system not only from lightning strikes but other spikes that can enter your home from the electric utility. We can also install surge suppression devices for incoming CATV lines and phone lines. Call us for more information on Whole House Surge Suppression. Compared to the damage a surge can cause, this is an extremely affordable method to give you good protection.

Don’t wait until you have had a loss to call us. Give us a call today at 636-441-5200 and let us send one of our qualified electricians to your home to provide a quote for Whole House Surge Suppression.

Do You Need an Electrical Permit for Your Project?

Many local regulations require that service companies like Grasser Electric to apply for an electrical permit in order to complete many electrical projects.

All New Construction Projects Require Electrical Permits

“New” construction projects (or projects that are not primarily repair jobs) include, but are not limited to:

  • Room additions
  • Basement finishes
  • Most remodeling projects where new wiring is to be installed.
  • Hot tub and swimming pool installations.

In addition, many repair jobs require a permit and inspection, including service panel replacements and others.

Location Can Determine Permit Requirements

The need for an electrical permit can vary depending on where your project is located. For example, certain jurisdictions can enforce different versions of the National Electrical Code. The requirements in unincorporated St. Louis County can differ from those in the city of Ballwin or Florissant. In some cases, newer requirements can add costs to a job. However, this money is well spent to ensure the enhanced safety of your project. Make sure your electrical contractor knows the requirements for your area.

Electrical Permits Ensure a Safe and Effective Project

The cost of obtaining the proper permits and inspections is minimal compared to the peace of mind gained from work installed according to codes. If you have more questions about electrical permits, call Grasser Electric today at 636-441-5200. We’ll assist you with your project and the permit process.