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Bronco Electric Blog

5 Steps for Effectively Planning Your Commercial Renovations or Tenant Improvements

Any type of renovation or improvement needs to be carefully considered and planned out before the work can be done or you may find yourself doing work that doesn’t exactly fit your current or future needs. We want to keep you from living a nightmare and doing work that doesn’t need to be done or not doing something that you should. 
Here are 5 steps for effectively planning your commercial renovations or tenant improvements:

Identify All Your Goals

As mentioned above, you should know exactly what you need before you do any type of work. There are a few questions that you can ask yourself to assist with this process including:

What issues do I need this renovation or improvement to solve?
What is my current budget?
Who will I need to work with to accomplish my goals?
What new technologies can I incorporate into the renovations and improvements?


Get a Team Together

No one person can do all the work on any project, which is why you will need to get a team together. A designer, contractor, and numerous subcontractors including an electrician will make up the team of people that you choose. Most of the subcontractors will do the work that they specialize in, so that all those jobs are done correctly. After all, you are not going to want an electrician hanging drywall or a drywall expert running wires. 

Create a Plan

Everyone needs a plan when they are working on a project and you may need to do some research in order to determine any issues that you may face as the work is being completed. If you can figure out the answers to any questions that you may have before you need them, the work will continue faster than if you need to stop and do the research later. This is also the time to determine how old all the mechanical and electrical systems are and the qualities of the existing utilities. 

Create a Schedule that is Realistic

You may want all the renovations and improvements done in a few days, but that isn’t a realistic expectation. Instead, we urge you to create a schedule that gets the work done in a timely manner, while also scheduling in additional time for little issues that may pop up along the way. You may want to allow extra time in the schedule too for the additional electrical work that may need to be done, especially if you are installing or updating surveillance cameras. 

Prepare Two Budgets

We always say that everyone needs two different budgets, which is why we always tell people to take a portion of their original budget and set it aside. That smaller budget can then be used to pay for any issues that arise during the work. 
Your commercial renovations and tenant improvements will go much more smoothly if you follow these five steps before you begin the work. It may seem like a lot of work in the beginning, but you will be happy with all the time you save later on. 

Oct 31 2018

How to Know When to Upgrade or Replace Your Home’s Electrical System

Many older homes in Bakersfield were built in the 1960s or earlier. These homes may have serious hidden electrical hazards. Don’t let that scare you too much, because each home is different. We aren’t screaming that the sky is falling; just giving you something to consider. Today we want to tell you how to know when your home’s electrical system needs to be updated or replaced. 
Homes Built between 1950 and 1980 May Need Attention 

Age and Condition: Circuit breakers have a life of about 25-40 years under the best of conditions. If you notice any discoloration or age-related issues with your circuit breakers, it’s time to give the electrical panel some attention.
Circuit Breakers Trip: We’ve all overloaded a breaker from time to time, but this really becomes a problem with older homes. 
Dimming Lights: Your electrical system shouldn’t have a problem running everything in your home. If you notice lights dim when you turn on the hair dryer or the vacuum cleaner, give us a call so we can make sure everything is okay.
Power Strips: Older homes don’t have enough electrical outlets to meet the demands of today’s family. You shouldn’t have to use power strips or extension cords to create more outlets in your home. This also runs the risk of tripping the breaker or overloading the outlet and causing an electrical fire. 

Benefits of Newer Electrical Panels
Older homes generally have lower amperage panels than those we use today. Today’s households use a lot of heat-producing appliances such as hair dryers, straightening irons, curling irons, and a variety of other electrical items. These items need a higher amperage electrical panel than those you generally find in older homes. 

Homes built or remodeled past 1980 are probably up to code as far as the national building codes are concerned. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the electrical panel in the home can effectively handle the pressure the household puts on it. Give us a call if you’re concerned that your electrical panel isn’t quite doing the job. We’ll check it out and give you our professional opinion.

Posted by: Admin 

Aug 30 2018

Make Sure Your Office is Properly Connected and Ready for Business in Today’s World

Let’s talk business in today’s world and how things have changed in previous years. 30 years ago, businesses didn’t have internet; can you imagine working and maintaining your business today without full connectivity? The first internet connectivity included a phone line and a modem. Some of us remember the screeching sound and connecting that dial-up modem very well. 
Today, however, we can do a lot of our business on our phone. Small business owners can deal with meetings via video chat as well as maintain our schedule from the convenience of our cell phone. Most companies today require a solid connection to the internet in order to properly function. Everyone from large-scale data centers to hospitals, churches, and other office buildings need connectivity in order to thrive in today’s busy world. 
Here are a few ways we can help you make sure that your company is ready for business: 

Tenant Improvements: We are involved in every stage of tenant improvements from design to construction, and of course wiring and cabling. 
Electrical Design: Every company has unique electrical needs; otherwise every office would be a cookie-cutter copy of the next. 
Data and Telecom Design: Telecom has come a long way in recent years. We will help you design the best system for your company’s needs. 
Fiber Optics Design: Fiber optic internet availability is expanding into many cities. We will design the most effective way to access fiber optics and help keep your company on the leading edge of technology.
Fire Alarm Design and Installation: Keep your employees and your company safe with a custom designed fire alarm system.
Perimeter Detection: Motion detecting lighting and cameras help employees who work late and deter criminals who don’t wish to be caught on camera. 
Surveillance and Alarm System: Surveillance and alarm systems go hand-in-hand with perimeter detection systems in protecting your employees, your business, and your property.

The Short Story

We’re certified contractors and electricians and we can help you design, build, and wire your business from top to bottom. We’ll ensure that your phone system is properly designed and implemented to handle today’s workloads and that your internet connection can effectively pass all the traffic your company needs to pass. We’ll customize lighting for each area of the office so every area has ample lighting for jobs that need to be done.

Posted by: Admin 

Aug 30 2018

Coming Soon!

Watch this space for our upcoming blog!

Safety Tips for Using Outdoor Outlets Safely

Outdoor outlets can be a lifesaver when you are entertaining, displaying holiday lights, or even doing home improvement projects. However, those same outlets are a disaster waiting to happen. Did you know that outdoor outlets can become damaged over time? And that those damaged outlets can cause you or your family to be electrocuted? 
They can also start a fire unexpectedly!
Here are 4 safety tips for using your outdoor outlets safely:

Inspect them regularly

Looking at your outdoor outlets regularly will allow you to notice deterioration and other damage before it becomes too late. If you see any wires sticking out, missing pieces, sparks, or anything else that doesn’t seem normal, it is time to stop using the outlet and call an electrician. 

Make sure you have weatherproofed outlets installed

Not any type of outlet can be installed outside and if you are not sure if yours are suitable for any type of weather, you should have them replaced immediately. According to the national codes, any outlet that is placed outside must have a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter, or a GCFI. This feature will instantly interrupt the electricity flow if anything comes into contact with water. You should be familiar with a GCFI, because you should also have them in any of the rooms in your home where there is water. 

Utilize proper extension cords

You might think that you can take an indoor extension cord and use it to plug in your holiday lights outside, but that would be like waiting for disaster to hit! We recommend only using outdoor extension cords with your outdoor outlets, because they have more insulation to protect them from the sun, moisture, and even the fluctuating temperatures. You should be able to tell the difference between the two cords, because those designed for indoor use have two prongs, while outdoor extension cords have three prongs. 

Cover your outlets

All your outdoor outlets should have metal or plastic covers to keep them dry and away from the elements. You should also make sure that all the wires are tucked beneath the cover, so that they do not get wet either. 
We don’t want you to stop using your outdoor outlets, but we do want to make sure that you are safe when you do. If you are unsure about any part of your outdoor outlets, give a professional electrician a call so they can inspect them and let you know if they are safe to use. 


What You Need to Know about Charging Your Car at Home

Electric cars are becoming more popular, but some people like yourself are shying away from purchasing them. The reason for that is that you have no clue what you need to be able to charge your car at home. And, if you can’t charge your car at home for some reason, what good would it be to own an electric car? 
So much to worry about, but we are going to get you the answers that you need, so you can stop hesitating over a car purchase. 
The first thing that you will need to know is that almost every electric car that is sold can be charged using a standard 120-volt wall socket. This is normally considered a Level One charging and can take a long time to do. Therefore, we recommend that you at least install a 220-volt wall socket, so you can have a Level Two charging station for faster results. 
An EVSE, or Electric Vehicle Service Equipment, is your best option for charging your electric vehicle though. The EVSE is a box, cord, and plug that mounts to the wall near where you park your car. This type of charger will cut your charging time in half while giving you important information. In fact, it can also turn the electricity supply to the car on and off, let you know how much electricity is available currently in your vehicle, and ensure that there are no electrical problems. 
The best part about EVSEs is that they can provide you with daily usage reports to allow you to determine how much money you are saving by using this vehicle. 
The features that you need to look for in an EVSE are a 30-amp service, a good-sized charging cable, and excellent connectivity. The 30-amp service will allow you to add thirty miles of range in approximately an hour, while the charging cable will need to easily reach where you plan on parking your car. As for the connectivity, this is ideal so that you can control your EVSE without needing to be home or outside. Instead, you can do it from a mobile app on your phone from wherever you are. 

We do recommend that you call an electrician to install your EVSE, because even though they are easy to do, electricity is involved. We don’t want you or anyone else to take a chance with something you are not familiar with, when there are plenty of experienced electricians that can do it without electrocuting themselves or their family. 

Understanding a Commercial Energy Audit and How it Can Increase Energy Efficiency

Commercial energy audits can be quite helpful in improving the energy efficiency of your building, and those improvements will bring your energy bills to an all-time low. Your commercial energy audits will include a utility bill analysis, a survey of the property, and diagnostic testing. Once all the data is gathered, you can use that information to see what changes you need to make to save energy. 
The recommendations from those audits are normally divided into two sections of energy efficient measures. The first energy efficient measures are changes that will pay for themselves within five years, while the second group are changes that will take more than five years to cover the costs. 
The energy efficient measures that take the least amount of time to pay off include:

Lamp replacement, de-lamping, and lighting retrofits
Installing variable speed drives to all fans and pumps
Repairs, enhancements, and control changes
Daylight controls as applicable

Some of the biggest savings will be seen from the second group of energy efficient measures which include:

Upgrading to ENERGY STAR products
Replace the chillers and boilers within a central plant
Replace HVAC units with higher efficiency models
Take a constant air volume system and change it to a variable air volume system
Rewire lighting systems

Commercial business owners like you will need to decide which of the above energy efficient measures they are willing to pay for and implement, as they are trying to save energy and lowering their energy bills. This might be a difficult decision for you to make, because you may be hesitant to spend money if you are skeptical on how much you will save later on. 
However, the benefits of increasing energy efficiency are more than saving money. The operations within your building will improve due to the new modern technologies and everyone will be more efficient while performing their jobs. You will also lower the amount of carbon emissions that you are sending out into the environment. You may not see how that benefits you right now, but it is definitely something that benefits everyone in the world, now and in the future. 
You should also understand that you will only see the full benefits of increasing your energy efficiency if you make the changes to all the recommendations. If you only do one or two, then you are not going to see the results that you desire. 


Moving Light Switches and Outlets Without Damaging Your Home

When was the last time you went to plug something in only to find out that the outlet was not in the spot that you needed it to be in? Or, the last time that you went to switch on a light, but had to search for the light switch because it was hidden behind an open door? 
These things happen all the time, especially in older homes where light switches and outlets were not a priority. While you could live with these little inconveniences, we are fairly certain that you don’t want to! 
Thankfully, it is not too difficult to move either one of these things and the first thing that you need to do is switch off the circuit breaker to either the outlet or switch, to prevent electricity from flowing through. 
The next step will be removing the wall plate by loosening the screws and then pulling the little device out of the electrical box. We urge you to be careful with this step, as you do not want to touch the wires. 
It is important that you see the wires as they are, so that you know which position each one needs to be in later. We always recommend labeling them, taking a picture, and even writing it all down. You can never be too careful!
Next up, is a trip to the store, unless you happen to have the proper wire type and size sitting around in storage! Do not try any substitutions with the wires or you can cause an electrical fire later on. 
Once you know what you need and have purchased it, it is time to cut a hole into the spot that you want the new light switch or outlet. To do this, you will need to trace around the electrical box, but make sure that you are doing the tracing in a spot where there is a stud if you have a box that needs to be attached to one. 
Since you are moving the location of the outlet or switch, you are going to need to run new wiring. This isn’t too difficult until you reach a stud in the wall or another blockage like a pipe. Take your time with this part, as the last thing that you want to do is break the wire halfway through and need to start again. 
As soon as the new wire is at the new location, you will need to push about five inches of it into the electrical box and then put it in the wall. After that, it is time to make the wire connections and that is where those written instructions, labeling, and pictures from before will come in handy. You can then turn on the power to test the outlet or switch in its new position. 

We understand that moving outlets and switches isn’t easy for everyone, so feel free to call a professional to have this job done quickly and safely.

Stay Safe this Holiday Season with These 8 Electrical Tips

An electrical fire can happen at any time of the year, but they do seem to happen more frequently during the holiday season. Dry trees, too many things plugged into one outlet, or a thousand other things can help ignite electrical fires and we want to make sure that they never happen to you. 
Here are 8 electrical tips to stay safe this holiday season:

Purchase only UL-rated Lights

Lights that have an UL-rating are deemed safe for everyday use in homes. We also recommend that you only purchase UL-rated decorations that light up as well, to decrease your risk of fire. 

Use Caution with Outdoor Decorations

All those cute indoor decorations might also look cute outside, but you are taking a risk when you expose those items to the elements. Any moisture or precipitation can cause electrical shocks and fires to start. We also want to encourage you to plug any outdoor decorations into GFCI outlets with covers, so that everything will turn off automatically if they do happen to get wet. 

Check for Damage

Over time, strands of lights or the cords on other decorations can deteriorate or fray. We urge you to throw those items out instead of taking a risk and using them for just one more season. 

Use the Same Wattage when Replacing Bulbs

Not everyone keeps a stash of replacement bulbs in their house for the holidays, which is why it is so common for people to try to replace bulbs with what they have on hand. Unfortunately, this can cause fires, especially if you use a wattage that is higher than what is recommended. 

Plugging in Too Much

Yes, you may love that your house looks like the North Pole, but please be careful as to how much you are plugging into each circuit. We recommend finding out exactly how many items you can plug into each outlet before you start decorating. 

Use Caution with Extension Cords

Extension cords are great, because they allow you to plug things in further away from an outlet. However, you can easily overload these cords, especially if you use them for more than one item. These have the same rules as regular outlets, which means that you need to know how much they can handle before you start plugging away. 

Turn Off Lights at Night

Those holiday lights might be pretty, but they need as much of a break as you do. We do not recommend leaving them on all day and all night and we feel strongly about the necessity of turning them off before you go to bed. After all, during the day, you can catch issues much faster since you are awake. At night, those same issues can quickly get out of control as you snore softly under your covers. 

Keep Real Trees Watered

Real trees can dry out quickly, and when that happens, the lights on them can cause them to catch on fire. While we recommend watering your tree at least once a day, you can also install one of those automatic watering gadgets to do it in between. 

Electrical fires are quite dangerous, because sometimes they can burn deep within the walls of your home for a little bit before you become aware of them. If you follow these tips this holiday season, and the rest of the year, you will lessen your chances of becoming a victim to these fires.

Exterior Lighting Maintenance is Good for Your Business

The exterior lights on your property have many advantages, as they provide much-needed lighting, keep people safe, and basically make the area look nice even in the dark of night. However, many of those advantages will disappear if you do not take the time to maintain those lighting fixtures and the bulbs inside!
Here are 3 exterior lighting maintenance things you can do that is good for your business:

Replace Burned Out Light Bulbs: This is one of the easiest repairs to do, as it does not take much time at all. However, we pass numerous businesses on a daily basis, only to see that they have a number of light bulbs out! Those burned out bulbs are not doing you, or anyone who uses that outdoor area, any favors, as the lighting, safety, and appearance of your building is drastically compromised. We recommend replacing all your exterior light bulbs with LED ones, so that you do not need to worry about this maintenance task as often as before. 


Clean Those Lighting Fixtures: Lighting fixtures can get quite dirty from the dirt, debris, and pollen that flies around outside. The combination of all those things can make your lighting fixture so dirty that you lose quite a few of the lumens from the bulb inside. That will decrease the amount of light coming from each fixture and will cause dark areas. A little elbow grease will do the trick and once your fixtures are clean, those bulbs will shine brightly!


Replace Fixtures When Necessary: Lighting fixtures do not last forever, especially when they are sitting out in the elements all year long. A fixture that is not working properly, or has received some damage, is better off being replaced than left alone or having repaired. Repairs are often costly, which means a replacement is oftentimes cheaper. And a fixture that is having problems will never work right, which means that you will be paying for electricity that you are not benefitting from. 


We recommend that you tackle these exterior lighting maintenance jobs now, so that you can benefit from your lighting fixtures and save money at the same time. After all, there is no point in paying for electricity if you can’t see the bright lights outside. Plus, people will feel better about approaching your business if they can see to get to your front door!

Reasons Commercial Property Owners Need to Use LED Lighting and How to Choose the Best

The lighting in some commercial buildings leave consumers thinking that they are in a dungeon, while others portray the image that the lighting hasn’t been updated since the 1960s. If you are considering making any changes to your commercial properties in the new year, we recommend focusing on your lighting. A simple lighting switch can not only improve the inside and outside of your buildings, it can improve the amount of money you have left in your pockets after paying your energy bill!
Here are 3 reasons commercial property owners need to use LED lighting:

Consumer Perception: LED lights can have a positive impact on your consumers by allowing them to feel more comfortable when they are there, which means that they will stay for longer than average. The lighting will also make your products and everything else in the environment more appealing, which will increase your sales. 


Improve the Look of Your Property: LED lights mimic natural light, so people feel that they are seeing something as they would when they are outside under the shining sun. While these lights are excellent inside, they are also helpful outside, where they increase the value of your property and draw people inside. 


Safety: The brightness of LED lighting can improve the safety of your commercial property, especially when they are used outside. Most criminals will choose places that do not have good lighting on purpose, as they know that no one will recognize them in those situations. However, once you add LED lighting, those same criminals will avoid your property, because they know that there is an excellent chance of someone else spotting them.

If you are ready to take the next step and install LED lights, you are going to need to know how to choose the ones that will work best for you. The three main features that you should focus on include the color temperature, the size or shape, and the brightness. 
Some commercial property owners will choose warm lighting within the 2000-3000K range, as it provides an open and inviting environment. The only time that we do not recommend that color range is when your commercial property is an office as that can cause eye strain over time. 
The size and shape of LED lighting may not seem too important, but it actually is since they have a functional purpose. You may want to choose the size and shape that will work with your existing fixtures or you can change everything and really update the look of your commercial property. 
The brightness of your new LED lights is the last thing that you will need to consider, and you should be looking at the lumens and not the wattage when you are looking at the packaging. If you look at the wrong one, you will end up purchasing LED lighting that will not meet your needs. 

We urge you to call us if you are unsure of what you need or what will work best in your commercial property. We can make suggestions and give you options, so that you will have the LED lights that are perfect for your space.