Don't Let Your Electric Bill Scare You This Halloween

The holiday season is shifting into gear, and first up is our sometimes spooky favorite, Halloween! But many homeowners know that while some costumes might spark a fright, the true terror comes from looking at those holiday electric bills. Planning on doing some decorating but worried about those inflated energy costs? The experts at Hoffman Electrical & A/C have some solutions for you!

Our endless goal is to always provide the absolute best electrical services possible to our Tampa patrons. Sometimes we do this through top-quality lighting or maybe electrical installation. But just as often, our service can be just about giving some good advice! Looking for some solutions to your holiday energy woes? We can certainly help.

Quick & Easy Tips To Lower Energy Consumption

Some of these are pretty holiday-specific, but many of them can benefit you all year long! To reduce energy use and maximize savings, consider the following:

Why Choose Hoffman Electrical & A/C for Your Florida Residential Electric Needs?

Hoffman Electrical & A/C is a family owned and operated business serving the Tampa and Brandon, Florida communities since 1989. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff of electricians install, repair, and perform regular maintenance check-ups in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. When you need an electrician in your home, let our family help yours! We provide a variety of in-home electrical services, including installations, repair, and routine maintenance. Not only do we offer high-quality installs, but we’ll also make sure your equipment continues to work efficiently and safely.

For electrical services in Tampa, Brandon, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, or their surrounding areas, contact us online or call us at 866-238-3243 today!

What Are Ungrounded Outlets & Why Are They Dangerous?

Safety is a topic you’ll see electricians covering on a very regular basis. Why is this? Well for one, electricity is, by its nature, volatile. We’ve harnessed it, sure. But nearly any amount of misuse can result in dangers, fires that cause property loss, and even potentially fatalities. And for two, this misuse we’re talking about is unfortunately pretty darn common. It’s one of those very common complications we would like to talk to you about today: ungrounded electrical outlets.

Not sure what an ungrounded outlet is? Don’t worry, because the experts at Hoffman Electrical & A/C are here to bring you the basics right now.

What Are Ungrounded Outlets?

You’ve probably seen lots of ungrounded outlets and never really known it or thought about it. In a standard home setup with currently safe outlets you’ll see a “three prong configuration.” Two of these are longer openings and run up and down, while the last creates an almost circle under the top two. It’s that small one on the bottom that is important, because that is what makes the outlet a “grounded” one.

If anything were to go wrong with that outlet, say a transient charge (overload), the grounding wire on the appliance would send that charge “to ground” or into the grounding wire. Here it is simply shrugged off by the outlet and sent harmlessly away, no troubles at all.

In the case of an ungrounded outlet, or a “two prong configuration” that grounding wire is not present, and thus an overload would have nowhere to go except the closest current it could follow, that being the appliance itself, a nearby organic object (your hand), or into the atmosphere in your home—which can result in a fire.

Ungrounded outlets were the standard until the mid 60s and you could find them in nearly any home. But since they didn’t handle the growing electrical needs of homeowners, and they represented a dangerous hazard, they were phased out in favor of the now standard grounded outlets. And in case you were wondering, ungrounded outlets are not considered up to code. That’s why we strongly recommend updating or upgrading outlets on your current home, or a new home you’re looking to purchase.

Is it Hard to Replace Ungrounded Outlets?

From the perspective of an electrician it’s actually very simple, provided the wiring in your home is in good shape. You can expect it to be a project that needs to be handled by a professional electrician, since it requires direct contact with potentially dangerous wiring, but the process can be handled and done with in a surprisingly short amount of time, and it doesn’t typically rank high on a cost scale.

Outlet Upgrades & NEC Code Corrections in Tampa, FL

Do you have ungrounded outlets in your home, or is it time for an NEC code inspection? If so, call on the specialists at Hoffman Electrical & A/C! We’ve been helping Tampa and Clearwater homeowners stay safely plugged in for generations, so contact us online today for your consultation!

The Difference Between a Lightning Arrester & Surge Arrester

There are many, many things to be confused about when it comes to electricity. But of all the confusing things you could point at, it’s the terminology that gets most Tampa-area homeowners. What’s a lightning arrester? What’s a surge arrester? Is there even a difference!? It’s honestly a sticky topic, but it’s one we’ll be helping you understand today!

Looking for electrical protection equipment in the Tampa and Clearwater areas? Contact Hoffman Electrical & A/C online.

What’s the Confusion?

The big issue here is that there are actually a few appliances and terms all in play here, and many people, electricians included, misuse terms or attempt to use them interchangeably. Most noteworthy for this topic is the confusion with “surge arrester,” which is typically confused with “surge suppressor.” These two items both serve to protect your home electrical network, wiring, and appliances. But they do not do it in the same manner.

A surge suppressor works to mitigate transient voltages and power surges within your home by sending the excess power directly into the attached outlet or circuit grounding wire, reducing the risks of shorting expensive equipment. These are typically installed directly into the network in a whole-home protection system, or can be found in simpler tools like an outlet-expanding surge protector.

A surge arrestor, on the other hand, works to mitigate specific types of surges. It’s easiest to think of an arrestor (and this goes for a lightning arrestor as well) as a form of protection from external problems, such as those caused by lighting or power grid complications.

Okay, So What’s the Difference Between a Lightning & Surge Arrester?

When all is said and done, the difference is as simple as this: one protects your home from inside and one protects the home from outside.

Should lighting strike your home, the lightning arrester, installed externally, would attempt to immediately detour the electricity away from your home and appliances and direct it instead to safe ground.

The surge arrester would perform a similar function, but it would instead intercept the surge caused by the strike and send excess energy into the grounding wire or another acceptable and predetermined grounding application.

Do I Need a Surge Arrester, Lightning Arrester, or a Surge Protector?

When deciding what kind of home protection equipment suits your needs best, it all comes down to what you have to protect. Each tool can roughly perform the same task, and in most homes, any one of these tools will safeguard you and your appliances just fine.

However, that said, it’s always best to consult a trained and certified electrician! Each home is unique, and so are your electrical needs. That means, should you require a more precise or complex solution than “any one will do,” you’ll have the benefit of a specialist who can direct you to the ideal installation.

Still unsure which you need? Call Hoffman Electrical & A/C at 866-238-3243 and we can help.

Surge & Lightning Protection Services in Tampa, FL

Need some help getting the ideal electrical protection system for your home? Contact Hoffman Electrical & A/C online now! Our certified and trained electricians have been serving Florida homeowners for years, and we would love the chance to help you get the right protection for your electrical needs.

Ready to install lightning arresters in your home or at your commercial property? Contact us today for a surge arrester estimate in Hillsborough, Sarasota, Manatee, or Pinellas County!

You Might Also Be Interested In:

Can I Shower During a Power Outage?

Sudden power outages are a considerable pain for any homeowner in Tampa or the surrounding areas. They tend to rob us of a lot of our daily comforts, and can even drastically impact simple day to day tasks! But does an outage rob you of showering as well, or can you just go about your business in this regard? Follow along with the experts at Hoffman Electrical & A/C today while we discuss the topic.

Looking for the best way to keep the lights on in your home? Contact Hoffman Electrical & A/C today to find out how!

What’s the Problem?

Your power’s the thing that’s off, so why worry about the shower, right? Well the question is one regarding exactly how you get your water. Most homes rely on either a hot water heater, an electrical well pump, or a tankless heater system or boiler. See the problem? All of these require electricity to function.

There are a few exceptions, which we’ll get to in a moment, but most systems need electrical power in order to operate. Now with that said not all hope is lost for your hot shower dreams. Let's go over the possible scenarios here:

But Is It Safe?

Worried because a storm is what knocked out your electricity? There’s actually very little to worry about in that regard! The whole struck by lightning in a shower thing is kind of a tall tale. The only real danger is the lack of light, and for that we recommend a battery-powered lantern for safety. Avoid candles or gas lamps, since they can fall over and start a fire.

For Showers Any Time, Choose a Generator!

Want to ensure you can shower no matter what, as well as keep the lights on, the furnace running, and your fridge in proper order? If so, it’s time to get a generator for your home. Standby generators are a modest investment that can pay you back considerably in convenience and cost. There are a lot of options available, too, so you can choose the investment that suits your specific needs best.

Interested in learning more about generator and backup power solutions near your Tampa home? Contact Hoffman Electrical & A/C today or call 866-238-3243!

Why You Need a Generator During a Hurricane

Over the past few years tropical storms and major weather have become much more common, and have put many Tampa area homeowners on guard. Which is very good—caution and preparation are the keys to a safe home, and at Hoffman Electrical & A/C we like to do all we can to help our clients be ready for anything.

Last month we touched on the basics of hurricane and flooding safety, covering both electrical safety and a bit on overall preparedness. Today we’d like to go a step further with one specific point from that post: how a home generator can help you stay safe and comfortable.

Interested in learning more about whole-home generator systems, or ready to equip your home with a top-class Generac generator? Contact Hoffman Electrical & A/C online today!

Why Backup Power Is So Important

There’s convenience, of course. Keeping your lights on, HVAC systems running, and television in working order are all great benefits to being equipped with a generator system. But in the end the true and vital benefits are those based in both safety, and in cost prevention.

Generators add considerable safety benefits to an equipped home. Lights on means no slipping or falling, and being able to react with accuracy in a time of crisis. Keeping food from spoiling is important, too, both in a cost perspective and a practical one. And televisions and radios in working order help you to keep tuned-in to crucial details of the current situation.

But the bottom line is this: you never know how long you’ll have to go without power.

Outages in Tampa and St. Petersburg can be as brief as a couple of hours, but they’re similarly likely to be out for days, weeks, or even more if local power supply has been damaged severely. During this time life must go on, and that means cooking, cleaning, being comfortable, and being capable of performing simple daily tasks, all of which require electrical power.

Whole-Home Generators Are Ideal for the Gulf Coast Area

A portable generator is a really decent idea, and can help you keep a vital part of your home working under poor conditions. But a whole-home generator system is 10 steps better. Whole-home systems can power lights, HVAC, kitchens, even more—helping you stay plugged up and distress-free even in the worst weather. And around here (especially in recent years), that means a lot.

The Benefits of a Whole-Home Generator

With a new whole-home standby generator you can expect a lot of benefits:

Install a Home Standby Generator with Hoffman Electrical & A/C

Whether you want power restored automatically (without power loss delay) or you have a portable generator that you would like to use with a manual transfer switch, Hoffman Electrical & A/C can provide you with the generator and transfer switch wiring that you need. It doesn’t matter what sort of generator issue you are having, give us a call if you live in the Clearwater area. Whether you want to install a new generator or repair and maintain an older one, Hoffman Electrical & A/C can help.

Contact us today to schedule your home standby generator service from Hoffman Electrical & A/C! We have been servicing the Tampa area since 1989!

Electrical Safety During Hurricane Season

With our foot firmly in the door of hurricane season in Florida, it’s wise to turn to some prevention and safety in order to prepare your home for potential risks. Our electrical systems stand exposed to (and stand to potentially cause) tons of damage in hurricane weather, and you need to be as equipped as possible in order to stay safe. That’s why the team at Hoffman Electrical & A/C has prepared a quick and easy safety guide for your use!

Need help preparing your home for electrical complications brought on by hurricanes or extreme weather? Contact us today to learn more!

Hurricane Electrical Safety

Because the dynamic changes a bit according to the situation at hand, it is best to look at your preparation and proceedings in three parts: before, during, and after.

How You Can Plan to Stay Safe

There are a few things you can do to beef up your home safety, as well as reduce the risks of power or function loss in lesser storms or thunderstorms:

What to do When a Hurricane Is Imminent

Once the weather has been declared, there are some vitally important things that must get done before the storm hits in earnest. Be certain to:

After the Storm

The best thing you can do after is a storm is stay where you are as long as the area remains safe! Venturing out can lead you to downed power lines or exposed live wires, which can result in electrical shock or electrocution.

Stay Safe with Electrical Services from Hoffman Electrical & A/C

Hoffman Electrical & A/C is a family owned and operated business serving the Tampa and Brandon, Florida communities since 1989. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff of electricians install, repair, and perform regular maintenance check-ups in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. When you need an electrician in your home, let our family help yours! We provide a variety of in-home electrical services, including installations, repair, and routine maintenance. Not only do we offer high-quality installs, we’ll also make sure your equipment continues to work efficiently and safely.

For electrical services in Tampa, Brandon, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, or their surrounding areas, contact us online or call us at (866) 238-3243 today!

Have You Ever Asked, "Where Is an Electrician Near Me?"

When you need an electrical project handled or need electrical service in your Tampa area home, there are some things you’re always going to be looking for. You want certification and licensed experts, of course. But you want trustworthy service, affordability, and reliability, too. Have you ever found yourself asking  "Where is an electrician near me?" or “Where can I find the best electrician in Tampa?" If you have, well, then you’ve come to the right place!

For superior electrical service that puts your needs first in Tampa, Clearwater, or St. Petersburg, look no further than Hoffman Electrical & A/C! Our experts are among the best in the business, so feel free to contact us online!

What to Look for in a Professional Electrician

So, what exactly makes a professional “great"? Words like reliable or certified are nice to hear, sure. But what do they mean, and how can you tell the difference? Well, lucky for all of us we live in a nice, information-dense age.

We’ve covered these basics in our recent post, but let’s go over the high notes again for clarity. All great professionals, electrician in Tampa or not, share these:

How Do I Find an Electrician in Tampa, Clearwater, or St. Petersburg?

Still asking  "Where is an electrician near me?"

Well don’t worry. You found us! The specialists at Hoffman Electrical & A/C have dedicated themselves to a higher standard of service. We put your needs first, every single time, and for every single project. Each member of our team is certified, licensed, insured, and ready to help. What sets us apart? How about:

Why Choose Hoffman Electrical & A/C for Your Florida Residential Electric Needs?

Hoffman Electrical & A/C is a family owned and operated business serving the Tampa and Brandon, Florida communities since 1989. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff of electricians install, repair, and perform regular maintenance check-ups in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. When you need an electrician in your home, let our family help yours! We provide a variety of in-home electrical services, including installations, repair, and routine maintenance. Not only do we offer high-quality installs, we’ll also make sure your equipment continues to work efficiently and safely.

For electrical services in Tampa, Brandon, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, or their surrounding areas, contact us online or call us at (866) 238-3243 today!

Electricians Servicing Businesses in:

Hillsborough County (FL) – Apollo Beach, Bloomingdale, Brandon, Carrollwood, Cheval, Citrus Park, Clearwater, East Lake, Lake Magdalene, Lutz, Palm River, Plant City, Riverview, Tampa, Town ‘n’ Country, and Valrico.

Pinellas County (FL) – Clearwater Beach, Dunedin, East Lake, Largo, Oldsmar, Palm Harbor, Pinellas Park, Seminole, St. Petersburg, St. Pete Beach, and Tarpon Springs.

Can I Wire a Smoke Alarm Myself?

Do you have enough smoke alarms in your home? The odds are probably not if we’re going by statistical averages, and if you’re here reading along then you also are probably thinking about installing more. Which is good! But you might also be thinking about wiring them yourself, and that might not be the best option you have. Why? Today the certified professionals at Hoffman Electrical & A/C are here to help you understand.

Looking for professional smoke alarm wiring services in Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, or the surrounding areas? Contact Hoffman Electrical & A/C online today!

Should I Install My Own Smoke Alarms?

This question is going to depend a little bit. It depends on what you mean by install. If we’re talking single, battery-powered alarms that require no wiring, then you can probably feel somewhat safe handling it. Usually just takes some anchors and screws.

But if we’re talking about the better, more reliable, and more functional wired smoke alarms, then no. You really, really shouldn’t attempt an installation on your own!

Why Not?

Hard-wired smoke alarms are a great, highly effective means of making your Tampa home and family more safe. But installing them is an involved, training-needed job. It’s a full-fledged installation, just like appliance wiring, circuit breaker installation, or home lighting installation—all jobs you want to hire an expert for. A DIY attempt can result in:

Why Choose Hard-Wired Detectors & Alarms?

So why not save a buck and just go for battery powered alarms? Well, wired alarms are generally accepted as the best option for home safety, and for a few very strong reasons:

When you’re looking for trustworthy, top-class smoke alarm and detection installation services, you can turn to Hoffman Electrical & A/C for the very best. Contact us online to learn more, or to get a consultation for your service!

Guide to Babyproofing Everything Electrical

We’re not saying anything new by talking about how awesome our kids can be. No parent would doubt for even a minute that theirs is one of the biggest parts of their lives. They also wouldn’t doubt that kids are inquisitive, often to a fault. And with a home full of electronics, outlets, and appliances, it can be hard to feel like your kids are as safe as you want them to be.

Looking for the best ways to babyproof for your child or newcomer? The experts at Hoffman Electrical & A/C are here to help! Safety is our absolute top priority, and we want to ensure our clients get all of the best info possible to keep their Tampa home and family safe.

A Quick Guide to Electrical Safety for Kids

Proofing Outlets

Of all of the dangers of electricity involving kids, outlets are probably the scariest, and for good reason. They’re right down there at a kid’s eye level, and they see us using them all of the time, so of course they’re going to be curious.

If you want to learn more about safe outlets, check out our blog on the topic: Are Childproof Outlets Really Safe?

Proofing Electrical Strips

Again, there they sit, right on the ground, full of potentially dangerous plugs. The solution is simple here, too, and you can go about it one of two ways:

  1. Use specially-designed strips. There are some really great products on the market that feature dome or box covers for strips, or there are strips that feature the cover as an addition. They’re kind of ugly, but hey, they do the trick just fine.
  2. Reduce your dependence on strips. Why do you use power strips in the first place? Because you have too few outlets! The easiest solution here, both for you just in general, and for your kiddo, is to just install more safe outlets. Outlet installation is fast and easy for a professional electrician, and can bring you all of the safe electrical access you’ll ever need.

General Electrical Safety

We would urge parents to go room to room, looking for anything and everything that can present a danger. Get down there at kid level and really get a look!

Electrical Safety in Tampa with Hoffman Electrical & A/C

Need a team of professionals that are dedicated to the best solutions for safety and electrical security for you and your family? Contact Hoffman Electrical & A/C today!

Why Aren't My Motion-Activated Lights Turning On?

Motion-activated lighting can be a big boon for homeowners in Tampa. The added security, safety, and utility are all great, and these simple and effective solutions have been helpfully serving our clients all across Florida for years. But, they can be a bit of a pain sometimes.

Is your motion-activated light refusing to kick on, or are you tired of wrestling with a light that seems to only work when it feels like it? If so, don’t worry! The certified electricians at Hoffman Electrical & A/C are here to help, bringing you some fast and easy solutions to get your motion lights back in gear and behaving properly!

Looking for new motion light installation for your Tampa, FL home, or need electrical repair services from top-class electricians? Contact Hoffman Electrical & A/C online now!

Troubleshooting a Motion-Activated Light: The Simple Stuff

The easiest solutions are everyone’s favorite, and when it comes to motion lights, there are a few really small details that can solve your frustrations in no time. When troubleshooting a motion light, start with these:

When to Call an Electrician in Tampa

The above listed solutions tend to account for the vast majority of motion light troubles, since general wear and routine maintenance are fairly commonly left alone until there’s a problem. But if none of these helped you get your motion detector lights back to working order, you’re probably going to need to call in an expert for electrical repair. The problem at this point probably lies with wiring or with the motion light fixture itself, which may require motion light replacement.

If you need top-quality solutions, our professionals are ready to help! We’ve been proudly serving Tampa, Florida and the surrounding areas for years, and we carry extensive experience in installing, repairing, and replacing motion light systems. Contact Hoffman Electrical & A/C today to set a date for your service!