Federal Pacific Electric Circuit Breakers

Electricians, including 110220v have continued to see Federal Pacific Electric circuit breakers in San Mateo homes recently. If you search for Federal Pacific Electric on Google, the first result that comes back is “FPE Panels – Is My Electrical Panel Safe?

Our electricians are very concerned with this state of affairs.

The History:

The problem has been known since at least 1980. The FPE company was purchased in 1979. Shortly after, in 1980, Reliance notified the CPSC (the Consumer Product Safety Commission) that an internal investigation had shown that FPE circuit breakers did not trip correctly. They had found that FPE circuit breakers did not fully comply with Underwriter Laboratory compliance requirements. (UL is one of the approved safety inspectors by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration). The CPSC also conducted its own investigation and determined that the circuit breakers were defective. However they did not order a recall.

There has been at least one lawsuit over the years. The New Jersey State Court ruled that FPE had violated the Consumer Fraud Act.  They believed that the FPE had distributed circuit breakers they knew were not tested to UL standards.

The FPE company no longer exists in any shape or form. However thousands of the defective Stab-Lok circuit breakers are still in homes across the Bay Area and they represent a real risk to your house.

The Problem:

So what exactly is wrong? Well the circuit breakers in question are called the “Stab-Lok” curcuit breakers from FPE. Our electricians have seen these exact circuit breakers in cities like San Mateo, Burlingame, and Millbrae.  What have we observed?

  • The circuit breakers were installed before 1990.
  • They are often recognizable because they say “FPE” on the cover of the circuit box.
  • Scientific tests in the 1980s have proven that one quarter of all FPE Stab-Lok breakers are defective and will not trip circuits correctly.
  • The circuit doesn’t “trip” because the mechanical device which activates the trip jams very easily in Stab-Lok breakers.
  • Can lead to a fire if there is a circuit overload and the breaker continues deliver electricity to the shorted circuit.

Why is the circuit breaker important:

Circuit breakers are there to protect your home from circuit overloads, shorts, and power surges. When the circuit has an overload, the breakers will “trip” by breaking the electrical current to that circuit. If the circuit doesn’t break the overload continues and it is very easy for the circuit to burn through its housing and cause a fire.

So what do you do if you see one of these in your home?

fpe circuit breaker

Call us right away! We’ll make a full assessment of your situation and take into account all your existing electric infrastructure, then we’ll make the right recommendation for your house.

Green Energy Partnership for San Mateo & Peninsula

Peninsula Clean Energy for San Mateo

San Mateo Green Energy

A proposal for San Mateo and other cities to band together to purchase renewable energy in bulk is gaining steam in the Peninsula. The Peninsula Clean Energy is known as a community choice energy (CCE) program, sometimes called “community choice aggregation”.

The Peninsula Clean Energy program is a Joint Powers Authority (JPA) that gives homeowners the opportunity to get larger parts of their energy from renewable energy and would give residents in participating cities within the county the chance to get a greater percentage of their electricity from renewable sources at prices competitive with PG&E rates.

A JPA is an entity that gives local governing bodies the power to act as a unified decision making body for their scope of control. It is becoming more popular in situations like this, where a conglomeration of districts can realize cost savings by grouping together.

The Peninsula Clean Energy JPA would give the program the authority to make any decisions about buying Green energy for the cities who have joined the coalition. The core of the idea is for the people and entities of San Mateo county to pool together and buy large amounts of renewable energy resources in exchange for discount prices..

Proponents reviewed what renewable and clean energy combinations might best work for San Mateo and other peninsula cities. A variety of city councils have discussed the proposal, including:

  • Atherton
  • Woodside
  • Menlo Park
  • Portola Valley
  • San Mateo

The Proposal

Under the proposal of the program almost 300,000 PG&E customers in the Peninsula would get almost all of their electricity from renewable resources. Modeled after similar programs that are already in place in Sonoma and Marin counties, the program would be partner with the federal Office of Sustainability to pilot the program.

In order to get any momentum for progress the program must have at least 3 of the 20 San Mateo county cities join the initiative.

The JPA would allow its customers to buy renewable energy at competitive rates. Over time city residents can expect their electricity costs to be reduced by using renewable energy and many city officials are excited about the prospect.

A JPA agreement is expected to be in place by the end of winter 2016 and the tentative plan is to start purchasing renewable energy next summer.

There are even options for 100% of county residents to get their power from renewable energy.  This scenario means zero emissions would generated during energy production. Customers in the county who buy their power from companies such as SolarCity will not be affected by the proposal.

If the proposal is adopted, the cities participating will continue to get their electricity delivered by the current electricity lines utility (PG&E).

Local electricians have stated that they think the initiative is a good idea. This is not an endorsement of the initiative. 110220v is simply reporting on the proposal. We’ll wait to see how the whole thing shakes out.

Advisory Committee

The Clean Energy program is scheduled to meet 7pm to 9pm on the 4th Thursday of each month and is open to the public. The program is being run by San Mateo County and the official website is here www.peninsulacleanenergy.com

Need To Improve The Lighting In Your Home?

What are The Financial Benefits of Upgrading Your Home’s Lighting?

Millbrae Electrician When thinking of ways to upgrade the design and appearance of the home, save energy and reduce costs, the home and business lighting system is an excellent place to start. Unlike other home improvement projects businesses and homes can expect a large savings almost immediately. The initial investment is paid for in energy savings and lower utility bills. There are also many rebate and tax incentive plans that allow for a 50-100% rebate on investments when switching to energy savings lighting devices.

Some very simple ways to change an already existing lighting system into an energy efficient one is to upgrade the lamp and ballast, or apply a lighting management system. The lamp and ballast can easily be changed into energy efficient lamps. Other ways to reduce energy costs is to install sensors, dimming, or daylight controls. This may be as simple as a switch that allows for dimming lights when full light isn’t needed, or outside daylight controls that allow lamps to automatically come on at dusk and turn off at daylight. Sensors and switches such as these save a substantial amount on energy costs.

Other ways to upgrade lighting is a complete removal of the current lighting system and installing replacement fixtures to allow for energy reduction. For instance the current lighting system might be replaced with fixtures that allow for florescent or LED lighting. There are other times when not only the fixtures need replaced, but the lighting system itself needs completely redesigned. When redesigning the layout system of lighting should be considered, with things such as home efficiency considered for homes, such as proper illumination of rooms, or special areas, such as sewing rooms, home offices, cooking, and art work. For businesses it would me efficient lighting around desks and work spaces.

Not only does upgrading lighting mean reduction in energy, and cost savings, but the overall carbon blueprint is reduced, which also improves the environment. Taking advantage of any rebate and tax programs will present even further overall savings. Upgrades in lighting also boost productivity. A simple step such as properly illuminating homes, home offices, and work areas can mean not only a decrease in energy expenditures, but an energy boost and productivity. For home businesses and offices that also means a boost in sales and company profits. With results like these there really is no way to lose money by upgrading business and home lighting systems.

Are you in need of air handler services in your Millbrae home? Call 110/220v Electrical Company at (650) 784-1886 for professional HVAC services.

Save Your House From a Catastrophe!

Benefits of Smoke Detectors


Smoke DetectorSmoke detectors are an essential aspect of our daily lives. Smoke detectors not only alarm us when there could be a potential fire but also allow us a chance at catching the fire before it causes grave danger to our families, pets and not to mention decreasing our chances at losing thousands of dollars in damages of the home and our personals. It is very sad when people miss out on beautiful things in life when all they needed from start was a smoke detector to prevent such mishap.

Smoke detectors are battery operated and best of all they are affordable. Depending on where a person may reside, the most a person would pay for a common smoke detector is around $10. Some smoke detectors are equipped with long life lithium batteries that could last up to 10 years. In most areas, these smoke detectors could cost a person $20.

Did you know 13 out of 14 homes in the United States have smoke detector installed and that over sixty percent of all fire related deaths occur in homes without a working smoke alarm?

Having a smoke detector does not necessarily mean you will be protected if you neglect to maintain its working state. To ensure your smoke detector is in tiptop shape, you should perform regular testing to make sure the detector is working properly. Doing so will also determine rather the battery needs changing. If you do not perform regular testing, the likelihood of your family, pet(s), home and even your life could result in fatality.

Along with performing your regular smoke detector testing, you should consider cleaning it as well. Cleaning your smoke detector allows you to prevent dust and dirt build up where smoke is detectable. When dust and dirt particles linger in the vents of the detector, the smoke detector will experience a difficult time sensing smoke or could result in annoying false alarms. In addition, when putting in new dry wall, plaster or paint you should consider covering the smoke detector moving it from the location until everything is clear. It is highly recommended that you don’t paint over the detector.

Looking for electrical services in Millbrae? Call 110/220v Electric Co. today at (650) 784-1886 for top-notch services! 


Should I Replace My Electrical Panel?

Replacing an Electrical Panel


Electrical PanelElectrical panels house the breakers that control the electricity to a home. They control the entire electrical system and keep a home or building safe from power surges. While it is common to “flip a breaker” occasionally for it to happen often may mean it is time to replace the electrical panel.

Reasons to Replace an Electrical Panel

Smaller buildings or homes that are added on to will use more electricity. Using more electricity requires a larger electrical panel to handle the extra load.

Very old homes or buildings have panels that house fuses instead of breakers. Fuses are not as safe as breakers. If you have a home with a fuse box rather than a breaker box, it will need to be updated to a breaker system.

If your home or business is experiencing flickering lights or power surges, and electrician may suggest that a new electrical panel be installed.

The Life Expectancy of an Electrical Panel

Electrical panels do not typically wear out. Depending on the environment they are exposed to and the condition of the wiring, electrical panels should not need replaced often. Most panels should last twenty-five years or longer.

Replacing the Panel

If an electrical panel needs replaced, a professional electrician is the best way to go. Faulty wiring or improperly installed electrical panels are an extreme fire hazard. When the panel is replaced, the electrician will inspect all the wiring to be sure that it is all safe and undamaged.

Replacing an electrical panel is a serious job and most homeowners do not have the knowledge or training to install one safely. Professional electricians are trained to know how to install electrical wiring and panels safely. Electrical problems can be very hazardous and even life threatening. A simple short in a wire can cause a fire. Always consult an electrician to fix electrical problems.

If you are in need of an electrical panel installation, call 110/220v Electric Co. at (650) 784-1886 today. Our experienced technicians will handle the issue quickly and efficiently!

What are the Benefits of a Ceiling Fan?

Benefits of a Ceiling Fan


Ceiling FanCeiling fans offer a number of benefits in residential and commercial settings. By altering the air circulation in a given space, they can decrease heating and cooling costs, increase energy efficiency, and provide individualized regulation of comfort in a given space. Ceiling fans use less energy than HVAC units and allow for small scale adjustment of interior climate in a space.

Ceiling fans promote energy efficiency by circulating air effectively throughout a building or home and by changing a person’s perception of the temperature of a space. Ceiling fans can pull air up from the center of the room, or push it down to the center of the room. During the warmer months pushing air toward the floor causes a noticeable change in air movement. Air movement causes people to feel cooler; like a breeze on a hot day. During the cooler months the direction the fan spins is changed to allow air to be pulled up from the center of the room. This allows the warm air near the ceiling to be circulated to the lower parts of the room without causing an uncomfortable breeze.

In addition to decreased energy costs and increased energy efficiency, ceiling fans allow for the comfort of multiple people in a home or building. In one room or space a person may feel too cold and turn the ceiling fan off, while a person in another room may feel warm and be able to keep the fan on. This allows the thermostat to remain at a set temperature, rather than constantly changing to meet different needs.

Of course, as with anything, it is important to use ceiling fans responsibly. To reap the most benefit, one must remember to turn off the fan when leaving the room or building. This will increase energy conservation and decrease energy costs.

In need of a ceiling fan installation? Call 110/220v Electric Co. today at (650) 784-1886 quick and professional services! 

Does landscape lighting raise the value of my home?

Increase the Value of Your Home With Landscape Lighting


Landscape LightingOne of the most important things you can do for your home’s value is to make the outside appearance attractive. One thing that will not only give your house appeal, but can increase your home’s value, is to add outside, or landscape lighting.

Landscape lighting will help to set your house apart from the others. It is not only a useful addition to your home because of the safety it offers, but when tastefully done, it can be an attractive, visually appealing asset. If ever you needed to sell your home, the outside lighting will “up” the value of your home to where you will recoup what you spend.

If you decide to add outside lighting to help increase the value of your home, you will want to be sure to do it as tastefully, and as appealing as you can, so that others will see the lighting and be attracted to it. You want the lighting to be sufficient, but not too much where it detracts from your home.

So how do you know how to set up your outdoor lighting so that it helps to increase your home’s value? If you have never done outdoor lighting, you can read-up on how to get it set up so it benefits your home, best. You can also read up on how to do outside lighting so that it is not only more cost efficient, but more appealing to people passing by.

Landscape lighting can also add a bit of romance to your property. Outside lighting can make even the smallest, and even, not-so-appealing houses, look much more appealing and desirable. When you have outside lighting, it can make it much more pleasing to drive into your drive, as well as you will have a more secure feeling on your own property.

Is your Millbrae home in need of landscape lighting? Call 110/220v Electric Co. today at (650) 784-1886 for immediate services! 

What is a time delay fuse and what should I do when encountering one?

What is a time delay fuse and what should I do when encountering one?


Time Delay FuseA time delay fuse is specifically designed for certain applications. Fuses are an integral part of residential electrocution and fire protection. Fuses are designed to fit certain appliances and circuits. If more electrical current contacts a fuse than the fuse is designed for, the contact will cause the fuse to burn out. This stops the electrical current from passing the point of the fuse. This makes the circuit a dead circuit. The operation is similar to the mechanical function of a traditional light bulb. The light contains a thin strip of conductive metal that glows, but does not blow unless the metal becomes weakened by extended usage or by sustaining an improper surge. Fluorescent lamps require a surge to start their function initially. They contain time delay fuses to protect their vulnerable circuitry form that initial sustained surge. This is a common use for time delay fuses in motors, or appliances. These items need the surge to begin or sustain functionality. Often, the electrical motor or surge is necessary to start the function only.

Time delay fuses are engineered to allow an electrical surge for a short period. This exposes the part of the fuse that would normally blow quickly to handle large loads for a small amount of time before that section blows. They are sometimes called slow-blow fuses. Time delay fuses are used in electric motors. These motors require a surge of power to start their mechanical movement. Time delay fuses allow for this surge, but still protect the circuit if the heavy charge is sustained beyond the point that the fuse is rated. This means fuses of any kind should be used for their specific purpose. Using fuses improperly can cause fires and subject people to electrocution. They can also damage or destroy appliances and their internal motors. A blown fuse not only indicates a surge, but it also indicative of a serious electrical problem. The cause of repeated fuse failure indicates that the electricity is surging for a specific reason. A qualified licensed electrician should be called immediately if residential fuses need to be changed often.

Is your home in need of an electrical services? Call 110/220v Electric Co. today at (650) 784-1886 for the best services in Millbrae!

How can I keep my energy bills down?

How can I keep my energy bills down?


ApplianceEveryone at one point of time realizes it’s time to slow down on the energy consumption and start saving money on their monthly bills without having to resort to switching their whole operation to solar powered energy generators. There are a few easily approached ways for people to figure out how to lower their energy bill for the rest of their lives, and it won’t require sacrificing their way of life. All that must be done is to divert how each electrical appliance in a home is being used in a way that would ideally lower their energy bill.

Whether living in a cold or warm area, using the air conditioner and heater are usually the largest parts of what makes an energy bill high. Many people think that by closing one or two vents, they can direct the flow of the air or heat into the designated room. What that actually does is block a lot of the air from traveling through the vents which causes them to get clogged up. Cleaning all the vents thoroughly and keeping them open will allow air to travel freely and more effectively through out a home making it reach the desired temperature faster. After the desired temperature is reached, making sure all the windows are closed will trap the cool or warm air in and there is no need to keep the AC or heater on. Turning it off for hours after that won’t affect the overall temperature of the home and you will continue to feel the cool or warm air in all areas of the home.

Air circulation in a home is necessary on a day to day basis. Opening the windows for an hour a day while leaving all blinds open will allow new fresh air to come in and fill up the house. If the only thing being used is an AC, turning it on after that hour of fresh air ventilation will keep the atmosphere nice enough to always feel good inside the house.

Using a washer and dryer are very necessary to keep your clothes in, but dividing your load into weekly loads will slow down your energy use drastically. Most energy companies offer discounts after 8 PM so using your dryer then is the best way to cut costs.

If you must use a dishwasher, make sure it is filled to the top with dishes before you decide to run it. It should also be used once a week only and after 8 PM.

Other appliances and electronics only cost a small fragment of the energy bill, and it drop much lower if all appliances are unplugged from their energy source when they are not being used.

Call 110/220V Electric Co. today at (650) 784-1886 if you’re in need of electrical services in the Millbrae area. We have immediate solutions for your situation!

What are some electrical upgrades that I could benefit from?

Benefitting electrical upgrades

Electrical UpgradesOne electrical upgrade upgrade you can make inside of your office or other place of business is through the electrical system. Many companies tend to make individual purchases for the company, but there are some rather desirable methods available for upgrading the company through the electrical system. This individual system has all sorts of different upgrade potentials, regardless of the services you provide or the kind of equipment you use. This way, whether you run a manufacturing plant or you have an office, there is always a way to upgrade the kind of electrical system inside of the office.

For starters, if you run a manufacturing plant, you might want to consider upgrading the voltage inside of your company. This way, you can have larger pieces of equipment running, without every single device running off of the same circuit. This way, the more powerful equipment allows you to enjoy the upgrades, without having to worry about what sort of electrical setup you have. The last thing you want is to blow the system and to have to restart everything, simply because the equipment is not properly connected or hooked up.

When it comes to your traditional business, there are other areas you can benefit from an electrical upgrade. These are going to be smaller, but still helpful. First, you can have additional power outlets installed throughout the office. You want to make sure every cubicle has power outlets, all while keeping everyone with access to the outlets when they need them. This can include an increase in outlets inside of a conference room or other location where presentations are necessary. This way, there is always a way to connect to a local power source.

Beyond just the addition of new outlets, you can upgrade the outlets themselves. This way, you can incorporate outlets that take USB power adapters as well. With this sort of an upgrade, instead of having to rely on having a charger on hand at all times, workers and other employees can simply use a USB cable to charge equipment. This way, you can actually save money on chargers.

Are you looking into electrical upgrades for your Millbrae property? Call 110/220V Electric Co. today at (650)784-1886, we guarantee your satisfaction!