All posts by schaffhouser

Outdoor Lighting Services

The Top 3 Benefits of Exterior Lighting During the Summer

Summer is here and it’s finally time to enjoy the great outdoors. At Schaffhouser Electric we strive to ensure that our clients can savor the beautiful weather even long after the sun goes down.

Properly installed outdoor lighting provides numerous benefits for the summer season, and the cooler months that are to come. Here are a few reasons to consider outdoor lighting:

1. Practicality:
Tennessee summers can get hot, so most of us find ourselves yearning to be outside as the sun sets, but that’s not so pleasant when you find yourself sitting in the dark. Outdoor lighting gives you the opportunity to enjoy the summer weather from early in the morning to late at night.

2. Space Maximization:
Patio and porch lights are great for entertaining, but what about the rest of your outdoor space? By adding lights throughout the yard you will maximize the usage of your outdoor space and reduce the have more room and eliminate the restrictions of being confined to one area when it begins to get dark. This means more room for grilling, games and outdoor seating.

3. Safety and Security:
Keeping outdoor spaces illuminated at night helps to eliminate safety hazards such as missing a porch step or not being able to see a wild animal in the yard, and it also allows children the opportunity to safely play outside and remain in clear vision for parents. Exterior lighting additionally provides outdoor security by preventing robberies, as burglars are not likely to gravitate towards homes where they run the risk of being easily seen.

Exterior lighting should always be done by a professional to ensure safe and proper installation. If you’re ready to make the most of your summer months, give Schaffhouser Electric a call about our outdoor lighting so that we can help determine the best solution for your property.

Commercial Electrical Services

Why You Need an Electrical Engineer and Its Expertise

How would you build a house without an architect’s blueprints?

The general contractor could assemble all of his subcontractors. The framers could gather some wood. The electricians might have some thoughts on how to wire the house. The drywall guys would know how to hang drywall and the roofers would know to order some tiles.

In theory, anyone could throw together plans for a house. An experienced general contractor knows what goes into building a house. Surely with all that collective expertise, they could wing it.

Without plans, though, none of their expertise matters. Before you build anything, you need plans drawn by a professional. Otherwise, you end up with a mish mash of raw materials, but most likely not a livable house.

Electrical engineers are the architects of all electrical projects. They’re the guys you turn to with questions about codes, standards, and regulations. Whether it’s a new building or a renovation, an electrical engineer will be able to draw up the plans for our technicians to follow.

The field of electrical engineering was born in the 1800s as industry began to boom. Over the last century and a half, it’s grown and morphed into several subdisciplines. Our electrical engineers are experts in local building codes and electrical solutions. They’re fully certified, and spend lots of time keeping up to date on new developments in the industry.

At Schaffhouser Electric Company, our electrical engineers are the best in Nashville and in Tennessee. They can advise on basic wiring and meeting codes. Or they can architect your whole control system for maximum efficiency at your plant or business. No matter the industry, though, just like an architect’s expertise is needing to build, an electrical engineer has to be involved to get the best quality electrical system.

We know that every project and business is unique. Even factories in the same industry have different challenges and obstacles. Our electrical engineers stay up to date on the latest and greatest methods and regulations. They’re experts in best practices, but they know that every project will have its own solutions.

Whether you’re building a new plant, updating an existing structure, or wanting to keep up to date on codes, our electrical engineers can help. Give us a call at 615-325-8001 to know more about our services.

Schaffhouser Electric Retrofit services

Lighting Retrofit – The Best Way to Save Money on Electricity

Lighting Retrofit

Do you remember those initiatives about turning off the lights when you left a room? The idea was that when you switched off the lights, you were able to decrease energy consumption and save money.

Well–no surprise to us–it really works! And applying that logic to an office or industrial setting will greatly affect your bottom line.

Lighting can use between 30% and 50% of the energy in most commercial buildings. Convincing your employees to flip those switches can really add up on the savings.

You can also take it one step further with a custom Lighting Retrofit.

Benefits of a Lighting Retrofit

Changes to your lighting system are one of the most cost effective upgrades you can make. There are a few ways to DIY the process, but mapping out your changes with a professional lighting designer can maximize your efforts and increase your energy efficiency.

A professional lighting retrofit will update all or part of your electrical systems, bringing them up to today’s energy efficient gold standards.

You can save money on lighting in one of two ways: decrease wattage or decrease use time. A good lighting retrofit will do both, saving you money across the board.

Besides monthly energy reduction, retrofitting your lighting can also make you eligible for certain tax rebates and exemptions. Look into your local regulations to see how your tax bill can be lowered as well as your energy bill.

Finally, everyone loves an energy efficient company! With a professional lighting retrofit, you can wear your greenness as a badge of honor and attract certain clients who value that.

What’s Next?

During your retrofit, a Schaffhouser electrician will work with you to create a custom plan for your space. Among other things we will :

● Analyze and reduce the cost of overhead lighting
● Remove unnecessary lamps and ballasts
● Delamp, which is the process of testing the luminosity of your space and determining if it’s brighter than it needs to be, while still providing maximum safety and efficiency
● Replace T12 bulbs with T8 bulbs, which are narrower and more energy-efficient
● Analyze and reduce hours of operation using innovative controls
● Analyze and reduce costs of outdoor signage, exterior and parking garage lighting
● Analyze and reduce cost of holiday lighting

A Schaffhouser Lighting Retrofit is the fastest and most efficient way to decrease your energy costs. When you’re ready to save some money, give us a call at 615-325-8001.

Infrared Testing

Schaffhouser–The One Scan that Can Save You a Ton of Money

Schaffhouser Infrared Testing

Business owners, plant supervisors, and building managers all have plenty to worry about. Payroll, scheduling, repairs, upgrades, the list goes on.

Often in the hassle of everyday business, potential electrical problems are overlooked. Most of these problems develop slowly over time, hidden in the walls of the building. Out of sight, out of mind, and there seem to be a million other things to demand attention.

Unfortunately, these unseen issues can cause hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage when they emerge. Equipment damage, interruption of business, even fire — all of these things can be the result of un-diagnosed electrical issues. And many of these issues go undetected in routine inspections, making the whole problem even scarier.

Thankfully there is a solution!!

Infrared and thermal testing has a lot of uses. The technology detects heat through walls and floors, and since the first sign of an electrical malfunction is a rise in temperature, it’s a good way to catch problems early. Using a small device similar to a camcorder, the inspector scans a building and is able to “see” problems before they become catastrophic.

An infrared scan can prevent massive system failures and shutdowns, saving a business lots of money in lost revenue or repairs. But what systems should be tested?

At Schaffhouser, we have the capability to test any and every system that could experience problems. These include:

  • Substations, transformers, and feeder poles
  • Distribution panels and disconnects
  • Electrical power supplies
  • Main electrical incoming services, transformers, and capacitor banks
  • Switchboards and disconnects
  • Motor Control Centers
  • Service electrical disconnects for motors
  • Generator controls and transfer switches
  • Main I-Line electrical panels
  • Lighting and receptacle electrical panels

When you call Schaffhouser Electric, we’ll schedule your inspection and provide you a report of all your systems. Using this report, you can plan and prepare for any upcoming maintenance that needs to be done and avoid any of the catastrophes that could arise. And we’ll do the inspection without any interruption to your daily business.

It’s recommended that property owners have an infrared inspection done annually. This time of year is perfect, helping you plan expenditures and maintenance for the rest of 2015. Keep in mind, though, industrial plants and other companies that use a lot of electricity might benefit from quarterly scans because electrical systems can change with the seasons. You could develop a problem in the fall that isn’t there during your first quarter scan.

Infrared testing is a quick, painless way to protect you, your business, and your employees from catastrophic electrical problems. Give us a call today and we’ll get you started.

Fire Alarm System Services

Why It’s Important to Have Your Fire Alarm Tested

Fire Alarm System

Thanks to elementary school, we all know what to do when a fire alarm goes off. Walk calmly to the nearest exit and leave the building.

Easy enough, but what if your fire alarm doesn’t work anymore? Every commercial building is equipped with some kind of fire or smoke detection system, but when was the last time you had the one in your office tested to make sure it works properly?

Because today’s offices are overloaded with electronics, the chance of a fire emergency are greater than ever. We’re used to having our technology work, and the worst time to discover it doesn’t is when it’s critical.

There are a lot of things that can wear down an alarm system. Everyday dust and dirt could get in and damage the wiring. That dust and dirt is even worse if you’ve recently renovated or made major changes to the office. Good old fashioned aging can also cause your system to break down without you even noticing it.

With a little forethought, though, you can stay on top of maintenance for your fire alarm. There are a few steps you can take to ensure you and your coworkers are safe:

  1. Test and calibrate alarm sensors. This will take some research as you’ll need to learn about those sensors, their testing requirements, failure modes, and re-installation needs.
  2. If you have specific knowledge of the system, you can run simulation tests for the annunciators.
  3. Set the sensitivity. Again, this requires specific knowledge of the system and fire detection theory.
  4. Coordinate with the fire department to test their input.
  5. Check the battery for corrosion and replace if needed.

Sounds like a lot of work, right? It is!!

Fire alarm testing can, in theory, be done by the owner, but it’s more often something that should be left to professionals. This is a great time of year to check up on all your detection systems, and we’ll be happy to help.

Give us a call and schedule your fire alarm inspection today.

Christmas Lighting

Your Guide to Great Christmas Lighting

Christmas Lighting

‘Tis the season. Carols, hot chocolate, wrapping paper, and…CHRISTMAS LIGHTS!

Every year thousands of people pull out the lights and work to top Clark Griswold. But if you’re new to the Christmas light game, how do you know where to start?

We have some quick and easy tips to get you started on the road to Christmas light glory.

1. Plan–Yeah, yeah, this isn’t the part you want to think about. You just want to get started! But, a little planning will save you time later in the process. Think whether you want to hang lights from the gutter or shingles. Do you want white or colored lights, large or mini? Will you have lights on the bushes and trees, or just on the house? You could even take it one step further and actually measure all the straight lines you plan on attaching lights to.

2. Safety first–Be smart when hanging Christmas lights. The safest outlet to use is a ground fault circuit interrupter outlet. Also make sure your extension cords are rated for outdoor use, your lights are waterproof, and your ladder is sturdy. No one wants to spend Christmas in the emergency room!

3. Pick your light type–There are dozens of types of lights. The bigger C7 and C9 bulbs are more traditional, but miniature bulbs are becoming very popular. Net and icicle lights provide a nice punch to the landscape, and everyone loves the animated models sold in all the big box stores. LED lights will help you cut energy costs, and most fixtures come in LED options.

4. Get to work–Remember to use all purpose light clips instead of staples or nails. Take a step back regularly to assess your work and make sure it’s taking shape the way you want it to. Consider installing a timer along with the lights to guarantee they turn off when you want them to.

Now the best part. Call your whole family out into the yard, insist they drumroll and make a big production out of plugging everything in.

And hope it all works.

Happy Holidays!!


Cold Winter

Brrrrrr, it’s going to be another cold winter!

The Old Farmer’s Almanac is predicting another frigid winter here in Middle Tennessee, and with its track record, we should probably all hunker down for a long, cold few months.

Thankfully, it won’t be hard to stay warm this winter. And it shouldn’t break the bank, either. Here are some tips for keeping warm without jacking up the thermostat:

1. Layer up

Don’t be afraid to pile on the layers when you’re at home. It’s tempting to throw on one big sweatshirt and call it a day, but using several thinner layers is actually a better way to go.

Focus particularly on your feet, as heat rises and if your feet feel cold, there’s no getting warm. Big thick socks and/or house shoes are the way to go.

2. Use that oven!

Winter is the perfect time to crank up the oven and practices your cooking skills. Early nights mean there are often fewer social activities, and the family can hunker down at home. Who wants to drive around in the cold and rain looking for dinner anyway?

Find recipes for slow cooking roasts and casseroles. The oven will heat part of your home while also providing food (and delicious smells!) for the family. Win-win-win.

3. Put the sun to work

We all know to throw open the windows during the spring and fall, but using your windows well can also help you stay warm in the winter.

If you spend your days out of the house, only worry about your south-facing windows. These provide the most sun for your time. Open the blinds in the morning before you leave to allow warmth in. Close them at night to keep the house insulated.

If you’re home during the day, you can also utilize any east-facing windows in the mornings and west-facing ones in the afternoons. Like natural light, natural heat is cheaper than the stuff you pay for.

4. Stay social

Yeah, getting out to see people doesn’t sound very exciting when it’s cold and yucky out. But, studies show that keeping a somewhat active social life in winter keeps you feeling warmer and happier.

If you really can’t imagine leaving the house, invite friends over instead.

5. Don’t forget your health

All the basic health rules still apply: eat good foods, drink plenty of water, and keep exercising. Maintaining a decent health regimen will stave of not only cold but sickness and fatigue as well.



What Kind of Generator Does Your Office Need?

Automatic Standby Generator

Winter is coming up fast in middle Tennessee, and the Farmer’s Almanac is predicting another cold, bitter season this year.

When weather emergencies like ice storms hit, power to our homes and offices is usually the first thing to go. If you can’t afford to shut down for days at a time (and who can?), these situations could devastate your business.

That’s where generators become a life saver. But how do you know which kind to choose? Here’s a brief rundown of your options:

Portable Generator

A portable generator is just like it sounds–portable. These are best for limited home use or if you know you’ll move it around a lot.

Even though they don’t sound heavy duty, portable generators could be a good choice for small or home offices. Some models can run for long periods of time with the right settings, and if you’re not running a power tool shop, could be just enough to get you through a few days of power outage.

One way to decide if a portable generator is hefty enough for you is to find the wattage necessary for all of your appliances. If you don’t have the owners manual on hand, most of these can be found online these days. Then you add all the wattages for your office and multiply by 2. (This is the extra wattage needed to start appliances.)

It’s important to get the right generator for your needs because overtaxing the generator can waste fuel and damage all the appliances being powered.

Automatic Standby Generator

An automatic standby generator will guarantee that your office is nice and toasty, even when the ice hits.

These generators are permanently installed and work with the power grid to know when to turn on and off. Most of these generators can supply power within seconds of an outage, which could be essential to businesses with food storage or other needs.

Automatic standby generators may seem expensive, but installing one could save you lots of money of lost profits by keeping the office running even when the weather is bad.

Not sure what kind of generator you might need this winter? At Schaffhouser Electric, we’re experts in generator appraisal and installation. Give us a call to set up your appointment before the first storm hits.

Winter Energy Saving

10 Ways To Save On Energy In Your Home This Winter

Save on Energy This Winter

Here in middle Tennessee, we’re lucky to have mild winters, without the bitter temperatures you find up north.

It still gets cold here, though, and with fall in full swing, now’s the time to think about prepping your home or apartment for winter. Simple fixes can help you save big on your energy bill in the cold months. Here are our top 10 tips:

1. Weather strips your doors and windows.

We all know there are cracks around the doors and windows of our homes, but how big is too big? If you can slip a piece of paper through the crack, you are losing too much precious heat to the elements. Add weather stripping or door sweeps to keep that expensive hot air in your home.

2. Turn down the heat when you don’t need it.

Most families now spend a significant portion of the day out of the house. Turn down the thermostat when you’re not home to keep costs down. You can also turn down the temperature at night and add warmer sheets and blankets to your beds. Of course, getting up in the morning could be that much more difficult!

3. Use those fans!

Fans aren’t just for summer. Locate the small black switch on the side of your ceiling fan and give it a little flick. Fans that run clockwise push heat down, keeping it in the rooms instead of floating along the ceiling.

4. Only heat the main rooms.

Do you have guest rooms or hobby rooms you don’t use much? Close the vents and shut the doors to those rooms so that you can funnel heat to the rooms you use more often.

5. Consider a space heater.

Central heat and air isn’t the only way to go. Consider turning down your thermostat and using space heaters to heat the rooms you use the most. This can save you significant money, especially if certain rooms heat faster than others.

6. Plug in the humidifier.

Artificial heat makes the air in your home very dry. A humidifier will add moisture to the air, making it feel warmer than normal. Moist air will also keep your skin and sinuses from drying out, which will only make the winter that much more enjoyable.

7. Keep your furnace clean.

As always, basic maintenance will go a long way to increasing energy saving. Clean your furnace and check the filters regularly. Replace filters as necessary and make sure all the vents are unblocked to keep maximum heat flowing through your home.

8. Unplug

Leaky doors and windows aren’t the only energy thieves in your home. Year round, make sure you’re unplugging TVs, computers, and gaming systems when not in use. Even when electronics are off, they pull energy from the outlets, increasing your energy bill every month.

9. Wash in cold water.

If you don’t already, wash your clothes in cold water. Heating water takes a lot of energy, and washing your clothes in cold water will cut down on it significantly.

10. Use LED holiday lights.

LED lights use about 75% less energy and last 25% longer than traditional lights. They’re also less breakable and therefore safer than incandescent. Remember to unplug them when they aren’t in use!

Energy Saving Lighting

Simple Ways To Go Green And Save Money

Too often we think that “Going Green” means spending more money. Energy efficient products are often more expensive on the front end, and even if we know we save big in the long run, it can be hard to pay that initial expense.

There’s always going to be energy waste at some businesses, but there are ways to bring it under control and save money in the meantime.

Buy Remanufactured Ink and Toner Cartridges

Remanufactured cartridges save about 2.5 pounds of plastic and metal, keeping it out of landfills. It’s also estimated that each one saves about a gallon of oil, which is used during manufacturing.

More importantly, they cost about 15% less than new cartridges, making your supply budget go that much further.

Be Picky About Which Machines You Use

Whenever possible, use machines that serve more than one purpose. Each piece of office equipment produces tons of toxic substances during manufacturing and disposal. When you use one machine for copying, printing, scanning, and faxing, you’ve saved quite a bit of money and toxic waste.

Also look for Energy Star qualified electronics. These might be a little pricier, but they will save you in energy costs over time.

Pay Attention to Lighting

Lighting is one of the simplest ways to save on energy costs, as well as make your office a more productive place to work.

These tips are simple, yet often overlooked. Turn off lighting when you leave. (If your employees are bad about remembering this, consider installing motion sensors.) Use as much natural light as you can, and buy compact fluorescents to cut down on energy consumed.

Go–And Stay–Digital

Do all of your employees really need a print out for the meeting’s agenda? Why not email it to everyone, or share a Google Drive among the office?

Most paperwork can be kept online these days, from invoices to presentations. Be very, very picky about what gets printed, and you’ll be surprised at how long that ream of paper will last.

These are some simple ways to cut energy costs, but at Schaffhouser Electric, we’re experts in green technology, Give us a call and we’ll talk about personal estimates tailored to your particular office.