Access control system installed by a PLC programming company

5 Questions to Help Select the Right Access Control System for You

An access control system is a huge investment for any company, but installing the right one is essential for getting the most for your money. Here are some questions you should be asking to select the best system for you.

1 – What Level of Security Do You Need?

This depends on many factors, such as the location of the building you want to protect, the number of employees and contractors you have, and the nature of your business. Some industries, such as information technology, pharmaceuticals, and electronic component manufacturing, require strict access controls that can’t be maintained by using keys. This can be to protect company secrets, maintain a clean room for production or manufacturing, or follow legal requirements.

Access control system installed by a PLC programming company

2 – How Much Do You Have to Spend?

Access control systems can range in price from several hundred dollars to tens of thousands. You should know precisely how many entrances and restricted areas you want to protect. You also need to consider the features you want the access control system to have. The type of locks, the means of controlling access, and the production of badges or biometric access are just a few options you might want to install within your system. Getting quotes from several vendors and access control system installers is also a good idea.

3 – How Well Does It Work With Your Other Systems?

Burglar alarm and fire alarm systems should work smoothly together to prevent conflict or disaster. Access management systems should be easy to expand for future growth. It also should integrate with your PLC programming system.

4 – What Do Other Companies Think About the System?

It is easy to look at online reviews to see how other customers liked the system. What are some of the problems they encountered with the installation, implementation, or everyday use of the system? What do they like and not like about the system? Reach out to your peers within the industry and ask what access control system they are using.

5 – Is It Easy to Use?

An excellent access control system should be easy to use for both the people using the system every day and the managers who implement and control the system. Complex systems lead to frustrated workers and managers. The access control system should make life easier, not harder.

Answering these questions should help narrow down your choices and guide you to selecting the right access control system.

Let Tri-State Electrical Contractors Handle Your Access Control System Installation Needs

At Tri-State Electrical, we pride ourselves on answering all your questions about your access control system needs. For more information, get a quote for your access control system project by calling at (423) 800-2134, filling out our simple online form, or email us at info@tristateec.com today.

Tool for performing commercial electrical services

5 Tips for Maintaining Commercial Electrical Systems

Commercial electrical systems are complex and require regular maintenance to ensure safety, reliability, and efficiency. Although it is always a good idea to have an experienced commercial electrician regularly inspect your system, there are a few actions you can take yourself:

1. Inspect Electrical Appliances and Equipment

You should check your electrical equipment and appliances weekly for signs of wear and damage. Look for frayed wiring and cords, and check the outlets, plugs, and panels for any cracks or warping.

Don’t forget to use your other senses to inspect the equipment. If you feel excessive heat radiating off of equipment or smell hot rubber or plastic, these might indicate an overloaded circuit or damage causing the equipment to run hot. Pay attention if your equipment makes strange sounds or sounds louder than usual. Grinding or scraping sounds can indicate misaligned, damaged, or worn parts within the equipment.

Damaged equipment runs less efficiently, and if the issues are not addressed promptly, it may result in a more expensive repair.

Tool for performing commercial electrical services

2. Read the Manuals

Most commercial equipment and appliances require regular maintenance schedules for lubrication, changing filters, adding fluids, etc. The manuals for your equipment will always have information about its maintenance schedule. Follow the equipment manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule to the letter to prevent problems down the line.

3. Prevent Overloaded Circuits

A lot of commercial-grade electrical equipment requires a lot of power. If you have older circuits and wiring in your building, you might be consuming more energy than the electrical equipment was designed to handle.

Overloading circuits may cause fires or electrocution hazards. Always make sure not to plug in too many appliances into a single outlet or surge protector. And never use extension cords for high-wattage appliances.

4. Maintain Detailed Electrical Maintenance and Repair Records

A detailed record of all maintenance performed on your electrical system is critical for adhering to regular maintenance schedules, identifying chronic or predictable issues with the system, and discovering potential problems that might become more significant problems in the future. Good maintenance records can prolong the life of your equipment, limit downtime and expensive repairs, and inform the commercial electrical company you hire of the system’s current status.

5. Call a Professional Commercial Electrician

Hiring a certified commercial electrical company to manage your electrical needs can also make it a lot easier on yourself.

Let Tri-State Electrical Contractors Handle Your Commercial Electrical Services Needs

At Tri-State Electrical, we pride ourselves on answering all of your questions about your commercial electrical service needs. For more information, get a quote for your commercial electrical projects by calling (423) 800-2134, filling out our simple online form, or email us at info@tristateec.com today.

Horizontal cabling system installed by a commercial electric company

Factors to Consider When Designing a Horizontal Cabling System

A horizontal cabling system is an essential component of a structured cabling system that connects the telecommunications room to work areas or outlets on the same floor. It typically uses a star topology that connects each work area to the telecommunications room via a single cable.

Horizontal cabling system installed by a commercial electric company

Components of a Horizontal Cabling System

To properly design a horizontal cabling system, you need to know what components you’ll use within it. It all starts with a telecommunications room. Most modern buildings have a telecommunications room on each floor.

  • Telecommunications outlet – This is where the horizontal cable terminates in the work area.
  • Horizontal cable – Runs between the telecommunications room and the telecommunications outlet. Most of these cables are now fiber optic cables, but copper cabling is sometimes still used.
  • Patch panel – This is where the horizontal cables terminate in the telecommunications room. A good horizontal cabling system design makes accessing, connecting, and disconnecting cables easy.
  • Jumper – This short cable connects the patch panel to the telecommunications equipment.

Design Factors of Horizontal Cabling

These cabling systems are required to meet specific performance and reliability standards set by the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). These standards are the most important factors to consider when designing a horizontal cabling system.

The following are some of the design factors for a horizontal cabling system:

  • Location – It’s vital to locate the telecommunications room on each floor in a secure, centralized location. Ideally, it should be near the same place on each floor of the building to make it easy to interconnect the networks between separate floors. This location should be in a secure area, only allowing authorized personnel to access the system.
  • Cable Type – The cable type you select depends on several factors. Copper cable is cheaper, easier to install, and better for rugged environments, but it does not work well over long distances or where there is a lot of electromagnetic interference. Fiber optic is the best solution for high bandwidth and doesn’t require additional equipment such as repeaters or signal boosters when transmitting over great distances.
  • Cable Length – This depends almost entirely on the space available within the building—copper wire takes up a lot more physical space than fiber-optic cable—and the work areas within the building.
  • Number of Cables – The number of cables needed impacts the size and accessiblity of the space between workstations and telecommunications room, as well as the number of workstations on the floor.

However, the most important element when designing your horizontal cabling system is the right company to design and install it. You need seasoned commercial electrical contractors with telecommunications experience to ensure that the installed cabling system meets all of your needs.

Let Tri-State Electrical Contractors Install Your Horizontal Cabling System

At Tri-State Electrical, we are commercial electrical service specialists who design, install, and maintain horizontal cabling systems. For more information, get a quote for this, or any other, of your commercial or industrial electrical projects, call us at (423) 800-2134, fill out our simple online form, or email us at info@tristateec.com today.

Smart lighting installed by a commercial electric company

5 Projects You Should Hire a Commercial Electrical Company to Install

When investing in commercial properties, whether retail space, a restaurant, apartment buildings, or an office complex, you need to adapt to the times to attract and hold onto the best tenants. In today’s ultra-competitive marketplace, this can be done through electrical improvements to your building’s basic infrastructure. Here are five commercial electrical enhancements you can install today to add value to your business:

Smart Lighting Systems – Upgrading your lighting system is a cost-effective way to increase the value of your commercial property. Smart lighting systems save energy by automatically shutting off when not in use. But these lighting systems can also be particularly effective if paired with a burglar alarm system. Replacing your old lighting systems with LED lights is another way to reduce operation costs within your buildings. LED lighting uses less energy than other types of lighting, such as fluorescent or halogen lights, and lasts up to 25 times longer than these bulbs.

Smart lighting installed by a commercial electric company

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations – The electric vehicle market is growing steadily. So why not install electric vehicle charging stations to attract and maintain those customers by giving them another reason to patronize your business? This is a great way to show your customers that you provide the latest technology and are environmentally friendly as well.

Solar Panels and Solar Storage Systems – This is another way to show your customers that you are committed to reducing your carbon footprint. But the benefits of installing solar panels and a solar storage system do not stop there. Using solar power means lower energy costs for your building, and if you install a solar storage system with it, you will be able to stay open for business while other companies are in the dark.

Electronic Access Systems – Lost keys and changing locks can be a thing of the past if you install an electronic access system. They are more secure than traditional lock and key setups and can provide specific data on who is entering and leaving your building.

Commercial Grade Surge Protection – Electrical surges and brownouts cause millions of dollars of damage to electronics annually. Installing a commercial-grade surge protector is another way to protect your property and your customers from unexpected electrical problems.

You should never attempt to install any of these projects yourself. Only well-trained and certified commercial electricians should install these projects. They can do it faster, safer, and cheaper than attempting to do it yourself.

Let Tri-State Electrical Contractors Handle Your Commercial Electrical Services Needs

At Tri-State Electrical, we pride ourselves on answering all of your questions about your commercial electrical service needs. For more information, or to get a quote for your commercial electrical projects, call (423) 800-2134, fill out our simple online form, or email us at info@tristateec.com today.

Solar panels for your solar storage system

4 Benefits of Installing a Solar Storage System Today

Solar storage systems such as the Tesla Powerwall cost a lot of money. This purchase may be hard to justify in the monthly budget for home, commercial, or industrial electrical customers. So let’s look at the benefits of installing a solar storage system.

1   Reduces Energy Costs

Storing excess solar energy allows you to use it at night or on days when your solar panels don’t produce much power. You can use this energy instead of that provided by the power company. How much you can save depends on many factors, such as location, hours of sun exposure, number of sunny days, power usage level, energy consumption rate, and much more. But generally speaking, an installed solar storage system pays for itself in energy savings over ten years.

Solar panels for your solar storage system

2   Improves Energy Independence

Our energy grid breaks down more often under the climate change brought on by global warming. Worsening storms, longer heat waves, and polar vortexes wreak havoc on the power grid. If your area is prone to frequent power outages, the power loss can be costly in production stoppages, spoiled food, lost wages, and much more. The energy independence from the power grid created by a solar storage system brings you peace of mind knowing that your energy source is secure even during difficult times.

3   Provides Backup Power During Outages

Record-breaking heat waves are straining the energy infrastructure more than ever. Because of this strain, electric companies occasionally implement rolling blackouts to help ease it. Excess heat isn’t the only cause of power outages. Nasty thunderstorms and winter storms can also bring down power lines and damage transformers, leading to unpredictable outages. With a solar storage solution, you can work around sudden outages and keep the lights on while the energy infrastructure is repaired.

4   Benefits the Environment

Using the sun’s power reduces the fossil fuels necessary to produce the energy you need to live. Solar storage solutions reduce your carbon footprint, improving your health and quality of life for you and those around you.

Let Tri-State Electrical Contractors Handle Your Commercial Electrical Services Needs

If you are considering installing a solar storage solution, contact us at (423) 800-2134, fill out our simple online form, or email us at info@tristateec.com. Our friendly and knowledgeable employees can answer your questions about solar power and help you determine if a solar storage system is right for you.

Commercial electrical contractor at work

7 Areas a Commercial Property Owner Should Ask Questions About in an Electrical Contracting Company

Commercial properties, whether retail spaces, restaurants, apartment buildings, or manufacturing plants, have many electrical needs. And commercial property owners need to select the best commercial electrical contractor to handle these needs. A commercial electrical contractor takes on a wide variety of projects, such as indoor and outdoor lighting, smart building systems, wiring repair and replacement, electrical for climate control systems, and much more. What should commercial property owners look for in a commercial electrical contracting company with this wide range of projects? What questions should you ask when selecting the right commercial electricians for your business? Here we have listed seven different areas with example questions you should ask any potential contractor.

Commercial electrical contractor at work
  • Licensed and insured –  Is the electrical contractor must be licensed and insured in the state where the building is located? This is extremely important to protect it if something goes wrong.
  • Experience – Does the electrical contractor has a verifiable portfolio of projects of similar size and scope to yours?
  • References – Get input from other customers. Are they pleased with the quality and cost of the electrical contractor’s work? What does the client think about the company’s customer service? Have they had any problems? Are they satisfied with the resolutions?
  • Availability – How soon can they get started on your project? How long do they think it will take to complete the project? Does it fit your timeline?
  • Quality – Does the commercial electrical contractor provide a warranty for their work? Are they members of professional organizations such as NECA and the Associated General Contractors of America? Have their electricians earned certificates and pursued additional training?
  • Safety – What is the contractor’s commitment to safety? Are they members of organizations such as OSHA and the CORE Safety Group? Does the company culture promote safety?
  • Affordability – Is the price competitive compared to other quotes for the work? What does the price specifically cover when evaluating the quotes? Is it by the project? Or is it a time and materials project? Do they provide a written quote?

Asking questions in these seven areas will help you choose the right electrical contracting company for your commercial property.

Let Tri-State Electrical Contractors Handle Your Commercial Electrical Services Needs

At Tri-State Electrical, we pride ourselves on answering all of your questions about your commercial electrical service needs. For more information, get a quote for your commercial electrical projects by calling (423) 800-2134, filling out our simple online form, or emailing us at info@tristateec.com today.

A solar storage system in Atlanta

5 Reasons Your Solar Storage Solution Isn’t Working as Expected

Many variables impact the effectiveness of solar energy storage solutions. Unfortunately, this may result in your solar energy solution not working as expected. Here are a few factors that may impact your system’s efficiency.

1 – Variability of Sunlight

Since solar energy can only be produced efficiently with direct sunlight on solar panels, this often is impacted by changing weather and the current season. In addition, we know that solar energy is only produced when the sun is shining on the solar panels, which means that there are several hours each day when the panels produce no power.

A solar storage system in Atlanta

2 – The Type and Lifespan of Solar Storage Batteries

Most solar storage systems use high-efficiency lithium-ion batteries which are widely available, energy-efficient, have good performance, and can last between 15 and 30 years. As they age, their efficiency dwindles. But there are older solar storage batteries that are less expensive but less energy efficient.

3 – The Solar Storage System Was Installed Incorrectly

Most solar storage systems are complicated, and any mistakes during installation can make the system less efficient. This is why it is crucial to hire an experienced solar storage system electrician to install it for you. These electricians have the proper tools, knowledge, and experience to avoid making mistakes leading to sub-optimal performance, and can get the system installed quicker.

4 – Prohibitive Cost

Solar storage systems are expensive, especially if you need to replace any batteries for the system. Batteries for these systems can cost anywhere between $8500 and $20,000, depending on the type of battery you install. Of course, the price is higher if you use many batteries within your solar storage system.

5 – Solar Storage Systems Need Maintenance

Solar storage systems require more maintenance than a simple solar panel energy setup. The amount of maintenance and tasks involved depends on what type of batteries you are using in the solar storage system. If the system uses deep-cycle lead-acid batteries, the terminals must be kept clean, and the distilled water levels must be topped off periodically. You must be careful when maintaining the storage system because the battery chemicals are corrosive and toxic—some solar storage batteries, such as lithium-require a lot less maintenance.

Is a Solar Storage System Installation Right for You?

Give Tri-State Electrical Contractors a call at (423) 800-2134, fill out our simple online form, or email us at info@tristateec.com, and we can provide you with a comprehensive solar energy assessment to help determine what solar storage solution might work best for you.

Gauge used for high-voltage electrical work by a high-voltage electrician in Atlanta

4 Benefits of Hiring Experienced High-Voltage Electric Service Technicians

Many commercial and industrial businesses require high-voltage energy to run their equipment and infrastructure. And high voltage electrical projects are highly specialized and extremely dangerous if installed or maintained by poorly trained or inexperienced commercial or industrial electricians.

Gauge used for high-voltage electrical work by a high-voltage electrician in Atlanta

1 — Experienced High-Voltage Electricians Are Safer

Where high-voltage equipment is concerned, improper installation can easily create fire and electrical hazards that endanger everyone in the building. This includes expensive damage to the facilities and equipment and possibly injuring or killing anyone who works with it. Therefore, high-voltage electricians receive extensive safety training before they work on a high-voltage electrical project and complete ongoing training for the high-voltage equipment they work  on.

2 – High Voltage Electricians Are Expert Problem Solvers

High-voltage electricians face many challenges with high-voltage electrical equipment such as power transformers, switching gear, control equipment, power relay panels, and industry-specific machinery. But the environment where that equipment is installed. Interfacing industrial equipment with electrical systems can present many challenges, such as:

  • Old buildings with inadequate electrical infrastructure to operate high-voltage equipment safely
  • Interfacing old equipment with new high-voltage electrical systems
  • Integrating high-voltage equipment into an existing installation and production setup
  • Insufficient or inadequate wiring for the existing equipment
  • Correctly diagnosing and repairing current high-voltage equipment

No solid guidelines or resources are available for some highly specialized high-voltage electrical equipment, requiring research, consultation with experts, and hands-on experience to get the installation right.

3 — Experienced High-Voltage Electricians Save Time

Because high-voltage electricians believe in extensive training and experience to earn certificates to work in the field, they have resources and specialized equipment that other electrical workers do not. Where other electricians struggle to figure out which tools to address the issue, an experienced high-voltage electrician will have the tools necessary and the knowledge to fix the problem faster.

4 — Experienced High-Voltage Electricians Save Money

Getting a high-voltage electrical problem fixed right the first time by an experienced electrician is far better than saving some money on an inexperienced electrician. An incorrect installation or repair leads to rework and possibly a fire or electrical shock.

Experienced high-voltage electricians can quickly complete complex work, quickly getting that equipment back online and limiting costly downtime.

Looking for Experienced High-Voltage Electricians?

Then look no further. Tri-State Electrical is one of the premier high-voltage electrical service providers in the Southeastern U.S. So, if you are looking for high-voltage electrical installation or repair, contact Tri-State Electrical Contractors. For more information or to get a quote, call (423) 800-2134, fill out our simple online form or email us at info@tristateec.com today.

A solar storage system in Knoxville, Tennessee

5 Things You Need to Know About Solar Storage

Solar energy storage installations and deployments set a record in 2020, with each quarter breaking the record-breaking previous quarter. The use of solar energy and solar energy storage systems is becoming more accepted and prevalent. Here are a few things you should know about solar storage:

1 – The Decreasing Cost of Solar Storage

The cost of installing a solar storage system has decreased steadily over the last ten years. And future technology and efficiency improvements should continue to reduce the cost of installing and operating a solar storage system, getting you a faster ROI.

This cost depends on many factors such as the type of solar storage system you want to install, the area where you live, and the number and composition of the batteries used within the system. A complete solar storage system can cost between $14,000 and $25,000.

A solar storage system in Knoxville, Tennessee

2 – The Type and Lifespan of Solar Storage Batteries

Most solar storage systems use high-efficiency lithium-ion batteries which are widely available, energy-efficient, have good performance, and can last between 15 and 30 years.

3 – How Solar Energy Is Stored

Solar panels transfer energy to the batteries during daylight and sunny hours. These batteries can hold that energy and use it during the night or when the sun cannot provide enough power for your needs alone. Solar energy can be stored in these batteries for one to five days before the battery loses its charge.

4 – Excess Energy Equals Electric Company Credit

Some solar storage systems provide the option for transmitting excess energy back into the electrical grid for credit from the electric company. Imagine getting an electric bill where they pay you money!

5 – Solar Storage Systems Are a Green Alternative to Backup Generators

In recent years weather-related events have resulted in massive outages in North Carolina, Florida, and areas along the West Coast. Severe heat can cause the energy demand to exceed the supply causing a need for rolling blackouts during peak usage. In addition, snow and ice storms, severe thunderstorms, and weather-related events such as hurricanes can damage the electrical grid causing outages that can last days or weeks. With a solar storage system, you can maintain your power independently of the grid, allowing you to maintain power without using additional fuel. During a widespread natural disaster, generators and the diesel fuel needed to power them may be expensive and difficult (if not impossible) to find. A solar storage system allows you to maintain energy independence during these challenging events.

Is a Solar Storage System Installation Right for You?

Give Tri-State Electrical Contractors a call at (423) 800-2134, fill out our simple online form, or email us at info@tristateec.com, and we can provide you with a comprehensive solar energy assessment to help determine what solar storage solution might work best for you.

High-voltage electrical work by industrial electrician in Atlanta

Why You Should Hire Experienced Professional Industrial Electricians

The average person can complete most residential electrical projects with some knowledge and expert guidance via YouTube. But industrial electrical equipment is a whole other ballgame. Industrial electrical equipment is extremely complex, handles high voltages, is highly specialized, and is extremely dangerous if installed or maintained by anyone who isn’t a trained, experienced industrial electrician.

High-voltage electrical work by industrial electrician in Atlanta

Industrial Electricians Are Safer

Inexperienced electricians endanger everyone in the building. Improper equipment installation can create fire and electrical hazards that can cause tremendous damage to the equipment and facilities, injuring or possibly killing anyone who works with that equipment. Industrial electricians receive extensive safety training before they ever get to work on an industrial electrical project and ongoing training for the equipment they work on.

Industrial Electricians Are Expert Problem Solvers

The biggest challenge that industrial electricians face is not the equipment’s installation but the environment where that equipment is installed. Interfacing industrial equipment with electrical systems can present many challenges, such as:

  • Old buildings with an inadequate electrical infrastructure to operate industrial equipment safely
  • Interfacing old industrial equipment with new electrical systems
  • Integrating new industrial equipment into an existing installation and production setup
  • Insufficient or inadequate wiring for the existing industrial equipment
  • Correctly diagnosing and repairing current industrial equipment

No solid guidelines or resources are available for some of the highly specialized industrial electrical configurations used. In addition, every industrial business has its own quirks and eccentricities that must be factored in when installing industrial equipment.

Industrial Electricians Save Time

Because industrial electricians believe in extensive training and experience to earn certificates to work in the field, they have resources and specialized equipment that other electrical workers do not. Where other electricians struggle to figure out which tools to address the issue, an industrial electrician will have the tools necessary and the knowledge to fix the issue. Industrial electricians are also familiar with the technology and industrial equipment within the customers’ industries, making finding and resolving problems faster.

Industrial Electricians Save Money

Getting an electrical problem fixed right the first time by an experienced industrial electrician is far better than saving a few dollars by hiring a non-specialized electrician or even trying to do it yourself and needing it to be redone. An incorrect installation or repair can also result in a fire or electrical shock, which may cause significant (and expensive) damage to your equipment, buildings, and even your people.

Because of an industrial electrician’s training and experience, they can complete even difficult work quickly, getting that equipment back online fast and limiting costly downtime. Experienced industrial electricians also can identify possible issues before they become bad enough to result in downtime or damage and pre-emptively fix them when the fix is cheaper.

Looking for Experienced Industrial Electricians?

Then look no further. Tri-State Electrical is one of the premier industrial and commercial electrical providers in the Southeastern U.S. Whether you are looking for industrial electrical installation or repair, PLC programming services, or high voltage electrical services, Tri-State Electrical Contractors can deliver. For more information or to get a quote, call (423) 800-2134, fill out our simple online form or email us at info@tristateec.com today.