●On the job with a commercial electrical contractor in Nashville

How Is a Commercial Electrician Different from an Industrial Electrician?

While a commercial electrician and an industrial electrician sound like they do the same thing, nothing can be further from the truth. However, there are some similarities between the two.

●On the job with a commercial electrical contractor in Nashville

Similarities Between Commercial and Industrial Electricians

Both commercial and industrial electricians start with basic electrical knowledge, but there are several other similarities. Both positions require that you have:

  • Earned your high school diploma
  • Participated in an electrician apprenticeship
  • Attended  industry-specific training and classes
  • Completed 8,000 t0 10,000 hours of on-the-job training
  • Passed a certification exam

The foundation of their skill set might be in basic electrical knowledge, but the application of their extended training is what truly defines the two.

Work Experience of Commercial Electricians

Most commercial electricians work in apartment buildings, retail establishments, offices, and sometimes food service businesses. They typically perform the following tasks:

  • Running three-wire systems through conduit
  • Ensuring that the electrical components and wiring function efficiently and safely
  • Performing common electrical repairs and installation of specific equipment
  • Wiring breaker panels, transformers, and lighting systems
  • Occasionally installing HVAC systems and backup generators

Work Experience of Industrial Electricians

Industrial electricians typically perform all of the tasks that a commercial electrician handles but require additional education and training to perform specific industrial tasks. This additional training depends on the industry that the industrial electrician work in. This training determines what types of jobs and projects the electrician can work on.  This training is critical to ensure the accuracy and thorough knowledge of this field. For example, manufacturing facilities have power requirements that are far different from those encountered within commercial businesses. Some of the issues industrial electricians need to be ready to perform include:

  • Handling high-voltage electrical systems commonly associated with industrial processes
  • Installing electrical systems and components for industry-specific equipment.
  • Troubleshooting issues with controls and electronics within the industrial electrical systems
  • Inspecting on machinery and equipment in industrial structures
  • Installing power conductors to reduce interference with the control systems and other electronic devices
  • Ensuring the proper grounding of manufacturing systems and equipment
  • Maintaining and repairing electrical systems and components to reduce potential work stoppage due to electrical or equipment failure.

Another important thing that both industrial and commercial electricians have in common is that the businesses and industries that they serve rely on their dependability and competence. A mistake in wiring or installing electrical equipment can lead to costly equipment repairs or replacement or work stoppages, both of which cost the company lots of money.

Hire the Best Commercial and Industrial Electrical Contractors in the Southeastern US

Tri-State Electrical Contractors’ commercial and industrial electricans are licensed in Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, and (soon) Florida. We can handle any commercial or industrial electrical work you need completed quickly and competently. For more information, give us a call at (423) 800-2134, fill out our simple online form, or email us at info@tristateec.com today.

Storm damage requiring industrial electrical repairs in Greensboro

What Are Some of the Common Electrical Repairs Needed After a Storm?

Storms are the arch-enemy of your electrical service. The combination of wind, rain, and (sometimes) snow and ice can be devastating to the electrical grid.

Falling Trees

The rain saturates the ground making it less stable for trees, and when combined with strong winds, they fall, taking out power lines and the occasional transformer. To lessen the impact of power loss during storms, you should look at hiring a commercial or industrial electrical company to install a backup generator to keep your business going when everything else comes to a standstill.

Storm damage requiring industrial electrical repairs in Greensboro

Lightning Strikes

Lightning is one of the most potent forces on the planet. If it strikes anywhere near your business, the resulting power surge can damage all electronic devices connected to your wiring and sometimes non-electronic appliances that are simply plugged in at the time of the strike. Therefore, all businesses should protect themselves from lightning and surges by having a commercial electrical contractor install a lightning arrester to route the electricity away from your company and into the ground. These strikes can also damage breakers in your electrical system.


Although the occasional flooded basement may occur during a severe downpour, a more common problem occurs when water seeps into your building during heavy rain and comes into contact with your wiring, it may short circuit, causing power loss or possibly starting a fire. When this happens, get a reliable commercial and industrial electrical services provider to fix the issue to keep your business safe from further damage. Unfortunately, short circuits can be difficult to track down and needs expert help to make the repairs.

Tri-State Electrical Contractors Provides Electrical Repairs After Storms

Our industrial and commercial electricians know how what to look for and how to fix it after a damaging storm. Tri-State Electrical Contractor has you covered whether it is tracking down a hard-to-find short circuit or installing a new generator for your industrial or commercial business. We are licensed in Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, and (soon) Florida. To learn more about how Tri-State Electrical can help you with your commercial electrical project, give us a call at (423) 800-2134, fill out our simple online form, or email us at info@tristateec.com today.

Backup generators installed by industrial electrical contractors in Atlanta

How Do You Size a Generator for an Industrial Company?

Figuring out the correct size when installing a generator for a commercial or industrial customer is not a one-size-fits-all type of project. You need expert help from experienced industrial/commercial electrical contractors to ensure the job is done right.

Why Do Industrial and Commercial Companies Need Backup Generators?

Power outages happen everywhere and everyone has experienced them. At home, this is an inconvenience. For commercial and industrial businesses, a power outage can cripple them. For manufacturing companies, a power outage shuts down production which costs them while the equipment and workers are not working. For restaurants and grocery stores, a long power outage can result in thousands of dollars in food spoilage, as well as losses in sales because customers cannot shop there. These generators prevent losses associated with outages, keep businesses operating, and allow important building services to continue.

Backup generators installed by industrial electrical contractors in Atlanta

Square Footage of Location

Using the square footage of your location is a great starting point to help calculate the backup generator size you need. There are equations within the industry used for this purpose.

  • For Retail applications such as grocery stores, convenience stores, restaurants, and most other retail establishments, the formula for calculating power needs is 50 kilowatts + 10 watts per square foot.
  • For most other commercial applications, the formula is 50 kilowatts + 5 watts per square foot.

Full Load Capacity of the Site

Calculating the full-load capacity of a site requires a little more legwork and research to come up with an accurate number. Here are the steps to follow to help calculate this number.

  1. Look at your service panel and take full-load current measurements during peak usage.
  2. Clamp on an ammeter for each leg of the electrical service, and add these measurements together. This will provide you with the total amps used.
  3. Divide the total amps by three for three-phase current, or by two for single-phase current.
  4. Multiply the total amps divided by phase current number by the supply voltage and multiply it again by 1000 for the Kilowatts (kW) required.
  5. Next, add the power in kilowatts used by each emergency safety standby system following articles 700, 701, 702 and 708 of the National Electric Code (NEC) to the kilowatts. This provides you with the full load kilowatts number.

The formulas to calculate this size are:

  • Total Amps × Supply Voltage / 1000 = Full Load Kilowatts
  • Full Load Kilowatts × 0.25 = Reserve Capacity
  • To determine the proper generator size at 100% power is Full Load Kilowatts + Reserve Capacity = Generator Size

Other Factors to Consider When Sizing a Generator

The square footage of a location and the full load capacity of the site are good indicators to estimate the size of the generator you might need, but here are some other factors to keep in mind:

  • Number of customers/employees onsite
  • Operating hours of the business – Does it have regularly scheduled hours each day? Different hours on different days? Or online 24/7?
  • Voltage sag – This is a temporary drop that occurs when there is a short circuit or overload of electric motors. Some industries need to meet specific tolerances so this is a factor in some installations.
  • Environment – Humidity, temperature, and the altitude of the building may impact how to size the generator.

In conclusion, sizing a backup generator for a commercial or industrial business is a complex process that can be extremely expensive if you make a mistake. At Tri-State Electrical Contractors, we have the experience to make the process smooth and trouble-free. To learn more, give us a call at (423) 800-2134, fill out our simple online form, or email us at info@tristateec.com today.

Electrician installing PLC from an industrial power company in Memphis

What Are Some of the Industries That Use PLC Programming?

Programmable Logic Controller  (PLC) programming is an essential component of any commercial or industrial control system. It can be programmed by a user to perform many different functions, such as:

  • Input/Output Control
  • Logic
  • Timing
  • Counting
  • Communication
  • Data processing
  • File processing

This makes programable logic controllers very useful for many different industries.

Electrician installing PLC from an industrial power company in Memphis

HVAC Industry

Controlling the air temperature and quality in any large building is a daunting challenge for anyone, especially if you have multiple tenants with different temperature preferences. Heating, cooling, and ventilating processes require numerous sensors to keep the temperature at a comfortable level and possibly even protect sensitive products or equipment such as IT infrastructure. An HVAC system with one central point of control supported by multiple PLCs can save a business thousands of dollars in energy costs.

Oil Production and Refining Industry

Oil and gas production and processing processes are extraordinarily complex and rely upon exact mixtures of chemicals, temperatures, and pressures. For the right chemical processes to happen, there needs to be precise control of many variables. And PLCs are the perfect technology for handling these tasks.

Glass Industry

To produce glass, the material ratios need to be precise and follow in-depth procedures to ensure that the final glass products meet specifications.

Paper Industry

PLCs are helpful in the paper production process. They also help manage the operating speeds of rollers and giant offset printing presses that require precise timing to ensure that the final printing is perfect.

Cement Industry

The mix must have the correct proportions of many raw materials in a kiln to produce high-quality cement. PLCs help ensure that these materials are added, mixed, and monitored to make high-quality cement. Cement companies must use a distributed control system that includes PLC controls to manage coal kiln, ball milling, and shaft kiln.

Other Industries

Almost every manufacturing industry relies on PLCs to automate tedious or error-prone processes that can produce millions of dollars of waste each year. Here is a sampling of the other industries that use PLC technologies extensively:

  • Aerospace
  • Food production and processes
  • Health care
  • Plastics
  • Textile manufacturing
  • Packaging and labeling
  • Transportation systems
  • Warehouse fulfillment
  • Traffic control
  • Mining
  • Steel production

The use of PLCs during the COVID-19 pandemic allowed many businesses to continue work as usual despite the difficult circumstances.

Let Tri-State Electrical Contractors Automate Your Workflow

We provide a complete range of industrial electrical services that can result in considerable savings. Our PLC retrofits improve your efficiency and reduce your energy costs. To learn more about how Tri-State Electrical can help you with your industrial electrical project, give us a call at (423) 800-2134, fill out our simple online form, or email us at info@tristateec.com today.

Wiring damage caused by a rat requiring commercial electrical services in Atlanta

4 Common Electrical Services Provided by Commerical Electrical Contractors

A general definition for commercial electrical services is any design, installation, troubleshooting, or repair of electrical systems for commercial clients, such as shopping centers, restaurants, apartment buildings, schools, stadiums, and much more. Here are details about a few of these commercial electrical services.

1 – Repairing Damaged or Faulty Wiring

Even if the electrical system isn’t outdated, it could still have damaged or faulty wiring issues. Faulty wiring is one of the leading causes of building fires, so you need to address any wiring problems right away. Here are some of the causes of faulty wiring:

  • Rodent infestation – mice, rats, chipmunks, etc.
  • Poor quality wiring
  • Incorrect installation
  • DIY projects gone wrong
Wiring damage caused by a rat requiring commercial electrical services in Atlanta

2 – Upgrades and Retrofitting

One of the more common commercial electrical projects is updating wiring, panels, switches, outlets, and other components for a commercial building. Any business that has been around for a while either outgrows the electrical system they had when they started, or it no longer meets the current local building codes. Additional features might need to be added to the commercial electrical system, such as a backup generator or a smart control panel.

3 – Electrical Load Analysis

An electrical load analysis can save a commercial business a considerable amount of money by doing the following:

  • Find ways to balance your electric load to save energy during peak and low output
  • Identify wasted energy through inefficient operations
  • Allow building owners to make provisions for additional loads
  • Reduce energy costs through intelligent management of power use

4 – Signs and Exterior Lighting

The arrival of LED lighting has created a demand for replacing both indoor and outdoor lighting with new bulbs and, in many cases, new light fixtures to take advantage of lower energy consumption and brighter lighting. This project requires a lift for indoors with high ceilings or a bucket truck with climbing gear and a safety harness to handle outdoor projects.  

Installing sign lighting for new businesses or replacing the lighting or the signs for old businesses are also popular commercial electrical services. Signs occasionally need replacing due to storm damage or accidents as well.

Tri-State Electrical is the Premier Commercial Electrical Company Serving the Southeastern US

We provide a wide variety of commercial electric services, including electrical system updates and retrofits, new lighting installations, electrical load analysis, backup generators installation, and much more. To learn more about how Tri-State Electrical can help you with your commercial electrical project, give us a call at (423) 800-2134, fill out our simple online form, or email us at info@tristateec.com today.

Project completed by an excellent commercial electrical company in Chattanooga

5 Things to Look for in a Superior Commercial Electrical Contractor

When it comes to commercial electrical contractors, there are many companies to choose from, but how do you find the best one for your business? Here are five qualities to look for when selecting a superior commercial electrical contractor.

1 – Experience

Nothing beats good old-fashioned, down-in-the-trenches experience. Because the nature of commercial electrical jobs is unique, there is no “one-size-fits-all” when executing your plan. Every job will have its own unique problems and challenges that will require extensive knowledge, problem-solving, and creativity to resolve. And in the field experience is the best way to build these skills and attributes. Don’t only look at the number of years the company has been in business, look at the years of combined experience of the employees at the business, as well as the range of different jobs they have successfully delivered for other customers.

Project completed by an excellent commercial electrical company in Chattanooga

2 – Reliability

When you have an electrical problem or need motor controls installed in your factory, you need to have a commercial electrical company that you can depend on to get the job done on-time and done right the first time. Every second you are out of operation costs money; an excellent commercial electric company understands this and makes reliability one of its focuses for the business.

3 – Attention to Detail (Safety)

The nature of electricity leaves no room for error when installing electrical equipment at a worksite. Following high safety standards is critical for protecting both the client and their property as well as the workers on the job.  An excellent commercial electrical contractor has in-depth rules, procedures, and guidelines that must be followed by all employees for every project. This includes the proper use of protective equipment, tools, and work that meets or exceeds all regulations and requirements.

4 – Competitive Prices

High-quality work is great, but if the expense is too high, you might not be able to meet your project goals. An excellent commercial electric contractor delivers high-quality work at a competitive price in the market. They have no problem providing a quote for any project, big or small.

5 – Excellent Customer Service

Fast, friendly service is essential when dealing with complex commercial electric projects. You will have questions and need information during any initiative, so having access to a knowledgeable employee is a commodity that many commercial electrical contractors overlook.

Tri-State Electrical is the Premier Commercial Electrical Company Serving Alabama, Tennessee & Georgia

We provide a wide variety of commercial and industrial electric services, including motor controls, instrumentation, substations, generators, power distribution centers, and much more. Tri-State Electrical is also your go-to provider for commercial and industrial solar installation. To learn more about how Tri-State Electrical can help you with your commercial electrical project, give us a call at (423) 800-2134, fill out our simple online form, or email us at info@tristateec.com today.