Construction Maintenance Electrician

What to Know About Conduit Bending for Your Career After Electrician College

September 12, 2019

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Conduit bending is an essential skill electricians learn during their training. Various materials from rigid steel to EMT (electrical metallic tubing) will call for bending at some point or another. If you’re studying to become an electrician, there are numerous reasons why this is an important skill to have under your belt.

While you’ll be taught about conduit bending during your courses, it’s good to have some idea of what it is beforehand. Here’s what students in electrician college need to know about conduit bending.

There Are At Least Four Different Ways You Can Bend It

With regards to conduit bending, there are several methods you can choose to get the job done. Among them are the 90º (also known as the “stub up” bend), back to back, offset, and the saddle bend. The stub-up bend is where one end of the conduit is bent upward into a 90º L shape. Back to back bends are where parallel stub-up bends are made to a 90º angle on both sides, making a U shape.

An offset bend is where a shift is made somewhere along the conduit even though the bend continues to run parallel to where it was initially. Lastly, the saddle bend is where one portion of the conduit is bent at 45º over an obstacle before returning to its original plane. You’ll learn to develop your conduit bending skills during maintenance electrician training.

Certain bends involve the conduit eventually going back to its original plane, like offset and saddle bends
Certain bends involve the conduit eventually going back to its original plane, like offset and saddle bends

Bending Conduit Involves a Lot of Marking

After you’ve undergone the first step of selecting the proper bender and removing cutting burrs if necessary, you’ll need to mark the points on the conduit for bending it properly. You’ll then need to decide where the conduit should start, the necessary length of the bend, and where you need it to change direction. Then, you’ll need to mark the bend’s midway point before measuring to make sure those marks will bend correctly, and then mark another line on the floor.

In other words, make sure you buy yourself a Sharpie if you want to be an electrician! However, if your bend is for exposed work like in factories, use a pencil instead to prevent the ink from bleeding through after the conduit is painted.

You’ll Want a Good Bender After Electrician College, But it’s Not the Only Tool You’ll Need

Whether it’s made of steel or aluminum, it should go without saying that having a good bender to use after getting your electrician diploma is important. However, aluminum ones are preferred over steel, as the latter type is a lot heavier. It’s also very useful for newer electricians to have a handle as well as multiplier markings on the bender, to streamline the calculation process.

A good bender is essential for bending conduit, but you’ll need more than just that on hand
A good bender is essential for bending conduit, but you’ll need more than just that on hand

While a bender is easily the most essential tool you’ll need here, it’s not the only one. You will need a strong, high-quality level, and ideally one with rare-earth magnets and levels attached to them. Additionally, you will do well to have a tape measure and a framing square on hand, as both will be key in helping ensure you get the correct angles and measurements for the bend.

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Construction Maintenance Electrician

3 Environments You Might Be Working in After Electrician School

September 09, 2019

become a maintenance electrician

If you’re about to begin a career as an electrician, there are numerous possibilities for where you might work. You could ply your trade in homes, office buildings, construction sites, or industrial factories. Whether you want to work indoors or outdoors, travelling or just at one site, there’s an electrician job for you.

Wherever you end up going, your job remains to ensure electricity safely goes straight from the source to those who need it the most. Here are three places you might find yourself working in after completing your program to become an electrician.

1. You Could Find Yourself Working in People’s Homes After Electrician School

Residential electricians work on wiring and lighting in people’s homes and apartment buildings, among other living spaces. In this career, you could find yourself going to different homes, carrying out the necessary tasks to make sure residential buildings and units have electricity in place, and installing it both indoors and outdoors as necessary.

Your tasks could include determining where equipment and fixtures will be located in the home, working on security and air conditioning systems, and ensuring electricity can travel from the source to the home’s circuit breaker. Whether you’re working on an existing home, or one that’s still being constructed or undergoing renovations, you’ll be able to work on electrical wiring and fuses to keep tenants and families happy and their homes running smoothly.

As a residential electrician, you could be working inside and outside the home
As a residential electrician, you could be working inside and outside the home

2. You Could Work in Any Environment Specializing in Maintenance

If you you’re the type of person who likes fixing things that are broken or not working properly, being a maintenance electrician may be the route for you. Travelling and commuting between different worksites is common for people in this job, so you could find yourself working in various environments. If you want a job where your workplace will change every day, this job could be a great fit.

As a maintenance electrician, you could be performing tasks like troubleshooting using testing devices, performing preventative maintenance, rewiring connections or electrical equipment in homes or businesses, or working on equipment in factories or manufacturing units. Regardless of where exactly your career after studying to become an electrician takes you, your problem-solving skills and ability to carry out the necessary maintenance procedures will serve you well if you want to become a maintenance electrician.

Your electrician career could lead you to working in various environments
Your electrician career could lead you to working in various environments

3. You Could Work in Office Buildings (or Outside Them) as a Commercial Electrician

Businesses need light and electricity during the work day and sometimes even at night, so they need commercial electricians to help set up their electrical systems and keep them running. In this environment, you could be installing lighting, wiring, and/or control and security systems, while adhering to all safety requirements.

Alternatively, you could work as an electrician on a construction site where a new office building is being built, or at a factory as an industrial electrician where you may work on hydraulic and other machinery. Regardless, whether you work in a small corner of an office building or a wide-open construction space, your career after electrician school can lead to you working for a number of successful businesses.

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Construction Maintenance Electrician Skilled Trades

4 Interview Tips That Can Help You Launch Your Electrician Career in Construction

July 16, 2019

electrician career in construction

Are you hoping to start a career as a construction electrician? Great! Becoming a construction electrician means stepping into a hands-on career that is anything but your typical 9-5 office job.

Progressing along this career path, however, still means that you need to prepare for the interview process. Fortunately, there are plenty of tips and tricks you can use to approach your interview with confidence.

Here are a handful of tips for when you’re about to step into an interview.

1. Be Ready to Encounter Basic Questions During Your Interview

Employers looking to hire electricians and apprentice electricians—including in construction—may sometimes ask you basic questions like “What is the difference between a breaker and a fuse?”. Should they do this, it’s to filter out the candidates who have the best foundational knowledge of the profession from the ones who don’t. If necessary, brush up on your overall knowledge of electrician-related concepts before your interview so you go in able to explain them in as much detail as possible.

become a maintenance electricianInterviewers may want to know about your basic knowledge of the profession

2. Prepare for Questions About Challenges and Troubleshooting

While being interviewed, you can expect employers to be curious about your problem-solving abilities. After all, problem-solving is important to this career path. Therefore, you might face questions about how you’d handle unexpected situations, and perhaps the specific process through which you would try to solve the problem.

They may also ask questions like, “What was the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far in your career?” or “What was the biggest mistake you’ve made at a job, and how did you atone for it?” Either way, interviewers will want to know how you overcame these obstacles.

3. Be Ready for Construction-Specific Questions

A number of electricians work in specialized fields, and construction electricians are definitely among them. As a result, you can expect questions specific to construction. For example, they might ask you what you love most about the field, or why you’re interested in the position. They may also ask you what you learned during your electrician training, and what you ultimately took out of the experience. In any case, these employers are going to want to know how your training and experience makes you an ideal fit for the position.

4. Answer Questions Honestly, and Be Yourself

Whether the questions are technical in nature, or if they’re simply about your past experiences in the field, be honest and descriptive in answering them. Even if you flub a question or wind up not getting the job, it’s still great practice for future interviews you may get later in your career as a construction electrician. Above all else, smile, be enthusiastic, and be respectful and professional throughout the process! After all, if you want to become a maintenance electrician, you can’t forget the basic tenets of how to ace a job interview in any industry.

electrician trainingIf you answer questions honestly and professionally, you’ll leave a great impression on employers

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Construction Maintenance Electrician

3 Tips for Installing Security Lighting When You Become a Construction Electrician

June 19, 2019

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Outdoor lighting systems keep homes and businesses safe. When you become an electrician, you can help install security lighting systems that illuminate pathways and deter criminal activity. Some types of security lighting, such as alarm lights, can even alert building owners to the presence of an intruder.

A number of considerations go into creating an effective security lighting system, from seasonal concerns to where to actually place individual lights. Below we’ll look at a few tips for installing security lighting to help you succeed in your electrician career.

1. Security Lights Can Double as Attractive Ambient Outdoor Lighting
One of the benefits of security lighting is that it can easily double as ambient lighting. After all, both ambient and security lighting illuminate dark spaces and deter criminal activity. Path lighting, for example, is an attractive feature for walkways and gardens and also improves safety by ensuring people can easily find their way.

When choosing lighting that can work as both security lighting and ambient lighting, you’ll need to make sure the equipment you choose can manage these dual functions. For example, some types of lights aren’t suitable as security lights. High-pressure sodium lights, for example, look great because they create a soft ambient effect, but they also take up to a minute to warm up. That makes them unsuitable as security lights, which should be able to illuminate dark areas immediately. LED lights are typically the best option for lighting that is both aesthetically pleasing and works as a security feature.

2. Don’t Forget Seasonal Concerns When You Become a Construction Electrician
There’s a good chance that when you become a construction electrician you’ll be installing most security lighting systems during the summer months. However, it’s important to keep in mind how security lights will function during all times of the year. Spring and fall showers mean that lighting will need to be waterproof. Summer storms, meanwhile, can bring high winds and even hail, so strengthening lights with mounting brackets is often a good idea.

Of course, winter weather can be especially harsh. Not only will security lights need to be able to stand up to cold winds and ice, but they’ll also need to be placed where they won’t be buried in snow. Yard lights, for example, should be elevated so that they provide illumination even after a heavy snowfall. And keep in mind how security lighting deals with the shorter days during winter. Some lighting systems have to be adjusted manually to come on earlier during the day, for example. Other lights, like photovoltaic lights, can automatically detect when dawn and dusk are occurring and switch on or off accordingly.

become a maintenance electrician

Security lighting needs to take into account Canada’s four seasons

3. Lighting Should Be Placed at Strategic Locations to Enhance Security
The locations of individual lights make a big difference in creating an effective security lighting system when you become a maintenance electrician. Areas around shrubbery and corners that can provide hiding places for criminals are ideal places for putting security lights. Likewise, paths, stairs, and doorways should also be illuminated.

The height at which security lights are placed is an important consideration. Generally, they should be placed high off the ground beyond reach of anybody on the ground. Doing so achieves two purposes: it allows them to illuminate a larger area and it protects them from being intentionally damaged by would-be intruders.

become a construction electrician

Security lights that are placed high up can illuminate a larger area and are protected from damage

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Construction Maintenance Electrician

3 Benefits of Pursuing Red Seal Certification After Electrician Training

May 03, 2019

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Electricians are among the most in-demand and best paid tradespeople in Canada. If you’ve thought about training to become an electrician, you’ve probably heard the term Red Seal at least a couple times. The Red Seal program sets nationally recognized standards for designated trades like electricians.

After you complete your training and apprenticeship, you can become a journeyperson, at which point you can take the Red Seal exam and become Red Seal certified. There are a number of benefits to becoming Red Seal certified. Let’s take a look at just three below.

1. Red Seal Is Recognized by Employers Across Canada and Internationally

The main purpose of the Red Seal certification is that it is a national standard. This means that once you are Red Seal certified for a trade in one province or territory, you can then, with few exceptions, have your certification recognized anywhere in the country. By being a national standard, the Red Seal endorsement tells employers that you have undergone the same standards of training and experience regardless of where in Canada you were originally certified.

electrician career in constructionWith Red Seal certification, your skills will be recognized across the country

Furthermore, because of the high quality of trades training and workplace standards in Canada, the Red Seal program has a global reputation. While every country has its own rules regarding trades certification, the Red Seal certification is highly respected internationally.

2. Red Seal Opens Up Opportunities If You Want to Become a Construction Electrician

While Red Seal certification is not mandatory in order to work in the trades, it can make a huge difference in terms of salary, job security, and career advancement if you want to become a construction electrician. Employers offering high-paid positions will typically favour candidates who boast Red Seal certification over those who don’t. Furthermore, as a Red Seal electrician, you’ll be considered a journeyperson, which gives you the right to train apprentices.

become a construction electricianRed Seal certification can help you pursue more and better job opportunities

Because the Red Seal program is recognized across the country, it also allows you to pursue better job opportunities no matter where they happen to be. So, if you’re working in one province which then suffers an economic downturn, you can take your electrician skills anywhere else in Canada that may have a high demand for electricians.

3. You Could Be Eligible for Grants and Loans for Pursuing a Red Seal Certification

Canada has a shortage of skilled workers and if you want to pursue an electrician career in construction or another Red Seal trade, then there are plenty of financial incentives to help you along the way. The federal government offers generous grants and loans specifically for those pursuing a Red Seal trade. For example, apprentices in a designated Red Seal trade can apply for the Apprenticeship Incentive Grant, which is a cash grant of up to $1,000 per year, up to a maximum of $2,000 per person.

Women apprentices in designated Red Seal trades may also be eligible for the Apprenticeship Incentive Grant for Women, which provides up to $3,000 per year up to a maximum of $6,000 per person. Furthermore, upon successfully completing your apprenticeship you may be eligible for the Apprenticeship Completion Grant, which is a $2,000 grant per person.

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Construction Maintenance Electrician

4 Handheld Tools You’ll Need When You Become a Construction Electrician

February 05, 2019

construction tradesThe population of Ontario is growing, which means new homes and businesses are constantly under construction. All of these new buildings need to be outfitted with safe and modern electrical systems, which means qualified electricians are needed to install those systems. If you’re seeking a career with a lot of opportunity, consider becoming an electrician.

To succeed as an electrician, however, you will need have the right tools for the job and know how to properly use them. Here are 4 tools that you should have in your tool belt once you begin your electrician career.

1. A Multimeter is the Defining Tool of the Electrician’s Trade

A multimeter measures voltage, current and resistance and is used by electricians to diagnose electrical problems. The handheld tool can tell you whether power is running through a circuit, if the circuit is grounded and if it is at the correct voltage, for example. Today, almost all multimeters are digital and many have built-in clamp meters, which allow professionals to measure the current flowing through a wire or cable without having to disconnect the wire first.

become a construction electricianMake sure you have a multimeter when you become a construction electrician

2. You’ll Need a Range of Pliers Once You Become a Construction Electrician

Every electrician needs several different types of pliers with them at all times. Long-nose pliers are essential for bending wire and reaching into small spaces, which are tasks you will perform frequently during an electrician career in construction. It’s best to have a few different sizes of long-nose pliers to ensure you always have the right ones for the job.

You’ll also need side-cutting pliers, or diagonal-cutting pliers, which are used for cutting wires—a task that electricians often handle. With both long-nose and side-cutting pliers, it’s important to ensure they feel comfortable in your hand and are easy to grip. They should also be insulated to help prevent you from getting electrocuted.

electrician career in constructionElectricians use pliers on the job to bend wire and reach into small spaces

3. Wire Strippers are Essential for Electricians Working in Construction

Wire strippers are used to remove the insulation from wires without damaging their thread. Stripping wire is something you’ll do often in construction as new wiring will need to be stripped to connect it to circuit breakers, sockets and switches. Many pliers and wire cutters have built-in wire strippers, but you should still have a pair of high-quality standalone wire strippers. Standalone wire strippers usually have different sized slots so you can safely strip wires of varying thicknesses. Pliers and wire cutters with built-in wire strippers are unlikely to boast the same range of slots.

4. A Label Maker is Especially Important for an Electrician Career in Construction

Electricians use label makers to label wires, switches, sockets, circuits and other materials and devices. While all electricians use label makers to some extent, they are especially necessary if you want to become a construction electrician, because the electrical components you install in newly constructed buildings will often be unlabelled. For example, an electrician working on a new home may end up installing that home’s circuit breaker panel. Since this will be the home’s first such panel, the circuit breakers themselves will need to be labelled to clarify which circuit breaker corresponds to which part of the house.

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Construction Maintenance Electrician

The Types of House Wiring to Know About During Maintenance Electrician Training

September 13, 2018

maintenance electrician training-3

When most people think of electricians or anything associated with the profession, the first thought that sparks their mind is often electrical wiring. Generally made of either copper or aluminum, wires conduct electricity and carry it to different locations. Knowledge of different wire types is essential to an electrician’s job when performing everything from basic to advanced electrical projects.

Before entering the profession, it is crucial for future electricians to familiarize themselves with characteristics of different types of wires in order to effectively and adequately perform specific jobs. Here is some useful information for students to know before they start training.

Different Wires Have Different Sizes and Insulation

Not all the same wires are used for different installation jobs within homes. Some require wires of a different size, which in turn provide different amounts of power. When determining the size of the wire needed, electricians look at the wire gauge of the application. The gauge is responsible for the amount of power or current that a wire can supply. The most common wire sizes are 10, 12, and 14; the higher the wire number, the smaller in size the wire will be.

become a maintenance electrician-6Different insulations are required for different areas in homes

As students undergo maintenance electrician training, they will learn different terminology and characteristics associated with the insulation of different types of wiring such as the lettering that is connected to certain wires. The following letters are used:

T- Thermoplastic Insulation

H – Heat resistance (HH means high heat resistance up to 194°F)

W – Water-resistant for use in wet locations

N – Nylon coating, which is oil and gas-resistant

X – Flame-resistant synthetic polymer

Using this system, wires are labeled with abbreviations such as THHN, THWN, THW, and XHHN, which outline the characteristics associated with each wire’s insulation.

Types of Wires You’ll Encounter When You Become a Maintenance Electrician

There are numerous wires that run through homes, each diverse from one another and each serving a different purpose. Here are a few wires that students should familiarize themselves with before they become a maintenance electrician.

One of the most common wirings used in a majority of homes is known as non-metallic sheathed wire, which consists of two or more single wires that are covered by a plastic sheath. The reasoning for its common use in households is its simplistic installation and the fact that it is relatively inexpensive. Some of these types of wires have a high tolerance to heat, which diminishes melting or other incendiary damages.

A similar kind of design is used in underground feeder (UF) cables as well, but with stronger thermoplastic instead of sheath for more durability and flexibility. These kinds of wires are used for any underground electrical systems, and are more resistant to damp conditions.

Another type of wire that professionals are sure to witness on the job is a coaxial cable. This is a metallic cable that is most notably used for televisions and video equipment in order to transmit signals. Its casing is made up of a metal sheath and a thin layer of plastic on the outside in order to better protect the cable from external damage.

electrician diploma-2Coaxial cables are commonly used for TVs

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Construction Maintenance Electrician

Commercial VS Residential Work: An Intro for Anyone Who Wants to Become a Construction Electrician

July 31, 2018

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While commercial and residential electrics share in basic similarities, knowing their differences is essential for safe and effective installations. These distinct commercial and residential needs help electricians ensure power is being channeled properly and in proportion with their specific purpose.

For future electricians, a keen understanding of commercial and residential needs can be a way to specialize your training and build a professional reputation. From suitable materials to installation procedures, students may develop a sense of these electrical needs in anticipation of rewarding careers.

Are you curious about the differences between commercial and residential electrical work? Keep reading for more information.

Power Needs Vary in Residential and Commercial Settings

Commercial and residential electrics vary most essentially by power needs, which will determine ideal materials and installation procedures. Commercial buildings require more power than private residences – a difference expressed by ‘phases’ of power. Residences typically use ‘single-phase’ power of 120 Volts, with some specific appliances like dryers or washing machines requiring two-phase power of 240 Volts.

By contrast, commercial buildings typically require ‘three-phase’ power, with a total of 448 volts. This setup is comprised of two smaller ‘legs’ of 120 Volts, and one ‘wild’ leg of 208 Volts. Whereas ‘single-phase’ power is generally adequate for residential use, three-phased setups are preferred in commercial settings for their reliability and high output – two essential features for workspaces and heavy equipment. Understanding these different commercial and residential requirements helps electricians ensure maximal efficiency, preventing under and overpowering.

electrician career in construction
Professional residential installations ensure the utmost homeowner safety

Electrical Technology School Trains Students to use Specialized Materials

With hands-on training from an electrical technology school, future electricians learn to identify suitable materials for each electrical job. Perhaps most importantly, residential wiring is typically covered in anti-shock sheath insulation, ensuring the safety of homeowners and non-electricians. Since residential wiring is often placed in cramped and hard-to-reach places, this insulation can also help protect thin electrical wires from potential damage.

Wire insulation is even more important in commercial settings, often with specifically-designed protective materials. Commercial wires are often the same size as residential ones, but they receive stronger protection from a thermoplastic, heat-resistant tube (THHN).These protective tubes may also be designed to withstand specific hazards, depending on the commercial environment. For instance, wires might be protected against specific chemicals in the advent of gas or liquid leaks.

Installation and Maintenance Procedures Also Vary

While training for an electrician career in construction, students can also learn the distinct installation procedures suited to residential and commercial environments. In residences, electrical work typically takes aesthetics into account, eliminating potential eyesores by concealing wires behind walls. Since residential electrical work seldom requires elaborate maintenance or changes, wiring is often set in place more permanently before the drywall is finished.

Best practices for electrical work are different in a busy, multipurpose workplace. With commercial spaces housing a variety of appliances like computers and printers, electricians must plan not only for a higher power output but also an adaptable setup that lends itself to maintenance work. Wires are therefore easier to reach in a commercial environment – often left in the open, or quickly accessible in ducting. By familiarizing themselves with these commercial and residential procedures, aspiring electricians can build reputations for effective and long-lasting work.

become a construction electrician
Residential and commercial jobs may also require different tools

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Construction Maintenance Electrician

Energy Saving Tips for When You Become a Maintenance Electrician

October 26, 2017

electrician career in construction-1.jpg

Working as an electrician, it’s useful to be in the know about the basics of energy efficiency. Clients will often turn to you as an expert in all things electrical and electronic, and hope that you can offer them tips to reduce their energy bills.

Being able to provide this service is a great way to make yourself that much more useful, and could really brighten a curious customer’s day. It will also help you single yourself out as a professional they can really trust, and could lead to repeat business in the future.

Wondering what kinds of useful advice might be interesting to clients? Here are a few important ideas that can help cut energy costs.

When You Become a Maintenance Electrician, Advise Clients to Avoid Aggressive Heating & Cooling

Heating and cooling can help make a space nicer to live or work in, but it also requires a great deal of energy. The 2012 Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey found that heating and cooling combined for 718 trillion of a total of 4,241 trillion BTU of energy consumed by surveyed buildings. Unlike a relatively fixed energy drain, like refrigeration (which clocked in at 670 billion BTU), there is a bit more freedom to reduce the costs associated with heating and cooling.

Simply advising clients not to go overboard with heating and cooling can do a great deal to cut down on costs. Often, an office building or other commercial space will have very aggressive cooling or heating ongoing throughout the summer and winter. Temperatures might hover in the range of 18-19 degrees in summer, or surpass 20 in winter. A degree or two less cooling would keep the spaces in a comfortable range, but would require much less energy, and could therefore result in a bill that is several percentage points lower.

maintenance electrician diploma.jpgAdjusting the heating or cooling of a building is an easy way to save money

Tell Customers That Updating Lighting to LED Could Save Them a Bundle

Professionals with a maintenance electrician diploma likely know that the current standard for efficient and cost-effective lighting comes in the form of LED lights. The most notable benefits of LEDs are their low energy cost relative to the amount of light they produce – a 10 watt LED is about equivalent to a 60 watt incandescent bulb – and lifespan. An LED can last for around 30,000 hours of use, compared to 10,000 for fluorescent lights, and just 1,000 for incandescent bulbs. Though slightly more costly to buy than the other options, longer lifespan and cheaper operational costs make LEDs the clear choice for individuals and businesses hoping to save energy and money over time.

Become a maintenance electrician.jpgLED lights are the best choice for both energy efficiency and product longevity

Unsurprisingly, many businesses have taken note of the benefits of LEDs, and are now investing in updating their lighting to take advantage. Enrolling in training programs like the one offered at North American Trade Schools will give you the electrical skills and knowledge you need to help them make the transition.

Beware Vampire Power! Advise Clients on the Value of Eco-Friendly Modes

It’s no secret that plugged-in appliances and devices draw tiny amounts of power even when they are not in use. This phenomenon, referred to as “vampire power” is quite small on the level of an individual device. However, multiply by all the devices typically found in a home or office — numerous computers, copiers, monitors, etc. — and the cumulative effect can quickly result in a fair amount of energy use.

Advising customers to select devices and appliances that offer eco-friendly modes, and to set the devices to use those modes when not in use, is a good way to help them reduce their energy costs when you become a maintenance electrician. To get a sense of some of the best ways to take advantage of these kinds of features, consider reaching out to your instructors while completing your training. With their years of experience working with electrical devices of all kinds, they may have a few useful perspectives that could help you in identifying other ways to operate devices with less wasted energy.

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