ACI Northwest Blog : Archive for August, 2014

The Very First Labor Day Celebration

Friday, August 29th, 2014

Labor Day as a federal holiday, held on the first Monday of September, has been with us now for 120 years. President Grover Cleveland signed the law that made Labor Day a national holiday in 1894. Ever since then, the three-day weekend has provided people in the U.S. with the opportunity for vacations, time with their families, shopping trips, and a general celebration of the conclusion of summer and the beginning of fall.

However, there were twelve years of Labor Day observations in the U.S. before it became an official holiday. The first Labor Day celebration took place in 1882 in New York City on September 5. According to the accounts from the time, it had a rough start and almost didn’t happen.

The main event planned for that first Labor Day was a parade along Broadway that was to start at City Hall. However, the parade ran into a bit of a snag early on. The marchers started to line up for the procession around 9 a.m., with a police escort to make sure the event went peacefully. However, the problem of the day wasn’t rowdy members of the parade—it was that nobody had remembered to bring a band!

With people ready to march, but no music to march to, it started to look like no parade would happen at all, and the first Labor Day would have ended up a failure. But just in time, Matthew Maguire of the Central Labor Union—one of the two men who first proposed the celebration—ran across the City Hall lawn to the Grand Marshal of the parade, William McCabe, to inform him that 200 men from the Jeweler’s Union of Newark were crossing the ferry to Manhattan… and they had a band!

At 10 a.m., only an hour late, the band from Newark walked down Broadway playing a number from a popular Gilbert and Sullivan opera. They passed McCabe and the other 700 marchers, who then fell in line behind them. Soon, the spectators joined in, and an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 people marched through Lower Manhattan.

According to the New York Times, “The windows and roofs and even the lamp posts and awning frames were occupied by persons anxious to get a good view of the first parade in New York of workingmen of all trades united in one organization.”

The parade concluded two hours later when the marchers reached Reservoir Park. But the party was only getting started. Until 9 p.m., some 25,000 people celebrated with picnics and speeches and beer kegs. It was an enormous success, and all thanks to the speedy arrival of jewelers carrying band instruments.

If those musicians from Newark hadn’t shown up, perhaps we wouldn’t have the holiday opportunity that we now have every year. However you celebrate your Labor Day, our family at ACI Northwest wishes your family a happy end of summer.

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Signs You Need Electrical Service to Upgrade Your Outlets

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

Older outlets can become a source of irritation or even danger. As the electrical demands in your house increase with each year (think about how many more powered appliances you have competing for plug space now compared to only 10 years ago), the outlets will become more out of date and unable to handle the demands placed on them. This can lead to power outages, broken outlets, and even electrical fires and the risk of electrocution.

If you have aging and faulty outlets, you need to call for electricians to upgrade them, and possibly upgrade other parts of your electrical system as well. Look out for the following signs that you need electrical service in Spokane Valley, WA to upgrade your home’s outlets. Contact ACI Northwest for outlet installation and any other services you need for the electrical system in your home. Our years of experience will make sure you receive the best work possible.

Indicators you need outlet upgrades

  • Sparking or warm outlets: One of the major dangers from older outlets is the chance of electrical fires starting because of faulty wiring. A warning that this is happening is when outlets start to feel warm to the touch or spark whenever you plug anything in to them. Also watch for marks of charring on the outside of outlets, which will warn that an electrical fire has already occurred behind the outlet plate.
  • Tripped circuit breakers: If you plug in an appliance to an outlet, and it immediately causes a circuit breaker to trip (or a fuse to blow if you have an older fuse box), then there may be something wrong with the outlet, the electrical system, or both. If this continues to occur, call for repairs right away to see where the problem is.
  • They aren’t GFCI outlets: GFCI outlets (ground fault circuit interrupters) are outlets that have two buttons located between the outlet sets, marked RESET and TEST. If you do not have this type of outlet in your home (or you don’t even have three-pronged grounded outlets) you should schedule an upgrade. GFCI outlets can determine if electricity is flowing through a person and cut off the voltage before causing a severe electrical shock. They are an excellent way to protect the people in your house from receiving high voltage shocks from the outlets or any appliance connected to them.

Please do not attempt to replace outlets on your own! This is potentially hazardous work for non-professionals, and you can risk damaging your electrical system. Call for licensed electricians for all your needs for electrical service in Spokane, WA. ACI Northwest is here to help you upgrade your home’s electrical system, whether you need new outlets, a circuit breaker panel to replace a fuse box, or new wiring.

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Signs You Should Replace Your Circuit Breaker Panel

Friday, August 15th, 2014

If you have a circuit breaker panel for your home’s electrical system, then you are already ahead of a house that still uses an older fuse box. However, a circuit breaker panel is still subject to the pressures and wear of time, and eventually you may need to have a new unit installed. This job requires professional electricians to handle: don’t try to purchase a circuit breaker panel and put it in yourself, since you will risk high voltage shocks, a poorly functioning panel, and fire hazards from bad wiring.

Call ACI Northwest in Spokane, WA for electrical service that will replace your current circuit breaker panel. We provide a full range of services for home electricity, and we are on call 24 hours a day so we’re always there when you need us.

Warning signs to replace your circuit breaker panel

  • Breakers are tripping more often: Although frequently tripping circuit breakers can indicate a number of electrical problems, such as power surges and bad circuity, they can also warn that the electrical panel is wearing down and no longer functioning correctly. Call an electrician to look into the problem and see if the panel needs replacement.
  • Circuit breakers will not remain reset: This is a more specific warning than the above: if you reset a tripped breaker, but it will not stay that way for more than a few minutes, it most likely indicates that the panel itself is at fault and needs the experienced eyes of a professional electrician.
  • Burning smells from the panel: A major danger from a circuit breaker going bad is that it can cause fires inside the panel. If you notice an acrid smell from the panel, or other signs of burning, such as breakers that are hot to the touch or charring around the breakers, then you need to call for electrical help immediately and have a new panel put it.

Always, always, call on licensed electricians for work on the circuits, outlets, switches, and other components in your electrical system. This will ensure that the job is done right and you and your family is kept safe.

If you notice any of the above signs, or if you simply feel that your panel is too old to safely do its job, call for electrical service in Spokane, WA from ACI Northwest. We work hard every day to bring our customers complete satisfaction.

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3 Common Evaporator Unit Problems

Friday, August 8th, 2014

The standard “split” central air conditioning system consists of two units: The outdoor unit is known as the condenser, where the AC releases and vents heat to the outside air. The condenser also contains the vital component of the compressor. The indoor unit is called the evaporator, where the evaporator coil absorbs heat from the air, and a blower fan sends it into the ventilation system to the rooms of the house.

The evaporator unit can run into a number of problems that will reduce the cooling ability of the AC and impair its airflow, possibly leading to a full breakdown. Should you notice any trouble with your air conditioner’s operation, contact a company like ACI Northwest immediately and let our trained technicians handle the issue. For more than 85 years, we have delivered excellent air conditioning repairs in Spokane, WA that has kept customers returning to us.

Three of the More Common Evaporator Unit Problems

  1. Ice on the evaporator coil: People often shrug off the appearance of a layer of frost along the indoor coil because they assume it’s a natural part of the cooling process. But any ice on the evaporator coil means serious trouble occurring within the system. It could be a refrigerant leak, a clogged air filter, or grime across the coil. Call for technicians to look into the trouble immediately to discover what is wrong, fix it, and then defrost the coil. If left without repair, the ice will continue to grow until it blocks the coil from performing heat exchange.
  2. Blower motor malfunction: The blower fan is essential both for sending conditioned air into the ventilation system and for running warm air across the evaporator coil to remove its heat. If the blower fan motor starts to fail due to wear, loss of lubrication, or electrical issues, it could cause the blower to stop entirely and prevent the AC from cooling. Major mechanical issues like this always require a technician to fix.
  3. Clogged air filter: The evaporator unit draws air into it through the return vents, and these vents can carry large amounts of dust, dander, and fibers that may damage the interior of the AC. To prevent these contaminants from entering the evaporator, an air filter traps the particles. But unless the air filter is changed regularly, it will become clogged and eventually begin to impede airflow into the system, leading to excess strain and higher AC bills. Make sure to change the filter once a month during air conditioning season, and call for technicians if a clogged filter has triggered a malfunction inside the AC.

Aside from routinely changing the filter, do not attempt to repair an AC on your own. Always call for professionally trained air conditioning repair in Spokane, WA from an experienced company with a long history. ACI Northwest is here for your cooling and heating needs, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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