Z'Electrical Gazette

May 2009

Volume 13

Zotz Electrical Logo

May 2009 Volume 13     http://www.zotzelectrical.com/     Zotz Electrical     612-501-2012, 320-983-2500

Z'Electrical Logo

Product Spotlight

Arlington Box Extender

Arlington Box Extenders are a good device to use when the outlet box is recessed too far into the wall, this usually happens when the electrician doesn't know that the wall will be finished with some form of wood or a sound barrier is installed. The National Electrical Code article 314.20 states that outlet boxes with a non-combustible finish material shall not be set back more than a 1/4" of the finished surface and the box must be flush with the finish surface in a combustible finished wall. The Arlington Box Extender is listed for this correction and works excellently.

Another application for the Arlington Box Extender is when the finished surface around the outlet box is too large for the securing tabs on the switch or receptacle and the device is flopping around in the box. Especially on receptacles, which could also be a safety hazard if the hot terminals on the receptacle touch a metal box. With hard rigid receptacle plates, I have seen that the non-stable receptacle will break the plate when cords are plugged into them and eventually, the plates fall off. Which exposes the electrical terminals, waiting for someone to touch them and giving them a jolt. When the box extender is used, it can secure itself to the finished surface and gives the device a place to set it's securing tabs to, making the device sturdy and safe to plug in to.

Made of heavy-duty, non-conductive plastic, they level and support wiring devices. They prevent arcing by forming a barrier between a metal box and metal side screws on the device. They are made in single gang to four-gang wall and round or octagonal ceiling boxes. Arlington’s box extenders meet NEC article 314.20 requirements and deliver a two-hour fire rating.

Arlington Box Extenders

Electrical Technical

Do You Really Save Anything?

In light of our current economic situation, we are all looking for deals on everything we purchase. That is also true when it comes to the building industry. There are deals out there and I am not against anyone that would want to invest wisely but what I am really talking about is labor and material.

The problems that we faced in the building industry during this past boom cycle are akin to the new problems that we are now seeing. During the boom, many businesses were started to take part in the financial reward of the demand and prices escalated. Businesses that should not have opened because they did not have the knowledge or integrity to provide a good product did open. Apprentice tradesmen and sales people became shop owners and realtors because they saw the dollar signs that would come if they hung their shingle but they were not fully trained to excel in their trade. At the time, it did not really matter, there was volume to be produced and money to be made. But now we see the effect of that time, we now have a surplus of product, the startup companies are now gone & have moved on to other things and any problems with their product now needs to be cleaned up by someone else, at the expense of the consumer because there is no one to warranty it.

Now, in the downward economy, what businesses that are left have had to lower their rates and use inferior products to try to keep their doors opened. There have been numerous lay-offs and the licensed contractors are now bidding against laid-off tradesmen for the same work. And that is primarily our new problem.

I can not blame someone for trying to feed their families but in so doing, they are bringing themselves and the consumer in jeopardy. The benefits of using an unlicensed contractor are appealing because of the cost savings. But what do you really save? There is a reason why the state licenses contractors. The main reason is that there is accountability to the state through inspection so the consumer will receive a good and safe product. There is insurances and bonds that are required to operate a contracting business. These are all put in place to protect the customer. If an unlicensed contractor is hired, these accountability measures are not in place for the consumers safety, both physical and financial.

If the job is done without inspection, anything goes. The products that are used may not be code legal or the construction methods may be suspect and lead to hazardous situations. In my industry, there have been times when a fire has started in a structure that had no inspections for electrical work and the insurance company has not paid the damages because of that. There have been many times in all the trades where an unlicensed contractor has done work for someone, did not finish it for whatever reason, applied faulty workmanship or was not able to complete it to the customer's satisfaction and have had to hire a licensed contractor to complete it. What did they save?

This article is more an editorial than an article but I hope that it stimulates thought about whom is hired for your project. Just as in the boom time, good money was going to bad workmanship because of demand, now good money could be going to a different breed of problems. Even with the cost savings of unlicensed labor, it is still better to protect yourself with safe & inspected building methods and against litigation that you may have no ability to win because of the hiring of an unlicensed contractor if a problem should arise.

Current News

Great River Energy Receives Governor’s Award

Maple Grove, Minn. – In recognition of its environmental stewardship, Great River Energy was awarded the Minnesota Governor’s Award for Pollution Prevention on April 30, 2009. The award was presented for the organization’s commitment to environmental leadership through its green building and recycling efforts. “It’s important to us to practice common sense ways to minimize our environmental footprint,” said Great River Energy Environmental Service Manager Mary Jo Roth. “In the process we also demonstrate to others how they can use less energy and reduce their impact on the environment.”

Great River Energy’s new headquarters building in Maple Grove was awarded Platinum LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. The award is the highest designation available to buildings that demonstrate energy efficiency and sustainability. The building is the first in Minnesota to achieve the distinction and one of fewer than 100 buildings worldwide to receive the designation.

Read the full article at Great River Energy's press room

Fluorescent T-12 Retrofit Incentives

If your business has fluorescent T-12 fixtures, it would be advantageous to ask Zotz Electrical to give you a bid on retrofitting the fixtures to the fluorescent T-8 technology. The electrical power companies are giving rebates as an incentive to get businesses to change out the old T-12 lamps. They give the rebate incentive because the T-8 technology is so much more energy efficient. And because of that, they will not have to build more power plants or purchase more electricity if they do not generate power for themselves. It is quite a simple procedure, we reuse the fixture housing and replace only the ballasts and lamps to adapt for the fluorescent T-8s.

The benefits for you to retrofit these fixtures are;

  • A rebate from your power company to help pay for the installation cost.
  • Decreased charges on your electrical bill.
  • Payback on installation cost in two to three years, depending on your usage.
  • Very little maintenance with the T-8.
  • T-8 lamps retain their lumen output for a longer period.
  • The T-8 electronic ballasts last longer before needing to be replaced.
  • The T-8 electronic ballasts do not hum or buzz.
  • The T-8 electronic ballasts do not create as much heat as the T-12 ballasts which will cut down on air conditioning costs.
  • If one T-8 lamp burns out, the others will stay illuminated.

What Zotz Electrical will do for you in the retrofit process is we will explain the benefits for you, do the installation when your business is closed for your convenience, dispose of the old lamps & ballasts and fill out the paperwork for you for your rebate. Call us at 612-501-2012 or 320-983-2500 or send us an e-mail to discuss the benefits and receive a bid for your retrofit.


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