Electrical Tips & Advice (6)

Power outages are a fact of life; they are never fun, and every homeowner will experience one sooner or later.  Whether it is power outage due to severe weather or a fuse that has blown, your home will never be 100% untouchable from everyday wear and tear or a big storm.

How do I find out the source of the power outage? If the power has gone down and you want to find out the source of the outage follow these steps:

  1. Check the circuit breakers - All breakers should be on the “on” side, but if a breaker tripped, it would have moved to the “off” side. Make sure all breakers are in the same position. If all the breakers are in the “on” position, turn off the main breaker and then switch it back “on.”
  2. Check-In with your neighbors - If your power is still off, most likely, there was an outage in the neighborhood. Go outside and check. If you see other houses with no light, chances are, there was a power outage. If they do have power, an electric line may have gone down. If you see it, do not go near it. Call your local electric company if you see a downed line.
  3. Contact your electric company - If you don’t see a down line and your power is still out, call your local power company and let them know of the outage. Chances are, they already know, but either way, they can give you an update.
    • Flathead Electric has an outage map. If there’s already a verified outage listed in your area, click on the outage and sign up to receive updates. They will text you as soon as cause is determined and estimated time of restoration.
    • You can also call Flathead Electric 24/7 to verify or report an outage at: 406-751-4449 or 800-406-0762


  • Keep a variety of light sources available – Keep available in case of an outage: candles, propane or oil lamps, flashlights or headlamps (and extra fresh batteries) and even glow sticks can be used in a pinch if needed. Just practice safety with any light sources with flames.
  • If it’s cold out…stay warm – If it is cold out and you lose power, make sure to stay warm and keep yourself bundled up. Wear layers, a hat and gloves and cover up with blankets if need be. If you have a wood-burning stove or fireplace, and you have some wood stored, this would be the time to use it.
  • Save your refrigerated food – Try not to open the refrigerator. The more you expose your refrigerated food to room temperature, the faster it will spoil. You may want to consider placing perishable foods in a cooler with ice or even snow (if available) from outside to help preserve them. If you question the safety of your perishable food, follow the rule: “When in doubt, throw it out!”
  • Conserve your water – It’s important to have clean drinking water, so it would be prudent to keep bottled water stored for this type of emergency occasion. Also, you may want to fill up your bathtub and sinks with water in the event that outage last longer than expected. This saved water can be used for drinking or to flush the toilet.
  • Get unplugged – DO NOT UNPLUG THE REFRIGERATOR. However, unplug other appliances such as toaster oven, microwave and so on AND unplug all surge protectors with multiple electronics-- especially those attached to TV’s or computers. When the power comes back on, a power surge could damage these items.
  • Don’t try to fix it yourself – If your power outage is due to an electrical issue within your home, do not try and fix it yourself (beyond the tips above). Electrical work needs to be done by skilled and licensed professional to protect from potential damage to your home or personal injury.

Luckily power outages are really not that common but taking the steps above will help assure the safety of you and your family until the power comes back on. *** If you DO determine the power outrage is due to an electrical issue within your home, don't wait! Call the pros at CENTRAL as soon as possible at 406-756-6656.

At Central Heating, Cooling, Plumbing and Electrical your ‘COMFORT’ and SAFETY is always our CENTRAL concern! We are here for you 24/7!---- For all your heating, cooling, plumbing, electrical and drain cleaning needs.

***We service Kalispell, Whitefish, Columbia Falls, Bigfork, Polson, Lakeside, Somers or anywhere in the surrounding Flathead.





Tuesday, 19 March 2019 22:49

6 Springtime Electrical Safety Tips

Written by

Despite the cold, snowy winter we’ve had here in the Flathead Valley, March 20th marks the first day of spring (according to the calendar, anyway). With every new season, it is important that we make sure that the electrical components that we use inside and outside of the home are working properly.

Concentrating on electrical safety awareness aids in keeping you safe from possible injury and helps prevent electrical malfunction. Below are a few tips to keep you on top of your springtime electrical safety tips list:

  • The power tools and lawn tools come out for use when the weather warms up. Before using any electrical tools, check that the cords are not damaged or frayed and the plug is not broken. Otherwise, operating a damaged power tool can be potentially dangerous to the user.
  • As a rule of thumb, if a power tool is not being used, keep it unplugged. It is possible for the tool to overheat and potentially cause a fire. Also, keep unused power tools stored in a dry place.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings; electricity and water do not mix. You MUST for safety make sure you are working in a completely dry environment. So before plugging in power tools or even an electrical lawn mower or leaf blower, look for melted snow, standing water, running hoses or sprinklers and in particularly wet grass all of these circumstances can cause an electrifying experience you’ll regret if you are not careful.
  • Power lines can be potentially dangerous even if standing on the ground! As a rule of thumb, stay a minimum of 15 feet away from any and all power lines. So if you are working on other springtime tasks where you may need to use a ladder to crawl on the roof and clean the gutters or even using a long handled pool tool to clean out debris from the pool water, always be aware of how close the power lines are to you. PRO TIP: whether they are high voltage or low voltage lines, for safety…treat all power lines the same and keep your distance!!
  • Looking to plant a tree or shrub? Rototill for a garden? Put a fence in? Or any other reason you may have to dig a hole in the ground… Call 811!! Most utility services we use for our homes and businesses are buried under the ground. So before you dig, you must call 811; this free service is easy to use, mandated by the law and should be done two days before digging begins. You can also go to: https://www.montana811.com. This website was created to answer questions and help guide you through the “locate request process” to make sure you are safely digging.
  • Whether you like to fly kites or model airplanes or your kids do, if these warm weather toys get caught or tangled in an overhead power line, DO NOT try and get it down yourself. We cannot stress enough the dangers of electrical power lines. Something as simple as a kite string can conduct enough electrical current to cause serious injuries or even death.

Maintaining your home in any season is important. But when working with electricity and/or around electrical lines, it needs to be taken seriously and treated with caution to preserve your safety.

At Central Heating, Cooling, Plumbing and Electrical your ‘comfort’ and ‘safety’ is always our CENTRAL concern! Call 406-756-6656 for all your heating, cooling, plumbing, electrical and drain cleaning needs.

***We service Kalispell, Whitefish, Columbia Falls, Bigfork, Polson, Lakeside, Somers or anywhere in the surrounding Flathead.

Your home should be your sanctuary. A safe place where you can shut off the rest of the world and feel at peace. So with that said, household electrical safety is paramount! So if you are asking yourself, why are my lights flickering? Why does my circuit breaker keep tripping? Or why are my electrical bills so high?  This could be an indication of electrical issues on your home circuit.

Below is a list of appropriate solutions to common household electrical problems that will help reclaim some peace of mind.

Why are my light switches not properly working?

If you recently moved into a new home and find that you are coming across switches that are not activating anything at all, this may be a sign that there is an issue in the light switch itself, circuit or wiring. It may also indicate that the switches have been superseded and the fixture it once went to... has since been removed. Consult with the experts at CENTRAL if you’re experiencing any of these issues in your home.

Why am I experiencing electrical surges?

Electrical surges can be caused for a variety of reasons, from a damaged power line to a lightening strike from a nasty storm. An actual electrical surge typically only lasts a fraction of a second, which can damage and reduce the life electrical components in your home. Typically, frequent electrical surges are caused by an electrical device connected to the wiring itself or the home grid. Try removing any cheaply made devices from the outlet and see if that prevents the surges. Otherwise, we install a whole home surge protection device to protect your home from this happening again.

Why am I having dips in my power?

Faulty and substandard devices connected to your electrical system can often cause dips in your electrical supply. So if you are experiencing this…it’s likely that a device was made of substandard material and is draining your power supply when it is turned on.

Why is my circuit breaker tripping?

Items that have a high wattage such as hair dryers, microwaves and so on, can trip the circuit breaker especially when other power items are plugged into the same source. The good news is that the circuit breaker is doing its job and protecting you and your home, by tripping the circuit.  To help avoid circuit overload:

  • Limit high watt devices on any single circuit
  • Remove devices that are not being used (Phone charges still draw power even when not connected to your phone)
  • Don’t overload any single circuit and spread around your electrical needs
  • Unplug unnecessary electrical items

Why am I getting electrical shocks?

An electrical shock is a scary experience; it reminds us that electricity can be dangerous if not properly used and maintained. Typically the electrical shock we encounter happens as we turn an electrical devise on or off. The shock is likely coming from the appliance or the wiring in your home. To avoid another shocking experience, it is best to speak with an electrician.

Why is my electricity bill so high?

To reduce the cost of your electricity bill, here are a few tips:

  • Unplug appliances and power cords that are not in use
  • Repair damaged wires or circuits
  • Patch leaks in your hot water system
  • Make sure your HVAC system is regularly checked and running efficiently
  • Use energy efficient light bulbs, like LED, there other colors besides the ‘blue’ look.
  • Turn your lights off in rooms that are not in use

What to do if you have persistent electrical problems

When you encounter electrical issues within your home, call CENTRAL to diagnose the problem. Your Comfort is ALWAYS our Central concern! Call 406-756-6656 for all your heating, cooling, plumbing, electrical and drain cleaning needs.

***We service Kalispell, Whitefish, Columbia Falls, Bigfork, Polson, Lakeside, Somers or anywhere in the surrounding Flathead.



Wednesday, 20 December 2017 23:49

Christmastime Electrical Safety Tips

Written by

eautiful, sparkling light displays, inflatable holiday decorations, and other temporary electrical installations are all a part of the decorations for the holiday season.
Without a doubt, we tax our electrical system to power all these displays. While we could save energy and avoid any mishaps by skipping the electrical decorations this year, the holidays wouldn’t be the same without a few twinkling lights to enjoy.
Luckily you can still enjoy the lights and other holiday decorations and stay safe by following these safety tips:
Give Electrical Decorations a “once over”
Before hanging lights on your Christmas tree or the house, examine these decorations for any damage. Look for any bare wires, loose connections and never plug into broken or damaged sockets. Any of these issues could possibly start a fire or give you a good shock!
Live or Artificial Tree Safety
 According to the U.S. Fire Administration, avoidable electrical issues are the cause of one in three home Christmas tree fires. So whether you decide to use a live tree or an artificial tree to decorate and celebrate for the season, you should be aware of the potential hazards with both of these tree options.
-       Live Tree: If you are using a live tree, find a fresh one. The tree should be green with needles that don’t fall or pull off easily from the branch. Before setting the tree up, cut the trunk at a 45 degree angle and stick it in a tree stand with water to keep it fresh (and regularly check that it has water in the base). A tree that dries out due to lack of water is more likely to catch fire.
-       Artificial tree: When using an artificial tree, make sure that it is labeled as fire retardant. Artificial trees that are fire retardant aren’t free from catching on fire, but they do resist burning at a fast rate and can be put out rather quickly if it should happen.
Are Your Outdoor Lights…Outdoors?
If you are one of the millions-plus people that enjoy hanging lights on the outside of your house or in the trees, be sure to only use lights that are designed for outdoors. Lights specified for the outdoors are made to handle the snow, rain and other winter weather. Where lights meant for indoor use are not and may cause an electrical hazard if damaged by inclement weather.
Loose connections and Electrical Circuits on Overload
Poor support for outlets and switches not only look bad, but also can be potentially dangerous!! So be careful when plugging in lights and other electrical holiday decorations.
According to Central’s Master Electrician, Joel Zinne, Most fires that start this time of year are caused by loose connections.  “Loose” as when a cord wants to fall out of an outlet. These loose wires can arc and overheat, creating a potential fire hazard.”

Another electrical mishap to look out for is electrical outlets that are overloaded. For your own safety it is important to allocate your strand of lights among several extension cords. Extension cords include an amp rating that is not safe to exceed. If the combined amps of your lights strung together is higher than your cord can handle, you take the chance of the cord overheating and creating a fire hazard.  Rule of thumb: no more than three strands of lights should be strung together.
Leaving the Lights On
With all the holiday activity that goes on at this time of year, it’s easy to forget to turn the lights on or off.  Never leave the Christmas lights on when you are in bed sleeping or when you are not home. Leaving them on can become a safety issue and will increase your electric bill.  Consider getting a Christmas light timer to make this task a little easier.
Another Option for Lights
You may want to switch your lighting over to LED Christmas lights. They are safer, don’t get hot to touch and don’t burn out like other bulbs. Also, According to the U.S. Department of Energy, they use up to 75% less energy, and last 25 times as long!
Don’t Leave a Boiling Pot
Always stay in the kitchen when cooking. According to the National Fire Protection Association (http://www.nfpa.org/), The leading cause of home cooking fires start due to unattended cooking equipment.  Once your holiday meal is ready to eat and enjoy, check that your oven and all the burners of your stove are turned to the off position and unplug any other kitchen appliances no longer in use before leaving the kitchen area.
Christmas is a time meant for family and friends, joy, laughter and the Spirit of Christmas. Taking the time to follow these tips will help ensure that your holiday is safe for you and your loved ones.

Whether you are in Kalispell, Whitefish, Bigfork, Columbia Falls or anywhere else in the Flathead Valley. . .As always, your Safety and Comfort is our 
Central concern. Call 
406-756-6656 for all your heating, cooling, plumbing, electrical and drain cleaning needs.

 From all of us here at Central, we wish you a very Merry Christmas!!
Wednesday, 03 June 2015 00:00

10 Ways to Lower Your Electric Bill

Written by
Whether it’s the cold of winter or the heat of summer your electric bill can skyrocket when trying to keep your home comfortable in any season. Add to that, the electric draining gizmos we can’t live without, lights, TV’s and appliances. All which automatically expend power, even some when you have them turned off.
Here are 10 tips to help you lower your electric bill:
Tip #1:  Wear a sweater – Want to save $180.00 on your energy costs this year? In the cold months turn your thermostat down two degrees and wear a sweater. Not only will it save you money, but it will also help you burn calories!
Tip #2: Keep the Air Flowing – Change your furnace and air conditioning filters monthly. Keeping the air clean and flowing is good for your lungs and your electric bill. If you don’t know how to do it yourself, call CENTRAL.
Tip #3: Close your Curtains – In the summer to help keep you cooler on the hot days, lower your blinds and close your curtains on the sunny side of the house. To help prevent heat loss in the winter, close your curtains and blinds directly after dusk. This tip will allow you to stay cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter and help to cut down on increased electric usage.
Tip #4: Fill’er Up! – Your dishwasher is more water efficient and energy efficient when it is full. Research shows they also do a better job! So before you turn it on make sure that it is full!
Tip #5: Is it Really OFF? – A device or appliance may still be sucking electricity if it is plugged in. If a cord has a transformer, which is a small black cube at the end of the cord, you can almost count on it. If the cords to small appliances are hard to reach, plug the small appliances into a power strip and turn the power strip off when you are not using them. Devices that may need to be programmed such as clocks, DVD players and TV’s may require more work reprogramming then the savings provides.
Tip #6: Save by Sleeping – Spending an extra couple bucks on electronics such as, scanners, printers and other computer equipment that have, “sleep mode” can reduce the continuous draw of electricity and can save you money on your energy bill in the long run.  
Tip #7: The Lightbulb – A worthy investment for any household is fluorescent bulbs. Initially they are more expensive, but last about 10 times longer than the old fashion incandescent lightbulbs and can cost the same as six to 10 fluorescent bulbs.
Tip #8: Timing is Everything – An easy way to reduce energy costs is to install timers on your furnace and water heater. Set the timers to turn off while you sleep, and come back on just before you wake up. Otherwise, as you snooze. . . everything keeps running and you waste money.
Tip #9: Save Money by Preventing Wrinkles – An already warm dryer saves on energy costs. Remove laundry from the dryer when it is still warm to prevent wrinkles. Dry two or more loads in a row and take advantage of the heat inside the unit. Always remember to clean out the lint filter before adding another load. A clogged lint filter can create a safety hazard and can increase your energy use up to 30%.
Tip #9: Get your annual check-up – By far your biggest electricity devourer is your heating and air conditioning units. Typically they account for as much as 50% of your energy bill. By having an annual professional check-up you help ensure that they are running efficiently. You may want to consider CENTRAL’S, Comfort Care Program.
As you become a Comfort Care Program member you enjoy priority status with Central Heating, Cooling, Plumbing & Electrical. The benefits of membership give you peace of mind in knowing that the heating and cooling equipment in your home is maintained and inspected two times a year to ensure that it is running at peak efficiency and safety. For more information:http://www.centralmt.com/about/comfort-care-program
As always, your Comfort is our Central concern, call 756-6656, for all your heating, cooling, plumbing, electrical and drain cleaning needs.
April is Earth Month which focuses on sustainability and energy efficiency for our planet. With spring in full swing here in the “Valley”, folks are setting aside days and weekends to do some good old fashioned spring cleaning. Your springtime un-cluttering efforts can not only get your house in tip-top shape, but also decrease your energy usage, save money and provide you extra cash in your pocket.
“How can cleaning provide you extra cash” you may ask. . . First start by examining where you’re wasting your energy dollars. As you scour your home for dust bunnies and cob webs they are easy to find, and many are simple fixes. You just need to know where to look, and the savings will really begin to add up as your energy usage decreases.

Here’s a few simple suggestions to get you started:
  • Fans – Clean grease build up and dust your kitchen stove hood and exhaust fan. In the bathroom, dust ceiling fan covers and fan blades. Not only will it look better but also run more efficiently and save you money.

  • Clothing Dryer – Clean the lint from your filter and exhaust hose. This money savings task will also reduce the chance for an unsuspecting fire.

  • Refrigerator – Clean the front vent at the base and the dust under your refrigerator. Don’t forget to pull it away from the wall and dust off any exposed coils at the back. If you have a second refrigerator, consider retiring it. You can save up to $150.00 per year in energy costs. Plus when you turn in your old working refrigerators and freezers you can get a $50 rebate towards your bill from Flathead Electric Coop. For more information go to:http://wastenotproject.org/wheretorecycle_appliances.html.

  • Bulbs – When you are dusting your lamps and recessed lighting, see what kind of bulbs you are using. Replace incandescent light bulbs with energy saving LED lights. They are ecologically friendly and free of toxic chemicals; EXTREMELY energy efficient and consume up to 90% less power than the old-fashioned incandescent bulbs. To add to the benefits, bulb replacement is much less frequent due to the long lifespan of a LED!

  • Vents here, there and everywhere – Clean and go through all your exterior vents that are accessible. To include heating system, water heater, kitchen and bath exhaust. Make sure they are all free of dust, cob webs, lint, leaves and unsuspecting critters that made homes.

  • Electronics – Many electronics draw electricity even when they are turned off. First stop overpaying to power these big energy suckers by plugging them into an advanced power strip. This automatically cuts the electricity to any idle equipment you use. So as you dust around your TV, computer, gaming and other electronic equipment, stop and take a look how you’re plugged in.

  • Keeping it cool – With spring comes the hot months of summer. As you clean remember the most important maintenance task for your air conditioner is to routinely clean and/ or replace its filters. Normal air flow is reduced with clogged and dirty filters, which reduces your system’s efficiency. Keep in mind that systems in constant use or if you have fur bearing pets in the house, you are subject to more issues.

  • Replacing Major Appliances – If you’re considering replacing one or more major appliances, you can really “clean-up” by checking out the rebate offers available to the folks in the Flathead Valley at: http://www.flatheadelectric.com/energy/Rebates.html. Choosing the smart option model will save you money and energy usage for years to come.

  • Looking at the big picture – Planning home energy savings improvements or starting from scratch with a new home? Before the busy summer renovation/ new construction season is in full swing, give CENTRAL a call and speak with a pro. We can provide you a whole home assessment and make recommendations about the best energy saving options available and that fit within your budget.  
Energy efficiency plays a role in almost every aspect of what CENTRAL provides to our customers. Whether deciding on a geothermal heat pump, a new energy efficient furnace, tankless water heater, or a properly sized air conditioning unit; we can help you decrease your overall energy usage, help with other money saving rebates and put more cash in your pocket!
As always, your Comfort is our Central concern, call 756-6656, for all your heating, cooling, plumbing, electrical and drain cleaning needs.

Committed To Taking Care of You and Your Family

Our Call Center:
  • Professionally trained call center
  • Our Central team answers your calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
HVAC, Plumbing and Electrical Technicians:
  • Wear shoe covers, use work mats and thoroughly clean their work area
  • They spend time with you to understand your needs
  • Provide up front pricing – you’ll know the price before any work begins
  • All of our heating and cooling technicians, plumbers and electricians are licensed, professionals and trained to the highest quality standards
Your Comfort is our ‘Central’ Concern

Central Heating, Cooling, Plumbing and Electrical.
Schedule an appointment online now, or call 406-756-6656.

Nexstar Network       NATE      Lennox Dealer Kalispell     
Serving the Flathead Valley and Surrounding Area’s
  • Kalispell MT
  • Whitefish MT
  • Columbia Falls MT
  • Bigfork MT
  • Somers MT
  • Lakeside MT
  • Polson MT
Over 25 Years of Service