ServiceMax Blog

An Electrical Caution if Your Home Was Built between 1950 and 1990!

April 9th, 2018

electrical-panel-repairsWe hope we caught your attention with the headline, because if you live in a Chicagoland home built within that range, you may have a serious fire hazard in your home and not be aware of it.

The trouble is with panels installed between 1950 and 1990 by a now-defunct manufacturer called Federal Pacific Electric Company (FPE). These panels may contain Stab-Lok circuit breakers, which are defective and a serious fire hazard. Millions of these circuit breaker boxes were installed in homes throughout North America between 1950 and1990. Although these malfunctioning panels are responsible for thousands of fires every year, they were never issued a former recall after tests uncovered the defects. Professional electricians urge homeowners who live in houses built before 1990 to check if they have a FBE electrical panel with Stab-Lok breakers and call for an immediate replacement if they do.

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Shutting Down Your Gas Furnace at the End of the Season

March 26th, 2018

furnace-burner-flamesThe change of seasons is coming up, and I’m sure everyone here in Chicagoland is looking forward to warmer weather. We still have a few more weeks of temperatures in the 40s and possible cold snaps, but this is the time of year to prepare a home for the seasonal shift.

Should those preparations include a gas furnace shutdown? It’s a question people often ask, and we’ll provide you with an answer.

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Electrical Problems May Be the Trouble with Your Heating, Not the Heater

March 12th, 2018

electrical-panel-repairsYou need electricity to run your heating system. That’s true even if you have a gas-powered system like a gas furnace or boiler. Modern gas heaters use electronic ignition systems to fire up their burners and they also need electrical power for other components, such as the blower fan that sends heated air from a furnace and into the ventilation system.

If you run into trouble getting your heater to run, it’s possible you have an external electrical issue rather than an issue inside the heater. Regardless of what the source of the problem is, you’ll need experts—either in HVAC or residential electrical systems—to assist you with locating, identifying, and fixing the problem. Since we’re both electricians and HVAC technicians, you can trust us to find out what’s wrong with your heater and get your house warm again.

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We Work on Lighting for Churches and Other High Reach Areas

March 9th, 2018

scaffolding-for-high-reach-areasWhen the medieval cathedral evolved in Europe, the architects weren’t thinking about how to light them using electrical bulbs! In fact, they might have re-thought using such towering open spaces if they did. On the other hand, the acoustics of those cathedrals are too wonderful to dismiss.

Today, it’s still a challenge to light churches and other places of worship because of the high ceilings. This is true for any building with high ceilings, such as auditoriums and gyms. You need an expert electrical contractor who has the skill and equipment to take on this task.

And you’ve found the right people—here at ServiceMax! As part of our lighting services , we can replace and work on lighting in high reach areas at up to 40 feet ceiling heights. Churches are our specialty. We have special scaffolding and aerial lifts that allow us to handle such tricky jobs. (You can see a picture of one of our scaffoldings on this post, as well as an image of a completed job we’ve done once we’ve cleaned up.) Our team can get to all the hard to reach places and get the job done quickly and safely.

You only want the best electricians for any indoor lighting work. We’ve been in the service industry since 1998, and our electricians are licensed and experienced. Put us to work for your lighting in high reach areas and we’ll see you’re thrilled with the results.

ServiceMax serves Chicagoland, IL. We’re open all day, every day!

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Ductless Heating Installation Is a Good February Choice

February 26th, 2018

ductless-unit-on-wall-hand-with-remoteAlthough February is still winter and a reprieve from the cold is a good stretch away (sometimes farther away than we’d like to acknowledge), it’s still a good time to make improvements to your home’s heating system—especially if you’ve noticed the heater hasn’t been doing its job as well as usual during the past few months.

You’re probably already thinking: “That sounds like it will take too much time, and I need my heating system—good or bad—right now.” This is one of the reasons we think installing a ductless heating system is such a good idea: it’s a fast installation that creates minor disruption to your home. When our professionals are finished, you’ll not only have a great new heating system for the rest of the winter, but you’ll have a jump on the coming summer weather as well. Why? Because ductless heating systems are also ductless cooling systems!

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Why We Recommend AFCI and GFCI Outlets for Your Home

February 12th, 2018

GFCI-electrical-outletThe changes in electrical usage in homes over the last twenty years, even the last ten years, are nothing short of incredible. The average household now consumes more electricity than ever before because of the increase in charging electrical devices and powerful computers and home entertainment systems. Electrical circuitry and panels have to stay current with the rise in consumption, but the outlets have to change as well.

If your home still has two-pronged outlets or standard three-pronged outlets, we strongly recommend calling us to arrange for the installation of GFCI and AFCI outlets as replacements. What are these, and why should you make the upgrade? We’ll answer these questions for both outlet types below.

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Are There Any Furnace Repairs I Can Do Myself?

January 29th, 2018

hand-holding-wrenchA faulty or broken furnace is an emergency during a Chicago winter. No matter how well-insulated the home, no matter how many layers of clothes people pile on, there’s no way to deal with the bitter cold invading the house—except to have the furnace fixed as soon as possible.

How to do this? Call on professionals for heating repair in Oak Park, IL or elsewhere in Chicagoland. Our team of trained comfort experts can get any type of furnace back in shape. If necessary, they’ll replace the furnace with a new one. You can trust us for honesty and quality work every time.

But wait a second … we know what you’re thinking. You want to know if you can tinker with the furnace and fix the trouble yourself. It sounds like a much less expensive option, and you have confidence in your DIY skills. (You did put in that new tile floor yourself, after all!) Can you do any furnace repairs on your own?

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Some Suggestions for a Mid-Season Heating System Replacement

January 15th, 2018

man-keping-warmA home heater that breaks down in winter for the last time is bad news. You want to have an old heating system replaced ahead of time to conform to your schedule, not the heater’s! So if your furnace, boiler, heat pump, or other system is already looking like it won’t make it through to spring, we recommend you start considering what type of heater should be installed to replace it.

If you think you need a major change for your heating in Park Ridge, IL before the end of winter, we have suggestions to get you started thinking about that replacement. Don’t wait too long to schedule service if you think your current heater is close to the end. Talk to our heating professionals to find out the best new system and have it put in place soon so you don’t miss out on heat this winter.

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Never Delay with Gas Furnace Repairs

January 1st, 2018

basemetn-gas-furnaceThe natural gas furnace is the backbone of winter heating in the U.S. Here in Chicago, it’s one of the best ways to heat a home through another tough winter: not only does a gas furnace provide a high level of heat output and work fast at delivering it, it also saves money compared to electric models because natural gas doesn’t cost as much as electricity.

There is a concern with gas furnaces, however, and it’s one you’ve probably already considered. Any natural gas-powered appliance is at risk of creating safety hazards because of the leak of toxic fumes and combustion concerns. We don’t want you to feel panicked by your gas furnace, since modern heaters are built with numerous safety features. If you have your gas furnace maintained each year by professionals and put carbon monoxide detectors around the house, you’ll be in good shape as far as safety goes.

One more important way to stay safe with your gas furnace: never procrastinate about calling for repairs if the furnace shows signs something is wrong with it. You can always call on us for heater repair in Niles, IL or elsewhere in Chicagoland, and we’ll come to your assistance any time of the day or night.

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Why We Recommend Generator Installation

December 18th, 2017

natural-gas-generatorElectricity is such a basic part of our lives that we rarely stop to think about all that it does for us. It’s simply always there when we flick on a switch, turn on an appliance, or plug in a phone or laptop to charge. But what if that electricity suddenly vanished? Stopped working and didn’t turn back on a few minutes later? What if it stayed off for hours or even days? Think about the impact an extended power outage like that would have on your life and on your family.

Unfortunately, long blackouts are a possibility during winter. Downed power lines, accidents at power plants, or grid failures can mean whole blocks going black for extended periods. You can’t prevent these power failures, but you can protect yourself with a generator.

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