Does a Home Need a Standby Generator?

Every Home Benefits From Having a Generator

Homeowners are no strangers to sudden power outages. Sometimes, all it takes is a mild thunderstorm to knock the power out. This can spell disaster for people who work from home, have family dependent on medical equipment, or otherwise don’t feel like sitting in a dark and uncomfortable home for hours.

Thankfully, there’s a solution: whole-home generators. These supplementary devices can keep the electricity and appliances running even when the electrical grid is down. Here, one can learn if their home would benefit from having a generator installed and how it helps the entire household.

rainGenerators Benefit Homes in Areas With Heavy Rain or Storms

Here’s a scenario Florida homeowners know all too well. A storm or hurricane brews outside, knocking out the power. Soon, the house gets drafty, humid, and plain uncomfortable. With a generator, homeowners can avoid the uncomfortable inconveniences of power outages, as they can keep the electricity and appliances like water heaters and heating and air conditioning systems on.

HVAC systems not only heat and cool homes but also help maintain good indoor air quality by controlling humidity. When they cannot be used due to an outage, the home can deal with uncomfortable temperatures and a humid and muggy feeling indoors. A standby generator also allows for the continued use of the water heater, so nobody is stuck taking cold showers.

power outageGenerators Benefit Houses That Frequently Lose Power

Some homes and areas, like Florida, are more likely to experience power outages than others. This is also an issue with older homes, residences by the beach, and mobile homes. If a house loses power more than a few times a year, it can benefit significantly from a whole-house generator installation. When the power goes out without a backup generator, homeowners risk:

  • Food spoiling: Meat, dairy products, and other food can spoil in hours if the refrigerator and freezer lose power. A backup generator prevents this by supplying power, helping homeowners save money on replacing spoiled food.
  • Having medical equipment fail: Some individuals rely on breathing machines and medical devices that must remain plugged in. When a home loses power, a generator can help keep these devices working and residents safe.

Generators Benefit Homes That Lose Power During the Summer Heat

Some electrical systems can’t take the heat––literally. When it gets too hot outside, the heat can strain the power lines, and the electrical system may cease operations until the heat dies down to prevent fires and other scares. There’s no controlling the heat, and when power outages strike. However, homeowners can control what happens when they lose power.

A whole-home generator keeps the power on, including the air conditioning, so the summer heat doesn’t become dangerous to residents, keeps them cool and comfortable, and ensures that homeowners don’t have to risk losing access to their appliances, electronics and other necessities.

About Southwest Florida Electric Inc.

Southwest Florida Electric Inc. is a local, family-owned and operated company serving Fort Myers and the surrounding areas. They offer upfront pricing, the latest technology, and financing options. Call them today for whole house generator installation in Fort Myers, FL.

holiday decorations

Prevent Electrical Problems From Giving You a Scare This Halloween

Safety Tips for Keeping Halloween Electrical Scare-Free

Halloween has always been about scares, but no homeowner wants to worry about an electrical scare. As homeowners adorn their houses with spooky decor and lighting, it’s crucial to remember electrical safety. In this post, electricians offer some tips to keep the Halloween season safe from fire and other electrical hazards.

Inspect Electrical Holiday Decorations

One of the best ways to ensure that electric holiday decorations and holiday light installation for Halloween celebrations are as safe as possible is to check the lights and decor for any signs of damage, such as damaged or frayed cords and wiring. Other signs of damage include loose, wobbly bulbs, broken or damaged sockets, and glass bulbs with a smoky discoloration or a telltale black or gray appearance. These indicate that those holiday lights or decor shouldn’t be used and should be replaced.

Homeowners should also take note of the proper way of installing or putting up lights and other electrical decor. When hanging lights, electricians stress the importance of avoiding the use of staples, nails, and other sharp objects as these can not only damage the wires but also conduct electricity and create a fire and safety hazard. 

Prevent an Overloaded Circuit

overloaded outletAnother way to keep holiday light installations and decorating safe is to avoid an overloaded outlet and circuit, which usually happens when too much power is drawn from a single source. To counter this, homeowners should spread the power draw around by connecting their holiday decor to different outlets to avoid overloading circuits

It is also vital to avoid connecting multiple extension cords together. Extension cords shouldn’t be overloaded as well. It shouldn’t have more devices plugged into it that draw more power than it can safely handle, as this can lead to an overloaded circuit that may become a fire hazard. It’s best to plug lights or decorations directly into an outlet.

Some Signs It’s Time to Schedule Electrical Repair

electrical repairSometimes, homeowners may notice signs that indicate an electrical problem while decorating for holidays. It’s essential to have an electrician perform the required repairs before the home uses more electricity for holiday lighting and decorations. Some signs that indicate electrical repair is needed include the following:

  • Dimming or flickering lights: Lights that flicker or dim, especially when another device is plugged into the same circuit, can indicate that the circuit is overloaded or another issue that requires repair.
  • Malfunctioning or damaged outlets: Outlets that show signs of damage, including loose receptacles, burn marks, electrical sparks, and overheating, as well as those that are not working correctly, should be inspected and repaired or replaced by an electrician.
  • Breaker trips or blown fuses: Breakers that trip often or fuses that blow are sure signs of an electrical issue or overloaded electrical circuit. 
  • Burning smell: If homeowners smell burning, it can indicate an electrical problem or even the start of an electrical fire, so it needs to be addressed immediately. 

About Southwest Florida Electric Inc.

Southwest Florida Electric Inc. has more than ten years of expertise serving Fort Myers and the surrounding areas. They offer upfront pricing, on-time service, and the latest technology. Call them today for electrical repair and troubleshooting in Fort Myers, FL.

Common Signs of Electrical Wiring Problems at Home

Keep Homes Safe From Electrical Fire Hazards by Catching Faulty Wiring

Did you know that faulty electrical wiring is one of the leading causes of house fires in the US? According to the National Fire Protection Association, wiring and related equipment account for around 68% of home fires directly caused by electrical distribution and lighting equipment. This is a staggering number, especially because most electrical fires can be prevented with proper installation, use, and maintenance of a home’s electrical system. To prevent this, homeowners should watch out for the following signs of electrical wiring problems at home and have an electrician fix it. 

Blown Fuses and Tripped Breakers 

Occasionally, a circuit breaker trips, or a fuse is blown at home. It isn’t uncommon, especially when many devices are plugged into a single circuit. In fact, a blown fuse or a tripped circuit breaker is a good thing. It means that the safety measures designed to protect a home from sudden power surges or too much electrical demand work. 

However, it’s something else entirely when these incidents occur more frequently. Homeowners who notice that their breakers trip or fuses blow often should call a qualified electrician to inspect the electrical system, determine the problem, and fix any wiring issues that could be causing these issues.

Scorch Marks and Hot Outlets

outletsAnother sign of wiring problems that homeowners need to keep an eye out for is the presence of burn or scorch marks on an electrical outlet. Scorch marks could be the beginning of an electrical fire, especially if they feel that the outlet is also hot to the touch. 

Electrical outlets, in general, should not be hot even while in use, and any heat that comes from it could be a sign of faulty electrical wiring. This energy leak has the potential to heat up the wires and fry appliances. A more significant hazard is that it can also cause a fire. 

Strange Sounds and Burning Smells

smellHomeowners who notice a buzzing sound coming from their electrical outlets may be tempted to brush it off as the electrical hum of a working device or appliance. However, buzzing sounds from an outlet are worth a second thought. That buzzing sound could be caused by an electrical current that isn’t flowing properly and could be caused by faulty electrical wiring. 

Aside from buzzing sounds, another red flag to watch out for is the smell of burning plastic from electrical outlets. That burning smell is likely due to electrical wiring getting fried. In this case, the best thing to do is to unplug all appliances and contact an electrician immediately to correct the issue before it becomes a major concern that could spark an electrical fire.

About Southwest Florida Electric Inc.

Southwest Florida Electric Inc. is a family-owned and operated company serving Fort Myers and the surrounding areas since 2010. They offer upfront pricing, on-time arrival, and rigorously trained electrical technicians. Call them today for electrical wiring repair and replacement in Fort Myers, FL

Take Preemptive Safety Precautions for National Wellness Month

Essential Safety Measures 

Home is the place where people should feel safest. It is where we relax at the end of a long day, where we are greeted by people who love and care for us, and where we leave the stress at the door. In celebration of National Wellness Month, which is dedicated to promoting self-care, happiness, and stress reduction, we should look closer at our homes and find ways to make them safer, healthier, and happier places to spend time in. Here are some tips from electricians to help families stay safer in their homes. 

Stay a Step Ahead With a Smoke Detector

smoke detectorsOne of the easiest ways to improve the safety of a home is by installing smoke detectors. As the name implies, a smoke detector is a device designed to sense the presence of smoke to alert households to the danger and help prevent a small flame from turning into a full-blown fire. 

In the U.S., every home must be equipped with smoke detectors placed in strategic areas in the house. In the event that smoke is detected, these battery-operated devices will trigger an alarm to alert a home’s occupants of the fire risk, so it is essential to test smoke detectors regularly and replace the batteries when needed. 

Be Protected With a Carbon Monoxide Detector

carbon monoxide detectorLike smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors are also a crucial component in maintaining safety in the home. Whether it is a separate device or a combination smoke and carbon monoxide detector, they are designed to detect the presence of carbon monoxide. This odorless, colorless gas is poisonous when inhaled and can be lethal, especially in high concentrations. This gas, produced when carbon in fuel is burned incompletely, can be a byproduct of small engines, gas stoves, furnaces, and fireplaces.  

Carbon monoxide detectors are especially important because they help detect what could be an invisible assailant at home. Without these devices, homeowners exposed to carbon monoxide may not even know that they’ve inhaled this gas until they’ve started showing symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, such as vomiting, dizziness, headache, chest pain, and confusion. 

Schedule Routine Electrical Safety Inspections

Another way to protect homes and their occupants from safety hazards is by having an electrician conduct regular electrical inspections to determine the health of a home’s electrical system. An electrical inspection, which experts recommend every three to five years, is meant to check whether a home’s electrical system meets current safety standards and if any problems must be addressed to protect residents from electrical dangers like electrocution or fire.

Homeowners should also note that they don’t need to wait the recommended three to five years between electrical safety inspections if they observe any signs pointing to compromised electrical safety. If electrical problems occur, such as flickering lights, sparking, discolored or hot outlets, burning odors, short circuits, or small electrical shocks when plugging in or unplugging a device, an inspection must be conducted immediately.

About Southwest Florida Electric Inc.

Southwest Florida Electric Inc. is a family-owned and operated company serving Fort Myers and the surrounding areas since 2010. They offer upfront pricing, on-time arrivals, and the latest technology. Call them today for electrical services in Fort Myers, FL.  

Electrical Safety First: Installing Childproof Outlets

What Is a Tamper Resistant Outlet?

One could easily describe outlets as both incredibly useful and incredibly dangerous. They give homes access to electricity, which is beneficial and harmful. Children, especially young ones, are naturally curious about such things and will want to experiment. A tamper-resistant outlet protects them from hurting themselves when trying to stick something inside. This post will discuss these childproof outlets, their benefits, and signs to replace an outlet.  

Operating a Tamper Resistant Outlet

Tamper-resistant outlets are installed to prevent children from accidentally sticking their fingers or objects into the electrical outlet. This type of outlet is designed with a built-in shutter system that prevents small objects from entering the outlet. The shutters are spring-loaded, so when the correct thing, such as a plug, is inserted, the shutters automatically move apart to allow the plug inside. Once the plug is removed, the shutters close back up again. 

Another safety measure with tamper-resistant outlets is that they require two simultaneous inputs with equal force on both sides for an appliance to receive power. For example, if a child sticks their finger into one of the slots, the other slot must also be activated simultaneously to supply power. This feature prevents children from inserting objects into outlets and suffering electric shock or burns because electricity is only sent when both are occupied.

Advantages of Childproofing With These Outlets

outletThough the significant benefits of these tamper-resistant outlets may be obvious, this section will review them. Though it is primarily about electrical safety, there are other practical reasons to install childproof outlets in a home. 

  • Safer than the alternative:  Are these outlets necessary when a person can buy a package of childproofing outlet covers for practically nothing? The problem with plastic outlet covers that plug into outlets is that little fingers can learn to remove them, and they become a choking hazard. Tamper-resistant outlets don’t have parts that small hands can remove.
  • Appeal to home buyers: A house with these outlets can be much more appealing to families looking to purchase a home.
  • Safe for everyone: While not everyone has children, they may have pets or babysit or have nieces and nephews that come over. Tamper-resistant outlets can be helpful in these cases as well. It works very well with a universal design that allows everyone to be safe. 

Indicators an Outlet Needs to Be Replaced

outletThere are common signs that indicate a need for outlet replacement that should not be ignored. If a homeowner sees any of these signs, they should have a professional replace the outlet and consider installing one that is childproof. Some common symptoms requiring outlet replacement include:

  • The outlet is warm to the touch.
  • There is sparking coming from it.
  • There is a burning smell or burnt plastic smell.
  • The outlet casing is cracked or has scorch marks.
  • Plugs are loose or fall out of the outlet easily.

About Southwest Florida Electric Inc.

Southwest Florida Electric Inc. is a local family-owned and operated business serving Fort Myers and the surrounding communities. They provide upfront pricing, the latest technology, and financing options. Call them today for childproof outlet installation in Fort Myers, FL

Backyard Upgrades That Set the Stage for a Summer Soiree

Prepare Outdoor Spaces for Summer Entertainment 

The best thing about summer is that it allows people to slow down a little and relax. While some people choose to take vacations and others plan to relax, one of the summer’s favorite pastimes is going to a backyard party or cookout. Firing up the grill and having friends and family over is a great way to enjoy the summer. To set the stage for all those good memories, ensure the home is ready. Why not set the yard up for successful parties by upgrading the space? Here are some of the most sought-after features for outdoor gatherings. 

Install Exterior Lighting 

lightingMany people plan their parties or gatherings to start after sundown to beat the summer heat. While this is great for the comfort of the guests, it presents a problem, namely the fact that lighting will be an issue. An outdoor space’s exterior lighting must be perfect to set the right atmosphere while being bright enough for safety. So homeowners should plan their outdoor space with appropriate exterior lighting. 

Start with the essentials. According to building codes, all exterior doors must be lit to provide safe access. Wall lanterns and decorative lighting provide utilitarian light without washing out the surrounding area. Step lights are the perfect addition around steps and stoops, making walking safe and providing a gentle, warm light. Pathway lights extend around the property to add to ambient light and guide people safely along walkways. Finally, people can add some landscape lighting, string lights, and pendants to accentuate certain parts of the yard and create the right mood. With the right combination of outdoor lighting, homeowners can create the perfect ambiance. 

Get a Backup Generator 

generatorSummer is notoriously hard on the electrical grid, with harsh storms. When that or other electrical issues happen, homes can lose power. Not only can a power outage ruin a summer party, but it can also cause food to spoil and be a safety threat for those who rely on medical equipment that needs power. 

However, homeowners don’t have to worry about the power going out by having a backup generator professionally installed to provide a seamless transition between grid power and backup power. With a standby generator, every power outage can be an excuse to throw a party and invite people who have lost power!  

Put in a Pool or Hot Tub 

Every summer party needs things to entertain guests. While firing up the grill is great, some people want something more. Putting in a pool or a hot tub is an excellent way to upgrade an outdoor space and gives everyone something to do while they wait for food to finish cooking or for the sun to go down and helps them stay cool in the summer heat. 

Always use a qualified electrician to do the wiring when installing a pool or hot tub. With the expertise of a professional electrician, homeowners can have the confidence that their pool or hot tub is safe and has been installed correctly. The backyard will be ready for guests and fun summers with some upgrades!

About Southwest Florida Electric Inc.

Southwest Florida Electric Inc. has over a decade of experience serving Fort Myers and the surrounding areas. They provide upfront pricing, on-time arrivals, and the latest technology. Call them today for electrical services in Fort Myers, FL.

Celebrate Electrical Safety Month This Spring!

May is National Electrical Safety Month!  

Electrical safety should be a top priority for everyone. Ignoring electrical safety measures can lead to severe accidents that can cause harm to people and property. People can help ensure a safe and secure environment by being vigilant and following proper safety protocols. This blog post will discuss crucial electrical safety devices and tips to help homeowners stay safe from electrical hazards. 

Install Electrical Safety Devices 

electricalThe following devices can help prevent dangerous electrical hazards:

  • Ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs): This device automatically shuts off power to a circuit if it senses a hazard, like a ground fault, to prevent electrocution.  
  • Fuses and circuit breakers: These are safety devices designed to prevent electrical overloads and electrical fires. However, there are some key differences. A fuse is designed to melt and break the circuit if too much electrical current flows through it and must be replaced afterward, while circuit breakers are more modern and can be reset if they trip. 
  • Tamper-resistant receptacles: Also called child-proof outlets, a tamper-resistant receptacle prevents small children from inserting foreign objects into outlets, preventing electric shock. 

Know the Warning Signs of an Overloaded Electrical System 

The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) lists some of the warning signs of overloaded circuits:

  • Flickering or dim lights
  • Crackling or sizzling noises from outlets
  • Feeling a mild shock when plugging something in
  • Smelling a burning odor coming from the socket
  • Discolored outlet plates
  • Frequently blown fuses and tripped circuit breakers 

If homeowners suspect a circuit is overloaded, they should consult a professional electrician immediately. Ignoring this problem, homeowners risk an electrical fire or another problem that could endanger their safety.

Install a Whole Home Surge Protector

surgeA power surge is a sudden and intense increase in the voltage of an electrical circuit. These surges can be caused by lightning, power outages, or high-powered electrical devices. They can cause damage to electronic devices, leading to costly repairs or replacements and even fire in some cases.

Whole home surge protectors are designed to prevent these damaging power surges by diverting excess voltage from the home’s electrical system. They act as a barrier between the power from the utility company and the devices in a home. With a whole home surge protector, any excess voltage is safely directed away from electronic devices and into the ground.

These whole home surge protectors offer a greater level of protection than individual surge protectors that are plugged directly into outlets. They are also more convenient since they protect all the devices in a home at once rather than requiring separate protectors for each outlet. Overall, investing in a whole home surge protector is a wise decision to save people money in the long run by protecting their electronic devices from expensive damage caused by power surges. 

About Southwest Florida Electric Inc.

Southwest Florida Electric Inc. is a family-owned and operated company serving Fort Myers and the surrounding areas since 2010. They provide upfront pricing, the latest technology, and financing options. Call them today for electrical services and whole home surge protector installation in Fort Myers, FL

Telltale Signs That an Electrical Panel Needs Repair or Replacement

Ways to Tell if an Electrical Panel Needs Professional Help

If homeowners have never had to think about their home’s electrical panel, they are not alone. Most homeowners don’t have to worry about this part of their home’s electrical system often because they are meant to last a long time, around 25 to 40 years. But if homeowners notice the following scenarios, it’s time to have a professional inspect the electrical panel and perform the necessary repairs or replacements.

Lights That Dim or Flicker When an Appliance is Used

lightWhen homeowners encounter dim or flickering lights, the most common conclusion is that the lightbulb needs to be replaced. While this may be the case in some instances, there are times when the light bulb isn’t the real culprit, especially if the lights that flicker or dim in the house only happen when an appliance or device is plugged in or used.

In such instances, homeowners should call an electrician to conduct an electrical panel inspection since lights shouldn’t be affected by something as simple as plugging in or using an appliance. Upon inspection, a technician may recommend repairing or replacing the panel since flickering or dim lights may indicate that too much power is being drawn from the circuit and it can no longer supply the needed power.

A Burning Smell 

The smell of something burning is never a good sign, especially if it comes from the electrical panel, and should never be ignored. This odor can indicate overheating components that can lead to an electrical fire if left unchecked. An overloaded circuit or loose wiring connection could be the culprit behind this burning smell, so homeowners must immediately call an electrician. 

If the burning smell reeks, particularly of burnt plastic or wood, it could be a sign that the plastic wire coating is melting, or the issue could be behind the walls. It’s essential to take action before an electrical fire can occur. Electricians can inspect the electrical panel and wiring and ensure it’s repaired correctly to prevent a catastrophic event.

An Old or Outdated Electrical Panel 

panelElectrical panels typically last 25 to 40 years, depending on how they are maintained and the quality of their construction. Over time, components can become corroded or outdated, making them less efficient and more prone to breaking down. Eventually, they will need to be replaced to ensure the safety and efficiency of the electrical system. If homeowners are unsure of how old their panel is, it’s always best to get it checked by an electrician who can determine if it needs to be repaired or replaced.

Some homeowners, especially those who have just bought or inherited an old home, need to check if the electrical panel on the house they are moving into is working well, when it was replaced last, and if it’s due for a repair or replacement. Doing this helps ensure that the home they move into is safe, giving them peace of mind that they are unlikely to encounter an electrical panel problem once they’ve settled into their new home.

About Southwest Florida Electric Inc.

Southwest Florida Electric Inc. is a family-owned and operated company serving Fort Myers and the surrounding areas since 2010. They provide upfront pricing, on-time arrivals, and the latest technology. Call them today for electrical panel repair or replacement in Fort Myers, FL.

Feeling the Pinch of High Electric Bills? Go Green With These Tips!

3 Energy Saving Tips for St. Patrick’s Day!

If homeowners feel the burden of high electric bills this month, they’re not alone. Electric bills can quickly become unmanageable without being careful about usage and conservation habits. With St. Patrick’s Day this month, why not make a resolution to go green in the home and start cutting those hefty costs? This blog post will provide various ways to help take charge of the energy bill and save money while contributing to smarter environmental practices.

Utilize the Home’s Ceiling Fans or Install New Ones

fanCeiling fans can be used to regulate the temperature of a room and make it more comfortable. The direction of the blades affects how much air is circulated in the room, directly impacting its temperature. A breeze is created that cools down the room by setting the fan blades to rotate counterclockwise in the summertime and warmer months. 

In the wintertime and colder months, rotating the fan blades clockwise will circulate warm air throughout the space. This can reduce the need to run heaters or ACs and help save on electric bills. Utilizing ceiling fans is an effective and energy-efficient way to regulate a home’s temperature. 

Turn Off and Unplug

lightOne of the simplest and easiest ways to increase energy savings is to turn off lights and unplug appliances when not in use. By turning off lights and other appliances, homeowners can save money on their electricity bills and help reduce their carbon footprint. Turning off lights and appliances when not needed is especially important if someone leaves their home for an extended period, such as going on vacation or work travel. In addition to saving energy, turning off these devices will protect them from damage due to power surges and increase their lifespan.

It is also important to take advantage of natural light when available and not depend on artificial lighting. Open curtains and blinds, let the sun shine in, and enjoy the free energy! Homeowners can also use timers or sensors to help them remember to turn off lights when they are not needed. By taking a few simple steps to turn off all devices, lights, and appliances when not needed, homeowners can save money, conserve energy, and help protect the environment.

Make the Switch to LEDs

LED lighting offers a number of advantages over other types of lighting, such as incandescent and CFL bulbs. LEDs are more efficient than traditional bulbs, using at least 75% less energy and lasting up to 25 times longer than incandescent lights. This means that LED lighting can save money in the long run, reducing energy costs and eliminating the need to replace bulbs frequently. 

LEDs also produce much less heat than incandescent and CFL bulbs, making them safer to use. Finally, because of their longevity and efficiency, switching to LED lights can help reduce a home’s carbon footprint and contribute to a greener environment. LEDs are the most energy-efficient lighting technology, so switching is a no-brainer!

About Southwest Florida Electric Inc.

Southwest Florida Electric Inc. is a local family-owned and operated company serving Fort Myers and the surrounding communities. They provide upfront pricing, financing, and the latest technology. Call them today for ceiling fan installation or LED lighting services in Fort Myers, FL.

3 Black Inventors Who Revolutionized Home Electrical Usage

Meet the Inventors Who Helped Make Home Electronics What They Are Today!

Black History Month is a time to celebrate and learn more about Black history – and one of the best ways to do that is to get acquainted with the trailblazers who broke through barriers and affected positive change in the world. 

There are plenty of examples of excellence to choose from in all areas of life. However, this article will focus on three innovators whose impact on electronics and engineering can still be felt today in the modern home. Keep reading to learn how Lewis Howard Latimer, James E. West, and Marie Van Brittan Brown made groundbreaking technological advancements that have shaped everyday electrical use.

Lewis Latimer’s Contributions to the Incandescent Light Bulb

lewisBorn in Massachusetts in 1848, Lewis Howard Latimer was the youngest son of formerly enslaved George and Rebecca Latimer. After serving in the U.S. Navy as a teenager, he found a job as an office clerk in a patent law firm, where he rose to the position of a head patent draftsman. He then went on to work with Alexander Graham Bell on the patent for the telephone before getting into the field of electric lighting.

Latimer was employed at the U.S. Electric Lighting Company (one of Thomas Edison’s rivals) when he developed a new method of manufacturing incandescent light bulbs that helped protect fragile carbon filaments from breaking during production. The mass production of incandescent light bulbs facilitated the widespread use of electric lighting because it made light bulbs more affordable and longer lasting. So this was no small contribution on Latimer’s part.

James E. West Co-Invented the Electret Microphone

jamesJames E. West was born in Virginia in 1931. Due to segregation, the local hospital would not accept Black patients, and his mother, Matilda, gave birth to him at her father’s home. At age 12, James got a job installing electrical wiring in rural homes with his cousin. After high school, he was drafted into the U.S. Army to fight in the Korean War – and was awarded a Purple Heart.

Upon his return, West studied Physics at Temple University, during which time he got an internship at Bell Laboratories, where he would later enjoy an illustrious 40-year career. At Bell, he and his colleague Gerhard Sessler developed and invented the foil electret microphone in 1961. This was a huge leap forward in microphone technology at the time, opening the door for a wide range of applications that wouldn’t have been possible with the condenser microphones of the era. The vast majority of microphones produced today are based on West and Sessler’s design and are used in everything from phones and smart home devices to cameras and hearing aids.

Marie Van Brittan Brown Invented the Modern Home Security System

Marie Van Brittan Brown was born in Queens, New York, in 1922. Little is known about her childhood or personal life, but it is known that she lived with her husband, Albert, in Queens for much of her adult life. Albert was an electronics technician, and Marie was a nurse, but in 1966 they would invent the precursor to modern home security systems.

Marie grew concerned about the high crime rate and lackluster police response times in her neighborhood – mainly because her work schedule often left her home alone for long stretches. So she devised a security system for their home. It included a camera, microphones for two-way communication, a remote-controlled locking mechanism, a button that would alert the police in an emergency, and a monitor that could be installed anywhere in the home to see who was at the door without opening it. This security system allowed Marie to see and communicate with whoever was at the door from the safety of a different room.

Marie and Albert filed the patent for their system in 1966, which was granted in 1969. Unfortunately, the system never saw mass production. However, it paved the way for the security systems used in homes and businesses today, with numerous inventors citing Brown’s original patent. Everything from intercoms, CCTV, and doorbell cams to emergency alert buttons and remote-controlled door locks wouldn’t be possible without the innovations of Marie and her husband.

About Southwest Florida Electric Inc.

Southwest Florida Electric Inc. is a family-owned and operated company serving Fort Myers, FL, and the surrounding areas since 2010. They offer upfront pricing, financing, and on-time arrivals. Call them today for electrical services in Fort Myers, FL.