The Spotlight will highlight topics spanning industry news, safety, product and equipment reviews, codes and much more! We look forward to a dialogue with you.

Cleanliness on the Job

Friday, July 31, 2015

When it comes to safety, the old saying that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” still rings true. Simple steps to prevent injuries are often overlooked and keeping a job site clean goes a long way in preventing accidents and injuries. Maintaining a clean and organized job site at all times will help avoid unnecessary hazards on the job site as well as allow workers to be more productive since they are spending less time worrying about navigating through messes or avoiding dangerous materials.



Clients also appreciate an organized work area. Business or residential clients often stop by to gauge progress on a project under construction. Disorganization, dirt and clutter makes a bad impression, and this could lead to costly fixes on a current project. You also risk negative word-of-mouth that impedes future project opportunities. Ethically, you also want to prevent dirt and dust from penetrating air vents and mechanical equipment in a home or business building. Properly covering appliances and vent openings minimizes costly problems.


 Keeping a site organized also prevents tools and other building materials from being lost or stolen. This will decrease the time and money needed to find or replace such tools. When everything is stored in its proper place, it is easier to keep track of equipment and materials required.

5 Reasons for Outdoor Lighting

Friday, July 17, 2015

5 Reasons for Outdoor Lighting

1. Its Beautiful: The first and best reason is because it will add beauty to your home. If done correctly, proper lighting will enhance the look of your home. Imagine how you will feel when you arrive home at night and see your home lit up to greet you. Lighting will also add a bright, welcoming feeling to anyone who visits after dark.

2. Complements Your Landscaping: Installing outdoor lights will increase your enjoyment of your current landscaping design. Installing accent lights to highlight a particular area of your landscaping helps its visibility and gives you more value for your landscaping efforts.

3. Decreases Chances of a Break In: Outdoor lighting will decrease the chances a burglar will choose your home to break into. Thieves usually choose an easy target, and a house that is well lit will not be attractive to them. Dark pathways and side yards just give thieves an invitation to lurk and wait for you to leave.

4. Decreases Chances of Injury: Having outdoor lighting will decrease the chances you or a guest will trip or fall on an outdoor walkway. Lighting the way is a safety issue that you should consider, especially if you often have guests over at nighttime. A homeowner is liable for accidents that occur on his/her property, so doing everything you can to avoid any mishaps helps you in the long run and will be worth the investment. If you own a business, lighting the way is an added welcoming touch for clients who visit your office or home in the evening hours.

5. Simple Home Improvement: Installing outdoor lighting is an easy way to spruce up the exterior of your home. If your exterior paint is intact but you are looking for ways to update the look of your outdoor areas, outdoor lighting is a great option.

Eletrical Troublehshooting

Friday, July 03, 2015

An electrical system can be one of the most complex parts of your home. Serious problems can lead to electrical fires and shocks. In order to make sure you and your family stay safe in your home, hiring a licensed electrician is the answer to providing safe and reliable service.

So what are the most common home electrical problems?

1. Power Surges
Power Surges are one of the most common home electrical problems (see our last blog). These are caused by lightning strikes and circuit overloads. Most of the time that these occur, they are out of our control. Using a power strip or surge protector for your electronics and appliances is the best way to avoid the risk of surges.

2. Circuit Overloads
Another common home electrical problem is overloading circuits. Stop and think about how many devices you have plugged into your outlets. Circuits obviously become strained due to overuse. Many home’s electrical wiring is built so that numerous outlets in a room can draw power from the same circuit. The circuit may them become strained to the point where it overloads. Minimize the amount of devices you have going into a single outlet to avoid overloading circuits. Or call an electrician to distribute the wiring so it is not just relying on a single circuit.

3. Loose Wiring
A serious problem that could occur in your home is loose wiring. There can be a risk of electrical fires when wires are frayed or exposed. The safest and easiest way to fix this is to call a professional electrician who will be able to locate the wire and remove the damaged section.

4. Excessive Wiring
Another problem that can be found is excessive wiring. This happens prominently in older homes. If you look behind your walls you may find wires that don’t seem to go anywhere. In order to make sure that more serious problems don’t come up, the wiring will have to be followed to make sure it has a purpose, is properly connected and of course is damage-free.

5. Dead Outlets
Another problem that can occur in your home is when a set of outlets of lights simply don’t work. Sometimes half of an outlet works while the other doesn’t. The root cause of the dead outlet is not always the same. An appropriate fix may vary depending on the specific situation. Resetting the outlet might do the trick but sometimes an electrician should check to see if there isn’t more to the problem.

Electrical problems can cause major damage or fire to your home. These issues are not something to ignore! We have professional and experienced electricians who are ready and troubleshoot and repair your electrical problems. Please give us a call! 503-981-2383

Surge Protection

Friday, June 12, 2015

A surge protection device shields computers and other electronic devices from surges in electrical power, which flow from the power supply. Standard American voltage for home and office buildings is 120 volts. Anything over this amount is considered transient and can damage electronic devices that are plugged into an outlet. Even though power surges are so brief that they are measured in nanoseconds, they can cause considerable damage to electronic equipment.


How it Works

A surge protector works by channeling the extra voltage into the outlet's grounding wire, preventing it from flowing through the electronic devices while at the same time allowing the normal voltage to continue along its path. Electrical surges can damage computer equipment by burning its wires or gradually over time wearing down the device's internal components and even wipe out any saved data. Surge protectors can also protect telephone and cable lines as these also carry electric current.

When to Use a Surge Protector

Most people think that the main cause of an electrical surge is lightning, but that’s not true at all. Yes, lightning can and does cause electrical surges, but the voltage of lightning is so great that most surge protectors won’t be able to withstand their power. The main cause of electrical surges? Electrical devices that require lots of power to operate. Depending on the wiring of your home, you may notice at times that your lights flicker when powerful devices turn on and off, like your air conditioner. When these devices are switched on, they demand a lot of electricity, which puts a lot of strain on the grid and can cause surges.

When should you use a surge protector? All the time. The real question is really which devices you should connect to a surge protector. You don’t need a surge protector for your desk lamp or your standing fan, but you do want a surge protector for expensive devices that have intricate microprocessors, like computers, televisions, stereo systems, media centers, high-tech kitchen appliances, etc.



Surge Protective devices are used in commercial facilities to protect emergency lighting, computers, data systems and more.


Surge protective devices are used to protect machinery, telecommunications, control systems and more.


Surge protection devices are used throughout today’s homes and apartments. There are two types used, plug in devices and hard wired protection.



Smoke Free Oregon

Friday, June 05, 2015

More and more companies are leaning towards a nonsmoking policy. Going smoke-free lowers the risk of fires and accidental injuries, which can reduce your insurance costs.



Each year, smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke causes 443,000 premature deaths and costs the nation $193 billion in health bills and lost productivity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Everyone benefits when the air is cleared of secondhand smoke—even smokers, some of whom will quit or at least cut back. Workers become healthier, and healthier workers miss less work, are more productive, and have lower health care costs.


There's no data on how many U.S. businesses won't hire smokers, but the trend appears strongest with hospitals. As a result, 29 states passed smoker-protection laws.

The bottom line will benefit because health care costs for tobacco users are $3,000 to $4,000 more each year than for non-smokers



  • 100% smoke-free in all indoor areas, including company vehicles. Smoking is restricted within specified feet of entrances, windows, and ventilation intakes to prevent smoke from drifting back into the building.
  • 100% smoke-free in all indoor and outdoor areas. Smokers must leave company property to smoke. This is often called a smoke-free campus policy.



Go to for more ideas on how to help smoking workers quit smoking, including links to free self-help materials and other resources.

Spring Cleaning in the Workplace

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Welcome Spring!! It’s about that time of the year again to get cleaned up and organized!


Getting Rid of Clutter

Having a lot of clutter makes it difficult to find what you need when you need it. What some people don't know is that clutter is also a safety hazard. Cluttered work areas increase the risk of fires and slip-and-fall accidents, so take this opportunity to eliminate clutter wherever possible. Move items away from exits, remove tripping hazards, throw away unneeded items and file needed papers so that they do not clutter your work area.



Deep Cleaning the Office

Offices may be contaminated with hundreds of different types of bacteria. Bacteria can be found on your mouse, desk, chairs, keyboards and phones, its everywhere. If you want to eliminate bacteria from hard surfaces in your office, spend some time cleaning them with disinfecting wipes. This is also a good time to get in your fridge, microwave, and coffee maker and really clean those out.


Not only does a clean, well-organized workplace look nice and make it easier to find the report you were supposed to turn in last week, it also is a huge stress reliever. And being less stressed will cause you to work better and more efficiently, can put you in a better mood, and even help you sleep better at night.


Home Electrical Safety

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Tips for Home Electrical Safety

U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated annual average of 47,820 reported home structure fires involving electrical failure or malfunction 2007-2011. These fires resulted in 455 civilian deaths, 1,518 civilian injuries and $1.5 billion in direct property damage.

With that being said, it is very important to make sure all of your electrical appliances, extension cords, light bulbs and other equipment is in good working condition.

Always ensure you replace or repair appliances that are damaged. Cracked cords, broken plugs and any burning smell from the appliance need to be looked into immediately. If you are leaving your home for a significantly long period of time, it is a good idea to turn-off and unplug heavy duty appliances such as ovens, A/C, heaters etc.

Unplug unused appliances and stow cords safely out of reach of pets, young children or hazardous situations.

Always follow appliance instructions carefully, and do not attempt amateur repairs or upgrades.

Do not staple or nail cords in position at any time; if the cord does not remain where desired, use tape or twist ties to secure it.

Cords should not be placed beneath rugs where they can become a trip hazard or where frays will not be noticeable. Furthermore, covering a cord will prevent it from keeping as cool as possible.

Do not overload outlets with multiple adapters or power strips; relocate cords instead.


Lastly, use bulbs that have the correct wattage requirements for each fixture. Using a higher wattage bulb can cause the fixture to overheat.

Independent Electrical Contractor (IEC) Competition 2014

Thursday, December 18, 2014

During the independent electrical contractor (IEC) competition, apprentices were evaluated on various aspects of the material covered during their on-the-job and classroom training, including:

1. A written exam to evaluate their knowledge of electrical theory, code, materials, and installation practices;

2. Preparation of a motor logic diagram based on a written description of a field application;

3. Accurate installation of electrical distribution and control circuitry utilizing customer supplied materials, circuit descriptions, specification, and control diagrams, (known as a "wire-off," this portion of the competition took place on the show floor during Electric Expo);

4. Demonstrate skills in bending electrical metallic tubing on the show floor during the Electric Expo;

5. Demonstrate troubleshooting skills by accurately diagnosing a fault in a common piece of electrical equipment on the show floor during the Electric Expo.



Our very own Matt Odenthal took the 2nd place trophy, a bag full of tools and prizes along with a check for $2,000.00 at the Independent Electrical Contractor Competition In Baltimore last October,

The Stayton Oregon man started his electrical career after his deployment to Iraq in 2010.  Matt has been working residential, industrial, and commercial jobs the last four years.  

Matt explained, "I find that my experience from farming during high school and 9 years in the Oregon National Guard helps me every day in my work".  Matt recently re-enlisted in the Oregon National Guard.

With instructors such as Ken Filips and Tim Boyd, apprenticeship lab instructor, Matt gained the edge over many of the other apprentices to walk away with the 2nd place win!!

We are so excited and proud of Matt.  He will go far and we here at IEC Oregon are proud that we can be a witness to all the successes in his future.

Congratulations again Matt!

Black Friday

Thursday, November 20, 2014


The day after Thanksgiving is the busiest shopping day of the year. For most, it’s also a paid day off work. So is dragging yourself out of bed at the crack of dawn really worth it? It used to be Thanksgiving Dinner, THEN Black Friday Shopping. Not any more… Stores are now opening as early as 4 P.M, giving employees not near enough time to spend thanksgiving with their families.

Black Friday is exciting, yes, but how much are you really saving? You can find some great deals on Black Friday, but it is important to be logical about your spending. If you do not put a specific limit on your shopping on Black Friday, your budget will likely be blown out of the water by impulse buys. Make a list of items you need and stick to it. If you can’t pass up a great deal on something you don’t necessarily need, then I suggest staying in on Friday and eating your left overs!!

These stores are opening ON Thanksgiving:

  • 6 a.m.: Kmart
  • 7 a.m.: Big Lots, Dollar Store
  • 8 a.m.: Family Dollar,RadioShacl
  • 4 p.m.: Michael's, Old Navy
  • 5 p.m.: Best Buy, Dick's Sporting Goods, JC Penny, Toys R Us
  • 6 p.m.:  Kohl's, Macy's, Office Depot/OfficeMax, Sears, Staples, Sports Authority, Target, Victoria's Secret, Walmart

These stores are opening Friday, November 28:

  • 12 a.m.: GameStop,
  • 5 a.m. Home Depot, Lowe's
  • 6 a.m.: Big Lots, Sports Authority, Staples
  • 7 a.m.: Marshall's, Michael's, Pet Smart
  • 8 a.m.: Best Buy, Banana Republic, Office Depot/OfficeMax, RadioShack
  • 9 a.m.: Costco

  • Halloween Safety

    Thursday, October 30, 2014


    Happy Halloween blog readers! As you may know, Halloween is one on the congested days of the year. Here are some tips to keep your family and others safe!

    Stay off your phone! Admit it; you probably have answered the phone while driving. It is very important not to be texting and driving Halloween night. There will be a ton of people running around in dark clothing that will be hard to see, and you don’t need any extra distractions. So stay off your phone and pay extra attention!


    As trick-or-treaters, it’s important to look before crossing the road! Use some sort of Lighting while trick or treating this Halloween so other people and drivers can see you. Reflective tape, flash lights, and glow sticks are a great way to light up. Glow sticks can be a great accessory for your costume. Plus, the dollar store sells them! You know you can spare a dollar for safety.


    Walk in large groups to stay safe. Halloween is a spooky night! Don’t let the ghouls and goblins get you. Did you know malls pass out candy to trick-or-treaters? Outlet malls are a great place to trick-or-treat. It’s very safe and you get to see a lot of cool costumes!


    Please trick-or-treat responsibly!

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