Why Trade Schools are considered superior to 4-year colleges

Kids off to College this fall? Not for those pursuing careers in the Trades

Typically, this time of year, you see stories of friends and neighbors proclaiming their status as new “empty nesters”. Well, for those who have 18-year-olds ready to move on to the next thing after high school, there are more and more who are considering the training that will lead to a full-time career much faster and typically, much more lucrative pay wise right away, than their college-bound counterparts. The reason: trade schools.

In fact, there is a trend toward holding spring “signing days” for those students who are going into the trades. Why? Trade school offers a pretty compelling career path, particularly compared to the college path when you consider the following:

For starters, the salary isn’t that much of a drop-off compared to a four-year degree. SimplyHired.com estimates that a trade school graduate will make about $42,000 per year. Over the course of 30 years, the difference between that trade school graduate and the four-year college graduate is only $90,000.
Another factor that helps with trade school is that you’ll enter the workforce two years earlier. That amounts to two additional years of income in which the trade school graduate will make, on average, another $42,000 each year, adding up to $84,000. That means that at age 52 (after 30 years in the workforce versus 32 for the trade school graduate), the college graduate will only be ahead by $6,000 on lifetime income, even excluding the loan.

Another huge advantage of a trade school is that most of the jobs you’ll get are difficult to outsource to another country. It is much easier to export, say, computer programming work or other information economy work than it is to export plumbing or electrical work.

Which is why it’s not that surprising that more and more high schools are holding “signing days” for those students choosing to go into the trades in the fall instead of the typical four-year college.

To those who are headed to the trades… our hard hats are off to you! Find out about careers at Mister Sparky by emailing us at davidw.cox@mistersparky.com.

Light up the Night: the benefits of outdoor lighting around your home

This time of year, we all tend to spend more time outdoors, whether it be enjoying a BBQ or just visiting with neighbors. But when the sun goes down, you can literally be left in the dark. That’s why Mister Sparky recommends adding some outdoor lighting around your home. It not only increases the aesthetic appeal, but will keep you safer as well.

Here just a few of the types of lights that we can help install around your home:

  • Landscape Lights
  • Porch Lights
  • Flood Lights
  • Outdoor Recessed Lighting
  • Pool Lighting
  • Motion Sensor Lighting
  • Security Lighting
  • Low Voltage Lighting

For some of us, we even extend the functions of our indoors to our outdoors, with items such as outdoor patios with built-in fire pits, furniture, fountains, and even full kitchens. To fully enjoy all these amenities, you’ll need the addition of lighting, both along the ground and in the ceilings of any overhangs or covered porches or gazebos.

Outdoor Lighting adds Beauty and Security

No matter where your home is located, adding outdoor lighting will improve its appearance and increase security. Pathway lighting aids in guiding you along intended pathways but also brings out the beauty of low-lying shrubs and flowers. Spotlights highlighting specific trees, shrubs, or other architectural elements of your home bring a sense of warmth and style to your home and yard. And if you’re lucky enough to have a pool, well, lighting can make a huge splash in showing off your cool oasis.

Of course, nothing is more important than safety and security. There’s nothing like a set of bright flood lights to deter would-be intruders and give the impression that you are home.

So no matter what kind of lighting or power you need to make your outdoor living area beautiful and inviting, let the experts at Mister Sparky Electric guide you. Ask us for advice on where to place your lights and what type of lighting might be ideal for each location in your yard or around your home. Contact us today and enjoy the rest of your summer!

Spring rains can bring flooded basements.

Why we prefer Electric Sump Pumps to handle this Problem

First, let’s look at two different types of sump pumps. One is what you call a water-powered sump pump. This type of pump uses your home water supply to power the pump. If the power goes out during a storm, your home water supply will automatically power the pump and keep your basement from flooding. Sounds great, right? But here’s the catch. If the water pressure also drops during a prolonged power outage (since they often need a minimum of 20 PSI to operate efficiently, the pressure may not be strong enough to power the pump.

The result? Your basement floods!

Water powered sump pumps can also be very expensive to run compared to a battery backup electric pump. A water powered sump pump can use one gallon of water to pump out either one or two gallons of water from your sump pump basin. It wastes a lot of water, and if it runs a long time do you really want that water bill?

Also, if you have a well pump this system will not work.

Then there are electric sump pumps. These work well but you need to make sure that you have a qualified professional electrician run a dedicated electric line to power the pump. If you don’t, you run the risk of the pump tripping a GFI outlet, cutting power to the pump when you need it most.

An electric sump pump is much easier to install than a water powered sump pump (you don’t need to connect it to your home water supply like the water powered sump pump). And it’s far more economical to run.

If you install an electric sump pump with a battery backup, your pump can run up to 166 hours depending on how often it cycles (and you can also add additional batteries if needed to make it last even longer).

And many come with backup batteries with full replacement warranties.

So to help ensure that you have not only peace of mind but also install the pump safely and economically, call the professional electricians at Mister Sparky.

The Real Story behind February 2nd, Groundhog Day

Source: The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club

Groundhog Day, February 2nd, is a popular tradition in the United States. It is also a legend that traverses centuries, its origins clouded in the mists of time with ethnic cultures and animals awakening on specific dates. Myths such as this tie our present to the distant past when nature did, indeed, influence our lives. It is the day that the Groundhog comes out of his hole after a long winter sleep to look for his shadow.

If he sees it, he regards it as an omen of six more weeks of bad weather and returns to his hole.

If the day is cloudy and, hence, shadowless, he takes it as a sign of spring and stays above ground.

The groundhog tradition stems from similar beliefs associated with Candlemas Day and the days of early Christians in Europe, and for centuries the custom was to have the clergy bless candles and distribute them to the people. Even then, it marked a milestone in the winter and the weather that day was important.

The Roman legions, during the conquest of the northern country, supposedly brought this tradition to the Teutons, or Germans, who picked it up and concluded that if the sun made an appearance on Candlemas Day, an animal, the hedgehog, would cast a shadow, thus predicting six more weeks of bad weather, which they interpolated as the length of the “Second Winter.”

Pennsylvania’s earliest settlers were Germans and they found groundhogs to in profusion in many parts of the state. They determined that the groundhog, resembling the European hedgehog, was a most intelligent and sensible animal and therefore decided that if the sun did appear on February 2nd, so wise an animal as the groundhog would see its shadow and hurry back into its underground home for another six weeks of winter.

New England farmers knew that we were not close to the end of winter, no matter how cloudy February 2nd was. Indeed, February 2nd is often the heart of winter. If the farmer didn’t have half his hay remaining, there may have been lean times for the cows before spring and fresh grass arrived.

The ancient Candlemas legend and similar belief continue to be recognized annually on February 2nd due to the efforts of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club.