Electrical Safety Tips

kid_lightbulbWith the increasing demand of electricity in the home, it is difficult to imagine being without it. We use it to wake us up in the morning and throughout the day with our activities. It is easy to add more gadgets and appliances but this could create a problem if outlets become overloaded.

When problems occur, it is best to have an experienced, licensed electrician that has resources you can call on. For safety reasons, you should never attempt to handle an electrical situation by yourself. Your electrician can check for faulty wiring and improper use of electrical appliances which can cause a fire.

Electrical Safety Tips to Keep You Safe

  • Never overload electrical outlets
  • Only use extension cords as a temporary solution do not place over cords under rugs, carpets or furniture
  • Buy products which meet the Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) standard for safety
  • Install smoke alarms outside bedrooms and on each floor
  • Turn appliances off before plugging them in
  • Keep electrical appliances away from wet areas
  • Keep heaters and halogen lamps away from draperies and other combustible materials
  • Use only three-slot outlets for appliances with three-prong plugs
  • Use safety devices to help child-proof outlets
  • Don’t turn a circuit back on before identifying why it was turned off
  • Replace an item that overheats, shorts out, or produces smoke or sparks
  • Test and replace smoke alarm batteries every year
  • Replace frayed, cracked or cut power cords immediately
  • If a switch or outlet is hot or discolored by heat buildup, immediately shut off the circuit
  • Shut off power to the circuit and fixture you are working on
  • Never assume the circuit is off. Use a tester to confirm there is no power before starting work
  • Always use an insulated fiberglass ladder when doing electrical work
  • Avoid working in wet areas; wear rubber boots and gloves to reduce risk of getting shocked
  • Plug tools into a GFCI outlet or GFCI extension cord if you must work near water
  • Dry your hands before grabbing any cord or plug or unplug
  • When working at the service panel or turning off a circuit, leave a warning label

Keeping track of minor electrical problems and having an annual visit with your electrician should be part of your home maintenance strategy. Nightingale Electrical Service Team can provide you with all of your electrical needs.

Service Increase

How do you know if you need an increase in electrical service? The following questions should be answered before deciding. Does my electrical service have fuses or circuit breakers? This usually determines the age of the house. It wasn’t until 1960’s that circuit breakers became the standard for electrical service panels.

One reason fuses can be dangerous is that they can be improperly replaced with oversized fuses which have been an electrical hazard. If you are adding major appliances, central air, or any increase in electrical loads to your current service, you may need an upgrade.

Panel Changes

Do you currently have a panel that is over 35 years old? If so, these panels may need to be changed because they have been known to cause electrical problems. If you current electrical panel does not have the space or the capacity to meet your needs, you may need a panel change or a sub-panel added. If you have an older panel, there could be a hidden problem behind the cover. There could be a loose lug, oxidation, or wires that are getting hot. Nightingale Electrical can provide an inspection of your panel if it has not been recently checked.

Electrical Grounding

Is your electrical service properly grounded? Grounding is one of the most important parts of any electrical system and probably one of the most overlooked by homeowners. Proper grounding of your electrical service is critical for the safety of your home. Many older homes do not have proper grounding. Ground rods, water bonds, and gas pipe bonding is required by today’s code, and is an important part of your electrical system.

Whole House Surge Protection TVSS

Are your expensive electronics protected? A power surge can happen in milliseconds. Maybe the lights flicker or the computer locks up for no apparent reason. That little spike in the current flowing through the wires of your house can have big consequences.

Today’s homes contain many types of electronics and electrical devices that can be affected by this. If power surges are experienced over time, you can start to have major damage to your more expensive electrical devices, such as air conditioning systems, heat units, computers and audio and video equipment. As you can see, these electrical surge problems usually mean high financial costs. Whole house surge protection is easy to install and affordable.

Lighting

Is your home energy efficient and secure? We at Nightingale Electrical are experts at lighting design and retrofit for the interior and exterior or your home. LED technology has created an opportunity for homeowners to get more lumens per watt, and therefore, become more energy efficient and save money.

Inefficient 60 watt incandescent recessed lamps can be replaced with the 14.6 watt LED retrofit, which are fully dimmable. Other opportunities include security and landscape lighting, which are now available in LED. These new fixtures will “payback” with low wattage and extended lamp life compared to incandescent or halogen lamps.

Dedicated Circuits

Does that new appliance you just bought require a dedicated circuit? Many home appliances and machines in your kitchen, laundry room, home gym, and garage require individual circuits. An overloaded circuit can be a home danger that will continually trip circuit breakers or blow fuses. Make sure you are safe by installing individual circuits for all your large appliances; such as, a hot tub, range, freezer, sump pump, air conditioner, washer, or dryer.

Remodels Home Design

Are you planning an addition or remodel? Whether it is a kitchen, bathroom, or complete whole house remodel. Our service team realizes that it is important to hire the right contractors for your project. With over 29 years of experience in new construction and home remodels, we are confident we can assist you with design decisions. From outlet and switch locations, lighting layout, dimmers, and fixture types; these are some of the questions we consider. We recommend you don’t settle for inexperience to cut corners and save money. With proper planning and professional service, Nightingale Electrical can prevent you from having to do the same job twice.

AFCI (Arc Fault Circuit Interrupt) & GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupt)

Are you and your family protected from electrical shock? Where fuses and circuit breakers are designed to protect a home’s wiring from fire, GFCI and AFCI devices provide greater protection. GFCI is an ultra-sensitive circuit breaker built right into the electrical outlet.

This device detects differences in electrical current and protects a person from electrical chock. GFCI protection is required anywhere near water, including kitchens, bathrooms, basement areas, garages, and all outdoor outlets.

AFCI protection is much like a GFCI outlet but it protects against arcing. Arcing can occur when electrical appliances convert electricity into heat, which can cause sparks at the outlet. AFCI protection will detect arcing and shut down the outlet before any damage can be done.

AFCI protection is now required by the Canadian Electrical Code for electrical wiring that serves all sleeping areas, such as bedrooms or dens with fold-out couches. These are areas where fires could start and catch people who are sleeping or otherwise unable to get out quickly.

Smoke Detectors

Do you have the right amount of smoke detectors in your home and are they installed properly? The placement of smoke detectors is very important. Sleeping areas need the most protection. A smoke detector should be installed in every room that will be occupied.