Category: Electricians

The Importance Of Home Electrical Safety Inspection

Home Electrical Safety Tips

You power your home with energy, but do you know electrical safety? The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that 31,000 home electrical fires occur every year, and with over 180 cases involving electrocution or electricity-related incidents that could have been avoided, home electrical safety is too important to ignore. At Constellation, we care about the safety of our customers, and by following these electrical safety tips you can protect your home and your family

What causes electrical fires in homes?

The National Fire Protection Association notes that faulty or damaged wiring and related electrical equipment cause 69 percent of electrical fires, followed by lamps, light fixtures, cords, plugs, transformers and other power supplies. When looking for potential fire hazards in your home, always be sure to consult with a professional.

Check that you’re using the correct wattage in all your fixtures and appliances.

Using the right bulbs can prevent electrical problems, so check all lamps, fixtures and appliances to ensure you’re using the correct wattage. If a light fixture has no wattage listed, use 60-watt bulbs or less. For unmarked ceiling fixtures, choose 25-watt bulbs.

Watch out for overloaded outlets to protect your home.

Overloading an electrical outlet is a common cause of electrical problems. Check all outlets to ensure they are cool to the touch, have protective faceplates and are in proper working order.

Replace or repair damaged electrical cords to keep your home safe.

Damaged power cords are a serious residential electrical safety risk, and they are capable of causing both fires and electrocution. All power and extension cords should be checked regularly for signs of fraying and cracking, and they should then be repaired or replaced as needed. Power cords should not be stapled into place or run under rugs and furniture. Cords under rugs pose a tripping hazard and can overheat, while furniture can crush cord insulation and damage wires

 

Buying A New Home

There were nearly 2.5 million residential sales in the UK in 2014-15. However, research carried out by Electrical Safety First found that only 37% of buyers had the electrics checked before purchase. One in five believed that electrical checks were included in the recommended home survey report and just under half were unaware that checks were needed at all

Over a third of home buyers then went on to discover electrical problems that they were not aware of before purchase – something that could easily be avoided by getting a registered electrician to inspect the electrics and issue an Electrical Installation Condition Report.

Make sure you know what you can afford – Speak to the bank first. It’s easy to get carried away looking for that dream property but make sure you can afford it first by getting an ‘Agreement in Principle’ from your bank

Check out the neighbourhood – Make sure you investigate where you are buying thoroughly, you can find out crime levels to school results simply by punching in the postcode but nothing beats visiting the neighbourhood on foot to get a feel for the area

Budget, budget, budget – there are lots of additional costs a first time buyer might not be aware of such as legal fees, stamp duty, surveys and other technical reports such as an Electrical Installation Condition Report. Don’t get tripped up by not being prepared!

 

Electrical Safety at Home Checklist

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), in 2010 U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 46,500 house fires that were caused by electrical malfunction of failure. From 2005-2009, 49% of those home electrical fires involved lighting or electrical distribution equipment; another 46% were attributed to other known types of equipment, including stove ranges, washers, dryers, space heaters, and fans.

You already practice fire safety, but fire prevention is the best way to protect your family – and that starts with ensuring that your electrical systems and appliances are functioning properly and safely. Run through this checklist regularly, since electrical malfunction can happen at any time and for many reasons.

Cords & Plugs

▢ Check all cords, plugs, surge protectors and extension cords for frayed casing, exposed wire or broken components. Replace immediately.

▢ Never run extension cords under carpets or over door thresholds.

▢ Don’t use an extension cord as a permanent fixture. If you need additional outlets, contact a licensed electrician to install some wherever you require.

▢ Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for plugging a device into the outlet.

▢ Do not overload one outlet with several high-wattage or heat-producing devices, for example a space heater or coffee maker.

▢ Plugs should fit snugly into outlets. If yours do not, contact a licensed electrician.

▢ Major appliances – washers, dryers, refrigerators, stoves, air conditioners, hot water heaters, etc. – should be plugged directly into a wall outlet. Do not use surge protectors, plug strips or extension cords.

▢ Only use water resistant extension cords in damp areas (like the basement)

Lighting

▢ Only use lightbulbs at or below the maximum wattage listed on your lamp or light. (There will be a sticker on the appliance indicating max wattage.)

▢ Always place lamps on a flat, level surface and at least a foot from anything flammable (e.g. curtains).

Appliances

▢ Place heat-producing appliances (toaster, heater, coffee maker, etc.) away from flammable or combustible goods (potholders, paper napkins, etc.)

▢ Unplug kitchen countertop and bathroom (e.g. toaster or hair dryer) appliances when not in use.

▢ Keep your kitchen exhaust fan clean and free of grease, lint and other obstructions.

▢ Never use a portable heater in the bathroom. The only safe options are a ceiling unit or strip heater placed up high.

▢ If you use portable or space heaters, be sure they receive a seal of approval from a nationally-recognized testing laboratory (NRTL) like UL, ETL, or CSA.

 

Electrical Safety Tips Homeowners Should Know

I often wonder what they would have thought of microwaves, entertainment centers, dishwashers and the armies of other gadgets we take for granted on a daily basis. But your home’s electrical system may have a few things going on that might shock you too. Enlighten yourself with these tips that can help you be a more aware homeowner and may alert you to dangerous electrical problems that need to be fixed by a licensed residential electrician.

Throw your home a birthday party

For electrical safety reasons, it’s good to know how old your home is and to celebrate its birthday with an electrical safety inspection. Older homes weren’t built to handle the electrical load our contemporary lives carry. Knowing whether your home’s electrical system has been updated to safely handle all the electrical current your family uses is imperative

Know your electric panel

Even as recently as the 1990s, faulty electrical panels were being installed in many new homes. Certain brands, including Federal Pacific, ITE Pushmatic, Zinsco and GTE/Sylvania, are no longer manufactured and pose electrical hazards that could lead to a fire. Your electric panel should never feel hot to the touch

Understand the breakers

These guys are your friends, even though you may find their interference irritating when they trip. They’re trying to tell you something, and it’s usually that you have too many appliances or gadgets connected to the same circuit. Reconfigure your appliances, and if the breakers keep tripping, get help from an electrician

 

Make friends with your fire extinguisher

The only safe way to extinguish an electrical fire is with a fire-retardant chemical fire extinguisher. Never use water; it conducts electricity. Keep fire extinguishers on each level of your home, and know how to use them and when to replace them.

 

Professional Electrical Safety Inspections Done Right

 

To avoid electrical related accidents, it’s always best to undergo electrical safety inspections. You don’t want to risk the lives of your loved ones, nor do you want to risk losing all of your possessions and valuables to an electrical fire. Everything can have an impact on your home’s electrical circuit including age, usage, and the installation of newer electrical devices. When buying, selling, or even just for your peace of mind, it’s important to have an electrical safety inspection done.

 

There are a few important things that you need to keep in mind when it comes to your household and electricity usage. In order to protect your family and loved ones it is in your best interest to know and understand your homes electrical panel. You need to know which fuse or switch on your panel controls the corresponding light or outlet. If you have any doubt with regards to your homes safety, have a licensed professional come to your home to conduct the necessary and relevant checks.

 

The National Electrical Code (NEC) is the standard code that all licensed electricians must adhere to in order to meet state and local regulations with regards to electrical safety standards. Remember, each state has its own specific rules and regulations regarding electrical codes. You need an electrician who is licensed to work in your specific state. It is illegal for any person to do an electrical installation if they are not state licensed. Licensed electricians need a minimum of 14 hours approved continuing education to ensure that they understand all code regulations and are up to date on any changes that may have occurred.

 

General Electrical Safety Checklist:

Are all light fixtures working and have diffusers been installed?

Are the cords in good condition without signs of deterioration, bends, or wear and tear?

Are extension cords being used in place of permanent wiring?

Are all appliances grounded?

Check the wiring methods and ensure that they are suitable for the current use.

Ensure that all conductors of a circuit are grouped together.

Check for wet and damp locations and the suitability of boxes and fittings in that area.

Check wiring and bending space in cabinets and boxes.

Ensure that any switches in wet or damp locations are properly installed in weatherproof enclosures.

Ensure that the household is compliant with branch-circuit voltage limitations.

Check what grounding electrodes are present on the premises.

Tips To Make Self Home Electrical Safety Inspection

Home Electrical Safety Checklist

The electrical system in your home has many parts and components to be aware of to ensure a safe home all year long. Do you know what GFCI and AFCI outlets are? What is whole-house surge protection? As part of your spring cleaning, take some time to inspect your electrical system.

If you are like most people, you are probably aware of some basic electrical knowledge, such as knowing how to flip a breaker and that water and electricity don’t mix, but there’s also a lot you probably don’t know.

Every year, there hundreds of deaths, thousands of injuries, and billions of dollars worth of damage caused by a lack of electrical safety knowledge. Electrical outlets/receptacles alone account for 5,300 home fires and over 40 deaths and 100 injuries every single year

Our home electrical safety checklist is meant to reduce these numbers and protect homeowners everywhere. In addition to doing your own DIY electrical safety check, make sure to schedule an electrical safety inspection with a professional. Your licensed electrician should inspect your home every year to make sure the electrical system meets the safety provisions provided in the National Electrical Code

Your professional electrical safety inspection will include checking your electrical panel, outlets and switches, wiring and circuits, GFCIs and AFCIs, outdoor circuits and HVAC wiring, and your smoke and CO detectors.

 

Electrical Safety Inspection: The Ultimate Guide to Passing

What’s the point of  an electrical safety inspection anyway?

Having an electrical safety inspection done on your home might seem like a bother but try not to see it that way! Ensuring that the electrical safety inspection is conducted periodically and properly is extremely vital for your family and property.

Protect your property

Electrical surges are a common phenomenon in much of the United States. They can not only ruin your appliances but also create short circuits in your house, leading to fire that can cause severe property damage.

Someone could get hurt

Electrical wiring does not last forever. Due to wear and tear, it deteriorates along with its associated accessories. This deterioration can lead to nasty experiences such as electric shock or fire.

You have a legal duty

The law also mandates that you keep your house safe, especially where it concerns guests. Apart from this, many US states have local legislation that requires all homeowners to maintain certain electrical standards in their homes.

You could get sued

If a fire breaks out in your home and spreads to neighboring property or if there’s an electrical incident and someone gets hurt, you could find yourself paying far more in damages than you would have for a simple residential electrical inspection.

 

Electrical Safety Inspection Services

What Is an Electrical Home Inspection?

An electrical home inspection provides a thorough examination of your entire electrical system, ensuring all electrical wires, systems, and components (such as appliances) meet legal safety standards. The National Electrical Code (NEC) is the code that all electricians operate under when examining your home, and defines the parameters for minimum standards across the United States. Upon completion of your electrical home inspection, a Mr. Electric® inspector will provide a detailed, prioritized checklist including areas in need of immediate attention, recommendations for improvements, and potential upgrade possibilities.

When Do You Need an Electrical Safety Inspection?

There are specific times when homeowners should schedule an electrical home safety inspection. The Electrical Safety Foundation recommends that homeowners make an appointment for an electrical home inspection at these times.

Benefits of an Electrical Safety Inspection

An electrical home inspection is important for the safety of your home and everyone in it. Getting your home’s electrical system checked by a professional will offer you peace of mind by

What Does an Electrical Home Safety Inspection Include?

Your local Mr. Electric knows just what to look for when it comes to residential electrical hazards. An electrical home inspection from Mr. Electric covers

 

Electrical Safety Checks Homeowners Should Do Every Year

Breaker Panel Inspection

Look over your main electrical panel and the area surrounding it. You should have three feet of clear space around the panel, and an easy-to-find, battery-operated light source available for when the power goes out. Next, open the panel door and examine the breakers. Do they show signs of rust or rodent activity? Flip the circuit breakers on and off, making sure that none of them are sticking or corroded, which could prevent them from operating correctly.

GFCI Testing

Any outlets likely to be exposed to a water source should be ground fault circuit interrupt (GFCI) protected. That may be in the form of an individual outlet (as shown here), an outlet farther up on the same circuit, or by a GFCI breaker in the panel. Regardless of where the GFCI is on that circuit, you should be able to press the test button and ensure that all of the outlets affected are turned off and safe.

Test Your Outlets

One of the most useful tools for quickly checking outlet safety is a receptacle tester, often called a “cube” or “block” tester. This device simply plugs into an outlet and displays lights which indicate the most common outlet wiring issues. These tools are extremely affordable and widely available, and they deserve a place in every DIY toolbox. The block tester is only one of the very affordable electrical safety test devices that can help keep your home safe.

Visual Inspection of Exposed Wiring

If wiring runs are visible in a basement or attic, take the time to look them over and make sure they’re free of cracks, splits and rodent activity. Look for signs of chewing or nest building, and take any steps to repair damaged wires and eradicate the rodent activity.

Extension Cord Review

Extension cords are practically essential for DIYers, but they can also pose potential problems. Add them to your electrical safety checklist and examine extension cords for cuts, nicks and other damage that can easily occur during DIY and other seasonal projects. Also, make sure that any cords being used for power tools are within their amperage rating. If you do have a damaged extension cord, it’s usually fairly simple to make a repair. Here’s how.

 

Electrical Safety Inspection Tips For Fall

Test Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

While an electrician at Current Electric will make this an important part of an electrical safety inspection, you should also test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on your own time. After all, the chances of a fire or carbon monoxide exposure will skyrocket the instant detectors stop working. Conducting a test may reveal you will have to replace batteries for either before the season begins.

Be Careful of Electrical Lines

If you plan on doing some outdoor work this fall, you need to be cautious of the placement of electrical lines and wires across your landscape. If you are doing work requiring you to climb a ladder, be careful not to accidentally yank wiring loose. Even just making the wrong move can either bring damage to the wiring or result in electrocution.

Consider Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI)

GFCI outlets can immediately shut off electric power to reduce the risk of shock or fires. They are installed in areas of your home where water and electricity are likely to mix, like bathrooms, garages, or kitchens. This may be an important update to make this fall, as it can single-handedly keep your family away from any safety hazards.

Check Outlets & Switches

Since you rely on your outlets and switches many times a day, you need to make sure they are working at their best. If they feel hot to the touch or are resulting in frequently blowing fuses or circuits, you need to call an electrician at Current Electric immediately. Your outlets will need to be replaced if you have outdated two-prong or builder’s grade outlets.

Pay Attention to Your Lighting Wattage

Every lighting fixture in your home is rated by a specific wattage. However, you need to pay attention to wattage requirements. A lighting fixture with wattage over the requirement can cause an overload on your wiring and potentially result in a fire. There is also danger in having lighting fixtures that are under the requirement, as it can bring further stress to your home’s electrical system.

Tips To Install Ceiling Fans Installation

How to Install Ceiling Fans

Connect the switch

Check and reset (if necessary) the code toggles on the wall-mounted electronic switch to match the ones on the receiver. Remove the existing wall switch and connect the two black wires on the new switch to the ones that were connected to the old switch with wire connectors. Screw the switch into the box and install the cover plate.

Connect the light pod and radio receiver

Place the radio receiver into the switch housing/light pod assembly and connect the light pod wires according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Note the settings on the receiver’s code toggles so you can dial in the same settings on the electronic controls at the wall switch. Now loosen the screws in the switch-housing hub halfway. Plug the motor ceiling fan wiring into the receptacle on the receiver and twist the switch housing into place on the hub. Retighten the screws.

Attach the fan blades

Screw the fan blades to their brackets and screw the brackets to the bottom of the motor. It’s easiest to hold the screw in the bracket with the screwdriver while you lift the blade assembly into position. Then drive the screw in.

Wire the fan, fan light and switch

This is what you need to know about ceiling fan wire colors: Connect the bare ground wire from the box to the green ground wire on the bracket with a wire connector. Connect the white neutral wire from the motor to the neutral wire from the box. Connect the blue and black wire from the motor to the black hot wire from the box and neatly fold them into the box.

Hang the motor

Lift the assembly over the open side of the bracket and lower it into place. Rotate the motor until the ball slot locks into place over the tab on the bracket. Your fan will include assembly instructions. Photos 6 – 9 will help you with several key steps.

 

How to Install a Ceiling Fan

Test Your Ceiling Fan Installation

Turn the circuit breaker on again. Return to the ceiling fan and test it.

Attach the Light Bulbs and Shade

If your ceiling fan includes a light component, conclude your installation by adding the light bulbs and the light shade.

Attach the Ceiling Fan Blades

Your ceiling fan blades may come in two parts: a mount and the blade. The mount is the metal section that attaches the blade to the fan motor assembly. Attach the blade to the mount, then attach both to the ceiling fan. Be precise with this step since any deviation may cause the fan blades to wobble.

Attach the Fan Canopy

Slide the fan canopy upward and screw it into place with the decorative screws from the kit.

Make the Electrical Connections

Consult the ceiling fan’s instructions for wiring details specific to your fan. Hire an electrician at this point if you feel uncomfortable with this procedure. Expose wire ends with a wire stripper and twist them together with the wire nuts typically included in ceiling fan kits.

 

How to Install a Ceiling Fan

Ceiling Fan Overview

There are few fixtures that can impact the look and livability of a room as much as a ceiling fan. It can keep you cool on sultry summer days, push warm air down into the room during winter, and even serve as the room’s primary illumination if you add a light. The best news: Replacing an existing light fixture with a fan is a simple, one-day task since the wiring is already in place.

Remove the Existing Light Fixture

Make sure electricity to circuit is turned off and carefully remove the glass shade or globe from the old light fixture.

Unscrew the retaining nut or screws that hold the fixture to the ceiling.

Remove Box and Cut New Hole

Remove the old electrical box from the ceiling. If it’s nailed to a joist, pry it free with a flat bar. If it’s suspended from a bar, you may have to take off a metal plate to unscrew the box; then pry the bar from the joists.

Attach New Electrical Box

Feed the electrical cable coming from the ceiling through the knockout hole in the pancake box. (Be sure there’s a cable connector attached to the knockout hole.)

Set the box into the hole cut through the ceiling and press it tight against the underside of the joist.

Attach the box to the joist with the two 1 1/2-inch No. 10 hex-head screws provided. Drive in the screws with a drill/driver equipped with a 5/16-inch nut-driver tip.

Glue on the Ceiling Medallion

Apply a small bead of urethane-based adhesive to the back of the ceiling medallion.

Pass the wires through the medallion (above).

Center the medallion on the pancake box and press. Fasten it with four 6d finishing nails driven into the joist.

Set the nailheads and fill with caulk or spackle.

 

Our New Ceiling Fan and Tips to Install your Own

Get Ready to Drop Things

I can’t even tell you the number of times I dropped a tiny screw or wire cap while doing this project. When you’re up on the ladder trying desperately to screw things in, you’re bound to drop things. So just know that it’s totally normal & okay.

I did get pretty frustrated with this project, and I want you to learn from me and ease up a bit. All I wanted was for this dang fan to be installed, and the small setbacks of dropping items really made my blood boil. But that meant that I was tenser when screwing things in and wasn’t 100% paying attention..which resulted in more mistakes. Instead, take a breath and keep moving forward. You got this!

Invest in a Wire Cutter

My toolbox didn’t have a wire cutter, but I ended up purchasing one for this project. This is a must as you’ll have to shorten lots of the wires from the fan to connect to the ceiling wires. So be sure to pick one up from the store before you get started!

First, Read The Directions Completely

I often like to dive right into a project and figure it out as I go. But this is not the time to be doing that. Instead, read the directions that come with your fan completely from start to finish before you even get going. This will save you a lost of time & frustration later on #trustme

Layout All the Parts

Make sure you get out ALL of your supplies before you get started. Open the box and layout all of the supplies neatly, and be sure to have all of your DIY tools on-hand too (including a flashlight!) We made the mistake of putting out the supplies on our kitchen island, instead of near us in the back where we were doing the project. This resulted in a lot of back and forth from the kitchen to the bedroom. Learn from our mistake and keep all supplies nearby and neat!

Enlist a Buddy

When it comes to DIY projects like this one, I often prefer to work alone (or sometimes with Bridget). However, this is definitely a 2-person job. You may need someone to hold the old fan while you disconnect the wires, you’ll need a helper to hand you things while you’re up high on the ladder, and you’ll want a buddy to help you lift up the new heavy fan to the ceiling.

 

Ceiling Fan Installation Tips

Installing a Ceiling Fan

When wiring up a fan in a new home, the standard, code-compliant electrical supply for a light fixture works adequately. When using an existing service in an older home, make sure your ceiling box has a grounded electrical supply of 120 volts AC, 60 hertz, on a 15 ampere circuit. In either case, your ceiling outlet must be rated “for ceiling fan use” and attach to your framing firmly enough to support 50 pounds.

It’s always best to install electrical boxes before doing any wiring so that you can cut your cables to exact length. I like to start at the ceiling with a 4″ octagonal metal box. Metal boxes install easily with a screw gun and cost less than the plastic boxes designed for ceiling fan use. In new construction, where the framing is exposed and readily accessible, I cut a length of 2″ x 6″ mounting block to fit snugly between ceiling joists, providing a stable support to attach my outlet. I find it easier to attach the mounting block by using a battery-powered screw gun rather than nails. A set of three 3″ screws driven through each joist into either end of the block provides adequate support.

When setting your mounting block, remember to recess it far enough from the edge of your ceiling framing to allow for the depth of a junction-box and plaster ring. In a standard assembly, using a 2″ deep box behind 1/2″ drywall, the mounting block should be set 1 1/2″ back from the edge of the joists. I attach my metal ceiling box to the backing block with two 1/2″ long number 10 tapping screws.

Sometimes you have to set your ceiling box right under a joist. The standard 1 1/2″ framing members don’t provide enough bearing for a safe and stable fan installation, so you’ll need to “sister” a 2″ x 4″ block along the length of the framing member where your fan will hang; then attach a 1″ “shallow” box. This box won’t allow much room to tuck wires when you mount the fixture, but there’s always a little extra space in the canopy. Whether using a standard or shallow box, don’t forget to remove one of the 1/2″ knockouts and attach a 3/8″ romex connector to it before screwing the box in place. It’s a pain to do it later. I like to use metal connectors because you can loosen them easily and move a cable when needed. Once your cable’s locked in a plastic connector you’ve got to destroy the connector to move it.