The cool, cozy days of winter are here. The daylight has become shorter and the temperatures have begun to drop. Many of us have found ourselves staying indoors more frequently and avoiding the cold weather. As welcoming as the warmth of the indoors may be, it can also be a dangerous time of year. Researchers say that there are more fires within our homes during the winter months (November-February), than at any other time throughout the year. There are several things that we can do to ensure our homes are as safe as they can be, especially during this cool weather season. Below are a few ideas.
During the winter months, more people are eating at home and preparing meals for entertaining or enjoying delectable comfort foods; however, fires in the kitchen are on the rise due to these activities. You can prevent electrical kitchen fires by making sure that your kitchen appliances are plugged into outlets that are GFCI protected (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter). These types of outlets will immediately switch off electrical power to that outlet if there is a break in the power to that outlet. This could be caused by water that has come in to contact with the outlet or with a faulty appliance.
Another project that is important to conduct annually is to have your heating system inspected by a professional. Home fires due to an outdated heating system or one with faulty wiring is another main cause for fires during the wintertime. A professional will be able to inspect your unit(s), and complete any repairs that are needed. Heating a home can also be dangerous with the improper use of a portable electrical heater, or a space heater. Follow directions carefully when using a portable heater. Although they can provide some much-needed heat in small spaces, they can be very dangerous if left unattended or placed too close to flammable items, such as curtains or upholstered furniture.
As we seek warmth within our homes, some of us turn to electric blankets. These warming blankets can also be very comforting on cold, winter nights; however, if they are mishandled, then they can also pose a fire threat. It is recommended that electric blankets should not be folded or tucked in under a mattress.
The winter season also brings threats of bad weather in the form of winter storms that produce sleet, ice, snow, and freezing temperatures. With these storms, there is always the possibility of fallen power lines. If you see a power line that has fallen on the ground, do not drive over it or go near it. Instead, call Emergency 911 or the local power company and report the downed power line. It is important to stay away from the power line until you are positive that all power has been disengaged from the line.
In conclusion, the winter season is a wonderful time of year, but it is important that we all take some precautions in order to provide for a safe, cold season. As we all attempt to stay warm, enjoy winter festivities and holidays, and enjoy the natural elements of winter weather, keep in mind that safety should come first, always. Contact Advanced Electrical Company with any questions or concerns you may have regarding electrical safety in your home.
The winter holidays will be here very soon, and people everywhere will begin decorating their homes, workplaces, and towns with festive lights and trimmings. It is definitely a beautiful time of the year. However, there are a few safety reminders that are important to keep in mind as you tackle your decorating activities. In this article are a few things to consider as you prepare for the holidays.
As you begin to pull out older holiday lights that you have stored, double check the cords for cracks or frays. If you see anything out of the ordinary, it is best to replace the lights. Any electrical cords that have cracks or frays on them can be a fire hazard, and should be discarded. Any light strands should have the markings of a safety test by an independent laboratory, such as Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL).
You may want to consider purchasing LED lights, especially ones that will be used in conjunction with live greenery, such as trees or wreaths. LED lightbulbs are energy-saving bulbs that do not get hot; therefore, are safe to touch and do not pose a fire threat like incandescent lightbulbs. LED bulbs are also very durable because they are made with epoxy lenses, and not glass.
When using multiple strands of lights simultaneously, do not use more than three strands per each extension cord. If an extension cord is too overloaded, then there is a risk of spark or fire, and that is a danger that you want to eliminate at all times.
As beautiful as holiday lights can be throughout your home, it is wise to turn them off when no one is home or when you and your family members retire for the night. Electrical items such as holiday lights can malfunction without any notice and start to smoke or spark.
If you decorate the outside of your home with lighting features, it is important to safely secure the lights to your shrubs, trees, or home. Undoubtedly, there will be some days of strong winds throughout the winter months, and it is important to keep your lights from acquiring any wind damage on those blustery days.
Candles are also used quite often during the holiday season. Candles should not be left unattended. Always extinguish the flames of a candle prior to sleeping or leaving your home. Be careful to keep candles away from trees, decorations, wrapping paper, or any combustible materials. As an alternative to traditional candles, you may wish to invest in battery-operated candles.
The winter holidays are an exciting, magical time of year. Although it is fun, traditional, and beautiful to decorate with lights on trees, on tables, in yards, or on homes, it is important to remember safety recommendations. Let’s all try our best to provide holiday beauty, while still protecting our valuables and keeping our friends and families safe.
If you have any questions or concerns about your holiday lighting, do not hesitate to contact the experienced electricians at Advanced Electrical Company.
Your home is one of the biggest investments, both financially and personally, since it is the one place where you and your family rest, gather, and live. It is important to take good care of your home, and one way you can do that is to keep your home’s electrical system in optimum working order. There are several aspects of your electrical system that are important to inspect regularly and maintain for proper function. Below is a list of some things that you can do in your home to avoid common electrical dangers.
Double check all of your home's appliances.
Many people have the mindset of, “as long as an appliance still works, I’m going to keep it”. This philosophy is quite valid, as long as the appliance is functioning properly. However, if you have an appliance that triggers the circuit breaker, smokes, sparks, or has a cord that is cracked or frayed, then this is a potential fire hazard. Don’t try to repair the appliance yourself, unless you are a licensed electrician. Instead, hire a professional repair person or replace the appliance.
Do not use appliances near sources of water.
In the busy lives of people today, many people tend to forget basic safety recommendations. As a reminder, do not use appliances, such as hair dryers, radios, televisions, or lamps near places that have running or standing water. When electrical appliances come in contact with water, there is a chance of electrocution because water is a good conductor of electricity. If an appliance does come into contact with water, professionals recommend turning off the main breaker box before unplugging the wet appliance.
Updated your home's electrical wiring if it is outdated or installed improperly.
According to the National Fire Prevention Association, faulty or outdated wiring is one of the leading causes of house fires. It is important that you have your home’s electrical system inspected by a professional every few years or so. This is especially important if you see any signs of malfunction, such as warm outlets, lights that dim or flicker for no reason, or the breaker box trips unexpectedly. In addition, if your home is 25-30 years old and has the original electrical system, then you should have it inspected every year or two.
Check power strips and outlets around your home.
Every outlet is only equipped to handle a certain amount of electricity, and it is wise to double check the outlets around your home to make sure that you don’t have too many things plugged in to each outlet. This is the same principle for power strips. If you have an outlet or power strip overloaded, then the chance of sparks or fire is increased, which can be a real danger. It is best to install Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlets in areas of heavy use, and also install power strips with built-in surge protectors. Both of these types of outlets and power strips will flip off if the amount of electricity running through them is too much.
Double check your lightbulbs' wattage in lamps and light fixtures.
Light fixtures and lamps are manufactured to hold a certain wattage lightbulb. If you install a lightbulb that is too strong, then you pose a fire hazard. Always check the lamp’s socket for the recommended lightbulb wattage. If a recommendation is not present, then it is best to choose the lowest wattage lightbulb available.
Always have protection on your electrical outlets.
If you ever have young children in your home, then it is very important to cover your outlets. If an innocent child sticks something, such as their finger or an object, in to the outlet, then they can be seriously shocked or burned. Plastic covers or outlet plates can be purchased at most home-supply stores.
In conclusion, it is very important that you take care of your home and your home’s electrical system. Electricity is a function of wonder and practicality, but it can also become a danger within the home, if the home’s electrical system is not in proper working order. Just a little bit of preventative maintenance can save you and your family from any dangerous outcomes.
Contact the professionals at Advanced Electrical Company if you are in need of a Birmingham electrician at (205) 664-4500.
A ground plug adapter, sometimes called a pigtail adapter, is a small device that allows you to plug a three prong plug with a grounding connection into a two prong outlet that does not have a dedicated grounding wire. Most people who live in older homes are probably very familiar with these adapters due to the fact that so many devices require a three prong outlet.
While using a ground plug adapter is a common practice, it is not safe for your home or your electronics. Older electrical outlets only have two slots, the narrow “hot” slot and the wide “neutral” slot. A three slot receptacle also has a round “ground” slot for safety. If something goes wrong with the outlet, cord, or appliance, the ground is a pathway for the electricity to go back to the breaker box. Without the ground, the electricity will look for the easiest path, which is sometimes through your body. Using a ground plug adapter for a three prong cord and a two slot outlet with older electrical systems that do not have a dedicated grounding wire will lead to potential shock. A true grounding system is the safest way to go, and is required by code in all new construction.
Sure, a plug adapter can be purchased at just about any store for very little money, and requires very little effort to use, allowing you to use electrical devices in places you normally wouldn’t be able to. However, they do not provide any type of safety. Devices have a third prong to help protect against surges, malfunctions, and even fire. Using an adapter removes that functionality, making them vulnerable to potential damage. A ground plug adapter does not function the same as a grounded circuit. Most people assume that they are safe because they are sold in stores. If an electrical surge does occur while using one of these adapters, it can result in electrocution or an electrical fire.
If you only have two prong outlets in your home, the safest option is to replace them. They are unsafe and unable to handle the demand of today’s electronic devices. Updating all of your outlets to three prongs will ensure your system is grounded and safe from potential issues. An even safer choice is to install ground fault circuit interrupt outlets (GFCI’s), especially near sources of water like in the kitchen and bathroom. These outlets will shut off the electrical device if it detects abnormal spikes in electricity.
If you are still using these ground plug adapters, it is time to update your home’s electrical wiring. Contact Advanced Electrical Company to help protect your home and electrical devices today.
Remodeling your kitchen will not only improve the look and function of your home, but you can also increase your home's value by upgrading the electrical circuits. Older homes were not wired for all of today's modern conveniences and technology. Many older kitchens have an electrical outlet here or there, and are missing GFCI outlets, which are to be used anywhere water is present in order to safeguard against electrical shock. If you are considering a kitchen remodel, or are already in the process of doing a remodel, include electrical wiring in your plans. You can bring your wiring up to code and make your time in the kitchen much more convenient!
A kitchen requires at least 7 electrical circuits to properly handle the basic elements. Something to keep in mind is if an appliance has a motor, it should have its own electrical circuit.
Depending on the total wattage of all the lights in the kitchen, a 15 amp, 120 volt circuit should power the ceiling light fixtures, recessed lights, and task lighting.
Refrigerators have come a long way since the old iceboxes. Aside from built-in ice and water dispensers, there are smart refrigerators that will snap photos of what's inside and send them to your phone while you're out shopping, as well as refrigerators that allow you to order groceries from a touch screen on the door. Needless to say, your refrigerator needs its own dedicated 20 amp, 120 volt circuit, even if it doesn't have all the bells and whistles (and touch screens).
3. Oven Range
A dedicated circuit for your oven range is also essential in a kitchen. The cooking area requires a 50 amp, 240 volt circuit to supply power to the range and oven. A special range outlet is also required.
As microwaves have grown larger over the years, their wattage usage has increased as well. A microwave needs a dedicated 20 amp, 120 volt circuit wired with a ground. Often times, this circuit is shared with a gas stove outlet as long as they don't overload the total safe amperage.
5. Garbage Disposal
A garbage disposal should have a separate 15 amp, 120 volt circuit. Depending on local electrical codes, a garbage disposal may be able to share a circuit with the dishwasher.
If you've decided to forgo washing dishes by hand, a dishwasher should have a 15 amp, 120 volt circuit. As mentioned above, it may be able to share the same circuit as the garbage disposal, depending on local codes.
7. Small Appliances
Small appliances, such as coffee pots, toasters, can openers, juicers, crock pots, and blenders, require at least two dedicated 20 amp, 120 volt circuits . The countertop outlets should not be placed further than four feet apart.
There's a mile-long list of things to consider when remodeling your kitchen. The electrical wiring should be at the top of the list, not only for safety purposes, but for improving the convenience as well. Keep in mind that the electrical system should not be worked on by just anyone. Contact Advanced Electrical Company to help create a plan for your dream kitchen's electrical wiring.
Are you interested in techniques that could save you significant savings on your energy bill? Below are some ideas that you can use that may help you save money and keep your home more comfortable year-round.
The first idea that is productive in saving energy in your home is to complete a home inspection. Choose which room in your home to begin the inspection and diligently progress through each individual room.
Carefully check all window seals and door frames to spot any cracks around the edges. Use caulk to fill in any gaps that are noticeable. Also, check the air flow vents in each room to confirm they are open to the desired range. It is also a good idea to check around pipes and faucets for drafty conditions. Caulk can also be used around them to fill any open areas.
Another “quick fix” for conserving energy is to regularly change your air filters. If you do not already do this, mark your calendars every 1-3 months and replace all of the filters simultaneously. Air filters are available in a variety of sizes, so double check the size you require before heading to the store. It is important to dust the vent covers regularly, also. Occasionally, it is also a good idea to vacuum the vents.
A few simple, yet often overlooked tasks you can do to save power in your home, is to turn off lights when not in use, unplug appliances that are not needed, and adjust the thermostat, hot water heater, and refrigerator to more conservative temperatures. The temperature changes can be minute ones that you will barely notice, but can make significant changes on your power bill. It may also be helpful to replace incandescent lightbulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. Some studies show that fluorescent bulbs could reduce energy use by up to 75 percent.
If you are in the market for any new appliances or electronics, this may be another way to save on your energy bill. New models of appliances and electronics, such as kitchen appliances, televisions, or computers, have energy saving technology available and can reduce your energy bill also.
If you have concerns about the warmth of your home, it may behoove you to have a programmable thermostat installed, if you don’t already have one. Along with proper insulation in the walls and the attic of your home, a programmable thermostat will help keep temperatures comfortable and steady.
Ceiling fans are useful for helping the functionality of heating and cooling systems, also. The use of the fans help to alleviate the need for constant use of the HVAC unit.
Regular inspections of your home’s furnace and air conditioning units are very important. It is vital to have these systems checked out periodically to ensure proper working order and safety checks of all the functions of the units.
There are many, many ways to conserve energy. Perhaps some of the ideas that have been discussed here will be helpful to you in order to make progressive changes towards being an energy saver. These improvements towards saving energy should not take an overwhelming amount of time, but will definitely help lower your utility bills.
Contact Advanced Electrical Company for an electrical inspection that will help determine more ways you can save energy in your home.
Are you looking for a way to spruce up your home without depleting your savings or retirement fund? Are you interested in changing the look of your home to a more elegant, modern, or vogue fashion? One idea that will update your home, practically overnight, is to update the lighting.
Changing the light fixtures or lamps in your home can provide you with a fresh, new look and it can also change the ambiance of a room completely. In addition to switching some of the fixtures and lamps, you can also add some new light fixtures to your home. Perhaps light up a corner of a room that has been too dark previously, or maybe add some picture lights over a favorite piece of art, or some sconces around the doors or the fireplace.
There are some modern techniques for lighting that can really add to the functionality of a room. For example, in the kitchen many homeowners are adding recessed lights in the ceiling, for more of a spotlight look over the kitchen island, stove, sink, or refrigerator. Track lighting is also very popular in the kitchen because it provides a lot of focused light so you can see well as you are preparing your meals. Under cabinet lighting is also quite nice in the kitchen. This type of lighting provides bright lights at close range so the counters are easily visible, and it also provides a nice, nightlight effect when used alone.
Another idea is to create a cozy, functional reading corner with a bright floor lamp by your favorite armchair. This would provide for a wonderful area to sit and focus on a newspaper or an interesting book.
Some people find that decorating with string lights can really brighten up a room. The string lights can be placed on an indoor plant, across a mantle, or over the tops of furniture or windows.
In addition to indoor lighting, outdoor lighting can also be updated and can be very attractive and functional. There are many options available for lighting the outdoor areas of your home. Landscape lighting is very popular and beautiful, with lights that focus around trees and bushes. Walkway lighting is also nice because it provides lighting throughout the evening and gives the sidewalk or driveway visibility. Floodlights are another nice addition to outdoor areas. They provide a lot of light on dark nights.
There is such a wide range of things you can do to update lighting in and around your home. The options are endless and the price range is very broad. A good place to gather some ideas is at home supply stores, furniture stores, design warehouses, or by searching online.
Whichever choices you make about updating your home, good lighting fixtures can add value, functionality, and aesthetic beauty to any room. Once you have chosen some new lighting elements for your home, be sure to contact an experienced electrical contractor to install them for you. Working with electricity can be dangerous, not only to yourself, but to your home, if you are not trained to do so.
Advanced Electrical Company offers a wide range of electrical services in the Birmingham area. For lighting repairs and installation, give us a call today!
Your home electrical system may not be something you think about very often. In fact, many people don’t think about their electrical systems unless they need to replace a fixture or install an outlet. However, it is a very good idea to maintain your electrical system and periodically question if there is a need to upgrade your panel, appliances, electronics, light fixtures, outlets, or anything else that is electrical in your home.
The electrical panel is the hub of all the electricity in your home. It is a central location where the power for your entire home is distributed to all things that use electricity, such as air conditioning and heating units, lights, outlets, appliances, and so on. It is important to replace the electrical panel if it is damaged or antiquated. You may also need to replace the panel if you are updating rooms, such as a kitchen or bath, or if you are building additions to your home. It is dangerous to overload circuits; therefore, it is imperative to check your panel if you are making changes to your home.
Another reason you may decide to replace the electrical panel is if you need more power in your home. There are several levels and qualities of electrical panels, so it is a good idea to compare different varieties. The panel does not affect the existing wiring throughout your home, but it distributes and regulates the power that is brought into your home. The more electrical devices you have, the better the panel you will need to install.
The prices vary on replacing an electrical panel, and can range from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars. Since working with electricity is not a project that the average person should complete themselves, it is best to shop around for a qualified, competent electrician.
A bonus to your decision of updating an electrical panel, appliances, lights, or outlets is that safety standards are constantly improving. You will be comforted in the knowledge that replacing older electrical equipment with newly manufactured equipment will provide you and your family with the safest equipment available.
Questionable outlets should also be updated, if you have safety concerns about them. Damaged or obsolete outlets should be replaced by your electrician. If any of the outlets seem loose or wiggle, it may also be time to replace them. A qualified electrician can decide the best solution to your problems.
It is important to take care of your home’s electrical system for many reasons, but the main reason is that you want to make your home safe for you and your family. With the help of a professional electrician like Advanced Electrical Company, you can provide the safest home possible with the completion of home electrical inspections and updates, as needed.
Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the seemingly endless amount of appliances, accessories, and tools you need an electrical outlet for in your home? Most homeowners find themselves swapping out plugs to charge their phones, moving furniture around to locate hidden outlets, or using power strips to increase the amount of items they can plug in. While power strips are convenient and somewhat effective, many people make the mistake of using them too often.
Advanced Electrical Company takes safety very seriously. We want to make sure you don't put yourself at risk for an electrical emergency so we've put together a short list of safety tips for using power strips in your home.
As long as you are smart about the way you use power strips and you use them in moderation, you should have no problems. There is a much better solution, though, so you aren't always scrambling for places to plug your various appliances and tools into. At Advanced Electrical Company, we are experts at installing new electrical outlets in Birmingham, AL. This safe, long-term solution will help ensure you have enough places to plug in everything in your modern home without the risk of electrical fire. It's also a fairly quick process so there is minimal interruption to your daily lifestyle.
At Advanced Electrical Company, we will handle any type of electrical need you throw our way. We've been in business for many years, we are licensed and insured throughout the state of Alabama, and our commitment to complete customer satisfaction really sets us apart from the other electrical companies in Birmingham. Contact us today to request a free estimate or schedule an appointment.
A fire is one of the most devastating things that any homeowner can go through, and unfortunately, electrical fires are relatively common. According the National Fire Protection Association, 47,700 fires caused by an electrical problem were reported to U.S. fire departments in 2011. Many of these fires lead to injuries or fatalities, and most of them could have prevented, which is why it's so important to have electrical safety inspections performed.
Some common electrical problems that can cause fires include problems with:
The best way to keep your home safe from electrical fires to have safety inspections performed regularly. At Advanced Electrical Company, our Birmingham electricians can provide you with thorough inspections and help you keep your home and your electrical system in the safest condition possible.
If you don't know whether or not you need to have an electrical safety inspection performed, look out for these signs:
Time Since Your Last Inspection
Our professional Birmingham electricians recommend that electrical safety inspections are performed:
Old or Outdated Wiring
About a third of homes in the U.S. have had the same wiring systems for over 50 years—unfortunately, most electrical wiring systems have an average lifespan of about 30-40 years. This means that many homes have outdated wiring, and that can be unsafe. Have an electrical safety inspection performed if you notice:
Extension cords, surge protectors, and switching circuits back on should all be temporary solutions to problems. If they become normal parts of your home life, you should have your electrical system inspected to ensure that it's safe.
Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, aluminum wiring was used extensively. However, as it turns out, aluminum oxidizes very quickly, and that oxidation can lead to corrosion. While aluminum wiring is adequate for a short period of time, it has a relatively short lifespan, and once it begins to corrode, your Birmingham home could be very unsafe.
It's possible that your entire home may need new wiring, but most of the time, you'll only need to have it partially re-wired. During an electrical safety inspection, our professionals will be able to let you know whether the aluminum wiring in your home is safe for use.