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 Home fires due to an outdated heating system or one with faulty wiring is another main cause for fires during the wintertime.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.
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.
If you are requesting to preserve your home’s electrical system, then you’re going to need an electrical safety inspection. This is one inspection you don’t want to pass up on as they are done only by qualified electricians that are skilled at keeping your home safe.
Maintenance can and will keep your home’s electrical system working properly so that there are no pop-up electrical problems such as blown circuits or outlets not working. An non-working electrical item can be an inconvenience that you don’t need.
Out of pocket repair expenses are another problem that comes along with a dysfunctional electrical system. The heartache to these damages comes from years of neglect that finally build up and invade your home with problems such as shock or other injuries.
Hiring a professional electrician in Birmingham will provide you with the following in regards to a safety inspection:
Benefits of safety inspections: