Smart Ways to Protect Your Home From Power Surge

A power surge is a fairly common occurrence and could happen at any given time. In most cases, power surges can be very brief and small for homeowners to notice them. But, that does not mean that the damage is not taking place. Small frequent power surges can wear on your appliances internal components which can significantly shorten their lifespan.

While it can be unavoidable, you can take some measures to prevent the damages caused by power surges and every homeowner should take this opportunity. Read on to find out how you can ensure that your home is protected when a power surge occurs.

What is  a Power Surge?

A power surge refers to the sudden or abnormal spike in the flow of  electric current in your home. It can be a very brief occurrence but may still cause a considerable amount of damage to your home, gadgets, and appliances.

Some of the common sources of a power surge at home are the following:

  • They can originate from the electric service provider, typically during a power grid switching.
  • When major appliances like refrigerators and air-conditioning units are turned on or off.  High-power equipment demands a bigger amount of energy to power on or off its components such as the motors and compressors and the switching creates abrupt, rapid demands for energy which in turn upsets the steady voltage flow in the electrical system.
  • Lightning. During a lightning storm excess voltage may enter your home through existing power or cable lines that can cause an electrical surge.
  • Downed power lines and faulty transformers
  • Faulty electrical wirings that can cause uneven flow of current.

How Do Power Surges Cause Damage?

A power surge can deliver excess amounts of voltage in the electrical circuit which generates heat in the electrical components. A strong burst of power surge can instantly burn or scorch circuit boards and sensitive appliances such as computers. At the same time, even smaller power surges that don’t seem to cause immediate and noticeable damages can be the source of wear and tear and slowly damage the electronic components of your appliances, ultimately decreasing their lifespan. 

How to Avoid Power Surge At Home

Our appliances at home have helped make our lives easier and more convenient. Frequent power surges can shorten the lifespan of these valuable appliances. Below are some of the ways you can protect your home from power surges:

  1. Invest in a whole house surge protection system.

A whole house surge suppression unit works by automatically shutting off the power and redirecting the excess voltage to the ground wire. These units are typically installed at the service entrance or load center of your home and a licensed electrician can help install it for you to protect your home from power surges.

  • Use of SPDs or Point-of-source Protection Devices.

While SPD’s won’t actually suppress electrical surges, they can prevent most damage from an electrical surge by diverting the surge to the ground.

  • Ensure your home has a good grounding system.

This is an important feature since most surge protectors work by redirecting the surge into the ground line.

  • Install surge protection outlets and power strips

Even with a whole house surge suppressor, there can still be a tendency for a power surge to affect sensitive appliances that are susceptible to power surge damages. To enhance your surge protection, you can install power strips to sensitive appliances such as your computers.

  • Be smart about where you plug your devices.

As mentioned earlier, high-power devices can cause energy fluctuations when turned on before settling at a lower wattage. To protect your delicate appliances like your computers, it is best that you plug them in separate outlets. In other words, you should avoid plugging your large appliances and sensitive devices together in a way that they are sharing the same power in the outlet. This puts your sensitive appliances at risk of electric surge damage coming from the large appliances.

Choosing the Best Surge Protection for Your Home

It only takes one major power surge to bring costly damages into your home. Investing in a good surge protection for your home far outweighs the cost and the hassle in the aftermath of a damaging sudden power strike. Installing an entire house surge protector can offer protection and give you security and peace of mind knowing that your whole household is covered.

When choosing for the right surge protector for your home, check out its Underwriters Laboratories (UL) rating and expiration date. UL is the oldest independent nonprofit organization that tests products and technologies for safety before they are marketed. Also, check if your surge protector can handle at least 600 joules. Look for surge protectors that have some sort of an indicator that will notify you of surge protection failure. Finally, to get the most out of the benefits of these surge protectors, it’s a good idea to have a licensed electrician install them for you.

Protect Your Home – Electrical Safety Tips You Should Know About

Electricity has made our lives more convenient and enjoyable in many ways. From your coffee maker to dishwasher and the vacuum cleaner to your dimmer lights in the bedroom – take a look around your house, and you’ll see that almost everything runs through electricity.

However, electricity can be a double-edged sword and wreak havoc on properties, even destroy lives. Each year, electrical fires in homes have caused injuries, deaths and significant damages to properties. But, that doesn’t end there. These electrical fires could have been prevented, and avoided altogether if homeowners practice electrical safety and take precautionary measures when dealing with electricity at home.

 Below we give you the list of electrical safety tips you and your family should practice at home.

10 Electrical Safety Tips You Should Not Ignore

  1. Do not overload your outlets.

Overloading an electrical outlet with too many plugged devices is one of the main culprits of electrical fires. Ideally, you should only plug one heat-producing appliance in an electrical outlet at a time.

  • Replace or repair any damaged or worn out power cords.

Power cords are also subject to wear and tear. Exposed wires from power cords can potentially cause electrocution or even ignite a fire. You shouldn’t ignore or delay replacing them. You can put black tape around them for temporary repair, but for your safety, you should consider replacing them with new ones as soon as possible.

  • As much as possible avoid using extension cords.

Extension cords are both electrical and tripping hazards and should only be used as a temporary solution. Major appliances, however, like refrigerators, electric stoves, and dryers should be plugged directly into the wall outlet and never on extension cords or plug strips.

  • Be extra cautious when you have young children around.

Young children are just beginning to explore things, and their curiosity level is intense. Make sure that you keep dangerous appliances such as blenders, electric kettles, and toasters away from your children’s reach. Secure your outlets with covers and safety caps and tidy up loose cords and keep them away from children who may be playing or tugging them.

  • Unplug any unused appliances to reduce the risk of electrical hazards.

This is probably the easiest way to protect your home from electrical hazards but, is sadly the most neglected one as well. Unplugging unused appliances from the electrical outlets protect them from damages caused by sudden power surges and at the same time may help you save energy. Many appliances at home actually keep using electricity even after they have been turned off.

  • Keep the outlets and other electrical appliances away from wet areas.

Water and electricity is a recipe for disaster. Additionally, you should not work with electricity when your hands are wet to avoid injuries from electric shocks.

  • Always follow the guidelines on the instructional manual for your appliances.

Manufacturers purposefully include the owner’s manual in your appliance purchase to serve as your guide on how to properly use them, as well as to avoid malfunctioning and potential electrical hazards.

  • Make sure your home is properly grounded.

To enhance your home protection against electrical hazards, use GCFIs or Ground-fault Circuit Interrupters which work by monitoring imbalance in electric current flow and react automatically by shutting off a faulty or tripping electronic circuit.

  • Ensure that you only use the correct wattage in all your bulbs, appliances, and other electric fixtures.

Appliances and bulbs should come with labels indicating their wattages and these are not placed there without a purpose. You need to follow them to avoid short-circuits or overloading your electrical wiring system.

  1. For your safety, any major electrical works at home should be done only by a licensed electrician.

While many homeowners may try to do things themselves, primarily to save on labor costs, when it comes to electrical works it’s best to leave the job to a licensed electrician.

How to Upgrade Your Electrical Panel

Safety should always be the top priority when dealing with electricity. As a responsible homeowner, you need to ensure that your electrical systems at home are in excellent condition.

The electrical panel plays a major role in the supply and the proper distribution of power throughout the electrical circuits in your home. When there is an overload, electrical panels are designed to automatically shut off the power source to reduce the risk of fire or electric shock injuries.

If your electrical panel is not in its best working condition or is short of the needed amperage to deliver the appropriate energy supply to your entire circuits at home, it is unable to perform its functions well and may cause damages to your appliances, electric shocks, and fire.

When Should You Consider Upgrading Your Electrical Panel?

Your electrical panel is one of the most important components that make up your entire electric system at home. It’s vital that your panel is working properly, otherwise it defeats its purpose and puts you at risk of electrical hazards, here are signs that call for an electrical panel upgrade.

  1. If you are unable to use two appliances simultaneously, say, when you use a coffee maker, and microwave oven and one or both of them go dead. This could be an indication that your electrical panel is already short of the power supply that you need for your appliances to work properly. This can result in a short-circuit or overloading which can be dangerous.
  2. Back then, electrical panels are only capable of handling 60 amps. So, if you have an older home, you may need to upgrade to the new ones that are capable of handling 200 amps or more.
  3. When you want to make a major appliance purchase that will demand more energy usage and may cause overloading if your electrical panel has lower amp capacity.
  4. If you have an ongoing electrical issues such as flickering lights when you use other appliances at home
  5. Breakers constantly tripping.
  6. If you notice that some outlets have stopped working.
  7. When you plan to sell your house, upgrading your electrical panel can help increase your home’s resale value.

Checking Your Electrical Panel

If your panel has been around for more than 25 years, it may be time that you upgrade to a newer and more advanced one. Otherwise, check your panel and see if it is showing any of the signs below which indicates your electrical panel badly needs an upgrade:

  • You hear a frying or crackling sound from your breaker panel.
  • Signs of rust and corrosion are becoming more evident.
  • The interior of your electrical panel feels warm.
  • You’re using two-pronged outlets rather than the three-prong grounded outlets which are safer.
  • You notice a distinct odor from your panel.
  • Charring or burn marks around the circuit breakers

Don’t ignore the signs that indicate a malfunctioning electrical panel. Contact a licensed electrician immediately to address the issue. Delaying repairs or panel upgrade can result in serious consequences and devastating damages.

Guide to Upgrading Your Electrical Panel

In some cases, only a qualified technician is permitted to perform an electrical panel upgrade, so make sure you ask your local office beforehand.

Moreover, upgrading an electrical panel can be a dangerous task which requires the expertise of a licensed electrician. But, if you think you can handle the job yourself, here are some steps to get you started:

  1. Secure a permit from your local building office.

Generally, it is illegal to perform an electrical panel upgrade without permission from the local building office. At the same time, you may also need to comply with a building inspection after the upgrade is done, so authorities can check if the entire panel is safe and working properly.

  • Make sure that you turn off the power from the main source. Label the power lines so you know which ones go together easily. Take note that the black wires are hot or live wires. The whites are the neutral connections and the green one is the one that connects to the ground line.
  • Open the panel and remove the circuit breakers inside.
  • Disconnect the green wire that connects to the house ground.
  • Install the new panel and make sure you screw it securely on the wall. Follow the previous wiring connections and attach the circuit breakers back into the panel.

How to Deal With Electrical Injuries

All electrical systems can potentially cause harm and injuries. The injuries one can get from electric shocks depend on different factors including the type of current, amount of voltage power, the overall health of the victim, how the electric current has traveled through the person’s body and how quickly the person was given medical help.

As most of the appliances and everyday things we are using today rely on electricity, electrical injuries and accidents are relatively uncommon. 

The Four Main Types of Electrical injuries

The human body is highly conductive and even a small amount of electricity inside our body can be potentially fatal. In general, there are four primary types of electrical injuries and they as follows:

  1. Electrocution

This is a fatal injury due to the current interfering the normal electrical signals of the body and may result in breathing difficulties, muscle spasms, and cause the heart to stop beating.

  • Electric Shock
  • Burns

These are thermal burns coming from the heat generated from the electricity.

  • Falls

Panic and muscle constructions can cause the victim to lose balance and fall which can result in serious injuries.

In some cases, a person injured by electrical shock may not have burns or visible marks or may seem to look okay afterward. This does not indicate that the person is cleared, sometimes the damage can be at the internal organs. At this point, all victims of electrical injuries should be examined by a doctor immediately.

What to Do In Case of Electrical Injuries

Electrical injuries are extremely fatal, even about 2 seconds of exposure to electric current is enough to cause serious damages to the organs of the body. Below are some of the most important tips when dealing with electrical injuries:

  • Never attempt to rescue a victim of electrocution if you are not trained to do so.
  • Avoid touching the injured individual if the person is still contact with the electricity.
  • To separate the victim from the electric current source, make sure to turn off the power from the main source first. Use non-conductive materials like a wooden board, newspaper and rubber floor mat
  • If you’re inside of a vehicle do not get out of your car immediately in the aftermath of a an electrical injury. Contact an emergency professional to make an assessment and wait for his or her go signal before you start to jump outside away from your vehicle,
  • If the victim does not have a pulse and manifests breathing difficulties, be sure you are prepared to do an emergency while you are still waiting for medical help to arrive.

Electrical Wiring and Your Home

With the advent of technology, more and more devices we have at home will need electricity in order to function. Without electricity, we will not be able to make use of the electrical devices which we have come to rely upon for our daily activities.

Now, let’s take a look at how electricity has powered our homes and allowed us to enjoy many of the things imaginable.

How Does Electricity Get Into Our Houses?

The journey of electricity going to our homes begins at the power stations. Power stations are huge plants where electricity is produced from different energy sources including coal, wind, solar, geothermal, and water for hydropower.

From the power stations, electricity as high as 25,000 volts, or more, travels through overhead lines going to the large substations. At the substations, the transmission of electricity starts with the use of transformers. The transformers work by increasing or decreasing the voltage of electric currents depending on the current applications. Transformers have also made it possible for electricity to be transmitted over long distances without losing too much power during the process.

After the first substation, electricity goes into the transmission network where it is prepared for distribution to houses, businesses, and other electric consumers before it finds its way to the second substation. At the second substation, the electricity voltage is already significantly reduced to a level that’s safe for household and commercial use. From there, the electricity makes its way to the distribution power lines and then enters the house through the service drop. Finally, the electricity passes through the main circuit breaker where it is divided into each of the electrical circuits for every area or room in the home.  

What are the Major Parts of Electrical Wires?

As power enters our house, it travels through our home’s electrical wiring. The electrical wires carry the electricity to be distributed to the circuits and then to the appliances. These electrical wires and cables are made up of different parts. But the three major parts are the following:

  • Conductor

Composed of either aluminum, copper, or metals, this is the material in the electric wire which allows electricity to flow through.

  • Insulator

The insulating part of an electrical wire has a high electrical resistance. This is the part of the wire where internal electric charges cannot flow through freely, and its main function is to prevent electricity leakage

  • Sheath

The sheath is the outer cover that holds all the interior materials of the wires together, and protects the wire from external damages.

Electrical Wires: What You Should Know About

Electrical wires follow safety codes. The color code dictates what the wire is for. Black, blue, red, and yellow wires generally indicate hot wires while the green color signifies the ground line of an electrical circuit. Meanwhile, gray and white indicate a neutral wire.

In addition, the size of the electrical wire determines how much electricity can pass through, such that larger wires are used for heavier loads and the smaller wires are for smaller loads.

Home Electrical Wiring Tips

When dealing with your home’s electrical wiring, safety should always be the top priority. In any case that you are unsure what to do, contact a qualified electrician to help you. Otherwise, you risk yourself from electric shocks and other electrical hazards. Here are essential tips when handling your home’s electrical wiring

  • Always test electrical wires and devices for power before you start working on them or near them.
  • When installing a device make sure that it has the right amperage compatible with the amount of amperage that the circuit carries.
  • Secure the wiring connections, loose wiring can result to power arcing where electricity can jump through the air and transfer from one conductor to another.
  • Never work with your electrical wiring with wet hands or near damp areas.

Don’t hesitate to call professional electricians if you need to do some electrical wiring.

Columbus Ohio Electrician, 1550 Old Henderson Rd #45, Columbus, OH 43220, (614) 340-2458

Hidden Electrical Hazards in Your Home That You Should Be Aware Of

How safe is your home from electrical hazards? As we are used to electricity around us, many homeowners underestimate the dangers of potential electrical hazards and tend to ignore minor signs of electrical issues which over time can quickly escalate.

Unfortunately, our homes can be a prime location for various electrical hazards, and some of these hazards may not be readily noticeable and hidden from plain sight.

To help ensure your home is protected from electrical hazards, here are some of the hidden potential electrical dangers you must be aware of:

  1. Using poor quality chargers.

We need chargers primarily for our cell phones and laptops. You might think you are getting a good deal from cheap chargers you can easily buy online, but you should know that these cheap chargers can put you at risk of electrocution and even electrical fires. Almost always, you can expect that they are substandard and fail to meet safety standards.

  • Extension cords running under the furniture, carpets, and rugs.

Extension cords can cause slip and fall accidents. Meanwhile, if you run them under the furniture or carpet, chances are they’ll get damaged and their wires may get frayed without you noticing it immediately which can be dangerous.

  • Leaving unused appliances plugged in the electrical outlet.

A number of fires happen each year because of unused appliances that are left plugged into the outlets. Most unused appliances left unplugged from the outlets still consume energy that could add up to your energy bill, and more importantly, they are at risk of power surges and electrical damages.

  • Wall decor and pictures.

Think twice before hanging that wall decor. If you need to nail a picture or new decoration on your wall, be careful about hitting the live wires or damaging your wiring insulation. Otherwise, you risk getting injured from electric shocks, or in worst cases cause electrical fire to start.

  • Dirty and dusty exhaust fans

Exhaust fans plagued with dust and dirt can potentially lead into overheating and ignite a fire. Make sure you pay attention to the exhaust fans in your bathroom and have them maintained and cleaned regularly.

  • Flickering lights.

Flickering lights may be more than just a problem with your lighting fixture, it could also indicate a short in your electrical circuit which may call for an electrical panel upgrade.

  • Electrical outlet that feels warm to touch.

Overloading your outlets is dangerous. It can damage your appliances due to power surge, or in extreme scenarios may cause fire. If your outlet feels warm to touch, that can indicate an electrical issue that has to be addressed properly before the problem can go worse.

  • Burning smells.

Be wary if you notice burnt smells. This should not be ignored especially if you see signs of frayed or sparkling wires. Contact a qualified technician to have the issue taken care of.

The Importance of Proactive Home Electrical System Maintenance

As a widely popular saying goes, prevention is better than cure, and, this particularly applies to your home’s electrical system.

It is recommended that you have a licensed technician check your home electrical system every 3 or 5 years to ensure that they are in their best working condition. Make it a habit to do a routine visual check on your electrical wiring and outlets, and look for indications of cracks, broken pieces, and loose wirings and plugs. never ignore any signs of wear and tear and other electrical issues. Keep in mind that ignoring your home’s electrical system can be a costly mistake to make. Even what seems to be a minor electrical issue can escalate quickly and lead to devastating damages.