These Three Electrical Outlets Can Keep the Home Safe

What Outlets Come with Safety Features? 

Electrical Safety Foundation International has some startling facts about electrical fires. It notes that there are around 51,000 electrical fires nationwide each year. These fires cause countless injuries and unfathomable property damage. This makes it crucial for homeowners to know the differences between electrical outlets and which ones keep the home safe. Three outlets that come with safety features to protect the house and its inhabitants include: 

AFCI Outlets (Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters) 

AFCI outlets are ideal for helping to prevent electrical fires. Here’s a brief overview of how these devices work: 

  • AFCI outlets monitor the flow of electricity. 
  • Sometimes, a phenomenon called arcing happens. This is when electricity jumps from one wire to another––increasing the risk of electrical fires. 
  • AFCI outlets sense abnormal activity and immediately stop the flow of electricity to prevent arcs from generating enough heat to start a fire. 

With protection against electrical fires, homeowners can rest easy knowing their house is safe. Outlet installations are best left to the professionals. A trained electrician can install a new outlet while keeping the rest of the home’s electrical grid up to code. 

GFCI Outlets (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) 

outletsGFCI outlets are the outlets with the “reset” and “power” buttons. While AFCI outlets specialize in reducing electrical fires, GFCIs reduce the likelihood of electrical shocks and electrocution. GFCI outlets are typically required in spaces with water, like kitchens, bathrooms, and outdoor spaces. Here’s a brief overview of how GFCIs work: 

  • GFCI outlets monitor the amount of electricity flowing into and out of the circuit.
  • If the electricity flowing into the circuit differs from the amount leaving, the outlet will quickly shut off power to the circuit to prevent shocks.

When homeowners want to restore power to the outlet, they can press the “reset” button. Then, they should be able to use the outlet as normal. However, if the outlet keeps turning off, that means too much electricity is in the system. Homeowners should consult a professional if they notice this problem. 

Childproof Outlets 

outletsChildren account for 20 percent of all electrocution-related injuries. These incidents can lead to traumatic brain injuries, nerve damage, and burns. Parents should consider the benefits of installing childproof outlets even if their child has never shown interest in an outlet before. All it takes is one simple “experiment” to result in life-altering injuries. 

Childproof outlets rely on springs and only allow prongs from electrical devices to enter the outlet, preventing children from being able to stick anything in the outlet and hurt themselves. They do not allow these objects to enter the outlet and form an electrical current: 

  • Bobby pins
  • Fork tines 
  • Paper clips 
  • Toys 
  • Scissors 
  • Fingers 

About Trustworthy Electric

Trustworthy Electric has over 25 years of experience serving its neighbors in Montgomery, AL, and the surrounding areas. They offer upfront pricing, on-time service, and military discounts. Call them today for outlet repair and replacement in Montgomery, AL

Electrical Systems 101: Everything Homeowners Need to Know

Some Electrical System Basics

Even if one doesn’t plan on pursuing a career in electricity, they should know some basics about their home’s electrical grid. Knowing some basics allows homeowners to avoid problems and better understand their home’s operations.

Here, homeowners can learn everything they need about their electrical system’s parts and problem signs. They can also learn about how to stay safe and avoid electrocutions.

The Many Parts of the Electrical System

electrical meterThe home’s electrical system is more than light switches and outlets. It is comprised of parts like:

  • Outlets: These are probably the most recognizable components of the electrical system. Outlets allow homeowners to plug in their phones, TVs, video game consoles––anything that requires power.
  • The electrical meter: Electrical meters measure how much electricity the home uses. It usually measures electricity in kilowatt-hours.
  • The disconnect switch: The disconnect switch limits the flow of electricity to one part of the house. It can also turn off electricity to the home when an electrician does repairs.
  • The breaker panel: This device directs power to the home’s electrical components, such as its outlets, appliances, and the air conditioning unit (if it runs on electricity).
  • Circuits: At the end of the day, most electrical systems are circuits. This means that electricity comes from a centralized power source, then travels through the home using wires and cords. Some circuits are more complicated than others, depending on a home’s energy needs.

Signs of Electrical System Problems

burning smellsElectrical system problems are not to be trifled with by homeowners. Homeowners don’t have the necessary training and tools to work on electrical issues safely. The moment someone notices any of the following signs, they should consult a professional immediately:

  • Burning smells from outlets: This could point to anything from damaged wiring to a circuit board overload. A burning smell could quickly be followed by a fire if left unaddressed.
  • Flickering lights: On a good day, flickering lights could just point to a failing lightbulb, an easy fix. In a more serious situation, the flickering could stem from exposed wires, a circuit board overload, and other related issues.
  • Sparking outlets: It’s not unusual to plug something in and see a tiny spark. However, if one notices big or frequent sparks, that points to a more serious issue.

Electrical problems like these require the immediate attention of a qualified professional. An electrician can assess the problem’s cause and render appropriate repairs. They can also catch smaller issues before they threaten the electrical system.

Electrical Safety Tips

The best electrical safety tip is to refrain from DIY repairs because unskilled DIY repairs can do more than just damage the home. They can affect one’s health and well-being. Per Healthline, electrical shocks can lead to seizures, headaches, breathing problems, and unconsciousness.

Some additional electrical safety tips include:

  • Avoid overloading circuits: This means refraining from the excessive use of extension cords and plugging high-voltage items into the same outlet.
  • Avoid running wires under rugs and mats: If a cord gets too hot, this could start an electrical fire.
  • Always keep a fire extinguisher on hand: Homeowners never know when an electrical fire could start – and if it does, they cannot pour water on it. Keeping a fire extinguisher on hand is insurance if an electrical fire breaks out.

About Trustworthy Electric

Trustworthy Electric has over 25 years of experience serving its neighbors in Montgomery, AL, and the surrounding areas. They provide upfront pricing, financing, customer education, and military discounts. Call them today for electrical services in Montgomery, AL.

How to Create the Perfect Backyard for Summer Fun!

How to Get the Backyard Ready for Guests

Activities like outdoor BBQs and pool parties are a staple of summer. Here are a few ways homeowners can upgrade the backyard for summer fun. Taking the time to prep the backyard for guests can help outdoor events go smoothly. Outdoor gatherings like Fourth of July celebrations, family reunions, and neighborhood BBQs can pose unique hosting challenges for homeowners. 

Not only do homeowners have to ensure that there is enough food, drinks, and seats, but they also have to provide electricity and outdoor entertainment. Music, pools, hot tubs, and lighting are a few examples of how homeowners use electricity outdoors during summer events. 

Add Outdoor Lighting

Lots of outdoor events run over into the night. Even if the event ends early, homeowners should be prepared for the after-party by installing outdoor lighting. Outdoor lighting fixtures can add to the ambiance of a summer night for the perfect vibe. Examples of lighting options for a yard and summer events are landscape lights, string lights, and pathway lights. 

Having adequate lighting is also important for safety reasons. It can be dangerous for guests to be stumbling around in the dark. Lighting the walkways is a good idea in preparation for summer events. People need to see where they are walking to get around the party and back to their cars. There should also always be adequate lighting around the grill, pools, or other bodies of water to prevent accidents. 

Power Generator

generatorThe summer is a common time to experience power blackouts due to weather events or stress on the power grid from everyone running their air conditioners at once. In preparation for summer events, homeowners may consider investing in a backup power generator. A backup generator can also take the stress off the home’s electrical system. 

Using a power generator for the lights, music, and anything else at an outdoor event can help homeowners to keep the party going even if there is an outage. In the event of a power outage, homeowners may be out hundreds of dollars when everything in the fridge and freezer spoils. Having a power generator ensures that food isn’t wasted. 

Power generators can be an important safety item for people who rely on medical equipment to live. In the case of a blackout, they may need a backup power supply to power their medical equipment.

Install a Hot Tub or Pool

poolInstalling a pool or a hot tub can take a backyard BBQ to the next level this summer! Guests will love to end the night with a relaxing soak in the hot tub. Installing a new pool or hot tub is the perfect excuse to gather with friends and family this year. They also add property value to a home.

Pools and hot tubs must be installed and wired by professional electricians for safe and efficient performance because they are required to meet current electrical codes and regulations. Homeowners should contact a local, qualified electrical company for electrical upgrades in the backyard. 

About Trustworthy Electric 

Trustworthy Electric has over 25 years of experience serving the residents of Montgomery, AL, and the surrounding areas. They provide upfront pricing, on-time service, fully stocked trucks, and customer education. Call them today for electrical services in Montgomery, AL

Keeping Homes Safe from Power Surges

Whole House Surge Protectors to Protect Electronics

A problem that largely goes unacknowledged in modern homes is that of power surges. Power surges are spikes in voltage that last a few nanoseconds but can cause massive damage around the house. They go unnoticed because, most of the time, they don’t do immediate damage, but the cumulative effects of power surges on electronics cannot be underestimated. 

Just like using a water filter to purify water, a whole home surge protector can clean up the power that enters a home and make it safer for electronics. Here is a quick guide to these electronic-saving devices that technicians can quickly install to protect homes. 

What is a Power Surge?

surgeEven in areas with stable electrical supply, power surges are common. They happen as grid-scale events or small events within the home. 

Common causes of power surges are:

  • Storms, especially lightning strikes
  • Appliances with a large current draw, like refrigerators and HVAC systems
  • A fluctuation in the power grid
  • Downed electrical lines
  • Problems at the electricity generation plant

The problem with power surges is that they can cause lots of damage for being as short as they are. Any electronic device with a control board or a motor is susceptible to damage during a power surge. A single power surge could ruin multiple devices or appliances simultaneously. 

Why are Surge Protectors Beneficial?

A surge protector protects sensitive electronics from damage during a power surge. Commonly used surge protection devices are built into many power strips to protect banks of electronic equipment like a computer and monitor or a TV and cable box. But how can these protect devices like refrigerators and dimmer switches?

So many sensitive electronic devices are present in homes that electricians recommend protecting the home with a whole house surge protector. These devices are hard-wired into the panel and divert any large voltage spikes away from electronics instead of allowing them to damage their boards or motors. 

It is not uncommon for a large power surge to knock out a wide array of electronics in the home at once, so homeowners should have a whole house surge protector installed to prevent unnecessary damage. 

When Should Surge Protectors Be Replaced? 

protectorTo protect homes from power surges, homeowners should use a combination of a whole-home surge protector to keep hardwired and plug-in appliances safe and power strips with surge protectors to guard sensitive electronics like computers and phones. Power surges are more common than people would expect, given the reliability of their electricity, but many surges are not harmful enough to overwhelm electronics immediately. Over time, many small surges can work to degrade electronics slowly. This is why knowing when to replace surge protectors is so important. 

Surge protectors should be changed every three to five years, whether for the whole home or in a power strip. After this time, they have absorbed enough energy from power surges to cause them to be ineffective. Other signs that surge protectors are failing include:

  • Damage from power surges
  • Flickering lights
  • Inconsistent power supply in the home from a power strip 
  • Signs of electrical fires
  • Expired warranty  

About Trustworthy Electric

Trustworthy Electric has over 25 years of experience serving the community of Montgomery, AL, and the surrounding areas. They provide upfront pricing, same-day service, and customer education. Call them today for electrical services in Montgomery, AL.

Electrical Safety Month

3 Tips To Ensure Electrical Safety

Electrical safety is now more critical than ever. With so many devices available, it is easy to forget the basics of over-plugging. Understanding how to use a home’s electrical system properly can help prevent electrical accidents and outages. 

Unplug for Safetyoutlet

The phrase “unplugging” usually refers to the over-reliance on the internet, but in this case, “unplugging” means unplugging cords to create a safer home environment. Excessive cords are a common electrical problem. Phone chargers, laptop cords, and ebooks are frequently charged simultaneously. Once surge protectors are added to the mix, this can increase the chances of starting a fire

Not all electrical appliances use the same amount of power. An electric toothbrush, for instance, is not going to use the same amount of energy as a laptop cable. Outlets with multiple plugs requiring high power can quickly overload the system. Balancing out electrical outlets with low and high-power gadgets can decrease the danger.

Unplugging is not always an option in every house. For homes with few electrical outlets, this may mean several appliances are attached to one outlet via a surge protector. While surge protectors are not necessarily dangerous, loading them up with plugs is never good. Leaving at least two plugs empty is recommended.

Before leaving a room, unplug any fully charged devices still using an outlet. This is especially helpful in older houses that have two-pronged outlets. Homeowners who unplug appliances when not in use will reduce the likelihood of an electrical accident while saving energy. Outlet repair is available for both new and old switches. 

wattagesPay Attention To the Wattage

Electrical power is measured in wattages. A single watts unit has a very low electrical flow, whereas 750 watts could potentially run a microwave. Regardless of how many watts an appliance has, it will still require a plug and outlet.

The correct wattage is a measurement used for electrical safety. If an appliance is running at maximum watts, this can increase the chances of a fire or electrical storm. Overloading an outlet with high-powered devices is risky in any room of the house.

Lamps and overhead light fixtures have a recommended wattage for the energy a wire can run. Most light fixtures handle 60 watts, but 100 watts may be necessary for complex lamps. A high wattage bulb may heat one of the sockets and increase the likelihood of melting wires. Since wattage has increased over time, many new outlets can handle more wattage. 

Before plugging high-wattage appliances into new or old outlets, checking the light label can help. If the wattage exceeds 60 watts, do not leave the light running overnight. In houses that still use two-pronged outlets, using over 60 watts can be hazardous even for a short period. 

High wattage lamps can cause wires to melt or spark. If a spark occurs, it is usually at the wire section closest to the wall. It can also spark if the lamp cord has a torn patch with exposed wire. This can easily lead to a fire if sparks occur, especially if nearby curtains or rugs. 

Never DIY

DIY handiwork is a common way to fix household problems without spending money on a technician. While this may be possible for certain projects, electrical issues are serious and potentially dangerous, so they should only be handled by a professional electrician. Electrical hazards are commonplace in both household and commercial DIY projects.

All electrical problems are not solved using the same techniques and involve in-depth knowledge about voltage, current, wattages, etc. Without the right skills, it is easy to make a mistake. The risk of injury is high for those who are not professionally trained. Shock, fire, and electrocution are all potential dangers with electrical wiring. One electrical shortage and the risk of a house fire is greatly increased.

Electrical Warning Signs

Electrical shocks can occur when rubbing socks against a carpet in the winter. The static electricity created from friction will make a tiny zap that is small and expected, but electrical shocks that frequently happen during the warmer months may indicate a problem.

Feeling a shock when touching an appliance is a warning sign because a ground fault within the device is malfunctioning. Due to improper wiring, these shocks are not supposed to occur during any season. 

Hot ceiling fixtures are another sign. Check the electricity around ceiling lights by feeling for warmth. Ceilings that are not well-insulated will overheat and may be considered a fire hazard. Switching to compact fluorescent lights can help solve this issue. 

Flickering lights are often a sign of faulty light fixtures, but if the bulb has been changed and the light continues to flicker, an electrician should be called right away. This may indicate that the connections within the electrical wiring are loose. 

Unusual smells can come from electrical systems that are no longer working properly. A burning odor is common for overloaded outlets. The electrical panel should be completely turned off if an outlet smells like smoke. It is not safe to continue using this switch until an electrician has had a chance to examine it. Burning smells can also be a sign of an electrical fire.

Trustworthy Electric 

Trustworthy Electric has provided its neighbors in Montgomery, AL, and the surrounding areas with trusted solutions to all their electrical problems since 1994. Trustworthy Electric offers same-day service, upfront pricing, and a rewarding membership plan. Call them today for electrical services in Montgomery, AL.