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.

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.

Three Signs of Electrical Panel Repair (and Other Important Tips)

How To Tell if the Home’s Electrical Panel Needs Servicing 

There are countless signs that an electrical panel needs servicing by a professional. While homeowners may be tempted to brush off these signs, the electrical panel could pose a safety hazard if left ignored. Even a small spark could turn into an electrical fire. 

Thankfully, there are three main ways a homeowner can tell if their electrical panel needs servicing. This includes flickering lights, burning smells from the panel, and learning the electrical panel’s age.  

The Home’s Lights Are Flickering 

If someone notices that lights are flickering, they should first try replacing the bulb. If this doesn’t work, they should consider reaching out to a professional. A faulty electrical panel might cause lights to flicker because: 

  • There are loose connections inside the panel: This requires more than just finding the loose connection and tightening it. It means cutting off power to the home and assessing the situation. One may need to replace the connector itself if it’s too old. 
  • A faulty fuse: A fuse might need replacing if the lights in the home are flickering or take too long to turn on. 
  • Oxidation or rust: Electrical panels in older homes will inevitably experience some wear and tear. This could manifest as rusted wires, oxidation, or corrosion-–all of which can interrupt the flow of electricity.

A severe problem might warrant electrical panel replacement. If a replacement is recommended, it shouldn't be put off because doing so could put the home and residents’ safety at risk. 

smell

Burning Smells Coming from the Electrical Panel 

Each wire in an electrical panel is insulated with rubber or another substance, preventing electricity from escaping the wire and causing fires. However, if a wire gets too hot, this could cause the insulation to melt and create a foul-smelling odor. 

Burnt smells can also come from the electrical panel’s breaker. In either case, this requires immediate attention. Excessive heat could damage the electrical system and pose the risk of electrical fires. 

The Electrical Panel Is Old (or Original to an Old Property) 

panelElectrical panels don’t last forever. They generally can last 25 to 40 years with the appropriate conditions and maintenance. Sometimes, an electrical panel won’t last 25 years if it endures above-average wear and tear, which may include: 
  • Frequent power surges 
  • Constantly blown fuses
  • Wires with chronically burnt insulation 
  • Severe weather conditions, such as hurricanes or blizzards
  • Water damage 

Electrical panels can also suffer physical damage if not maintained properly. For instance, if an electrical panel is located in the garage and a ladder falls on top of it, this could cause serious damage. A trained professional can replace electrical panels and recommend measures to ensure the new one lasts for many years to come. 

About Trustworthy Electric

Trustworthy Electric has provided their neighbors in Montgomery, AL, with expert electrical services since 1994. They offer upfront pricing, on-time service, and military discounts. They also have a problem solver guarantee that they will fix the problem that same day or you don’t pay. Call them today for electrical services in Montgomery, AL.

Beware These Three Common Electrical Hazards

Watch Out for These Common Electrical Hazards

Almost all homeowners and their families rely on their electrical systems nearly every day. As such, it would seem to make sense that they should have a basic understanding of potential safety hazards to look out for, but many do not, which can be a real danger. There are a number of potential dangers that can arise, especially due to the intricacies of home electrical systems.

Not only will having this knowledge allow homeowners to ensure the safety of themselves and their families, but it will also allow homeowners to avoid potentially costly electrical mishaps. The three main hazards that homeowners need to watch out for are overloaded power strips, old or faulty wiring, and mismatched lightbulbs. Continue reading for a thorough overview of each.

Overloaded Power Stripsstrips

Overloaded power strips can wreak havoc on electrical systems. What does this even mean, in the first place? Well, overloaded power strips are just as they sound - power strips that have too much stress put on them. Think of this as having a basic power strip with five different appliances plugged into it, each of which demands a high amount of electricity.

This can put excess strain on the strip and lead to hazardous malfunctions. For one, the probability of fire goes way up when a power strip is overloaded, which of course, will put homeowners and their families in danger. Even if a fire doesn’t start, the energy can lead to overheating that may melt any plastic on or around thr power strip. Neither of these outcomes is ideal or safe, so homeowners should avoid putting too much stress on any single power strip.

Old or Faulty Wiring

Electrical wiring is another potentially problematic area. Electrical systems consist of intricate wiring that facilitates the movement of electricity. It is of utmost importance that this wiring is properly working and as up-to-date as possible. Since most homes use electricity nearly every day, these wires are constantly working, so they can endure wear and tear.

Over time, there may be issues with the wiring insulation, pieces of wiring can get out of place, and there can be any number of other issues (let alone the possibility of faulty wiring in the first place). When these things happen, they create a real fire hazard as heat may not be properly under control. Melting can also occur, as was the case with overloaded power strips. The best way homeowners can avoid this is to have periodic professional electricians inspect their systems for any potential abnormalities.

Mismatched Lightbulbslightbulb

Mismatched lightbulbs are another hazard that may result when the wattage does not align with the bulb. The wattage and bulbs should align to ensure proper functioning - otherwise, there can be significant overheating that may put homeowners and their families at risk.

Similar to the two prior hazards described, mismatched lightbulbs can lead to melting and/or fires, neither of which homeowners probably want! The best way to avoid this is to check that the wattage aligns and, in the event of any uncertainty, for homeowners to seek the help of electrical professionals.

About Trustworthy Electric

Trustworthy Electric of Montgomery, AL has been providing quality electrical services since 1994. Founded upon the basic principle of trust, their team of skilled electricians believes in providing courteous, professional, expert services at affordable prices. Call them today for electrical help in Montgomery, AL!