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Electrical Safety For Kids

Electricity can be counted as one of those modern marvels that nobody really takes the time to marvel at anymore. It has become such a staple in our society, and in our homes, that nobody really notices it until it suddenly goes out or it becomes a hazard.

And one of the main ways it becomes a hazard in the home is if a child gets curious and starts messing around with electricity. We all know it’s bound to happen; no matter how good of a parent you are, you’re only human. You can’t keep an eye on your kid 24/7. But you can teach your kids electricity safety, and make sure that curiosity only plagues the cat, and not your kid.

Have a conversation

The best thing you can do is have a conversation with your kids about the dangerous potential electricity has when it’s not used properly. Start with the basics:

  • Unplug something by pulling from the plug, not the cord. This is to prevent damage to the appliance, the plug, or the outlet itself.
  • Don’t overload your plugs. Be careful to not plug in too many appliances into one extension cord or outlet. This will reduce the risk of flipping a circuit, or causing major electrical damage to your home.
  • Don’t plug something in if water is involved. If you’re wet, standing in water, or near water, do not plug anything in. Electricity is looking for the fastest way to get to the ground, and water is an excellent conductor of electricity. It will travel through the water, and you, to get grounded.
  • If it’s not a power plug, don’t stick it in a socket. This one’s pretty self-explanatory. Severe and dangerous shocks happen this way.
  • Be aware of power lines. Go outside and familiarize yourself and your kids with where the power lines on your property are located. If your kids are looking to fly kites or climb trees, make sure they are well out of the way of power lines.
  • Keep cords untangled and tucked away. This helps prevent the cords from fraying and your family from tripping!
  • Never touch exposed wire from a frayed cord. Encourage your kids to let you know if they see a frayed cord, and to keep their hands away from the exposed wiring.

Electricity doesn’t have to be a danger! Talk to your kids about electricity safety today.

Emotion With Light

Cinematography: the art of making motion pictures. At least, that is what the textbook answer is. These scenes are moody, they make you feel something; whether it’s a foggy morning sunrise, an aerial shot above a city, the quietness of a candlelit sanctuary, a muddy track from a horse race or the sun reflective off of the waves in the vast horizon of the ocean. Movies like Life of Pi and TV shows like Breaking Bad are known for either their moody elements or breathtaking scenery.
However, the main thing that is overlooked in these visuals is lighting. Photography is stills of light; without light, you couldn’t create those emotions. So- let’s take these feelings from the lighting in cinematography and use it in everyday life. Think about it, ambient light is the foggy sunrises, the sun through your window that wakes you up in the morning and the golden glow of the sun setting on your commute home. Let’s bring those feelings into your home.
There are many known types of lighting for your home; incandescent, CFL (compact fluorescent lamp), halogen, fluorescent, and LED.
Halogen- used to be what almost every light bulb was; made out of quartz and different vapors such as iodine and bromine. While closely related to the incandescent light bulb in how it reacts, due to the gasses in halogen it glows brighter. However, if broken the halogen light bulb is very dangerous. It is still used for art shows to create mood and task lighting such as cars.
Incandescent- the oldest of the group, it is known to come in three different shades; soft white, cool white, and daylight. There is no gas within the bulb which makes it safer but it does not last as long. They are your everyday lamp light bulb and the most commonly known bulb.
Florescent- these last 10 times longer than an incandescent light bulb. They come in a tube or bulb-like the shape and have a mercury vapor within them that make these bulbs equally dangerous to the halogen bulb. Known in hospitals and office buildings these lights are bright; they are also commonly used in garages, closets and laundry rooms.
CFL- these follow category as fluorescent but also come in the same shape that is more commonly known for LED. They can also be used for dropped light fixtures and table lamps.
LED- contain no gas, they don’t burn out like other bulbs but just dull and will last 25,000 hours longer than the average incandescent light bulb. Known for landscapes, steps, and stairways.
That is a lot of science and information, but what does it all mean? Well, while the majority of these bulbs are commonly known the most cost effective and energy saving is the LED. Though the price of each light bulb may be set higher than it’s competitors, in the long run, it will outlast them all. It is the safest and most cost efficient of them all.
Even though Halogens may set that cinematography mood for art shows, it wouldn’t be the best for your home. In fact, with today’s technology some LED lights can be synced with an app on your phone thus you can change the color to a wide variety of colors. So picture this, your home as you walk through it, its light by white light and the energy bill for the month is down half of what it was because you switched all of your light bulbs over to LED lights. It seems to me that not only is that an ending you would have in a good movie but your house could look as though it holds an art gala not a family of six.

Incandescent vs. Fluorescent vs. LED Lights

Choosing light bulbs for your home isn’t as simple as it used to be. In the past, incandescent bulbs were the only option, but over the last few years, technology has given us a few more: fluorescent and LED bulbs. These energy efficient bulbs can last years longer than their incandescent alternatives, and recently, they’re affordable too. But what exactly are the differences between incandescent, fluorescent, and LED lighting?lightskb

Energy Efficiency

The average life span for incandescent lights is 1,200 hours, while LED lights can last 50,000 hours, and fluorescent bulbs can last 8,000. Incandescent lights also use 3,285 Kilowatts per year and 60 watts of electricity, compared to LEDs, which use 329 kWh per year and 6-8 watts of electricity, and fluorescent, which use 767 kWh per year 13-15 watts of electricity.

Costs

The average cost for purchasing individual bulbs is about $1 for incandescent bulbs, $8 for LEDs, and $2 for fluorescent lights. Even though incandescent bulbs are the cheaper option up front, LED and fluorescent lighting could save you money in the long run. The average operating costs per year for incandescent lighting is around $329. The average operating cost is about $33 per year for LED lighting and about $76 for fluorescent lighting.

Environmental Effect

Fluorescent lighting contains Mercury, which is toxic to both the environment and your own health, while incandescent and LED lighting do not. Because of this, incandescent and LED lighting are both RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) compliant, while fluorescent bulbs are not. On the other hand, incandescent light bulbs emit about 4,500 pounds of Carbon Dioxide per year, compared to LED lights, which only emit about 450 pounds of CO2 per year, and fluorescent bulbs, which emit around 1,050 pounds of CO2 per year.

Other Things to Consider

Fluorescent lights may not work when exposed to low temperatures or humidity. LED lighting is not sensitive to either, while incandescent bulbs might be.

On/off cycling (switching a light on and off quickly multiple times) will drastically decrease the lifespan of fluorescent lights, while it has no effect on LED lights and may have some effect on incandescent lights.

Fluorescent lights can also take a few minutes to warm up and fully turn on, while LED and incandescent lights turn on immediately.

LED lights are durable and can handle bumping and jarring, while their incandescent and fluorescent counterparts break easily.

Finally, incandescent lights emit more heat at about 85 BTU’s per hour, compared to LED lights at 4 BTU’s per hour and fluorescent lights at about 30 BTU’s per hour.

How to Change a Fuse

Fuses and circuit breakers are safety devices that disrupt the flow of electricity in your home when needed. They are part of the main system that distributes electricity into your home. When a breaker is tripped and has broken the circuit, it can be reset to provide further protection to the circuit. Fuses are metal safety devices that melt during over-currency, stopping the distribution of electricity to your home.

While circuit breakers can be easily reset, fuses must be replaced. Remember to be safe when working with electricity: wear rubber shoes, gloves, and safety glasses, and check to see if the floor below the fuse box is dry.

What You Will Need:

  • Screwdriver
  • New Fuse (of the same amperage as the original)
  • Multimeter Unit
  • Safety Equipment

Follow these instructions to change your circuit breaker fuse:

Step One: Turn Off the Main Power Supply

Open your fuse box and find the main power switch. Ensure that it is in the “off” position.

Step Two: Identify the Faulty Fuse

Inspect the fuses to determine which one needs to be replaced. Different types of fuses show different symptoms when they’re the problem. Look for a breaker in the “off” position that cannot reset or be turned back on, or a fuse whose metal has been melted, scorched, or discolored. This will tell your which fuse is broken and needs to be changed.

Step Three: Check for a Current

At this point, you need to check and make sure there is no electricity running through the fuse you want to replace. Ensure the damaged fuse is set to “off”. Then, use a multimeter unit to double-check for currency. Set the multimeter to “Volt AC”. Put one pin on the terminal screw of the fuse you’re replacing and the other pin on the ground screw, which is opposite the terminal screw in a row on the side of the box. The multimeter should indicate there is no voltage. Do not continue if it says otherwise.

Step Four: Remove the Fuse

To remove the fuse, unscrew it or simply pull it from its socket.

Step Five: Insert the New Fuse

First, it’s important to ensure your new fuse is of the same amperage of the old one. The best way to do so is to take your old fuse with your to a hardware store when you purchase your new fuse. Set your new fuse to “off”. Insert the original wires into the terminals of the new fuse and tighten the screws with a screwdriver. Push the fuse into its socket, ensure it’s in place, and turn it to the “on” position.

Step Six: Reconnect the Power Supply

Finally, turn the main power switch back on, and close the fuse box. You have successfully changed a fuse. Plug in some appliances associated with the fuse box you worked on to ensure your problem has been solved.

The Benefits of Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans are an often overlooked part of your home, though they have a lot to offer. There is an abundance of ways ceiling fans can benefit your daily life:

Ceiling Fans Make Your Room Feel Cooler

Ceiling fans can make a room feel up to 8 degrees Fahrenheit cooler. They do this by circulating the air, which makes sweat evaporate from your skin more quickly and takes the heat out of your body by a process called convection. This is called the wind chill effect.

They Save Energy

Since they make the room feel cooler, using ceiling fans allows you to cut back on your AC usage, which uses more energy. A typical air conditioning unit uses about 3,500 watts of energy, while a ceiling fan uses about 60 watts. That’s a 99% decrease in energy usage!

They Can Reduce Your Energy Bill

Ceiling fans don’t just reduce your carbon footprint, they save you money! Typical AC units cost around 36 cents an hour, compared to ceiling fans which only cost 1 cent an hour. If you use your ceiling fan wisely, you can save a lot over time.

Ceiling Fans Let You Cool One Room at a Time

Ceiling fans are most efficient when you turn them off in rooms that aren’t being used. Since you won’t be there to feel the wind chill effect, you’re better off saving the energy. So while you’re in one room enjoying your ceiling fan, you can be saving money in another.

They Keep Bugs Away

Food and drinks can attract house flies and mosquitos into your home, but the breeze from a ceiling fan can help keep them away.

They Give You a Chance to Decorate

Ceiling fans come in a variety of designs, styles, and colors. From classic to sleek to ultra modern, finding electric-fan-414575_1920your perfect ceiling fan style will give the room a personal touch.

They Provide Light

Most ceiling fans come with light bulb sockets. This gives you the chance to light the room from the perfect spot in the middle of the ceiling.

It’s typical for ceiling fans to have a switch that allows you to run the blades clockwise or counter-clockwise. During warm months, run them counter-clockwise to stay cool. But you can keep using your ceiling fan and saving energy and money in the cold months too by running the blades clockwise. This sweeps the air from the middle of the room up to the ceiling, forcing the warm air from the top of the room down, eliminating the wind chill effect.

There are so many reasons to use your ceiling fan wisely in every season of the year. From saving you money to reducing your carbon footprint, you are sure to enjoy the benefits of ceiling fans.

Atypical Wiring Types

Hot Tub Wiring

Most hot tubs use a 60 amp, 240-volt circuit, and wiring these up to code is critical. Hiring an electrician that values integrity in their work can play an important role in how  There are a few codes required for hot tub installation that, in addition to the National Electrical Code, ensure your family’s safety while in use. Making sure the correct voltage and amperage is quite important as it will ensure that your Jacuzzi works efficiently and properly for years to come. Lastly, a surge protector or surge protection system should be installed so that your unit it fully protected from potential lightning strikes.

Replacing Worn Out Wiring

As with anything, when homes get older, so do all of their components. Upkeep is one of the perks (and downfalls) of being a homeowner. Normally, your appliances, roof, light fixtures, and more all need replacing or updating as your home ages. Oftentimes, though, the wiring of the home gets overlooked. In fact, many homes built before 1980 don’t have the third hole for a grounded plug. If your home has this issue, it’s likely that it needs new wiring throughout. As far as safety goes, this is a big no-no. Contact a professional electrician to make sure your home’s wires and outlets are up to date and up to code.

Pond / Fountain Wiring

Almost nothing looks more fantastic in a fine-looking backyard than koi ponds, swimming pools, and waterfalls. Having a dependable company responsible for doing the wiring for these elements is key. One factor to consider when upgrading to a peaceful backyard pond is the accurate voltage this specific unit requires. Not as aesthetically pleasing as the fountain or the sound of the water, but likely the most crucial part of the install. Ensuring no risk of electrical shock, no tripping of the breakers, and the ability to add lighting, later on, are all things we take into consideration, too. PNormally pumps are to be installed and we will make sure the proper voltages and amps and dedicated circuits are used properly. We can install circuits for new ponds and fountains or an existing one that may be having issues.

Additional Appliance Wiring

When the time comes to upgrade your old appliances to electric, or you’d like to add a refrigerator or wine chiller to your basement, proper wiring will likely be needed.  New appliances will require new circuits, and that requires a master electrician as your contractor. Ensuring the proper switches for shut-off, and proper wiring are essential to a job done right. Our specialty is new circuit installs and the proper hookups to make sure your appliances and upgrades are installed and work efficiently.

 

Surge Protectors vs. Power Strips

Fairly often, almost always, in fact, people don’t realize that they have their 4K TV, Blu-ray player, DVR, and gaming system all plugged into what they think is something that will protect their devices should there be a power surge, or lightning strike. Sadly, the majority of the sockets that are filled en masse are power strips, not surge protectors. Yes, there is a vast difference between the two. A power strip is simply an extension of your power outlet that allows you to plug in more than two things. Although these typically have 6 or more outlets on them, it’s never a good idea to fill all available ports on them. A surge protector can look a lot like a power strip, but there is one glaring difference – a surge protector, with the right joule rating, can actually limit the voltage supplied to an electronic device by blocking or shorting to ground any voltage above a desirable threshold. This keeps your devices readily working, and with the right joule rating, even after a lightning strike.strip-surge

Joule Rating

A joule rating doesn’t mean much to most people. In fact, the science behind it will remind you of a science class from high school. However, the rating on your surge protector can make or break how well your surge protector functions. It’s recommended to get a surge protector that is rated 200 to 400 joules to for each set of electronics that you’re plugging in. Though, it’s better to have more protection, so a 600 or more rating will do you even better. The higher the joule rating, the better the chance your HDTV or iMac will withstand any power surges due to lightning strikes or voltage spikes.

Daisy Chains Are No-Nos

So you have limited receptacles (outlets) but you also have maximum electronics, so why not use a power strip or surge protector…or two. Not that anyone would get all Clark Griswold in real life, but power strips and surge protectors are meant to be single extensions for you to utilize so you can plug in more devices. If you’re going to use a power strip or surge protector don’t “daisy chain” them. A daisy chain, in electrical speak, is when you have one strip plugged into the permanent outlet, then another strip plugged into the initial one, and maybe more after that. This is a HUGE don’t. Not only could you overload the permanent receptacle, you increase the risk of electrical fire and shorting out your equipment. As with any other device you have, read the instructions and warnings that come with your power strip or surge protector, they’re there for a reason.

Buy More Than One Surge Protector

The general population has a home theater system that is separate from their office space. Sure, some may be the same room, or even in extreme cases, the same outlet receptacles but typically they are in different rooms. Keep in mind that it is a good practice to buy one surge protector for every area of electronics you intend to operate. If you have an abundance of electrical equipment, some areas may require two surge protectors just to be safe. Whole house surge protection is also available to protect everything from your computers and speakers to your washer and dryer. Most surge protectors with joule ratings in the high hundreds or even thousands are more than capable of protecting your electronics from lightning strikes, power surges, and the like. Power strips without any voltage deterring elements will not protect you from anything except lack of outlets.

Electrical Outlet Do’s and Don’ts

Proper electrical outlet safety is very important for maintaining a safe home. Following these outlet do’s and don’ts will help reduce the likelihood of serious electrical issues from occurring.

 

an uncovered electrical outlet in an officeDon’t: Plug in Near Water Sources

It goes without saying that electricity and water are not a good combination. This means you should be especially careful when using electrical appliances in the bathroom or kitchen. If you do use an appliance near a sink, make sure the water is not running and the surrounding surface is dry.

Do: Inspect Cords and Sockets Before Use

Frayed cords are a serious fire hazard and can deliver an electrical shock. Make sure all cords are completely free of breaks or exposed wires. If an outlet emits a spark, smoke, or a burning smell, do not use it. Call an electrician to inspect it and make repairs.

 

Don’t: Use Extension Cords as Long Term Solutions

Extension cords send electrical currents at longer distances, requiring greater energy consumption. They also tend to get very hot when used for long periods of time. Using them to power a device for too long can cause the rubber surrounding the connector to melt around the plug. Extension cords are fire hazards when used inside the home and should be limited to outdoor use.

Do: Unplug Unused Electronics

Electronics that are plugged into the wall will draw power even when they’re not in use. So, before you go to work, make sure you check your sockets and unplug all unused electronics.

 

Don’t: Leave Outlets Uncovered

All wall outlets should have plastic covers to prevent debris from interfering with the sockets. Covering your outlets will also prevent pets and small children from accidentally shocking themselves. Even if an outlet isn’t working, you should still make sure it’s covered. Replacing a broken cover is very simple, so no excuses.

Do: Use Safety Plugs on Unused Outlets

It’s a good idea to use safety plugs when an outlet is not in use. This will protect children and pets and prevent them from trying to stick their fingers or paws in the outlet. Even if you don’t have children or pets, it’s still a good idea to use safety plugs. This will keep your sockets free from dust and prevent static electricity from spitting out.

 

Don’t: Overload Power Strips

It’s never a good idea to plug a second power strip into one already being use. Doing so can lead to electrical shortages, overheating, power outages, sparks, and fires.

Do: Call an Electrician When in Need of Rewiring

You should never do your own rewiring unless you are a certified electrician. If you aren’t, Dependable Electric is here to help. Just give us a call at 404-789-4811 or fill out our contact form.

How to Child-Proof Your Sockets

Having children can be one of the most joyous, rewarding, and wonderful things that you can do. Raising them, on the other hand, can have its caveats. Luckily, the good far outweighs the bad and you determine, in the end, that’s it’s totally worth it. However, one of the things that may frighten you as a parent is electricity. And, let’s be honest, it should scare the heck out of you or anyone that isn’t an electrician. Electricity isn’t something to be messed with – plain and simple. That’s why at Dependable Electric we’ve decided to take today to give you some suggestions and methods of baby-proofing electrical outlets, securing loose cords, and making the electrical aspect of your home much safer. A few things we’re going to cover may seem like common sense to some, but for new parents of toddlers, crawlers, and babies, it might be revolutionary information.

 

TRR
Tamper-Resistant Receptacle by Leviton, available at Home Depot

With electricity the name of the game never changes, it’s always SAFETY. One of the simplest yet most important steps in keeping your children safe from electrical shock is to talk about electricity and how dangerous it can be. Unlike other dangerous aspects of growing up, it’s not a good idea to show your kids a real-life example of what electricity is capable of. You must, however, stress how essential it is that they are aware of what electricity can do. So like any other responsible, grown adult, show them a YouTube video. One like this one should be effective. The bottom line is that you must communicate with your kids in a plain language they understand, how serious electricity is. And maybe tell them to thank Benjamin Franklin while you’re at it.

Most people are quite aware of the little plastic outlet inserts, like these. But there are quite a few other products made that are a little more elegant and a little less noticeable. If your home was built 2008 or later, there was a new national code that mandated all electrical outlets in homes must be the tamper resistant receptacle type. This is basically a built-in security measure that requires both parts of the plug to be inserted simultaneously in order for it to work. If a child were to stick a bobby pin, key, or any other metal item into one slot, the spring-loaded shutter will hold fast and keep your kid’s science experiment from happening. The chances of a child being able to stick two items into the slots at the same time are extremely slim.

 

Keeping electrical cords, plugs, and outlets out of reach can be a huge factor in helping your kids avoid any type of electrical shock.  When that’s not an option, there are quite a few other types of safety devices available. Most of them are relatively cheap and easy to find. The ones we’ve compiled can be found here:

  • Outlet covers – must be aligned to properly plug anything in.
  • Safety 1st Power Strip cover – buy here.
  • Plug Lock – insert plug, turn key, remove and hide the key. Poof! Unable to plug in!
  • Tamper Resistant Receptacles – buy here.

These and plenty more devices made to keep your family safe can be found at Amazon, Home Depot, and Lowes, just to name a few places.

 

 

 

Energy Saving Tips

Everyone is always looking for ways to save money. Your electric bill is probably one of your biggest expenses and there are tons of methods you can employ to lower your energy bills. Today we are outlining some that will ring true for most homeowners.

Tips for Lowering Energy Bills

money

The small fixes we list on here are not anything that’s going to cost you an arm and a leg. Though a more efficient heat pump or furnace system may save you in the long run, right now we’re focusing on “right now”. Follow a few of these tips and you may find yourself with lower bills the next time you get the mail.

  • Everyday Checklist. Millions of American homes use loads of energy when they don’t need it. Don’t be this family! Go through each night and when you leave the house to make sure all appliances are either turned off or unplugged and that the thermostat is set a few degrees warmer or cooler than when you’re normally home. This step can save you tons in electrical costs.
  • Shut Doors Quickly. Heating and cooling makes up the majority of your energy usage. Don’t let that precious air out any longer than you have to. Open door-leave-close door. Open door-come in-close door. Necessary warmth can escape very quickly with an open standard sized door. Your system has to work a surprising amount harder to heat or cool the outside air, too. Keep those doors closed tightly.
  • Kill The Leeches. Appliance leeching is when your appliance is turned off, but still manages to draw a small measurement of energy. Though they are not on, most appliances do leech on a regular basis. That desktop computer? Huge source of wasted energy. Flat panel TV? Draws quite a bit of power when just plugged in. Unplug when you’re going to be out for the day or a week. Studies have shown that leeching may comprise up to 12% of your power bill. Over a 12 month period that really adds up.
  • Make the Change to LEDs. The short trip to the hardware store will be well worth the money you save purchasing light bulbs in the future and the money you’ll save with your energy costs. Switching from incandescent to LEDs can have a great impact on your wallet. They shine just as bright, and last longer-some even last up to 50 times longer than standard incandescent bulbs. LEDs look similar but act differently and will soon be your go to bulb.
  • Let Pros Inspect, Maintain and Replace Your Equipment. Properly trained technicians-whether it’s electrical, HVAC, plumbing or mechanical-can really save you money in the long run. These experts at trained to see the things you don’t, and fix the things you cannot. Put your faith in them and they’ll take care of you.

Save Money, Energy and Your Valuable Time With Dependable Electric

We will never assume to know everything, but rest assured, when it comes to electrical maintenance, repair and know-how, we’ve got your covered and will never lead you down the wrong path. Call Dependable 24 hours a day for any of your electric wiring, installation, repair and maintenance needs.