As we welcome the New Year, it’s the perfect time to make resolutions that not only improve our lives but also protect our homes. This year, let’s focus on electrical safety and efficiency. Here are ten electrical New Year’s resolutions to help keep your home safe and your energy bills down.
1. Commit to an Energy-Efficient Electrical System
Make your home safer and more energy-efficient this year. All electrical systems have the potential to cause shock, injury, fires, and death. According to the National Fire Protection Association, about 50,000 fires are caused by faulty electrical systems in homes each year, resulting in about 450 deaths and 1,500 injuries. Yet, too often, we take our electrical systems for granted and even overlook basic safety training not only for ourselves but our families as well. Let’s start with a professional inspection to ensure your wiring is up to the NEC standards.
2. Switch to Energy-efficient LED Bulbs
Embrace the brilliance of LED bulbs! Not only do they consume 75% less energy, but they also last 35 to 50 times longer than traditional bulbs. Plus, they offer more peace of mind since they emit very little heat, decreasing the threat of an electrical fire, and are much more durable, so they won’t shatter all over the floor.
3. Monthly Reset of GFCI Outlets
Commit to a monthly check of your Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlets. You’ll find these outlets in moisture-prone areas such as the kitchen, bathroom, laundry room and any other areas where electricity and water might come into contact. Simply press the test/reset button and make sure the outlets trip and reset accordingly. If they are malfunctioning, call Hual Electric to have them replaced to reduced electrocution risk. If you don’t already have GFCI outlets in these critical areas, make sure to put this on the list of New Year resolutions.
4. Replace Smoke Detector Batteries
Ensure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors have fresh batteries and test them monthly. Batteries in these detectors should be replaced annually, and the units themselves should be tested each month without fail. Smoke detectors have a service life of 10 years, after which they must be replaced. Carbon monoxide detectors vary, with older models typically requiring replacement every three years and newer models every five to six years. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimated approximately 346,800 residential fires in 2019, leading to 2,490 fatalities, 11,760 injuries, and property damage amounting to $7.38 billion. Carbon monoxide, often dubbed the ‘invisible killer’, is odorless and colorless, and can emanate from everyday appliances like portable generators and heating systems.
5. Install a Whole-House Surge Protector
Lightning and power surges are no joke in our area! Your electrical appliances and devices can be slowly compromised due to these surges, affecting both operation and life expectancy. Plus, power surges have the potential to cause sparks that can lead to a fire. This new year, why not think about installing a whole-house surge protector to reduce damage. Protect your home and appliances from unexpected power surges with a whole-house surge protector. This device is essential for maintaining the longevity of your appliances and preventing fire risks associated with power surges.
6. Say Goodbye to Extension Cords
We’ve all been guilty of this faux pas. An extension cord can be particularly useful when you need to relocate an item, such as a lamp, from one room to another. However, it’s important to make sure you don’t overlook the safety hazard an extension cord can place on your home. It’s vital you take the time to carefully place your extension cords out of the way and in a safe place. Reliance on extension cords can indicate a need for more outlets. Let’s resolve to use cords only temporarily and consider additional outlet installation for a permanent solution.
7. Upgrade Two-Prong Outlets
Why? Put simply, two-prong outlets are unsafe. Fact is, since 1962, code says all new houses must install three-prong outlets. They help protect your home against electrical shock, electrical fires and damage to your electronics and appliances.
Also think about installing tamper-resistant receptacles. These electrical outlet designs have spring-loaded shutters over the slots that won’t open unless pressure is applied to both at the same time. They need less oversight than child safety covers, which have to be unplugged before the outlet can be used.
8. Be Aware of Faulty Wiring
Stay vigilant for signs of faulty wiring, such as warm switches, tripping circuits, or flickering/dim lights. These can be symptoms of bigger issues that need immediate professional attention.
9. Smart Ceiling Fan Usage
Maximize your ceiling fans by adjusting their rotation with the seasons. Set your fans to spin clockwise in the winter and counter-clockwise in the summer. Adjusting their direction seasonally can aid your HVAC system and lead to energy savings.
10. Eliminate Energy Vampires
Unplug appliances when not in use to combat ‘vampire power.’ That’s the energy appliances draw when they’re just plugged in and not being used. It might not seem like much (after all, how much power could something as a countertop coffee maker use?). But when added up, it can become rather problematic. A study by the National Resource Defense Council found that homes lose around $165 per year on “vampire power” consumption. The most familiar sources of “vampire power”: TVs, computers and kitchen appliances. Unplug unused appliances or use power strips to turn off multiple devices at once, preventing unnecessary energy drain.
Warning: Make sure it’s safe to turn off the electricity before you start this project. You’d hate to face your daughter if you shut down her computer before she has the opportunity to save her 50-page report. Just sayin’.
As the holiday season approaches, the team at Hual Electric Inc. wants to express our heartfelt gratitude for your trust and business throughout the year. It has been our pleasure to serve you, and we look forward to continuing to meet your electrical needs in the coming year.
To show our appreciation, we’re excited to present you with a special holiday gift of $40 off your next visit with us! Whether you’re planning a home improvement project, need electrical maintenance, or have a new endeavor in mind, we’re here to assist you.
Feel free to reach out to us to schedule your next project or if you have any questions. Wishing you and your loved ones a joyous holiday season filled with warmth and happiness.
The Hual Electric Team
$40 COUPON DISCLAIMER:
This coupon is valid for a one-time use per location and offers a $40 discount on your next visit with Hual Electric Inc. To qualify for the discount, the total value of the visit must be $190 or more. The coupon applies to a wide range of services, including home improvement projects, electrical maintenance, and new installations.
Please note that this coupon expires on February 28, 2024. To take advantage of this special offer, be sure to schedule your service before the expiration date. This coupon cannot be combined with any other promotions or discounts.
Hual Electric Inc. reserves the right to modify or terminate this offer at any time without prior notice. For inquiries or to schedule your service, please contact us at (850) 706-9880.
Is your refrigerator tripping a breaker or GFCI receptacle?
When a circuit trips, it indicates that something is abnormal and possibly unsafe. It’s not uncommon for a refrigerator to cause a circuit to trip, especially a sensitive GFCI circuit. This is most often caused by the refrigerator pulling to many amps and overloading the circuit. There a a few steps to troubleshoot whether the cause is the receptacle (outlet), breaker or appliance causing the receptacle or circuit breaker to trip.
The garage refrigerator didn’t trip in my old house/another location…
A GFCI is required in a garage (see below for more info) and is more sensitive than a standard circuit. If the refrigerator trips the GFCI circuit in the garage but not a standard circuit, this could be a sign of malfunctioning components in the refrigerator such as a defective capacitor, compressor, defroster heater or fan in the fridge. You should also check the condition of any wires/power cords for damage. Please see the additional resources at the bottom of this article.
We often hear from homeowners that the refrigerator repair tech said it was a bad outlet/breaker…
Do your due diligence and troubleshoot using a process of elimination.
If the refrigerator trips multiple GFCI breakers, it’s the refrigerator.
What is a GFCI receptacle/breaker and why do I have to have one?
GFCI (Ground-fault circuit interrupters) receptacles protect all outlets on the same circuit, as well as connected tools and appliances. GFCIs protect against electrical shocks from ground faults. The National Electrical Code requires GFCI receptacles in bathrooms, garages, crawl spaces, basements, laundry rooms and areas where a water source is present. Ground faults can be caused by:
- Operating equipment in wet or damp areas. Moisture detected.
- Running faulty or leaking tools and appliances
- Using damaged cords, power strips or wiring
Please see our post about Tripping Breakers for more information on GFCIs and how they work.
- Reset receptacle/breaker
- Locate all receptacles not working when the breaker trips. Unplug everything from that circuit.
- It’s common for the garage receptacles and the receptacles on the exterior of the house (porches, near A/C, sprinkler) to be on the same 15amp GFCI breaker.
- Reset the breaker by flipping the handle ALL the way off then on again.
- Reset the GFCI on the circuit by pushing the RESET button on the receptacle. There should be one per circuit. Houses built after 2017 may be on a GFCI breaker and will not have a RESET button on a receptacle. See Tripping Breakers.
- Locate all receptacles not working when the breaker trips. Unplug everything from that circuit.
- Does the circuit trip without anything plugged in?
- Contact an electrician (preferably us lol)
- Check out the troubleshooting steps here > 5 COMMON REASONS YOUR BREAKER IS TRIPPING
- Try plugging the appliance into another circuit. Does it trip this circuit as well?
- Note whether it’s a 15 or 20amp circuit (# on handle) and whether it’s GFCI protected.
This depends on the issue.
Running a dedicated 20amp Dual-Function circuit to a dedicated outlet can resolve the issue if your refrigerator is pulling to many amps and tripping a 15amp circuit with other items plugged in. This may not resolve the issue if there is something wrong with the refrigerator itself.
Additional Resources (aka People Who Explain Things Better Than I Can lol)
- Appliance Express: Why Does Your Refrigerator Keep Tripping The Electricity?
- Mike Holt Forum: Theoretical GFCI question, Fridge should never be on one?
- Pip’s Island Home: Does A Refrigerator Need To Be On A Gfci Circuit? (Benefits & Useful Tips)
A few points on home electrical safety. See esfi.org for more info.
- Do: Ensure AFCIs are installed where needed
- Do: Install carbon monoxide and smoke alarms
- Do: Plug appliances directly into the wall
- Never use damaged cords
- Extension cords are temporary solutions and shouldn’t be used on large appliances
Be Aware of Warning Signs of An Overload or Wiring Problem
If you see lights that flicker or dim, notice discolorations, hear buzzing, feel warm switches / outlets, or smell burning, you should hire a qualified electrician to inspect your system.
Is it difficult to plug something into your new home’s outlet? It could be because its a Tamper-Resistant Receptacle required by the National Electrical Code. Please watch this quick video for more info.
Here’s a great article from the Electrical Saftey Foundation.
July 2023 Generator Offers
UP TO $500
Offers good until Jul 31, 2023. See below for details.
OFFER 1: From Briggs & Stratton
Take advantage of Briggs & Stratton’s standby generator promotion today!
Purchase a new Briggs & Stratton PowerProtect™ or Fortress™ 12kW, 20kW, 26kW¹ standby generator and receive a $250 gift card.
- Homeowner will be eligible for a rebate reward from July 10 to July 31, 2023.
- Homeowner submits this form with proof of purchase to Briggs by Aug 31st, 2023
- Briggs will send the homeowner a $250 gift card
OFFER 2: From Hual Electric
We’ll match Briggs & Stratton’s offer up front!
Purchase a new In-Stock Briggs & Stratton standby generator and you may be eligible
for $250 off from Hual Electric!
To be eligible for the $250 off, you must:
- Approve the estimate and pay the deposit between the dates of July 20 to July 31, 2023.
- The installation must be completed and paid in full by August 31st, 2023
- Credit must be applied to the invoice prior to payment
DTK-1F Single Outlet 120VAC Surge Protective Device
AC power protection for alarm panel transformers and point of use appliances.
– F Type connectors to protect a variety of video devices
– Single AC outlet protects critical equipment
– Center screw secures to outlet and can also secure a connected transformer
– Diagnostic LED indicates AC power and SPD function
– UL1449 Listed Type 3 SPD
DTK-3VWMUSB 3 Outlet 120VAC Surge Protective Device with Load Sensing Technology
DITEK’s DTK-3VWMUSB is a three outlet charging station with load sensing technology. Illuminated load-status indicators for each level of load status.
DTK-7VS 7 Outlet Surge Protective Device with Load Sensing Technology
DITEK’s DTK-7VS is a seven outlet power strip with load sensing technology, and illuminated load-status indicators for each level of load status.
DTK-8FF 8 Outlet 120VAC Surge Protective Device
Protect AC power and telco/fax lines with DITEK’s DTK-8FF eight outlet plug-in surge protector. Accepts up to six transformers at the same time.