Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Holiday Lighting Safety

The weekend following Thanksgiving has been dedicated to holiday decorating for decades. It’s a great way to get your family together to showcase your uniqueness and creativity. However, when dealing with electrical devices you must take special precautions. See below for a holiday lighting safety checklist:

Inspect - Prior to hanging, inspect all light strings for broken or damaged bulbs and replace them if necessary. In addition, it is vital to check all electrical cords and outlets. Frayed or cracked cords and broken sockets are leading fire hazards. If you notice any discoloration or receive a shock from an outlet when plugging in decorations, it may be time to replace them. The expert electricians at GEN3 will gladly repair or replace any electrical inefficiencies.

Outdoor vs. Indoor - There is a major difference between outdoor and indoor lights. Exterior lights must be weather-resistant and UL-rated for exterior use. Indoor lights often use LED bulbs because they are cooler and more energy efficient.

No Nails, No Staples - When hanging your lights, do not use nails or staples to attach them to your home. They can cut through the wire insulation and create a fire hazard. Instead, use UL-approved hangers. If you feel unsafe about hanging your lights, the technicians at GEN3 can give you a hand.

Adhere to these safety tips in order to remain safe and secure during the holiday season. During the decorating process, if you have any questions or concerns related to anything electrical, do not hesitate to give us a call. Happy Holidays!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Old Wiring: Is It Safe?

Faulty wiring is the leading cause of residential fires. Old wiring in your home may not be inherently dangerous, but if it’s not up to code it can be hazardous. If your house was built over 40 years ago, consider replacing your electrical wiring. Here’s what you need to know about residential wiring systems:

Knob and Tube
This system, including a hot wire and a neutral wire, is known as the earliest residential wiring system. Ceramic knobs anchor the wires to the house framing and ceramic tubes are used where wires cross or penetrate the framing.

Soldered connections can melt if too much current passes through. Insulation can cause this wiring system to overheat.

Armored Cable (Bx)
Bx cable is a flexible steel sheath that covers hot and neutral wires. The sheath provides a grounded receptacle so retrofitting is easy.

Sheath must be anchored securely to a metal outlet box and should be checked every couple of years. It degrades over time and can become a problem if too much current flows through the circuit.

Two-Wire Plastic-Sheathed Cable
This system consists of an early PVC-insulated (Romex) wire. The plastic is easily damaged and grounded receptacles cannot be retrofitted to this wire.

Warning Signs of Old Wiring
  • Breaker trips frequently
  • Tingling sensation when you touch a wall switch or appliance
  • Lights flicker or dim
  • Discolored outlets and switch plates

For more information on old wiring and the dangers that come along with it, check out this article from This Old House.

Don’t fall victim to a residential fire due to old wiring in your home. To find out if your wiring system is up to code, give GEN3 Electric a call today! Our professional electricians will make sure your wiring is safe and can install new wiring if your home’s wiring system needs an upgrade.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Upgrade to LEDs Today!

It’s time to upgrade your old light bulbs to LEDs. Not only are LEDs (light-emitting diodes) more energy-efficient, they will take your poorly-lit room and brighten it up! See below to find out how upgrading to LED light bulbs will save you money and add a bit of ambiance to any room of your house.
LED bulbs have an extremely long lifespan. They can last between 50,000 and 60,000 hours which means you won’t need to replace them as frequently as your CFL bulbs. They only use 2-10 watts of electricity which is roughly ⅓ the amount of energy used by an incandescent bulb. Additionally, LEDs give off an amount of light equivalent to a 40-watt incandescent bulb.

Wait, there’s more! Conventional light bulbs give off heat, which wastes most of their energy. LEDs remain cool and do not contain a glass component so they will not break! No energy wasted here.

Ready to make the switch? Watch this quick video for installation instructions:

Still have questions? Give the electrical experts at GEN3 Electric a call today! We would be more than happy to stop by to assist with the installation or to answer any questions you may have. Save money and stay safe with GEN3!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Leave The Chirping To The Birds: Replacing Your Smoke Detector

Don’t fall victim to a house fire as a result of a faulty smoke detector. You should proactively check your smoke detector and change the batteries regularly. Along with regular maintenance, you should know that your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors should be changed every 8-10 years.

Here are some things you MUST know about your smoke detectors:

  • Chirping smoke detectors are often warning signs that the batteries need to be replaced. However, it is NOT the only reason.
  • Check the age of the detector, each one has a date of manufacture stamped on the underside. 10 years is the maximum lifespan of a smoke detector.
  • Never paint a smoke detector. Painting a smoke detector can prevent the alarm from sounding in a fire.
  • To remove the detector, simply twist it to the right and it will drop down from the ceiling. Pinch the white, yellow and black wires to disconnect from the wiring harness.
Watch this video for a step-by-step guide on removing your smoke detector:

If you don’t feel comfortable replacing your smoke detector, or want to make sure that your detector is properly installed and doing its job, give the expert electricians at GEN3 Electric a call today! Make sure the only chirps you hear are the birds!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Understanding The Importance Of Home Protection Devices

Electronics aren’t cheap these days and we would hate to see them go up in smoke. With our surge protection devices, we can make sure that your electronic devices are protected and operate safely. This way, you can enjoy peace of mind with your financial investments on home electronics.

There are 53,600 fires and $1.4 billion in property losses every year in the United States from electrical fires. Often times, these fires and losses can be prevented if proper maintenance and operation of your electronic devices takes place.

Portable generators are a wonderful resource to have in times of bad storms or power outages to keep your electronics running. However, they can pose a serious threat if used improperly. NEVER plug the generator into a wall outlet! If connecting to your home’s wiring, have a qualified electrician install a manual transfer switch to prevent backfeed into the lines. The switch will protect against damage to your generator, wiring and appliances when power is restored.

It is a common misconception that lightning is the only thing that can cause a power surge. While it is true that lightning can cause a surge, the main culprit can be any of your electronic devices that require lots of power to operate. As a result, it’s important to use surge protectors and home protection devices in any instance where electricity is used to power your electronic devices.

For additional information about our home protection devices, visit our website. To discuss the importance of electrical safety in your home, give the experts at GEN3 Electric a call today!