Why Does Electricity Need To Be Grounded?

By Springdale Electrician,

Why Does Electricity Need To Be Grounded  header

Why Does Electricity Need To Be Grounded?

For practically everyone, electricity is a vital resource. Individuals cannot power their electronic devices, heat or cool their homes, or even provide the light they need to perform basic activities like reading without it. That said, electricity is powerful, must be utilized properly, and can be dangerous if not administered correctly. Read on to find out, why does electricity need to be grounded?

Electricity Overview

Most people understand the value of electricity but cannot offer a textbook definition regarding what this crucial energy-providing power actually is.

Every component of the matter is comprised of particles called atoms. The center of these structures contains sub-features known as protons or positive charged particles and neutrons, which are neutrally charged materials. Floating around this center, known in scientific terms as the nucleus, are negatively charged particles called electrons.

Occasionally, however, electrons escape an atom’s orbit and move freely into other avenues until they join forces with existing protons. Charges develop when opposites like positive and negative particles attract. When a significant enough charge is created, various forms of electricity naturally develop or can be utilized.

For most individuals, current electricity is the form of interest. This type of electricity enables charges to flow consistently through the circuits that power devices needing the resource to operate effectively.

Why Does Electricity Go To Ground?ground electricity to protect your house

Scientists maintain that electricity often travels to the ground because the earth is rife with positively charged particles. This is especially true when the atmosphere is unstable. When improperly balanced, the air is filled with negatively charged particles called ions.

Such a phenomenon is often witnessed during or preceding notable weather events like thunderstorms. The lightning produced by unstable airstrikes frequently and often adjacent to the ground.

However, scientists suggest that electricity favors the ground for another critical reason. This is known as the path of least resistance principle. It is natural for a resource to travel to a destination with the slightest chance for flow disruption. Though buildings or other large structures can be struck by lightning, the electrical phenomenon prefers the ground because it will encounter the least stress during its trip downward.

Ground Electricity

Many residential properties enjoy the safety of grounded electricity. This safeguard protects the property and those residing inside it from the potentially dangerous consequences produced by excessive electrical charges.

Sometimes, before or during electrical storms, wiring and circuitry could be exposed to excess electricity. In improperly grounded locations, surplus amounts could pose serious dangers.

What Does A Ground Wire Do?electricity goes to the ground to protect your house

Fortunately, the installation of ground wires reduces a home’s chances of encountering such perils. Ground wires are firmly entrenched into the earth outside one’s property and are attached to construction outlets and electrical panels. This wiring possesses the strength to absorb excess electrical charge, thus precluding it from penetrating interior locations.

Additionally, ground wires often serve as surge protectors. For example, one might have experienced the unpleasant result of having electrical components, such as a television, computer, or mobile device destroyed during a lightning strike and the electrical surge produced by said events. Surge protectors eliminate the chances of such occurrences.

The Dangers Of Improper Grounding

Properties that are not sufficiently grounded place those residing inside said structures at an increased risk for bodily harm and possibly even electrocution.

Excess electricity will use anything in its path to ultimately reach the ground. Ergo, in non-grounded locations, common appliances could serve as conduits. The electricity passing through such apparatuses could charge right through the subjects utilizing them, causing severe bodily harm or death.

Additionally, unchecked charges could result in electrical fires. Such events often spread quickly, are especially challenging to douse, and could result in significant property damage, physical harm, or death.

Ensuring One’s Home Is Safely Grounded

In accordance with the current National Electrical Code, the electrical components inside all residential structures built today must be sufficiently grounded.

That said, it is not uncommon for significantly older homes to lack these critical safeguards. Unfortunately, it is also not rare for those seeking to save appreciable funds during the construction process to overlook these needed precautions conveniently. Therefore, every home or business owner is firmly encouraged to schedule an electrical home safety inspection.

A licensed, trained and experienced electrical services professional will inspect your house to ensure grounding is adequate and properly secure during this process. In addition, they will perform other crucial actions, such as inspecting the electrical panel, examining the effectiveness and safety of switches and outlets, identifying potential shock or electrocution hazards, and determining if all circuits are operating adequately.

Reaching Out To Us

One cannot stress enough that electricity is a powerful resource that should never be taken lightly or for granted. Therefore, our experienced, community-minded establishment implores all homeowners to undergo a thorough and immediate electrical home safety inspection regardless of how old their home is.

Mister Sparky Electrician Springdale, America’s On-Time Electrician in Bella Vista, Bentonville, Rogers, Springdale and Fayetteville services the Northwest Arkansas area with a team of licensed electricians. In addition to flickering lights, some of the electrician services provided by the company include electrical outlet/switch repair, ceiling fan installation, lighting installation, electrical wiring repair, landscape lighting installation and home electrical inspections.

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Electrical Safety at Home: Tips for Working From Home

By Springdale Electrician,

Electrical Safety at Home Tips for Working From Home header

Electrical Safety Tips for Working From Home

Are you one of the many lucky work-from-home professionals? Your home office may feel like familiar turf, but there are still hazards abound that you need to plan for. Electrical systems, from outlets to power cords, are one of those hazards. When planning your home office, you should always prioritize your electrical safety at home. When set up improperly, an overloaded outlet or loose extension cord can be hazardous. Electrical shocks and house fires are two of the many serious side effects of faulty electrical work. To avoid injury, be sure to follow proper working from home safety tips and always know when to call in a professional.

Stay safe by following these working from home safety tips:

working from home safety tipsAvoid Overloading Outlets

In today’s technology-driven world, it’s common to have lots of electronic devices and appliances plugged into your outlets. From kitchen appliances to cell phone chargers, you may notice your outlets becoming crowded. Overloading outlets is dangerous, especially if you’re using a multi-plug adapter to accommodate a large number of devices. As a rule of thumb, only one heat-producing electronic device should be plugged into an outlet at a time. These include coffee makers, tea kettles, and hair dryers. Additionally, certain large appliances like ovens, refrigerators, and laundry machines should always be plugged directly into a wall instead of an extension cord or adapter.

Use Light Bulbs of Proper Wattage

One of the most common home electrical projects is replacing a burnt-out lightbulb. While thi si sa fairly easy task to do physically, it’s important to pay attention to wattage requirements. Luckily, all light fixtures and lamps should have a sticker on them that indicates the maximum wattage the fixture can handle. Be sure all new bulbs are below the maximum wattage to prevent overheating. In addition, be sure any incandescent lamps are equipped with shades to prevent any items near the lamp from heating up.

If you’re looking for an energy-efficient option, consider replacing your bulbs with LEDs.

Don’t Run Cords Under Carpets or Doors

It’s no secret that electrical cords are unsightly and can blight an otherwise visually appealing room. You may feel the urge to hide cords under rugs or run them under a door to make them less subtle. However, running a cord under a rug or carpet is a serious fire hazard and should be avoided. If you’re struggling to safely run a cord, talk to an electrician about adding new outlets to put your chords within safe reaching distance.

Replace Damaged Extension Cords

Frayed or damaged extension cords can be dangerous to both you and your environment. Instead of trying to patch up damaged cords, it’s better to replace them. New extension cords will greatly reduce the odds of surges, sparks, and electrical fires. Be sure that your new cord also has surge protection for additional electrical safety at home while you complete your project.

electrical safety at homeKeep Power Tools Away from Water

It’s a common fact of life that electricity and water don’t mix, but it can be easy to overlook this during the chaos of home renovations. Any electrical work done in the kitchen, bathroom, or outdoors can be especially hazardous due to the damp nature of these environments. Double-check that power to these areas is switched off and that your power tools and chords are kept away from puddles of water. In addition, make sure all tools are plugged into GFCI outlets. These specialized outlets are grounded and will quickly shut off if they are exposed to moisture.

Keep Kids and Pets Safe

Children and pets are naturally curious and may try to play with cords, power tools, and other devices you have out in your work space. Be sure to secure your work area so kids and pets don’t inadvertently put themselves at risk. In addition, you can put tamper-resistant safety caps in electrical sockets and secure loose cords so kids don’t trip on them or tug on them.

Know When to Call a Pro

Lots of household electrical projects, even ones that may seem easy at first, can be very dangerous. The risk of being electrocuted or causing a house fire are high. That’s why it’s essential to know the limits of your electrical skills and call a trained electrician when needed. Examples of scenarios when you should seek professional electrical work include: burning odors, sparking outlets, and frequently tripped circuit breakers.

Many people are working from home and spending more time there in general. It makes sense to want to improve your home’s electrical system to make it easier, safer, and more efficient to use all the devices you need to live your life. This may be especially important if you work from home and need to run a home office out of your home. Whether you’re looking to upgrade your outlets, replace a lightbulb, or convert a room into a home office, be sure to follow basic tips for electrical safety at home.

Mister Sparky Electrician Springdale, America’s On-Time Electrician in Bella Vista, Bentonville, Rogers, Springdale and Fayetteville services the Northwest Arkansas area with a team of licensed electricians. In addition to flickering lights, some of the electrician services provided by the company include electrical outlet/switch repair, ceiling fan installation, lighting installation, electrical wiring repair, landscape lighting installation and home electrical inspections.

How Does a Home Electrical System Work?

By Springdale Electrician,

How Does a Home Electrical System Work header

Home Electrical System

Electricity is one of the most important things we use in our homes. It operates lights, heating, and cooling and charges those essential cell phones. Understanding how a home’s electrical system works is essential if something goes wrong or if the homeowner wishes to make upgrades. With so many complex and important parts, home electrical work is best left to qualified professionals who understand how to install, repair and maintain electrical equipment safely and effectively.

A home’s electrical system is installed early in the construction process. This keeps wiring and other components safely away from occupants and protects them from damage. Of course, that makes it much more challenging to locate and access wiring if it needs work later on. This is just one more reason why only qualified contractors should work on a home electrical system. Homeowners can quickly do a lot of very expensive damage attempting to locate wiring inside a wall.

Another important part of home wiring has changed dramatically in recent years. The earliest electrified homes had wiring for lights and a few appliances. Today there is much more than that.

The first addition was telephone wiring. While many families have stopped using landlines, nearly all existing homes and even most new construction still features telephone wiring. This is a different type of technology from the electrical system that powers everything in the house. It requires a different skill set for many functions involving installation, troubleshooting, repair, maintenance, and upgrades.

Shortly after that came television wiring. Whether the home was served by an outdoor antenna, a cable company, or satellite dish, the signal was distributed through the house via a coaxial cable installed into wall outlets or, in some cases, wires that were simply stuck through the floor from below. Like telephone cable, TV lines require special skills. If the cable system is not installed correctly, the picture and sound quality can be poor.

Eventually, many homes were equipped with data cables that spread internet access throughout the entire house. Older homes were retrofitted with it, while newer homes were constructed with this new technology incorporated into the plans. Just like phones and televisions, good computer performance relied on the proper installation of data transmission wiring.

Home Electrical Components

home electrical components graphic Mister Sparky NWAThe electrical system in a home has many different parts that work together to ensure safe, convenient operation of everything.

Electricity leaves the primary grid through a service line. In many cases, this is an overhead wire that connects to the home, but some homes have underground service. Overhead service lines connect through a weatherhead, the familiar metal pipe that protrudes through the home’s eave.

Next, the power passes through the meter. Most of these now have a digital readout, but some have a spinning wheel inside. The meter measures the amount of electricity being used, and the utility provider uses that reading to calculate the user’s power bill.

One area where many electrical jobs are performed is in the service panel. This is the metal cabinet located in the basement or utility space. Inside are the breakers, each of which should be labeled to tell which part of the house they supply with power. Some homes may have subpanels where additional distribution is done.

There are several types of wiring inside a home. Lighter ones are used for ordinary circuits that operate lights, televisions, and receptacles. A heavier wire is required for significant power users, such as the range, clothes dryer, heating, and cooling system.

There are also several types of receptacles in homes. Dry interior rooms use standard outlets, while kitchens and bathrooms use special receptacles known as ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCI’s). This type has a built-in breaker that cuts power in a short, tripping faster than the breaker back at the panel.

Larger circuits have receptacles as well. Clothes dryers and some ranges have heavy outlets that allow the appliances to be installed and uninstalled more quickly than if they were hard-wired.

Switches come in several types as well. Some are single-pole switches, which work alone to turn something off and one. Three-way switches are installed to operate lights from at least two different switches, such as the top and bottom of a stairwell. Dimmer switches may also be present for adjusting the brightness of a light fixture.

Each type of switch can come in various configurations, including the traditional “flipping” switch and the wide, flat rocker switch. Dimmers can come as a sliding switch or in a knob that can be turned to adjust the lights.

How a Home Electrical System Works

home electrical system graphic Mister Sparky NWA The overhead type of service line will enter the weatherhead then proceed through conduit down to the meter. The underground type comes up through conduit from its buried location, then into the meter.

As soon as the line leaves the meter, it enters the home’s breaker box. This is also known as the service panel or just the service. Inside the breaker box, the electricity is divided among smaller lines that go to other locations in the home. Some may go to a subpanel, which adds more circuits for other functions inside the house.

Each of the smaller lines inside the service panel is equipped with a breaker. This is a particular type of switch that automatically disconnects if something attempts to draw more power through it than it can handle. After the breaker, electricity travels through household wiring into the spaces where it will be used.

Wiring carries the current to the house’s appliances or various electrical boxes. These are either fitted with switches, receptacles, or junctions. Junctions are simply points where the electricity is sent in two or more different directions, eventually ending at a receptacle or switch. That’s where the user plugs something in or turns something on, bringing the system to life.

Mister Sparky Electrician Springdale, America’s On-Time Electrician in Bella Vista, Bentonville, Rogers, Springdale and Fayetteville services the Northwest Arkansas area with a team of licensed electricians. In addition to flickering lights, some of the electrician services provided by the company include electrical outlet/switch repair, ceiling fan installation, lighting installation, electrical wiring repair, landscape lighting installation and home electrical inspections.

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When Should I Replace Old Electrical Wiring?

By Springdale Electrician,

When Should I Replace Old Electrical Wiring_

Is Your Electrical Wiring Outdated?

Aluminum was used for electrical wiring in residential houses in the 1960s and 1970s due to the high prices of copper wires. However, copper is now more preferred to solid aluminum for electrical wiring in homes. It is preferred because of the risks associated with using older aluminum electrical wiring.

Aluminum wiring expands and contracts more than would be necessary to contain electricity. This means old homes that use old electrical writing types carry some risks for fire damage. In contrast, copper electrical wiring is safe to use.

Most electrical appliances are also manufactured without considering the particular properties of aluminum wiring. The lack of consistency in the usage of power leads to inefficient consumption, leading to an increase in power bills, lower device performance, or reduce the life of electrical devices.

It is necessary to replace your old electrical wiring types with the newer copper wiring types if your home uses old aluminum electrical wiring installed before the 1970s.

Why is Copper Used For Most Electrical Wiring In Homes Today?

old electrical wiring being replaced

Copper has a higher conductivity than aluminum and many other metals. Although copper oxide is used for electrical wiring instead of pure copper, it has better conductivity properties than aluminum oxide. Even older electrical wiring used aluminum oxides and not the pure form of the metal.

Therefore, copper electrical wiring does not interfere with the flow of electricity, which means you get a stable connection to electrical devices. It also provides efficient use of the power, thus does not increase bills unnecessarily. Even if you wanted to make aluminum electrical wiring less resistant to electricity flow, you would need to apply an anti-oxidant cream. This would increase the cost of wiring your home.

Copper is also less prone to oxidation than aluminum, and hence wiring made of copper provides a stable electrical and power connectivity. Copper wiring is also readily available for home wiring needs. If you need to replace only a section of your wiring, it is easier to find copper wiring for replacement in shops.

Further, copper wiring replacements are less costly than replacing aluminum wiring with another one. The electricians might need to make special considerations when replacing an aluminum wiring with another one. It might even be hard to find an electrician with the special skills required to repair aluminum wirings. As such, it is advisable to replace your old aluminum wiring with new copper wiring.

Today, copper wires are also cheaper than aluminum wires used for residential electrical wiring.

When To Replace Older Electrical Wiringreplace old electrical wiring

If you are experiencing regular tripping on the electrical breaker or blowing fuses too often, your gadgets overload the electrical wiring. It may be time for a replacement. The electrical wiring system could be outdated if your home was built 30 or more years ago.

Old electrical wiring causes lights to dim or flicker every time you switch on a device at home. Power surges on electrical outlets may also result from strained outlets. This can be fixed by replacing the old wiring in your home. You can also repair or replace your wiring system to create more outlets and stop relying heavily on extension cords to connect your devices.

Homeowners using old electrical wiring can choose to rewire the house with copper wires completely. Some, however, prefer splicing copper wire to the aluminum wire and connecting the former to the electrical device. This is known as pig-tailing and is a very cost-effective option to renew your home’s electrical wiring. It also saves time because it is quick to do.

Electricians use a variety of devices and connectors to accomplish this pig-tailing. Instead of pig-tailing, you can replace the aluminum wiring with copper wiring and solve the problem for good. Copper wiring does not need any special attention when installed.

Homeowners in some areas are unable to obtain insurance for an old house that still uses older aluminum wiring types.

Aluminum alloys also have different rates of expansion. Those used in the 1960s have a different rate of expansion from those used in modern times. The higher rate of expansion of the older aluminum electrical wiring may result in the wire creeping or deforming permanently. This problem has been noted on many wiring systems. Homes can be exposed to fires because the excess expansion loosens connections all the time.

If you have to limit this risk in older homes, you will need special fixtures specially designed for aluminum wiring. One of those fixtures is pig-tailing.

Replacing of older electrical wiring may be necessary if there was an improper installation. The workman may not have scoured the wires. They also may have failed to apply corrosion-resistant substances. In some cases, these wires may not properly be wrapped around terminal screws on electrical devices such as switches and other connectors. The connection screws also require adequate torque to prevent damage to the aluminum wire.

Oxidation on the aluminum wires may occur when steel screws are used on electrical connectors and devices such as switches where the aluminum wire is used for wiring. This happens especially if a screw has inadequate torque or is of poor quality. You can identify poor quality screws if you do not find a proper quality rating on them. This oxidation makes the wire an electrical insulator than a conductor it is meant to be. This affects the efficiency of electrical transmission.

Most home electrical devices use copper today. Connecting them to aluminum wiring may cause poor connectivity because the two are of different electrical properties. The devices may suffer due to the unstable connection.

Further, if you are constructing a new home, it is unnecessary to use aluminum electrical wirings. They will cost you more than copper wires in terms of maintenance and replacement.

Modern homes also use smart devices, computer systems, gaming systems that use a lot of power. Using copper wires minimizes the risk of fires and damage on these devices. You will not incur unnecessary repair costs due to electrical damages to your devices. This is because copper wires will provide a stable connection that does not damage the device’s electrical properties.

If you suspect your home still has its original electrical wiring or you experience any signs of electrical issues, call Mister Sparky of Springdale for an in-home safety inspection. We are trained to identify any problems with your wiring and we always provide written straightforward pricing with any repair recommendation.

Mister Sparky Electrician Springdale, America’s On-Time Electrician in Bella Vista, Bentonville, Rogers, Springdale and Fayetteville services the Northwest Arkansas area with a team of licensed electricians. In addition to flickering lights, some of the electrician services provided by the company include electrical outlet/switch repair, ceiling fan installation, lighting installation, electrical wiring repair, landscape lighting installation and home electrical inspections.

6 Electrical Upgrades You will Want for Your Home Remodel

By Springdale Electrician,

Electrical Upgrades You will Want for Your Home Remodel

Electrical Upgrades For Your Home You Need Now!

If you are a homeowner and plan to remodel your home, consider getting electrical upgrades. This upgrade involves upgrading the home electrical system to about 200 to 400 amps. The entire electrical system around the house has to be replaced. This includes the electric panel, grounding, bonding system, load side service entry system, weather head, meter base, and entrance cable. You should note that this is not a DIY project, so ensure that you get in touch with a professional to upgrade the home electrical system.

Most homes built over thirty-five years ago cannot handle the current electricity needs, making it essential to upgrade electrical in their house for safety purposes. You should also consider getting an electrical exaltation if the lights keep flickering, you do not have sufficient outlets, and your breakers keep tripping. Listed below are electrical updates you may want for your home remodel.

electrical upgrades in the houseRewiring and Rerouting

When you are renovating your home, you will likely expand an individual room and change where things should go. For instance, you may decide to change your kitchen from a traditional kitchen set up to an open plan kitchen. Depending on the space available, you may decide to have a kitchen island, a pantry, and a storage room.

Whatever aesthetic you choose for your new kitchen will be great, but the current electrical system in your home may not be able to accommodate these changes. So to avoid having to call in an electrician after the remodeling, consider having one rewire your electrical system during the remodeling process. It will be time-saving, and you will also be able to save on costs.

Modern Features

It is essential to get the proper lighting fixtures for your home. If you like to host guests, you know that lighting creates an ambiance, which can determine an environment’s energy. While it is crucial to get the right light for your home, you must consider the light switches that control the lights. There are various light switch options you can choose from when you are remodeling your home.

For instance, you could choose remote-controlled lighting, dimmers, multi-locations, different size switches, sliders, 4-way and 3-way switches. The options are endless, so you will choose a switch that works best for you, depending on your remodeling design.

Panel Upgrades

A panel upgrade is essential when you upgrade your home electrical system. Older technology did not require as much power as the current modern technology. Even though most manufacturers say their products are energy efficient, compared to older models, they consume more energy. Most people have many appliances in their homes, such as microwaves, refrigerators, dishwashers, ovens, gadgets, and media-driven electronics.

Today, an average home uses about 30% more electricity. So when you are remodeling your home, it would be best to factor this in. Each room in your house consumes a different amount of energy. Therefore, ensure that your electrical system can handle it efficiently and safely. If not, consider getting an upgrade electrical in the house.

electrical upgradesSmart Home Features

When remodeling your home, you may want to consider adding a couple of smart features to make your life easier. Technology has advanced so much to a point where everything in your home can be automated and be remote-controlled. Some smart home features allow you to control these features from the comfort of your phone. Installing smart features in your home is convenient because you can comfortably access whatever you want at your command or by a touch of a button. However, note that this will not be cheap.

Some of the smart home features you can add during remodeling include remote controlled blinds or drapes, smart smoke alarms, refrigerators that can remind you what groceries you need, smart sensors, hubs, alarms, and sirens, remote-controlled lights, video surveillance system, smart thermostats, remote-controlled cooling and heating, and a remote-controlled sprinkler system. Most manufacturers are also making smart appliances. Therefore, if you have the extra money to spend, you can make your life more efficient.

Outlet and Receptacles

When you upgrade the electrical system in your house, it is essential to consider changing the receptacle. A receptacle must be efficient and safe when it is installed. High-energy appliances use specialized receptacle models. Since these appliances require a lot of energy, they need a receptacle that can accommodate them.

Ensure you seek advice from a professional electrician when you are remodeling to get the right type of light switches and appropriate outlets for all the appliances and electronics in your home. You do not have to worry about the design because there are many options to choose from since most of them have decorative features that can match with the finishing touches you will have chosen for the different rooms.

Sufficient Power

As mentioned earlier, different rooms in your home consume different energy levels. Therefore, when you are remodeling your home, it is essential to have an electrical exaltation. For instance, the home office, bathroom, workshop, and kitchen will require more power. So when you remodel, you need to consider that these upgrades may need a new electrical panel, and the electrical wiring has to be efficient. Your house needs to have enough outlets, and your electrical system should support and supply efficient power to all the outlets in use.

When you are remodeling your home, you must get an electrical exaltation. Please make sure you get in touch with a professional electrician so they can offer their expert advice. Considering that, it will be easier to update the wiring during remodeling since everything will be open. If you do not get electrical upgrades during remodeling, you will incur more costs because you may have to reopen your walls later to have the system upgraded. Ensure that you work with an experienced electrician when you decide to get electrical upgrades.

Mister Sparky Electrician Springdale, America’s On-Time Electrician in Bella Vista, Bentonville, Rogers, Springdale and Fayetteville services the Northwest Arkansas area with a team of licensed electricians. In addition to flickering lights, some of the electrician services provided by the company include electrical outlet/switch repair, ceiling fan installation, lighting installation, electrical wiring repair, landscape lighting installation and home electrical inspections.

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