Know Your Home Electrical System

By NWA Electrician,

Mister Sparky Electrician Rogers knows your home electrical system.

 

Electricity powers almost everything that makes our lives comfortable. Heating and cooling equipment, refrigerators, computers, lights, fans and hybrid cars require electricity to function. Before World War II, 60 amperes at the service panel was adequate to meet home electrical system requirements. Today, households require a minimum of 100 amps. Large homes, or those with electrical heat and other major electrical appliances such as water heaters and clothes dryers, may require 150 to 200 amps of service.

Mister Sparky Electrician Rogers is repairing a home electrical system.The electrical service in your home is a network of wires that begins at the meter and is distributed first to the main electrical panel and then to points throughout the building. The meter records how much electricity is transferred from your service supplier to your home. The electrical panel distributes wiring to circuits. Behind the walls, electrical wiring is logically laid out to distribute electricity from circuits to user points. Switches and plugs are user points that control appliances.

Wiring is categorized by gauge, which defines the size of the wire and how much current it can carry. The lower the number, the more electricity can pass through it. A 4-gauge wire carries fewer amps than a 1-gauge wire. Wiring is usually three strands, a hot wire, a neutral wire and a ground wire. Each is a different color for ease of identification and safety. White is always neutral. Other colors are not standard; however, black or red is usually the hot wire, and green is usually the ground.

Circuits are rated according to the amount of amps they can support. When electricians wire a house, they try to distribute the load, or the amount of wattage that a circuit can bear. A 20-amp circuit can run lights, fans and small appliances for a total of 2,400 watts. Wiring between receptacles and 20-amp circuits must be 12-gauge. Major appliances such as water heaters may draw up to 1,500 watts, which is why they usually get a circuit to themselves.

Circuit breakers are essential elements of an electrical wiring system. Circuit breakers and fuses cut the flow of electrical current surging through wires if the flow becomes too strong or unsafe. If an electrical appliance overheats, or if two wires inside the appliance touch, there may be a surge of electricity. The wires may overheat, which could start a fire or cause other electrical problems. The circuit breaker absorbs the surge and shuts the current off.

A special type of circuit breaker is called a ground fault circuit interrupter. These devices protect people from getting shocked or electrocuted. GFCIs monitor the flow of current in neutral and hot wires. If the flow in the hot wire surges, the GFCI immediately cuts the connection. GFCIs are installed on electric hot water heaters, dishwashers and other major appliances.

Although it is important to understand how electricity enters and is distributed through your home, it is also important to understand that electricity is dangerous. Improper wiring can cause fires, give shocks or burns and electrocute people. Electricians are trained professionals who are licensed and certified to handle electricity. They wire according to local and national code to keep you safe. They understand which appliances must be protected by GFCIs, how to ground a building and how to distribute load to prevent electrical problems. For your safety, and to ensure that your home is protected, it’s best to use a professional electrician for household wiring projects.

Mister Sparky Electrician NWA, America’s On-Time Electrician in Rogers, Bella Vista, Bentonville, 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, aluminum wiring repair, landscape lighting installation and home electrical inspections.

 

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Top 10 Holiday Electrical Hazards

By NWA Electrician,

Mister Sparky advises homeowners of the top holiday electrical hazards to watch out for this season!Home electrical safety may not be the most festive topic, but it’s an important consideration before pulling out the holiday decorations. Knowing what holiday electrical hazards are most common during the season, you can prevent unnecessary problems and help to keep your family safe. Here are the top 10 causes of electrical shock, fires, and other issues during the holidays:

1.) Using the wrong type of lights

Indoor holiday lights are not always waterproof or safe to use outside. Outdoor lights sometimes burn hot, causing fire risk to your Christmas tree. Always check the box of any lights and decorations you plan to use.

2.) Using counterfeit or unsafe products

Your decorations should be marked with a certification such as the Underwriters Association (UL). Be wary of foreign-made decorations that do not bear compliance marks.

3.) Using damaged extension cords

Before plugging in any holiday electronics, be sure to check that your extension cords are in good repair. Visible wiring or frayed casing can lead to electrical hazards.

4.) Overloading outlets

When you have multiple decorations or devices plugged into a single outlet, you risk a chance of overloading the outlet. This can lead to fire, electrical outage and other problems. Try to space out your decorations so that they draw power from multiple different outlets in the home, and only use power strips that are new and in good repair.

5.) Leaving lights on all the time

It’s a good idea to run your lights only when someone is home and awake to monitor them. That way, if any problems happen, they can be dealt with swiftly before fire has a chance to spread. Never sleep with your Christmas tree lit.

6.) Using old or damaged decorations

It’s best to save non-electrical ornaments for family heirlooms. Be prepared to replace your Christmas lights every 4-6 years. Also be sure to inspect your decorations thoroughly before use. Throw out any with exposed wiring or other signs of visible damage.

7.) Using out-of-date lighting technology

Even if your older lights are still in good working order, they may be inefficient and more susceptible to causing electrical issues. Most older lights use incandescent bulbs, which burn hot and can cause a fire when clustered on a dry tree or near drapes, wrapped gifts and other flammable objects. LED bulbs are cool to the touch, have a longer lifespan and are less likely to start a fire.

8.) Connecting too many cords

You should avoid stringing more than three strands of lights together end-to-end. Otherwise, you run the risk of sending too much current through the wire, leading to potential fire hazards and blown fuses.

9.) Allowing cords to get damaged

If you have pets or children, keeping all electrical cords and plugs away from curious fingers and mouths is important. It’s also important that your cords not be pinched by furniture, closed windows or other possible hazards.

10.) Damaging strings of lights when mounting

For safety, the insulation of your cords and light strings needs to remain intact. Avoid using thumbtacks or staples if they will pierce the cord. Instead, drape lights over hooks or place staples across, rather than through, the cord.

If you need help with assessing your home’s holiday electrical hazards or would like to consult with an expert about keeping your family safe, contact Mister Sparky today for more information!

Mister Sparky Electrician NWA, 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, aluminum wiring repair, landscape lighting installation and home electrical inspections.

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Electrical Inspection for the Holidays

By NWA Electrician,

Get your home inspected for the holidays by Mister Sparky

Keep Your Home Safe with an Electrical Inspection

The holidays are looming around the corner and that means a lot of time spent in the kitchen and a great time for an electrical inspection. It’s easy to get distracted by the stresses of stuffing the turkey and housing the in-laws and before you know it, you have used twice as much energy than usual in your home. Don’t let those distractions get overshadowed by the importance of inspecting your house’s electrical work to keep you and your family safe.

Did you know, kitchens are responsible for starting almost half of all accidental house fires? According to government statistics, the heavy use of electrical appliances in the kitchen is the leading cause of accidental electrical fires in homes, especially during the holidays. With the mixture of heat from appliances, electrical wiring and moisture from cooking, it’s a good idea to have an electrical inspection done if you think you will be using the kitchen over the holiday season. Here are some great safety tips that you can do to ensure that your home stays festive this holiday season without a visit from the fire department!

Keep Cords Away from Hot Surfaces

hot surfaces can cause electrical fires and can be discovered through electrical inspections Like most kitchens during the holidays, counter space can get pretty scarce. With so much going on, it’s not uncommon to accidentally drag an appliance cord or two over a hot stove top. After a few minutes of being unattended however, the stove could melt the protective layer off of the electrical wiring and start an electrical fire. Avoid these accidents with an electrical inspection from Mister Sparky NWA. Our techs are trained to identify potential hazards around homes that could be overlooked like loose cords. Be sure to keep long cords tied up and tucked away from any hot surfaces.

Keep Water Away from Outlets

It’s no secret that water and electricity are a bad combination. Make sure to keep liquid far away from outlets in the kitchen and always use dry hands to unplug cords from the socket. If you suspect that there could be water damage in your outlets, call Mister Sparky immediately and do not use the affected outlet(s). Our team will come out and do a full electrical inspection of your system to make sure your home is safe and ready for your guests. With so many spills from sinks, pots, bowls and everything else in the kitchen, outlet coverings could be a good idea to ensure no water gets into the electrical work as well.

Keep the Kitchen Clean

Mister Sparky provide an electrical inspection to ensure your home is up to date

Years of kitchen use leave crumbs and lint lingering behind appliances like ovens and fridges that can often go unnoticed until it’s too late. All of this left over food residue and dust in small spaces can clog vents and outlets until they heat up so much they catch fire. A thorough electrical inspection by a tech will be able to clear out any sediment that may be collecting beneath or behind your appliances. Not only is this a fire hazard, it also impedes efficient energy usage in your home when it has to work harder against the debris compared to when it is clear.

Here are a few more simple tips to do every day to keep your kitchen safe:
  1. Check that appliance cords are in good shape and not ripped, if there are rips dispose of it accordingly
  2. Never try to repair an appliance when it is still plugged into the outlet
  3. Never try to get toast that is stuck out of a toaster while it is plugged in, especially with a metal knife or fork as there are often live parts inside the toaster
  4. Make sure you thoroughly clean your oven and stove to avoid a build-up of fat and grease that can ignite
  5. Don’t overload your electrical sockets with too many electrical appliances as this can lead to overheating or a power surge
  6. Avoid storing objects on top of appliances like the microwave to keep its ventilation clear
  7. Defrost your fridge and freezer at least once a year to ensure they are running properly
  8. Check your smoke detectors once a month, every month, around your home

Mister Sparky’s top priority is safety and we want to make sure all of our customers have a safe and happy holiday season. If you are going to be hosting over the holidays, get an electrical inspection from one of our highly trained techs. We can ensure your home is running efficiently and the electrical wiring is safe to help give you peace of mind.

Mister Sparky Electrician NWA, 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, aluminum wiring repair, landscape lighting installation and home electrical inspections.

 

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