Electrical Safety For Football Season

By NWA Electrician,

stay safe this football season with Mister Sparky NWA

Football season is here! Whether your passions lie with your high school, college, NFL, or fantasy team (or even if you’re just along for the ride for the sake of a good tailgate party), a lack of electrical safety precautions can make your game watching experience miserable.

Electrical Safety at Home

Keep electrical appliances away from the sink– This is one bit of advice that we all learned in childhood, but it’s so easy to forget when you’re trying to watch the game, entertain guests, refresh the food, man the grill, and listen to that Spotify playlist. Don’t put yourself in that position where your distraction gets the better of you. Keep your electrical appliances separated from water from kickoff to the final whistle.

Protect your flat screen–  Electrical safety for your devices begins with a surge protector in your home.Between our giant TVs, computers, phone chargers, lamps, fans, and everything else, we’re pumping more electricity than ever, especially on game day. This leaves our valued appliances vulnerable to power surges. Protect your valued electronics with a surge protector.

Don’t let the smoke get in your eyes–  So much electricity, so much food on the grill, so much potential for things to go up in flames. Don’t let that happen to you. Check the batteries in your smoke alarm every month to ensure your home and family are safe.

Watch those burgers–  We know, we know.  Your team’s in the red zone, trailing by four, late in the 4th quarter.  You have to see what happens, right?  But not if you have food cooking.  Stay in the kitchen (or the backyard if you’re grilling) until the food is ready, the burners are off, and the fire is out.

Watch your cords–  Do not place electrical cords in high traffic areas, and never plug an extension cord into another extension cord. This is dangerous from a tripping hazard as well as an electrical one, with excessive voltage that could cause an overload of your electrical box or even a fire.

Electrical Safety at the Tailgate

Space heaters– Space heaters are a life saver during late season games in cold climates, but make sure to keep space heaters at least three feet away from all flammable materials when in use.

While you’re inside the stadium– Windy parking lots and lawns can make signs and banners combustible hazards to your grill. Make sure the coals are extinguished in your gas grill and not lit.

Keep these electrical safety tips in mind while grilling.Burgers, hotdogs, and chicken are game day staples, but without refrigeration they’re at risk for bacteria. Make sure you have ample cooler space and ice or a nearby place to refrigerate things before being prepared. Watch food temperatures.

And of course, be mindful of drivers and always designate a driver if you or someone in your party plans on drinking.

We’re here for you! Call Mister Sparky NWA if you’re experiencing any electrical issues, so that the only power problems during the big game come from a poor defensive line. Have a great football season everyone!

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. IIn 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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How To Save Energy For The Fall

By NWA Electrician,

save money on your electric bill

Labor Day is in the rearview and autumn is almost upon us. You know what that means: Halloween decorations, pumpkin spice everything, and some blessedly cooler weather. As much as you might love the lower temperatures and turning leaves, if you aren’t careful, the season can do a number on your energy bills. Buttoning up your home for the cold months will help save energy and money. Here are some simple tips to cut back on your energy use and save money for the upcoming holidays:Natural light can help save energy and your money in the fall and winter months.

Natural Sunlight

The sun is your best friend this time of year. Open your blinds and curtains on your south and west-facing windows during the day to let in as much light as possible. The sunlight will help warm your house during the day. Then once you hit sundown, close them back up. This does more than enhance privacy.  It also reduces the amount of warm air that escapes through your windows. If you have windows that are especially drafty, you can insulate them by covering them up with heavy, clear plastic. Heavier curtain fabrics may also reduce drafts to help save energy.

Thermostat

Save energy and money this fall by managing your thermostat.When you aren’t home, there isn’t much need for the heat to be running. Whatever temperature you normally prefer at home in the evening, set it 10 to 15 degrees lower than that while you’re at work (if you’re a heavy sleeper, you can do this while you sleep as well and double your savings). A programmable thermostat is a great tool to help you save energy; these thermostats follow a preset schedule that you determine, so you never have to remember to set it.

Stopping Air Leaks

An energy audit is the most reliable and effective way to locate air leaks and other energy waste. Even if you don’t have access to an audit, you can still find the leaks yourself with some incense. Light a stick of incense so that it produces wisps of smoke. This will give you a visual cue for the locations of leaks. Slowly pass the lit stick along corners, outlets, light switches, windows, doors, pipe entrances, and chimneys. If the wisps of smoke curling off the incense suddenly change direction without you moving the stick, you may have found an air leak. Patch these leaks up using weather-stripping or caulk to prevent more air from escaping.

Fireplace

When not in use, an open fireplace flue allows cold air to seep into your home.If you use a fireplace, keep the damper closed unless you have a fire burning. A lot of air can escape when the damper is open (much like running the AC or heater with a window open in your house all the time). When you are using your fireplace, if you have a thermostat for a furnace, set the temperature on the thermostat to between 50 and 55 degrees F. Installing tempered glass doors and a heat exchanger on your fireplace will really improve the fireplace warming capabilities, making sure your home is nice and warm without losing much heat. Lastly, make sure the hearth of your fireplace is sufficiently sealed with caulk to ensure there aren’t any air leaks.

HVAC Maintenance

Regular maintenance is a must for your heating and cooling system. Early autumn is the ideal time to get maintenance on your heating system as technicians won’t be quite as busy as in the peak-demand times of winter and summer. If you have a furnace, replace the filter once every month, or as needed to ensure proper airflow. With wood or pellet burning heaters, it is important to clean the flue and the inside of the heater regularly to keep the heater working efficiently.

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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DIY Electrical Mistakes

By NWA Electrician,

avoid electrical mistakes with Mister Sparky's helpful tips

Many homeowners like to go the do-it-yourself (DIY) route when it comes to smaller projects around their homes. When you’re not a professionally trained electrician, it’s easy to overlook little mistakes, and with electricity, little mistakes can be dangerous, even deadly.  We’ve listed five of the most common home DIY electrical mistakes and how to safely avoid them.

Making Connections Outside Electrical Boxes

You always want to avoid connecting wires outside of electrical boxes. Junction boxes protect the connections from accidental damage and help contain sparks and heat from a loose connection or short circuit. Where connections aren’t contained in an electrical box, install a box, and then reconnect the wires inside it.

Cutting Wires Too Short

Common DIY electrical mistakes include trimming wires too short.A common DIY electrical mistake involves cutting electrical wires too short. When wires are cut too short, they make connections difficult, and poor connections can be quite dangerous. Leave the wires long enough to protrude at least three inches from the electrical box. If you run into short wires, there’s an easy fix. Simply add six-inch extensions onto the existing wires. You can find wire connectors that are easy to install at hardware stores and home centers.

Leaving Plastic-Sheathed Cable Unprotected

It’s easy to damage plastic-sheathed cable that’s left exposed between framing members.  For that reason, the National Electrical Code requires cable to be protected in these areas. Cable is especially vulnerable when it’s run over or under wall or ceiling framing.

Protect exposed plastic-sheathed cable by nailing or screwing a 1-1/2-inch thick board alongside the cable.  You don’t have to staple the cable to the board. If you’re running wire along a wall, use metal conduit.

Poor Support for Outlets and Switches

Loose switches or outlets can look bad, and worse yet, they’re dangerous. Loosely connected outlets can move around, causing the wires to loosen from the terminals. Loose wires can then arc and overheat, creating a potential fire hazard.A Mister Sparky Electrician works to install a three-slot receptacle.

Loose outlets can be fixed by shimmying under the screws to create a tight connection to the box. Special spacers can be found at home centers and hardware stores. Other options include small washers or a coil of wire wrapped around the screw.  While you’re back there, be sure to add some insulation.

Installing a Three-Slot receptacle without a Ground Wire

If you have two-slot outlets, it’s tempting to replace them with three-slot outlets so you can plug in three-prong plugs. But don’t do this unless you’re sure there’s a ground wire available. Use a tester to see if your outlet is grounded. A series of lights indicates whether the outlet is wired correctly or what fault exists. These testers are readily available at home centers and hardware stores.

If you discover a three-slot outlet in an ungrounded box, the easiest fix is to simply replace it with a two-slot outlet. If you have a dead outlet, you can try to to trouble-shoot it, or call Mister Sparky! Remember, if you ever feel unsure during a DIY electrical project, the professionals at Mister Sparky will be there to assist you!

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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