Home Generator Safety Tips

By NWA Electrician,

Learn more about portable home generator safety with Mister Sparky.

Home Generator Safety Tips

Is your community generator safe? Learn more about home generator safety with Mister Sparky!A home generator is an essential addition to the home that can make a real difference in the level of functioning in the event of a prolonged power outage. With the purchase of a generator, homeowners gain a sense of security and peace of mind from the knowledge that they can keep their families safe and sound, especially those with very young, elderly, or disabled members. Becoming well versed in home generator safety is a priority in all cases.

The first step is choosing the right generator for the needs of the family. There are three significant factors to consider in this decision.

Household Needs

Some homes will require functionality for a more significant number of appliances and devices. The most accurate way to determine the correct generator size is to add up the wattage of all the items that will need power. Always select a unit that has enough extra wattage capability to cover later additions, and plan a consultation with a professional electrician to ensure that the best possible model selection.

Portable and Stationary Models

Home generator safety includes portable generators.Portable generators are well suited to the needs of many households. They are less expensive than stationary units, but they call for a fair amount of hands-on maintenance. Adequate supplies of gasoline should be kept on hand to run them, and they must be located at least 10 feet from the home in enclosures that protect them from the weather. Stationary generators represent a sizeable investment in home generator safety. In return, they provide enough electricity to keep the level of comfort nearly equal to average power conditions, start automatically when the power goes out, and last an average of 15 years, making them indispensable for the use of medical equipment that demands a continuous power source.

Sizes

Generators come in small portable to large stationary sizes, with wattage ratings ranging from 3,000 to 15,000 watts. A small portable can handle television to a refrigerator and a few lights, while a large stationary will have no problem running all appliances, including washers and dryers. Selecting the proper size generator for the workload is an essential safety component, and is an excellent place to begin a consultation with a professional electrician.

Safety Hazards

Home generator safety is an important part of your family's home safety plan.Fire, electrocution, and carbon monoxide poisoning are the primary safety hazards associated with the use of generators. Even when care has been taken to choose the home generator that most closely matches the needs of the household, precautions are necessary to avoid these dangers.

Fire prevention as part of a home generator safety plan involves a common sense approach to generator operation. If using a portable generator powered by gasoline, the fuel should always be stored in an approved container outside the home. Because spilled fuel can ignite, the generator should always be allowed to cool down before refueling. Be on guard against the use of matches, lighters, cigarettes, or any other smoking materials in the proximity of generators.

The risk of electrocution during the operation or maintenance of a generator can be minimized by following established safety guidelines provided by the generator’s instruction manual or licensed professional electricians. A few of the most crucial steps to avoid this hazard include: plugging appliances directly into the generator using three-pronged extension cords, always making sure that hands are dry before touching the generator and connecting the generator directly to the home’s electrical system through the use of a transfer switch.

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that can cause illness or death as a result of overexposure. Failure to practice home generator safety causes many cases of carbon monoxide poisoning each year, so those using portable generators should take special precautions to avoid this hazard. Points to remember are making sure to use generators outside and away from home doors and windows, placing carbon monoxide alarms in homes, especially near bedrooms, and recognizing that symptoms like dizziness, nausea, and weakness may indicate carbon monoxide poisoning.

No matter which type of generator you choose, it’s always a great idea to have licensed professional electricians to inspect your unit to perform periodic checks. In addition to being a primary source for information and help with home generator safety, licensed electricians are highly trained and certified to deliver skilled assistance with all electrical tasks.

Electrical projects may require a level of expertise that goes beyond average homeowner knowledge. It’s always a wise decision to hire experienced electricians who have current information on local electric codes and proven strategies to handle complex situations. Call or request an appointment online today for help with all of your electrical needs!

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, electrical wiring repair, landscape lighting installation and home electrical inspections.

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Which Bulb is Best for Outdoor Lighting: LED or Incandescent?

By NWA Electrician,

Which Bulb is Best for Outdoor Lighting: LED or Incandescent?

 

LED lights are perfect candidates for your next outdoor lighting project.Homeowners around the world are always on the lookout for the best products that add value to their properties. This search extends to lighting the home. Buying those large, incandescent bulbs of the past used to be commonplace, but there are alternatives today. When it comes to the best outdoor lighting for the home, a local electrician will always suggest LEDs over incandescent bulbs. But what makes LEDs so much better than incandescent bulbs for outdoor lighting?

Understanding LED Technology

 

LED is an acronym for light-emitting diodes. This technology isn’t a bulb in the traditional sense. Many people would be surprised to know that the LED itself is about the size of a flaked piece of pepper.

Current runs through the semiconductor, which creates a bright illumination out of the LED. The result is lighting that’s both functional and efficient. There’s almost no other technology out there today that’s as bright and safe as LEDs. LEDs offer some of the most long-lasting bulbs out there.

• LED bulbs last about 25,000 hours

• LED bulbs will last for three years, around the clock, without turning off

When it comes to outdoor lighting installations, long-lasting bulbs are a necessity. Homeowners don’t want the constant chore of replacing the bulbs each month. LEDs make outdoor lighting easier to install for professionals while leaving minimal maintenance for the homeowner. Because most people won’t leave their lights on 24 hours a day, the three-year lifespan will stretch even further.

Shatter-Resistant Design

 

Handling incandescent bulbs can be dangerous. The bulbs are glass, which makes them prone to damage during installation or extreme weather. LED bulbs are different, however, because they have small housings covering the light components. The size itself makes LED bulbs durable in the outdoors.

Unlike the incandescent bulbs, the LED housing isn’t made out of a glass either. A specialized lens with epoxy plastic is the material covering most LEDs. Breaking these housings is almost impossible if accidents occur around the home. Electricians make quick work out of these installations.

Preventing Fire Hazards

 

Incandescent bulbs can be fire hazards for these reasons, including:

• Releasing excessive heat impacting nearby items

• Glass breaks lead to heat exposure in the home

• Current surges in the fixture causing potential fires

LED bulbs simply don’t create a lot of heat. Their size doesn’t offer the surface area necessary for heat to dissipate. When you touch the LED housing, it’s cool. The result of a cool bulb is fewer hazards in the home so that residents have safety as a top priority.

Cost-Effective Lighting

 

LED lights are perfect for all of your outdoor lighting needs.LEDs don’t need a lot of power to produce their light. The semiconductor within the bulb converts energy at an efficient pace. Homeowners who hire a professional electrician to install LED lighting in their yards will see a decrease in electrical bills. There are no compromises with darkened areas across the property because LEDs can line every walkway and driveway without making an impact on the household’s budget. The savings alone makes LED bulbs a viable option for the best choice for your outdoor lighting.

Maximum Illumination

 

LED bulbs are unique because they’re designed with piercing, bright illumination. The photons don’t spread out into a bulb as seen with incandescent styles. There’s no need for reflectors or large fixtures around the LED bulbs to bounce the light. They merely give off a light that’s easily directed to any corner of the yard.

Safety

 

A common concern among homeowners is that their outdoor lighting is safe. Connecting multiple fixtures together on one circuit might lead to surges and shorts. With a professional electrician on the job, these issues won’t be a problem. Safety remains a priority while optimizing the electrical options at any home. Combining efficient LED bulbs with a licensed electrician makes your outdoor lighting safe, appealing, and practical.

Reducing Environmental Impact

LED bulbs are a great way to lessen your environmental impact when choosing your outdoor lighting.Homeowners are more concerned than ever about their impact on the environment. Recycling and reducing carbon footprints are common concerns facing residents today.

By installing LED bulbs instead of incandescent for outdoor lighting, homeowners are reducing the chances of spreading mercury into the environment. Older bulbs may use mercury as an internal component. Accidentally spreading mercury into the air is a hazardous situation. Electricians can easily convert exterior lighting to LED technology so that the environment continues to be protected.

Homeowners can improve their property’s appearance and cost-efficiency with LED outdoor lighting. Updating the home with wiring, bulbs and fixtures is a clever way to give the space new life and save money on your electric bill. Call Mister Sparky today to schedule your electrical home service appointment!

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, electrical wiring repair, landscape lighting installation and home electrical inspections.

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Do GFCI Outlets Go Bad?

By NWA Electrician,

Do GFCI outlets go bad? Learn more about electrical safety with Mister Sparky NWA electricians!

Do GFCI Outlets Go Bad?

 

Since their introduction into the National Electrical Code (NEC), Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlet location requirements have expanded way beyond the initial recommendations, and now include practically every outlet on your property, in and out of the house. These life-saving devices have improved to the point where they are, almost, tamper-proof, but they can still suffer the consequences of age, overuse, and/or incorrect installation.

Simple GFCI Troubleshooting

 

Learn more about GFCI outlets and electrical safety with Mister Sparky NWA electricians!GFCI outlets were initially designed to protect against electrical shock hazards in areas in and around your home where water is present, such as bathrooms, kitchens, and outside pools. The very nature of this frequent exposure to moisture promotes internal corrosion in the outlet that can cause any number of internal parts to fail. The GFI (ground fault interrupter) has a built-in sensor that is highly sensitive any small changes in the line source current and ideally will trip the breaker inside a GFCI outlet if anything irregular is detected.

Most GFCI outlets in use today come with two buttons: one black and the other red. The black button is for testing the outlet, and the red is for resetting the internal breaker after it has tripped. A quick way to tell if your outlet is working correctly is to press the test button and listen for an audible “snap.” This usually means the circuit is broken, but just to be sure, plug some device like a lamp into the outlet to see if indeed the power is off. If this is the case, the device left plugged into the outlet should come to life after the reset, or red button is pushed.

Ground fault interrupter outlets manufactured after 2006 are often designed with no external test buttons. These type of outlets should be tested with a separate plug-in circuit tester with its built-in GFCI. Whether dealing with either button or non-button types, this circuit tester is an excellent way to tell if something inside the outlet is causing the break.

Reasons for GFCI Outlet Failure

 

Don’t ignore occasional GFI trips in your home, but don’t get too concerned that it’s the fault of just one outlet, either. There can be any number of reasons for these breaks that sometimes originate far beyond the outlet in question, such as distant line surges and accidental current leakage. Often, a faulty appliance “downstream” will cause any of the GFI outlets in your home to trip.

Like most things electrical, GFCI outlets do have a life expectancy. The industry standard for change-outs is typically every 10 to 15 years, but you really should have a qualified electrician inspect any outlet that has been exposed to excessive UV light, heat, moisture, or chemical vapors, as all these factors can cause a ground fault interrupter to fail prematurely. If the internal circuit is still working, one tip-off that you have a worn-out GFI outlet is when it continually trips when you try to use an appliance.

Safety Concerns

 

You should test any GFCI outlet you have outside your house at least once a month. Even if they are carefully protected from the elements, the constant exposure to nature makes them more vulnerable than those indoors. Pay particular attention to the outlets that are near swimming pools and hot tub/spas, as the inherent danger of these features is often amplified by the use of radios and other plug-in devices around the area. 

While there are a few genuine GFCI protected power strips on the market today, most are just glorified extension cords, and will not block any surge in voltage or current unless they have a built-in breaker. Careful thought should be utilized when giving the GFCI powerstrip an amperage load. Just because the device is protected doesn’t mean it’s immune from misuse.

Leave it to the Experts!

Mister Sparky NWA electricians are your local GFCI outlets expert!Replacing bad GFCI outlets is not a recommended DIY project! When you’re dealing with the lethal current present at an outlet, the potential for disaster is quite high. If anything is incorrectly wired up or improperly grounded, you could expose yourself or anyone else in the house to deadly electrical shock. It’s also true that electrical fires can and do happen with alarming regularity, and all it takes to start a raging blaze is one tiny spark. If you find after doing the aforementioned simple tests that a GFCI is malfunctioning and needs to be replaced, please call Mister Sparky NWA electricians immediately for prompt, professional electric service!

 

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, electrical wiring repair, landscape lighting installation and home electrical inspections.

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