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

By Springdale Electrician,

LED or Incandescent?

 

LED Light Bulbs help save you money.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 Springdale 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

 

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!

NWA Electrician with Mister Sparky Electrician NWA is the Northwest Arkansas electrician fixing the flickering lights.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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Space Heater Safety Tips

By Springdale Electrician,

Central heating systems distribute warm air throughout a building, but some rooms may have cold spots or need additional heat. Space heaters can be a great way to augment heat, and they can also be the source of fires, shocks and injury. As winter drags on, many people will take their safety for granted, and they will forget to maintain proper space heater safety precautions. Below are several space heater safety tips to help you stay warm and safe throughout the remaining cold season.

Fires and Space Heaters

Space heater safety is important to your well being.Space heater fires account for 15 percent of all house fires and the root cause for millions of dollars of property damage. An average of 10,000 fires start each year because of improper space heater placement. Objects such as furniture, curtains and bedding coming too close to a heater is the third leading cause of heating equipment fires that cause fatalities. A space heater is always a danger that requires constant awareness.

Space Heater Safety Tips

Space heaters may be gas, kerosene or electric. Although basic safety tips apply to all types, there are specific operating and safety concerns for each.

• Always leave at least 3 feet of clearance around a space heater. Ensure that children and pets follow this 3-foot rule.
• Place the unit in an area that doesn’t get much foot traffic.
• Make sure the unit is on a flat, stable surface, so that it won’t tip over if bumped. Don’t place it on a table or other surface that is unstable or can catch fire.
• Turn off the device when you’re not using it, when moving to a different room, or going to sleep.
• Use a heater with safety features such as a thermostat and overheat protection. Select a unit that automatically shuts off if it tips over.
• Use in a well-ventilated area. Make sure smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are working.
• Select a unit that is properly sized for the area to be heated.
• Educate your family and others who use the unit about proper operation.
• Use the proper fuel for gas and kerosene units. Using the wrong fuel can start a fire.

Here are additional safety concerns for electric heaters:

• Use a unit that has been certified by a reputable testing laboratory. Look for the laboratory’s logo, such as UL or ETL, on the cord or unit.
• Never use extension cords with electric space heaters. Extension cords may not be able to adequately power the unit, which increases the risk of shock, overheating and fire.
• Check plugs and outlets when the unit is running. The plug should fit snugly into the outlet. If the outlet or plug is hot, turn the unit off.
• Don’t run cords under furniture or rugs. Cords can overheat, which can cause a fire.
• Never touch the device if you are wet. This can result in a shock. Don’t use the unit around a water source, in bathrooms or in humid basements.

If you question the safety of your space heaters power source, ask a certified electrician to inspect it. Call the licensed electricians at Mister Sparky NWA to answer your questions and provide more information about proper space heater use. Follow these tips and keep your loved ones safe and warm!

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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Top 10 Holiday Electrical Hazards

By Springdale Electrician,

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

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Electrical Inspection for the Holidays

By Springdale 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.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 NWA can install accent lighting cabinets.

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

 

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