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What Appliances Use The Most Electricity?

By Springdale Electrician,

Today, most homes include five or six essential appliances needed for everyday life, with a few more thrown in for extra comfort. Every appliance uses some amount of energy to operate. This brings up a question: What appliances use the most electricity? Being aware of this information can help homeowners to control energy usage as well as the household budget.

What appliances use the most electricity 1. Air Conditioner and Furnace

An air conditioner and furnace claim 47% of the total energy use in a home. This percentage can vary due to the type of air conditioner and furnace system a homeowner has. An older AC/furnace doesn’t have the energy-saving features that a more modern one does. This can result in a higher percentage of energy use. Many of the thermostats designed today make it easier to monitor and control an AC/furnace system’s operation to conserve energy.

 2. Water Heater

A water heater consumes 14% of the total energy used in a home. Of course, some water heaters burn up more electricity than others. A conventional water heater holds a water supply at all times, so when someone in the household needs hot water, it’s ready to go. Alternatively, a tankless water heater heats water as needed. It doesn’t continually heat a supply of it. So, conventional water heaters use the most energy out of the two options.

 3. Lights

The lights in all the rooms in a home and exterior lights account for 12% of a home’s energy use. The electricity usage connected with a home’s lights is relatively easy to control. Doing simple things like turning off the lights in unoccupied rooms, putting timers on lights so they won’t burn all night, and using energy-saving bulbs can lower the percentage of electricity use.

 4. Washer and Dryer

As a homeowner, do you use your washer and dryer several times a day? Or, maybe you only wash clothes once a week. These two appliances account for 13% of the energy use in a household. The number of times these appliances are used per week can undoubtedly raise the percentage of energy used. Doing things like limiting the number of loads done each week and using the hot water washing cycle only when necessary are two easy ways to reduce electricity usage.

 5. Refrigerator

A refrigerator uses 4% of the energy in a household. A refrigerator is plugged in all the time to supply electricity for the operation of the refrigerator and the freezer. In other words, unplugging the refrigerator to save energy is not a logical option! But there are refrigerators designed to be energy-saving, which helps to lower that total percentage.

 6. Oven

An electric oven accounts for 3 to 4% of the total energy usage in a home. Once again, this percentage differs according to the habits of a household. Some households have a conventional oven and rarely use it. Other households use their conventional oven every day. Having a well-insulated oven with a secure door that doesn’t allow heat to escape can make an oven more energy efficient.

 7. Television

Television, DVD player, and cable box usage account for 3% of electricity usage in a home. Unplugging the television and CD player at night can help to reduce that percentage. This cuts down on energy drainage while these appliances are not in use. Appliances that drain energy when it’s not needed are sometimes called vampire appliances!

 8. Dishwasher

A dishwasher accounts for 2% of the total energy usage in a home. When determining what appliances use the most energy, residential dishwashers come in low on the list. One household may use its dishwasher once a day while another doesn’t use it at all. Maybe the dishwasher came along with the home, but the people in the household like to hand wash their dishes. All of these factors can affect the percentage of energy used by this appliance.

 9. Computer

A computer uses 1% of the total energy in a home. As you see, computers are low on the list of what appliances use the most electricity. But keep in mind that many households don’t have a laptop or desktop computer. Family members use their phones, tablets, etc., to go online. Households that do have computers may want to consider putting their device in sleep mode or unplugging it to conserve energy.

If you’d like to find out what changes can be made in your home to reduce energy use, our professional electricians can help. Contact us today and let us help to make your home and its appliances more energy efficient.

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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Understanding The Electrical Wire Colors

By Springdale Electrician,

Mister Sparky Electrician NWA helps you understand What color is the load wire

Avoid Electric Hazards By Understanding The Electrical Wire Colors

Understanding electrical wire colors ensure the electrician’s, residents’, and appliances’ safety every time the electrical system is under maintenance or repair. Different colors indicate the wire’s purpose in the circuit.

Remember that all wires may carry an electric current at certain times so, they should all be treated with the same caution. It is crucial to understand the wires that may pose the biggest threat, the hot wires.

Hotwires are the ones that carry live electrical current from the electric panel or breaker box to destinations like an outlet or light fixtures. They are also known as line wires.

Mister Sparky Electrician NWA helps you understand electrical wire color codeElectrical Wire Color Codes

1. Black wires- Hot
Black wires transfer power to outlets and switches in all circuit types and can also be used as switch legs, the linkage between the switch and the electrical load. All black wires are considered live at all times, and extra care should be taken when dealing with them.

2. Red wires- Hot
Red wires are secondary live wires in 220-volt circuits and can also be utilized in various switch legs. Red wires are mostly used to connect the home’s power system, and hardwired smoke detectors such that if one alarm goes off, all of them go off.

They are used in the installation of ceiling fans, where the light switches may be. Electricians can link a red and black wire or two red wires.

3. Blue and yellow wires- Hot
Blue and yellow wires may carry power, but they are not commonly used in outlet wiring. Instead, they act as live wires pulled via a conduit. For instance, yellow wires may serve as switch legs to structural lighting, ceiling fans, or outlets joined with light switches.

Blue wires are mostly used as travelers in three or four-way switches, for example, switches at the bottom and top of a staircase controlling the same light (three-way).

4. White wires with red or black tape- Hot
When white wires are covered with black or red tape, they are hot wires.

5. Green wires- Ground
Green wires are used to ground electrical circuits. The wires are connected to a grounding terminal within an outlet strongbox and run towards the ground bus bar within an electrical panel.

That way, the wires play as a failsafe, which provides electricity somewhere to escape within the ground if any live wire in the circuit comes into contact with metal or any conductive material.

Green wires should only be connected with other green wires, and if a fault occurs in the circuit, they may be live, which demands that they be treated with caution. Green wires should also never be used for any other purposes because that may pose the danger of electrocution.

Ground screws on any electrical devices are often also painted green.

6. Bare copper wires- Ground
Grounding provides a safe path for electricity to travel back to the ground in case of an electrical fault. As all electrical devices must be grounded, the bare copper wires are connected to all of them, including fixtures, switches, outlets, and metal appliance housings or frames.

Also, electric metal boxes need to be grounded because they are conductive.

7. White or gray wires- Neutral
The word neutral may be deceiving as it appears to be less dangerous or have less electrical current. However, they should be handled with care because they may carry an electric current, mostly when the circuit’s current load is unbalanced.

Neutral wires connect to a conductive metal piece in an electrical panel, which attracts electric current to be distributed around the house. That metal piece is called the neutral bus bar. Gray wires can only be connected with each other.

White and gray wires pose electrocution danger when mishandled because they carry power back to the electric panel. When handling white wires, ensure that they have or had no red or black tape around them as that would mean they were used as hot wires.

It’s essential to understand electrical wire colors that the load wire and the c wire also be looked into. Load wires connect the light fixture and the light switch. Once the switch is closed, it allows electricity to flow from the light switches to the light fixtures, turning on the lights.

Many times, there is confusion between line and load wires. So, what color is the load wire? Load wires are mostly black, but red can also be used as a secondary load wire.

They are also connected to the switch’s top half, while line wires are connected to the switch’s bottom half.

C wires, otherwise called common wires, are other essential wires to understand the electrical wire color code fully. They are commonly found in modern houses or houses that have undergone modern renovation.

That is because they are used in the smart thermostats, which traditional houses did not have. The smart thermostats need constant power to keep the LED color screens and Wi-Fi radios powered.
The c-wires are responsible for providing continuous 24V power by completing the R wire circuit (source of power) to the HVAC system’s control board.

Mister Sparky Electrician NWA helps you understand electrical wire colorsWhat Color Is The C Wire, and How Is It Identified?

The c wire is mostly blue but, on some occasions, can be black.

Before handling electrical wire repair work, ensure no power is running in them by switching off the main electrical power supply. A multimeter can be used to help troubleshoot and check the home’s electrical wiring.

It can also be used to examine an electric current’s presence and detect how much it is. That is often useful in homes where the electrical system is old and outdated or the uncertainty of hot wires.

Different regions and countries have different electrical wire color codes. Therefore, it is essential to understand the area and the color wire codes before working with any electrical wires.

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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What Is A Short Circuit?

By Springdale Electrician,

Mister Sparky Electrician NWA shows you how to fix an electrical short circuit

Your Complete Guide To Short Circuits

Any and every electrical problem that occurs in a home setting is always blamed on a short circuit. But what does that mean exactly, and how do you find it, and how can you fix it in your home?

What is a short circuit?

Short circuits are shortcut paths. Electrical circuits are set up to follow specific paths through which electricity should flow. Short-circuiting occurs when a shorter, alternative path presents itself, thereby having the electricity flow in a route that was not previously established. The excessive flow of current in the new path causes electrical appliances to stop working.

Electrical currents tend to take the path of least resistance. For example, suppose you insert a metal object in a socket. In that case, you are providing the electrical currents with a shorter, alternative route to travel, and it will almost always take it.

When this happens, the socket will stop functioning as expected since the currents did not finish the expected route. By following the new path, the electrical currents seek to be discharged through a person or an item that presents the danger that might come with electrical circuits.

Short circuits occur in two types. These are:

Short circuits

Short circuits occur when a hot wire comes into contact with a neutral wire. This causes resistance to lessen dramatically, and an influx of current flows through the newly established path. This has more chances of causing accidents. Electricians find this to be the most common short circuit.

Ground fault short circuits

Ground faults occur when a hot wire comes into contact with a grounded part of the electrical system, for example, a grounded metal box or bare copper wire. When this occurs, the electrical currents choose the path of least resistance and flow through the newly established path. These types of short circuits have minimal chances of causing accidents.

a photo of an electrical outletHow to find a short circuit?

The task of finding or detecting short circuits is something that you should have a professional carry out. However, some of the things that might alert you to the occurrence of short-circuiting are:

Faulty wire insulation

Insulation allows wires to stay in place without touching. Poorly insulated wires can be as a result of old wires whose insulation has deteriorated, punctured by screws or nails, or have been chewed on by rodents. When the wires are open, it provides an avenue where the hot wires can quickly contact the neutral wires, causing short-circuiting.

Loose wire connections

If wires become loosely attached, this can create a scenario where the hot wires can contact the loose wires. This might act as a hazard, so it is always essential to have a professional electrician look at it.

Faulty appliance wiring

When you plug in a device into the socket and blows, a wiring problem in the appliance causes the short circuits.

Therefore, any defect brings about short-circuiting either in the appliance itself, the plugs, or the power cords. When this happens, it is always important to contact a professional to fix your appliances and prevent other short circuits.

In essence, you can be able to find the area at which short-circuiting occurred by:

•Checking for faulty wire insulations

•Check for loose wire connections

•Checking for appliances that might have faulty wiring, especially if they blow when connected to power sources.

These usually act as useful pointers on finding short circuits, but it is always essential to consult a professional electrician.

a photo of a circuit breaker on the wallHow to fix the problem?

Once you suspect that you might be experiencing short-circuiting in your home, it is essential to try and find the short circuit’s exact location before even attempting to fix it. To do this, we make use of a circuit breaker.

Circuit breakers are designed to cut off electrical current flow if the voltage exceeds a given level. That said, a circuit breaker can trip if there is a power overload.

However, if you notice that your circuit breaker keeps on constantly tripping after every reset, that might indicate that there is something wrong on that circuit path.

During installation, multiple circuit breakers are assigned for specific rooms of the home sections in your service panel.

To help you find out where the short-circuiting is happening:

•Identify the circuit breaker that has tripped to the off position. This will alert you that short-circuiting might have occurred in that given part of the house. Leave the circuit breaker in the OFF position.

•Check the appliances in those rooms. If you discover that their power plugs have been damaged, remove them from the sockets. Once you do this, switch on the circuit breaker. If it does not go off again, it means the short-circuiting cause was the affected appliance. However, if it does go off again, the issue did not originate from the appliances.

•Check the lights and appliance switches in these rooms. With the circuit breaker still on, switch on and off each light and appliance switch. If any of these cause the circuit breaker to trip to the off position, that might cause the short circuits.

Once you have located the area that the short-circuiting is occurring, it is advisable to get a professional electrician to advise you on fixing short circuits. This ensures that you do not engage in anything that might harm you or your family members. Electrical faults are the main causes of fires in homes and industries, and they are all due to short circuits.

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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Why Are My Lights Flickering?

By Springdale Electrician,

Mister Sparky Electrician NWA shows you how to stop lights flickering

Why Do My Lights Keep Flickering?

Besides Christmas tree lights and faux flame bulbs, the site of flickering lights in your home can be very frustrating. However, no need to worry because the issue may be more straightforward than you may think. Usually, the flickering pattern of your lights can help you diagnose the underlying issue.

When investigating the problem, look out for patterns such as when the flickering happens, the typical duration, and frequency of occurrence. It is always prudent to do some personal investigation and try a few simple fixes before consulting an electrician. Here are some common reasons behind flickering lights and their possible fixes.

One Light Flickering

If your light flickering problem is isolated to one bulb only, perhaps it could be because it is due for replacement or loose in the socket. This is arguably the simplest problem to solve and should be no cause for alarm.

Lights Flickering in One Room

Having multiple flickering lights within a contained area can be quite worrying. In most cases, the probable cause for this issue is a problem with your home’s circuitry. Since circuit issues can be dangerous if left unchecked, it is best to act on this issue by calling an electrician for further diagnosis quickly.

Mister Sparky Electrician NWA fixes flickering lights

Lights Flickering When Powering on a Large Appliance

A large home appliance, e.g., a refrigerator, washing machine, or oven, can add a significant load to your home’s central circuit breaker. That said, having several large home appliances and using them simultaneously can strain your home’s main circuit breaker.

Adding an unbearable load to your home’s main circuit breaker can cause several lights to flicker throughout your house. This problem is usually too technical to handle for most people and may require an inspection from a competent electrician to determine whether an electrical service upgrade is necessary.

Lights Flickering throughout the House

If the flickering is not limited to a contained area in your home and is not triggered by large home appliances, it may signal a larger problem. The most probable causes for such flickering are electrical service issues, e.g., loose service conductors in the central electrical panel. These electrical service issues could cause much bigger problems than flickering lights, e.g., fires, requiring immediate evaluation by a competent electrician.

Simple Fixes

As mentioned earlier, it is always a good idea to evaluate the flickering in your home and try some simple fixes before calling an electrician for help. Here are some simple fixes you can try for the less complicated electrical issues.

Tighten Loose Bulbs

As apparent as this solution is, it may sometimes not be the first idea that comes to mind. If you have a few flickering lightbulbs, turn them off and put on some gloves to protect your skin from excessive heat, then screw them into their sockets tightly. Since loose lightbulbs do not make enough contact with their sockets, they tend to flicker randomly.

Switch to Smart BulbsMister Sparky Electrician NWA shows you how to fix lights flickering

Smart bulbs not only help improve the quality of your home’s lighting but also help you get rid of old dimmers. If only one light is flickering, and you are sure it is not due to a loose connection, replacing it should help.

The type of bulbs you use could affect the flickering in your house. For instance, fluorescent bulbs tend to flicker in cold temperatures or when powering up. LED bulbs, on the other hand, tend to flicker when paired with dimmer switches. This is because dimmers are designed for high electrical loads, making them incompatible with low-voltage LED bulbs.

You can avoid flickering by ensuring your dimmable bulbs are compatible with their respective switches. However, if flickering persists while using dimmer switches, it is best to upgrade to smart bulbs that do not require physical dimmer switches. Dimming via a smart bulb is arguably more reliable, not to mention its potential to solve the dimming problems associated with old wiring or old dimmer switches.

Change Incompatible or Old Switches

If you have ruled out the bulb as the cause for the flickering, proceed to evaluate the wall switches. Modern bulbs such as LEDs and incandescent bulbs connected to an old dimmer switch may flicker because they are incompatible. Also, loose wiring behind the wall switch could cause flickering.

To avoid mismatches, check the dimmers and the bulbs’ ratings to ensure they are compatible. If you decide to install a new dimmer, turn off the circuit breaker’s power before handling any wiring.

Complex Fixes

If your lighting issues persist after these simple fixes, then the underlying cause probably affects your entire house. Such problems have the potential to damage your electrical appliances and expose your house to the possibility of an electrical fire. Therefore, never hesitate to consult a competent electrician.

Check for Loose Wiring

If your home’s wiring is old or performed poorly, your lights may begin to flicker, buzz, or both. Loose wiring is among the most common causes of electrical fires in homes and is, therefore, something you should take seriously.

If you have tried different ways of solving your flickering issue with no success and suspect the underlying cause is loose wiring, call a competent electrician immediately for further evaluation. A good electrician should evaluate multiple potential causes and diagnose your lighting issue accurately.

Check the Current

Like loose wiring, overloaded circuits are a huge risk to your house’s electrical system. HVAC units and other large home appliances demand a lot of power to run and could make your lights flicker by drawing too much current from your circuit.

The common culprits behind this problem are weak circuit breakers and inadequate wiring to large appliances. To pinpoint the appliances that draw too much current, power each load one at a time and listen for buzzing at your circuit breaker. If you cannot replace your circuit breaker, contact an electrician to advise you on the best one to purchase and have them install it for you.

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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Energy Efficiency Tips For the Summer

By Springdale Electrician,

Mister Sparky Electrician NWA ceiling fan

How to be Energy Efficient in the Summer

With summer in full swing, the hot weather isn’t holding back. While there are a few people lucky enough to live in colder locations, many homeowners deal with this long patch of this blistering heat for months. To help keep houses cooler and more comfortable, people rely on AC units, fans, and other equipment to drive up energy costs. Even though some people are more than willing to suffer these increased costs to avoid sleepless nights and sweaty days, they aren’t inevitable. Here, we’ll look at some energy efficiency tips that can help you stay cool without spending a fortune.

Perfect Your Thermostat Settings

Perhaps the easiest of energy efficiency tips involves optimizing your thermostat settings. The Department of Energy advises homeowners to set their thermostat to 78 degrees during the summer to save around 10% in utility costs every year. Even if 78 degrees is too hot, you’ll still see some savings by raising your thermostat’s temperature a little. You can save around 3% of cooling costs for every degree you go higher than 72 degrees.

Invest in a Programmable Thermostat

It seems ironic that investing in something can save you money, but that’s the case with a programmable thermostat. These capable devices are certainly more expensive than more traditional models. However, the money saved in the long run will make up for the higher price tag. These devices can be programmed to reach a higher temperature when you’re gone and return to a comfortable setting when you arrive. Homeowners can easily control some models from a laptop, tablet, or smartphone.Mister Sparky Electrician NWA thermosstat

Buy an Updated Air Conditioner

As you might have assumed, some of the most impactful energy efficiency tips require an investment. If you’re interested in reducing your monthly utility bills, it might be time for an upgrade. Cooling and heating account for roughly half of the energy used in a typical home, so any changes made in this area will have a drastic impact on what you pay. When shopping around for a new AC unit, keep an eye out for systems with EER and SEER ratings. These models are significantly more effective than the average unit. If your budget permits, you might as well go green on all of your household appliances. These can also work towards reducing your monthly energy bills.

Reduce Water Use

Not all energy efficiency tips are directly related to staying cool. If you think outside the box, you can find a ton of areas that could use some adjustment. For example, the average household uses more water during the summer months for a variety of reasons. Your lawn and plants require more hydration; you’re thirstier, take more shower or baths, and more. Reducing how much water you use can help keep this chunk of your utility bills lower. If you find it difficult to control how much water you use, you can install low-flow fixtures that restrict how much water comes out.

Use LED Bulbs

Light-emitting diodes(LEDs) are a type of lighting that converts electricity into light. Qualified LEDs only use 20%-25% of the energy and will last up to 15-25 times longer than regular incandescent bulbs. There are many different size bulbs and they can be used for different fixtures, such as desk lamps, kitchen lighting, and outdoor area lights. LED light bulbs might be more expensive, however, they will save you money in the long run as they last a long time and use little amounts of energy compared to incandescent bulbs.

Don’t Use Hot Water

Resisting the urge to use hot water is one of the easiest energy efficiency tips to implement in the summer. With the weather being hot, it’s more bearable to shower or bath using cold or lukewarm water. When it comes to washing clothes, only use hot water when necessary. You’ll see the savings add up rather quickly.

Block Out Sunlight

The sun isn’t just making it hotter outside, and it’s also directly warming your home. Windows intensify this heat to create a sauna-like atmosphere inside. Closing blinds, curtains, shutters, and other covers to block out sunlight throughout the day can work wonders for cooling down your home. Add this to your list of free and simple energy efficiency tips.

Use Fans

Some people wrongly assume that using fans will only increase their energy bills. Ironically, using ceiling fans, box fans, and standing fans can significantly reduce your monthly costs. When using enough fans, homeowners can quickly turn up their thermostat temperature by a few degrees without sacrificing their comfort level. Be sure to switch off your fans when leaving the room. You wouldn’t want to end up offsetting these advantages.

Optimize Your Fridge Settings

While turning off your fridge and freezer would undoubtedly save you a lot of money in energy costs throughout the summer, it’s not a feasible option. However, that doesn’t mean you have to take the high electric bills as they come. It’s all about optimizing the functioning of these appliances to reduce the energy used. Stocking your fridge full increases its efficiency since there is less space to cool. Be sure always to check that the door seal is intact.

Take a Break From the Devices

It turns out that your devices aren’t just eating up your time and attention. They’re also taking a chunk out of your wallet each month. Not only does it take a lot of electricity to charge your laptops, tablets, phones, and other devices daily, but they also emit a significant amount of heat. This heat can increase the temperature in your home, making it harder and more expensive to cool down.Mister Sparky Electrician NWA wall outlet

Ventilate When Cooking

Cooking is another major source of heat in your home. Whether you’re baking a cake, frying some pancakes, or cooking some steak, the heat emitted increases the temperature in your house. Cooking causes your AC unit, fans, and other cooling equipment to work overtime. Unless you want to dine out or cook outside, you’ll need to increase your kitchen’s ventilation. Opening windows, cracking doors, and turning on overhead ventilation can help reduce your energy costs.

While the average homeowner can implement some of these energy efficiency tips, it’s always good to work with a professional electrician. The professionals from Mister Sparky can assess your home’s energy efficiency, conduct routine inspections, fix issues, and even install new equipment.

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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