Sunday, March 30, 2014

How to Choose a Company for GFCI Replacements and Other Electrical Work?

Whether you are looking for ground fault circuit interrupter/ GFCI replacements or new construction and remodeling work, it's essential to hire professional contractors. With a number of companies offering electrical services in your region, it may be tough to pick one that can serve your needs properly with experience and expertise. For making things easy to understand, here is a small list of the most important things that you should check, regardless of the company or independent service provider.
• Check the authenticity: One of the main aspects of undertaking electrical work like GFCI replacements or electrical Panel Upgrades is a matter for seasoned professionals. Even the smallest of electrical repairs can actually cause issues of security and safety, something that you wouldn't want to risk. One of the best things to do is to see how authentic the service provider is. You can check their website to see how long the company has been in business and ensure their good standing with the Better Business Bureau. This should give an idea of the quality of work they do. Always read customer reviews if provided.
• Licensed electricians: Among the other things, you have to ensure that the electrician is insured and licensed. Insisting on a licensed electrician is the simplest way to know whether the electrician or the team member sent for the work is experienced and properly trained for the job. To obtain a license, electricians need to pass national electrical code testing and criteria, which give an insight as to the actual professional knowledge he possesses. Most municipalities require licensed electricians to work on any electrical project large or small and this is enforced by local governments.
• Experience in the field: Electrical work is often highly technical, and if you need a special kind of service, you have to ensure that the company offering services is experienced. It makes much more sense to choose a company or a team of electricians, who know the job and can offer the right kind of solutions that can save you time, money, and avoid costly mistakes. Every company may claim that they can do it all, but in reality, there are only a few that can provide outstanding service. By talking with the contractor make sure to ask probing questions so they can give professional evaluations of your particular project. Make sure that they are familiar with your local codes. The right contractor should be able to identify possible obstacles and clearly explain their expectations for your project.
• Communication and support: If you are hiring a licensed electrical contractor, you are making a wise decision for peace of mind and professional service. Rather than having a company that doesn't offer any help or support on the job, it is better to look for a professional one that offers more support both on and off the job. Only a few companies would offer you the right kind of emergency services and would communicate properly to get the job done on time.
At the end of the day, when you are undertaking electrical work, you have to consider the various aspects of the company. More than the price, it is the quality of the service and level of expertise that matters the most because safety is something that you wouldn't want to compromise on!

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Are You Protected Against Electrocution?

Many daily domestic situations may turn into electric shocks, especially in homes that have not been furbished over the very last years. Grasp how to assess the level of protection provided by your electrical equipment, for the benefit of your family's safety.

Monday, March 24, 2014

How to Protect Your Electronics From Electrical Surge Events

In this modern world, we have become very dependent upon our electronic gadgets. We use personal computers to work, communicate with friends, family members or business associates.
We often times store valuable files (such as financial documents, memos, reports, *.mp3 files, and now we also store important personal pictures) onto the Hard Drives of our Computers.
We use the following electronic systems to entertain, educate, enlighten and comfort us. 
  • DVD Players
  • HDTVs (e.g., LCD and Plasma)
  • Video Recording Equipment (for those of you upload your videos on to YouTube)
  • Gaming Systems (e.g., Nintendo, Wii, X-Box, etc.)
  • Central Air Conditioning System, Heat Pumps
  • Microwave Ovens
These and other electronics gadgets require a significant investment to obtain in the first place; and are very expensive to repair and/or replace.
And yet, amazingly, we do very little to protect our electronics from damage or attempt to make them last (and serve us) longer.
This article is one of a series of three (3) articles that discusses how to protect your electronics against the following destructive mechanisms that shorten its operating life.
Electrical Surge/Spike Events, and
Electrical Noise
In this particular article, we are going to talk about "Electrical Surge/Spike Events".
In particular, we are going to discuss the following topics associated with "Electrical Surge/Spike Events".
What are Electrical Surge/Spike Events and How are they generated?
How do you protect your electronics from Electrical Surge/Spike Events?
What are some guidelines that you should use when selecting a Surge Protector?
Electrical Surge/Spike events are typically defined as a "large current/voltage transients that occurs in an electrical signal or the power-line".
Surge events typically last for a few microseconds and are then gone. Similarly, spike events will typically last for a few nanoseconds and are then gone.
a. 1 microsecond = 1 millionth of a second, and
b. 1 nanosecond = 1 billionth of a second.
Both electrical surge and spike events can cause considerable damage to any electronic systems that are electrically connected to these power-line or signal-lines that are carrying this transient current and voltage.
For a typical person that lives in a home and own some consumer electronics, electrical surge/spike events can fall into one of two categories.
External Surge/Spike Events, and
Internal Surge/Spike Events
I will briefly define each of these types of Surge/Spike events below.
External Surge/Spike events are called "External" because they occur "External" to (or outside of) your home.
External Surge/Spike events typically originate from one of two sources.
Lightning Strikes (during an Electrical/Thunderstorm), and
Switching events within the Electrical Grid
External Surge/Spike events tend to be very large and damaging (especially if they originate from lightning strikes).
If these external surge/spike events were to enter your home (via the main power line and through the circuit breaker panel), they will destroy pretty much any piece of electronics that is connected to an electrical outlet in your home.
NOTE: These pieces of electronics do not need to be powered on to be destroyed.
They only need to be plugged into an outlet in your home at the time when this catastrophic electrical surge/spike event occurs.
Fortunately, the External Electrical Surge/Spike events do not occur very often (e.g., a few times a year depending upon what part of the world you live in).
Internal Surge/Spike Events (as the name implies) are generated "internal" (or within your home).
Internal Surges/Spike events typically occur whenever the motor or an appliance (such as an Air Conditioner or the Refrigerator turns ON or OFF).
Internal Surge/Spike events tend to be much smaller than External Surge/Spike events.
However, Internal Surge/Spike events occur much more often than do External Surge/Spike events (several times a day).
Over time, these smaller (though more frequent) internal surge/spike events will do damage to your electronics as well.
Each time a motor of an appliance (such as an Air Conditioner or a Refrigerator) requires surge current (for it to turn on), or anytime the magnetic field (within the motor of an appliance collapses) whenever it is turned OFF, a damaging surge or spike is generated and can propagate throughout some of the power supply lines in your home.
Internal surge events will shorten the operating life of any electronic gadget that is plugged into an electrical outlet in your home.
NOTE: The electronics gadget does not need to be powered ON for it to sustain some damage from these internal surge/spike events.
One of the most common ways of protecting many of your electronics from damage (due to electrical surge/spike events) is through the use of "power strips" that contain "surge protection" circuitry within them.
Many power strips have surge protection built in, and in most cases, these types of power strips are clearly marked to reflect this.
There are some power strips that do not provide surge protection for your electronics.
Often times, people will still (incorrectly) refer to these products as "surge protectors".
If you are looking to purchase a Power strip that contains "Surge Protection" circuitry, make sure that the labeling (on the box that you have in your hands) clearly indicates "Surge protection" or something like that.
If you cannot quickly find those words on the box, then I recommend that you put that Power-Strip box back on the shelf and go find a Power-Strip that has "Surge Protection" clearly marked on it.
Surge Protector circuitry typically works by having devices (like an MOV - Metal Oxide Varistor) that "sits" between the "power-line" path and electrical ground within the power strip.
Many Surge Protectors will have several of these MOV devices in order to make them more robust.
Under normal operation, these MOV devices will do nothing at all and do not affect the operation of your appliances or electronic systems.
For you electrical engineers out there, I will tell you that these MOV devices presents a very high impedance between the "power-line" and "electrical ground".
If a surge event occurs such that the "power-line voltage" exceeds a certain "threshold" voltage level, then the MOV devices will start to conduct current (and will then present a very low impedance path) between the "power-line" and "electrical ground".
At this point, all of this excessive energy (from the electrical surge event) will be "routed" through the MOV devices (to electrical ground) and will be diverted away from your valuable electronics.
Once the "power-line voltage" returns to a normal level, the MOV devices will then return to their "high-impedance" state and will cease to conduct current between the power-line and electrical ground.
In general, you should use surge protectors on all sensitive electronics that you would like to keep and use for some period of time.
If you have Surge Protectors for each of your sensitive electronics, then they will do a very good job protecting your electronics, for the duration that they (the Surge Protectors) function.
In general, you should look for the following parameters/metrics whenever you are shopping around for Surge Protectors.
Clamping/Let-Through Voltage
Joules Rating
Response Time (if available)
I will explain each of these items below.
3.3.1 Clamping Voltage:
The "Clamping Voltage" level is also (often times) referred to as the "Let-Through Voltage" level.
Basically, this is the voltage level that will cause the MOVs (inside the Surge Protect system/Power-Strip) to conduct electrical current between the "power-line" and Electrical Ground.
At this voltage level, the Surge Protector will start to shunt the destructive electrical energy (from an incoming surge event) to Electrical Ground and will divert it away from your valuable electronics.
As I mentioned before, the MOVs will continue to shunt electrical current (from the power line) to Ground for the duration that the "Power-Line Voltage exceeds this "Clamping" or "Let-Through" Voltage level.
In general, the lower the "Clamping" or "Let Through" Voltage level the better the protection for your electronics.
Typical values for "Clamping" or "Let Through" voltage level are 330V, 400V, or 500V.
For 120V AC applications, I recommend that you use a Surge Protector with a Clamping Voltage level of 330V.
3.3.2 The Joules Rating
The "Joules" Rating for a Surge Protector will typically define the cumulative amount of energy that it (the Surge Protector) can absorb (throughout its operating life-time) without failing.
In general, the higher the number, the longer the Surge Protector will last and continue to protect your electronics.
Good Surge Protectors are ones that have a "Joules Rating" of 1000J or better.
NOTE: The "Joule" Rating does not reflect the total amount of electrical energy that the Surge Protector will shunt (to Electrical Ground) before failing.
The "Joule" Rating reflects the amount of energy that the components (mostly the MOVs) within the Surge Protector can absorb without failing.
In most cases, whenever an MOV shunts excessive voltage and current to ground (during a Surge Event), it (the MOV) is only absorbing a fraction of this energy.
Most of this energy is "being dumped" to Electrical Ground.
If your Surge Protector is properly installed, then for every joule absorbed by the components (inside the Surge Protector) another 4 to 30 joules was harmlessly shunted from the Power-line to Electrical Ground.
However, each time your Surge Protector responds to a surge event, the MOV devices do absorb some energy, and the cumulative amount of energy that these devices have absorbed moves closer and closer to the "Joules Rating" number and "failure".
3.3.3 Response Time
Surge Protectors do not respond immediately to Surge Events.
There is a slight delay (or response time) before they respond.
The longer this response time, the longer your electronics sits exposed to the incoming surge event. Fortunately, most surge events do not happen immediately either. Most surge events take several microseconds before they reach their peak voltage.
By that time, most Surge Protection schemes (especially those using MOVs) will "kick in" within nanoseconds after the voltage level has exceeded the "Let Through" Voltage.
Just like the smell of a brand new car, Surge Protectors do not last forever.
As these MOVs respond to Surge Events and "shunt electrical energy to ground" over time, they absorb some of that energy.
This process causes "degradation" and "wear and tear" on the MOV devices (and in-turn) on the Surge Protectors as a whole.
Eventually these MOVs will fail in one of two ways.
a. The MOVs will fail to the point that they will no longer shunt excessive electrical energy to ground. In this case, the MOVs (are said to fail in an "Open" state).
Whenever this occurs, all of your precious electronics that is "downstream" from your Surge Protector are now "officially" un-protected and are now vulnerable to the next surge event that comes around.
b. At least one MOV device will fail into a "Short Circuited" Mode. In this case, the MOVs may (though rarely) fail in the "Short Circuit" state.
Whenever this happens, the "failed" MOV device would continue to conduct high currents (from the Power-line to Electrical Ground) even when the power-line voltage is less than the "Let Through" voltage.
This type of failure mode could be very dangerous.
Fortunately, most Surge Protectors will typically have a fuse that will "blow" and will turn OFF the Surge Protector entirely, rather than risk catching on fire.
The main message here is this. Internal Surge Events occur many times throughout the day.
As these events occur, and as your Surge Protectors continue to function and shunt the excessive electrical energy to ground, these Surge Protectors eventually wear out and will need to be replaced.
You should replace your Surge Protectors under the following conditions.
1. Whenever the Green "Protected" Light (on the Surge Protector itself) goes OUT.
2. If you've owned your Surge Protector for more than 3 years.
NOTE: Having the Green Light ON is encouraging but is not a guarantee of adequate protection for the next surge events.
Replacing your Surge Protectors every three years is a good practice to keep your electronics protected.
In this article we have discussed one of the three main enemies of electronics and how they shorten the operating life of electronics and cost you money.
Other articles in this series are listed below.
How to Protect Your Electronics from Heat, and
How to Protect Your Electronics from Electrical Noise
In this particular article, we discussed Electrical Surge/Spike Events. As we discussed this "enemy of your electronics", we covered the following topics.
What are the Electrical Surge/Spike Events? What are their causes? How can we protect our electronics from the affects of Electrical Surge/Spike Events?
In this article we concluded the following.
  • That using Surge Protectors is a necessity to keeping your electronics running and serving you.
  • That many people think that Power Strips are Surge Protectors - This is NOT True.
  • People should read the labels and make sure that the Power Strips that they have in their hands also (and clearly) states "Surge Protection".
  • That Surge Protectors wear out with use and (over time) will lose their ability to protect your electronics from damage due to Electrical Surge/Spike events.

Article Source:

Friday, March 21, 2014

How To Know If You Need An Electrical Panel Upgrade

There are many things that are charming about older homes, but their electrical wiring and infrastructure are rarely one of them. If you live in a less-than-new property, you have probably already run into some strange wiring glitches, outlets that don't work, or light switches that don't seem to do anything. These idiosyncrasies may be things that you can live with, but not all electrical issues should be left alone. Find out what electricity-related problems to keep an eye out for, and how an electrical services professional can help you resolve them.
Have you ever had the experience of not being able to run two appliances in the same room at the same time? Say you're in the kitchen and you have the coffee maker going and you put something in the microwave to heat up. After a few seconds, both machines go dead and you have to trek down to the basement to reset the breaker that tripped.
In a different scenario, let's say you're in the bathroom using a hairdryer. You turn it on and then the lights go dim or start to flicker as the hairdryer draws power. Nothing stops working altogether, but it's clear that the demand for power is exceeding the supply.
When you stop to think about it, the problem is not that there's not enough power available from your local utility. It's that the conduits for the power--i.e. your home's electrical wiring and panel--aren't in sync with the demands of the modern age. This is not only an annoying state of affairs: It's also a dangerous one.
If you find that there's not enough power in your home to run the appliances or lights that you need, don't ignore the problem. Constantly resetting tripped breakers or dealing with flickering lights are minor issues when compared to the danger of faulty wiring. If left untreated, old, worn out, or frayed wires could easily start fires, causing home damage, personal injury, and even death. If you live in an older structure and you are experiencing electrical problems, call your local electrical service specialist to come check out your electrical panel and/or wiring today.
Once on site, the electrical contractors will be able to assess the age and health of your wiring, and might either upgrade or change out your electrical panel. Your licensed electrician may advise an upgrade or change out for your panel if you have:
  • Insufficient electrical power
  • A previous electrical or wiring job that was not performed properly
  • Panels contaminated by water or other foreign substances
  • Old, dangerous panels or wiring
Making the necessary upgrades or changing out your panel will not only make things run better in your home. It will also make your house a safer place.
If you're having electrical issues, contact your local electrical contractor today. He or she will be able to assess the situation and make the necessary upgrades, repairs, or replacements so that your home runs the way it should.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Don't DIY, Call Frontline!

Many people enjoy indulging in DIY tasks in their homes. It is usually a big boost to their egos whenever the task goes well. Many people may also perform tasks personally to save the cost of hiring a professional. When it comes to DIY electrical installation, there are many dangers and risks involved. The task is better left to professional electricians. Some home owners are equipped with tools for electrical purposes. However, it is still not advisable to experiment with electrical connections. The results could be hazardous and at times fatal. The risk involved is not worth it. You had better incur some costs of hiring an electrician and be safe.
There are several dangers that come with DIY electrical installation. The most common one is electrocution. You will be at a risk of being electrocuted if you touch live wires. Electrocution could also result if wrongly cut through cables. This could result to serious burns that could render you being disabled for the rest of your life. It could also lead to heart failure leading to death. Should a friend or family member try to save you from being electrocuted, he will face the same risk.
Poorly installed electrical cables could lead to fires. A fire could result if the wiring is incorrect, badly insulated or loose. A fire could start in the electric socket and spread to other parts of the house. Why risk burning your house down if you can hire an electrician? You could be doing the installation to save the extra cost. However, after burning up your home, you will incur much higher costs of replacing your belongings. Apparently, the DIY installation is not worth it.
Conducting unlicensed electrical installation could cost you high fines. Unlicensed electrical work is illegal. Should any damage result, you could face a penalty of as high as two hundred thousand dollars. You may also be legally charged and suffer a jail term of up to three years. Damages in your home resulting from unlicensed electrical work may not be compensated by your insurance company. Thus, if any loss occurs, the home owner will bear it.
The DIY homeowner may not understand the correct size for wires and cables. Electric wires come in many sizes and types. The type and size of wire will determine the manner in which it is used. If the wrong size is installed, overheating may result. The wires should match the appliances with which they are used. The wires used for appliances like television are different from those used for electric cookers. Many homeowners are not armed with this kind of knowledge.
While doing electrical installations, the power boards should not be overloaded. DIY electrical installations could result to overloading of power outlets and power board. This could lead to straining of the circuits. The same case applies for electrical box connections. Electrical boxes are meant to give protection against external elements. Inexperienced people may overload the electrical box. This will in turn result to overheating and short circuiting. By seeking the assistance of a qualified electrician, such scenarios can be avoided.
It doesn't matter whether you are dealing with a minor electrical installation or a major one. You still need to hire a qualified electrician. Mistakes can be made even when performing simple tasks such as installing light bulbs. You may put a bulb with a higher wattage than a socket. There will be a risk of overheating. The socket will burn and cease functioning. You are likely to keep replacing bulbs and sockets every now and then. This is not economical at all. In fact, the risks and costs of DIY electrical installation exceed the cost of hiring an electrician by far.

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Saturday, March 15, 2014

How to Select a Reliable Electrical Contractor

Choosing the wrong electrical contractor can mean years of discontent with the way technological gadgets are being run around the building. It can also mean more spending due to the constant need of repair when the outcome of the work is less than exemplary.
1. Determine the electrical work that is needed.
A lot of people commit the mistake of hiring electrical contractors that are not meant for the job. While they might be good contractors in residential housing, it does not mean that they are equipped to face commercial wiring. For this reason, there is a need to define the goal of the service.
The owner has to set a priority of what they expect and how they would like things to run. The size and the scope of the project are important. Avoid committing the mistake of trying to save money by hiring small time contractors that have limited perspective and ideas on how large-scale projects ought to be done. Invest in the quality of work; in the long run this is what will save you money.
2. Ask for references and read reviews on the Web.
Information is power. When you know the kind of contracting firm you are dealing with, you can gauge better if the service they are going to provide is top-notch. Ask them if they are able to handle issues like low-voltage, computer installation, wiring a whole building or just merely installing a fire alarm. Check if the previous clients are satisfied with the work that has been provided. Inquire regarding the type of projects that they have finished and I if they were able to finish it on time.
3. Go for safety first.
If the project involves a huge deal, the safety of the entire building and the people who are going to do the work is vital. If the project is going to be large-scale, it would be best to check and inquire if the contracting companies being hired have safety measures for their electrical contractors and if they have provided staff training for everyone. The electricians that are going to work in the project have to be certified electricians before they are allowed on the field.
4. Get free estimates before deciding on dealing with an electrical contractor.
Estimate the rates of different companies and the number of personnel they are willing to send out for a specific price

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Electrical Inspection

A professional Home Inspector is responsible for visually checking the electrical system during the home inspection and safety is always the number one issue any Home Inspector will be inspecting for while doing the inspection. The Home Inspector will certainly have a basic understanding of the electrical system of a house, but they're certainly not required to do a code inspection at the home.
There are numerous things that your Home Inspector examines in the inspection that will be outlined within the home inspection report which sometimes winds up in negotiations and might not really be fixed. Home Inspectors will certainly recommend that all the repairs be finished prior to the closing, and yet it often doesn't happen this way.
All of the work performed regarding the electrical system of the property needs to be repaired using a qualified electrical contractor.
This is a list of the most common things we write up in Home Inspections:
  • Exposed or unprotected wires anywhere within the home; these are typically found in crawl spaces, attics and even basements and garages
  • Outlets with an open or missing ground
  • GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupters) not placed in the correct areas; GFCI Outlets are commonly recommended in the kitchen areas over the counters, all bathroom plugs, Garage outlets, outlets on the outside of the home, outlets in unfinished basements and crawlspaces.
  • GFCI outlets which are not working properly are going to be written up and it should be replaced or repaired
  • Solid aluminum branch electric wires shall be reported on
  • Open junction boxes in addition to any exposed wire splices
  • Any dangerous circumstance is going to be flagged as a safety concern
  • Any unsupported electrical wires within the crawl spaces as well as attics
  • Problems including; handyman wiring, improper use with drop cords as well as any dangerous conditions
Issues that should be reported on and identified in your property Inspection Report:
  • Check the amperage of your home and report on the condition of it
  • Check and also report on the electrical service entrance cables of the house and the overall condition
  • The Inspector will ideally test a representative number of the electric lighting fixtures inside and outside of the home
  • The electric utility service panel along with all sub-panels has to be examined and reported on if it can be accomplished safely
  • If smoke detectors are present inside the home and whether or not they're functional
  • The condition of grounding of the electrical service
  • The location of the primary service disconnect switch for your electric equipment
  • Any dangerous condition which restricts any Home Inspector from performing your inspection should be detailed within the home inspection report
Electrical items which will not be recommended to be checked and documented on:
  • Voltage or impedance and measure the amperage
  • Remote control equipment within the house
  • Low voltage wiring is not required to be checked and reported on
  • Any electrical system existing which is not a necessary part of the primary electrical power supply to the home
  • The Home Inspector is in fact not expected to inspect any situation that may very well be unsafe

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Saturday, March 8, 2014

DIY Isn't Safe

From make-do-and-mend to do-it-yourself, the practice of repairing and reusing has seen a huge revival in recent years. DIY has crept from the darkness of garden sheds and is now being showcased on every TV channel, with presenters demonstrating just how easy it is to get something done yourself.
Unfortunately, it's a different story when it comes to electrical repairs. Unlike standard DIY projects, attempting electrical projects is not recommended. Without competent training and industry knowledge there is a risk that even the smallest mistake can have a devastating effect not only your property, but on your life.
The Shocking Facts
According to the Electrical Safety Council (ESC), 70 people are killed and 350,000 are seriously injured every year in the UK due to electrical accidents in the home. Many of these accident are due to DIY projects - the most common accidents are electric shocks and burns from contact with live parts and fires caused by faulty appliances.
With wiring hidden away behind walls and beneath floors, it's not surprising that many people are unaware of the dangers posed by electricity. The ESC also claim that aging and faulty wiring is a leading cause of electrical fires, but checking for wear and tear on wiring which is tucked away is frequently overlooked.
Electrical Repairs - Leave it to the Professionals
Qualified electricians are equipped to tackle electrical repairs and installations - leaving it to them is always the safer, sensible option. Reputable electricians are able to provide thorough inspection and test services and can check the wear and tear of your wiring, identifying defects before they become hazardous. Up to date industry knowledge is of huge importance in this field and being unaware of changes to industry standards could have serious consequences.
While it may seem cheaper to do it yourself, the cost of correcting a mistake could be expensive and sadly some mistakes cannot be reversed. There are also legalities such as Part P Compliance which requires all new electrical installations to be undertaken by qualified electricians. Also, new circuit installations must be reported to the local authorities - professional contractors will do this on your behalf.
Avoiding DIY electrical repairs will save you hassle, time and money in the long run. Most importantly, it could save you and your family's health. A certified electrician will offer a warranty on their work and will have their own insurance, giving you peace of mind and alleviating liability.

Article Source:

Saturday, March 1, 2014

5 Dangerous Electrical Situations (And How to Deal With Them)

The stance most of us take with our electrical system is "out of sight, out of mind', but sometimes it can act in ways we don't expect. Read up on these 5 scenarios so you aren't left in the dark (or worse)!
What To Do If... a GFCI Trips the Circuit.
If your GFCI has cut off power to whatever appliance you are using, it is because the current began leaking instead of all being directed back to the source. One of the most common causes is that the appliance has come into contact with moisture. If your GFCI trips:
  • Turn off and unplug the appliance. (It's easy to forget to actually turn it off since the power has already been cut off, but if you don't then you're in for a surprise when you plug it back in!)
  • Check it for moisture. If you find any, dry it off thoroughly.
  • Make sure your hands are dry.
  • Plug the appliance back in.
  • Press the "reset" button on the GFCI.
  • Turn the appliance back on.
If the outlet still does not work or continues to trip frequently, call an electrician as there may be a greater problem than moisture.
What To Do If... Your Electricity Goes Out.
You're sitting there minding your own business and the next thing you know, it's pitch black and your music has stopped, the microwave doesn't show the time, and the sorrowful howl of a wolf echoes on the wind as scraggly branches scrape your window like long fingers. Maybe.
First things first- assess your situation. Did ALL of your power go out, or just a portion of the house? What is the weather like? Have you got practically-apocalyptic thunderstorms, or is it bright and sunny?
Next, get thee to the electrical panel. Check all of the breakers including the main breaker: are any of them tripped? If so, switch them back to "on" and see if that solves your problem. If not....
Check to see if anyone else in your area has experienced a power outage, and call your electricity provider's emergency number.
In a situation like this you will discover very quickly whether you are prepared. Have you got emergency candles, matches, blankets, and a battery-powered radio in an easy-to-reach place?
What To Do If... Someone Experiences an Electrical Shock.
As you may know, electrical shocks can occur with different levels of severity. Some do little more than raise the hair on your arms and make a loud "POP". Others leave a nasty burn. Others still leave no evidence at all, but that doesn't mean they are not dangerous.
The first thing to do is to make sure that the individual is no longer in contact with the source of the shock. Whether it was an outlet, an appliance, or a conductor, make sure that the victim is no longer touching it. In the event of a severe burn during which the muscles seize and the victim can't let go, the first thing you should do is try and turn the power off at the breaker.
  • DO NOT touch the source of the shock, even if that's where the power switch is.
  • Turn off the main breaker if you have to. If this is not possible, use something dry and non-conductive (like a dry wooden broomstick) to push the person away from the source.
  • Call 911.
After a less-severe shock (that the victim was able to let go of by his/herself), have the victim sit down and assess the damage:
  • Are there any burns or marks at the shock location?
  • Does the victim feel lightheaded, dizzy, or have vague pain anywhere in his/her body? It is possible for internal organs to be damaged from a shock even if you can't see any outward signs.
  • If anything seems "off", such as tingling, numbness, paralysis, vision/speech/hearing problems, or any period of unconsciousness, seek medical attention regardless of how the person says he/she feels.
What to Do If... An Electrical Fire Breaks Out
Electrical fires are special. Contrary to everything we learned in school about fire, you can't fight an electrical fire with water. Water plus electricity equals more danger. If you accidentally get wet near volatile electrical wiring or equipment, or even touch anything wet near the electrical source you are putting yourself in serious danger.
If a fire breaks out and you know that it has an electrical source (such as at an outlet, at your electrical panel, or an appliance that is plugged in), use a chemical fire extinguisher to put out the flame. Baking soda is also a good choice, if you can get to it safely and quickly. Never try to put it out with water. If you don't have access to a chemical extinguisher, unplug the equipment if it is safe to do so, turn off the power at the electrical panel if you can, and exit the area.
Call 911 and tell them it is an electrical fire so they can combat it properly and safely.
What to Do If...You Discover Damaged Wires/Wiring
Say you're doing a little TLC around the house, maybe working on a honey-do list, and you discover some wires that are cracked, frayed, or otherwise damaged. Regardless of whether they are still functioning, it is important to immediately call a licensed electrician to have them inspect it and replace the wiring if necessary.
If you are concerned that the wiring may cause an immediate hazard (the outlet/switch/area is hot to the touch, buzzing, or emitting smoke or sparks), turn off the power at the circuit breaker. Do not use electricity in that area until the problem has been resolved.

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