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Keep Your Holiday Decorations Safe

 

With the last of this decent fall weather, we’re trying to make the most of warmer temperatures before it gets too cold to put up our holiday decorations! If you’re decorating for this winter like us, you’ll want to follow these essential tips to help with safety tips!

 

Read the Fine Print

When you’re getting ready to put up your lights, whether new or dug out from deep in your basement, you’ll want to double-check the details. Make sure that: the lights are UL-listed and approved for outdoor use, review the wattage and voltage information before replacing broken bulbs, unplug the lights before you replace them, and check the manufacturer’s instructions for the maximum number of strands that can be safely connected. 

 

Always Use the Proper Extension Cords

If you’ve been keeping up with our blogs, you’ll know we’re big on extension cord safety! In this case, you want to make sure that you’re using the proper outdoor extension cord. These cords come with thicker insulation that withstands harsh outdoor elements like the cold and snow, so they’ll last all season long. The cheaper ones won’t offer this benefit and are more suited for plugging in your phones or laptops within the controlled environment of your home. 

 

Only Plug Into Protected Outlets

Once you’ve mapped out which lights are plugging into what, you’ll want to make sure that the outlets you’re using are safe. These outlets are protected by Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) and are usually placed wherever water or moisture may pose a danger and will trip and shut off the outlet if there is too much current being drawn. You may have some of these outlets outside, or you may have to feed a wire through a window or door.
If you’re in need of more protected outlets to really bring your decor to the next level, don’t hesitate to give us at Coffin Electric a call, and we’ll be happy to help. For your outdoor holiday decorations, make sure they are plugged into the proper GFCI outlet for the most safety and security.

 

Never Staple Lights to Your Home

While a staple gun might be an easy and convenient tool to help you attach your holiday decorations to your home, they are not the safest course of action. They pose a risk of piercing through or damaging the protection around the electrical wires of your decorations, which could cause a fire. Staples also often have smaller abrasions for better adhesions, and those burr-like spikes themselves could be enough to break through the soft plastic wires. It wouldn’t take much for all of those hundreds of volts to surge through the staple, causing it to heat up and melt, which could start a fire.

 

Use an Auto Timer 

One of the most common reasons for electrical fires caused by our holiday decorations is overheating or overuse. More companies have been building cheaper components, leaving you with lower-quality products. These lights and decor don’t last as long as fixtures that use higher quality parts, so they’ll fail and give out after a while, which can potentially spark a fire. 

With an automatic timer, you don’t have to break the bank getting expensive lights and decorations and you can limit the amount of time your festive display stays on. These devices are available at most big box or home improvement stores, and allow you to program your lights to turn on or off at a specific time. This way, you and your neighbors can enjoy the lights when you can see them, and they’ll turn off automatically when no one’s awake to look. You won’t have to worry about remembering if you shut them off or not, or get out of your comfy bed to go and unplug them. Plus, you can rest easy knowing you’re safer from overheated lights causing a fire.

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Safety

How to Inspect Your Electrical System

How to Inspect Your Electrical System

At Coffin Electric, we recommend that you have your home’s electrical system inspected by a licensed electrician at least once a year. However, between your inspections, you can keep an eye on your home’s system, regardless of your level of electrical knowledge. This preventative maintenance can help you keep tabs on your home, avoid common electrical failures, and keep you in the loop as to when you may require repairs from a licensed professional. 

Light Switches and Outlets

Do they work correctly?

Do plugs fit into your outlets properly?

Can you hear any strange noises in your switches like buzzing or popping?

Are there any strange smells around your outlets or switches?

Appliances

Are there any damaged electrical cords?

Are all appliances plugged into GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlets?

When not in use, are your appliances unplugged?

Is there any debris or dust on the back of your refrigerator?

Electrical Panel

Is your panel marked with the date it was last serviced?

Are all of the circuit breakers correctly labeled?

Do your fuses blow or breakers trip often?

Does each circuit have the proper amperage indicated?

Is there a sulfuric smell like rotten eggs or roadkill?

If these processes leave you with any concerns, Coffin Electric is here to help. Give us a call

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What You Can Expect from an Electrical Inspection

What You Can Expect from an Electrical Inspection

If you’re someone who generally doesn’t dwell too much on your home’s electrical system, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Usually, it isn’t on most homeowners’ minds–until something goes wrong, in which case, you’ll likely have a pricey repair on your hands. Thankfully, with a whole home electrical inspection, you can get out ahead of these potential breakdowns or failures. 

When should you have an electrical inspection?

      We suggest getting an inspection done if:

  1. You’re buying a new home 
  2. You’re remodeling your home
  3. You have an older home (40 or more years old)
  4. You’re buying a new large appliance

What to expect from an inspection?

There are many steps of a home electrical inspection, each focusing on different elements of the entire electrical system, though usually, these steps fall into three main categories. 

Rough-In Inspection

This part of the inspection involves a licensed electrician checking all conduits, wires, and electrical panels and boxes. During this, the fire safety of your electrical system is also addressed by checking elements like smoke detectors and surge protection. 

Service Inspection

This stage involves your licensed electrician taking a thorough look at your main electrical panel. They want to ensure the panel is installed and grounded correctly. If they come across any issues, this will be a priority repair, as an ungrounded panel presents risks of electrical shock build up. 

Final Inspection 

During this step of the inspection, various trial runs will be conducted on your electrical system to ensure that it operates safely and efficiently; that common issues like exposed or damaged wiring, ungrounded plugs, and outlets are not present; and more complex issues have not arisen in the system.

When a new system is installed, it is always inspected. However, things go wrong, parts wear out or become damaged, and you never know how your electrical system may be operating. At Coffin Electric, we recommend that you have your system inspected by licensed electricians once a year, at least. 

At Coffin Electric, we strive to give you peace of mind in any service we provide, especially your electrical inspection so that you can rest assured that your home is safe. With our whole home visual inspection, you can ensure that all parts in your system from wiring, to circuit breakers, to outlets, switches, and fixtures, are working safely and properly. 

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5 Ways Outdoor Lighting Can Elevate Your Space

5 Reasons To Upgrade your kitchen with under cabinent lighting

Enjoying the great outdoors and fresh air is a simple luxury that we take for granted with so much of our time going elsewhere–usually dedicated to some sort of technology. With outdoor lighting, you can extend your time spent in your outdoor spaces and truly make them an extension of your home. 

Elevate Safety

In the darkness of late night hours, many hazards can arise. With the right outdoor lighting, you can move much easier and safer in the dark. For your driveway or stair railings, places where slipping, tripping, and falling are common, outdoor post-mounted lanterns are a great way to illuminate your way. For the steps themselves or for other walkways, path and step lights help you see where you’re going. For your doors and entryways, outdoor wall lights can help you better see door handles, knobs, and especially, keyholes to help you get inside faster and easier. And finally, to make your home easier to find, address lights are a great addition.

Elevate Security

There are outdoor lighting options that are triggered by motion or timers to protect you and your home from intruders. These lights offer increased security without having to sacrifice looks–outdoor wall lights can be carefully added to the design of your home to keep you safe and light up your home in style. 

Elevate Aesthetic

Speaking of looks, outdoor lighting is a great way to elevate the natural beauty of your home’s architecture. With it, you can highlight your favorite features: add a glow to the welcoming ambiance of your home with an illuminated path and entry, spotlight the hard work you’ve done on your garden or landscaping, or capture the beauty of a water feature with underwater LEDs. The options are endless and can be customized to perfectly suit you and your home. 

Elevate Home Value

Outdoor lighting is one of the easiest, most affordable ways to boost your property value and curb appeal. When you can highlight your design elements, make areas look larger, heighten beauty, increase the usability of outdoor spaces after dark, and skyrocket your security and safety with this one strategy, why leave these benefits on the table? With Coffin Electric, we can help you elevate your home in more ways than one simply by enhancing your home’s outdoor lighting.

Elevate Your Enjoyment

Even after all of these amazing ways your home will be elevated, above them all is the increased enjoyment you can get out of your home. Now you can maximize your time in the great outdoors since you don’t have to retreat inside when it gets dark. Cozy up, grab a drink, relax, or have a meal with your loved ones, and enjoy the new glow of your outdoor spaces.

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Safety

5 Reasons to Upgrade Your Kitchen with Under Cabinet Lighting

5 Reasons to Upgrade Your Kitchen with Under Cabinet Lighting

Are you remodeling or looking to add an extra spark to your kitchen? Under cabinet lighting may be a good option for you! It’s a simple addition to bring your remodel together, or can be an easy way to elevate the space. If you’re considering under cabinet lighting, here’s 5 reasons to consider. 

Lighting Up the Workspace

With under cabinet lighting, you can increase the quality of light and your experience cooking in the kitchen. This lighting provides light to where all the magic happens–the countertop–so you can see what you’re doing without having to worry about shadows hindering your knifework. 

Energy Efficient 

Adding under cabinet lighting in your kitchen can actually save you money on your energy in the long run. Under cabinet lighting systems use small bulbs to provide adequate light, which reduces your overall electricity consumption giving you boosted lighting efficiency without boosting your spending.  

Bulb Variations

Under cabinet lighting can be further customized to you with light bulb options. Not only does this offer you more flexibility from the temperature or color of light you want, but also gives you more options depending on your budget. Additionally, with efficient options like LEDs, you can save even more on your energy bill.

Increase Home Value

We spend a lot of time in our kitchens, so naturally, there’s a lot of value in that space. Adding under cabinet lighting can enhance even the most basic of spaces, and bring out their best features. This lighting is a quick way to increase your home’s value without breaking the bank.

Low Budget

Generally, when we think about making changes to our kitchens we think about how much we’re going to have to spend to make it happen. However, when it comes to under cabinet lighting, small bulbs, smaller and fewer wires, and quick installation all work together to create a budget friendly option that can be accessible to everyone. 

Have more questions or interested in getting a quote on putting under cabinet lighting in your kitchen, contact us today!

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Safety

Busting 5 Electricity Myths

Busting 5 Electricity Myths

With electricity being used in almost every aspect of our lives, it’s important to know what’s true about how it works.

 

If you turn off your appliances and electronic devices, they’re off and stop using energy.

While this used to be true with older appliances and devices, newer technology today doesn’t always work that way. Many appliances and devices will still draw power, often just as much as they do when they’re on,  just by being plugged in. These ‘off’ settings sometimes are more like standby or sleep settings, not powered all the way off so that they’re ready for the next use. However convenient that may be, they’re wasting electricity, and therefore, your money, so make sure they’re unplugged.

 

Wearing rubber makes handling live wires safe.

Shocking, right? Yes, rubber is an insulator, so electricity doesn’t travel through it naturally. Because of that, some folks believe that wearing rubber cleaning gloves or rubber rain boots protects them from harm while handling live electric wires. They have the right idea, but it’s not quite foolproof. Only pure rubber is an insulator, which is hard to find in your household items, often made with rubber and mixed with other chemicals. Using this hack may lessen conductivity, but can’t eliminate it, so they don’t offer you protection from electrocution. Better to leave the cleaning gloves for cleaning and the rain boots for stomping in puddles.

 

Overhead power lines are insulated.

If this were true, line workers would be working constantly to replace insulation, as most materials wouldn’t last more than a few months in outdoor and high-voltage conditions. That’s why the lines are so high up, where they can be exposed and out of reach. This makes fallen lines extremely dangerous, as the entire line is a live wire, posing the danger of immense currents and voltage levels. 

 

The bottom pin on a plug just holds the plug in the outlet.

That bottom pin is called a ground pin, and while yes, it occasionally makes the connection more stable, it has a more important use. The ground pin provides a crucial safety feature, preventing injury, overheating, and electrical fires. It connects to a ground circuit, which is the path where electrical devices dump their extra current and voltage if there is a short or power surge. During these unpredictable electrical system problems, surges can cause overheating, melting lines, and fires. To avoid these, the extra energy flows through the ground circuit where it is safely grounded to keep your home and loved ones safe. 

 

The voltage isn’t what hurts you, it’s the current. 

While it’s true that higher voltage traveling with extremely low current is less dangerous, it doesn’t mean that it’s not dangerous. Both high and low voltages and high and low current levels can cause serious harm. 

If current and voltage was like water flowing through a pipe, a pipe with a bigger diameter would have more voltage, and more water pressure would be more current level. So if you have a small pipe with a lot of pressure, the pressure would still hurt. Or, if you had a big pipe with a very slow flow, there would still be enough water to cause harm. With something like a fire hose, you have a fairly wide diameter, but since the water is under a ton of pressure, it could easily hurt you. Voltage at any current can be dangerous, so be cautious. 

 

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Safety

5 Most Common Electrical Problems in Your Home

5 Most Common Electrical Problems in Your Home

Electricity is a lot more vital to our day-to-day lives than it used to be. That’s why, when you face a problem with the electricity in your home, it can throw your routine out of whack. Today we’ll uncover some of the most common electrical problems in your home. 

 

Voltage Sags

Typically, voltage sags, also known as brownouts, are not indicative of a larger problem with your home electrical. This issue, sags or dips in voltage, visible when your lights dim and get brighter without turning off, only lasting a second, is usually caused by equipment failure at your power plant or natural events like lightning. So, this home electrical problem isn’t usually something you need to worry about fixing, they will most likely get fixed at the plant.

While voltage sags are typically not dangerous, if they happen too frequently, they can become dangerous by causing malfunctions in digital equipment. 

 

Power Surges

Surges, similar to voltage sags, are common and usually only last for a moment. But frequent surges can cause damage to any electronic devices connected to the home electrical reducing, its lifespan. Generally, these surges are caused by high-voltage disruptions in the flow of electricity, improper house wiring, electrical faults, or damage to power lines. When you notice a power surge, the best thing you can do is disconnect electrical devices from your power outlets. If these surges continue, you can call us at Coffin Electric to get to the bottom of it. 

 

Electrical Shocks

Typically, electrical shocks are uncommon in your home electrical system and are a sign of something going wrong–like poor insulation, ungrounded wiring, backstabbed wires, or faulty appliances. However, if you live in an older home with an older electrical system, these shocks might be more common than their newer counterparts. To get to the root of the electrical shocks and be sure of the cause of the problem, calling a trusted electrician like our team at Coffin Electric, is the best bet. Trying to fix this problem by yourself can prove to be very dangerous and result in injury or damage to your system.

 

Trip in Your Circuit Breaker

Your circuit breaker is an extremely important part of your electrical system, protecting you and your home. If your circuit breaker keeps tripping, it’s a sign of a problem with a circuit. 

Likely, you have too many high-energy devices drawing power from the same source. The best thing you can do to avoid tripping the breaker is to reduce your devices that connect to a single power source or to lower the power draw settings of your appliances. If neither of these solutions works, you’ll want to call in backup from a professional. 

 

Frequent Bulb Burnouts

Obviously, your lightbulbs will burn out eventually, they do so to prevent electrical fires when equipment overheats. But, if they’re burning out earlier than they should, there could be several causes. Bulbs can burn out due to high voltage, a bulb fixed too tightly, improper air circulation, loose circuits or sockets, or excessive use. If this is a consistent issue, Coffin Electric can help you find the cause. 

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Home Reno Projects You Should Leave to the Experts

Home Reno Projects You Should Leave to the Experts

At Coffin Electric, we’re all for DIY. However, while we love to see your home renovation projects, there are a few jobs that we suggest you get professional help with, for your safety and for the success of your home renovation!

 

Outlet and Switch Changes

In a renovation in any room of your home, changes to your outlets and switches can actually make a huge difference when you can make them match the design of the room, you can include USB outlets, or even dimmer switches, which add ambiance as well as help you control energy.

 

Light Fixture Installation

Why risk damaging your wiring or brand new light fixture by doing it yourself, when you can rest assured that it will be installed properly by a trained and trusted electrician? Taking out your current light fixture exposes wires conducting electricity, so if you are going to attempt to replace it, before working in that area you should make sure to cut off the power. However, to prevent damage to the wiring or to your fixture, getting the help of an electrician is your best bet. 

 

New Wiring

Whether you’re looking to upgrade your old home or are just making changes to your home that require updating your wiring like adding outlets, the assistance of an electrician is crucial. Wiring is a delicate matter, and may also require changes to your fuse box due to additional energy demands. It’s better to work with a professional electrician who will be able to not only assist you with ensuring your wiring is correct, but also any further changes that need to be made. 

 

Electrical Panel Upgrade

Your home’s electrical panel houses your circuit breaker, a crucial element of your electrical system. If you install a major household appliance or build an addition to your home, you may need to give your panel an upgrade so that it can hold a higher electrical capacity. This undertaking is a service you’ll definitely want professional help with. Even a minute mistake in this upgrade can take out the power in your house or even cause serious damage to your home’s electrical system.

Kitchen Remodels

For simpler aesthetic changes like new countertops or flooring, we’ll leave it to you. But if you’re adding appliances, giving them an upgrade, or even just adding new lighting appliances, enlisting the help of an electrician will boost the success of your kitchen remodel. With an electrician on your side, you can make more ambitious changes like countertop outlets, new light fixtures, dimmer switches, upgraded circuits dedicated to your appliances, and many other options. 

 

Basement Conversions

When you’re transforming your basement space, we often see a lot of big, exciting changes. With those changes though, comes a lot of important and intricate electrical work. With new wiring, lighting appliances, fans, outlets, and more, the assistance of a trained electrician will benefit your conversion greatly. 

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Safety

Protecting Your Pet From Home Electrical Hazards

Protecting Your Pet From Home Electrical Hazards

As much as we love our pets, we know that sometimes, they’re bound to get into something they shouldn’t. With your typical snacks from the garbage to torn-apart toys, the biggest worry for your furry friend might be an upset tummy. However, we pet-owners know that there is worse trouble for them to get into. That’s why it’s important to take measures to protect your pets from electrical hazards.

Try Training

While this might not be applicable to your smaller pets, your cats and dogs tend 

to explore our homes more freely. If we can train our pets to stay away from potentially 

dangerous areas, we can increase their safety and your peace of mind. For animals who 

respond more to negative stimuli, you can spray the area with a smell they don’t like. For

animals who respond to positive stimuli, give your good girl or boy a treat every time 

they move away from cords or other dangerous areas. After a while, they’ll associate 

avoiding these dangers with rewards, and stay away. 

Unplug 

While we know that there are more and more devices that become a part of your

 daily life, it’s important to remember to unplug your electronics when you’re not using 

them as frequently. Pets have a way of getting into trouble in the strangest ways, and 

you never know what they’re doing when you’re not looking. So, unplugging unused 

electronics can help you get out ahead of them. If a device is unplugged when they’re 

nosing around, the danger is significantly lessened. Plus, unplugging those electronics 

helps you save money!

Keep cords tidy

For pets, any cords laying around might seem like a fun chew toy. As you and I 

know though, this is an extremely dangerous temptation for a number of reasons. 

Keeping that from happening is thankfully pretty simple. You can tuck away those loose

cords, use a protective cover, and take the time to keep the cords organized. 

Make the investment

Unfortunately, cheaper electrical equipment and devices generally are easier to 

damage or break and can become dangerous more frequently than something more 

expensive. While we completely understand saving money, investing in something a little

pricier may offer more safety benefits. A faulty electrical device, like a cheap power 

cord, is much more likely to spark or overheat, which could shock a nearby pet, or could 

even start an electrical fire. 

Be Prepared

For as many precautions you can take, you can never account for every danger 

or problem. If, in the worst-case scenario, your pet comes into contact with electricity 

and receives a shock, knowing what to do in this emergency situation is the best thing 

you can do.

 

First, unplug and remove the source of the shock to eliminate the risk of further 

injury to you, them, or anyone else around. Next, check on your pet, find their pulse, and 

watch their breathing. Try to keep calm, as they might be scared or stressed, and the 

presence of their composed and trusted owner might help them feel better. If you see 

any burns while looking them over, apply a cold compress. Then, as soon as possible, 

call your emergency vet. They’re the experts and will be able to guide you through the 

next necessary steps for your situation, and inform you whether or not you should bring 

them into the clinic. Most of the time, they will advise you to do so, unless your pet 

recovers quickly. For the next 12-24 hours, monitor them carefully, continuing to check 

their breathing and pulse, and watch for any strange or alarming behavior. You know 

your pet best, so trust yourself and err on the side of caution.

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So You Want to Save Energy at Your Commercial Building

So You Want to Save Energy at Your Commercial Building

When you own a business or other commercial building, saving money is probably one of your top priorities. If you want to reduce your excessive electricity bills, you’ve got options. Here’s 3 tips for you to not only save money, but to also reduce your negative impact on the environment. 

 

Upgrade the lighting

How many hours a day do you think the lights in your space stay on? If the lights are flickering, a few years old, or often forgotten and left on, installing motion-sensing lighting is a good next step. Rooms that aren’t in constant use, like conference rooms and breakrooms eliminates human error and helps you save big on lighting costs. Your lightbulbs in your space also makes a big impact on your electricity bill. Switching to efficient lighting options like LED bulbs last longer and require less maintenance in the long run compared to traditional incandescent bulbs, so making this change can reduce the lighting portion of your electric bills up to 60%. 

 

Check Your Thermostat

As much as you might try, you probably won’t be able to make everyone in your business or commercial space happy–someone will always feel too hot or cold. What you can do is ensure you have programmable, energy-efficient thermostats and make energy-conscious choices as to the setting throughout the year. There are even ‘smart’ thermostats that will make those settings for you.

 

Manage Office Equipment

Most computers, printers, and other office equipment have energy saving features available so that they aren’t draining your wallet when they’re not in use. You’d be surprised how much energy that screen saver on the computer’s sleep mode is spending over time, so the blank black screen will be a welcome sight. But you’ll have to be careful and keep checking in on your equipment, as these settings can get reset or overridden every once in a while. It’s good to double check these settings once a month, especially when the seasons change, just to be safe. 

 

Every commercial space and business is unique, and while these tips will help you make a dent in your energy bill, getting an inspection to dig into the details will give you a huge boost. Coffin Electric works with both commercial and residential spaces, so give us a call and we’ll be happy to give you a hand!