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Safety

Faulty Electrical Wiring? You Need a Professional

Your home’s electrical wiring is one of the foundational elements of your day-to-day life, so it’s crucial that it is always operating successfully to keep powering your life and to keep you safe. But repairing and maintaining it is definitely not a DIY job or as simple as watching a quick YouTube tutorial, so you’ll want a professional electrician, like any of our great team members at Coffin Electric, to take on that task for you. For the sake of energy management and safety, we always want to ensure that we keep an eye on your wiring and any issues that may have cropped up over time, so here are some red flags to look out for.

Dimming Lights & Burning Bulbs

Lights often dim or burn out for much simpler reasons such as mismatched wattages to bulbs and fixtures, or simply just needing to be replaced from time to time. However, this can also be a sign of something more amiss in your wiring. Dimming lights may be a signal for worn-out wiring which can cause dangerous short circuits, sparks, or electrical arcs. If you have to continue to replace burnt-out bulbs too frequently, contact a professional electrician ASAP. There are many things that could be the cause in your electrical wiring, and a licensed electrician will be able to diagnose and fix the problems. 

Circuit Breaker Trips

If your electrical wiring was not properly installed, overloaded circuits could become an issue, which will cause your circuit breaker to trip very frequently, cutting off electrical power to keep your home safe. However, although the breaker cuts off power, it’s essential to remember that these faulty wire connections, if not addressed, will lead to electrical fires.

Electric Bill Spikes

If you notice an increase in your energy bills, this could indicate an issue with the circuit. Bad wiring can lead to sparks that will be a risk to you, but will also constantly consume power, stacking on dollars to your bill. An inspection performed by a licensed electrician can determine the source of the spikes in your electricity and your bills, and evaluate how to address the power surge.

Electrical Surges

While electrical surges are not entirely out of the ordinary during a storm or lightning, or if there is an issue with the electric company, it can be a bad sign for overloaded circuits or faulty connections. You may have to remove devices or appliances that could be causing dips in the power input until your wiring can be repaired or upgraded. Be cautious with surges if you experience them, as they can be a huge risk to valuable appliances in your home, so you’ll want to get your wiring addressed whenever you can.

 

Whatever the case may be for your wiring, it’s always good to have your electrical system inspected by a qualified electrician to ensure that all issues can be diagnosed and repaired so that you can have peace of mind knowing that your electrical system is safe and fully functional.

Categories
Safety

Why Electrical Work is No DIY

DIY definitely has its place in home improvement. 

If you can get the results you want yourself without having to hire someone or drop too much money on materials and resources, DIY is a great way to go. On the flip side, there are some aspects of your home that you shouldn’t try to tackle on your own, and electrical work is one of them. Getting the help of a professional for your electrical needs is the best option, for your safety and for successful results. Here’s why:

 

Fire

Electrical appliances and parts can cause fires simply in your day-to-day usage of them, like misusing a space heater or using an appliance with a frayed or damaged wire. When you get deeper into electric work and attempt a DIY, the risk of fire goes up exponentially.  Just an overloaded circuit, faulty connections, or the wrong part can lead to overheating, sparks, and even a house fire. What might be a little misstep in a DIY project can lead to danger and harm.

Electrocution

Working with electricity is no laughing matter. In your other DIYs, the consequences of a little slip-up might be a splinter, while the consequences of a little slip-up in an electrical DIY like touching the wrong wires together could be far more disastrous. Unless you’re trained in this field, you might not even know it’s a mistake until it’s too late, which can produce fatal electrocutions. 

 

Code Violations & Permits

Without a full understanding of the electrical industry standards, your DIY may not be up to code, which can not only be dangerous for you or your property, but also lead to more costs in the long run. With DIYs that violate electrical codes, you might end up paying much more to repair the work and get it up to par. 

In addition, there are a lot of different steps to getting started on your electrical work that could be easy to miss. Depending on where you live and what kind of electrical project you’re taking on, you may need different permits. Without the correct permit to ensure the work is done safely and correctly, you could face dangerous consequences.

To avoid all these risks, it’s best to just go with a certified electrician to avoid any expensive mistakes. 

Wrong Materials 

Without experience and proper training, you might not know the many types of wires, outlets, switches, or other parts and which materials you may need for your DIY. It may not seem like a huge difference to you, but using the wrong product could lead to unfortunate repercussions. 

It’s not as easy as it looks!

In the age of the internet and YouTube, many DIYs might look achievable for you to tackle on your own. You might think following a tutorial you found online could save you money, but in reality, you’re running a big risk. Even a project that may seem simple like replacing an outlet or a light switch can go really wrong, putting you in danger and costing you more money to repair. 

Before you move forward with tackling an electrical DIY, remember how wrong it could go. By having your electrical work done by a certified electrician, you circumvent a lot of these dangers to your safety, your property, and your money. You can find the right person for the job here at Coffin Electric, just check out more here on our website!

 

Categories
Safety

Stay Warm Safely: Space Heater Safety

The weather outside is frightful, but the warmth of that space heater is sure delightful! 

Portable space heaters are a great way to stay cozy and warm in chilly winter weather, but they can also pose a danger to your home. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, these space heaters are responsible for an average of 1,700 house fires yearly, which is about 43% of all house fires. Keeping your property and family safe from these fires is easy, if you use space heaters safely:

 

  • When placing or moving your space heater, remember that these appliances are intended to sit on a hard, level, nonflammable surface, like the floor rather than a table, counter, or shelf.
  • Don’t plug another electrical device or extension cord into the same outlet as a heater to keep the outlet from overheating.
  • The heater should be at least 3 feet away from anything combustible like furniture, bedding, curtains, etc. If your space heater is taller, it may have to be even farther away.
  • Establish a 3-foot zone around the heater that your pets and children cannot access.
  • Never place a space heater in a child’s room–your child could play with it, knock it over, or leave flammable toys too close to it.
  • Never use a space heater in a workshop or garage near paint, gas cans, matches, or other flammable materials.
  • When not in use or when you go to bed, turn it off and unplug it from the outlet
  • Check the space heater’s cord periodically for damage, wear, and tear.
  • Make sure you have smoke alarms on every level of your home and in every bedroom, and test them monthly.

If you’re looking for a new space heater, there are plenty of options on the market. However, when you’re looking, keep an eye out for these safety features for your peace of mind:

 

GFCI (ground-fault circuit interrupter) Plug: Many space heaters don’t come with a GFCI plug, which prevents electric shock. Heaters with one will be safer and give you more peace of mind, while heaters without one are more likely to spark or shock, and should not be used around water.

 

A good cord: You’ll want to find a space heater with a long and sturdy cord. Because you can’t use extension cords with space heaters, you want a cord that’s long enough (6 feet or more) to maintain a 3-foot radius while also being able to be placed where you like.

 

Certification: Any heater you buy should carry a safety certification label from an independent testing organization, like the UL mark, the ETL label from Intertek, or a certification from CSA International. 

 

Shutoff features: Some newer space heater models come with smart sensors that automatically shut off when it overheats or a tip-over switch that automatically shuts off the heater if it’s knocked over. These features are absolutely essential in making sure you are as safe as possible. 

 

So while you’re staying warm this winter, also stay safe with these tips and these safety features!

Categories
Safety

Electrical Safety Tips for the Winter

During the winter, there are unfortunately more hazards to look out for than icy roads and freezing temperatures. With your home’s electrical, the winter brings more challenges. Look out for these three home essentials this year to ensure your home is as safe as possible.

 

Check your carbon monoxide detectors

With more use of common fuels like natural gas, wood, or coal, the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning increases. Installing a carbon monoxide detector, replacing the old one you have, or even just changing out the batteries can do a lot for your safety and your peace of mind. 

 

Use space heaters safely

Space heaters are common appliances for many homeowners in the winter, but it’s important to be extremely careful with their usage in your home. These heaters can cause electrical fires if left alone to overheat. To use your space heater as safely as possible, keep them at least four feet away from furniture, curtains, or clothes, and never plug them in using extension cords or leave them turned on when you’re sleeping or leaving the room.

Be cautious with your heated blankets

We get it, these cozy heated blankets are super tempting to keep you warm. But these, like space heaters, can be dangerous if used unsafely. Check your blanket for any worn or damaged areas. If there are any signs of wear and tear, most likely from the heating element, you should get rid of that blanket, it’s time for a replacement. Also, although it may seem counterintuitive, never use your blanket while you’re asleep. An electrical fire caused by your heated blanket is not something you want to wake up to. 

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Safety

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. 

Categories
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.

Categories
Safety

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!