What’s a GFCI exactly? Good question. It’s a ground-fault circuit-interrupter. And, in some cases, it can be the only thing standing between you and a serious injury or death by electrical shock. Just like your breaker protects your wiring, the GFCI is made to protect you. These life-saving devices recognize imbalances in the electrical current and instantly (as quickly as one-thirtieth of a second) shut down. Think about your home’s exterior, your garage, bathroom, kitchen, laundry rooms, and pool areas too (any place that your electrical components are susceptible to water). As soon as the GFCI senses an imbalance, it’ll trip the circuit and cut off the electricity.
If your home was built more than 45 years ago, we recommend these as an upgrade. Most modern homes and buildings are already required to have these outlets in bathrooms and kitchens.
Does your home currently have GFCIs? Then, be sure to test them monthly to be sure you’re keeping yourself and your family safe..
Some things get better with time, but your electrical panel isn’t one of them. The panel is an important part of your home because it’s the main distribution point for electrical circuits. And, more importantly, this system works around the clock to protect you and your family from electrical fires. So, don’t let it be a shocker that your panel needs a little updating. Here are 5 signs that it’s time for an upgrade.
Your home is still operating from a fuse panel or a federal pacific breaker. Both of these panels are considered a fire hazard. If your home is 25 to 65 years old, check your breaker box.
Lights are flickering. Some signs can be a bit more subtle, but still dangerous. Pay attention to discolored power outlets or a burnt smell. In some cases, you may even experience a shock or tingle when touching an appliance.
You rely on power strips and extension cords. Using multiple extension cords can also pose a fire hazard. In this instance, you may have to evaluate if you have enough outlets to accommodate your needs. If not, consider upgrading your electrical panel and having additional outlets installed for your convenience.
You plan on renovating. If you’re doing some remodeling that includes new appliances (a refrigerator, air conditioner, or hot tub), you could be overloading your current electrical panel. We can assess your current panel to ensure that it can handle your electrical needs.
Your breaker is “tripping” or automatically shutting off. If you’re noticing crackling sounds, frequent shutdowns or signs of burned parts, it’s time to call a professional. This will keep your family safe and give you peace of mind, too.
Don’t wait until an emergency happens to take action. Our electricians can inspect your panel and ensure that everything is up to date and up to code. By being proactive, you can save yourself time and money. Ignoring the warning signs can be costly and even hazardous. If you notice anything unusual, call us today.
PROTECT YOURSELF FROM ELECTRICAL CIRCUIT OVERLOAD
You’ve got your blow dryer going. Your space heater running. And a vacuum cleaning. Then, it suddenly shuts off. Yup, we’ve all done it. Your unexpected shutdown was triggered by the circuit breaker. In order to prevent house fires (created by an overload), your home service panel cuts it off.
But the best way to stay safe is to prevent an overload to begin with.
Define “circuit overload”
We’ll make it easy for you – your electrical circuit is designed to handle a limited amount of electricity. Everything you plug into an outlet takes up electricity. When you exceed that limited amount, it causes the circuit breaker to trip and shut off power to that circuit. (Think of this like a defensive mechanism.)
To reduce your circuit load, try a few different things:
- Install new circuits for appropriate use.
- Use different circuits for appliances.
- Don’t turn on too many things at once.
- Switch to LED or fluorescent bulbs.
How to spot an overloaded circuit
Besides a tripping breaker, there’s other ways to know if you’re overloading your circuit.
- Outlets or switches making a buzzing noise
- Outlets or switches that are warm when touched
- Burning odors arising from those outlets or switches
- Dimming lights when using electricity
In any of the cases, please contact us to handle the problem immediately. It could also be a wiring issue, loose connection or short circuit. All of which is better when handled by a licensed professional.