Back to Basics: Tips to Prevent Overloading Circuits and Blowing Fuses

 

We’ve all been there: blow drying our hair, vacuuming up, turning on the kitchen blender, only to have the lights go out from an overloaded circuit, and ultimately, a blown fuse. Wires and a variety of devices being plugged in are all a part of our everyday lives, so it’s easy to forget that they can easily overload a home’s circuit breaker, until it’s too late. Luckily, the experts at Farryn Electric have three tips that can help shed some light on this topic, so you can keep your circuit breaker happy, your fuses from blowing and your home running smoothly.

shutterstock_560399305Breaker and Wattage Conversion is Key
In order to figure out how many devices you can plug in without blowing a fuse, you must first figure out how many circuits your panel can handle. To figure this out, open your electrical panel to find the information of how many amps each circuit can handle without being overloaded. From here, multiply the amperage rating by 120 volts—this will give you your total wattage capacity. For example, the maximum wattage of a 15-amp circuit (multiplied by 120 volts) is 1,800 watts.

Keep Extension Cord Usage to a Minimum
A tripping circuit breaker can be a pain, so if you want to keep this from happening, you may want to think twice the next time you whip out your an extension cord as an easy solution. While extension cords can give your circuit some temporary relief, it’s important to note that they are not a long-term solution. And as with most things in life that come with a user manual, it’s important to read the one that comes with your extension cord and to follow the tips in it provided by the manufacturer.

Wattage Comparison is Crucial for Plugged-In Devices
Between kitchen appliances, grooming tools, entertainment devices, cleaning equipment and light bulbs, it can be easy to not realize how many things we have plugged in—until a fuse is blown, that is. Here’s a quick list of some devices you may plug in daily (or always have plugged in) to give you an idea of how much your circuit is being utilized:

  • Dishwasher (1,200-2,400 watts)
  • Blow dryer (600-1,200 watts)
  • Television (200-500 watts)
  • Speakers (220-1000 watts)
  • Vacuum cleaner (250-1,200 watts)
  • Light bulb (20-250 watts)

To decrease your chances of blowing a fuse, compare the wattage and amperage rating of each of these devices with the amount of power your circuits can handle. This information should be easy to find on their packaging, rating plates or tags. Once you know these numbers, it will be easy to determine if your circuit is overloaded or not.

If you’re finding that you’re constantly cursing (in the dark) because of a blown fuse, there may be an issue with your circuit’s wiring. The only way to figure this out? With the help of the experts at Farryn Electric! Not only do we have the tools and expertise to detect the issue for you, but we’ll easily fix it, so you can blow dry your hair, plug in those new surround-sound speakers and vacuum the day away without having to worry about blowing a fuse. Contact us today!

The Importance of Whole-House Surge Protectors

whole house surge protectors

Power surges can wreak havoc on your expensive electronics and appliances. A whole-house surge protector can save you both time and money in the long-run. This will safeguard your entire electrical system. At Farryn Electric we are here to help our customers!

What causes a power surge?
People tend to think a power surge is caused by something outside, like when lightning strikes or when a power line goes down. While external influences like lightning aren’t the most common cause of power surges, they can certainly cause the most destruction because it involves the entirety of your home.  Believe it or not, power surges usually occur right inside the home.

One of the most common causes of a power surge is overloaded outlets or circuits. Plugging in too many appliances or electronics in the same socket can lead to power surges and electrical fires.

Damage or exposed wiring is also a common cause of power surges. This can cause power surges when electrical wiring is damaged because the electricity that is flowing through the wiring is not being directed as it normally would.

Lastly, high power electrical devices like refrigerators and air conditioners can cause energy spikes and power surges. This happens because these appliances tend to draw an abnormally large amount of electricity.

Whole-house surge protection
80 percent of surges are generated internally. Most of these surges are very short and come from your homes appliances, but over time these surges can degrade the performance of your appliances. Having a whole-house surge protector can protect your home for years. This device is wired to your electric box and is typically placed in a more convenient location to be easily accessible.

Protective devices aren’t required by building codes or homeowner’s insurance carriers. However, it is recommended by the National Fire Protection Association and the Institute for Business and Home Safety. The good news is that protection is readily available, and affordable! Feel free to give us a call at (484) 316-0449.

 

Checking Your AC Breaker

checking ac breaker

Over the past few weeks, Farryn Electric has replaced four AC breaker panels due to the excessive heat! Home outdoor AC units are working overtime; attempting to make sure your home stays cool. Ultimately, the hot summer days can cause an enormous amount of electrical current to flow through your breaker. Your breaker box distributes electrical power to different circuits.

What is arcing?
If your breaker is dated or not maintained properly, “arcing” will occur. It becomes so hot within the breaker, that this can actually lead to your panel melting! Arcing is an electric current that is brief, strong and highly luminous. An arc is the luminous current discharge which is produced when strong current leaps across the gap between electrodes or within a circuit.

What can you do to prevent this?
Simply open the door to your panel and run the back of your hand down the face of the breakers. If the breakers are slightly hot to the touch, it is normal. However, if the breakers are excessively hot there may be a potential danger.

What to do if your breaker gets too hot?
You may also notice a “fishy”/burned plastic smell and odds are your breaker needs to be repaired. If this is the case, immediately turn the breaker off and call us at Farryn Electric for a diagnostic, we will be happy to help!

How we can help!
If you don’t feel comfortable performing the check, making a quick call to Farryn Electric is the safest bet. Trust the experts!

How can this be avoided?
If you want to lessen the chances of this or any other electrical hazard in your home; Farryn Electric Offers Comprehensive Safety Checks.  Call Farryn Electric today for details.

 

5 Signs Your Electrical Wiring Needs an Upgrade

electrical wiring upgrade

Electrical malfunctions are a leading cause of house fires – over 50,000 a year – but the majority of these fires are preventable. Inadequate or faulty wiring are the most common culprits, but they often go unnoticed because homeowners don’t recognize the symptoms.

Homes are often only inspected during a renovation, but the Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends having an electrician look over your electrical system every 10 years. If your inspection is overdue, or if you recognize any of the following warning signs, call a electrician to inspect your home and fix any potential hazards.

  1. Too many extension cords – Aside from creating a messy tripping hazard, there’s a reason electrical wires are kept in the walls: a protected wiring system suffers less wear and tear. Exposed cords can get pinched, kinked, or shorted out, leading to tripped breakers, damaged outlets, or even a fire. Extension cords should be used briefly and sparingly, such as for the holidays or other short-term uses. If you find yourself consistently needing more outlets, Farryn Electric can install them for you.
  2. Funny odors – A new appliance may produce an odd odor the first few times it’s used, but it you notice an unusual smell coming from an outlet, turn off and unplug anything connected to it immediately. Don’t use the outlet again until you’ve had it inspected by a qualified electrician. If your fuse box or breaker panel smells funny, call your Farryn Electric right away.
  3. Hot outlets or switch plates – Even if you are using a heat-producing appliance (such as a space heater), its outlet should never become hot. A switch plate may be slightly warm, but if it is too hot to touch, remove any plugs. If it remains hot without anything plugged in, the outlet may be wired incorrectly. Consult your electrician, who may advise you to shut off the breaker for that outlet until your system can be serviced.
  4. Frequently blown fuses or tripped breakers – Circuit breakers and fuses are designed to fail before they overload your system. If an appliance routinely trips a breaker, regardless of the outlet used, the appliance is likely at fault. But if a particular outlet repeatedly blows its fuse, the circuit is probably overloaded. Call Farryn Electric to discuss upgrading the circuit or adding a new line.
  5. Buzzing – When your electricity is working properly it shouldn’t make any noise: it flows quietly between connections. But if there are loose outlets, prongs, or fraying wires, the current will jump, causing a buzzing sound. If you hear buzzing from an outlet, stop using it and call Farryn Electric.

Farryn Electric, the #1 Electrician in your neighborhood!

Whether you need to upgrade your service or replace faulty outlets, Farryn Electric’s skilled electricians will complete your job with quality and care. Our company is built on a reputation for high-quality work and friendly service, and we work hard every day to maintain our reputation by being mindful of your time and respecting your home. Call us today at 484-316-0449!

Adding or Upgrading Your Electrical Panel

electrical panel

If you have recently purchased a home with an older panel or your current panel cannot supply the amount of power you need, then you might need to upgrade the panel or install a new one. The minimum requirement for an electric breaker panel is 100 amps. Panels come in 100, 150, 200 and 400 amp capacities. Old panels, especially those with the old glass fuses, are prone to tripping and can pose a fire hazard. Remember to choose a panel that exceeds your electricity needs so you won’t tax your electrical system, which can cause outages, or worse, a fire. Your electrician can advise you on whether your panel can be upgraded or needs to be replaced. Keep in mind that an old style fuse box cannot be upgraded and must be replaced with a new panel.