Tips to Make Your Home’s Exterior Holiday Lights Sparkle Safely!

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Exterior holiday lighting brightens up the holiday season—it creates a heartwarming scene, it conjures up feelings of nostalgia and it makes homes glisten in the winter night—but decorating your home with these festive lights can create electrical safety issues that can harm you, your family and your winter wonderland. To protect your home this winter, the exterior lighting experts at Farryn Electric have come up with four ways to ensure your home can sparkle this holiday season, while also keeping it safe from electrical safety hazards.

Safely Use Extension Cords for Your Glowing Garlands
Adding lights to garland takes your home’s decorations to a whole other magical level, but they require the use of extensions cords—the right ones, that is. Whether you have garland accentuating your front door, wrapped around lamp posts or swirled around structural pillars, be sure to use extension cords that are specified for outdoor use only and that are in good condition with no fraying or other damage.

Embellish Walkways with Expertly Placed Wires
When you’re standing on a walkway lit up by sparkling lights, it’s hard to not feel like you’re walking through a winter wonderland. However, outlining your walkways, exterior steps and driveway with holiday lights requires a lot of wires—the placement of which matters. To prevent tripping, wire-damage and fire hazards, keep wires out of heavy foot traffic areas, away from areas that typically collect water and safely covered with products made to cover them.   

Illuminate Your Lawn with Lights Without Overloading Circuits
Too often, people forget that their lawn is prime real estate for holiday light decorations, but all this extra lighting can make your circuits work overtime. To ensure your don’t blow any circuits this holiday season, look at the amp-rating on your lights as well as the amount of lights your circuit can safely handle. To prevent electrical issues, it’s recommended that you should load your circuit up to 80%. If you have a 20-amp circuit, this means that you can safely handle 16-amp lights.  

Avoid Tree Fires When Lighting Up Your Landscaping
Landscape lighting will certainly make your home stand out this holiday season, but just as Christmas trees have been known to cause fires, so can your outdoor shrubbery. Whether you’re adding exterior lights to trees or bushes, avoid tree fires by utilizing LED lights—these are the safest choice in lighting because they emit the least amount of heat.

Realizing you have extension cords powering too many of your holiday decorations, need to fix an outlet issue or want help with your exterior lighting? Then enlist the help of a professional (after all, Santa doesn’t do all the work himself either)! At Farryn Electric, we make exterior lighting easy—from accent lighting on your home to lighting on your walkways and pillars, you can have a merry and bright home without having to stress about any electrical issues. Contact us today to set up your exterior lighting appointment!

The Importance of Whole-House Surge Protectors

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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

 

During the summer and 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 Arcing?

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 Do You 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 Can an Electrician 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 Breaker Problems 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 as well as electrical service upgrades to make sure your house isn’t outdated. Call Farryn Electric today for details.

 

Electrical Safety Tips to Get You Through the Summer

electrical safety tips during the summer

Did you know that according to Electrical Safety Foundation International, home electrical fires account for an estimated 51,000 fires each year, nearly 500 deaths, more than 1,400 injuries, and $1.3 billion in property damage? The summer months are filled with fun outdoor activities with family and friends, but you should always be aware of the dangers of outdoor electrical usage.

Here are some tips to keep everyone safe this summer!

Around the Pool

Remember, water and electricity don’t mix!

  • Keep all electrical cords away from water.
  • Be on the lookout for underwater lights that are not working properly, flicker or work intermittently.
  • Make sure all outdoor outlets have Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI) – Especially around the pool.
  • Do not swim before or after thunderstorms.

Lightning

Remember, lightning most often strikes people who work outside or engage in outdoor recreational activities.

  • Be careful if you get caught in a summer storm.
  • Almost 100 people die each year from lightning related incidents, and another 500 are severely injured.
  • If a thunderstorm is approaching, be sure to go indoors and stay there till the storm has passed.
  • If there is no shelter, crunch low, with as little of your body touching the ground, and always with your feet together. If you have to move, hop on one foot to avoid providing a difference in potential between one foot and the other.
  • Never seek shelter under a tree.

Extension Cords

Note: Extension cords are only a temporary solution!

  • Never attempt to extend the length of an extension cord by connecting it with another extension cord.
  • Check extension cords for any damage before using.
  • Only use extension cords if they have been marked for outdoor use.

These are just a few of the dangers that could potentially cause a residential electrical fire hazard. However, to make sure that your home is completely safe, inside and out, Farryn Electric can also do a thorough electrical safety inspection of your home. Please call us today to learn more!

Electrical Safety: Baby Proofing Outlets

shutterstock_135339197I never understood a baby’s fascination with outlets until I became a father myself. I don’t know what it is about electrical outlets, but babies love them. Maybe it’s because they see you plugging in an appliance and want to imitate you. Maybe it’s because outlets look like little faces, just waiting to be fed something.

My anxiety was skyrocketing. It appeared my little crawling drool monster would find her way to an outlet and find anything to jam into the socket! It made my wife and I crazy!

A light-bulb went off in my mind. I said to my wife, “As soon as we make settlement on the new home – I am going to replace all child level outlets with tamper resistant receptacles!”  To save my wife and I from the stress of chasing a speedy infant around each room, I did just that (while she did everything else)!

If you are planning to expand your family or are expecting, you should consider having your receptacles changed to tamper resistant receptacles and I will explain why.

Our second child is daddy’s little girl! She likes to take things apart and see exactly how they work. It wasn’t long until she figured out how to get through the plastic child-locks on everything.  The toilet, cabinets, baby gates, you name it – there was no stopping this little one and her desire to explore everything, including the plastic outlet safety covers on the electrical sockets, even while she was on a playdate!

So how do tamper resistant receptacles work? Both slots in a tamper resistant receptacle have spring-loaded shutters over them that are interconnected. Unless pressure is applied to both slots at the same time, they will not open, so a child trying to stick a small object into a slot will be unsuccessful.

Of course, you can always use the plastic baby-proofing covers that require a screwdriver to remove and/or break nails in the process. However, I can’t tell you how many times I have seen these on floors or simply misplaced. Therefore, I advocate for tamper resistant receptacles, to make it easier on ourselves and all parents to protect our babies from being shocked by a receptacle.

Farryn Electric is your guide when it comes to electrical features and services. If you have any questions about our services, you may contact us here or call us at (484) 316-0449.

How to Stay Safe Inside During a Thunderstorm

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Photo: j_arred, Flickr Creative Commons

Lightning is beautiful, but also dangerous and potentially deadly. Strikes have killed an average of 67 people a year for the last 30 years in the United States alone. While most people are struck by lightning outside, you are still at risk when indoors during a thunderstorm.

How Lightning Can Enter Your Home

There are three main ways lightning can enter a home: through a direct strike, through the electrical wiring, or through the water pipes. No matter how it enters, once lightning breaches your structure it can travel through your appliances and plumbing.

Here are some tips for staying safe inside your home during a thunderstorm from our experienced electricians:

  • Stay away from the windows – Windows provide a direct path for lightning to travel. Keep windows closed and stay in interior rooms away from windows.
  • Don’t use corded or charging phones – Although most households have ditched the corded phone, they are still a significant danger during a lightning storm. Lightning can enter your home through your phone lines, striking anyone using the phone. Landline phone use, especially in rural areas, is still the leading cause of indoor lightning injuries in the U.S. Since lightning can also travel through your electrical wiring, do not use a cell phone during a storm if it is plugged in.
  • Avoid contact with concrete floors and walls – Concrete flooring and walls – such as those that make up garages and basements – contain metal reinforcers which can then conduct a lightning strike to anyone in contact with the concrete.
  • Washing dishes can wait – Water is an excellent conductor of electricity. It is advised you refrain from contact with your plumbing, which means no hand washing, no laundry, and no showers.
  • Protect your appliances – Despite popular belief, surge protectors cannot protect your appliances from lightning damage. Unplug easy-to-access, high priced appliances (computer, TV, etc.) BEFORE the storm arrives: you should not touch any electrical outlets while a storm is nearby. Lightning can travel miles through power lines, meaning a strike miles away could reach your house, your property, and you.
  • Stay inside – Even if the weather seems to have cleared, you could still be at risk. Wait at least 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder before venturing outside.

For more information on how to protect yourself from lightning, both inside and outdoors, there is a list of helpful tips on the CDC website.

Keep Your Home Safe with the Most Trusted Electrician at Farryn Electric

If your home has suffered a direct lightning strike or has been damaged by residual electricity from a nearby strike, call Farryn Electric today. We can inspect your electrical system for damage such as melted wires and make any necessary repairs.

If you are worried that your electrical system is out of date or in need of repair, we can give you a free estimate on a system upgrade. We also offer generators so that you never have to worry about power outages from severe storms.

For all your electrical needs, call Farryn Electric at 484-316-0449.