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!
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.
I 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.
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.