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.

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Breaker 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 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 consistently cursing (in the dark) because of a blown fuse, there may be an issue with your circuit’s wiring. The experts at Farryn Electric can help you figure this out. We provide electrical upgrade services, including amp upgrades, knob & tube removal, off-peak metering, and more! 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. Please contact us today to learn more!

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.

 

Electrical Safety In and Around Your Home

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Severe weather of any kind can cause problems for a homeowner; especially in winter. Aside from the obvious clearing snow from rooftops and driveways, you should make sure the rest of your home is secure when winter weather arrives. Farryn Electric has 5 Electrical Safety tips you should know about winter electrical maintenance.

TIP #1 – Home generator systems should have routine maintenance to ensure functionality. No it will not maintain itself, hopefully one day! The area around the generator should be clear of any debris, the oil needs to be changed as recommended on the manufacturer’s manual. Proper maintenance is encouraged to include having a skilled electrician out annually to professionally calibrate and maintain your generator. If you need a recommendation, I know a FABULOUS ONE 😉

TIP #2 – Before and after a winter storm, be sure to check outdoor outlets and cords for exposure and damage. Any fixture for example security lighting and landscape lighting should be checked for any signs of rust or frayed wiring. If you perceive any damage – promptly have it fixed.

TIP #3  – Light fixtures ought to have the correct bulb type with the proper wattage. I used to think… bulb lamp aha finally lights on and kids aren’t screaming they are afraid of the dark! Little did I (Stephanie) know using the correct bulb extends the life of both fixtures and bulbs as well as prevents fire. (Dan was ever so delighted to explain)

TIP#4 – Older electrical systems can have many issues mainly outdated code standards and over or undersized breakers. We at Farryn Electric provide free safety inspections and comprehensive estimates for our customers. Realtors maybe interested in making this information known to their clients buying an older home.

TIP #5 –  Fire Alarm safety, I cannot stress this enough = DO NOT WAIT UNTIL IT BEEPS CONTINUOUSLY AT 3AM; It’s annoying for one, and NOT the safest way to ensure your smoke detectors are functioning properly. Test them monthly to ensure they work properly! Replace the batteries every 6 months. Check the expiration dates… yes they do expire usually a 10 year life expectancy, however, older models expire in 2-3 years.