Keeping My Home Safe For My Kids

Simple Ways You Can Ensure Your Generator Has A Long Life

Regardless of how heavily your generator gets used each time you pull it out of storage there are certain practices you should be following. Not only will good upkeep and usage practices help prolong your generator’s life expectancy but they’ll also help ensure you get the best possible performance from it each time you use it. Further, good maintenance practices will also prevent catastrophic break-downs and potentially dangerous failures. Best Practices for Periods of Downtime There are certain behaviors you need to make a part of your regular habits when dealing with your generator. One of the most important is removing any fuel from the tank before storing the device, as gasoline can contain sediment which will settle out during storage. Draining the tank will help prevent this particulate from clogging your fuel line and preventing a clean start. Even if you’re unlikely to use it for a while, a few simple checks can tell you whether or not you’re ready for a storm. Just fueling it up and letting it run for 20 minutes can often be enough, and feeding power to a device will tell you if it’s producing electricity. If either of these aren’t the case it’s a good idea to have your generator looked at by a small engine mechanic or generator contractor. Regardless, it’s a good idea to have your generator  serviced prior to a big project or the beginning of severe weather season to check for potential problems before they come up. Maintenance During Operation Before running your generator for a long period make sure you’ve stocked up on oil, oil filters and fuel. This will help you avoid making a mad dash to the store at the last minute, such as during a major renovation or in the middle of a severe storm. It’s also a good idea to make sure your generator is grounded prior to beginning operation, especially if you’re using it during severe weather conditions. You can do this by sinking a steel rod into the ground and securing a chain around the base of your generator. During refueling, make sure you shut down your generator completely and allow it to cool. This will help you avoid potential flare ups in the event you spill or splash while pouring. You should also be ready to change your oil and filter based on your generator’s manual. For most generators that works […]

Continue Reading

What Are The Signs That Your Home Needs An Electrical Panel Upgrade?

Your home’s electrical panel supplies the electrical service to your home. The maximum amperage of the electrical panel is the maximum amount of power that your home can draw for its lights, appliances and other electrical devices. Although modern homes often have a maximum electrical service of 200 amps, older homes can have far less, because in years past many households had less need for electricity. If your home’s maximum amperage is not enough to meet your electrical needs, you’ll notice warning signs that indicate the need for an upgrade. What are the signs that your home needs an electrical panel upgrade? Flickering or dimming lights. If your lights flicker or dim when appliances turn on, this is a sign that the electrical devices in your home are competing with one another for electricity. Your circuit breakers trip constantly. Your home should not trip the circuit breakers on a regular basis. If this happens multiple times in a week or a month, this is a sign that you need an upgrade. Your electrical panel makes crackling or buzzing noises, or shows other signs of distress. Your electrical panel should run silently and smoothly. Noises, smells and signs of corrosion or fire are all red flags that indicate your panel needs an upgrade right away. What could happen if you don’t get an electrical upgrade? If you fail to get an electrical upgrade, you’ll continue to experience flickering lights and problems running multiple electrical devices. In addition, there are other problems you could also experience in the future: Insufficient power for a home remodel. Many modern appliances require higher amperage in order to function. If you plan to remodel your home any time in the future, or if you plan to install new appliances in your home, there’s a good chance you won’t be able to proceed with those plans until you’ve upgraded your electrical service. Circuit overload and fire. If your home is drawing too much electricity through your panel box, this could result in a circuit overload and a fire. Although many circuit breakers and fuse boxes are designed to shut down in the event that your electrical devices draw too much power through the circuits, your older panel may no longer be working as it was designed. In addition, if you have a fuse box, there’s always a chance that a previous homeowner replaced a fuse with a […]

Continue Reading

Top Reasons Why Baseboard Heat May Be Right For You

Are your feet always cold when you’re at home? Does it seem like the floor is always freezing, no matter what the temperature on the thermostat says? Even when your furnace is working as efficiently as possible, it can still seem quite cold inside. Fortunately for you, it doesn’t have to stay that way. Here are some reasons why installing baseboard heat may be just what you need: Quiet: With old radiator systems, there can be knocking or hissing if the pressure in the system is incorrect. A forced air system has its own set of possible noises that can occur when the system is running. But with baseboard heat there are no fans needed to circulate the warm air. Instead, a baseboard heater takes advantage of the fact that warm air rises and cool air sinks. When on, the heater will warm the cold air near the floor, causing it to rise to the ceiling. Taking advantage of physics like this means that the heaters can be used even when people are trying to sleep. Even heating: If your rooms feel quite warm from the waist up, but cold from your belt downwards, your current heating system obviously doesn’t heat very efficiently. Many homes have the heater vents near the top of a room, with a single centrally located return vent that is also near the ceiling. Unfortunately, filling your rooms with warm air from the top down, and reheating already warm air, can mean that there can be a significant temperature difference between the thermostat on the wall and the floor at your feet. With baseboard heat, you’re not fighting against physics. Instead of heating and reheating the same already-warm air over and over again, the heater will warm the coldest air first. Supplemental heating: Discussion about adding a new heating system to your home usually means that you’ll be ripping out your old furnace and replacing it with a different type. However, for reasons already discussed, this may not actually lead to much improvement. Baseboard heat can be installed throughout your home or just in the areas that need it the most. For example, you may have a picture window that is beautiful to look at, but that also radiates cold in the winter. Installing a baseboard heater beneath the window can help lessen the impact of the uninsulated window, allowing you to enjoy the room once again. For more information, […]

Continue Reading

Put Aside Your DIY Attitude And Call An Electrician For These Three Jobs

Provided you have the right selection of tools and you’ve carefully researched the right way to complete the job, performing some of your own electrical work around the home can be rewarding. Changing an overhead light or replacing an outlet, for example, is something homeowners can often do safely and with a relative degree of ease. While your do-it-yourself attitude can apply to several projects, it shouldn’t always be the answer. Many electrical jobs should require the intervention of a licensed electrician to ensure they’re done not only so they look correct, but also so they’re safe. Here are three of those jobs: Installing A New Wall Outlet The addition of a new wall outlet in a room that you use frequently can add convenience to your life, but this job is best to reserve for a professional. Without the right experience, it can be challenging to mount the new outlet box in the location of your choosing, let alone run wires behind the wall and get the entire job done correctly and tidily. The good news for you is that electricians can often do this work with a great deal of ease, which means the service call won’t be long and it won’t cost you very much money. Pot Light Installation Upgrading an overhead light from a traditional track light to a series of pot lights can improve the look of your kitchen, living room or any other room in your home. Like installing a new wall outlet, this job can be arduous without the proper experience. It involves working above your head, which is always a challenge, and ensuring the pot lights are evenly spaced and perfectly and aligned, all before running wires safely through the ceiling and connecting them to your home’s power. Whether your pot light job is big or small, it’s best to leave in the capable hands of an electrician, who will be able to get the work done correctly. Baseboard Heater Upgrade If you live in a home that’s heated with electric baseboards, upgrading them to high-efficiency models can often reduce your electricity usage. This isn’t a project to tackle on your own. It involves removing the old baseboards, determining the right models to buy and then wiring the new ones into place — all of which can be time-consuming and challenging for you. An electrician will be able to tell you the […]

Continue Reading

2 Easy Lighting Changes to Transform a Your Restaurant

There are a lot of aspects of a restaurant that make it successful as a whole, but when you start breaking things down, the appeal and functionality of the building is easily a prime component. This is especially true when it comes to commercial lighting. Too many restaurant owners put a lot of funding into creating a building that works, but don’t give enough attention to how well it works. Just by making a few key lighting changes in the restaurant that you own, you will see a dramatic difference in not just how well the business can function, but how well it caters to your customers.  Install Mood Lighting in the Dining Area  The dining area is a good place to keep lighting low key, if not in every area, at least in some areas like corner booths or more secluded dining tables for cozy couples. For this reason, it is nice if you have the ability to adjust the lighting in the dining area of your restaurant. By having a commercial electrician install a programmable dimming switchboard and making a few lighting fixture changes, you can offer alterations in available lighting with the touch of a button. This can be useful to cater to customer requests, but also to make the transition from morning service to evening dinner, as dim lighting may not be desirable throughout the day.  Make Changes to the Kitchen Lighting  The kitchen of your restaurant may be in a separate sector of the building, but it is likely visible at some point in the dining or service area. Customers who do get a glimpse of the kitchen will get a good impression if the area appears well-it and clean. Therefore, it is a good idea to keep the lighting in the kitchen bright with cool-burning LEDs. These lights distribute radiance evenly to light everything in an equal manner, eliminating shaded ares and shadowing to a degree. Therefore, just the use of LED bulbs can transform the kitchen space in the eyes of a customer. Additionally, cool-burning LEDs mean a better quality light for people cooking in the kitchen.  Before you delve into making giant changes in the way your restaurant building is designed, make sure you take a few minutes to consider small changes that could make big differences like the lighting. Talk to commercial electricians like Beckstoffer-Welsh Inc for more information about commercial lighting […]

Continue Reading

How To Install A Ceiling Junction Box For A Light Fixture

If you want to install a ceiling light fixture, you need to install an electrical junction box. The electrical junction box joins the wiring, and helps give the fixture support. Though it would seem simpler to just insert the wires through the drywall, a shortcut such as this could result in fires, or cause the fixture to fall along with part of the ceiling. Here are some tips to install an electrical junction box in the ceiling. Prepare to Install For this task, you need: stud finder voltage tester tool belt safety glasses work gloves ladder drop cloth pencil or painter’s tape electrical cable and connectors 4-inch hole saw and cordless drill center punch mallet junction box Before you begin, check local building codes to ensure you follow the jurisdiction’s wiring guidelines. Lay a drop cloth over the area to catch falling debris from the ceiling. Shut off electricity to the room from the circuit, then test with voltage tester. Mark Location and Cut a Hole Locate a joist in the place where you want to install the fixture with the stud finder, preferably in the center of the room.  Wearing work gloves and safety glasses, climb the ladder carrying supplies in the tool belt, mark the position between joists, not on them, with a pencil or painter’s tape.   Lay the box between the marks, and trace around it. Cut a hole in the drywall along the trace marks with a hole saw attached to the drill, and tuck insulation that falls out of the hole. Attach the Box Set the brace in the opening with the brace feet sitting on the drywall inside the ceiling. Turn the brace legs to the right until you meet resistance, which indicates they are secure with the joists. Don’t make it too tight, or it could damage the ceiling. Locate wiring from the main breaker or a switch, and run it to where you are installing the box. Place the center punch on one of the holes, also called the knockout, and use the mallet to remove it from the box. Feed the cable through the box, and fasten with a cable lock connector. Slide the U-shaped bracket over the bar with the bracket ends pointing to the floor. Insert the cable from the hole into the cable lock, then insert the box on the U-shaped bolt, securing it with the provided […]

Continue Reading

Replacing That Noisy Bathroom Exhaust Fan

If your bathroom exhaust fan sounds like a jet engine revving up every time you turn it on, it’s time to replace it. The components in these fans loosen up over the years and generate more noise. The fan is still doing its job, but you may have to shout to be heard over the noise. If you’re comfortable doing minor electrical work around your home, here are the steps to replace your old fan with a new, quiet model. Tools and Materials You’ll Need step ladder or stool flat-blade screwdriver wire strippers and clippers From the home improvement store: replacement fan that matches the exterior dimensions of the old fan (to reduce any carpentry work required) wire nut connectors wood screws Removing the Old Fan Shut the power off to the bathroom at the electrical panel for the house. Remove the metal or plastic cover over the fan by loosening the screws or clips holding it in place. Hold the fan with one hand and unscrew the screws holding it into the metal housing. Lower the motor out of the ceiling until you can reach the wires attached to it. Clip the wires as close to the motor as possible. Remove the motor and set it out of the way. Loosen the wood screws holding the metal housing to the ceiling joists and lower the box out of the ceiling. As you lower the metal housing, angle it slightly to slip it out of the vent ductwork going into the side of the box. Installing the New Fan Strip the insulation from about a half inch of the black, white and green wires that you cut from the old fan. Strip some of the insulation from the wires coming out of the new fan motor if they aren’t already bare. Hold the new metal housing up to the ceiling and feed the wires coming down through it. Position the vent ductwork into the opening in the side of the new housing as you place the box up into the ceiling. Secure the metal housing to the ceiling rafters with the wood screws. Twist the ends of the black wires together and use a wire nut to secure them and hide the bare wires. Repeat with the white and green wires. Push the motor up into the metal housing and secure in place with the screws. Clip or screw the […]

Continue Reading

5 Things You Should Have An Electrician Inspect In Your Home

When you have issues with your electricity, sometimes you can repair small problems on your own by flipping breaker switches in your power box. You can cause your breaker to overload by plugging in too many appliances at once, which is a fairly common electrical occurrence in many homes. If any of these 5 things repeatedly happen in your home, however, it’s best to hire a licensed electrician to check your electrical wiring rather than investigate problems on your own. Hot outlets If any outlets in your home are hot to the touch when you have items plugged into them or they actually melt cords, you need to contact an electrician right away. Hot outlets can be a sign of faulty or loose wiring and can be a fire hazard. Flickering/dimming lights If lights in your home flicker, especially when another appliance is running (your hallway light flickers when your microwave is running, for example), you may have an electrical shortage that is preventing the right amount of power to surge through both power sources at once. Dimming lights can also be problematic, especially when they dim as you turn other lights on. Repeat breaker outages Your breaker will switch off when it is overloaded with power sources as a way to prevent fires in the home, but it should not be doing this every time you attempt to vacuum while preparing dinner on the stove. If you find yourself constantly switching your breaker back on for the same rooms in the house, you may have an electrical shortage that a licensed electrician needs to address. Loose/hanging wires If you have any loose or hanging wires in an outlet or light fixture, you should not attempt to rewire these exposed electrical units on your own. A licensed electrician will check them to make sure they are live and reconnect them in a safe manner so you can enjoy power to these areas. Old wiring If your home has old wiring, then it may need to be updated by a professional electrician. Old wiring can become brittle over time, leading to less reliable electrical sources and even a house fire if live wires become exposed. If your home has old wiring, such as knob-and-tube-wiring, it may need to be updated by a licensed electrician to be deemed safe for use. If you notice any of these kinds of electrical issues in […]

Continue Reading

3 Safety Tips To Keep In Mind Before Doing Any Electrical Work In Your Home

If you are about to embark on a home improvement or repair task in your home that involves your electrical system, you will obviously want to make safety a priority. But if you are a novice electrician, you may not realize there is a lot more to consider than just remembering to turn the power off in the room you are working in. The safest way to ensure the electrical problem gets fixed would be to hire an electrical contractor, but if you insist on trying to do it yourself, keep these tips in mind. Use Insulated Tools The basic toolkit you have in the garage may not be the best thing for you to use if the job is electrical in nature. Professional electricians use tools with insulation added to provide some protection if something goes wrong and a shock occurs. Head to the local home improvement store and make sure the tools you need for the job are insulated. Of course, you may find that having to buy new tools would make the job more expensive than just hiring a contractor that already has them on hand. Use A Wood or Fiberglass Ladder Steel and aluminum can attract electricity. If you are standing on a ladder made out of one of these materials and a shock occurs, the electricity could move right through you on the way to the ground. A wood or plastic  ladder that does not conduct electricity is the kind you want. Don’t Get Creative While you may be used to cutting corners on some home improvement jobs to save money, cutting corners on electrical jobs can be dangerous. For example, clipping off a third prong to try and get it to fit into a different kind of outlet is never a good idea. Extension cords should only be used when there is no other option and don’t ever put the wires underneath the carpet to keep them out of view as this could cause a fire hazard. Avoid overloading your outlets, try to put only one high-wattage device into an outlet at the time. When working with electric it’s important for your safety to do everything by the book. If your home has electrical work that needs done, make sure you have the right tools for the job if doing it yourself. Use insulated tools and never use a steel or aluminum ladder while […]

Continue Reading

Signs That Your Home Electrical Panel May Need to Be Repaired

It is important to make sure that your electrical panel is always in the best possible shape, as it can be dangerous if it is not. To help you do this, you will need to know the signs that may indicate a need for a professional repair. Check out the following signs so you will know when it is time to call a skilled residential electrician. It Feels Warm To The Touch Open the metal door that covers the electrical breakers. Gently touch the metal cover that surrounds the breakers. Does it feel cool to the touch or at least room temperature? If so, then there is nothing to worry about. However, if it feels as though it is a little warmer than normal, you will want to call in an emergency electrician. If it is very hot, you might want to shut the main breaker off and leave it off until the residential electrician checks it out. The problem could be that there is a wire fraying or starting to spark. This is a dangerous situation that cannot be ignored without risking a fire in the home. You Can’t Keep The Breaker On There is nothing to be concerned about if you occasionally have a breaker flipping into the off position. This is what the breakers were designed to do. They are meant to flip into the off position to prevent the electrical line from becoming overloaded with electricity. This might happen if you are suddenly using an extra four appliances than you normally use on a single breaker. However, if this is something that is happening more often than not and you are not trying to pull an excessive amount of power through the breaker, then it is time to replace the breaker. There could also be a problem with the wiring in the electrical panel that leads to the breaker that keeps turning off. You Smell Something Strange If you happen to smell smoke, burning rubber, or anything else unusual coming from your electrical panel, you need to immediately turn it off. Flip the main breaker in the box to the off position. If you have access to the main that control the power going into the box itself, you can flip that into the off position as well. Either way, you need to call an emergency electrician to determine the cause of the smell and make […]

Continue Reading