Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Tips for Preventing Electric Shock at Home

Electricity is such a normal part of everyday living that its almost impossible to imagine life without it. Electricity can also be quite dangerous if not used properly. It can cause serious injuries through electric shocks or even death. Here are a few tips for safety when using electricity in the home to prevent electric shock.

Avoid water

Water is a good electrical conductor, but it does not conduct the electricity through a specific channel, it spreads all over. You can be easily electrocuted if you step on a wet floor while an electrical appliance with an exposed wire is on the floor on the other side of the room. Keep all your appliances away from water. Do not use your hair drier or shaver near your bathtub. In case your house gets flooded, turn off the electricity from the main switch before attempting to unplug all the appliances in the flooded area. Avoid operating your electrical appliances when your hands are wet.

Keep the electrical cords out of the way

Another way that people often are electrocuted is through electrical cords traversing the house, especially in high traffic areas. You should keep your cords short and close to the outlet. In case you need to use very long cords, you should consider calling an electrician to install a new outlet closer to the appliance you are powering. Avoid tucking long power cables under carpets or furniture. The wear and tear might damage the insulation covering and expose the live wires inside that will electrocute anyone who touches it.

Keep your appliances in great working order.

First, you should always buy appliances from reputable brands that are accredited for great quality and high safety standards. Use your appliances as recommended by manufacturers to prevent malfunctioning. In case your appliance stops working properly or starts making unusual noises, you should get it repaired immediately. Your chances of being electrocuted are often higher when the appliance is faulty.

Use outlet covers

If you have small children or pets in the house, you should use outlet covers to prevent them from tampering with the electricity outlet. The outlets are direct sources of live electricity and it is very easy to be electrocuted at the outlet. The outlet covers are usually difficult to remove for children or any animals that you may have around the house.

Circuit breakers and fuses

In case you live in an old house, it may not have Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI), which is a standard in most new construction homes, especially in areas where water will be in close proximity to the outlet, like kitchens. The GFCIs shuts down power instantaneously to prevent electrocution. You should also have the right size and wattage rating circuit breakers and fuses. Be careful when buying replacements for these to ensure that they match the specifications of the circuit to be used in. You can also get advice from an electrician if you are not sure of the right ones to buy.

Posted by: Blackstock Electric  

Friday, March 18, 2016

Is Your Electrician Qualified for the Job?

An electrician is the professional who fits and repairs electrical circuits and wiring in your home. They can also install and maintain household electrical equipment. You know how dangerous electricity can be; electrical shock has sometimes proven to be fatal, not to mention the risk of electrical fires and equipment damage. This is why it is crucial to ensure that the electrician you hire for the job is fully qualified and equipped to handle the task. So how can you tell that the electrician is qualified? Here are a few things to keep in mind.

Formal training
Anyone with a high school diploma can begin formal training to become an electrician. There are various technical schools that offer courses in electrical engineering. The International Brotherhood of Electrical workers or IBEW offers an apprentice training program for interested candidates as well, which takes about four years. Your electrician should have at least one of these two forms of training in their list of qualifications to show that they have indeed received formal education on electrical work. Another form of qualification, although not very popular, is training by the U.S armed forces when enlisted into the army. Such electricians often continue with electrical work even after completing their service in the army.

Work experience
Most electricians typically start off as “helpers” working with more experienced electricians. This work training experience enables them to learn the ropes about real work sites, electrical safety, the various tools and other electrical construction methods. In most large companies, these apprentices often start off by delivering materials to job sites allowing them to learn about the large assortment of tools and materials available in the electrical industry. These electricians eventually progress into the job site, under the supervision of master electricians.

Licensing is crucial for any electrician to operate legally. Most areas often have formal licensing procedures that even determine the level of operation of the electrician. One or more state, country or city licenses are the basic requirements to operate as an electrician and the jurisdiction of operation. Licensing is also a good show that the electrician has met the minimum amount of documented time spent working in the trade in order to be eligible for the license exam. At least 6,000 hour minimum time requirement is necessary for licensing. You can be assured that a licensed electrican has some form of work experience.

NEC certification

The Natioonal Electric Code or NEC is the benchmark of safety in electrical design, installation and inspection to avoid electrical hazards. Licensing authorities and electrical wiring inspectors often use the NEC for electrical code enforcement. You want an electrician who is an expert in the NEC. Any form of certification or credit for NEC testing is a good indicator that you are working with an electrican who can meet the required electrical safety and installation standards. If your electrician meets all these criteria, you can trust them to do a fine job.

Posted By: Blackstock Electric  http://blackstockelectric.com/

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Ways to Prevent Electric Shock at Home

Electricity is such an important resource in the house that it is almost impossible to imagine life without it. About 85% of appliances in the house all rely on electricity to function. Electricity can also be dangerous if not used the right way. Many people often suffer electrical shock in the home and the results may be worse for small children or even pets. The following are a few tips to keep you safe from electrical shock in the home:

Always be conscious about your safety
Never through caution to wind when dealing with electrical circuits or anything electrical. It is crucial to maintain all the necessary safety precautions at all times because electrical shock can kill. Follow the instructions and cautions given on your electrical devices, never hurry through electrical projects and call a professional whenever you are unsure about something.

Shut off the power
You should always shut off the power before you start working on anything electrical. When the circuit is energized, it is quite easy to get electrocuted. You should unplug any device before unscrewing it open. Even after turning off the circuit, you still need to check if it is indeed off before touching anything, as the switches may be faulty. Use an electrical tester (you can find these from your local appliance store) to check if the circuit is still energized. If the light comes on, you definitely need to recheck the circuit for any connections.

Use insulated ladders
When working on electrical wiring in hard to reach areas, always use insulated ladders instead of aluminum ladders. Avoid any conductive material in general. Today you can find insulated fiberglass ladders that do the job quite well.

Avoid working on anything electrical in wet condition
Water is an electrical conductor and can cause serious electrical shock when it comes into contact with an energized circuit. Dry your hands properly before touching or working on anything electrical. You should also avoid working in wet areas. If your house is flooded and you need to switch off the power in the basement on lower areas of the house, wear rubber boots and gloves. The insulation will prevent you from getting electrocuted.

You should consider getting a ground fault circuit interrupter for your tools and appliance. The GFCI will shut off the circuit if the current starts flowing along unintended paths such as water.

Warning labels
You may think you have enough electrical experience to get through life without reading warning labels and this can be a huge mistake. You should always read warning labels on electrical devices for your own safety. You should also place warning labels for others to see when working on anything electrical. Without placing a warning label, someone else could turn on the circuit in the split second that you step away from your work area. What follows can be a seriously devastating accident. Warning labels save lives and they should not be taken for granted.

Posted By: Blackstock Electric   http://blackstockelectric.com

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Tips for Electrical Safety at Home

Electricity is so important to the home that it is almost impossible to imagine life without it. It runs the lighting, entertainment appliances, kitchen appliances and so much more. Unfortunately, with such a wide variety of uses in the home, many people often forget that electricity can be quite dangerous and only remember that when it causes a fire or electrocutes someone. The following are some important electrical safety tips around the home that will keep you safe.

Unplugging items from the outlet
One dangerous habit that many people often have is pulling on the cord instead of the plug itself. Sometime, the fit of the outlet may be a little tight and it requires a little effort to pull the plug out. Avoid yanking on the string and grab the head of the plug from the outlet and pull it out.

Avoid overloading a single outlet
Today, we have adapter plugs that allow you to attach multiple plugs from different appliances and devices into one outlet, including USB cables! Plugging too many appliances into one outlet using an adapter or extension cord can damage your electrical system. It can also cause a fire in the home. If you have many appliances, use different outlets around the house or call your electrician and find out if you can get more outlets installed.

Tuck and fold electrical cords out of the way
There are so many hazards of leaving electrical cords strewn all over the floor. First, it could be confusing to find which cord belongs to which appliance and you may end up leaving the iron box plugged in for hours on end, which is a fire hazard. Pets and infants could chew on these chords risking electrocution. Finally, foot traffic can wear off the insulation on the cords leaving the live wires exposed. You need to fold and tuck away all electrical cords. You should also avoid placing them under the carpet in high traffic areas such as hallways and stairways.

Use safety caps on outlets
Children and pets in particular are a curious bunch and often end up stuffing all sorts of things into the power outlets, which is quite dangerous. Outlets that are not in use should remain covered with safety caps that prevent them from hurting children. Covering these outlets is also a great to save energy since the safety caps prevent cold drafts.

Trees around the home
You should remove tress and branches that are too close to power lines. Kids love to climb up tress, not to mention the number of animals that use these trees as a habitat. With power lines entwined in the branches of the tree, it is quite easy to get electrocuted with high voltage of electricity. Another risk is dead and falling branches that could cause a power outage in your entire neighborhood.

Keep electricity away from water
Water is a good conductor of electricity so you should keep all electric items away from water. When washing the floor, make sure every electrical appliance or chord is off the floor surface. Be careful about splashing water near the hood of your microwave and in case your home floods, switch off the electricity at the main power switch before draining the water.

Posted By: Blackstock Electric  http://blackstockelectric.com

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Electrical Mistakes to Avoid When Remodeling your Home

Remodeling can be a very exciting experience but you don’t want to commit any of the following electrical mistakes. Electrical shocks and short circuits are deadly and you need to prevent them by making sure you avoid common electrical service mistakes. We are going to look at some mistakes that inexperienced electricians make during renovations that may cause serious shocks and potential fires. 

Stuffing too many wires in an electrical box
No experienced electrician will make the mistake of stuffing too many wires in the box because of the risk of overheating. The box size should be increased to facilitate the many different wires in order to avoid the risk of short-circuiting. Some homes have even experienced fire damage due to electrical wires that are stuffed in a small electrical box. 

Underground wiring
Many people make the mistake of using normal household wiring on the backyard or garden. There are specific cables and wires that are meant for underground wiring. Using the wrong type of cable or wire can cause a lot of potential risks. The underground wires need to have conduit protection at the top so that they do not easily get damaged by soil or pressure.

Using the junction box and clamps to protect wires/cables
Most people will not install these components because they seem to occupy too much space. However, when the renovations are done especially in the kitchens, junction boxes and clamps are important because they help to protect wires and cables that will be connected to kitchen appliances. Not only do they prevent damage to your electrical appliances but also ensure you don’t experience shocks and sparks when you connect the appliance to the electric supply. Having clamps and junction boxes can really help to maintain your electrical appliances.

Using extension cords as permanent wiring
This is often seen in outdoor spaces like on the lawn where one needs to use the sprinkler but there’s no power source. Using an extension cord as a permanent source of wiring is a very dangerous thing any homeowner can do. These cords are sometimes unable to withstand the load they are exposed to and may end up creating serious potential risks like house fires. If there is a need to use power outdoors, underground wiring should be done to facilitate this.

Cutting the wires too short
Many homeowners who choose to do their own electrical work during renovations end up making this common mistake. The issue with cutting the wires too short is that, you are more likely to make poor connections which end up becoming very dangerous. Make sure the wires are long enough to facilitate proper connections.

Connecting wires without electrical boxes

Connecting wires without the use of electrical boxes is a very huge risk. When you leave the wires hanging, the connections can easily get damaged and cause short circuits. There is also the risk of loose connections when electrical boxes are not used. These loose connections will cause shocks and also expose the wires to different forms of damage.   

Posted By: Blackstock Electric http://blackstockelectric.com

Friday, October 16, 2015

Home Lighting Trends

You walk into the lighting section of any home improvement store and are quickly overwhelmed with the number of options available when it comes to lighting the interior and exterior of your home. Experts know the best tips for lighting that can provide both enough wattage for what you are doing and be flattering at the same time. They also know home lighting trends.
Let's begin by outlining the different kinds of lighting for each main room of the home.
Kitchen. They say that the kitchen is the heart of the home. It is also a gathering place when company is over. When preparing meals, it's important to have proper lighting. The key in the kitchen is to focus primarily on the overhead lighting. Additionally lower light sources (think under-cabinet lighting) can shed more direct light onto work surfaces.
Dining Room. The best tip for this room is to illuminate the table so that it is the brightest location in the room. You'll find that in the majority of homes utilize a chandelier light fixture. Lighting experts suggest not going any higher than 100 watts total on the fixture. If a sideboard is in the room, then matching sconces can add great lighting features to the space. Pendants are popular over island seating or alternatively recessed light can also provide the same basic effect.
Living Room. Lighting this room will vary a little bit more from one home to the next. For the most part, you want to use the general rule of thumb which is to light three out of the four corners. One of these lights should be directed towards an object that you want to stand out in the room. Some homeowners like to feature a particular piece of artwork whereas others may point it at a chair or other favorite decorative element. Floor and table lamps can also be utilized in the living room space to add additional reading or task lighting.
Bedroom. The bedroom lighting should allow for an atmosphere that is primarily for reading. Any type of track or recessed fixtures should be pointed away from the bed and not directly aiming at the bed itself. Reading lamps commonly are found on bedside tables which can help create a cozier and more relaxing atmosphere.
Bathroom. Most often the first thing that comes to a woman's mind when thinking about lighting in the bathroom is the best type of light for applying makeup. For a man, it may be shaving. Whichever the task is, lighting that flanks the mirror is the best option for the space. Additionally overhead lighting can help not to allow shadows.
Lighting Types
Now onto the various types of lighting primarily used in the home. When shopping for lighting fixtures you will find a range of prices and types varying from the cheap builder-grade lighting to the high-end and custom lighting features. No matter your budget, you will usually find options in flush mount, semi-flush, chandeliers, pendant, sconces, track and recessed.
How Many Watts Do You Need?
While the wattage will vary from one light to the next, the normal that you will usually find is 60 watts. Whether you are putting on make-up, staring at a computer screen or reading, a 60-watt light bulb will fulfill the needs. You will also notice a wide variety of bulb types when you are shopping on the lighting aisle. The normal types are LED, incandescent and fluorescent.
No matter which room of the house it is, the appropriate task lighting should be used. And, having a well-lit home can make a big difference in every-day tasks.

Posted By: Blackstock Electric   http://blackstockelectric.com

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Making Your Home Electrical Safe

Recent surveys have shown that about three people die every day from electrical-related incidents in the home. Electricity is quite dangerous if not monitored or used the right way. Kids and pets are also at a high risk of suffering injuries due to electricity because they are the most unknowing and curious when it comes to dealing with electricity. Electricity can cause electrocution, damage appliances or even lead to electrical fires in the home. Electricity awareness and basic knowledge is very important to reduce these destructive, fatal and traumatic incidences with electricity. The following are some of the things you can do to stay safe.

Pest control
Pests, especially rodents, often attack the electrical wiring and cables in your home. They are often attracted by the rubbery outer coating and gnaw on it leaving the very dangerous wires exposed. You can easily get electrocuted if you touch or step on this wire. The damaged wires could also blow out household appliances. You need to ensure that your house is pest free for your own safety.

Safety covers
You can buy safety covers for outlets that are not in use. Children will often stick objects into the outlet to see what happens. It is very dangerous if the child sticks a conductor into the outlet because they will end up electrocuted. Sometimes children also plug in appliances such as iron boxes when no one is watching and this could potentially lead to a fire. These safety covers are designed to be tamper-proof making it difficult for your child or pet to remove.

Have a professional inspect your electrical system
Sometimes electrical problems develop unexpectedly. However, a professional can inspect and identify potential hazards with your electrical systems before they occur. The inspector will check the wiring, the power consumption in the home and the various electricity outlets. They can advice you on ways to control your consumption or even which appliances could be causing problems with your electrical system. You should call an electrician if you notice that the switch place is hot or your outlets are discolored by heat.

Install additional outlets
You should avoid using extension cords and power strips as much as possible. They just increase the risk of electrical faults. In case you have more appliances, you should install additional outlets or for stationary appliances, move the outlet closer to the appliance. In case you have to use extension cords, make sure they are certified to handle the amount of voltage from that outlet.  Use the extension cords only for emergencies and put them away when they are not in use.

High traffic areas

In case you do your own wiring or use extension cords, you should avoid running the wires along high traffic areas. You should put power cords under rugs or furniture and you should nail them to the baseboard. High traffic areas increase risk of electrocution, especially if the wire insulation becomes worn out leaving the live wires exposed.

Posted By: Blackstock Electric http://blackstockelectric.com