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A Guide to Outdoor Electrical Outlets

August 28, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Category: Electrical Tips

Regardless of the climate that you live in, there is a good chance that you use outdoor electrical outlets at some point during the year. That being said, there are some areas that will naturally make more use of this type of outdoor receptacle. When used properly, an outdoor electrical outlet can be a very handy thing to have. It allows you to power devices and appliances that you would normally be unable to use outdoors. How much do you know about the electrical outlets that are on the outside of your property?

For the most part, an outdoor electrical socket is exactly the same as the outlets within your home. In most cases, an outdoor receptacle is a 120v, three-pronged grounded outlet that the majority of our appliances plug into. You can find them on exterior walls, on decks, by pools and sometimes on important pieces of equipment such as pumps and other exterior appliances. Naturally, outdoor outlets are more popular in warmer and more temperate climates. These areas lend themselves to more time spent outside, which makes them incredibly useful.

What Can I Use It For?

The simple answer to this question is that you can use them for anything that you would normally power inside. This type of outlet is very popular for stereos, lights, fans and anything else that might be necessary outside. When used in conjunction with an outdoor kitchen, they can be used to power blenders, microwaves, hot plates and more. With the popularity of electrical lawn devices on the rise, it is also a great place to plug in electric mowers, weed trimmers and blowers.

Are Outdoor Outlets Safe?

As with anything else, outdoor receptacles are as safe as the person using them. Although it may seem less safe to use electricity outside, it is actually very safe to do so. In fact, most outdoor outlets have special protections in place to ensure that they remain as safe as possible. One of the most common ways that they are protected is by using GFCI outlets, rather than standard electrical outlets. GFCI outlets are equipped with special sensors that can detect small changes in electrical current and shut the power off if necessary. This will help you from accidental electrocution if there is a short, if something comes into contact with water and more. To further protect your outlets, it is common practice to cover them so that they are protected from wind, rain, dirt and other elements.

All in all, an outdoor electrical outlet is a great way to increase the versatility of your outdoor spaces. Whether you are using it to power your electric lawn equipment, special lighting or any other equipment, there is an unlimited number of uses for these outlets. If you need additional outlets on your home, or if you just don’t have any to begin with, get in touch with your local electrician. They can not only advise you on safe placement and usage, but install them fairly quickly and efficiently.

Best Electrical Safety Tips For Your Home

May 24, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Category: Electrical Tips

Every California home has electricity flowing through it and normally safe however, if you have young children or are planning to do work on you home, you must make sure you have some basic electrical safety training and electrical safety rules. Electricity is a part of modern society however without the proper precautions electricity can kill very easily. This article will give you some very basic electrical safety tips.

Small children love to learn by exploring and touching. Parents and caregivers must diligently remove any electrical hazards in their home and keep their children safe. First remove or repair any loose electrical lines. If you have loose electrical sockets or frayed wires protruding from the wall, you should have the issues fixed by your trained San Francisco electrician. Also, replace any frayed power cords on electrical appliances you use. In some cases you can have a frayed power cord repaired but you should also consider replacing the appliance completely.

After any electrical wiring issues in your home have been repaired, take some time to learn about electricity and what to do in the case of an emergency. When there are small children in your home you must know what to do in the case of an electrical emergency. Purchase a training DVD that will explain electrical safety in an easy to understand detail. If learning from a DVD is not for you, some communities offer electrical safety training for free through the electrical power company. The goal of learning about electrical safety is to not become an expert in electricity or electrical repair but to gain enough knowledge to be able to react in an emergency.

Now that you have training and the most pressing electrical hazards in your house resolved. Start childproofing your home. Cover all electrical sockets with plastic electrical socket covers to prevent your child from poking items into the sockets. Be sure that the covers you choose to use cannot be removed easily by your children and are large enough that they are not a choking hazard.

Finally, prepare for the possibility of an electrical fire by purchasing a fire extinguisher specially designed for electrical fires. Water should never be used on an electrical fire because the water has the potential to cause the fire to spread. Knowing about electrical safety means being prepared for the possibility of an electrical fire by purchasing a chemical fire extinguisher and checking the charge on your extinguisher yearly.

While chances are you will never need to use your electrical safety training or use your fire extinguisher the knowledge of electrical safety tips in the home is vital to protecting your children. Take the time to take electricity and electrical safety rule serious and your house will be happy and healthy for years to come.

Tips On Saving Money On Your Electric Bill

April 9, 2012 at 6:25 pm | Category: Electrical Tips

It’s not that hard to save money on your electric bill and be environmentally friendly. It only takes a few changes in your household and the end result will be large savings on your electrical bill as well as being good for the environment.

Please keep these tips from your San Francisco electrician in mind…

Refrigerator Saving Tips

Regularly cleaning the refrigerator coils ensures that it always running smoothly and performing at its peak.

Refrigerator coils can get really dirty and dusty, with the end result being that often your refrigerator will not perform at peak efficiency or run very smoothly. Big savings can be found by ensuring they are kept clean at all times.

If you’re trying what to decide to have for lunch or dinner, try and think outside the box, literally. With the door closed just imagine what’s inside the refrigerator and the freezer area. When you’ve made a decision then open the door, remove things quickly and get it shut again. This helps to maintain a proper temperature in the refrigerator so that it doesn’t have to turn on in order to re-cool the inside.

Late evenings you should plan for the next day’s meal and take frozen foods out of the freezer area and let them thaw in the interior area. Food that has been defrosted will save you on cooking time and while in the refrigerator area overnight the frozen food helps to keep the interior colder.

The Stove

The same goes for when opening and closing you’re baking. Once you put something in the oven don’t open it until it’s ready. Don’t turn the internal light on but instead use a flashlight to look inside.

Also, baking with glass allows you to lower the temperature in your oven by as much as 25 degrees F. Glass is a better conductor of heat and therefore allows for significant savings.

Use your saucepans correctly. They should be the same size of the element you’re using. Putting a small pot on top of a large element is a huge waste of energy. The same goes for putting a large pot on the small burner. It will take longer for it to serve its purpose and waste your electricity.

Dishwasher Saving Tips

Keep your dishwasher filled to capacity before using it and when the cleaning cycle has been completed you should open the door and let the dishes air-dry. This is a major energy grab and doing this can save you a lot of money.

Laundry Tips

With the new detergents that are available today you can use less detergent and wash your laundry in cold water. Make sure that machine is completely full. Manufacturers now recommend full loads as the clothes rubbing against each other help in the cleaning process.

Dryer sheets are expensive and yet cutting one in half will do the same job as a big one. Another thing to try is to buy some fabric softener and pour a bit onto a wet washcloth. It will work the same as a dryer sheet and be less expensive in the long run.

Don’t put more in the dryer than it can handle. It makes it work harder and longer. One solution is to look at clothes that don’t really need a dryer, such as towels and underwear and let them dry on a line. This will give you huge savings on your electric bill.

Hot Summer Days

During the hot summer months be sure to keep all the curtains closed. Drapes, blinds and curtains help to keep cooler air indoors while preventing sunshine from warming up the house.

Computer and Equipment

Most computers and any related equipment should be plugged into a surge protector. When the computer, printer and other items you have are not being used then turn the surge protector off and save more on your energy bill. If you leave your computer on during the day, while you’re doing other things, then ensure that your setting have been changed to go into sleep mode quickly.

The Cost of Lighting

Investing in energy efficient bulbs may cost more than regular bulbs but they’ll last longer and save you a lot of money. Also, it’s important to not have lights on in rooms that are not being used. You can save a lot of money by using some candles at night and having the blinds open during the daytime. Even televisions can provide lighting in your living room or den and allow for better viewing when no lights are on.

Back To Basics: What Are Watts?

March 13, 2012 at 10:11 pm | Category: Electrical Tips

Watts are the gauge of just how much electricity a thing makes use of. Watts are also the measure the electrical power service uses to figure out your monthly invoice. The more watts you take advantage of every single thirty day period the larger your energy bill. Subsequently, the smaller amount of watts you use each month the lower your energy cost in your San Francisco home.

Let’s take a look at the most basic item that consumes electricity, electric lamps. Regardless of whether you use the most commonly used light bulb, an incandescent, or you’ve started to switch to fluorescents or maybe even LED light bulbs each of them utilize electricity when they are flipped on.

For example, on the incandescent light bulb you could come across something just like 100w or 100 watts. This means that, when you flip that lamp on completely (to say it another way, not making use of a dimmer switch) and you leave it on for one hour then the light has just used 100 watts of electricity. That light operating for 1hr is going to cost you “roughly”.01 (one cent).

Fluorescents and LED lights uses fewer watts to make light equivalent in luminosity to an incandescent bulb. For instance, a fluorescent bulb could be identified as 13w or 13 watts. This fluorescent bulb could possibly be flipped on for over seven and 1/2 hours before it consumed.01 (one cent of electrical power)

What’s the amount of watts I’m utilizing?

If you review your electric statement you will detect the power company invoices you for Kilowatts consumed. To put it differently, every 1000 watts you utilize equates to a Kilowatt. Consequently, you flip on the incandescent bulb full for 10 hrs well you’ve consumed 100 watts for 10 hours or 1000 watts. The electric utility firm bills those 1000 watts as a kilowatt (around.10 -.14 cents)

Suppose That I don’t know the wattage of an electrical device?

Sometimes the number of watts something utilizes isn’t always clear. The good thing is you can generally figure out the wattage if you know some other info about the gadget you want to determine watts for. In case you have the voltage the device requires and the amps the device pulls you can more quickly figure out wattage.

Let’s look at a 40 inch flat screen High-definition Television. That flat screen is plugged into an electrical wall outlet which might be rated at 110 volts. So, in this scenario, the TV requires 110 V AC or 110 volts AC. you possibly can take a look in the owner’s handbook specifications section and find its amperage. Making use of the voltage of 110 volts and the amps of 4 amps you’ll be able to effortlessly calculate the watts. Watts = Amps x Volts or in this case watts equating to 440.

How to Check For and Reset a Tripped Breaker

March 5, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Category: Electrical Tips

Often, I’ll get a call from a customer (usually in a panic) that the lights in their living room and a couple of bedrooms aren’t working. Or, maybe it’s a room full of outlets that don’t work. After asking if there are any tripped circuit breakers they’ll usually be quite confident that they checked already and there’s nothing wrong. Unfortunately, after driving all the way out there it will usually be just a circuit breaker that needs to be reset! Here’s how to check for yourself:

1. Locate your electrical panel. Please note that you home many have multiple panels and it’s imperative that you check each one, not just the biggest one in your house!

2. Pull the panel door open. If you’re lucky enough to have a Square D QO panel (the breakers will all have little clear windows on them) it’s easy to find a tripped breaker. Just look for the breaker that has a red-orange window. That’s the tripped breaker.

3. With most other major electrical panels tripped breakers will either be all the way in the off position (which is extremely easy to spot and you probably wouldn’t be reading this article now) or more commonly, in a “tripped position” neither on or off, but floating in the middle. It’s this position that gives must homeowners a problem because the breaker looks as if it’s on. Here’s how you test for this: Simply go up and down your panel trying to push each breaker in the “on” position. There should be little to no play because the breaker is already on. When you come across the tripped breaker there will be a lot of excess play. Now you’re ready for the next step.

4. Turning the breaker back on is a step that sounds easy (and it is) but most people don’t get quite right. Nine times out of ten someone with zero electrical knowledge will simply flip the breaker towards the on position and when nothing happens assume there is a bigger problem. Here’s why this doesn’t work: with most manufactures you MUST flip the breaker fully off THEN flip the breaker back on.

5. That’s it! Now check for power and make sure that there’s nothing else still off in the house as you may have multiple breakers that could have tripped.

6. If there is no evidence of a tripped circuit breaker you should consult a licensed electrician immediately.

Legal Note: These instructions will cover most electrical panels out there, not all. As always, consult your licensed San Francisco electrician before proceeding or if you have any questions.

 

An Introduction to Your San Francisco Home’s Electrical System

October 27, 2011 at 9:21 pm | Category: Electrical Tips

Electricity has become an absolutely essential part of modern life. It is used to power the largest industries down to the smallest household convenience. In your home, electricity is used to power appliances, furnaces, light fixtures, and many other items. Have you ever wondered how exactly your home’s electrical system works?

Components

Your home’s electrical system is comprised of many different parts, including incoming power lines or conduit, an electric meter, service panels and subpanels, household wiring, electrical outlets, switches, and the appliances that use this power. These items can be separated into two distinct categories: rough-in components and finish components. Rough-in components are the electrical elements in your home that are professionally installed by San Francisco Electricians during the beginning phases of construction, such as wires, cables, and electrical boxes. On the other hand, finish components are the elements that are added to your home’s structure towards the end of construction, such as outlets, switches, and light fixtures.

How it Works

Electricity is sent to your house from the utility company through overhead power lines and/or underground conduits. This power is delivered most commonly through three main lines, called three-wire service. This is the type of energy delivery system that most households have. There are two “hot” wires, which each deliver 120-volts of electricity, and one neutral wire. Most household lights and appliances use 120-volts, only requiring the use of one hot wire. However, larger appliances and electrical devices, such as air conditioners, electric ovens, furnaces, etc. require both hot wires, using 240-volts of electricity. All electrical circuits require the presence of the neutral line.

An electric meter is located at the point where the electricity arrives at the house. This device tracks the amount of energy delivered and consumed by the household. From here, the power is channeled to the main service panel, commonly referred to as a “breaker box”. The main panel is the central distribution point for the entire building’s power supply. To understand how this works, one must understand how an electrical circuit works.

In order for electricity to flow, it must be provided with a stable, continuous closed path from beginning to end, with contact never being broken. Like a circle, the power will travel from the power source to the device, and then return back to the power source.

This is why the San Francisco main service panel is commonly called the “circuit breaker box”. It provides a way of purposely breaking the circuit, in order to perform service or repair, or to guard against safety hazards. From the main panel, electricity is diverted to individual circuits which provide power to separate areas and aspects of the home. Sometimes, power is sent to sub-panels in other areas of the home and then on to the electrical circuits which run throughout the house. These circuits provide power to the many power outlets, or receptacles, and light fixtures in your home, allowing you to operate all your household electronic appliances and lights.

San Francisco Grounded And Ungrounded Receptacle Outlets-Is There A Difference?

October 20, 2011 at 9:28 pm | Category: Electrical Tips

The rising cases of electrocution and electric fires in San Gabriel homes have made many of us think about the kind of conductors that we should ask San Francisco Electricians to install in our homes to make them safe.

In old San Francisco homes, especially the ones built before the 1960s, it is common to see 2 pronged ungrounded receptacle outlets as compared to 3 pronged grounded receptacle outlets that are used in modern buildings. One of the biggest benefits of using a grounded electrical conductor is that it can reduce your family from fatal electrical shocks whenever you are working on an electrical appliance.

It was during the ’70s that the National Electrical Code (NEC) made it mandatory to install grounding conductors in every branch of a home electrical circuit. Also, with many residents getting increasingly dependent on various electronic gadgets for their daily needs, electrical contractors in the city got many calls to upgrade their 2 pronged outlets to 3 pronged grounded conductors so that there are lesser chances of injury due to electric shocks.

If you are trying to decipher the difference between ungrounded and grounded conductors, call your San Francisco electrical contractor for more information. In case of an ungrounded receptacle, you can surely find yourself lying on the floor if you touch a loose wire or try operating an electrical device during voltage surges. On the other hand, a grounded conductor provides an easy path to the access current to flow to the world’s best conductor, the earth, in case of a voltage fluctuation.

Contrary to popular belief, you do not ground your electrical appliance simply by replacing a 2 prong receptacle with a 3 prong receptacle. You will need to rewire your entire home if you want your home and all the electrical gadgets to be properly grounded. Rewiring your entire home may place a lot of burden on your pocket and so, the NEC has issued guidelines, using which you can safely ground your devices without spending thousands of dollars. In fact, if you replace the receptacles only, it is considered against the electrical code and is illegal.

As per Section 406 of NEC 2008, the following can be done in case your home has ungrounded outlets:

To ground your valuable electrical devices and to keep your family members safe, get your electrical outlet checked by efficient San Francisco electricians.

Why You Should Avail the Services of San Francisco Electricians

October 7, 2011 at 9:36 pm | Category: Electrical Tips

Once your home is finished, the next step that you should take is to hire a qualified electrician. However, this is not as easy as it sounds because finding the best electrician takes some effort and time. You have to make calls to electrical companies that have a pool of electricians working for them. You also need to ask for a budget quotation according to the requirements of the electrical job that you want done. When looking for a reliable electric service provider, you have to ensure that they have advanced tools as well as facilities, qualified people and the expertise in setting up electrical plans in both domestic and industrial level.

There are several reasons why you should avail the services of a qualified San Francisco  electrician. Of course, you have to make sure that home appliances and gadgets in your home are safe to use. If you perform the installation of wiring and other electrical components on your own, you are not only putting yourself in danger but you are also jeopardizing the safety of your family. Dealing with electricity is very dangerous, so it is a task that only knowledgeable individuals, like qualified electrician, should do. An electrician has received the proper training to execute the job well, and he definitely has the right knowledge to deal with all kinds of wiring and electrical connects throughout the house.

Aside from safety, another reason why you should hire an electrician is the assurance of quality of work. A certified electrician knows that there are electrical codes that should be followed for a particular service location. With this alone, you rest easy knowing that your electrical installations are following the set guidelines stipulated in your community. If you hire an electrician from a firm, you can be confident that the person that will be sent to your home will provide good service because he is affiliated with a known and reputable San Francisco electrical company.

Ease of installation is another reason for hiring an electrician. If you have an electrician with complete tools and equipment, the job can be accomplished in a shorter time, which can be translated to significant savings on your part.

With all these things in mind, hiring qualified San Francisco professionals, is definitely a wise decision. Do not put the lives of your family in peril just because you want to cut down on costly electrical expenses. Though hiring qualified San Francisco electrical experts can put a strain on your wallet, you are guaranteed that your electrical problems will be addressed safely and accordingly. Attempting to fix the problem on your own will do you no good as this might only worsen the problem, or might give rise to unprecedented accidents, such as electric shock.

San Francisco Electrical Safety and Responsibility

September 30, 2011 at 6:18 pm | Category: Electrical Tips

Electricians are essential technicians but are an unassuming presence in our lives.

Before we get out of the house, we reach for a switch and off the lights go. When we return, we press a button and food is reheated or cooked. We open the fridge and drink milk ice-cold. Wonders of science and technology.

Who is responsible for all these conveniences? First, it was Benjamin Franklin who theorized that electricity is a kind of fluid and demonstrated in 1752 that lightning is a form of electricity. With a kite he flew during a storm, a spark jumped when he touched a metal key attached to the string. Alessandro Volta invented the voltaic, the first and somewhat primitive form of electric battery in 1800, which facilitated the study of electricity from a “steady source”. But it was not put to popular good use then. Thomas Alva Edison later did his experiments on hundreds of electric light bulb prototypes before he became successful in 1880. Night started to be as the day because of that single invention. That was the beginning of our “good use” of electricity. Soon after, electric powered radio sets, the television, refrigerator, etc. came into existence.

But what does it take to have all these conveniences working for us?

Whenever there’s electricity, whether from a portable generator or from large turbines that generate alternating current (AC) power to homes, businesses and other facilities, there are wiring systems that connect the electric current from the source to electric devices. But before we are able to use the electrics, there must first be an electrical wiring system in the building. We cannot just pull wires in any fashion and connect them to the mains source. There would have been fires all over the city because of short-circuits we unwittingly would have caused. This is where the services of licensed electricians are needed.

Apart from electrical engineers, electricians lay out wiring installations inside buildings and connect them to the mains source normally by way of drop wires from lamppost transformers. According to the building occupant’s or owner’s specifications, your San Francisco electrician installs the main switch or circuit breaker panel(s), the electrical outlets and switches.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6589869

Is Your San Francisco Home Electrical System Safely Grounded?

September 28, 2011 at 5:22 pm | Category: Electrical Tips

What is electrical grounding, anyway?

Grounding adds a safety factor for your family and your electronics. Here’s how it works. Electricity travels the path of least resistance. If an appliance like a toaster breaks, electricity can flow on the metal outside of the toaster. Touching it could result in a serious shock, causing injury or even death. But if the electrical system is grounded and the toaster is plugged in with three prongs, the electricity won’t flow to the outside of the toaster. Instead it will flow through the third prong back into the wires and harmlessly into Mother Earth. Thus, the term “grounding.”

An electrical system can be grounded with various types of devices. A “ground wire” is simply a wire attached to your electrical system that’s been pushed securely into the ground. Metal pipes (electricians call them “conduit”) that hold and protect your electrical wires can also act as a grounding device. Sometimes, grounding is provided by running a wire from your electrical system and attaching it to metal plumbing pipes that run into the ground.

Grounding protects not only people but also sensitive electronics. Without grounding, electrical charges build up in wiring and create slight but continuous damage to delicate electronics. This damage can shorten the lives of computers, phones, and any electrical appliance that has “smart” (computer) components, possibly your fridge or dryer.

How can I tell if my electrical system is grounded?

Homes built before 1950 were sometimes grounded. Homes built after 1950 were usually grounded. Even if your system was originally grounded, wiring mistakes may have rendered the grounding ineffective. Even with outlets that accept three prongs, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your electrical wiring is grounded. The only way to know for sure is to have a qualified electrician check out your electrical system with a special tester.

My electrical outlets have three prongs — aren’t they grounded?

If your home has electrical outlets which accept three prongs, it MAY have a grounded system. The third prong allows an appliance to be grounded IF it’s plugged into an electrical system that has a grounding device. Sometimes three-pronged outlets have been installed in electrical systems that has no grounding device. This can make it look like the system is grounded when it’s not. Do-it-yourselfers or handymen may install three-pronged outlets in an ungrounded system not realizing the hazard and not knowing that it violates the National Electrical Code.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6569401

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