Should I take any special precautions during the holidays?
The average lifespan of an incandescent holiday light bulb is 4-6 years. LED lights last an impressive 7-10 years. However, keeping lights that long also comes with their own set of problems.
For example, when you reuse holiday lights, you need to check for fraying on your electrical cords. Frayed holiday lights often cause fires and other damage.
Typical items to inspect on your holiday lights include:
- bare spots
- insulation gaps
- broken sockets
- intense kinking or wear
One thing you should consider when you purchase holiday lights is what testing agency inspected the lights. Lightboxes that do not have an approved testing lab reviewing their lights are not reliable.
Other common-sense strategies like not adding too many plugs into an outlet or leaving holiday lights on when you are gone reduce these risks as well.
You should also test the wires to make sure they are not warm upon contact. If they are, stop using the lights.
Finally, do not connect more than three strands of lights together, unless the directions permit you. Otherwise, it could overload the circuits.
What is a GFI?
A Ground Fault Interrupter (GFI) is a specially designed outlet that works around moisture. Many state and local governments require GFI outlets in kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms. A good GFI stops outlets from delivering electrical shocks.
A GFI does this by balancing the “positive” and “negative” resistance loads of a device. When the loads do NOT have the same resistance, it trips the GFI outlet. A circuit breaker can then reset the equilibrium.
How do I reset a ‘tripped’ circuit breaker?
To repair the problem, find your main electrical panel in the garage or carport. Apartment owners usually find electrical panel in a closet or storage room.
As long as the panel labels all the circuit breakers, you can reset the appropriate tripped circuit. It is usually toggled between the off and on position. If you see a small red strip, that means your circuit broke.
Reset the circuit breaker by pulling the switch to “off” and then “on.” After a loud click and some resistance pulling the switch, everything should turn on again.
When your circuit keeps breaking, you need a professional to evaluate the situation. Most of the time it means your electrical system cannot handle your power requirements.
Do your best to conserve energy by keeping the lights off in empty rooms and only plugging in necessary appliances.
Can you safely use round fuses instead of circuit breakers?
Yes, you can safely use round fuses for your home. The challenge is that you might not want them.
Before we discuss that, let’s talk about the pros of using a fuse box into of a circuit breaker for your home.
Fuses have a higher sensitivity than circuit breakers and detect the surges faster to keep your home safer.
What are the downsides of using a fuse box?
- They may dent or are more likely to fail than circuit breakers. Because the fuses give out more often, it affects the long-term viability of the entire fuse box.
- Fuses are not resettable. A circuit breaker trips, and you flip a switch. A fuse breaks, and you need to replace it.
- Many insurance companies no longer allow fuse boxes in homes they insure. They prefer a circuit breaker instead.
- Some municipalities have electrical codes that prohibit the installation of fuse boxes in homes.
How can I reduce my electric bill?
Here are a few strategies you can use to lower your electric bill.
- Service your HVAC and water heater twice a year. 33% of your electric bill goes to your heating, cooling, and hot water. The bi-annual checkup improves the performance of your HVAC and water heater.
- Invest in energy-efficient appliances. Spend more up front and less over the long-run.
- Use a programmable thermostat to automate your cooling and heating schedule. Check into a smart thermostat to capture even more savings.
- Inspect your circuit breakers to see if any are loose or damaged. Your breaker box dispenses electricity throughout your home. A wobbly connection hurts the flow of energy throughout your house.
- Conserve your energy use. Often small things like long showers can add to your electric bill. Because your water heater uses electricity to operate, it is not surprising when the water heater gets more use that your bill rises.
- Wash your air ducts and outdoor appliances. Dirt and debris collect in your outdoor electrical devices and air ducts. Clean them up to improve the operating efficiency of both.
What steps should I take when there is a power outage?
Most utility companies are on the ball with tracking and repairing electrical outages. They have no desire to get a deluge of phone calls from angry customers.
Here are a few steps you can take if your neighborhood (or just you) experience a power outage.
- Use flashlights and not candles.
- Always have replacement batteries in case you need them.
- Purchase a battery-operated radio to listen to the news.
- Turn off all the lights and appliances around your home, so when the power returns you will not receive an electrical surge. Keep one light on, so you can tell whether the power comes back.
- Try not to open your fridge or freezer during a blackout so that your food can remain cold.
- Use portable generators outside your home, not inside.
- If you are the only one in your neighborhood to experience an outage, call our 24-hour emergency electrical repair service.