Holiday Electrical Safety Tips

 

The holiday season is an exciting time with all the parties, decorations, food, family, friends, and fun. Electrical safety in the home is often the furthest thing from our minds, yet it is of utmost importance.

At FAB Electric, we want to help people have a safe and happy holiday season with their families and friends, so we have compiled holiday electrical safety tips to keep in mind while you go about your holiday activities. The safety of you and your home is our top priority and, to that end, our licensed electricians offer a variety of residential electrical services.

Electrical Safety Tips for the Holidays

Between the lights, the tree, the gifts, the decorations, and the need for heat, the holiday season can provide many elements that affect electrical safety. Some ways to keep your home safe this year include:

Christmas Tree Safety

If you are using a real tree, make sure that it stays watered, as a dry tree can be very flammable. If you have a fake tree, make sure that it is non-flammable. Keep your tree away from heaters, fireplaces, and candles. Before you string lights on your tree, check each strand for broken bulbs, frayed cords, or broken plugs to prevent an electrical fire. To give your home that extra bit of Christmas electrical safety, keep a fire extinguisher close to your tree.

Holiday Heating Safety

As the holidays approach, the weather gets colder and that means home heating becomes essential. Proper care should be taken with heaters to maximize on holiday safety. Space heaters are a great way to heat targeted areas of a home, but they need to be used with caution. A space heater should never be left unattended and you should make sure that your heater is pointed away from walls and furniture and that it is not near any sources of water. If you use a radiator to heat your home, keep your decorations at a reasonable distance.

Safe Holiday Lighting Practices

It is imperative to focus on holiday electrical safety when lighting your house. Most outdoor Christmas lights require the reach of a ladder, which should be operated by two people to avoid injury from falling. To avoid the risk of water damage to your lights, make sure that your lights are rated for outdoor use before hanging them. Be sure to check each string of lights for frays and broken bulbs, as these can short out and start electrical fires. For your electrical safety, do not use nails or staples to hang lights; instead, use plastic clips or hooks to avoid damaging wires. If possible, look into switching to LED holiday lights, as they do not generate the same amount of heat. Make sure that you always turn off your lights when they are unsupervised.

Call Us for All of Your Electrical Needs!

If you would like to learn more holiday electrical safety tips, or for more information about our residential or commercial electrical services, please contact FAB Electric at (301) 622-6979.  At FAB Electric, our specialists have lots of experience, and with our fast, friendly service, you will enjoy electricity safely in your home and cost savings in no time! Call us or visit www.fabelectric.com to set up an appointment today!

Should I Upgrade My Electrical Panel?

 

Many older homes are quite charming and have good bones and lots of memories attached to them. If you have an older home or are looking to purchase one, there are many aspects that can be kept in operational condition through regular upkeep and maintenance. However, electrical systems are not among them.

Over the years, people have come up with new, safer ways of supplying homes with electricity, and one of these upgraded systems is a more effective electrical panel. Upgrading your electrical panel can help your home to be safer from overloaded circuits and electrical fires, as well as save you money and make your home more environmentally friendly.

What is an Electrical Panel?

Your home’s electrical panel is the central connection point for your home to the municipal power grid. It divides up the electricity to distribute it around your home through a series of fuses or breakers that regulate how much electricity is sent through each individual circuit. The electrical panel is often called the fuse box or breaker box and it is usually located in a garage, basement, or utility room.

Do I Need to Upgrade My Electrical Panel?

Before you can know whether or not your electrical panel needs to be upgraded, it is necessary to inspect it to determine its age and function. We often keep the following questions in mind when evaluating electrical panels:

  • Is the home older than 20 years?
  • Does the electrical panel still use fuses instead of breaker switches?
  • Does the electrical panel ever feel warm?
  • Is there ever a funny smell coming from the electrical panel?
  • Do the fuses or breakers in the electrical panel break or trip frequently?
  • Are all of the home’s appliances running at full capacity?
  • When an appliance is turned on, do the lights in the home dim or flicker?
  • Are there any plans to do a renovation or addition to the home?

If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” then it is very likely that the electrical panel needs to be replaced. To avoid shock or electrocution, it is vitally important to always contact a licensed electrician, such as Fab Electric to make any changes to an electrical panel.

 Do You Need an Electrical Panel Upgrade? Call Fab Electric Today

Are you ready for an electrical panel upgrade? Then call the experts at Fab Electric right away. At Fab Electric, our specialists have lots of experience, and with our fast, friendly service, you will enjoy electricity safely in your home and cost savings in no time! Call us at (301) 622-6979 to set up an appointment today!

 

How to Be Safe When Using Extension Cords

 

Often times, we need a more conveniently located electrical outlet—or series of outlets that would allow us to power multiple devices simultaneously. In these situations, most of us have likely used an extension cord to get the job done. These convenient electrical cords are available in a variety of lengths and can be connected to each other to further increase the range of your powered connection. However, as with anything involving electricity, when using these helpful electrical cords, it’s important to take safety precautions!

To prevent dangerous shocks, sparking, and potential electrical fires, the ESFI (Electrical Safety Foundation International) recommends the following tips for using extension cords:

  • Don’t overload their extension cords’ capacities by attaching too many high voltage devices.
  • Take heed of the voltage capacity of the electric cord, as well as the power use rating for an attached device, that is likely found on the product itself. The type of extension cord you select should be equipped to power all devices you hook up to it.
  • Don’t attempt to use an extension cord in place of permanent wiring in the home which must consistently provide a large energy output. This can lead to short-circuiting and sparking which can cause fires.
  • When using extension cords, just like with any electrical device or connection, it is essential to keep them away from moisture or any other highly conductive environments. Running your extension cord near water or along snowy ground will not only damage and ruin your cord but also increases the likelihood of enduring an electrical shock injury.
  • Insulating your extension cord by running it behind a wall, under a rug, or wrapped in any kind of external shell, is equally risky as it causes heat to accumulate which may damage the cord or cause the coating to melt. This can cause sparking between the weakened or exposed wires, which is the primary cause of electrical fires in the home.
  • Keep in mind that while some single-outlet cords may be linked together to maximize range, most multiple-outlet extension cord systems must be connected to a primary outlet and may not be linked together.

While extension cords are helpful in the home, workplace, and outdoor settings (if rated for use outdoors), relying too heavily on extension cords to power your devices likely means your home doesn’t possess enough electrical outlets. Depending on the date of construction, this is a common issue for homeowners. When adding outlets, it is absolutely essential to enlist the assistance of a professional electrician to assess your home and install outlets.

Reach out to the electrical experts at Fab Electric today!

At Fab Electric, our specialists have lots of experience, and with our fast, friendly service, you will enjoy electricity safely in your home and cost savings in no time! Call us at (301) 622-6979 to set up an appointment today!

 

Answers to Five Commonly Asked Electrical Questions

 

At Fab Electric, we want to make sure that our clients have as much information about the work that we do as possible, so that they can make wise choices regarding electrical safety. Answering questions is never a hassle, but we always want to make sure that information that could protect your home is easily accessible. For that reason, we have compiled this list of five commonly asked electrical questions regarding home electricity.

Some of these questions include:

What does it Mean to “Short-Circuit?”

In most electrical systems, there is a hot wire that carries the electrical current. A short circuit occurs when this wire becomes grounded. This can happen if a wire becomes frayed, loose, or exposed, causing the electricity to divert from its designated path. Short circuits can generate heat and sparks and are typically dangerous, but an updated electrical system will cause the breaker to trip when these problems occur.

What is the Difference Between a Fuse and a Breaker?

Fuses and breakers are both in place to accomplish the same task. When a fault is sensed in an electrical circuit, both devices will break the flow of electricity. While fuses blow out and need to be replaced every time they do their job, a circuit breaker is a simple switch that can be flipped once the problem is resolved.

What are GFCI Outlets?

GFCI outlets are special electrical outlets that are designed to shut off, if moisture is present, to prevent electrical shock. They detect variations in an electrical circuit and trip the power supply if any variation occurs. These outlets are typically present in bathrooms, kitchens, garages, and outdoor applications. They feature a small button that allows you to easily reset the outlet if it trips.

Why Do My Lights Flicker?

If your lights are frequently flickering throughout your home or just in a single fixture, you should always call your electrician. In many cases, lights flicker because of an outdated electrical system, and your electrical panel or wiring will need to be replaced. In other cases, it can be a loose wire, insufficient power supply, or another appliance on a circuit drawing too much power. In any case, it is best to have the problem diagnosed and fixed by a licensed electrician.

How do I Know if My Electrical Panel is Unsafe?

The fastest and most reliable way to know if an electrical panel is unsafe is to call us for an inspection. With over 30 years of experience, we’ll ensure that your electrical system, including your electrical panel, is in top form and that you’re safe, and prepared for any emergency.

If you would like to find more answers to commonly asked electrical questions, or if you are interested in our suite of electrical services, please contact Fab Electric or fill out a contact form on our website.

Reach out to the electrical experts at Fab Electric today!

At Fab Electric, our specialists have lots of experience, and with our fast, friendly service, you will enjoy electricity safely in your home and cost savings in no time! Call us at (301) 622-6979 to set up an appointment today!

 

Too Many Cords? Tips for Organizing Them!

 

With so many electronics, devices, and systems that require wires and electrical cords running through your house, your electrical cables are bound to turn into a disorganized mess. Besides being a huge headache when it comes time to move something or add something, that mess of cords can be a fire hazard as well!

Organizing cords is a great way to simplify things and increase safety at home. From rerouting cords to covering wires and shortening cords, getting electrical cables safely in order doesn’t have to be a big job. Here are a few tips:

Label Cords

Part of the problem with electrical cords getting out of control is not knowing what goes where. A labelling system that identifies what cords go with what is the best way to keep electrical cables under control. When you know exactly what cord corresponds to the device, you may be more likely to keep the cords in order. Labels can be anything from a colored sticker to masking tape and marker.

Hide Cables

One of the best ways to simultaneously organize cords and improve the appearance of your space is to hide cables. Pipe insulation is an effective way to conceal all of your cables and it only takes a couple minutes of work. Take a piece of pipe insulation, cut it lengthwise, put the cords inside and pull the ends through the opening. This method is a simple, discreet, and effective way to get your cables in order.

Make a Cable Catcher

Since so many problems with electrical cables occur in the home, consider a system to hold and organize your assortment of cords. This will reduce the likelihood of inadvertently unplugging something of vital importance when you just wanted to unplug your phone charger.

As an example, all of those cords that are protruding off your desk can be easily contained with a basket. The basket can be mounted on the underside of your desk and can catch the cords from electronics and devices on your desk to keep things neater and more organized.

Wrap and Store Cords

When you are finished using cords or have a mess of cords laying around unplugged, consider wrapping and storing them. This is a simple solution that only requires a few minutes of work. You can use twist ties or paper towel tubes to organize and store the cords you don’t use. The best part of this is that when you need them, they come out tangle free and ready to plug in.

Hope these tips for organizing your cords are helpful!

Call Fab Electric Today for Your Electrical Needs

Are you ready for your next electrical inspection, wiring repair or wiring upgrade, or do you need another service performed by a highly qualified electrician? Then call the experts at Fab Electric right away. At Fab Electric, our specialists have lots of experience, and with our fast, friendly service, you will enjoy electrical safely in your home and cost savings in no time! Call us at (301) 622-6979 to set up an appointment today!

 

How to Lower Your Electric Bill

 

Few people enjoy spending money unnecessarily. Many of us don’t realize it, but we spend money on our electrical bill that could have been saved by making a few simple changes. Reducing electricity usage has the added bonus of being good for the environment, and at the same time, saves you money!

Tips to Conserve Electricity

While there are some big changes that you can make to your home that will save on electricity, such as upgrading to energy-efficient appliances or installing solar panels, there are also many smaller changes and tricks that can be employed to conserve energy. Some tips to reduce energy usage include:

  • Switch to LED lighting: LED bulbs use much less power and last longer than conventional light bulbs and they are available in a variety of colors and styles
  • Optimize operation of dishwashers, washers, and dryers: Most electrical providers decrease the cost of electricity during off-peak hours, like early morning or nighttime. Using appliances during this time, rather than at peak hours, can save you a lot of money. Also, only run these appliances when you have a full load to reduce the time that they are operating.
  • Keep your thermostat steady:Drastic increases or decreases in temperature creates an unnecessary electrical strain. Keep your thermostat steady within two or three degrees.
  • Use a thermal wrap on your water heater:Water heaters are one of the biggest consumers of electricity, so insulating your water heater to prevent heat loss will reduce electricity expenditure.
  • Clean and replace filters: Air filters on appliances and ventilation gather dust and debris and the more clogged they get, the more power it takes to get air moving. Clean the filters on your dryer, furnace, fridge, and air conditioner to help them use less electricity.
  • Turn off the lights: Turn off the lights every time you leave a room. Leaving any electrical device or light on when you are not in the room is wasteful.
  • Insulate doors and windows: Heat can move through doors and windows, even when they are closed. Be aware of open doors or windows and install the proper weather stripping and insulation to minimize heat loss.
  • Don’t block the air conditioning vent with the door: Sometimes, vents are located in odd places, like behind doors in bedrooms. Close the door of your bedroom so you are the one to experience the air conditioning, not the door.
  • Turn off the fan:If you are leaving a room, turn off the fan!
  • Read a book: What we do for entertainment can have a massive effect on our electricity bills. A television consumes more electricity than a reading lamp. Pursuing hobbies that do not use as much electricity will also typically help you to stay healthier and smarter!
  • Get outside: Enjoy the natural energy of the summer sun!

Hope these tips for conserving energy and lowering your electric bill are helpful!

Call Fab Electric Today for Your Electrical Needs

Are you ready for your next electrical inspection, wiring repair or wiring upgrade, or do you need another service performed by a highly qualified electrician? Then call the experts at Fab Electric right away. At Fab Electric, our specialists have lots of experience, and with our fast, friendly service, you will enjoy electrical safely in your home and cost savings in no time! Call us at (301) 622-6979 to set up an appointment today!

 

 

 

How to Know When It’s Time for a Wiring Upgrade

 

Your home’s wiring is a vital component to its overall electrical system. Ignoring problems with your wiring can lead to dangerous consequences, such as electrocution or fire. You can also damage expensive electronics and appliances due to short circuits. Still, it isn’t always easy to know when your wiring needs to be repaired or replaced. Here are a few signs that should alert you to the need for a wiring upgrade.

Your Circuits Aren’t Grounded

Grounded circuits are standard for all modern homes and businesses. If your outlets are missing a third prong, then they aren’t grounded. In fact, if you live in a previously owned home, having a three-prong outlet cover doesn’t mean it’s really been properly grounded. Some less ethical homeowners may have just switched the plates so they appear to have been upgraded. If you are unsure whether your circuits are grounded, it’s important to have them tested.

The Breaker Trips Frequently

If you find yourself running to the breaker box every few days, then there is certainly an electrical issue going on. While there’s a chance the breaker itself is damaged, you’ll need to be sure the problem isn’t bad wiring or an inadequate electrical system. If you own an older home, it may be ill equipped to handle the amount of power that today’s households consume. Houses built in the 1980’s weren’t wired to accommodate laptops, televisions, video game systems, and a multitude of small and large appliances all at the same time. You may need to increase the number of outlets and replace outdated wiring so you can enjoy safe and more convenient access to electricity.

Your Circuits Aren’t Grounded

Grounded circuits are standard for all modern homes and businesses. If your outlets are missing a third prong, then they aren’t grounded. In fact, if you live in a previously owned home, having a three-prong outlet cover doesn’t mean it’s really been properly grounded. Some less ethical homeowners may have just switched the plates so they appear to have been upgraded. If you are unsure whether your circuits are grounded, it’s important to have them tested.

Current Wiring Was Installed 40 Years Ago

In the 60’s and 70’s, it was common for home builders to use aluminum wiring rather than copper. The materials were more affordable, but it was soon discovered that aluminum wiring was dangerous and increased the risk of electrical fires. Laws and regulations were put in place to avoid aluminum wiring installations for new homes, but older houses and commercial buildings were frequently grandfathered in. If your house was built decades ago, then you may want to hire a certified electrician for a proper inspection. If aluminum wiring is discovered, it’s vital that you replace it as soon as possible.

Do You Need a Wiring Upgrade? Call Fab Electric Today

Are you ready for your next electrical inspection, wiring repair or wiring upgrade? Then call the experts at Fab Electric right away. At Fab Electric, our specialists have lots of experience, and with our fast, friendly service, you will enjoy electricity safely in your home and cost savings in no time! Call us at (301) 622-6979 to set up an appointment today!

 

Upgrading Your Lighting to Become More Energy Efficient

 

An energy-efficient home has become the goal of nearly every modern homeowner. Lower costs, higher performance—what’s not to love? But how can you become more energy efficient?

Lighting upgrades are commonly listed as one of the quickest and simplest methods of improving home efficiency, and this is for good reason. Want to know what new energy-efficient lighting in your home brings to the table? Here are some of the biggest perks:

  • Lower energy costs. Both Light Emitting Diode (LED) and Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFL) feature much lower energy consumption when compared to traditional incandescent bulbs. You can expect an LED to use a tenth or less wattage, and a CLF to use roughly half to an eighth on average. For a single bulb the difference is small, but when you’re talking a whole-home and outdoor lighting upgrades the difference is huge.
  • Longer bulb and fixture lifespans. Tired of swapping out bulbs all the time and going through the expense of buying bulbs by the dozen? Energy-efficient bulbs do cost more upon purchase, but they also outlive traditional bulbs by many years. That places this investment firmly in the “smart idea” category.
  • More stable bulbs.Energy-efficient bulbs like LEDs, CFL, and even halogen bulbs all tend to work far better in temperature extremes as well, failing far less often in heavy winter weather or on hot days. They even produce less heat, meaning you stand to save a bit on cooling costs in the summer!
  • Less environmental impact. Being eco-friendly is becoming more and more important as time goes on and swapping out your fixtures and bulbs for higher efficiency ones is a great way to get ahead. Efficient bulbs consume less power, which helps to reduce your home’s carbon footprint.

LED vs CFL Bulbs

LED bulbs are currently available in many products such as replacements for 40W, 60W, and 75W traditional incandescent bulbs, reflector bulbs often used in recessed fixtures, and small track lights, desk lamps, kitchen undercabinet lighting, and outdoor area lights. They come in a variety of colors, and some are dimmable or offer convenient features such as daylight and motion sensors. LEDs work well indoors and outdoors because of their durability and performance in cold environments. Look for LED products such as pathway lights, step lights, and porch lights for outdoor use. You can also find solar-powered outdoor lighting.

While LEDs are more expensive, they save money because they last a long time and have very low energy use. As with other electronics, prices are expected to come down as more products enter the market.

CFL bulbs, on the other hand, are also available in a range of light colors, including warm (white to yellow) tones that were not as available when first introduced. Some are encased in a cover to further diffuse the light and provide a similar shape to the bulbs you are replacing. If you are looking for a dimmable bulb, check the package to make sure you purchase a CFL with that feature.

Fluorescent bulbs contain a small amount of mercury, and they should always be recycled at the end of their lifespan. Many retailers recycle CFLs for free. See EPA’s website for more information.

Energy Efficient Lighting Upgrades in the DC Metro Area

Interested in gaining the perks of energy-efficient lighting for your home or business? Reach out to the electrical experts at Fab Electric today! We can help you match your needs for ideal efficient lighting solution in your home or workplace. We work on both interior and exterior projects. Our projects include interior and exterior lighting installations, parking lot lights, preventative maintenance and more. At Fab Electric, our specialists have lots of experience, and with our fast, friendly service, you will enjoy electricity safely in your home and cost savings in no time! Call us at (301) 622-6979 to set up an appointment today!

 

 

Why Do Our Light Bulbs Keep Burning Out?

 

A frustrating electrical problem that many people encounter is a light bulb that continuously burns out for no apparent reason. Depending on how long a light is on during the day, most incandescent light bulbs should have a lifespan of about 900 hours (about 4 months), whereas LED lightbulbs are supposed to last 50,000 hours (about 11 years). If you find that your light bulbs keep burning out in a matter of weeks, there might be a bigger problem at play than faulty bulbs.

Reasons for Light Bulbs to Burn Out

There are several factors that contribute towards light bulbs burning out too fast, and there are many solutions that can help your light bulbs last longer.

Some of the reasons that light bulbs burn out immediately include:

Light Bulbs Getting Too Hot

If a light fixture is not insulated properly or a light bulb is the wrong wattage for the fixture, the heat generated by the bulb can cause the filament to burn too hot, causing the bulb to burn out quickly. Make sure that the light bulbs being used match the recommended wattage for a light fixture. If a recessed fixture is going through bulbs quickly, it could be that the insulation in the ceiling is holding the heat against the light too well and the bulbs are overheating.

Vibrating Light Bulbs

If a light fixture is shaking or vibrating, it can shorten the lifespan of light bulb filaments. This is a common occurrence in ceiling fans, garage door openers, and basements. To correct this problem, use rough service or if you are using incandescent lightbulbs, try LED bulbs in these fixtures.

Poor Light Fixture Connection

If a light bulb is screwed into a fixture too tightly it can depress the metal connection tab at the bottom of the socket. This can cause a loose connection that will cause the bulb to flicker, which makes the light bulb burn out quickly. To fix this problem, cut the power to the light fixture and gently pull the tab forward a little bit so that it connects with the bulb. Poor connections can also be caused by a loose wire in the light fixture. If you are unsure about why light bulbs are flickering, call your licensed electrician for more information about how to proceed safely.

High Home Voltage

If the voltage in your home is too high, it can make light bulbs burn out all over the house. If you find that light bulbs are burning out at the same time or one after another, call a licensed electrician, such as Fab Electric, to have the problem solved.

If your light bulbs keep burning out and if nothing seems to solve the problem, or if you have another electrical issue, please contact Fab Electric to ensure that your electrical system is in working order and that your home is safe. Call us today and a certified electric technician will inspect potential circuit board issues, fire hazards, smoke alarm batteries and carbon monoxide detectors. At Fab Electric, our specialists have lots of experience, and with our fast, friendly service, you will enjoy electricity safely in your home and cost savings in no time! Call us at (301) 622-6979 to set up an appointment today!

 

 

Increase Your Home’s Resale Value with Electrical Upgrades

Thinking about selling your home in the future? Many people don’t think of it, but it is wise to consider some home electric upgrades to boost resale value. The benefits go way beyond curb appeal!

By swapping out old appliances, you’ll increase efficiency to slash monthly electric bills. You’ll boost your mood by upgrading light fixtures and better utilizing natural light. At the same time, you can ensure that your home is safe and that everything is in good working order. You might like these upgrades so much that you will decide against moving after all!

Save with energy-efficient upgrades to your kitchen appliances.

Kitchen renovations have long been the solution for people wondering how to increase home value. Installing energy-efficient appliances may be expensive, but the energy savings they offer pay for any additional up-front costs. And don’t forget the visual appeal of new appliances: a new oven or refrigerator gives your kitchen a modern look that is certainly appealing!

Light up your space with smart and energy-efficient lighting.

Although often overlooked as a value-added feature, energy-efficient lighting can increase energy savings and by extension, home value. Home buyers appreciate LED light benefits and pay attention to little details in the house, including whether you’ve installed the best light switches and motion sensors.

You don’t need to replace every light fixture in the home: replacing the five most frequently used fixtures with ENERGY STAR–rated models could save you $75 a year on electricity and will be the fixtures most noticeable to potential buyers.

Invest in new windows to let in natural light and improve energy efficiency.

Retrofitting windows can transform a room by adding more natural light but choose which windows to replace with care as window replacement is expensive. Only replace windows if a room needs more light or if the existing window provides poor insulation. If you choose to replace windows, invest in the most energy-efficient windows possible to help offset installation costs.

Contact Fab Electric for a Professional Inspection

Looking for more ways to make your home more energy efficient to boost resale? A good first step is to ensure that your electrical system is in working order, and that your home can handle new more efficient solutions. Also, above all, it is important to make sure that your home is safe. Call Fab Electric today and a certified electric technician will inspect potential circuit board issues, fire hazards, smoke alarm batteries and carbon monoxide detectors. At Fab Electric, our specialists have lots of experience, and with our fast, friendly service, you will enjoy electricity safely in your home and cost savings in no time! Call us at (301) 622-6979 to set up an appointment today!