Prevent a Shocking Experience with GFCI Outlet

GFCI outlets are essential for safety and required in today’s homes by National Electrical Code. GFCI outlets, or ‘ground fault circuit interrupters’ prevent serious electric shock and reduce the risk of electrical fire by monitoring electrical current, cutting power or ‘tripping’ when the outlets detect an imbalance or excess current flow down an unintended path.

GFCI outlets prevent serious electric shock and reduce the risk of electrical fire by monitoring electrical current, cutting power or ‘tripping’ when the outlets detect an imbalance or excess current flow down an unintended path. Easy to identify, GFCI outlets are recognizable by the ‘test’ and ‘reset’ buttons on the outlet face.

What Do GFCI Outlets Do?

Super-sensitive and with a far faster response time than circuit breakers or fuses, GFCIs are designed to respond before electricity can affect your heartbeat – in as little as one-thirtieth of a second – and will even work in outlets that aren’t grounded.

Where Should GFCIs Be Used?

GFCI outlets are required by code in moist or wet locations of the home to protect people from being shocked, including:

  • Bathrooms
  • Kitchens (including with dishwashers)
  • Laundry and utility rooms
  • Garages and outbuildings
  • Crawlspaces and unfinished basements
  • Wet bars
  • Spa and pool areas
  • Outdoor areas

Why are GFCIs a Safer Outlet Option?

Before GFCI requirements, nearly 800 people died annually from household electrocutions, versus less than 200 people annually today – and that’s not the whole story. On average, electricity causes more than 140,000 fires, 4,000 injuries, and 400 deaths annually. These numbers would be much lower if all homes employed proper GFCI protection.

Inexpensive and easily swapped for run-of-the-mill outlets, even older homes ‘grandfathered in’ by code should swiftly swap traditional – and especially ungrounded 2-prong outlets – for GFCI protection. GFCIs have been required by code outdoors and in bathrooms since the 1970s and are hardly a new concept. Designed to safeguard people, not wiring, they are an essential safety feature today’s homeowners and homebuyers look to for protection and can make or break an electrical home safety inspection.

Test Your Outlets Regularly

Nearly half of all American families fail to properly test their GFCIs according to operational and safety recommendations. How can you avoid becoming a statistic? Test all GFCI outlets in your home regularly, at least once a month at a minimum, and after storms as well. Testing is fast and easy, simply press the ‘test’ button, ensuring electrical flow has been cut off with a nightlight or other small appliance, then press ‘reset’ to restore power to the outlet.

The experts at Fab Electric want you to understand why GFCI protection in moisture-prone areas should never go overlooked. 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!

 

Is Your Electrical System Enough for Your Electric Car?

 

You decide to buy an electric car to save on gasoline. You have an outlet in your carport or garage, but is it enough? Could you be jeopardizing your safety by charging your car?

As an electric car owner, you want a safe, fast, and reliable charge. Charging your voltage-powered vehicle by plugging into a standard 120-volt electrical outlet is possible – though in some cases your system may not be up to the challenge. Should you upgrade your system?

Although it is not always necessary, an upgrade can be worthwhile in certain cases. Most modern electric cars can plug into a standard 120-volt outlet. However, when performing electric vehicle charging at home, dimming lights and repeated circuit breaker tripping are sure signs of insufficient electrical service for meeting your charging needs – a common issue in homes more than 20 years old.

Why does this happen? According to studies, vehicle charging at 9.6 kW can double or triple your home’s prior peak electrical load, creating problems with insufficient power supply throughout the day or night as you charge. In addition to providing safer, more reliable charging, addressing these insufficiencies in your home’s electrical system, combined with a home charging system upgrade, can vastly improve the safety and speed of the recharging process.

Should You Upgrade?. . .AC Level 1 vs. AC Level 2

The following are details about the current outlet that most people have, and an upgraded outlet with double the power:

  • AC Level 1 (120V/15A): A 120-volt outlet is capable of providing a ‘Level 1’ charge via a standard, 3-prong household plug/outlet combo, but requires a dedicated branch circuit for the safety of your system and home appliances and electronics. With this method, it takes 8-12 hours for a full charge, adding 2-5 miles of driving range per hour of charging time.
  • AC Level 2 (240V/30-70A): ‘Level 2’ charging via a larger, 240-volt AC plug and receptacle requires the installation of special home charging equipment and a dedicated circuit – but cuts down vehicle charge time to 3 to 6 hours, or 10-60 miles of driving range per hour of charging time. Bonus: Your local government or utility provider may offer incentives and rebates for the installation of this equipment – and you can customize your setup, with features ranging from timers and status lights to smartphone connections and keypads.

Get Your Electrical System Checked

Just as you adjust your car mirrors for maximum visibility and safety, why not perform a quick safety check on the state of your home charging setup, verifying its suitability with the help of a qualified electrician, such as Fab Electric?

The significant savings from your greener, more fuel-efficient lifestyle with your electric vehicle purchase can go a long way toward a rapid return on investment in a safer, faster, more reliable electric vehicle charging system installation from Fab Electric. At Fab Electric, our specialists have lots of experience, and with our fast, friendly service, you will enjoy electricity safely outside and inside the home this summertime and cost savings in no time! Call us at (301) 622-6979 to set up an appointment today!

 

 

Electrical Hazards in Warm Weather—Is Your Family Prepared?

Whether your ideal seasonal activity is tanning by the pool or walking along a sandy beach, there’s no doubt summertime offers a lot of family fun. However, it can present many safety concerns for homeowners. Here are a few reminders from Fab Electric to give you and your family peace of mind this summer.

Prepare for an Emergency

With the sun shining bright, the warm, moist air provides optimal fuel for hurricanes, heavy rain storms, and wind storms to form. Are you and your family prepared? In the case of a power outage, you’ll want to have a generator handy. If you’re unsure of the amount of power that will be needed for a generator in your home, ask us to determine that for you.

Plan for a Power Surge

Because of extreme heat and electrical charge in the air, lighting storms are also common during this season. In the case of a power surge, a good preventive option is to install a whole home surge protection system if you want to protect devices plugged into outlets anywhere in the home.

Test your Smoke Alarms

Fun events such as bonfires and fireworks present great opportunities to remind ourselves of fire safety. When was the last time you tested the smoke alarms in your house? This should be done monthly, and the batteries should be changed yearly (except for lithium batteries).

Electrical Connections and Water Safety

As you likely know, electricity travels very quickly through water and can lead to electrocution. Make sure the electrical connections to your pools and hot tubs are fully grounded. Our residential electricians can help you if you have any questions about appliance connections and their safety.

Hope this is helpful and that you stay safe and enjoy the rest of your summer! Need electrical work done in your home? At Fab Electric, our specialists have lots of experience, and with our fast, friendly service, you will enjoy electricity safely outside and inside the home this summertime and cost savings in no time! Call us at (301) 622-6979 to set up an appointment today!

Ways to Keep Your Electrical System Stress Free This Summer

The weather is heating up, and with it, so is the load on your electrical system. Don’t let the stress pile up. Protect your electrical system – and your wallet – from the stresses of summer with the help of these simple tips.

Reduce Stress from Heating and Cooling

Heating and cooling comprises about 30%-50% of your electric bill, making it one of the biggest stressors on your electrical system. However, there are many ways to reduce that stress, including…

  • Keeping your air filter clean;
  • Scheduling a professional cleaning and tune-up once a year;
  • Clearing your outdoor system and indoor vents of debris and blockages;
  • Addressing ductwork leaks;
  • Setting your system on 85 degrees when you’re not home, or
  • Installing a programmable thermostat.

Keep a Lid on Energy Consumption

Your refrigerator is among the largest consumers of energy in your home. Keep a lid on energy consumption by:

  • Ensuring seals are clean and tight;
  • Verifying proper operating temperate: 37°-40°F in the refrigerator and 0°-5°F in the freezer.

Lower the Temperature of Your Water Heater

The water heating is typically the third largest energy expense in your home. The hotter the temperature of the water, and the more it is used, the harder your electrical system is forced to keep up with the heating demands.

Summer is hot enough! Cool your use by…

  • Setting water heater temperature to 120 degrees;
  • Properly insulating your tank;
  • Taking a shower instead of a bath;
  • Turning hot water – and your heater – off when you don’t need it.

Cook on Your Grill Instead of Your Stovetop

Using your stovetop or oven in summer’s heat can really put a strain on your air conditioner and electrical system. Save some money and maintain comfort by firing up your grill instead.

Reduce appliance stress by turning off items that are not in use rather than letting them run such as lights, laptop and mobile devices, TVs, radios, and more can take a lot of pressure off your electrical system. Unplug items or plug them into a power strip, flipping them off when they’re not in use. 

Electrical system all stressed out?

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

 

How to Childproof Outlets

Young children are curious, which is why they are susceptible to dangerous situations. Anyone who has a toddler knows that as they become more mobile, it is increasingly essential to protect them from themselves, particularly when it comes to the outlets in your home. The National Fire Protection Agency notes over 2,400 children are injured stuffing items into electrical outlets annually, resulting in 6-12 deaths per year. How can you safely childproof outlets?

Because outlets are found in every room, it’s only a matter of time before your curious little child tries to stick something into an outlet. Luckily, there are several options for childproofing outlets:

  • Tamper Resistant Receptacles (TRR)

    Because the majority of incidents involving children and electricity happen in the presence of adults, National Electrical Code has mandated tamper resistant receptacles in new and renovated homes since 2008. Also called childproof outlets, these receptacles are designed to prevent little fingers from jamming objects into receptacles, featuring spring-loaded shutters that close receptacle slots when they are not in use. With these outlets, even pressure on both springs simultaneously is required to open shutters and allow for the flow of electricity. Newer or updated home? Don’t assume you have TRR – check. Unfortunately, some contractors cut corners. Ensure your little one is safe by verifying each of the outlets in your home bears the letters “TR” or the words “tamper-resistant” on the receptacle surface. You’ll also see the plastic shutter plate behind the outlet slots.

  • Outlet Covers
    Cheap and common, plastic outlet covers are a good option if replacing outlets is not possible. The trick, however, is remembering to put outlet covers back in after your done charging devices or using appliances – a common mistake. Abandoned outlet covers not only leave outlets exposed, but also are a choking hazard. Toddlers with strong fingers outsmart your covers? Try a keyed outlet cover option instead.
  • Sliding Plate Covers
    A slightly pricier, but safer option, are sliding plate covers, also called self-closing outlet covers. Simply unscrew your existing outlet cover, replacing it with these, which feature a spring-loaded piece of plastic that keeps outlet slots covered when they are not in-use. Use the outlet, and the cover automatically snaps back into place when items are unplugged. So, there are no tiny little plastic outlet covers to keep track of with this option.

Here are some other tips to keep small children from electrical dangers in the home:

  • Avoid extension cables unless absolutely necessary (children love to chew these, especially teethers). If they must be used, hold them down securely with gaffers tape.
  • Block off access to outlets with furniture, hiding outlets out of sight as best you can.
  • Consider the addition of whole outlet covers that prevent children from yanking cords out of the wall, such as Lectralock for receptacles and power strip covers for surge protectors and power bars.
  • Have older children help you keep an eye out on cords and outlets.

We hope this was helpful in keeping cords out-of-sight and outlets protected from little fingers!

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

 

 

Don’t Forget These Springtime Electrical Safety Tips

Now that it’s spring and the weather is warmer, people are spending more time outside. For the sake of safety, it’s important to make sure certain electrical components are functioning properly and you are practicing good habits both inside and outside of the home.

According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), thousands of people in the United States become critically injured or electrocuted as a result of electrical fires and accidents outside their homes. Focusing on electrical safety awareness can help ensure you are not injured due to an electrical malfunction.

Here are some simple safety rules to remember:

  • Ladders of every material should not come in contact with a power line, as it may result in a serious injury or death. Keeping a 10 feet distance from an overhead power line is a good rule of measure.
  • If your power tools are not being used, make sure to unplug everything. If not, it’s possible for the tools to overheat and cause a fire.
  • Check for damaged cords on power tools. It is important to check if the cord is frayed or the plug is broken. This makes the tool dangerous to operate.
  • Avoid wet areas while using any electrical item. Be aware of your surroundings, being sure to check for a running hose or sprinkler. Wet grass is particularly an issue.
  • Teach kids to never fly a kite or climb a tree near a power line. If a kite gets tangled in overhead power lines, don’t try to remove it yourself. Kite string can conduct an electrical current, which can cause serious injuries or death.
  • Call 811 before you dig, so underground utility lines can be properly marked. This free service is required by state law, and should be done at least two business days before the digging begins.

Remember, electrical lines and equipment should be treated seriously and with caution. Use these simple and easy to follow tips to stay safe this spring!

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

 

 

It Pays to Upgrade to LED Lighting

Are you looking at ways to reduce your electricity bills and overhead but don’t know how? One simple way is to upgrade to LED lighting and enjoy huge money saving benefits almost immediately. In fact, experts say that business lighting upgrades can cut lighting bills by 50% to 70%!

Why You Should Consider A Lighting Upgrade

Upgrading to LEDs is an upfront investment with fantastic long-term returns. The attractive returns come in the form of savings in utility bills but that’s just the beginning. Here are some benefits of LED lights:

  • LED Lights Last Longer: LED lights can last for 30,000 to 100,000+ hours! You will be replacing lights less frequently when you use LED lights. LED lights can outlast metal halide or CFLs (fluorescent lighting) significantly.
  • Helps Optimize Usage of Space: LED lights can provide optimum illumination, making it possible to use more square footage of your space. You can put every inch of costly floor space to proper use by simply upgrading the lighting.
  • More Environmentally Friendly: LED lights are up to 80% more efficient than traditional lighting, including fluorescent and incandescent lights. 95% of the energy in LEDs is converted into light and only 5% is wasted as heat. Less energy use reduces the demand from power plants and decreases greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Delmarva Power/Pepco Incentives: Delmarva Power and Pepco offer commercial and industrial customers in Maryland a suite of energy efficiency programs through the EmPOWER Maryland program. Major initiatives include the Existing Buildings program, which provides pre-defined cash incentives for the installation of energy efficiency measures on lighting, lighting controls, and more. The Custom Incentive program provides incentives for other efficiency measures, systems and technologies based on projected annual energy savings. Learn more here.
  • Dominion Power Incentives: Dominion Energy Virginia’s Non-Residential Lighting Systems & Controls Program provides qualified customers with rebate incentives for upgrading existing lighting or installing new energy efficient lighting systems, including lighting controls like occupancy sensors. This will help you gain energy savings that will benefit your bottom line. Learn more here.

A Smart Business Move That Can Bring Multiple Benefits

As you can see, upgrading the lighting system of your business to LED lighting makes smart business sense. Interested in learning more? At Fab Electric, our specialists have lots of experience, and with our fast, friendly service, you will enjoy your LED lights and cost savings in no time! Call us at (301) 622-6979 to set up an appointment today!

 

Labeling your Electrical Panel

Ever need to flip a switch on your electrical panel, and you don’t know which one to flip? It can be a frustrating process, but it doesn’t need to be! Labeling your electrical panel can save time and confusion.

Labeling your electrical panel is important, not just to lessen frustration for the homeowner. Knowing which areas of your home are serviced by which circuit breaker is crucial in case of an emergency. You never know when you might need to shut off the power. After labeling your electrical panel, you’ll be able to confidently control any area of your home or business with just the flip of a switch. Here are some tips from Fab Electric to make this process both simple and safe:

  • Turn off every circuit in your home: Once you’ve done so, turn on each one individually to note which light fixture turned on. Label the electrical panel accordingly.
  • Don’t go it alone: Take on the labeling project with a partner. Designate one person to flip the switches in each area, while the other is at the panel testing it. This is the most efficient process.
  • Use blank labels: Buy some blank sticky labels to apply on each switch. It’s easier than taping individual papers.
  • Multiple breakers may be required: Clothes dryers and washing machines, water heaters and ovens often require multiple breakers due to the high amount of power required to operate. Don’t be confused if this happens!

Remember, this process can be time consuming and a bit frustrating at times, but it will be worth it in the end! For any other questions regarding this process, or if you’re dealing with other electrical issues, contact Fab Electric today!

At Fab Electric, our specialists have lots of experience, and with our fast, friendly service, things will be back in order and working safely in no time! Call us at (301) 622-6979 to set up an appointment today!

 

Would Your Home Pass an Electrical Safety Inspection?

Whether you’re cooking dinner, browsing the web, or blow drying your hair, you rely on electricity more than you probably realize. Since we depend so heavily on appliances and outlets, of course we want to make sure they are functioning reliably. Most of us would also like the peace of mind of knowing whether our home is at risk for an electrical fire.

Would your home pass an electrical safety inspection? If your home has any of the following defects, it may not:

  • Old knob and tube wiring
  • Broken or missing carbon monoxide detectors or smoke alarms
  • New lights installed onto old wiring
  • Overcrowded wires
  • Non-IC-rated recessed lights that touch attic insulation
  • Illegally spliced wires

Bathroom

A code-compliant bathroom meets the following requirements:

  • The combination fan/light/heater has its own 20-amp circuit.
  • All outlets are ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI).
  • Light fixtures in the shower or tub area are moisture resistant and covered with a lens.

Kitchen

Electricity demand is high in the kitchen. Code requirements demand the following:

  • Each motorized appliance has its own circuit, including the microwave, dishwasher, refrigerator, and garbage disposal.
  • The electric range, cooktop, or oven has its own dedicated 240-volt circuit.
  • A minimum of two receptacle circuits are installed above the countertop.

Laundry Room

For your laundry room to be code compliant, it must meet these requirements:

  • The washer and dryer are plugged into their own 20-amp receptacle.
  • The electric dryer has its own 240-volt circuit.

Living, Dining & Bedrooms

While these rooms don’t usually feature large appliances, certain electrical codes still apply:

  • Each room has a wall switch installed beside the entry door. This switch may control a ceiling light, sconce light, or outlet where a desk or standing lamp is plugged in.
  • Ceiling fixtures are controlled by a wall switch, not a pull chain.
  • Outlets are installed no further than 12 feet apart.

Hallways & Staircases

Even the halls and stairs in your home have specific electrical codes, largely because they serve as escape routes in the event of a fire, inclement weather, and another emergency. Here are the codes you must meet:

  • Lights are located frequently enough along the hallway or staircase to prevent casting a shadow.
  • Hallways longer than 10 feet feature an outlet for general purposes.
  • Three-way switches are located at the top and bottom of each staircase and both ends of every hallway.
  • If a staircase or corridor turns, additional lighting illuminates the area.

Attached Garage

The attached garage is an extension of your home and must meet these code requirements to pass an electrical safety inspection:

  • At least one wall switch controls the lighting, which is in addition to the garage door opener light.
  • Three-way switches are installed at the side door and the door leading out to the garage.
  • At least one GFCI outlet is installed in the garage on its own circuit to accommodate power tools.

Concerned about any of these things? Whether you have a home or business, FAB Electric is your source for reliable service. To schedule service, call 1-888-FAB-Elec or 301-622-6979, or submit the form on our Contact Us page.

 

 

Resolve to Fix Bad Electrical Wiring in the New Year

Is your electrical wiring up to code? If you know your wiring is faulty, old or insufficient to handle your electrical needs, the new year is a great time to commit to a wiring inspection. In some cases, problems are severe enough that you should seriously consider replacing the wiring in your home, but that’s not always the case. Regardless, ignoring serious problems simply isn’t worth the risk! Continue reading “Resolve to Fix Bad Electrical Wiring in the New Year”