Dealing with an electrical emergency can be overwhelming, especially if there is a threat of electrocution or fire. Electrical emergencies are unpredictable and can find you unprepared; however, there are a few things you can do as you wait for the electrician.
Electrical emergencies vary from a damaged appliance to a power surge. Some of these emergencies may seem little but can be a precursor to a major issue hence the need to contact an electrician immediately.
An emergency electrician is usually on call around the clock due to the nature of emergencies. There isn’t a clear scope on what classifies as an electrical emergency. Unlike other home emergencies, electrical issues are not your typical DIY and can result in an accident if not properly handled.
Things You Need to Do While Waiting for an Electrician
Turn Off the Power Source and Unplug Appliances
When responding to an electrical emergency, the first step is to switch off the power source and unplug all electrical appliances. Shutting power at the main breaker prevents damage to other electrical components until the issue is arrested.
At Mister Sparky of Wilmington, we encourage our client to turn off their power and unplug electrical appliances in case of electrical fires or if the emergency is caused by strange smells and noises you can’t locate. An electrician is well-placed to carry out a diagnosis and advise you accordingly.
In an emergency, panicking and making rash decisions may not be the best course of action, especially when dealing with an electrical emergency. Our electricians suggest staying calm and being attentive during an emergency.
Staying calm and attentive helps you assess the situation and record all important factors. While assessing your surroundings, you may notice warning signs such as burning, smoke, buzzing noises, and smells. Some of this information may prove useful when the electrician is carrying out a diagnosis.
Get Your Household Members Away from the Electrical Work
Electrical emergencies are dangerous and can result in serious injuries or even death. Immediately you notice a sign, it’s advisable to get your children, pets, and other family members away from the affected area and, if possible, out of the house.
Electrical fires can easily spread to other areas of the home, making evacuation your number one priority during an emergency. Even if it’s not serious, people should take precautionary measures to protect their loved ones, especially when the emergency electrician is working.
Create a Working Space for the Electrician
As you wait for the electrician, it makes sense to declutter the space to create a working area. This not only helps reduce the amount of time spent on electrical work but lowers the cost by reducing the time wasted. You don’t want the technician to take longer than necessary, especially if you are paying an hourly rate.
Avoid Touching Electrical Objects
During an electrical emergency, it is easy to get electrocuted or shocked even with the main power source off, especially when you don’t know the source of the problem. We encourage clients to unplug electrical appliances and avoid operating any electrical object until the electrician arrives and assesses the situation.
People who are in the most danger are those with issues related to the breaker box. If you hear buzzing sounds or strange smells from the breaker box, you may want to stay clear of any electrical object until the technician gives you the green light.
What Qualifies as an Electrical Emergency?
All electrical issues are considered emergencies. However, there are a few cases that need immediate attention. Here are a few cases that need immediate attention.
Smoke or Burning Smell
Smoke or a burning smell is an obvious sign of an electrical emergency. If your outlet or appliance is producing a burning smell, disconnect it from the power supply and contact an emergency electrician. This applies to outlets and other electrical components in your system.
Smoke may be a precursor to fire and need a quick response before it gets out of hand. As you wait for the electrician, you need to arm yourself with a fire extinguisher, just in case.
Buzzing Sound from the Breaker Box
The breaker box is arguably the most important component of your electrical system and needs extra attention. Humming or buzzing sounds from your breaker box may be a cause for alarm since they can cause damage to your entire electrical system.
A breaker acts as a relay point for electricity in the home and is the first line of defense against power surges and dips. Strange sounds may mean your breaker box wants to cut the power supply, but something prevents it. Contact an emergency electrician immediately to prevent further damage to your system.
Signs of an electric fire include smoke or a burning smell and should be taken seriously before evolving into a fire. However, when spontaneous combustion occurs, you need to act quickly and unplug other appliances and switch off the power source while waiting for the electrician.
During an electrical fire, one needs to make several judgment calls, including who to call first and what to do. Before calling the emergency services, it’s best to get your family to safety since electrical fires tend to spread fast.
Loss of power is not considered an emergency based on individual cases. A power outage that only affects your home may be a sign of damage to your electrical system and may need the response of an electrician.
Electrical emergencies are unavoidable and can find you when you least expect them. However, the best response is to remain calm and attentive; this way, you can make better decisions regarding the safety of your household. Aside from composure, there are a few other things you need to do to bring the situation under control as you wait for the electrician.
Contact us at Mister Sparky of Wilmington for more on our electrical services, including emergency response.
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Common Types Of Electrical Outlets You Should Know: Insights From Your Electrician
Most people do not think much about the electrical outlets of their homes. They expect them to power their devices whenever needed. But not all outlets are the same, and some are better than others. To help homeowners choose the best outlets suited for their needs, the following list describes the most common receptacles and their usage.
These outlets are commonly found in older homes. These 15-amp, 120-volt outlets are not up to modern electrical codes because they do not provide a grounded connection.
Also, you cannot use some electrical devices with a two-slot outlet. If you have 2-prong outlets in your home, have an electrician replace them with some of the more modern, safer options below.
They are widely used because they are the cheapest and include 3-prong 15-amp and 120-volt outlets. These outlets are the most common replacement for 2-prong outlets.
The third hole helps prevent electrical shocks by providing a grounded connection. You can use most small appliances that do not have a high voltage with these outlets.
20-Amp, 125 Volt Outlets
These outlets look similar to 3-prong receptacles but have a T-shaped prong for one of the vertical slots. Large appliances that use a lot of power, like the refrigerator, washing machine, and most kitchen appliances, are used with these outlets.
If you want to upgrade a 15-amp outlet to a 20-amp one, ensure you hire an experienced electrician. The technician will ensure the amperage of the outlet does not exceed the amperage of the circuit it uses.
20-Amp, 250 Volt Outlets
These outlets are primarily used in commercial settings. They cost more and provide electricity for high-power equipment like power tools and air conditioners.
Like the 125-volt outlets, these receptacles often need to be installed on a separate circuit with a special circuit breaker. Always get a technician to install these outlets to ensure they are safe.
The National Electric Code (NEC) requires GFCI outlets where the receptacle is close to a water source, like the kitchen, bathroom, laundry area, and outdoors. Ground fault circuit interrupter outlets prevent electrical shock by shutting off the power if they detect a spike or leak in the current.
You can distinguish these safety devices by the “Test” and “Reset” buttons on the outlet. It would help if you had an electrical company check GFCI outlets regularly to ensure they work as expected.
Resembling GFCI outlets, AFCIs protect from electrical fires. They interrupt an electrical current if they detect an arc fault. Arc faults are caused by damaged wiring or loose connections. Older homes are especially at risk of fires caused by arc faults.
Building codes require AFCI outlets in most rooms, including the bedroom, closet, kitchen, and living rooms. According to the EFSI, proper AFCI protection can prevent up to 50% of home electrical fires.
The NEC now requires new constructions to have tamper-resistant receptacles. According to the NFPA, 2,400 children experience yearly shocks and burns from playing with electrical outlets.
Tamper-resistant outlets feature a shutter that blocks the slots. The shutter only moves if you insert the correct plug. Childproof receptacles are safer than plastic covers, as curious children can easily remove these caps.
On the outside of your home, you will need weather-resistant outlets. These durable outlets can withstand all kinds of weather conditions. They are made of corrosion-resistant material and have GFCI protection. They also have a large cover that protects the outlet and a cable plugged into it.
If you need to use an electrical appliance outside, always plug it into a weatherproof outlet. To avoid running extension cords from the inside, have your electrician install these outlets in convenient spots outside the house.
You are wasting considerable energy if you always leave your appliances plugged in. But constantly unplugging a device is inconvenient.
A switched outlet has a switch with which you can turn the power on or off. These outlets are simple to install; the professional can replace a standard outlet without changing the wiring.
Smart outlets are a good option if you are looking for a way to save electricity. You can control these outlets through your smartphone, while others feature voice activation. Some outlets can also go on or off by following a preset schedule.
This is great for appliances you only use at certain times of the day, like a coffee machine or irrigation systems. Some smart outlets can also show much energy a device has used.
These receptacles are relatively new and feature USB ports in combination with 3-prong outlets. You do not need a USB converter plug to charge devices like smartphones and tablets. Because USB charging devices are an integral part of everyday life, these outlets are necessary when planning a renovation or electrical upgrade.
Your electrical provider can install different types of outlets to meet your specific needs. For example, LED outlets can provide dimmed lighting at night.
A rotating outlet lets you plug in a device in any direction, making it easier to fit two large cables. With recessed outlets, the plug sits inside a box in the wall. This allows furniture to be placed closer to the wall without cramming the cable.
Want to Learn More About the Electrical Components of Your Home?
Mister Sparky of Wilmington is a licensed and insured electrical company with many years of experience. Our services include electrical repairs, generator services, and lighting installations. We also provide emergency services throughout North Carolina, so you never have to be in the dark. Don’t hesitate to give us a call today.
Outlets are an essential part of every home. There is an outlet for all your needs. Always hire a licensed electrical contractor in your city to install these receptacles.
It might seem like a simple task, but outlets have been the cause of more than 5,300 home fires each year. To keep you and your loved ones safe, always call on the services of a trusted electrician.
Get in touch with Mister Sparky of Wilmington when you need expert help.
See our previous blog on this topic here.
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Power Up Your Property: 9 Essential Electrical Services For Commercial And HOA Properties
If you’re a property manager or a real estate agent, you might have to schedule electrical projects once in a while, if not often. Thus, you must understand the various types of property management electrical services and partner with a qualified and reliable electrical contractor. This will ensure business activities run successfully and tenants have peace of mind.
In this blog post, you’ll learn some of the most common commercial electrical services frequently requested by property owners and Homeowner Associations (HOAs) in the greater Wilmington area.
Panel Installations and Upgrades
An electrical control panel consists of two main panels; the main panel and subpanels. Commercial buildings demand an arguably higher level of electrical backing to ensure sufficient power supply for efficient operations. In a nutshell, it relies on the electrical panel.
Whether it’s the safety switches or switchboards, professional electricians may be able to update the current electrical panel or conduct a complete overhaul by installing a new unit if the existing electrical panel is outdated, posing an electrical safety risk. Upgrading to top-of-the-market paneling ensures your electrical needs are effectively met, which translates to business success.
Lighting Installations and Retrofits
In this modern world, lighting is undeniably one decorative and functional aspect that most businesses in North Carolina have leveraged. As such, most electrical service providers have expanded their scope to offer exterior lighting besides interior lighting.
Companies like the Mister Sparky of Wilmington provide commercial clients with efficient lighting upgrades and retrofits that help cut down on energy costs and lower their carbon footprint while transforming the look of your property or workspace within seconds.
Electrical Safety Reports
Certified commercial electricians carry out electrical inspections during construction to ensure code compliance and maximum electrical safety, for that matter. Breach of code is extremely dangerous as it increases the chances of electrical emergencies, such as fire.
Again, it can adversely impact the value of your property during its appraisal. Trained electrical service contractors can perform significant repairs on your electrical system to correct code violations and provide a comprehensive electrical safety report.
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Installations, Testing, and Repair
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are essential safety features for any property. They alert building occupants of any potential fire risk so they can quickly move to safer grounds.
These devices must be installed in the right location to ensure optimal functioning. This is why you should seek professional electrical services for installation, testing, or replacement.
Wiring renovation or rewiring is another electrical service commonly needed by most commercial and industrial properties. Older buildings are prone to contract wiring issues in their electrical systems. Hence, as a property owner, you must install new wiring to assure the safety of your employees, tenants, or other people visiting the building.
While it might seem like an expense to forgo, a complete rewiring of your business premise will ensure the electrical system is up to code, complies with local regulations, and is in good working condition. Being proactive in maintaining the condition of your electrics and responding immediately to any warning sign that your building might need rewiring is crucial.
Working with a substandard electrical unit is a time bomb. It’s a risk to life – be it fire or by way of electrocution. Besides, it can result in lawsuits, staff turnover, and loss of reputation altogether.
Has your property experienced extensive and recent damage like flooding? Or have you noticed any lights or sockets that have stopped functioning? If yes, contact an electrician right away for rewiring. Other signs your property needs to be rewired may include:
- Broken, cut, or cracked wire casing
- Charred or buzzing power outlets or sockets
- Electric shocks from outlets and switches
- Frequent tripped circuit breakers or blown fuses.
- Flickering or dimming lights
Energy-Saving Electrical Solutions
Do you want to save money through electrical upgrades? Then going for energy-efficient electrical installations is the solution. Electrical services for cost savings on your commercial property might include a switch to LED lighting, smart thermostats and outlets, and Wi-Fi-enabled light switches.
Installation of Additional Electrical Outlets and Lines
Commercial power services may also entail the installation of extra electrical lines or outlets. This is especially if the existing electrical work needs to adequately meet your power requirements.
But even if your current electrical system is sufficient for your needs, there are well-trained electricians in the city who can work with you for an additional and balanced business electrical plan.
As much as the electronics and electrical appliances in your office or business are critical to daily operations, they’re vulnerable to many issues, and over-voltage is common.
To prevent such problems, you should hire a commercial electrician to install systems that protect against potentially harmful surges in your property. Remember, electrical surges significantly derail your operations due to increased downtime, which also increases costs.
24/7 Emergency Services
Electrical systems are subject to problems that often constitute an emergency, calling for immediate attention from the experts. Most commercial electrical contractors will include emergency services on their list of services.
However, given that electrical emergencies happen when least expected, you must have an essential emergency electrical provider to ensure any urgent issue is attended to promptly and professionally.
Hire Mister Sparky of Wilmington for Your Tenant Improvements!
From electrical installations and repairs to maintenance and upgrades, Mister Sparky of Wilmington is the company to contact for all your commercial needs. Our experienced team of electricians is licensed, insured, and certified, and our professionalism is top-notch. For more information or help, call our main or emergency line now!
Many electrical providers pride themselves on being reliable and trustworthy. Therefore, as a property owner, you must do your homework right to find the best company to save you time, money, and energy. A reputable electrical company can handle all your concerns while allowing you to focus on other things.
See our most recent blog on this topic here.
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Smart Lighting: Key Factors Electricians Take Into Account During Purchase And Installation
The rapidly growing smart home industry has led to the manufacture of numerous smart devices and appliances, including bulbs for lighting. The automated devices have features that detect a signal or demand for an automatic reaction, such as turning on or off. They are capable of monitoring energy consumption and controlling mechanical operations in homes.
Smart lighting technology is another vital advancement in the lighting industry, as the bulbs are designed to turn on depending on habitual tendencies. For instance, if you get home at around 7:00 pm every day, the lights will automatically turn on. They also respond to motion in the house or outside, as the bulbs turn on when they sense someone is around.
Having smart lighting technology and other smart appliances for home automation is the best decision if you want to save energy, convenience, and easy control and monitoring. Before purchasing smart bulbs for your house, hiring an electrician to help find the best type and brand to meet your family’s lighting needs is critical. Some of the aspects to consider during the window or internet shopping and installation phases include:
Types of Lighting Systems
One of the essential factors to consider when selecting and buying smart lighting systems is type or brand. There are three smart lighting systems that folks can choose from: light bulbs, motion-sensing lights, or smart lights on bulbs. They operate on Wi-Fi wireless connection, Bluetooth connectivity, or ZigBee/Z-wave hubs.
First, the smart light bulb is Wi-Fi based and cost-effective. They require an internet connection to operate efficiently and to respond to motion, mobile app controls, or voice commands from Google or Alexa. You can control the brightness of the light, or use mood-based colors, whenever you are happy or sad. Depending on the number of rooms, homeowners or tenants can have multiple IFTTT-compatible bulbs.
Another smart light is the one connecting to the internet using a hub. They respond to smart voice assistants and home mobile apps. Unlike smart light bulbs, this type of smart lighting technology relies entirely on the hub to work, which is a con. The motion-sensing light is also a smart light that turns on when they detect motion. They automatically turn on when they sense movement in and outside the house or on the nearby road.
After an electrician helps you to thoroughly evaluate the pros and cons of the above smart lighting systems, you can select one that appeals to your taste and preferences. You can opt for Philips Hue White, Sengled Smart LED with Motion Sensor, Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance, Wipro Next Smart LED bulb, or Syska Smart Wi-Fi LED Bulb.
Voice Assistant Platform to Use
Most smart devices are remotely controlled using voice assistance, mobile apps, or motion. For voice-activated lights, you should start by choosing a platform to manage the bulbs’ automatic turning on and off. Smart lights are designed to listen to commands, such as dim or brighten the room, set the room to glow, or switch on all the lights. The voice-control lights can work with different platforms, such as Alexa, Apple HomeKit that is Siri, or Google. It is best to explore all three internet-enabled assistants before pinpointing the one you want an electrician to install for your smart lighting.
Google Assistant is among the common platforms that control smart appliances, devices, and home lighting. It works with Bluetooth, speakers, and displays. The google assistant-enabled Bluetooth devices can control lights in a room using your voice, while the Google Assistant speakers or displays, bridges, control lights in and out of the house.
Smart lights can also work with Apple HomeKit voice control. Also known as Siri, the Homekit has numerous voice commands at your disposal, allowing people to customize their voice to control lights in and out of the house. You can also use Siri to access additional scenes and colors.
Amazon Alexa is another option homeowners can consider for voice-activated lights. It has endless possibilities and multiple voice commands. Alexa uses Bluetooth or a bridge to control smart lights like Google Assistant. Alexa-enabled Bluetooth can only command lighting in a single room, whereas the bridge can use voice control to manage smart lights installed inside and outside your residential building.
When selecting the best platform for voice controls, you should research widely on the different brands of smart lights before making the final purchase decision.
Durability of the Bulbs
Instead of buying bulbs that operate like standard lighting units, it is better to upgrade to smart lights that are more durable because of the Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology.
A technician can strongly recommend Smart LED bulbs that last longer than conventional ones. The durability of the bulbs makes them economical because they will serve you for years without replacement.
People who want to reduce the energy consumption of their home’s lighting systems should move from incandescent, CFL, and fluorescent bulbs to LED bulbs.
Smart bulbs are more energy efficient because they consume less energy due to LED technology. When buying smart lighting fixtures or bulbs, you can check for the ENERGY STAR label that signifies less energy consumption.
Call Mister Sparky of Wilmington for Top Notch Electrical Services!
Since smart lights are becoming popular in the country because of their convenience, it requires professionals to integrate or install them correctly for peak performance.
For that reason, you can call an experienced electrician from Mister Sparky of Wilmington for exceptional, safe, and reliable electrical work. Our professionals are friendly, courteous, respectful, background checked, drug tested, and skilled to handle all electrical tasks that meet your needs.
To Wrap It Up!
Smart lighting is a game changer in the lighting industry in the country. More people opt for smart lights because of their convenience, user-friendliness, and ease of operation.
But, before making the final buying decision, they should have an electrical expert analyze the factors highlighted above. Evaluating the above aspects enables you to select the lighting systems that best suit your needs.
See our most recent blog on this topic here.
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Two Common LED Lights Problems And How To Fix Them: Insights From Your Electrician
Energy efficiency and long lifespan are good reasons LED lighting has become popular today. Nevertheless, like any other technology, LEDs are subject to failure. Today’s article sheds light on the three most common LED lighting issues and how to avoid them. They are:
Most homeowners are switching to LED lighting because they are high-quality. But a downside of LED lights is that some can’t work with certain kinds of dimmer switches, resulting in dimmable LED flashes. If you’ve got these lights in your home, you may already know how frustrating it can get when they begin to dim unexpectedly. There could be various things causing this, including:
- Inadequate Power Supply
One reason your LED lights are dimming might be they aren’t getting enough current or voltage from the power supply. This could be because your power supply is faulty. LEDs demand a modified supply of power enabled through the drivers.
These elements convert AC into DC. So if they become faulty, the LED won’t get the power to function as required. In addition, using a power supply below the recommended voltage level may cause your LED lights to dim.
To fix this issue, Check to confirm if the LED driver for that particular light fixture has the correct voltage or current. You can contact a licensed electrician for assistance.
- Bad Connections
Another possibility for your LED light dimmer issues is poor connections in the light fixture, affecting the voltage the bulb receives.
If you suspect this is the case, call an electrical contractor to help tighten loose wires or the bulb in the socket. Replacing the socket or getting a new fixture might be another solution altogether.
- Thermal Runaway
This is a phenomenon where the heat produced by LED lights starts to increase exponentially, which causes them to flicker or dim sporadically. When you suspect this might be the issue, switch off the lights and contact an electrician for help. Also, consult the user manual to ensure you’ve followed the manufacturer’s instructions as required.
- Incompatible Dimmer Switches
Yes, LED lights are dimmable, but with two exceptions; they have to indicate that they’re dimmable on their packaging and be connected to LED-compatible dimmer switches. Old dimmers designed for incandescent light bulbs won’t work well with LEDs. To avoid this problem, buy a dimmer switch specific to LED lights, and don’t try to reuse the old one!
Even though they’re built to last long, LEDs can start to malfunction because of age. Essentially, the older they get, the lesser the light they produce, and as a result, it seems as if the light has started to fade away.
The life expectancy of LEDs is quantified as 50,000 hours to L70. Simply put, an LED light will emit 70 percent of its original light output after the first 50,000 hours of use. So, if your LED lights are dimming and you’ve established their useful life is over, consider replacing them.
- Excessive Use
The constant frequent turning on and off of an LED – as in the case with a PIR security system, can also cause dimming of the lights. What happens is that whenever LED lighting is turned on, some amount of electrical energy is lost due to resistance.
Thus, after being switched on and off several times, the light will begin to dim eventually. In such a case, replacement lights might be an ideal option. But remember to talk to a professional electrician first to inspect your electrical system because there might be other issues to address.
Poor Quality Color Rendering
Despite the many advantages of LED light sources, they are sometimes subject to poor-quality color rendering. In other words, these lights may not give accurate colors for the objects they illuminate. And many things can cause this; using low CRI lighting, the wrong color temperature, utilizing a single light, and more.
To help improve the quality of color your lights renders, consider doing the following:-
- Choose a High CRI Product
Color Rendering Index (CRI) measures how well colors render under a light source. A high CRI means a high color rendering. When shopping for your LED bulbs, look for those with a CRI of 80 or more.
- Select the Right Color Temperature for Your Space
The color temperature of that light source determines how colors look under a given light. For example, a light with a warm color temperature will make colors appear yellower.
On the other hand, light with cool color temperature makes colors appear bluer. Generally, warm white LED lighting has a color temperature of about 3000 to 3500K, while that of cool white LED lights is somewhere around 4000 to 5000K.
- Use Multiple Lighting Fixtures
Are you illuminating a large area? Consider using multiple LED lights instead of a single fixture. This will ensure an even distribution of light, creating a cohesive and more pleasing color palette for your space.
Need Help with Your LEDs? Turn to the Lighting Experts at Mister Sparky of Wilmington
Hopefully, this post has been helpful to you. Before purchasing LED light fixtures, please read these points carefully to ensure you get the best products. If you have more questions or your LED lights are acting up, talk to the pros at Mister Sparky of Wilmington for advice.
We provide a range of lighting options to meet the varied needs of our clientele, including outdoor lighting. Our team also offers general electrical services, including generator installation and repair. Call us now and see what we can offer.
The above issues are only a few problems with LED lighting. While some are avoidable, others may be beyond your control. Regardless, LEDs are more luminous and long-lasting than other lighting technology. With the appropriate environmental conditions and some fixes to your lighting setup by an experienced electrician, your LED light bulbs can serve you for years.
See our most recent blog on this topic here.
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