Electrical Safety Testing Has Just Been Made Much Easier

For some time now electrical appliances and gadgets have played a very crucial role in our lives. As a result of advances in the technology used in this equipment we find that they have made carrying out certain things a lot more efficient and of course a lot easier. But there are hidden dangers and so having them checked regularly using electric safety testing devices is recommended.

Certainly it is important that you carry out regular visual inspections of all the wires that connect your appliances to the mains electrical supply. If you notice any of these have become damaged or frayed then you should be considering disconnecting them from the mains power supply. Once this has been done then you should be looking to replace what is damaged.

The other way of determining if the equipment is still safe to operate is to use a PAT tester. These are hand held electric safety testing devices that you can purchase locally or online. There are several different makes and models available and all come with a variety of different features. Which one you choose of course depends on the kinds of electrical equipment that needs testing along with how much you can afford to spend.

However the type of PAT tester you should be choosing is one that carries out earth bond testing as well as 550v insulation testing. Those with these types of features will immediately provide you with a warning if the electrical equipment is going to cause harm because it isn’t earthed correctly or the insulation of the equipment has deteriorated.

Also another thing you need to consider is how the information will be recorded once the tests are carried out. Traditionally when it came to electric safety testing devices results would be written into a book. However quite a few of these machines have the ability to record the information then allow you to download it on to a computer. These are much more efficient but do cost more to buy.

5 Reasons Why You Should Buy an All in One Remote

The remote control is one of the most useful, indispensable items in a modern home. But when you’re using one for the TV, one for the DVD, and sometimes one for a hooked up computer or other equipment, it’s a crowd. An all in one remote can save a lot of time, as well as batteries. If you’ve got a modern LCD TV setup, you can save yourself some suffering.

Too many remotes

It’s not quite an overstatement to say people can spend as much time fiddling with remotes as actually watching TV. Each single purpose remote is different, and you have to learn what you can and can’t do with each one. It’s absurd, really, to have perfectly good standardized AV hookups for TVs and DVDs, and so many species of remote control.

Computers are much the same. Even computer manufacturers, famous for their proprietary technology, use standardized USB connections, jacks, etc. You’d think it would be reasonable to do the same with remote controls.

It’s not like the average single use remote is necessarily good, either. Unless it’s a name brand, sometimes all you’re really getting is an infrared control with a collection of switches that may or may not work properly.

The all in one remote idea

The idea of a universal remote control didn’t take long to develop. The remote shuffling got on people’s nerves, and an all purpose remote was developed to cover all options. Quality varies between different types of universal remotes, but they get the job done.

Advantages of the all in one remote

The advantage of a good all in one remote is that you can do all your programming and selections much more quickly, and with no “surprises” as one function or another doesn’t work properly. This is particularly important with more advanced TVs, because they have almost as many functions as a phone has applications, and the remote is often the main point of access.

How to find the right all in one remote

A good remote has some very obvious indicators, if you know where to look for them:

  • They have all standardized controls.
  • They’re well laid out, and you can see at a glance what each button does.
  • They provide a list of the models for which they’re designed. These are usually industry standard model LCD TVs like a Samsung LCD TV, which is also a good guide to the types of functions you should see on the right all in one remote.

Better viewing, better recording, and better quality

If you’ve ever had to put up with an “iffy” remote, (or several) where every hit of a button is an adventure in annoyance, you’ll definitely appreciate the good quality all in one remotes.

Having full spectrum control means you can also set up your entire home entertainment unit and all your equipment properly. For once, you can actually watch TV, not the remote.

Safeguard Your Home From Electrical Hazards – A Proactive Approach

Your home is the place where you can take refuge from the world and all of its problems. Yet, even inside your safe haven, there may be dangers hidden from view behind your walls – unseen but real dangers from electrical hazards that pose a threat to you and your family. The best time to take action is now – before it becomes a problem, and do what is necessary to ensure your home is safe from potential electrical hazards.

Each year thousands of homes catch fire due to damaged or faulty wiring in the house, and many hundreds of people lose their lives. In many cases, it’s a tragic scenario that could have been prevented. Fortunately, with a proactive approach to safeguarding your home from harmful electrical hazards, you can avoid becoming a victim yourself.

Here are some things you can do:

1. Conduct a home inspection.

Whether you rent or own a home, you can easily do an inspection of your home to look for potential electrical problems.

2. Use GFCI receptacles.

GFCI or “Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters” are specially designed devices that detect when electric current leaks from the electrical circuit to ground, and will shut the power off automatically at the receptacle before it can cause bodily harm. GFCI’s have saved literally thousands of lives in the 40 years they’ve been on the market, and they are sure to save many thousands of more lives in the years to come.

Check all of your outdoor appliances, pool pumps, fountain pumps, hot tubs, landscape lighting fixtures, and all other devices that use electrical power, and plug them into GFCI outlets that have waterproof covers.

Inside the house, make sure that all rooms with a water source that is within six feet of a receptacle are protected by a GFCI circuit.

3. Conduct a visual Inspection

Do a visual inspection of all of your electrical outlets and light switches for broken parts, cracks, loose fitting plugs, and replace or repair immediately. Also, be sure to check for any receptacles that are hot to the touch as this could be a sign of an electrical problem.

4. Check all of your power and extension cords for wear or damage.

Immediately replace any cords that are cracked, frayed, or display signs of wear.

5. Make sure there are not too many appliances plugged into one outlet.

This is important as too many appliances plugged in can exceed the typical rating of 15-20 amps for household outlets and create a shock or fire hazard.

6. Don’t run extension cords under rugs, carpets, and furniture where they can be easily damaged and create an unseen danger.

If you need to use an extension core, remember to plug the appliance first into the extension cord, and then plug the extension cord into the wall outlet to avoid possible shock and fire hazard.

Old Electrical Service – Time to Upgrade?

Many houses built in the last century were constructed with minimal electrical service. When looking back to those times, there simply weren’t that many electrical devices in a home. Air conditioners weren’t readily available until after World War II, and in 1955 only 10 percent of U.S. households had electric clothes dryers. Hair dryers, toaster ovens, electric ranges, microwaves, electric water heaters and other such things were added over the years, greatly increasing electrical demands.

With few of today’s modern conveniences, a house could easily get by with only 50-60 Amps of electrical service, and even today this level of service does not pose a problem, as long as electrical devices are kept to a minimum. However, when homeowners with such basic service start adding modern appliances, they quickly run out of electrical capacity, which can result in local brownouts, blown breakers or fuses, or overheating of wires and a possible fire hazard.

Computers don’t take much, but they don’t like brownouts or flickers in power. For any type of computer or computerized appliance, it’s a good idea to use surge suppressors and uninterruptible power supplies to prevent damage. This includes computerized sewing machines, exercise equipment, TVs, digital video recorders, and cable boxes.

Another consideration when with older homes is that many of the wires coming from the poles to the house, and then down the house to the meter, are 40-50 years old and are now frayed. Often the wire wrapped around the central conductors is now showing through. Contrary to common belief, that is not a ground, but a current-carrying conductor, often carrying substantial current. Although wrapping with tape is acceptable by some, most electricians agree that frayed Service Entrance (SE) cables should be replaced for safety. At a minimum, that wire needs to be replaced so that it is safe and it is a good opportunity to UPGRADE the entire service to a more modern 150-200A service. Most municipalities won’t install less than 125-150A, and most times 200A service is the same price as the lower, so 200A is installed. Even Townhouses and condominiums now are provided with 125-150A service per unit.

Some all-electric homes, or homes with lots and lots of circuits, may even need a larger service (400A) because of the requirement for no more than 42 circuits per panel, and 150-200A per panel. With the new rules, the number of circuits per panel is being relaxed, but homes with multiple air conditioners, water heaters, second kitchens, clothes dryers, guest quarters and other large users of electricity may still need the larger electrical service.

How to Tell the Aperage

  • Round-Base: 50 to 60 amps
  • Small Square Base (sides equal the diameter of the meter): 50-60 amps
  • Large Rectangular Box (approx. three times the diameter of the meter): 150 to 200 amps
  • Extra-Large Box (height approx. six times the diameter of the meter): 400 amps

Modern Life Consumes Electricity

Here are typical amperage requirements for some common household appliances.

  • Electric Range: 40A
  • Wall Oven: 40A
  • Modern Electric Clothes Dyer: 30A (min.)
  • Air Conditioner, outside unit: 25A (min.)
  • Air Conditioner, inside unit: 15A
  • Microwave: 12A
  • Toaster: 12A
  • Hair Dryer: 12A
  • Dishwasher: 15A

To calculate how many amps an appliance needs, divide the wattage by 120 (normal household voltage). For example, a microwave oven that uses 1800 watts needs a 15 amp circuit. (Amps = Watts/Volts)

Safety Note

The service entry cable should always be protected from the elements, and from the possibility of abrasion or fraying. Soil settling around the foundation of a house can pull the cable conduit away from the meter box, with potentially disastrous consequences.

The Advantages of Owning a Portable Electric Generator

A portable electric generator can prove useful in many different circumstances. It can be useful at home, while traveling or at work. There are many advantages to owning a transportable power supply. Buying one can be a smart investment for many reasons.

A portable electric generator can be used as an emergency backup electricity supply. This will be particularly useful if you live in an area that is prone to interruptions in electricity service. Many people suffer from frequent outages due to blizzards or thunderstorms. However, an emergency supply of electricity can be useful wherever you live since outages can be caused by many different problems.

Having a backup supply of electrical energy can be very important. For example, it can provide the heat that is necessary to stay safe and comfortable during a winter power outage. It can also provide power for essential appliances. This can be particularly important if your business depends upon such appliances. Portable generators can be used to backup essential equipment on commercial premises just as easily as they can be used at your home. This can reduce the financial losses that often occur when the power supply is interrupted. Some portable generators can be set up so that they will automatically begin to supply power if the main supply fails. This will ensure that your critical electrical appliances not only affected for a few seconds. An auto-start generator, or a manually activated backup, can prevent frozen food from being spoiled, ensure that you are able to heat the building, cook food and run other important appliances, such as lights, a cell phone charger or a computer. A backup generator can also ensure that your security system continues to protect your property despite a power failure.

One advantage of choosing a portable generator over a stationary one is that you will be able to move the generator around and use it wherever and whenever it is needed.

Portable electric generators can be used to provide electricity in places where there is no other supply and not just as a backup when the main supply fails. A portable electricity supply can be useful in many recreational situations. They can be used to power the appliances in an RV, or when camping or sailing. They can also be used to run a radio at a barbeque or when tailgating, or to provide power for any other outside gathering.

There are also commercial uses for a transportable power supply. They can be very useful on construction sites, for example, where power tools need to be used, but there is no connection to the main power supply.

Portable electric generators are reliable, easy to use and require little maintenance. They come in a variety of different models that can provide different amounts of power, so it is possible to buy one that matches your electricity needs.

Older portable generators used to be noisy, heavy and prone to breaking down. They were also known for producing noxious fumes. Modern portable generators are a huge improvement on these older models. The ones that are sold today are far easier to move around and use, and they are also much quieter.

Paying Too Much For Electricity Bills? Learn DIY Home Energy Production

Lets face it electricity is not cheap. It takes effort to produce and the big companies charge us for providing us with this service. However you should be aware that you do not have to be reliant on the energy companies to provide you with electricity and power for your home. You can produce it yourself if you have enough ambition.

DIY home energy production is becoming ever more popular these days with many people choosing to take themselves off the power grid. By designing and implementing a self sufficient energy system you can run your house independently and never have to pay another energy bill again.

Another alternative is to produce energy for your self but stay on the gird. In this case you can still get power from the grid if a lapse in your power supply occurs. Also if you produce more energy than you use you can actually get paid by the power companies! How good would that be?

Now this may not occur for everyone who wishes to produce their own energy however it is possible.

By producing energy for your home by yourself you will initially have to put in some upfront costs however with the popularity and availability of these systems these days they are very competitively priced. Also your investment will quickly pay itself off in a short amount of time and then your big savings will kick in. Think for the long term and you will be seeing the savings in no time. Also your home DIY energy production will be better for the environment – another long term benefit.

So in conclusion to avoid paying too much in electricity bills each and every year your best bet is to either stop using energy, or learn DIY home energy production.

Electrical Panel Upgrades – Your Local Electrician Can Help Your Home Get the Power it Needs

Electrical panel upgrades can bring your outdated breaker box up to speed with the demands of today’s power needs. Don’t let an inadequate power supply hold you back: contact your local electricians today!

From bigger televisions to computers to high-powered microwaves, fridges, and dishwashers, today’s homes are jam-packed with high-tech gadgets. All of this technology makes our lives more comfortable, convenient, and entertaining, but the simple truth is that most older homes weren’t built to power all of these electricity-hungry appliances and electronics. The breaker box that was installed when your house was built was more than sufficient to power a few lights, electrical sockets, and basic appliances, but it doesn’t have the capacity to keep up with today’s technology and your energy demands. The good news is that the professional electricians in your area can help you modernize your house with an electrical service upgrade, enhancing your building’s electrical capacity to meet today’s needs.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does it seem like your breakers trip every time you turn on microwave or use the hairdryer?
  • Do your lights constantly flicker back and forth from bright to dim?
  • Does it seem like your appliances struggle to get the power they need?

If it’s becoming increasingly obvious that something isn’t quite right with your electrical service, it’s probably time for an electrical panel upgrade.

An electrical panel or service upgrade involves replacing your existing breaker box with a panel that offers increased capacity. Your electrical contractors will also likely upgrade wiring, the meter socket, and other components to ensure nothing is holding your electrical system back any longer. Keep in mind that all electric service upgrades should be handled by a licensed electrical contractor. Dealing with wiring, breaker box installation, and other electrical components can be extremely hazardous for the untrained installer, so DIY service upgrades are NOT recommended!

Especially important if you’re considering home theater installation or any other high-energy need improvements, electrical service upgrades ensure your whole home gets the power it needs. Contact your local professionals today for expert electric panel upgrades and the quality workmanship you can rely on to keep your family and your home safe.

The Lights Work But is the Wiring Safe? Or How Do You Know They’ve Improved the Taste of Dog Food?

How do you know the electrical work you just had done was done correctly? Because the lights work? Because the receptacle outlet works? Not true! Anyone with a screw driver and a wire stripper can install a wall socket or a light switch and a light! Anyone can stick a wire in a wall and connect it to live power and tell you it’s finished. If it works, it must be done right. Right? Not necessarily. I have spent a lifetime repairing or replacing the cheaper guy’s electrical installations. I’ve always wanted to see that van running down the road with a sign that reads “Cheap, Non Licensed, Crappy Guy Electric” in big bold letters on the side! And under that, “Non Licensed, Non Bonded & Never Insured”. And it would be hand painted! And after you write him a check, you have to give him a jump start! But hey, you got a good deal, right? Well, did you? How do you know?

What constitutes poor workmanship? Sloppy wiring comes to mind. When my wires are exposed, say for example, in a garage, I staple them across the joists or down the studs without any twists in them and keep them as straight as possible. This is not necessary, but the way I see it, this is an example of my work, in plain sight. When someone sees my work, I want them to be impressed. This is called “Pride in Your Work”. When the same wiring is going to be covered with drywall or some other wall board, I still keep the wires straight and neat, but a few twists here and there don’t matter so much. It doesn’t affect the quality of the installation or the flow of electricity. Another example (and this is a pet peeve of mine), receptacles that have no side termination screws. The cheap, cheap ones. The only way to connect this type of receptacle is by sticking the wires in holes in the back of the receptacle. And 99 times out of 100, if the electrician or handyman (unlicensed contractor) uses this type of receptacle, he also does not splice his wires together first and tail off the splice with one lead wire to the device. He uses the holes in the back of the receptacle as a means to splice the wires through to the next outlet. This is called “Speed Wire” and has been used on every new home, apartment and townhouse since I began my apprenticeship in 1971. This method of using the device holes to continue the circuit wire to the next outlet box is my number one cause for service and repair calls. I was taught by my father to physically splice all the hot wires together and all the neutral wires together first by twisting them. Then, off the twisted splice, add a lead wire about 8″ long (pigtail) and connect it to the SCREWS on the side of the more expensive switches and receptacles. By doing it this way, the receptacle can be removed from the wires, but because the wires are spliced together, the circuit still continues to the end of the line. When the speed wire holes are used as a splicing means, removing the receptacle opens the entire circuit. Everything beyond that point is without power and all the lights and plugs go out! And that’s why I get so many calls. It only takes ONE wire in ONE speed wire hole to become loose causing the rest of the power to go out throughout the house!

Do you ever go up into your attic / crawl space above the ceiling and look at what the electrician did up there? Do you ever go under the house into the dirty crawl space and see what he did down there? I do. Whenever I send my employees up there or down there to do any wiring, I go and check the work. If the wires are not stapled and supported to the joists, someone’s in big trouble. Especially under a house. Electrical wires cannot be laid on the ground. They have to be stapled to the floor joists. I am amazed by how many electricians do not bother. Did you know that any electrical wires 120 volts or higher, that are to be buried in the ground, have to be buried at least 18″ deep? Did you know that to bury an electrical wire, it has to be a very specific type of cable? Did you know that by burying PVC conduit instead of “direct bury” wire you can replace the wire whenever you wish by pulling the old wire out of the PVC conduit? Did you know that electrical conduit, which is used primarily on the exterior of a structure, or under the ground, with no other way of getting a wire under, over or through the walls from point A to point B, can be bent no more than 360 degrees total bends? If more than 360 degrees of bends are required, then a junction box must be installed. Then, you can begin again up to 360 degrees of bends. I have seen conduits with six 90 degree bends, a 45 and a few other small bends in 10 feet of conduit. The guy had to have run the wire in the straight conduit first and then bent it. A wire will not go through a conduit that is bent more than a full circle. Did you know that an electrical outlet box, no matter what the purpose, cannot be covered over? Every single electrical outlet box has to remain accessible. If there is ever to be an electrical problem, it will be in the outlet box that was dry-walled over and nobody remembers where it was located. Did you know that indoor electrical wire, called Romex, cannot be installed below 7 feet unless it is to be covered by wallboard, or has been put inside a protective conduit? I see exposed Romex wire often running through closets or book shelves and cabinets. This rule applies only to living areas. Did you know that when you had your meter box upgraded to 200 amps, and the electrician left the old sub-panel active inside that closet, that your electrical system is still only limited to the size of that old panel in the closet? Did you know that? The easy, slam-dunk meter upgrades involve putting the new meter / panel box outside and hooking it to the power lines. Then, the old feed wire going back to that old fuse box or ancient breaker panel is placed on a circuit breaker in the new panel, usually 30 or 40 amps, and simply re-feeds the old fuse box. You now have 170 unused amps (in a way of looking at it) outside. I eliminate that old closet panel and extend the old circuits in it out to the new box. It defeats the purpose of the meter upgrade if you don’t.

To the average homeowner, if the lights are on, the electrical work must be ok. Unfortunately, just because your lights are on, you cannot be sure that your home is properly wired or safe. Once again I ask the question:

How do we know they’ve improved the taste of dog food? How do you know your wiring was done properly and meets electrical and safety codes?

Purchasing a Home Power Generator – Five Things You Need to Consider

If you want to buy a home power generator and are not sure where to start then this guide will be useful. There are many things you need to consider when buying a home power generator – the following list provides five things to get you started.

How much power do your need?

The first thing you should determine before you purchase a generator is how much power you will need to run the devices you want. To calculate this you must determine the number of watts each item consumes when running as well as the number of watts each item consumes at its peak (electric devices often consume more watts when starting or during certain peak operations). Add all the running watts together then add the largest number from the peak usage. This calculation gives you your maximum wattage needs.

What is your budget?

You must determine what the total cost of the generator is including additional costs such as having it installed by a professional and accessories such as a weather cover. Once calculated, you will have to determine what is available for the budget you have.

Portable or Standby?

When buying a home power generator you need to understand what tasks you want to achieve with it.

Portable generators can be easily moved around from place to place. This gives you the freedom to move the generator to any location where you need power. Portable generators tend to be smaller and so don’t produce as much power for as long.

Standby generators are permanently installed and connected to your house. This limits the use of the generator to just powering your house.

What features do you want?

There are many features offered by generators. Here are some of the main things to look for when deciding on a generator:

  • Run time – how long does the generator run for before it needs refueling?
  • Power output – how much power does the generator provide? Will it cover your needs?
  • Price – how much does it cost?
  • Installation – what is involved in installing the generator? Will you need to hire a professional to install it?
  • Fuel – what kind of fuel does it consume?
  • Accessories – what accessories are included in the product? What will you need that isn’t included?
  • Warranty – what warranty comes with the generator?
  • Support – what kind of support is available for the installation and maintenance of the generator.

Extras

Many generators come with extras included in the initial purchase. Some common extras are a warranty or maintenance package, oil, power cord, wheels, and funnel.

Some generators may require you to purchase extra items for it to do what you want. For example, if you decide to purchase a portable generator, you may also need a transfer switch to connect it to your home.

Deciding on a new home power generator can be a daunting task but hopefully this list will give you a good start. Make sure you shop around and ask lots of questions before making your final decision.

What is Electrical Transformer Used For?

The electrical energy has become one of the important things in people life. This energy is supplied to all houses and industries. But sometimes voltage fluctuation can cause problems. So to avoid these kinds of problems electrical transformer are installed near your place. Transformer is device which changes current voltage from one circuit to another electric circuit through electromagnetic induction. These are for increasing or decreasing the voltage which comes from substation. There are many varieties of transformers which supplies electricity to houses. Some of the transformers are custom current transformer, high transformer voltage, flyback transformer, electrical transformer, audio, isolation, step up and step down and power transformer.

Electrical transformer:

Switching of voltage from one point to another is known as electrical transformer. These consist of two types of coil conductors known as primary and secondary conductors. These are mainly used for transferring current from power plants to residential and commercial places. Generally it consists of high voltage at the power plant. Now there is a substation between the power plant and residential place. The voltage is reduced a bit when it reaches the substation. Same way the voltage is even more reduced when it reaches to the transformer. This process is repeated till the power comes down to usable level. The current here travels through coils which are covered by core. Now you can find out whether it act at your place gets high voltage or low voltage. Its simple enough, if the transformer has more coils then its high voltage and if it is less then low voltage.

These also have different types of transformer which helps in controlling the voltage level. There are step up electrical device which helps in increasing the voltage level and step down electrical transformer which reduces the voltage level. Generally the houses are run by electricity at limit amount of voltage. The voltage coming from power plant can be either high or low. So for leveling voltage the above transformers are used. These are convenient, efficient and easy way of transferring electric energy to residential and commercial places.

Electric power is used more efficiently than before and therefore, it help in transferring these powers to houses. These transformers can transfer power to far places in easy and efficient manner and they are also cost effective. Now these transformers have become a necessity in people lives. In fact these are inexpensive way of transmitting current all over the world.

Electrical transformers are the most inexpensive but high quality transformer for supplying electricity to houses. The advantage of these device is they store the energy given by a source and then it transfer to the other source. This transformer supplies efficient current to its users at very less and competitive prices.