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How to Take Control of (Some) Electrical Issues

electrical safety, electrical tips

Weather can affect several different home-service industries in many ways. For example, this time of year HVAC companies really start to get busy when people first turn on their furnaces and their heating systems fail. The same is true on that first hot day when their air conditioner won’t start. For roofers, they see a spike in calls after major storms with rain, wind or hail.

Fortunately for us in the electrical trade, we’re not affected by weather as much as those other industries are. I would say that ice storms in the winter are really the only thing to affect us. Heavy ice on trees can cause them to snap and fall onto power lines, causing several problems.

There is also tornado season, which could be potentially hazardous as wires get torn down, as well as the threat of electrical stacks getting ripped off homes. And of course, electrical storms sometimes cause surges, shorting out home appliances. Not much a homeowner can do to prevent mishaps when Mother Nature is the culprit.

But there are some things you can do this time of year to be proactive when it comes to electrical safety. One thing I would recommend to homeowners during the months of October and November is to change the smoke detector batteries in your home. Also, during this time, make sure your GFI (ground fault interrupter) trips properly.

So, do you even know what a GFI is – or how to recognize it? It’s an automatic device that offers personal protection against electrical shock. You can usually find them in bathrooms or around hot tubs, outlets in the kitchen, etc. – usually around water. It’s the outlet that has a little red rectangle and a black one below it.

Testing a GFI is relatively simple because they’ve done the courtesy of putting two buttons on the outlet: one that says “TEST” and the other labeled “RESET.” Plug an appliances such as a hair dryer into the outlet and turn it on. Press the TEST button. The appliance should immediately turn off. If it doesn’t, the GFI could be mis-wired or it is malfunctioning. (A good time to call your friends at HomePro Electric, don’t you think?) With a well-functioning GFI, pushing the RESET button should start the appliance again. If it doesn’t, well, you know what to do!?

It is always better to get ahead of electrical problems, rather than to find out about a issue after it is too late; in the event of an outage or even, God forbid, an electrical fire.

More Tips on Electrical Repairs, Electrical Services

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