Thursday, July 5, 2018

We all know that power can go out for a number of reasons: storms, an accident, a downed power line, and even scheduled maintenance. Many times our first thought is that we will be without our electronic devices and the internet! Great Lakes Electric has put together a list of steps that you need to take to keep your family and home safe in the event of a power outage. 

1. Emergency Kit: 

Be sure to have your emergency kit stored in an accessible place. When assembling your kit, store items in airtight plastic bag. If possible store your emergency kit in easy to carry containers; plastic bins or duffel bags work great for this! A basic emergency kit should include supplies to get your family and pets through a few days without power. Here are some suggested items:
  • Water- (1) gallon of water per person per day for at least 3 days for drinking and sanitation. You can fill your bathtub up when the power outage strikes for additional water
  • Food- a three day supply of non perishable food- remember you might not be able to cook! Also add an manual can opener for food
  • Battery powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA weather radio
  • First Aid kit
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Personal hygiene supplies- including moist towelettes 
There are many more items that you can include in your Emergency Kit. The Red Cross has an extensive check list. Visit their website for more information. 

2. Protect your electronics and appliances

Whole house surge protectors are a great investment when it comes to protecting large electronics and appliances that can be damaged during storms and by the power going out. 

3. Protect your home from water

Especially if the power outage is due to a storm you will want to get a sump pump with battery backup. The last thing you want is for the electric sump pump to quit on you and your basement to begin filing with water. 

4. Secure your home

Since the power is out, your security system will not be working. Take a walk through your home and secure all windows and doors. 

5. Install a stand by generator

One of the best things you can do to protect your home and family in a power outage is invest in a permanently installed home backup Generac generator. Generac generators immediately sense a power outage from a storm or electric system malfunction and start automatically. They can be set up to power your entire home, or just the essentials. Great Lakes Electric offers free, in home assessments to determine which generator is right for your home. 

Being prepared can take the some of the hassle out of power outages. Many times, simple common sense tasks can really help protect your family, home, and property.

Power outages are certainly no fun, but being prepared for them can at least alleviate a little bit of the hassle. Simple, common sense things can make all the difference in the world, save you from having to scramble during such an event, and protect your home and belongings. Contact us at Great Lakes Electric for more information on whole house surge protection or Generac generators.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

National Electrical Safety Month is Here!

May is National Electrical Safety Month- we know; there is a month for everything! We believe that electrical safety is a topic that warrants some extra attention. According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission the United States averages 400 electrocutions per year and close to half of those are related to products like large appliances, power tools, as well as landscaping, gardening, and farming equipment. Did you know that over 47,000 home fires a year occur as a result of electrical problems? Many people never guess that number is so high. Most homeowners don’t realize just how dangerous the electrical wiring around them can be if not used properly. National Electrical Safety Month helps to educate homeowners to help reduce those statistics.
Helping Homeowners Stay Safe
Great Lakes Electric prides itself on doing quality electrical work, but we also care a lot about making homeowners’ lives even better. We have made a commitment to electrical safety within our company and we regularly see issues that present danger to homeowners. Here are some of the most common issues and the most effective ways you can protect your family and home.

Understanding the Most Common Sources of Dangerous Electrical Issue
It can be a little scary to realize how prevalent electrical problems can be in our homes. The upside is that with a little awareness, you can protect your family and your home.
Homes that were built prior to 1970 are at a higher risk for issues for the simple reason that homes built in that era did not have the technology that we have today. Devices have become a part of our daily lives and it can become easy for homeowners to inadvertently overload their home’s electrical system.
Here are a couple of things to look for:
·         Outlets that do not work or where the plug hangs loosely when you push it in. This is a problem that needs repaired.
·         Outlets or switches that are hot to the touch, show damage, or make any kind of noise. If you find either of these issues, be sure to unplug anything from the outlet
·         Inspect power tools and appliances for frayed cords, broken plugs, and cracked or broken housing. Be sure to have damaged items repaired or replaced.
·         Be sure to test your Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlets by pushing the reset button, plug in a lamp and turn it on. The light should be on. Then, push the test button on the GFCI, the light should go off. Push the reset button again to turn on the light. If the light does not go on or off as described above, the GFCI may have been damaged or installed improperly.
If you identify any electrical issues in your home or want to have this problem looked into by professionals, Great Lakes Electric is here to help. Since our talented team has expertise with everything from new builds to home repair and remodeling, we have technicians that are trained to correct electrical issues. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us to schedule a service call or estimate appointment. 

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Whole House Surge Protection Needed to Avoid Damage

Did you know that power strips are not really adequate protection for your home or business? 

With so many homes receiving new electronic devices as Christmas gifts, we thought we would take some time to talk about protecting those new electronic devices and home appliances from power surges.
Power surges are bursts of higher than normal electrical voltages.  Surges may last for only a few millionths of a second however they can carry tens of thousands of volts of electricity. When a power surge occurs it will follow any wire into a house. That means all lines- including phone and cable lines- are conductors and that can mean damage to all electrical devices and appliances in your home.  Although many people associate power surges with lightning strikes, power surges can also start inside the home with major appliances such as refrigerators, clothes dryers, and air conditioning units that cycle on and off. These small surges can cause minor damage that may not be evident right away, but will be show over time.

Protecting your valuable appliances and electronics from power surges requires a two-sided approach. At Great Lakes Electric, we recommend installing whole house surge protection to guard against power surges. This is a device that is hardwired into a home’s electrical panel and protects all electrical devices and appliances in the home. When higher than normal voltage spike occurs the whole house surge protection device reroutes the excess voltage to the ground wire. Once the levels return to a normal voltage, the electricity is restored to its normal flow. Hardwired surge protection devices are recommended by the National Fire Protection Association and the Institute for Business and Home Safety. Whole house surge protection installation starts at $375.00 at the low end which includes labor and materials.

The second side to this approach is utilizing “plug in” surge protectors to cover any potential gaps in the protection for vulnerable appliances and electronics.  It is important to remember that not all surge protectors are high quality and actually some are just a little more than glorified extension cords so plugging appliances into a power strip cannot guarantee you will avoid damage. Power strips and surge stations come in many sizes and you can expect to pay between $20 and $70 for a quality surge station or power strip. A surge station can be utilized to guard certain appliance and electrical devices such as the components of a home theatre system or computer against damaging power surges.

To find out if your home and valuable appliances and electronic devices are protected, contact us at Great Lakes Electric today for an electrical assessment. In today’s age of advanced electronics, you want to be sure to avoid any damage created by power surges in your home. Our team of qualified electricians can show you the best way to protect your home.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Holiday Lights Doing it Right Means Doing It Safely

The holidays are fast approaching and homes will be dressed up for the season with lighted decorations. It is important to take sufficient care to be sure your displays are safe as well as beautiful. To get you on your way to a wonderful season, we have put together a few basic safety tips and reminders to help have a worry free celebration.

Lights, Lights, Lights!
There are so many things that can go wrong with your lights. Be sure to follow these quick steps to avoid a fire hazard.

·         Check your lights thoroughly- discard and replace any that have frayed, cracked or damaged cords or wiring. Repairing them with electrical tape is not a solution.

·         When replacing burned out or damaged bulbs, be sure to unplug the lights first.
  • Buying new lights? Make sure lights are made in accordance to our safety standards and regulations. Some lights that you find online from other countries are not safe for use in the United States. Consider LED lights for a more efficient and safer light. LED lights are more expensive than incandescents, however, they will reduce your electric usage.
  • Be sure to remember to turn off all lights before you leave the house, or retire for the night. Although they are beautiful, you will not want to leave them unattended.

Power Sources
Safe lighting starts with a safe power source.
·         Your power source should be from a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI outlet). These outlets are the safest to use as they will shut off in case of an overcurrent. Although this is an added expense as you will need to hire a qualified electrician to install, it is a permanent outlet that can be utilized year round.

·         One common mistake in holiday decorating is overloading circuits. Be sure to follow the guidelines on the packaging for all lights, appliances, and decorations that you plan on using. Lighting packages will give you the maximum number of strings that can be connected which makes figuring that out very simple.

Christmas Trees
Did you know that Christmas trees are the number one source of holiday accidents?
·         Live Trees: Be sure to inspect your precut, live Christmas trees thoroughly.  Check these three indicators to find the freshest tree: strong branches that drop few needles when you shake the tree, needles that do not pull off easily, and a sticky resin, or sap on the trunk bottom on the cut. These indicators will help you find a tree that is fresh and will help you avoid a fire hazard.

·       Check the water in your tree stand daily to be sure the tree has a generous supply of water. Test your tree for dryness periodically by pulling on needles.

·         Artificial Trees: Today, most artificial trees come pre-lit. Follow the same tips for checking lights for your pre-lit trees as you would for decorative lights. Be sure that all cords are in good condition.

Follow these basic safety tips so you can relax and enjoy your holiday season! Please contact us if you need to check out power sources for damage or upgrade. Our certified electricians are available to help you.