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.