Avoid Electrical Scares This Halloween 

Tips to Catch and Avoid Electrical Hazards 

The most recent information from the U.S. Fire Administration reports that there were more than 24,000 electrical fires in a single calendar year. These incidents claimed the lives of 295 people, causing millions of dollars in property damage costs. When considering these statistics, one thing remains clear: homeowners should do everything possible to mitigate the possibility of electrical fires. 

This Halloween, instead of letting an electrical problem turn into a nightmare, homeowners should keep the following tips in mind.

Be Mindful of Electrical Holiday Decorations

It’s easy to get carried away with holiday decor. Yet, homeowners should be careful of what they plug in and how. For instance, they should: 

  • Check for fraying wires. If a homeowner can see an exposed electrical wire behind a decoration’s cord, they should be cautious and disregard the item. If they can’t stand to part with it, maybe they can hang it up but not plug it in. 
  • Check the voltage on holiday lights. Holiday lights typically have a low voltage, meaning they don’t require a lot of power to stay on. However (and as explained later), if too many lights are plugged in at once, this could increase the risk of electrical power. 
  • Monitor the outlets. If an outlet has things plugged in, but it gets too hot, this could mean that the circuit is overloaded. Homeowners should unplug something to avoid the risk of a fire. 

Avoid Overloading Electrical Outlets 

overloaded outletsA homeowner may unintentionally overload electrical outlets during holiday lighting installation. During this process, they can avoid overloading an outlet by: 

  • Unplugging something when they smell something burning 
  • Monitoring the outlets for any scorch marks 
  • Limiting the overuse of extension cords 
  • Using outdoor extension cords when necessary 
  • Using LED lights (these pose a lower risk of burning and causing fires) 
  • Regularly replacing lights 
  • Following the manufacturer’s instructions 

Homeowners should also turn off holiday lights when they’re not in use. They should also avoid running cords under carpets or rugs. The heat can transfer from the wires to the material, elevating the risk of fire and property damage. 

Signs That Call for Electrical Repair Services 

signs of electrical troubleDuring holiday light installation, homeowners may come face-to-face with things that require an electrician’s attention. One should consult a professional if they: 

  • Smell burning from the outlet. This could mean the circuit is overloaded and a component needs replacing. 
  • Notice higher-than-average electric bills. Everyone should have a basic idea of how much their electric bills cost from month to month. If one notices a higher-than-average bill, this could point to wasted energy or another problem within the electrical system. 
  • Flickering lights. This could signal an issue with a fuse or a part of the house that needs rewiring. 
  • Dim lights. This could mean there isn’t enough power going from the electrical grid to the device, indicating a problem. 

About Altas Home Service 

Altas Home Service is known around Alexandria, LA, as “the phenomenal purple people.” Why? Because this family-owned company has come to garner countless five-star reviews, offering licensed and insured work with a smile. Call today for electrical services!

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Three Signs that Electrical Panel Repairs Are Needed

Recognizing Trouble with the Breaker Panel

Owning a home can be a chore. Keeping the home running smoothly involves a lot of chores over the years. To keep everything running as it should takes the help of a team of dedicated experts applying their skills. An electrician is one of the experts that every homeowner should have on their team. 

One of the things electricians can help with around the home is by advising about the age and condition of the electrical system inside the home. Over the years, parts of the electrical system will wear out or building codes will change, requiring updates from these qualified experts. One common thing that electricians can address in particular is the breaker panel. 

Over time, breaker panels succumb to problems that can reduce the electrical system’s reliability in the home or create a hazard. Here are a few things to look out for regarding electrical panels. If any of these occurrences are common, calling for help from an electrician is the prudent choice. 

Flickering Lights 

lightThe first and usually most recognizable sign that the breaker box needs some attention is flickering lights. Lights that flicker in the house caused by a breaker panel deficiency are due to a loss of power. This can occur because surfaces in the breaker box are corroded, impeding electrical flow, or poor connections cause lights to dim when large appliances turn on and steal current. 

Check the lightbulbs before calling a professional to rule out problems that masquerade as a bad electrical panel. In many cases, bad light bulbs display the same characteristics as problems in the breaker box. However, if the problem is noticeable in different rooms or across the home, the breaker panel is the likely problem. 

Smells Like Something is Burning 

The biggest threat that an outdated or aging electrical panel can pose is the threat of fires. Despite industry advancements and stringent building codes, electrical fires are still a common source of property damage, with many of them attributable to bad breaker panels. Any time there is a burning smell near the breaker panel or any electrical component, homeowners should call an electrician. Burning smells are always signs of a serious problem, and extreme caution should be taken when they are near the breaker box. 

Old Age 

old panelElectrical panel repair is probably one of the most neglected services electricians render, so problems tend to get ignored. Repairing or replacing electrical panels is a fairly invasive project and only needs to be done every 25 to 50 years. Between these two factors, most homeowners will forgo this valuable service, but they do so to their detriment. Aging electrical panels are more likely to cause problems and start fires. If the panel in a home is nearing 30 years old, it is usually best to plan and get the electrical panel inspected and replaced before serious problems occur. 

About Atlas Home Service

Atlas Home Service is a local provider of every home service a home could need. Their skilled electricians are knowledgeable, friendly, and eager to solve any problem a home may have. Call today for superior electrical service in Alexandria, LA. 

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Halloween Decorations Can Cause Serious Electrical Issues

Common Halloween Decorations Create Electrical Overloads

Halloween decorations are not as taxing on the electrical systems as some other holidays, such as Christmas, but they come close behind. These types of decorations are so dangerous because they are designed to be outside, all hooked into one or two outdoor outlets that are not designed to hold that much at one time. 

Overloading outlets creates a volatile situation with electrical fires that can get out of hand very quickly. Overloading is not the only way that this can occur, either. The Halloween decorations are often hooked to the power through damaged cords without any surge protectors installed. 

Inspect That Classic Halloween Decor

halloweenBefore putting any of the Halloween yard decorations out, inspect the wires and connectors for any damage. Look for frayed wires, broken plugs, exposed wires, or any other damage that may indicate a problem.

The most common Halloween decorations that can be seen throughout the nation are Halloween inflatables. The cool lighted decorations use electric-powered motors to inflate and stay inflated as long as they are hooked up to the electrical outlets. 

These can draw a substantial amount of power, and since they are outdoors in the rain and snow, they create a problem waiting to happen. Thankfully, there are a few ways to prevent issues and still have inflatables in the front yard. 

Check the Connections

Using numerous extension cords is one of the biggest causes of blown fuses. Any faulty wires within the circuit will burn out before kicking the breakers off, which will cause a house fire that could destroy everything. When using extension cords outside, ensure they are designed to be outdoors, and never use more than one in line at a time.

Anywhere that there is a connection between electrical cords must be covered to prevent fluid from entering into either plug. Use a container to cover them, waterproof tape or anything else that is lying around that can cover the ends.

One of the best ways to prevent electrical issues is to think about safety first. If something does not look safe, it probably isn’t. Never use any frayed or damaged wiring, even if it is the best inflatable in town. The family’s safety should always come before the Halloween scene in the yard.

Protect The Circuit Breaker

outletEach circuit in the house is rated for a specific amount of outgoing electricity. Never plug in more than the circuit can hold. In the least, this will prevent the circuits from tripping off. However, if those fun decorations have to go out, a surge protector is a must.  

Use surge protectors in all the areas where outdoor Halloween decorations are plugged in. The ones designed for outdoor lights with timers and surge protection built in are one of the best investments a homeowner can make. They connect all the inflatables into one outdoor-rated surge protector that can be set to turn on and off according to the schedule wanted.

Making a plan before creating the outdoor Halloween scene is a good idea because it can map out where everything will be plugged in, giving a chance to gather all the necessary items to make the design safe.

About Atlas Home Service

The professionals at Atlas Home Service in Alexandria, Louisiana lead the charge in the area for creating a company that puts the needs of the customer first. Their main objectives are to offer fast, on-time service for all electrical, heating, and air conditioning problems. Contact them today for reliable electrical service in time for the Halloween season. 

Guide to Electrical System Basics

Electrical System Basic Knowledge

Home electrical systems consist of a complicated network of wires, circuits, and appliances. Professional electricians undergo extensive training in school and in the field as apprentices to learn how to safely repair, install, and maintain electrical systems. Homeowners should know the basics of electrical systems to take better care of their systems and prevent electrical emergencies.

Practicing electrical safety is extremely important for preventing electrical fires and accidental electrocutions. Basic electrical system knowledge helps homeowners identify potential warning signs of a system malfunction and take steps to resolve the issue. Knowing how electrical systems work can also save homeowners money on energy bills by optimizing the performance of their home’s electrical system.

Components of Electrical Systems

electric meterElectricity is generated in power plants and distributed to the community through power lines. Energy enters the home’s electrical system via a connection monitored by an electric meter. The electric meter measures how much energy the house uses to bill for utilities. Electricians also use the meter to troubleshoot problems with the electrical system.

A disconnect switch is usually located either on the electric meter or in the breaker box that allows electricians to shut off the home’s power completely. This is important for safely working on the electrical system without the risk of electrocution. Homeowners may want to use the disconnect switch to shut off their electricity until professional help arrives if they suspect that there is the risk of an electrical fire due to a system malfunction.

The breaker box is a series of switches that control the home’s circuits. Each switch in the breaker box correlates with an area of the house or a hardwired appliance. When the circuits become overloaded, the breaker box will flip the switches to cut off power and prevent electrical hazards from occurring. This is why having a working breaker box is essential for preventing electrical fires.

Electrical circuits are passageways engineered to transfer electricity from one place to another. For example, a home’s electrical circuits carry electricity from the powerlines to the home’s appliances, lights, and outlets. Electrical outlets are what homeowners use to plug in their electric-powered devices.

Warning Signs of Electrical Problems

burning smellsThe following are signs of issues with the electrical system:

  • Sparking outlets
  • Sparking breaker box
  • Flickering lights
  • Burning smell
  • High energy bills

Homeowners should be on the lookout for signs of an electrical system malfunction. An electrical fire could affect the homeowner and the community at large if the fire spreads. The entire neighborhood, as well as local ecosystems, could be impacted by an electrical fire.

In addition to the risk of electrocution and fire, a malfunctioning electrical system can also cause a spike in utility bills. A sudden increase in the light bill could mean that the electrical system is not performing efficiently due to disrepair. Flickering lights could be caused by a lightbulb, but if the issue is consistent throughout the home’s lighting, it could mean the breaker box is malfunctioning.

Electrical Safety Is a Number One Priority

The most important thing that homeowners need to know about their electrical system is that leaving it in a state of disrepair or doing amateur electrical work is extremely dangerous. Electrocution and fires can be life-threatening. There is also the financial risk of property damage to consider. Rewiring the entire electrical system because amateurs have installed it is expensive and time-consuming.

Professional electricians are trained to service electrical systems safely and are protected by insurance in case of an accident. Homeowners should always ensure that they hire a professional electrician who is both fully licensed and insured to repair and install their home’s electrical system.

In addition to being aware of the signs of a malfunction and hiring an experienced electrician, homeowners should also be careful not to overload their circuits. When installing new appliances and lightbulbs, homeowners should check the recommended voltage/wattage. Another safety measure homeowners can take is installing a whole home surge protector to protect the home from power surges.

About Atlas Home Service

Atlas Home Service is a family owned business with over a decade of experience serving its neighbors in Alexandria, LA, and the surrounding areas. They provide flat-rate pricing and free in-home quotes and are also fully licensed and insured. Call them today for electrical services in Alexandria, LA.