Helpful electrical tips from Squires Electric

Welcome to another guest blog entry.  Our guest expert this week is Squires Electric, contact them to assist you with your electrical needs!

 

 

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Troubleshooting Guide

OUTLETThese are just a few easy steps to try before you call Squires Electric. Hopefully these can save you the cost of a service call.

First where is the problem located? Is it in a bathroom, kitchen, garage, or anywhere outside that might be protected by a G.F.C.I. (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter)?  If so first locate your GFCI’s and look to see if one of them may have “tripped”. A tripped GFCI is pictured here.

The buttons may be different colors than this but, if the top one is sticking out the GFCI is tripped. To reset it just push the button back in. Now if the button won’t go back in, it is time to go to the panel and check your breakers.

 

Resetting Your Breaker

10 Holiday Accidents to Avoid this Season!

It’s the most dangerous time of the year!  Well, maybe not the most dangerous, but with all the festivities and fun, accidents are common around the holiday season. To help guide you through these treacherous months, here is a list of the most common accidents and how to avoid them.

 

  1. Hypothermia – Playing in the snow can be a blast but it can lead to serious injury if you get too cold. Wear plenty of layers, making sure to cover extremities.  If you are working up a sweat shoveling snow, change out base layers to keep sweat from cooling against your skin.  Children should come inside frequently to warm up when playing in cold weather.
  2. Food borne illness – At gatherings and parties, food can easily sit out for several hours. All perishable dips and meats should be monitored to make sure they are still safe for consumption.
  3. Falling while decorating – Make sure to use a sound latter while hanging decorations and work with a buddy. Don’t lift boxes that are too heavy and avoid twisting and reaching too far to put that last ornament on the tree.
  4. Space heaters – As always, allow a 3 foot radius around all heat sources to prevent fires.
  5. Christmas tree fires – Keep your Christmas tree well watered and turn off all lights when the tree is unattended.
  6. Injury due to carrying luggage – All heavy luggages should be equipped with wheels to avoid back and shoulder strain from carrying bags. Use a cart when available.
  7. Children and animals ingesting plants or decoration – mistletoe, holly berry, poinsettias, and amaryllis can be toxic if eaten. Make sure to keep them out the reach of children and animals.
  8. Alcohol related accidents – According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, alcohol related accidents are 2 to 3 times more likely to occur during the holiday season. Never drive while intoxicated and when hosting an event make sure that all parties have a designated driver.  Consume alcohol responsibly.
  9. Electrocution – String lights safely and carefully keeping in mind moisture and overloading your circuit.
  10. Stress and depression – While this time of year can be full of joy and love, it can also be very stressful. If the holidays leave you feeling depleted and depressed, try shaking up your holiday plans and focusing on the positive aspects of the season.  Volunteer your time or go on a family hike around the holidays to refresh your mood.

 

We hope you have a lovely holiday season!

The Kennedy Christmas Tree

The Kennedy Christmas Tree

Space Heater Safety

Brrrr, it’s cold out there! In efforts to stay warm many of us are cozying up to space heater and other heat sources that if used improperly could present a potential hazard. “In 2011 alone, around 18,000 fires involved stationary or portable space heaters, killing over 300 people, and injuring over 1,100 more, according to National Fire Prevention Association.” If used improperly or without inspection, portable heating devices can cause a fire and or injury. Take note of these tips to make sure you are using these devices safely!

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  • As a general rule for all heat sources (fire places, space heaters, and stoves) make sure that your heater has at least 3 feet of clearance from anything that could potentially cause a fire. This can include clothing, papers, rugs or bedding. Make sure that small children observe this 3 foot radius as well.

 

  • Move heaters out of the way of foot traffic, including the cord. A misplaced heater could pose a tripping hazard, which could also damage the cord, power outlet, or heating device.

 

  • Do not use extension cords or power strips when plugging in your space heater. A heater plugged directly into the wall poses less threat for electrical issues than one that is powered through an extension cord.

 

  • A space heater should never be plugged into the same outlet as a computer.

 

  • Never leave a space heater unattended. Turn off and unplug the device when you leave the room.

 

  • Don’t use a heater that has frayed wires or damaged electrical components. Compromised cords and plug ins can cause fires and should not be used until repaired.

 

  • A plug in should never be forced into an outlet, nor should it be lose. A space heater plugged in incorrectly can cause major damage. Check to ensure that the cord is never hot when you unplug the device, this is an indication that an electrical component is not working correctly.

 

Stay safe and warm this winter!

The power’s out! Now what?

 

The lights dim then flicker out to quiet darkness.  Your television and computer are down, your phone is nearly out of battery and you have no idea where your flashlight is.  We’ve all been caught unprepared when the power goes out!  Sometimes we get a heads up when we know a storm is going to bring strong winds, but often (as we found this past week) a power outage gives us no warning at all.  So, what should you do if the power goes out?

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  1. Check your own fuse box first to ensure that the power outage is not localized to your own property.  Use caution while inspecting the electrical source to prevent serious injuries.  Ask neighbors if they are also experiencing the power outage.
  2. If the power outage extends beyond your own home, call your local power supply company: do NOT call 9-1-1 unless there is a power line down, or there is an immediate emergency beyond the loss of power.
  3. If the power is out for longer than 4 hours, food in your refrigerator may begin to spoil.  Maintain the temperature in your refrigerator and freezer for as long as possible by keeping the doors securely closed.
  4. Unplug major electrical appliances, such as washers, dryers, televisions and computers, to avoid a power surge when the electricity comes back on.
  5. If you have a wood stove, use it as a heat source.  Do not rely on kerosene lanterns, BBQs or any outdoor heat source as they contain hazardous, combustible materials.  Never run a gas powered generator indoors. Generators burn fuel and release carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is an odorless and colorless toxic gas. Each year people are killed during power outages by running generators in the homes or garages.
  6. Stay in the smaller rooms of your home for heat supply. A candle or body heat will be more effective heating a smaller space.

Supplies to have in case of a power outage:

  1. Wind up or battery operated emergency radio
  2. Warm Clothes, Blankets, Sleeping Bags
  3. Flashlights with charged batteries.
  4. Candles
  5. Matches or lighters
  6. First aid kit
  7. Bottled water, (1 gallon per person per day) as purification systems may be affected by the outage.
  8. 1 weeks worth canned or dehydrated food.
  9. Extra batteries.
  10. Plenty of activities to keep kids busy!

The best plan of action is to stay indoors and wait to hear further instructions or information regarding the outage.  If you must leave the house be careful while driving as traffic lights may also be without power.  Be prepared for power outages and fewer electronic gadgets so you can take advantage of this time to re-connect with your family!