What is whole house surge protection? Why is it an important investment for your home safety?
To many homeowners surge protection isn’t needed or it is a waste of money. But looking at the larger picture, it is very much needed. You plug your TV into a surge protection strip – why not protect your entire panel? I recently read an excerpt from “This Old House” where a contractor was remodeling a home and suggested surge protection to the family – they declined and later lighting hit the utility pole near their home and electricity went through their home, destroying wiring, appliances and electronics. A few hundred dollar investment could of possibly saved them over $11,000 in repairs. Below is a link to the article. The article also touches on several great key points.
Sometimes homeowners underestimate a surge – an electrical surge will follow any wire into a house — including your phone and cable lines, threatening fax and answering machines, televisions, satellite systems, computers, and modems. Don’t forget about your plugged in appliances, they aren’t exempt from a electrical surge’s wrath. A power surge may last for only a few millionths of a second, but at its worst, it carries tens of thousands of volts, enough to fry circuit boards, crash hard drives, and ruin DVD and home-entertainment systems. A lightning strike has to be less than a mile from the house to cause harm, and in fact most surge-related damage is not caused by lightning. Far more common, if not as dramatic, are surges caused by downed power lines, sudden changes in electricity use by a nearby factory, or even the cycling on and off of laser printers, electric dryers, air conditioners, refrigerators, and other energy-sucking devices in the home. The damage inflicted by these minor power fluctuations can be instantaneous — but may not show up for some time. “You might not even notice it,” says consultant with a firm that installs both residential and commercial surge-protection systems. “Then a year or so later your microwave stops working.”
Mike Holmes, contractor and host of the television show “Holmes on Homes,” and diversified industrial manufacturer Eaton Corporation, a global leader in electrical power management, announced a collaboration to offer homeowners a line of “Holmes Approved” electrical surge protectors. “People never think it could happen, but it happened to me,” said Mike Holmes. “A large electrical surge entered my house and I lost all my electronics that were plugged in. All of them. The first thing I did after replacing everything was install an Eaton Complete Home Surge protector.”
When installed on a home’s breaker box, Eaton’s surge products can help prevent or minimize damage to electronic devices, home appliances and other equipment in the event of electrical surges. Mike Holmes is an advocate for homeowner and building safety. All projects and initiatives undertaken by the star contractor are defined by quality, integrity and trust. Eaton’s product innovation, superior customer service and commitment to doing business right makes the collaboration a logical next step.
From 2010 to 2014, the National Fire Protection Association estimated an average of 45,210 home fires caused by electrical failure or malfunction, resulting in an estimated 420 deaths, 1,370 injuries, and $1.4 billion in property damage each year.
* The National Electrical Code has had 15 revisions since 1974, the year the average home was built. Is your home adequately protected?
* AFCI breakers and receptacles protect against arc faults and can prevent the majority of electrical fires
* 52% of electrical fires are caused by an arc or short circuit
* Was your home built before 1999? Call an electrician to ensure your home has AFCIs
* Any electrical maintenance should be performed by qualified electricians to ensure proper NEC and fire prevention standards
During a Fire: Every Second Counts. Plan 2 Ways Out™
In a fire, seconds count. Seconds can mean the difference between residents of our community escaping safely from a fire or having their lives end in tragedy
* Smoke alarms: test monthly, change battery yearly, and replace alarm every 10 years
* Have at least one smoke alarm on every level, outside each sleeping area, and in every bedroom
* Draw out a fire escape plan
* Conduct a fire drill twice a year, once in the day, once at night, withe very in your home and practice using different ways out
* Have two ways out of every room and make sure they’re always easily accessible
* Have a designated meeting space outside your home and never reenter a burning building
Heating equipment is the second leading cause of home fires in the United States. More than 65,000 home fires are attributed to heating equipment each year. These fire result in hundreds of deaths, thousands of injuries and millions of dollars in property damage.
Portable electric space heaters can be a convenient source of supplemental heat for your home in cold weather. Unfortunately, they can pose significant fire and electric shock hazards if not used properly. Fire and electrical hazards can be caused by space heaters without adequate safety features, space heaters placed near combustibles, or space heaters that are improperly plugged in.
Safety should always be a top consideration when using space heaters. Here are some tips for keeping your home safe and warm when it’s cold outside:
* Make sure your space heater has the label showing that it is listed by a recognized testing laboratory.
* Before using any space heater, read the manufacturer’s instructions and warning labels carefully.
* Inspect heaters for cracked or broken plugs or loose connections before each use. If frayed, worn or damaged, do not use the heater.
* Never leave a space heater unattended. Turn it off when you’re leaving a room or going to sleep, and don’t let pets or children play too close to a space heater.
* Space heaters are only meant to provide supplemental heat and should never be used to warm bedding, cook food, dry clothing or thaw pipes.
* Install smoke alarms on every floor of your home and outside all sleeping areas and test them once a month.
* Proper placement of space heaters is critical. Heaters must be kept at least three feet away from anything that can burn, including papers, clothing and rugs.
* Locate space heaters out of high traffic areas and doorways where they may pose a tripping hazard.
* Plug space heaters directly into a wall outlet. Do not use an extension cord or power strip, which could overheat and result in a fire. Do not plug any other electrical devices into the same outlet as the heater.
* Place space heaters on level, flat surfaces. Never place heaters on cabinets, tables, furniture, or carpet, which can overheat and start a fire.
* Always unplug and safely store the heater when it is not in use.
Space Heater Safety
Greensboro, NC (Aug. 7, 2017) – With Aug. 11 almost here, North Carolina 811 hopes this date on the calendar, 8/11, will serve as a natural reminder for residents to call 811 prior to any digging project to have underground utility lines marked. Every six minutes an underground utility line is damaged because someone decided to dig without first calling 811. Recently, Cape Hatteras and Ocracoke Island experienced an accidental power outage to a transmission line that affected many tourist and business owners during the peak summer season. Even though the outage was not a result of no locate ticket, using best practices while digging around utilities is critical.
When calling 811, homeowners and contractors are connected to North Carolina 811, the local one call center, which notifies the appropriate utility companies of their intent to dig. Professional locators are then sent to the requested digging site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags, spray paint or both.
Striking a single line can cause injury, repair costs, fines and inconvenient outages. Every digging project, no matter how large or small, warrants a call to 811. Installing a mailbox, building a deck, planting a tree and laying a patio are all examples of digging projects that need a call to 811 before starting.
“On Aug. 11 and throughout the year, we remind homeowners and professional contractors alike to call 811 before digging to eliminate the risk of striking an underground utility line,” said Louis Panzer, Executive Director for North Carolina 811, “It really is the only way to know which utilities are buried in your area.”
The depth of utility lines can vary for a number of reasons, such as erosion, previous digging projects, and uneven surfaces. Utility lines need to be properly marked because even when digging only a few inches, the risk of striking an underground utility line still exists.
Visit www.nc811.org or www.call811.com for more information about 811 and safe digging practices.
Whether buying or selling a home, it is always a good idea to get an understanding of where the home’s electrical system. We have worked with countless real estate agents, sellers and buyers to work up a free estimate for their home inspection report. Call our office to inquire about getting a FREE estimate – once we receive a report, we will look it over and work up an estimate to be emailed over. If you would like to schedule the repairs, we would be glad to set that up for you, as well!
As we wrap up National Electrical Safety Month with ESFI.org, I found a great article on air conditioning and fan safety to keep in mind as the weather gets warm.
Hot weather brings increased use of air conditioners. Contact with electric current from air conditioners accounts for a significant number of electrocutions and electrical injuries each year. ESFI recommends that you always contact a qualified, licensed electrician to perform any electrical work in your home, including the installation and services of air conditioning and other cooling equipment.
Facts and Statistics
* According to the CPSC, 15% of consumer-product related electrocutions are attributed to large appliances. These electrocutions occur most commonly while someone is attempting to service or repair the appliance.
* In 2006, an estimated 33,500 injuries were reported to hospital emergency rooms as involving air conditioners, fans, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, air purifiers, and heat pumps. The leading types of injuries were laceration (14,890), contusion or abrasion (6,110), and strain or sprain (4,430).
* In 2006, air conditioning or related equipment was involved in an estimated 7,400 reported U.S. home structure fires, with associated losses of 270 civilian injuries and $200 million indirect property damage.
* In 2003-2006, the 7,000 reported home structure fires per year involving air conditioning and related equipment included 2,400 per year involving central and room air conditioners specifically and 3,700 per year involving fans.
* In 1995-2003 (excluding 1999, which was not reported), there were 11.5 electrocution deaths per year involving air conditioners and 4.3 electrocution deaths per year involving fans.
Cooling Equipment Safety Tips
* Keep safety in mind when selecting cooling equipment for your home.
* Have a qualified, licensed electrician install and service any electrical equipment in your home.
* Have electric-powered equipment inspected and maintained regularly for safety.
* Make sure your equipment has the label showing that it is listed by a recognized testing laboratory.
ESFI.org has great tips on staying safe this summer in and around pools and spas.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that since 1990, there have been 60 electrocutions and nearly 50 serious electrical shocks involving electrical hazards in and around swimming pools.
Pool and Spa Safety Tips
* All outdoor receptacles should be covered to keep them dry. This is especially important around pools, spas and other summer water activities.
* Use a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) for electrical devices used outside to help prevent electrocutions and electric shock injuries.
* Make sure all electrical equipment used for swimming pools (even the cleaning equipment) is grounded.
* Electrical devices and cords should be kept at least 10 feet away from water sources such as pools and spas.
* Never handle electrical devices when you are wet – either from water activities or from perspiration.
* Make sure there are no power lines over a swimming pool.
* Do not swim during a thunderstorm.
* To avoid electric shock drowning, have an electrician inspect and upgrade your pool, spa or hot tub in accordance with applicable local codes and the National Electrical Code® (NEC).
Surge Protection – Keeping your Electronics and Home Safe