Monthly Archives: July 2014

Home Electrical Fires

How To Protect Your Home From Electrical Fires

Fire departments across the country respond to almost 48,000 fires caused by electrical failure or malfunction every year. These fires are often caused by simple fixes overlooked by homeowners.

Not all electrical fires can be prevented, of course, but there are a few basic steps homeowners can take to make their homes a little safer.

Step One: No Frayed Wires

Frayed wires happen throughout the home. Small appliances, Christmas lights, and lamps are all prone to broken and frayed wires.

While it’s easy to think a little electrical tape will keep you safe, it’s not a long term solution. You should discard and replace any frayed wires you find as quickly as possible in order to prevent potential electrical fires.

Appliance wire can be found at any hardware store, and replacing a few wires on a small appliance is an easy fix for most people. If you’re not big on DIY, though, replace the appliance rather than risk using frayed wires.

Step Two: Don’t Overload the Circuits

The easiest thing you can do to protect your home is to avoid overloading the circuits.

The circuits in your home are only designed to deliver so much energy. Using too much energy in a given outlet can cause wires to spark or break down.

Avoid power strips whenever possible, limiting plug use to the available two outlets. If you have an older home, consider rewiring your whole home to update your energy supply.

Step Three: Make Sure All Electrical Products Are Safe

This is also an easy fix. All electrical products–batteries, night lights, extension cords, and surge protectors–should have a label from Underwriters Laboratories.

Underwriters Laboratories is the global electrical safety standards organization. If they haven’t approved a product, it may not be safe for use.

Step Four: Replace Any Old Wiring

Finally, you can also protect your family from fires by replacing any old wires in your home.

Electrical wiring is only meant to last 30-40 years. Homes older than that were also not made to handle the amount of electricity we use in the 21st century. Too much stress on the system deteriorates the wires and puts you at risk.

If your home is older than 30 years, you almost certainly need new wiring.

Contact us at Schaffhouser Electric, and we’ll be happy to assess all of your wiring needs.

Electrical Contractor

What To Consider When Hiring An Electrical Contractor

So, you’ve decided on an electrical project for your home or business. If it isn’t a do-it-yourself project, the next step is to find an electrical contractor.

Contractors come in all shapes and sizes, and picking one can seem almost as overwhelming as the project itself.

But it doesn’t have to be. Here are a few things to pay attention to when hiring an electrical contractor.

Cost and Trust

The first step to finding a contractor is to ask around for recommendations. Friends, family, and coworkers are all possible sources for good referrals. You can also find honest, anonymous reviews on contractors from websites like Angie’s List.

Once you have a few referrals, it’s time to meet with the contractors. Don’t just hire the first person you talk to. Meet with several contractors and get estimates on the work you want done. This will get you the best price, as well as ensure that you will work well with the contractor.

Safety, Safety, Safety

Cost is obviously a factor when picking a contractor, but it should never be the only factor. An unknown guy from Craigslist could end up costing you more money in the long run than a more expensive professional.

Is the contractor licensed, bonded, and insured? Do they have a warranty on their work and supplies? Will they be responsible for making sure all work is up to code?

These are basic thing that any contractor worth hiring will be able to provide. Don’t run the risk of safety and warranty issues just to save some money.

Professionalism

Ultimately a contractor is a small business owner. Expect them to act like it.

Being on time and respectful is important. You should also expect all contracts to be in writing and for the contractor to communicate with you about any issues that come up as the project moves forward.

Save yourself the headache of working with unprofessional or sloppy contractors. There are too many good ones out there to waste time and money on subpar candidates.

Finding a good electrical contractor should be a thorough process, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. If you pick the contractor with the best estimate for his reputation, safety credentials, and professionalism, you’ll be well on your way to a successful electrical project.

Contact Schaffhouser Electric today.