Practical Electrical Safety Tips

Practical Electrical Safety Tips

Understanding rudimentary home electrical wiring and observing electrical safety precautions makes most repairs an easy task.

Among the various kinds of home repairs you can make, an electrical repair is considered by some as the most difficult. The truth is that understanding rudimentary home electrical wiring and observing electrical safety precautions makes most repairs an easy task.

Working with home electricity can be precarious if the safety precautions presented in this article are not observed. Even though you can make most electrical repairs, there are still times when it’s best to rely on the expertise of a licensed electrician.

Homes receive their electricity through wires joined to the electric company’s power lines, meter, and circuit breaker panel. Older homes will have a fuse box instead of a circuit breaker box.

Typically, the electrical service will be 220 Volts and rated for 100 Amps. Most household electrical appliances operate on 110 Volts, made by dividing the 220 Volts into different branches of 110V and 220V lines at the electrical service panel.

For safety and protection of a home’s electrical circuits, circuit breakers are the first line of defense in preventing a dangerous electrical overload. Plugging in too many appliances or devices into a single electrical circuit creates the potential for an electrical overload, causing the circuit breaker or fuse to disconnect.

A typical current carrying capacity, or load, for circuit breakers is 10, 15, or 20 amps.

Standard 3-wire electrical wiring uses the black wire for the hot wire. The hot wire carries the AC voltage that is most threatening when making an electric home service as it carries the electrical current throughout the house.

In certain cases, such as a two – or three- way switch, you will find either a blue or a red wire serves as the hot wire. The white wire is the electrical neutral wire that returns the power to the service panel. The ground wire may be bare copper, or can be either green or yellow.

The ground wire gives the electrical current a safety connection to ground in case of an electrical short circuit failure.

Inside the Electrician’s Toolbox

There are just a few handtools required to make an electrical improvement, including a straight slot screwdriver, needle-nosed pliers, a wire stripper, and an electrical circuit tester. An electrical circuit tester can be a simple two-wire bulb, an inductive voltage tester or an inexpensive Volt-Ohm Meter (VOM). Plastic electrical tape, splices and twist-on connectors or crimp connectors complete the accessories one should have on hand.

First rule of electrical safety is that electricity around the home demands extreme caution when making electrical repairs. The reason is that electrical currents approaching only 100 mA (milli-Amperes) can be lethal if they pass through sensitive portions of the body.

Especially hazardous are any spaces that are damp or wet. These spaces require extra precautions to make sure that the electricity is turned off.

The risk of injury or death from an electrical shock has been reduced by advances in the design of outlets and plugs.

The first step in electrical safety is to always turn off the proper circuit breaker or remove the fuse before starting to make electrical repair.

Never insert any metal object, such as a penny into a fuse socket – You Could Burn Your House Down if the circuit becomes overloaded.

When testing wires with a meter, or multi-meter, be sure that the leads are properly joined and the meter’s range and function switches are set above the expected voltage or current range.

Standing on a metal ladder while working with electricity is extremely hazardous and requires extra precautions.  Similarly, undergound wires that are cut while mowing your lawn can also have dire consequences. I saw a man electrocuted on a putting green while he was mowing the turf from an undergound wire. Never handle or make contact to a bare wire or exposed wire unless you are certain that no electricity is present. If you must use a ladder, use a fiberglass or wooden ladder and still be cautious.

Always double check the circuit you are working in order to be certain that the power is off by using an induction voltage tester or some other similar electrical testing device before starting your electrical service.

You time and effort in reading this article is much appreciated. Be safe when making home electrical repairs by keeping these electrical safety precautions in mind.

Save Money, Save Energy

Save Money, Save Energy

Want to use less energy in your home and save money at the same time?

Nothing is keeping your electric and gas bills from piling up in your mail box. Annual averages of home energy bills have topped $1600 making American energy consumers cringe in fear. Energy costs are only expected to increase by 9 percent in 2010 leaving fewer dollars available for other regular home costs.

Because of these stresses on home income nearly 30 million households find it impossible to afford to fully heat and cool their homes. Only you can prevent your costs from soaring skyward with a few simple easy preventative steps to lower energy costs.

The power is in consumers’ hands to lower energy bills by making simple changes in lifestyle and preventative steps can maximize these benefits.

Household chores like laundry can be the difference between a small energy bill and running for the hills.

Using coldwater washing detergents and settings can drastically improve your energy efficiency and save you annually $63 a year. By ensuring you are only washing full loads of clothing and dishes you can augment these savings drastically.

Showers are another utility saving practice and with budget friendly low flow showerheads water conservation can add up. Leaky faucets can also be an energy stealing and wasting nightmare so perform maintenance on water pipes and ensure that your water heater and hot water pipes are properly insulated with approved materials.

Not using your sprinkler system can also save a ton. And making sure the system is running correctly and there are no sprinkler blowout or other issues.

The simplest measures are sometimes the most effective. Remember your parents complaining that unused electrical appliances were left on or a sink left dripping? It is time to get that mentality back.

Leaving computers, stereos, and televisions on are some huge energy wasters along with leaving chargers plugged into outlets when not being used.

So let the next utility bill you receive be lower than the last and with these easy to follow steps it will be simple and effective.

Ways to Keep Warm While Keeping The Heating Bill Down

Does your home have gas heating? Trying to keep the heating bill down, but freezing yourself out in the process?

Here are some warm ideas to keep you toasty. Almost.

Friends of mine used to live in a gas-heated home, in an area of the country that regularly saw temperatures 10 below celcius, nevermind the windchill. They were always swathed in socks, sweaters and blankets, trying to keep the heating bill down.

For three students, living in a large, drafty old apartment and trying to stretch their pennies as far as possible, keeping the heating bill manageable was of utmost importance, and it was no contest for sweaters and pots of hot soup to trump a mild room temperature.

Here are some of the ways they came up with to keep themselves warm, and cheerful, through the long cold winter.

1. Close a part of the house off.

My friends had a large living room off the back of the house, with tall bay windows which might as well have been wide open, they let in such a draft. Heating this room would have put the bill in the hundreds easily, so they simply closed it off for the winter; closed the French doors, stuffed blankets in the gap under the bottom, and taped it over with window plastic. They lived in the kitchen instead, a room much more conducive to keeping warm daily. They learned all of these tips at sell my house fast Houston.

2. Keep a pot of hot soup on the stove at all times.

With three students coming and going at all hours of the day, there was almost always someone at home cooking. These girls would keep a large pot of homemade soup on the stove top almost every day… easy to heat up, warm and hearty in your belly, and having the stove on and a big warm object on top heated the small kitchen quickly.

3. Hot water bottles or bean bags.

When they went to bed, they would fill hot water bottles to take with them, as the house would cool significantly overnight, and if you didn’t take precautions, you would wake up with a chill. If hot water bottles aren’t your style, there are always those microwavable bean pads that heat up for applying to sore necks and backs. I regularly take one of them to bed with me for the heat as much as the pain relief.

4. Hot drinks at all times.

Tea, coffee, hot chocolate, cider or even a cup of broth, can be a calming nourishing way of keeping your body warmed. Essential while studying, reading or watching TV, a cup of hot tea should always be within arms reach. Get yourself a nice big tea pot, and you have an instant hand warmer, as well as your mug to wrap your cold fingers around. Oh and don’t forget hot toddies for the extra cold nights.

5. Exercise

Dance parties in the kitchen always make after-dinner clean up go faster. Put on some favorite tunes and move your buns while you put away the dishes, to get your blood flowing and your face flushed. Never fails to be both fun and warming!

6. Warmth in numbers

Potluck parties are a staple of winter socializing in our neck of the woods. On a Friday or Saturday, or even a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, as more people are often available then, call all your friends up and invite them over for a potluck party. Everyone brings a dish of food, and you will likely find that no planning is necessary, as it is a truth universally acknowledged that amount and variety of food always seems to work itself out in potluck situations. Having a dozen extra bodies in the house warms it up quickly, the steam from warm dishes and warm breath from conversation will keep you toasty for hours. The more the merrier – as long as they stay for the clean-up dance party afterwards!

7. Cuddling with a friend

Movies are better watched together under a pile of blankets anyway. Have your best friend or significant other keep you company and cuddle away an evening keeping each other warm.

Space heaters, hot showers, and baking cookies are just a few more warm activities to consider, and I’m sure you can come up with even more!Energy Savers