Smoke Detectors Minnesota

Smoke Detectors are More Important than Ever

Smoke Detectors are More Important than Ever

We're all spending a lot more time now at home than ever before - it's important to make sure you are protected against the unknown and keeping your family, and household safe these days means making sure those smoke detectors are up to date, functional, and up to code.

At Affordable Electric, we know that smoke detectors can only save lives if they are properly maintained and in good working condition. That is why our team of licensed electricians have put together some information on smoke detectors and how to properly maintain smoke detectors in your home.Fire Smoke Detectors in Minnesota

What are Smoke Detectors?

Smoke detectors are an important part of safety in a home, as these fire-protection devices will automatically detect and warn you of the presence of smoke and can save your life in the event of a fire. While it can be easy to forget to check and test smoke alarms on a regular basis, it is important to ensure that they are not only properly maintained but also correctly installed.

Why Use Smoke Detectors?

Having smoke detectors placed in various locations around your home allows for fast and effective detection. The smoke detector siren will warn you, day or night, that there is a potential fire, allowing you to quickly check the nature of the problem and hopefully prevent any damage. When placed in the right location, the smoke detector can also help firefighters quickly locate the fire in the home, allowing them to better focus their efforts.

How do Smoke Detectors Work?

Since smoke rises, smoke detectors are always placed on the roof for ideal detection. There are two common types of smoke detectors to choose from: photoelectric and ionization. Photoelectric sensors use a beam of light within the detector to sense any smoke in the air. The beam will shoot in a straight line when the air is clear. In the presence of smoke, the light will scatter, this is when the alarm will go off. Ionization detectors, on the other hand, use a chamber with a small electrical current. When smoke enters the chamber and the level of ions in the air changes, the electrical current drops and the alarm will sound. Each function is beneficial in different instances and because of this, one is not necessarily better than the other. It is, however, recommended to have one of each of these functions on each floor of your home and in high-risk areas, such as the kitchen or near fireplaces and heating appliances.

Smoke Detector Installation

It is recommended that there are smoke detectors on each floor of your home. If doors to rooms are closed often, it is best to have a detector installed in those rooms; however, smoke alarms should be placed away from rooms that create steam, such as bathrooms, as steam can trigger the smoke detector. Most smoke detectors use double sided tape to stick the device to the ceiling mount. In order to properly install a smoke detector, you will need to drill the mount to your ceiling and then attach the smoke detector to the sticky mount or hardwired mount.

Smoke Detector Maintenance Tips

Residential and Commercial Smoke Detectors or Alarms
Residential and Commercial Smoke Detectors or Alarms

In order to ensure that your smoke detectors are working as they should, it is important to perform regular testing and cleaning. Some of the regular maintenance that should be performed on smoke detectors include:

Testing Your Smoke Detector so just how often should you test your smoke detector?
Each smoke detector should be tested once every month to ensure that the battery is not dead and that the detector is operating properly. To test your smoke detector, hold down the test button until you hear a loud alert tone. If the smoke alarm is in a hard to reach place, try using a broom handle or long pole to
press the button. In some cases, you may need to press the button again to turn the detector off.

Vacuuming Your Smoke Detectors
Smoke detectors should be vacuumed at least once every six months in order to remove any dust buildup and cobwebs. When vacuuming smoke detectors, make sure to use a soft brush attachment around and along each of the vents.

Protecting Your Smoke Detector from Infestations
Using a surface insect spray around each of the smoke detector in your home can be a good way to help prevent insects from nesting inside; however, when spraying around smoke detectors, make sure they are covered to prevent spraying inside of them.

Replacing the Battery in a Smoke Detector
The smoke detectors battery may need to be replaced once a year. In most models, when the batteries are low, the detector will emit a short beeping sound every few minutes. It is important to note that not all smoke detectors have replaceable batteries, so you will need to check the manufacturer’s instructions before replacing the batteries in your smoke detectors.

When Should You Replace Your Smoke Detector?

Since smoke detectors work to constantly monitor the air 24 hours a day, they may begin to malfunction over time from exposure to accumulated dust, insects, airborne contaminants, and corrosion. Most smoke detectors will have an expiration or replace-by date stamped/printed on them; however, if your smoke detector does not have a date on it, it is important to replace it once every 10 years. At the end of 10 years, the smoke detector will have gone through millions of monitoring cycles and the components may have become less reliable.

Smoke detectors are vital to keeping your home and family safe. Affordable Electric can install smoke detectors around your home and position them to give you the best coverage. If you have any questions about smoke detectors or need assistance, please contact Affordable Electric at 612-331-8658 (VOLT).

3 Common Causes of Electrical House Fires and How to Prevent Them

3 Common Causes of Electrical House Fires and How to Prevent Them

Heres a quick overview to explore facets of  the  U.S.  fire  problem as  depicted  through  data collected  in  the  U.S.  Fire Administration’s  National Fire  Incident  Reporting. These can often times be preventable fires hazards. We take a look at 3 Common Causes of Electrical House Fires and How to Prevent Them.

Electricity is a basic part of life in the U.S. It provides the energy for most powered items in a home, from lights to heating systems to televisions. Today it is hard to imagine a home without electricity. It is a part of our homes and our activities that most of us take for granted. Yet, using electricity can have dangerous consequences.

Electrical fires occur frequently throughout the U.S., causing injury, claiming lives, and resulting in large losses of property.1 From 2014 to 2016, an estimated 24,000 residential building electrical fires were reported by U.S. fire departments annually. These fires caused an estimated 310 deaths, 850 injuries and $871 million in property loss. Residential building electrical fires continued to be a part of the residential fire problem and accounted for 6 percent of all residential building fires. The term “electrical fires” is defined as those fires that include electrical distribution, wiring, transformers, meter boxes, power switching gear, outlets, cords, plugs, surge protectors, electric fences, lighting fixtures, and electrical arcing as the source of heat.

  • From 2014 to 2016, an estimated 24,000 residential building electrical fires were
    reported to United States fire departments each year.
  • These fires caused an estimated 310 deaths, 850 injuries and $871 million in property loss.
  • Residential building electrical fires resulted in over twice the dollar loss per fire than residential building nonelectrical fires did.
  • Residential building electrical fires occurred most often in one- and two-family dwellings (83 percent).
  • Residential building electrical fires occurred most often in the winter month of January (12 percent).
  • In only 17 percent of residential building electrical fires, the fire spread was limited to the object where the fire started.
  • Residential building electrical fires most often started in bedrooms (15 percent) and attics or vacant crawl spaces (13 percent).
  • The leading specific items most often first ignited in residential building electrical fires were electrical wire, cable insulation (31 percent) and structural member or framing

3 Common Causes of Electrical House Fires and How to Prevent Them

Electrical Cords

The electrical cords that power appliances and fixtures are often the cause of electrical fires. Never use an electrical appliance with a worn or frayed cord – it can cause sparks, which can lead to fires. Also, extension cords should only be used for short-term use. Never use an extension cord for everyday use; it is a fire hazard.

Space Heaters

Especially in January in Minnesota, there are times you want more heat. Portable heaters are wonderful for warming up a cold room, but you need to be careful when using these appliances. Regardless of the type, you should never leave a space heater on when you are not in the room. Be careful of placing it too close to combustible materials, like curtains, furniture, and clothing.

Outlets and Circuits

Many electrical fires start in areas you cannot see – behind walls and in attics. Older wiring is a main cause of fires, especially in homes over 20 years old. Be aware of issues with your wiring. Do you have breakers that constantly trip or fuse problems? Have you noticed burn marks or heat coming from electrical outlets? These can be signs of bad wiring and unsafe electrical outlets. You should have your wiring inspected and updated if needed. This could prevent a deadly electrical fire that could put your home and family at risk.

 

At Affordable Electric, we are your source for reliable electrical service for your home or business in Minnesota. We offer electrical updates for older homes, and we can add more outlets in your home, to eliminate the need for extension cords. Contact us to schedule an appointment for an electrical safety evaluation. Take steps to prevent electrical fires in your home.

 

The Residential Building Electrical Fire Problem

Although electrical fires declined by 22 percent from 2007 to 2016, electrical malfunction was one of the top four leading causes of residential fires during each of these ten years. It has also been a leading cause of residential fire deaths, injuries and dollar loss during this time frame. Electrical fires involve the flow of electric current or static electricity and are caused by electrical system failures, appliance defects, incorrectly installed wiring, misuse and poor maintenance of electrical appliances, and overloaded circuits and extension cords. These electrical fires can be unique. For example, electrical fires that start in walls can smolder for some time and cause smoke not to be seen immediately and detection to be delayed. By the time smoke is seen and fire is detected, the flames may have already spread behind and within walls. As a result, electrical fires have the potential to spread farther and cause more damage and injuries. In addition, electrical fires can be particularly problematic to extinguish. Since they involve electricity, and water conducts electricity, using water to put out the fire can cause electrocution unless power is reliably disconnected.

Over the last 35 years, homes have been dramatically transformed by electrical devices. Today’s electrical demands can overburden the electrical system in a home, putting it at a higher risk of an electrical fire. This may be particularly true for homes more than 40 years old that have older wiring, electrical systems, and devices. There is also the likelihood that older homes may not comply with more modern electric code requirements, which puts them at an elevated risk of hazardous conditions that could lead to an electrical fire. Eventually, given enough time, any home can be at risk of an electrical fire as wire insulation ages, connections loosen, receptacles and switches come loose or wear out, and oil and dirt cause electrical components to overheat.

Types of Fires

Building fires are divided into two classes of severity in the NFIRS: “confined fires” and “non-confined fires.” Confined building fires are small fire incidents that are limited in extent to specific types of equipment or objects, staying within pots, fireplaces or certain other noncombustible containers. Confined fires rarely result in serious injury or large content loss and are expected to have no significant accompanying property loss due to flame damage. Non-confined fires extend beyond certain types of equipment or objects. They are generally larger fires resulting in more serious injury and larger losses of property and content.

For the purpose of the report, the terms “residential fires,” “electrical fires,” and “nonelectrical fires” are synonymous with “residential building fires,”

Hire an Electrician Who Can Work on a Schedule

Hire an Electrician Who Can Work on a Schedule

When you invest everything you have in a new build or renovation, there isn’t much room for error. One of the major pitfalls homeowners often encounter is delays that hold up a project. For every day tools are down, you are at risk of losing a considerable amount of money. 

Delay Budget Buffer

First and foremost, when you take on any kind of construction or remodeling project, it is important to budget for delays. It is inevitable something will go wrong. Building projects are complex, taking a great amount of coordination, labor and resources. For contractors, time is money, and delays may result in additional costs for breach of contract. 

By budgeting for delays, you will give yourself breathing room even in the worst-case scenario. If the project experiences minimal delays that don’t result in cost penalties, you can always use that money to purchase upgrades or to reinvest in your property. 

Reliable Electricians

Some contractors have greater potential to cause costly delays than others. Electricians are responsible for wiring the entire property, which must be completed before walls and ceilings are completed. This is referred to in the construction industry as “electrical rough-in.”

Other contractors are provided with a schedule for the completion of electrical work. If the electrician does not complete the work on time, it will result in a delay that impacts on your other contractors. It is therefore absolutely essential to hire a reliable electrician who values timely completion. 

Construction that is completed in stages only works when contractors work cooperatively to meet deadlines. When you are hiring contractors, always ask for references and look to the company’s value statement for commitment to high standards. 

If you need an electrician for a major project in Minnesota, Affordable Electric can guarantee the work will be completed on schedule. Call today for an accurate quote that won’t bust your budget. 

Why Do My Fuses Keep Blowing?

Why Do My Fuses Keep Blowing?

In many older homes, fuses are used to protect electrical circuits. The purpose of a fuse is to provide protection in the case of circuit overload and short circuits. If your home was built after the late 60s, it will have circuit breakers, or trip switches, installed that control the flow of electricity. Unlike a system that uses breakers that you can reset, a blown fuse needs replaced.

The Importance of Fuse Sizes

The size of the fuses you use is important because they are designed to protect against circuit overload. The fuse will not allow wires to conduct too much power. For instance, you may use a 15-amp circuit breaker for wiring that is 14-gauge or higher. If you use a higher amperage fuse to replace a blown fuse, it won’t effectively protect the circuit during overload. This can result in wires overheating and starting a fire. 

Causes of Blown Fuses

Having too many devices plugged into a circuit is the most common cause of fuses blowing. This is particularly true of power-hungry devices, such as toasters. Most homeowners assume this is what is causing the problem and work around the issue by limiting plugged-in devices. Another potential cause of fuses blowing is a short circuit. When a hot wire touches either the grounding pathway or a neutral wire, it results in the circuit shorting out. This is what commonly occurs when a mis-wired device is plugged into a circuit. 

If your fuses are frequently blowing, there could be a serious issue with one or more circuits in your home. At Affordable Electric, we are committed to providing our customers with excellence in electrical service repairs. Call our offices today to report a problem, and we will send an experienced electrician to inspect your circuits and carry out any necessary repairs.

The Importance of a Pre-Sale Electrical Inspection of Your Home

The Importance of a Pre-Sale Electrical Inspection of Your Home

Some homeowners and even real estate agents are of the assumption it’s the buyer’s responsibility to have the home they intend to purchase inspected by a reputable home inspector. However, any homeowner who has their property listed for sale should have the home inspected. One part of the home inspection not to be skipped is its electrical system.

Safety Above All

While you may not have noticed any problems with the electricity in your home, there may be an issue you aren’t aware of. Most homeowners aren’t aware of what to look for, such as charred wiring, and don’t have the tools to check if a wire is “hot” or not. A hot wire has a direct current to it. 

There are two reasons why a detailed inspection of your home’s electrical system is important. 1) You may decide not to sell the home at some point, and you need to know the issues that should be fixed. 2) If you sell the home to someone else, you will either need to disclose the wiring issues to them or make repairs before signing paperwork. By law, you have to disclose issues you find via an inspection, but you also want the new homeowners to be safe. 

Upgrading to Modern Standards

During an electrical system inspection of a home you intend to sell, there may be no current problems, but you will likely realize some out-of-date electrical items or wiring. Electrical codes are updated often, based on newer and safer technology. If there are no safety issues with the electric in the home you plan to sell, it may be okay to leave it as is. A newly upgraded electrical system can keep the buyer from having to go through the inconvenience, not to mention the cost. This can raise your asking price considerably.

Understanding the Buyer’s Needs

Safety problems need to be addressed before a sale can go through. However, if the electrical system is okay but outdated, you have some thinking to do. The best option is to talk to the realtors of any prospective buyers and ask them whether they would be willing to pay more if you invested more in a new electrical system for the house. A new electrical system means the new owners can utilize all their new technology, smart-home integrations and more, without having to invest right away in the home.

 

If you’re considering putting your home on the market, whether in six weeks or six months, call Affordable Electric. We can come out and inspect the electrical system in your home to make sure it’s ready for a sale. If it isn’t, we can make necessary repairs and upgrades so it is. We might even make your home better than brand new, so making that decision to put it on the market might be a little harder. Call us today at 612-331-8658!

Outdoor Lighting Electricians Minnesota

4 Questions to Ask When Choosing Outdoor Light Fixtures

How to Choose the Right Outdoor Light Fixtures

With so many varieties of outdoor light fixtures available today, it’s not always easy to choose the right one for your home. However, a few practical rules can help you narrow down your options quickly so that you can move on to the fun part – picking out your lights!

When you’re selecting an outdoor light fixture, Lights Online recommends keeping these four questions in mind:

  1. What style do I want?Is your home’s architecture stately and elegant? Angular and contemporary? Craftsman? Spanish? If you’re not sure what style your home is or what style you like, that’s OK. Pick out some lights you like, take a look at them side-by-side and see if there’s a common thread between them that you like. This can help you discover your personal style. (You can also take a look at Lighting Styles 101 for more!)
  2. Are there any state or local ordinances I should be aware of? Some states, like California, require outdoor light fixtures to be energy efficient or Dark Sky certified to reduce light pollution. Be aware of these requirements in your area before you buy.
  3. How much light am I looking for? The single most important factor when choosing an outdoor light fixture is its lighted appearance and effect at night. In general, you want to use multiple outdoor light fixtures together to avoid too much brightness in a single fixture.
  4. Is this light durable enough?Consider the climate of your home. Most outdoor light fixtures are now treated with special coatings to weather the elements. If you’re using an outdoor wall light or post light, make sure it’s wet area rated for direct exposure to rain. If you’re using a hanging lantern under a covered area, it can be damp area rated, which means it should not be directly exposed to rain. For areas like beach and lake homes, you may want to consider an outdoor light fixture made of sturdy materials, such as a marine-grade resin.

Ready to install some outdoor lighting? Now is the time! Call us at 612-331-8658 to schedule an appointment.

For help with any electrical needs, contact Affordable Electric today. Our electricians in Minneapolis are fully equipped to perform any job. If you need an emergency electrician, we’re here 24/7. When you want reliable service with quality products, you want Affordable Electric!

Landscape Lighting 101

Landscape Lighting 101

Lighting your yard is an overwhelming task. Too little light and you can’t enjoy your yard to its fullest, too much light and it creates an unsafe atmosphere. If you’re struggling to find the balance, don’t lose hope. Better Homes and Gardens offers some basic tips for landscape lighting:

The Basics

How light is seen during the day is different from how it is seen at night, a particularly important distinction when it comes to lighting pathways and other outdoor spaces. However, certain principles about lighting remain true.

For starters, light has intensity, or quantity emitted, and color. The color of a particular lightbulb can be found on the packaging; it is a number that ranges from 1800 kelvins (K), which is very red in tone, to 7500 K, which is a bluish white.

Whether indoors or outdoors, lighting is generally divided into three layers based on function.

  • Overall: Overall light provides illumination for a whole room or space.
  • Task: Task lighting is used for a specific purpose, such as to light a path.
  • Accent: Accent lighting draws attention to an object or area. This is usually accomplished with spotlights or floodlights.

A variety of bulbs are suitable for outdoor fixtures. Incandescent bulbs emit pleasing light but have a short life and consume more electricity. Halogen bulbs are more efficient versions of incandescents, typically with a longer life and less energy consumption. Fluorescents are now available in a more pleasing color range, last much longer, and consume less energy. While LED bulbs are more expensive, their costs — which continue to decline — are balanced by their extraordinarily long life and extremely low energy consumption.

Landscape lights that are located near a building with electricity can easily be integrated into your home’s wiring system. Solar landscape lighting options exist, too, to power your landscape lights.

Outdoor Lighting Issues

Outdoor lighting issues differ from those of indoor light. For example, reflection is less an issue outdoors because most surfaces are dark and do not reflect light well. However, position and shielding are more important in outdoor landscape lighting in order to prevent glare.

Glare happens when a light source is too big or too bright; it can be blinding because it reflects directly in people’s eyes. Exterior landscape lighting also needs to be particularly sensitive to direct versus indirect light. Direct outdoor landscape light, such as a downlight outside a side entry door, will brighten mostly the object it is directed at and little of the surroundings. Indirect light reflects on the surrounding surfaces to create a soft wash.

Lighting Placement

While lighting can be placed virtually anywhere, some spots make it an absolute must. Those include:

Paths: A well-lit path is both welcoming and required, providing illumination that extends hospitality to visitors and makes walking more secure. High illumination isn’t necessary, and downlights will prevent glare. Individually lit pavers can also be used to light a pathway.

Entries: Place lights either to each side of a door or overhead at front, back, and side entry doors.

Driveway: Low-voltage landscape lighting is a good option along a driveway.

Steps: Steps should be lighted for safety; either the risers or the treads can be lit.

Decks or Patios: Lighting can be used to illuminate specific task areas on a deck or patio, such as a kitchen or cooking spot, as well as railings and seating areas. Uplighting, which is harder to accomplish outside, can be used on a deck or patio to send light upward on an umbrella or deck “ceiling” for an indirect effect.

Gazebos, Pergolas, or Trellises: Lighting is a good way to highlight an interesting built element in the outdoor landscape.

Architectural Features: Outdoor landscape lighting can be used to highlight a wall, for example, by washing it or grazing it. When a wide beam of light is aimed at a wall from a few feet away, it creates a wall wash. A light used to graze a wall creates interesting highlights and shadows. Both will provide a little accent to nearby plants.

In addition, a range of fixtures is available for nearly every spot, including wall fixtures, sconces, portable lamps, chandeliers, and ceiling fans. However, any fixture used outdoors should be rated for “UL wet location” use.

Outdoor Light Pollution

Too much light, or poorly installed lighting, can create unwanted light pollution that shines into indoor rooms, washes out the view of the stars, creates glare that temporarily blinds people, and wastes energy and money. To avoid light pollution:

  • Aim lights carefully. Position lights at night and check their position frequently.
  • Shield bulbs. Use fixtures that have reflectors and shielding to concentrate light where you want it.
  • Minimize wattage. Higher wattage will create harsher light without improving aesthetics or increasing safety. Low-wattage bulbs are often enough to provide illumination.
  • Control the light. Separately zoned lights with timers, controls, dimmers, or motion sensors will turn on lights only when needed or enable them to be turned down as necessary.

Ready to install some outdoor lighting? Now is the time. We’re offering $25 ANY service now through 6/15/17. Call us at 612-331-8658 for more details!

For help with any electrical needs, contact Affordable Electric today. Our electricians in Minneapolis are fully equipped to perform any job. If you need an emergency electrician, we’re here 24/7. When you want reliable service with quality products, you want Affordable Electric!

11 Tips for Outdoor Lighting Safety

Summer will be here soon, and with it comes more time spent outside. If you’re looking at some outdoor lighting to light your way, you may be wondering what to use. What’s safe for your yard? What will last for years to come? And if you have children, outdoor lighting safety is extremely important.

Bill Lewis of The Spruce outlines the top 11 tips for safe outdoor lighting:

1. Install Outdoor-Rated Fixtures

If you’re installing a lighting fixture outdoors, it must be designed and built to be there. For two quick examples, a light that’s under your porch roof and never gets wet needs to be rated for damp locations, or say “outdoor” on it, because it will still get damp, cold and hot, and it needs to be able to take that.

A wall fixture that goes next to your door but doesn’t have a roof over it needs a higher rating — weatherproof, weather resistant and “suitable for wet locations” are the words you’re looking for.

2. Use Outdoor-Rated Light Bulbs

In an exposed fixture such as an outdoor flood light, most of us think of this. But it’ll pay you in terms of the life of the bulb and the ease of replacing it to do the same with your porch light. If you’re having trouble finding a standard bulb that’s rated for outdoor use, check the fine print on some appliance bulbs. If it can survive in a freezer or an oven, it can probably survive outdoors.

3. Don’t Overlamp a Fixture

Most fixtures, indoor or outdoor, will have a sticker or label that says “Maximum Wattage: 60W”, or 75W or 100W. Whatever it says, respect that. It’s there to keep you from putting in a light bulb that will overheat the wiring in the fixture, which will damage the insulation on the wires. What does matter, BTW, is the actual wattage of the bulb — not the “incandescent equivalent.” If you’re putting a CFL bulb in a fixture with a 60W rating, for example, you can use one that draws any amount of power up to 60W (which would put out more light than a 200W incandescent bulb).

4. Use Outdoor-Rated Extension Cords

The extension cords we use indoors are made for that. They’re usually light and flexible, so they’re easy to keep out of the way. And they’re definitely not made to stand up to getting wet. Buy and use only outdoor-rated extension cords for any temporary lighting you’re connecting outside your house.

5. Use Decorative Lights Made for Outdoor Use

If you want to hang some lighted pumpkins or skulls or candy canes or icicles on your eaves or porch railing, only use ones that are made to go there. The labeling should say “indoor” or “indoor/outdoor” or “outdoor.” Keep the ones that say “indoor” inside. Either of the other two is built to take outside.

6. Watch Out for Flammable Materials

I wasn’t really thinking of the materials the product is made from when I put this in my notes, but that applies too. What I was really thinking of, though, was being careful to keep lighting materials that generate heat, like many light bulbs, away from other materials that can ignite and burn easily.

An accent light under a manger to give it a glow may be just the effect you’re looking for in your nativity scene, for example. But if you’ve also scattered a lot of hay, or straw, around the stable, the effect you get might be a little bit different.

7. Install Weather-Resistant Receptacles

You should always plug temporary outdoor loads into outdoor receptacles, rather than running a cord out through a doorway or window from one of the receptacles inside your house, and those receptacles need to be weather-resistant. Even though they’ll have special outdoor covers over them, the receptacles themselves need to be able to take dampness, freezing and heat without being damaged. They need to be rated as weather-resistant.

8. Install GFCI Protection

GFCI, or Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter, protection is one of the most important electrical safety improvements of the last forty years. We have it installed in our kitchens, our bathrooms, our garages, even our attics, crawl spaces and unfinished basements. It’s required anywhere we might be plugging something in while we’re grounded. And that certainly includes when we’re standing out in the yard.

If the wiring that feeds your outdoor receptacle has GFCI protection from a circuit breaker or some other GFCI device upstream, you can install a standard weather-resistant receptacle in the outside box. But if it doesn’t, then you need to install a GFCI receptacle there. Weather-resistant, of course.

9. Install a Cover for Damp Locations Under a Roof

If you have an outdoor receptacle that’s on your porch or your screened-in patio or in some other location that’s protected from direct protection, then you can cover it with a “trap door” cover that will close, and keep it protected, when nothing id plugged into it — and it’s OK, then, to plug something into that receptacle and leave it there for a few days. These covers will be marked “Suitable For Damp Locations.”

10. Install a Cover for Wet Locations in the Open

If your outdoor receptacle isn’t under a roof or some other protective cover. it needs to have a special cover, known as as “in -use” cover, over it. As the name implies, these covers will keep the receptacle, and the plug that’s in it, dry — even in the rain.

11. Attach Holiday Lights with Non-Metal Non-Binding Materials

Be careful when you’re attaching temporary lighting strings and ornaments. Don’t use something that might damage the wires, and avoid anything with metal in it. Metal conducts electricity. Plastic cable ties are one popular and inexpensive choice for this task.

Ready to install some outdoor lighting? Now is the time. We’re offering $25 ANY service now through 6/15/17. Call us at 612-331-8658 for more details!

For help with any electrical needs, contact Affordable Electric today. Our electricians in Minneapolis are fully equipped to perform any job. If you need an emergency electrician, we’re here 24/7. When you want reliable service with quality products, you want Affordable Electric!

4 Ways to Increase Your Home’s Beauty with Outlets

Think outlets have to be boring, blah and basic? There’s no reason why your outlets have to be plain old beige. We recommend LeGrand outlets for all our style-conscious clients. They have a number of lines for any need and budget.

Our personal favorite is the adorne® collection, which combines the best of both style and function. These sleek plates come in white or magnesium, with a border available in any color. Shop the full collection on their website. Choose the best outlet for your needs:

 

USB

How would you like to charge your cell phone or mobile devices anywhere in your home? The USB outlet makes it easy to charge your devices anywhere, anytime. We recommend the USB outlet for high-traffic areas, like the living room and kitchen.

 

POP-OUT™ OUTLET

Hide your outlets when they’re not in use. The adorne Pop-Pout Outlet seamlessly blends into the wall. Pushing on the center reveals an outlet with three plugs. Push again and it slides back into the wall.

 

Standard Outlet

Don’t let the name fool you – this outlet is anything but standard. Choose the color that matches your décor and the power you need. For an added bonus, try the energy saving on/off outlet to reduce your electric bill. If you need more room for large items or appliances, try a Plus-Size Outlet.

 

Wi-FI Ready Outlet

If you’re always on the hunt for the latest technology, this is the outlet for you. It can configure with the adorne SofTap or the Touch™ Dimmer Switch to control your light output.

For help with any electrical needs, contact Affordable Electric today. Our electricians in Minneapolis are fully equipped to perform any job. If you need an emergency electrician, we’re here 24/7. When you want reliable service with quality products, you want Affordable Electric!

New GFCI Outlet Requirements Create a Safer Home

Keep Your Family Safe with Updated GFCI Outlets

Ground-fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI) outlets are important to create a safe environment in your home. They protect you from any dangers of utilizing outlets near water supplies such as sinks or outdoor surfaces. GFCI receptacles constantly monitor any electrical circuit that is connected to it.

A ground fault is a conducting connection, both intentional and accidental, between an electric conductor and conducting material that is grounded or may become grounded. Electricity likes to find a path to the ground, but when it does it is unwelcome and may become in contact with a person.

If a GFCI outlet detects even a slight flow of electricity to a grounded item, it immediately shuts off the flow of electricity. This is a safety measure, as the flow of electricity may have found its way through water or a person. This protects people from electrocution. If one’s body starts to receive a shock, the GFCI senses that and cuts all power connected before any injuries occur.

Garages, bathrooms, laundry rooms and kitchens are the main locations in your home that is required to have GFCI outlets. Generally, they replace your regularly installed outlets that supply electricity for appliances or power tools that may become in contact with water. You will usually see these near kitchen and bathroom sinks. These are then used as a replacement for standard circuit breakers and provide GFCI protection to all receptacles in that individual circuit.

Be sure to test each one monthly, to make sure that they are operating properly. To test, simply plug in a lamp, the easiest item to utilize to test. Turn the lamp on, to make sure that the lamp itself is working properly. With the light on, push in the “test” button on your GFCI outlet. This should trip the outlet and turn the light off. If the lamp does not turn off, the circuit may be faulty or installed improperly. Once you have tested the outlet and the lamp has turned off, push in the “reset” button and the lamp should turn back on.

With these new installations and updates, you can be sure that your home is safer for you and your family. If there are any problems, contact us for assistance.