What to Do During an Electrical Fire

Regardless of how much you prepare for an electrical fire, accidents still happen. According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), more than 50,000 electrical fires occur in U.S. homes a year. Electrical fires are caused by damaged outlets, broken appliances, overheating stoves, and even outdated electrical systems. Although the professionals at The Happy Outlet emphasize taking preventative measures to avoid electrical fires, households must also be prepared in the event that one occurs in the home.

An electrical fire can extremely dangerous, but by staying calm and acting accordingly, you’ll be able to keep your family safe and possibly save your home. Whether it’s a small, contained fire from an appliance or electronic – or one that has started from an electrical system, it is imperative that you act quickly. The experts at The Happy Outlet are dedicated to the safety of Carson City homeowners and have compiled some essential steps for dealing with electrical fires.

Safely Extinguish the Fire

  • If the fire is small and contained (from an appliance) you can extinguish it by smothering it with baking soda.
  • Larger fires require the use of a fire extinguisher, but only use type C fire extinguishers, as they are designed to handle fires specifically from electrical equipment.
  • Do not attempt to put out a fire with water, as this will conduct the electricity and cause severe damage or injury.

Shut Off the Electrical Flow

  • If a fire has started from an electrical appliance, quickly cutting off the power from the source (the circuit breaker box) is an important step.
  • Safely unplug the appliance that has caused the fire (after cutting off the power), this will ensure there are no surges after the power is returned.
  • An electrical fire that has started from your electrical system can sometimes go undetected until it’s too late. However, if you notice smoke or burn marks coming from an outlet or light switch, you will also want to cut off the power from the source.

Quickly Evacuate Your Home

  • If you are unable to extinguish the flame, you and your family must leave your home immediately.
  • Find the nearest door or window that has the shortest path to the outside.
  • Do not attempt to take any belongings with you, as electrical fires can grow rapidly.
  • Do not reenter your home for any reason until deemed safe.
  • Even if you managed to extinguish the flame, leave your home to avoid inhaling the smoke and gas.

Call the Police Immediately

  • Police must be notified for any electrical emergency, meaning you must call them as soon as possible.
  • Stay at a safe distance from your home and wait for firefighters to arrive at the scene.
  • Do not reenter your home under any circumstance, unless a firefighter has deemed it safe.

By following these steps during an electrical fire, you’ll be able to keep your family safe. Be sure to take preparative methods as well; plan an escape route, keep objects away from doors and windows, and have a type C fire extinguisher in your home. The professionals at The Happy Outlet are well equipped to further protect your home from an electrical fire, as our electrical safety services can help you maintain both efficiency and safety in your Carson City home. Give us a call at 775-841-9473 to schedule an electrical safety inspection today!

 

Do I Need an Electrical Panel Upgrade?

An electrical panel holds the circuits and distributes power to your electrical system, and maintaining its functionality is a must. But you don’t want to spend money on an improvement that doesn’t really offer anything, essentially wasting your money. On the flip side, you can’t disregard a necessary upgrade, as going without one might exacerbate a recurring electrical problem. Fortunately, there are common signs that point out your electrical panel might need an upgrade. Identifying these issues will give you peace of mind as you consider the best option for your Carson City home.

The experts at The Happy Outlet have compiled a list of signs to be aware of:

Noticeable Panel Damage

  • Cracks, corrosion, and loose connections are a sure sign your panel requires an upgrade.
  • Check for any burn marks, or if the panel feels warm to the touch.
  • Damage to a panel can be caused by faulty wiring, short circuits, and deterioration from age.
  • Damaged panels require immediate attention, as letting them persist can cause serious damage to your electrical system.

Constant Tripping

  • Electrical panels are designed to distribute power to your home via circuit breakers, but if this power reaches a dangerous level, your panel trips to avoid damage or an electrical fire.
  • Constant tripping means your panel either cannot handle the current voltage, or there is a problem with the electrical system itself.
  • Regardless of the reason, having your panel trip regularly means an upgrade is needed.

Flickering Lights

  • Flickering lights can mean your panel is not working properly, especially if it happens when you turn on another appliance.
  • If you turn on an appliance and your lights begin to flicker, this means power is fluctuating rapidly, and your panel is not properly handling the levels of voltage.
  • Damaged or older panels are often ill-equipped to handle the power in your home, and an upgrade is needed to restore your electrical system back to normal.

Older than 20 Years Old

  • Panels tend to have a lifespan of about 20-35 years, and often during this time it begins to deteriorate, along with an inability to handle the voltage of modern homes.
  • When your panel is outdated, appliances may not work at full power, and overloads tend to be common.
  • If you are unsure about your panel’s age, contact an electrical professional to perform a quick inspection.

Adding A New Renovation/Appliance

  • When you upgrade any part of your home that involves electricity, your electrical panel must be able to handle the electrical load.
  • New appliances, builds, and renovations all require more electricity, and upgrading your panel will ensure your electrical system adapts to the required usage.

Your electrical panel is a crucial part of your home, and using this information will help determine if an upgrade is needed. If you are ready to schedule your panel upgrade with professionals you can depend on, contact The Happy Outlet today! We are Carson City’s number-one electrical company, and our electrical panel services guarantee you receive both affordability and quality for your home. Give us a call at 775-841-9473 to schedule an appointment and meet your trusted electricians.

The Safety Benefits of GFCIs

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlets are an important part in any household. Their capabilities span beyond a normal electrical outlet. They are a safe, modern outlet that guarantees protection for your household. GFCI outlets are designed to protect against electrical shock from short circuits, and are required in homes today, specifically bathrooms and kitchens. A GFCI outlet can easily be identified by the test and reset buttons that are in between the plugs on the outlet. Knowing where your GFCI outlets are is important, but you should also be mindful of the safety benefits they possess.

The experts at The Happy Outlet have compiled some essential information on the safety benefits of GFCI outlets.

Personal Safety

  • A GFCI is dedicated to keep those in your home safe from electrical shock.
  • Electricity can dangerous, and you may not always know if you are at risk of shock.
  • With GFCIs ability to limit the severity of short circuit damage, your personal protection is increased greatly while you use your electrical system.

Fire Prevention

  • Preventing shock means preventing chances of fire.
  • Electrical fires are a major danger to homes, and their occurrence increases during the winter.
  • Electrical fires are usually caused by electricity heating up flammable material such as cloth, further spreading flame to other areas of a home.
  • Halting electrical shock via GFCI offers strong prevention from any sort of electrical fire, and reduces the risk of damaging your home.

Damage Reduction

  • Not only does electric shock lead to fires, it can also cause damage to your appliances and electrical devices.
  • Plugging in an appliance only to have the outlet short circuit can severely damage your appliance and ruin the circuitry immediately.
  • A GFCI outlet shuts down an electric power circuit when it detects a current flowing through an unintended path – which can hurt appliances and other electrical devices.

Child Safety

  • Children, when left unattended, can be curious about electrical outlets.
  • A GFCI acts as the strongest line of defense for your children and accidental shock, and are known to save lives on many occasions.
  • GFCI outlets offer substantial protection for your children, and we recommend having added safety such as plastic covers for your plugs and outlets.

GFCI outlets are more than just an outlet; they are what keep your home electrically safe. If you are ready to receive the highest level of safety for your home, contact The Happy Outlet today! We are the trusted electrical company of Carson City, and our electrical safety services have kept Nevada homeowners safe for over 17 years. Give us a call at 775-841-9473 to schedule an appointment and give your home the GFCI installations it deserves.

Electrical Safety Resolutions for the New Year

Happy New Year from The Happy Outlet! Going into the new year often means focusing on new resolutions. Whether it’s eating healthier or going out more, resolutions are a great way to kickstart the path towards completing your personal goals. Resolutions shouldn’t just be for yourself, however, as your home’s electrical safety could always use some improvement. The staff at The Happy Outlet have dedicated ourselves to keeping Nevada homeowners safe. To ensure our Carson City neighbors get a head start on electrical safety for the New Year, we have put together some resolutions every homeowner should make.

Maintain Proper Outlet Usage

  • Examine your electronics before plugging them in to identify any damages or frayed wiring.
  • Do not use multiple appliances on one outlet, especially major appliances, as this can cause an electrical overload.
  • Unplug any small appliance or electronic when not in use.
  • Place plastic covers or safety plugs over outlets when not in use.
  • Consider upgrading any three-prong outlets to GFCI, as this further protects from shock.

Test GFCIs Once a Month

  • GFCI outlets should be tested once a month to ensure functionality and safety for your home.
  • To test a GFCI outlet, first press the reset button, and plug in a small electronic, such as a nightlight. While the electronic is plugged into the GFCI outlet, press the test button, and if the electronic turns off then the GFCI outlet is working properly.
  • If your electronic does not turn off when pressing the test button, then the GFCI is not working properly and should be diagnosed by a professional.

Have a Safety Plan for Your Family

  • Know every escape route in your home in case of a fire or other severe emergency.
  • Have a backup generator ready for potential power outages.
  • Maintain your smoke and fire alarms to identify danger quickly.
  • Keep trusted electrical professionals on stand-by with The Happy Outlet’s Family Safety Plan, further guaranteeing electrical safety for your family and home.

Practice Extension Cord Safety

  • Always check your extension cord for damages or cracks before plugging it in.
  • Tape extension cords to the ground and place them around corners to avoid tripping.
  • Keep extension cords as straight as possible, and undo any bends or knots.
  • If an extension cord begins to feel hot, unplug it immediately, as this means it cannot handle the electrical load.

Plan an Annual Electrical Inspection

  • Annual electrical inspections keep your electrical system at peak performance while maintaining compliance to all safety regulations.
  • Part of electrical safety is dependent on the electrical system itself, meaning it is important to identify and resolve any issues with your electrical system before they get too severe.
  • The Happy Outlet provides supreme electrical services to fully secure your electrical system, and is the trusted choice for your annual electrical inspection.

Make this new year an even safer one with our electrical safety resolutions. Finding trusted electricians to improve your electrical safety is made easy with The Happy Outlet. For over 17 years, we have served our Nevada communities, and are always on call to provide professional electrical services for our local homeowners. Give us a call at 775-841-9473 to schedule an appointment and meet your handy electricians. Happy New Year from The Happy Outlet!

4 Facts About Smoke Alarms That Could Save Your Life!

1. The Consumer Protection Agency recommends that smoke alarms 10 years or older be replaced. According to a study conducted by the NFPA, smoke alarms are more likely to fail after 10 years. And in Northern Nevada, our dusty climate significantly reduces their useful life.

2. Three of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms, or smoke alarms that did not work! Do you test your smoke alarms monthly?

3. In fires in which the smoke alarms were present but did not operate, almost half (46%) of the smoke alarms had missing or disconnected batteries. Consider having smoke alarms with permanent lithium batteries installed throughout your home. These batteries are guaranteed to last 10 years – the life of the alarm.

4. Over half of all home fire deaths occur during the sleeping hours of 11:00 pm and 7:00am. Smoke alarms should be installed in every bedroom to wake and alert you to danger. Remember, every second counts!

Tips To Building the Perfect Man Cave for Dad

Thoreau had Walden Pond. Elvis had Graceland. Superman, the Fortress of Solitude. Bottom line—men need their space.

A 2010 study at the University of Southern California of couples in their 30s and 40s found that men’s cortisol levels dropped significantly when they had more solo leisure time in their own homes. “It seems that, when it comes to stress recovery, guys benefit from withdrawing a bit more than women do,” says USC’s Dr. Darby Saxbe, who authored the study. “The man cave phenomenon definitely fits in with the results of our research.”

Of course, not all man caves are created equal. You may have limited square footage to work with, or your budget may not allow for a full-blown entertainment center with surround sound and an 80-inch LED 4K Ultra HD big screen. But that shouldn’t stop you from breaking ground.

Here are a few tips to helping build the perfect man cave for dear old dad.

1. Plan ahead. Planning is truly the key to enjoying the completed space. Take precise measurements of each wall of the room you want to transform, then sketch a rough layout on graph paper. That way, you can see your ideas come to life and erase mistakes, without putting in wasted physical effort.

2. Set up the kickass TV. For most guys, one of the key elements to any envy-inducing man cave is an HD flat screen. And when it comes to TVs, wall mounts offer the best viewing lines. That means deciding whether you want a flat-mount, swivel or articulating arm (where the TV extends out), and getting the correct brackets for whatever kind of set you have.

3. Get a cool sound system. Man caves often double as party rooms. Carpet and area rugs also help improve the sound quality. And don’t forget to hide all those cables such as the speaker wires, HDMI cords, and cable TV.

4. Install awesome lighting. It really is true – lighting can make or break a space. Yes, even in dad’s bastion of masculinity. The lighting can say something about the man in your life, and should be dimmable to suit any mood.

5. Chill out. OK, you got the flat screen going, the surround sound turned up, and the lights are dimmed. Now is the time to let Dad pull up a chair and relax in his very own zone.

Our Home Electrical Safety Challenge

Last month was National Electrical Safety Month, and to help we offered up the Home Electrical Safety checklist to anyone willing to take the challenge. My wife, Hydie, and I took the challenge, and here is what we found…

  1. The refrigerator coils on the back and underneath were dirty, trapping heat, and creating a fire hazard.
  2. We hadn’t tested our GFCI receptacles since they were installed 2 years ago. One of them didn’t live up to the test. 🙁
  3. Bad habit I know, but we leave all toaster, coffee maker and microwave plugged in.
  4. There are no tamper-resistant receptacles installed in our home. And although we don’t have children, these receptacles can reduce the risk of electric shock injuries to everyone.
  5. Our living television and stereo need to be plugged into a surge-protecting power strip. I’m going to get one this weekend. Oh, and it’ll have telephone and TV protection too!
  6. One our extension cords has been repaired twice now, and the connectors are loose and broken. We finally threw it away.
  7. After completing the the Week 3 challenge, I cleaned all the leaves and debris from the air conditioner outside.
  8. My wife and I checked all breakers at the panel to make sure the label was correct. The water heater and cooktop breakers were mislabeled. Ooops!
  9. Our home was built in 1978 and we’ve remodeled in the last 8 years. We installed arc-fault protection (AFCI) on all the existing bedroom circuits as was code at the time. Since then AFCI protection is now required on ALL lighting and receptacle circuits.
  10. Hydie and I tested the AFCI breakers, and YES, they all were working properly.
  11. Dryer lint? We had this one figured out when we noticed our dryer wasn’t drying. That’s when we discovered the lint and very serious fire hazard that was developing. Needless to say it’s all clean and we watch it now!

Overall, we scored a 37 so we’re off to a good start! We’ll focus on the areas where we didn’t score well, and make a few simple changes that can make a big difference in our safety.

How did your home score? Did you learn anything new or discover a hazard you hadn’t realized was there?

7 Reasons To Take A Selfie

The pejorative term for taking a photograph of oneself or with others, and posting it on social media is known as “taking a selfie.” While they are sometimes frowned upon, there are actually tons of reasons to take a selfie. Here are 7 great reasons to take a selfie today!

 

  1. Selfies bring people together
  2. Selfies capture the moment
  3. A selfie can have the power to motivate others
  4. A selfie can make someone laugh or smile
  5. A selfie celebrates you and me

How Important is Light in the Living Room?

Proper lighting is essential for any home. It is important to maintain balance between personality and the functionality of the room when it comes to lighting the living room. One can transform the entire atmosphere of their living room within the proper use of lighting. One should remember that lighting not only has aesthetic and mood enhancing values, but play an important functional role in illuminating important task areas in the living room.

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