Earth Day: Energy Saving Tips to Go Green

Earth Day is upon Carson City homeowners, and what better way to spend it than going green with your electrical system! Not only will this cut back on energy consumption and lower your utility bill; you’re helping to preserve the environment.

Celebrate Earth Day by following these energy-saving tips from the experts at The Happy Outlet!

Wash Clothes in Cold Water

Heating up water in your washing machine accounts for 90% of its energy usage. To cut down on this, simply wash your clothes in cold water. Cold water can still wash clothes thoroughly and uses much less energy. Additionally, washing in cold water is better at retaining the fabrics in clothes. For harder-to-remove stains, consider hand-scrubbing them out instead of using heated water.

Hang Dry Clothes

Instead of piling loads of wet clothes in the dryer, hang dry them throughout the day. Not only does this avoid the use of any energy, you’re also avoiding clothes wrinkles and shrinkage. With Carson City reaching mildly warm temperatures, now is the perfect time to hang dry your clothes!

Install a Programmable Thermostat

A programmable thermostat eliminates wasting energy in your HVAC system, which is beneficial considering it accounts for almost half of your home’s energy consumption. With this tool, you’ll be able to schedule temperatures and ensure you receive the desired comfort right when you need it.

For more info on using a programmable thermostat to save energy, click here.

Minimize Lighting

As soon as you leave a room, turn off all its lights. Not only will this save energy, you’ll be maintaining the bulb’s lifespan. Additionally, be sure that each time you leave your home all lighting is turned off.

Switch to LEDs

Traditional incandescent light bulbs are usually the least energy efficient type of lighting. Instead of letting them drive up the utility bill, switch to LED lighting as much as possible. Although they may not be as bright, LEDs consume a fraction of the energy incandescent does, while also possessing a much longer lifespan.

Limit Showering Time

Always choose a shower over a bath. Limit your showers to about 10 minutes. Doing so cuts back immensely on water usage.

Seal Doors and Windows

When doors and windows allow air to escape, your HVAC system must work harder to maintain your home’s temperature. Be sure all doors and windows are completely closed. Consider purchasing weather stripping to seal the edges.

Side Note: Be sure your fridge and freezer doors are also completely closed. Doing so prevents wasting energy and possibly spoiling food.

Utilize a Ceiling Fan

Instead of relying on your HVAC system to cool you down, utilize a ceiling fan to provide the same effect. Additionally, a ceiling fan can help you save money on heating as well. All you must do is run your ceiling fan in reverse, which draws out and redistributes heat.

Celebrate Earth Day by practicing these energy-saving tips! If you are ready to replace your lighting or install a new ceiling fan for energy efficiency, be sure you choose the experts at The Happy Outlet. We offer extensive electrical installation services to Carson City homeowners at an affordable cost. Give us a call at 775-841-9473 to schedule an appointment and get started.

Storm Safety: Electrical System Preparations

As Northern Nevada enters the spring, chances of severe storms are higher than ever! We suggest you keep an umbrella on hand when leaving your home. However, your electrical system will need stronger storm protection. Severe storms are a known electrical hazard, often causing power outages and even electrical fires.

The Happy Outlet recommends that every Carson City homeowner follows storm safety for their electrical system. We have assembled a guide below detailing these preparations.

Monitor Your Circuit Breakers

  • Check the labeling on the electrical panel to determine which rooms go to which switch. If there is no labeling, contact The Happy Outlet to have a technician study your electrical system.
  • Keep track of the associated appliances connected to the circuit breaker.
  • Monitor your circuit breakers for any tripping during a storm. When lightning strikes a power line, your circuit breaker may shut off power to its circuit, known as tripping. Tripped circuit breakers place themselves in either the middle or off position.
  • Unplug any appliances from a circuit that has tripped. Doing so will avoid the possible power surge when the power comes back on.

Maintain Smoke and CO Detectors

Your smoke and CO detectors alert you to hazardous smoke and levels and help to give ability to escape in the case of a fire. According to the NFPA, lightning accounts for about 22,600 fires a year. That means you should have constant detection of dangerous smoke and CO levels at all times during the spring season.

  • Know every location of smoke and CO detectors, as well as their battery levels. Smoke and CO detectors generally require a battery change every 1-2 years, but this can vary on battery type.
  • Test your smoke and CO detectors once a month to ensure proper functionality. To test smoke detectors, hold down the button for a few seconds and if the alarm is loud and clear, your detector is working fine. CO detectors are tested the same but emit beeps instead.
  • If lightning has affected your smoke or CO detectors, often the alarm will sound for a few seconds before returning to normal. After the storm has ended, test the affected detectors to see their condition.

Whole Home Surge Protection

Lightning strikes are a known cause for power surges, which are massive spikes in your electrical current. Power surges can damage appliances possibly beyond repair but can be prevented with surge protectors.

Whole home surge protection is the most adequate form of surge protection, avoiding damaging your plugged-in appliances.

Contact The Happy Outlet for whole home surge protection services.

Have a Backup Generator

With storms being a leading cause for power outages, you’ll need sufficient backup power during potential blackouts.

Backup generators provide the necessary power that is needed during an unexpected outage, allowing you ample time to resume any necessary tasks or prepare. Backup generators come in a wide variety of sizes and wattages. You’ll need to determine what option is best for your home.

More information about backup generators can be found here.

Storm safety for electrical systems is a rule all Carson City homeowners should follow as we enter storm season. If you are ready to install whole home surge protection, contact The Happy Outlet today! Our electrical safety services encompass every aspect of whole home surge protection. Give us a call at 775-841-9473 to schedule an appointment and get started.

Spring Cleaning: Tidying Up Your Electrical System

Not sure how to begin spring cleaning? Start by tidying up your electrical system! Cleaning and organizing your electrical system can offer a boost in both safety and energy efficiency. The experts at The Happy Outlet want to make sure that you kick off the spring season right with a comprehensive guide for “tidying up” your electrical system. Add this to your spring cleaning list!

Practice Proper Organization

  • Always unplug appliances and equipment after use, as energy can still be drawn from plugged-in appliances (known as “phantom energy”)
  • Wrap up your extension cords before storing and use Velcro to secure them.
  • Store appliances in an airtight container away from any water source.
  • Never leave appliances in the bathroom or next to plumbing, as dripping water can get into the circuitry.
  • Consider labeling shelves with the appropriate appliance name to maximize organization.

Clean Out Your Smoke Detectors

  • Cleaning out your smoke detectors helps avoid false alarms from dust-buildup interfering with the sensors.
  • Dry your hands completely before cleaning your smoke detectors.
  • If the outer casing can be removed, clean the inside using a simple wet wipe.
  • The brush of a vacuum cleaner can be used to remove dust or debris from your smoke detector.
  • Be careful not to touch the wires or battery when cleaning your smoke detector.

Cover Your Electrical Outlets

  • Shielding your outlets provides formidable defense against dirt and dust compromising the plugs, as well as children inserting objects into the sockets.
  • You can use individual plastic electrical plug caps, or plastic covers to shield the entire outlet.
  • Consider replacing outlets with tamper-resistant receptacles, as these come with a built-in plastic covering to avoid unwanted insertion. Contact The Happy Outlet to install these new outlets in your home!

Dust Off Your Ceiling Fans

  • When your ceiling fan rotates with dust build-up, the room’s IAQ is negatively affected by the circulated particles.
  • Make sure your ceiling fan is completely off before cleaning and wait for the blades to stop spinning.
  • Use a feather duster to brush off and remove any dust from the top of the blades, as well as around the fixture.
  • If you would like to avoid using a duster due to dust falling on furniture, try a dry sweeping cloth such as a Swiffer.

Troubleshoot Issues with an Electrical Professional

  • After tidying up your electrical system during spring cleaning, schedule your next electrical inspection to ensure the actual function of your system is at peak performance.
  • Contact The Happy Outlet for your next electrical inspection to ensure only trusted professionals are handling your electrical system.

Kickstart your spring cleaning right by tidying up your electrical system! If you would like to install new tamper-resistant outlets, or are ready to schedule your next electrical inspection, contact The Happy Outlet today! Our electrical installation and safety inspection services can help your electrical system in your Carson City home. Give us a call at 775-841-9473 to schedule an appointment with your trusted electrical professionals.

Buying and Installing your new Hot Tub

With Carson City weather changing from winter winds to spring breezes, the idea of buying and installing a new hot tub seems like a great way to introduce some spa-like comfort to your home. But be aware that buying and installing a hot tub isn’t as simple as turning on the jets and stepping in the spa. In fact, without taking the right steps, you could be wasting money on an expensive hot tub that doesn’t even fit in your home.

While you can spend hours traversing the internet to find information for buying and installing a new hot tub, why not let the professionals do the work for you? The experts at The Happy Outlet have provided the ultimate guide to buying and installing a new hot tub in your home.

Why do you want a Hot Tub?

Before proceeding, the first question you must ask yourself is “Why do I want a hot tub?” Hot tubs are available in a variety of designs and can be used for several reasons. Hot tubs are ideal for relaxation, meditation, medical and therapeutic purposes, with designs catering to all of these issues. First determine why you want a hot tub, and you’ll be on the right track.

Research the Hot Tub You Want

After identifying the reason(s) for a hot tub, you’ll be able to research accordingly and find the right one for your home. Most warehouse stores and home improvement retailers sell hot tubs at a reasonable price. Additionally, you can find local retailers that focus specifically on selling hot tubs. If a hot tub catches your eye, thoroughly examine its reviews, lifespan, additions, and warranties available. Be sure to check around frequently for any deals, and to ensure you’ll be paying a fair price for your spa.

Accommodate your Hot Tub’s Size and Location

Another important question you will need to ask yourself is “Will this Hot Tub fit in my home?” Often, hot tubs are placed on patios, porches, and backyards, and you must ensure your space can accommodate the hot tub’s size. After accounting for size, you must also consider how the hot tub handles weather conditions year-round, as well as determining if the installation area is flat and solid. Power and water sources must also be in proximity of your hot tub, and there should be adequate space for drainage. Consider these factors when researching your new hot tub. We recommend finding your hot tub at a nearby store, so you can precisely determine a sufficient location in your home.

Budget Accordingly

Hot tubs are an expensive investment, with prices ranging from $1,000-10,000. Hot tubs also require additional fees for delivery, installation, maintenance, and extras such as covers and water care products. Even after you’ve purchased your hot tub, we recommend saving an extra $500-1,000 to cover any additional fees you may be presented after installing it.

Installing your new Hot Tub

Installation is made easy with the experts at The Happy Outlet! After you have purchased the perfect hot tub for your home, give your Carson City electrical experts a call to install and configure your new hot tub and kickstart the spa for the spring season!

Ready to install a new hot tub in your home? The Happy Outlet is ready for you! Our electrical installation services guarantee you’ll have a backyard spa in no time. Give us a call at 775-841-9473 to schedule an appointment and prepare your backyard for spring!

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.