Category: Electrical System

Is Your Home Up to National Electrical Code?

Unless you’re a professional electrician, you probably don’t have the time and energy to keep up with annual changes and updates to the National Electrical Code. But as anyone in the electrical profession knows all too well, this book is critically important when it comes to buying and selling property or building new construction projects.

Even if you aren’t planning to put your house on the market any time soon, there are a few electrical code updates you shouldn’t ignore. As the technology we use every day develops so quickly year after year, our electrical systems need updates to keep them functioning correctly.

In honor of National Electrical Safety Month this May, our team at The Happy Outlet wants to share a few useful National Electrical Code requirements. Below are a few common upgrades your older home might need.

Do you have dedicated circuits for specific rooms or appliances?

Since our appliances have developed to serve us more effectively in the last few decades, they have also started to consume more and more electricity to work. Old school circuitry doesn’t always cut it anymore for washing machines, HVAC units, refrigerators, and other large appliances.

According to the National Electrical Code, your kitchen alone will need at least seven dedicated circuits for specific appliances (your fridge, dishwasher, and microwave are all examples). Even your garage must have its own dedicated circuit for receptables that power outdoor tools.

Most modern homes will already comply with dedicated circuit requirements. But many older homes will need new circuits added to the electric panel.

Do you have GFCI outlets outdoors and in every kitchen and bathroom?

The National Electrical Code now requires Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlets in any space where there is a source of water. GFCI outlets are designed to detect any disruptions in the flow of electricity. If they notice a surge of power, they will disconnect from the circuit completely. This feature is designed to protect homeowners from electrocution (which happens most frequently when electronics come into contact with water).

Your kitchen, bathrooms, laundry room, garage, basement, and all outdoor spaces should have GFCI outlets since there is always a chance that water could interfere with your electrical appliances. This is a relatively inexpensive upgrade that is critically important for your safety.

Do you have smoke alarms outside sleeping areas and on every level of your home?

Most people already know that smoke alarms are required in every bedroom. But in recent years, the National Electrical Code has updated its policy on smoke alarms.

You should have smoke alarms in each bedroom, outside every sleeping area, and on every level of your home (including the basement). This ensures that even if one smoke alarm fails, there is a safety net of other alarms to alert you to a fire immediately.

Is your home up to National Electrical Code?

In answer to the greater consumption of electricity and greater number of electronics in our homes, the National Electrical Code has created some new rules to keep homeowners safe.

If you have any questions about how to upgrade your home to meet electrical code requirements during a remodeling process, give us a call at The Happy Outlet! One of our expert electricians will be happy to help you.

For more information on electrical safety at home, check out our list of tips.

If you need any electrical repairs, replacements, or upgrades in your Carson City home, contact The Happy Outlet! Give us a call at 833-2B-HAPPY to schedule an appointment and get started.

20 Home Electrical Safety Tips

home electrical safety tips

May is National Electrical Safety Month, and we believe in spreading awareness at The Happy Outlet! National Electrical Safety Month serves to educate the public with tips to keep them safe while using electricity every day at home.

To kick off the education celebration this month, our team of expert electricians has compiled a list of 20 electrical safety tips for our customers to remember at home. Check them out before you plug it in!

General Electrical Safety Tips

These general electrical safety tips apply to all rooms in your house, and even your backyard. Think carefully before using electrical appliances and be sure to teach your kids these safety rules.

  • Check electrical cords for damage frequently. Frayed cords can cause electrocution or electrical fires.
  • Never yank electrical cords out of outlets. Gently pull them out by their plastic base.
  • Don’t plug too many devices into the same electrical outlet or power strip at once. This can overload your circuits and trip a breaker.
  • Only use extension cords as a temporary fix, not a permanent solution. Never cover them with blankets or rugs because the heat this generates is a fire hazard.
  • Remember that even if an appliance is turned off, it is still connected to an electrical current as long as it is plugged in.
  • Install GFCI outlets that will shut off your power if they detect a problem with the flow of electricity to an appliance. They prevent electrocution, and they are required in every room with a source of water to meet the National Electrical Code.

Kitchen Electrical Safety Tips

These electrical safety tips apply specifically to the kitchen. Since kitchens have a source of water from the sink, it is important to stay extra vigilant about electrical safety.

  • Always unplug handheld appliances before cleaning them or removing a piece of stuck food. (This includes toasters, blenders, coffee pots, and more.)
  • Plug handheld cooking appliances into GFCI outlets only.
  • Vacuum the coils of your refrigerator regularly. If dirt builds up on them, it can create a fire hazard.
  • Make sure there is some space left behind your refrigerator for air to circulate.
  • If you feel even a tiny shock from a major appliance, turn it off right away. Turn off the power to the appliance from your circuit board, and then call a professional immediately. There could be a serious problem with your wiring.

Bathroom Electrical Safety Tips

Here are a few electrical safety tips for the bathroom. Between the sink, toilet, shower, and bathtub, there are lots of opportunities for water to come into contact with electronics. Stick to these rules to help you prevent a dangerous electrocution.

  • Never operate electrical appliances near a bathtub full of water or a running shower.
  • Leave unnecessary electronics such as radios or laptops outside of the bathroom. Use hair tools with caution.
  • Never use any electrical appliances while your hands are wet.
  • Never install regular recessed lighting in your shower area. Use a vapor-tight recessed light instead.
  • If you notice any electrical problems like flickering lights or dead outlets, have a professional inspect and troubleshoot them right away.

Outdoor Electrical Safety Tips

Electrical safety doesn’t stop when you step out the back door. Bring these tips along with you to your next barbecue or pool party and keep your guests safe.

  • Stay away from power lines. Don’t fly kites or drones near them. If you see one on the ground after a storm, call to report it to the police.
  • Don’t touch transformer boxes, and don’t let kids play near them.
  • Keep all electronics at least 10 feet away from swimming pools.
  • Use only extension cords designed to withstand outdoor wear and tear.
  • Never run extension cords through doors or windows, even temporarily.
  • Use GFCI outlets outdoors to protect yourself and your electrical system from moisture caused by precipitation.

Now that you know some basic electrical safety tips, remember one more important lesson: never attempt any DIY electrical repairs or replacements. Always call a licensed and insured professional to handle your electrical panel, circuits, and wiring.

If you need any electrical repairs, replacements, or upgrades in your Carson City home, contact The Happy Outlet! Give us a call at 833-2B-HAPPY to schedule an appointment and get started.

Troubleshooting a Tripped Circuit Breaker

A circuit breaker tripping can be the result of many causes. While some of these causes can be relatively simple, others can be more involved and ultimately detrimental to your system. Therefore, it’s important to perform some troubleshooting steps when a circuit breaker has tripped. While you may not always be able to find the exact cause of the problem, you can still find some helpful signs that will help you make informed decisions.

The experts at The Happy Outlet have provided some troubleshooting steps to take in the case of a tripped circuit breaker. Follow our guide below before contacting an electrical professional!

Identify Which Circuit Belongs to the Tripped Circuit Breaker

Each circuit breaker holds the ability to distribute power to a certain circuit. And when one trips, all outlets and light switches on its associated circuit will lose power. Before performing any troubleshooting tips, it is important to know which circuit the circuit breaker belongs to.

Since the circuit breaker has already tripped, you don’t want to reset the breaker to figure out its associated circuit. Instead you’ll want to check which appliances in your home have turned off. Although circuits can vary in size, their outlets and switches tend to stay close together. You may not be able to identify all connections to the circuit using this method. But it will at least give you a general idea.

Unplug All Associated Appliances on the Circuit

Once you have identified appliances that are on the circuit, go ahead and disconnect them. Circuit breakers can trip from faulty or misuse of appliances. This can be from faulty wiring, electrical overload, or damaged circuitry in the appliance.

Check the Condition of Each Appliance

Examine every appliance for any noticeable damages, burn marks, or burning smells. These signs can indicate a faulty appliance, which can lead to a short circuit, eventually causing a tripped circuit breaker.

Additionally, use this time to check if your circuit can handle the load of each of these appliances. A common cause of tripped circuit breakers is an electrical overload, which is when a circuit is over capacity. This can happen from overuse of extension cords, using too many appliances at the same time, and failing to give certain appliances a dedicated circuit.

After you have unplugged every appliance you know is on the circuit, go ahead and try to reset the circuit breaker. If the breaker trips again, continue to the next step.

Check the Outlets Located on the Circuit

If the cause doesn’t seem to come from the appliances that used the circuit, then you should check the outlets themselves. Faulty outlets can cause a circuit breaker to trip, and can be the result of frayed wiring, loose connections, or damaged parts. If any of your outlets are experiencing these signs, contact The Happy Outlet for further consultation:

  • Visible burn marks on outlet
  • Burning smell coming from outlet
  • Outlet emitting a buzzing sound or vibration
  • Outlet feels warm to the touch

Be sure to follow these troubleshooting tips in the case of a tripped circuit breaker. And contact The Happy Outlet to have a professional diagnose the issue after you troubleshoot. Give us a call at 775-841-9473 for affordable troubleshooting and repair services from Carson City’s leading experts.



5 Signs you Need New Wiring


Most homeowners understand the importance of an efficient electrical system. Wiring is how electricity is disbursed throughout your home – and knowing when to install new wiring is key to keeping the lights on! But how do you tell when you need new wiring? Fortunately, there are certain signs to look out for.

Your friendly experts at The Happy Outlet are here to help our Carson City neighbors maintain their electrical system. Below are 5 signs you need new wiring!

1. Frequently Tripped Circuit Breakers

Our first tip comes from Trent Urban, with the WireNut in Colorado Springs. Your circuit breaker trips when electrical flow is disturbed, and one of the more common reasons is faulty wiring. When wires have become old, frayed, or loose, they cause an uneven path for electricity. This can cause a short circuit or ground fault, both of which will trip your circuit breaker. If your circuit breaker is constantly tripping, the issue may be your wiring.

2. Not Enough Outlets in Your Home

Do you find yourself using extension cords, surge protectors, and power strips often? Overusing these items could be the result of not having enough outlets in your home. Electrical systems that haven’t seen new wiring in several years may not have enough outlets for daily routines.

If this is the case, you’ll want to schedule new wiring and outlet installations as soon as possible. Do not rely on extension cords or other items as a permanent solution. This is a known safety risk and should be avoided as much as possible.

3. Outlets Are Damaged/Outdated

Speaking of outlets, are yours in good shape? Faulty outlets can be the result of faulty wiring. Without a proper route for electrical currents, your outlets can receive the bad end of the stick. Keep an eye out for these damages:

Outlets have burn marks/burning smell

Outlets have noticeable cracks or loose connections

Outlets feel warm to the touch

Outlets emit shock when touched

Consider the type of outlet you have as well. Two-prong outlets are considered outdated and dangerous. While they were the norm in older homes, newly built properties require three-prong outlets to be installed, with the third prong acting as a ground. Ground wires give uneven electricity a passage away from you and your appliances. You’ll need to rewire your electrical system to have a ground for installing three-prong outlets.

4. Lights are Constantly Flickering

The occasional flickering light isn’t necessarily a sign of damaged wiring. But when it is frequent, your wiring may be the cause. Faulty or loose wiring can disrupt the circuit to light fixtures, thus creating a fluctuating voltage.

If you are experiencing this, turn off your power immediately. Flickering lights caused by loose or damaged wires are a fire hazard and should be treated by a professional as soon as possible.

5. Your Wiring is Over 25 Years Old

Believe it or not, wiring does have an expiration date! The average lifespan of wiring is about 25 years. After which, it will begin to deteriorate and lose resistance. It is crucial you keep track of your wiring’s age to ensure you know when you need to have it checked. The age of your home is a good barometer as far as the age of your wiring – or have an electrician assess it for a closer idea of the age/condition.

When maintaining your electrical system, use these signs to help guide you on moving forward. If you are ready for new wiring or would like to consult with an electrical professional, contact The Happy Outlet today. We offer complete electrical services to help ensure your electrical system stays at peak performance. Call us at 775-841-9473 to speak with Carson City’s leading electrical experts.

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.