Category: General Information

3 Benefits of GFCI Outlets

benefits of gfci outlets

Have you ever noticed that not all outlet receptacles look exactly alike? Some simply have smooth plates with two-prong or three-prong holes, and others have buttons sandwiched between them. If you haven’t ever studied electricity for the home, these differences might appear insignificant at first glance. But this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Outlets with three-prong holes and two buttons labeled “reset” and “test” are ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets. They are specifically designed to keep you and your electronics safe from electrical hazards.

If you have never heard of GFCI outlets, or you know they are beneficial but aren’t really sure why, The Happy Outlet is here to help. Here are three benefits of GFCI outlets explained by our team of expert electricians.

1. They prevent electrical shock.

GFCI outlets have sensors inside of them that monitor the flow of electricity. If even a minuscule amount of electrical current travels along an unintended path, most three-prong outlets will redirect it into the ground. However, if that current is conducted through a human being during a “ground fault,” it can have deadly consequences. GFCI outlets cut off electrical power to their receptacle completely as soon as they detect discrepancy in the current. This keeps us from receiving painful shocks from power surges, faulty technology, or contact with water.

2. They prevent electrical fires.

As the wiring in a home ages, it’s insulation can slowly deteriorate. If loose or exposed wiring experiences a prolonged surge in the electrical current, it can spark a fire inside the walls of your home. A GFCI outlet stops any electrical current “leakage” in its tracks before it has the chance to spark an electrical fire. If you live in an older home that could be prone to electrical oddities, GFCI outlets are a major asset for fire prevention and protection.

3. They bring your outlets up to modern electrical codes.

Because GFCI outlets are such an advantageous safety sensor, they are required by the National Electrical Code in all new kitchens, bathrooms, garages, basements laundry rooms, outdoor spaces, and more. Older homes built before this requirement was standard often do not have GFCI outlets installed next to sources of water. Upgrading existing homes that don’t meet modern electrical code standards is not required by law, but it is much safer for your property and your family. It is also significantly important if you ever decide to rent or sell your property. Any safety inspector will immediately notice if there is an old-fashioned outlet receptacle near a water source posing a potential hazard. Upgrading to GFCI ensures current and future residents of your property will stay safer from electrical dangers.

Are you interested in installing GFCI outlets in your home?

If these benefits of GFCI outlets appeal to you, an upgrade is only a phone call away! Switching from old school outlets to GFCI is an effective tool to keep your family and your technology safer.

If you are interested in installing GFCI outlets in your Carson City home, contact The Happy Outlet! Give us a call at 833-2B-HAPPY to schedule an appointment and get started.

5 Common Electrical Problems at Home

common electrical problems at  home

Have you noticed recurring electrical glitches in your wiring, outlets, or lights? It might seem more reasonable to dismiss minor electrical anomalies at first, but you should not ignore them. Sometimes these can be signs of common electrical problems that can become bigger issues if left unchecked.

Our team of electricians at The Happy Outlet is familiar with a wide spectrum of electrical issues, and we are ready and willing to help you troubleshoot and find a solution. Here is a list of five common electrical problems at home that may require assistance from a licensed professional.

Regular Power Surges

There are several different possible causes of power surges. When lightning strikes, power lines are damaged, or faulty appliances overload your circuits, it is normal to experience a surge. However, if you notice it happening on a frequent basis, it could be a sign of improper wiring or an electrical device that needs to be replaced. Even though a power surge lasts less than one second, it can compromise the life expectancy and even cause irreparable damage to home electronics.

Circuit Breaker Tripping Frequently

On a similar note, you should watch for signs that your circuit breaker is tripping too frequently. An occasional trip is nothing to be alarmed about, but if the problem reoccurs multiples times it could mean that something in not right in your electrical system. Bad wiring, faulty outlets, or insufficient electrical panels can all be potential culprits. Find out from a professional electrician whether you need to upgrade your electrical panel or have some of your wiring replaced to prevent this electrical issue.

Lights Too Bright or Dim

Is the lighting in your home inconsistent? If some of your bulbs are piercingly bright, while others barely cast a yellow glow, something is up. Double check to make sure you are using the same type of bulbs with the same wattage. If you are, you probably have a loose neutral wire somewhere in your electrical system. Don’t DIY when it comes to wiring, always call a professional!

Dead Outlets

If just one or two outlets do nothing to power your electronics, that means the wiring attached to them has been damaged. Typically a poor connection that trips (with possible arcing) causes excessive heat to build up and melt the wires.

High Electrical Bill

Have you noticed that your electrical bill is way higher than usual or slowly rising at an alarming rate? There are several different factors that might be working together to affect your power consumption or your bill. First of all, research electrical companies in your area. You might be able to find lower prices with another provider. If you think the problem is definitely originating within your home, there are other measures you can take. Unplug all appliances and chargers that are not in use so that they won’t continue to draw power. Look for electrical devices that might be causing sudden power surges. Have a professional inspect for damaged wiring or circuits.

If you are experiencing any of these common electrical problems in your Carson City home, contact The Happy Outlet for troubleshooting and repair! Give us a call at 833-2B-HAPPY to schedule an appointment and get started.

Maintaining Smoke and CO Detectors


A peaceful night’s rest can easily turn into a real-life nightmare when something catches on fire. A rapidly spreading fire is dangerous and deadly, which is why it’s important to get loved ones out of the house quickly. A properly working smoke or carbon monoxide detector maximizes the amount of escape time and could save your life.


The professionals at The Happy Outlet want to ensure residents of the Carson City area remain safe. We have gathered a list of helpful, life-saving tips to maintain your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.


Common Tips to Maintain Smoke Detectors

  • Change detector every ten years
  • Keep one in every room
  • Keep one on every floor
  • Maintained according to manufacturer’s instructions
  • Regularly clean and test
  • Change out the batteries regularly

Common Tips to Maintain CO Detectors

  • Change detector every ten years
  • Keep at least one on every floor
  • Keep one in the basement
  • Change out the batteries regularly
  • Maintain according to manufacturer’s instructions
  • Regularly clean and test

Another useful way to maintain your smoke detector is to clean it out. We have a list of the various steps to take to have a clean and properly working smoke detector. This is important to not overlook because a clean smoke detector helps avoid false alarms from dirt and dust build up.


Why You Should Maintain Your Smoke Detector

Safety is the number one priority in any home, however, maintaining safety of your smoke and carbon monoxide alarm can often be overlooked. Don’t let the threatening smell of smoke wake you and your family up in the middle of the night. Let the fire alarm wake you with enough time to safely get out of the house.


For your electrical safety, it is important to become aware of the serious threats that follow a smoke detector that hasn’t been maintained. Three out of five home fire deaths are a result from a smoke alarm that didn’t work. It’s crucial to have a detector that has been maintained.


In most cases, a home fire will give you and your family about two minutes to safely escape the premise. Give yourself enough time to get out of the house with a properly working alarm sound on your detector.  The Happy Outlet wants to ensure your electrical safety because we care about you and your family!


A fire isn’t the only danger to worry about in your home. Carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas that humans can’t detect, which is why it’s crucial to have a CO detector in your home. This dangerous gas is something you don’t want to mess with. By maintaining your detector, you are giving you and your loved ones a much safer home to live in.


Keep a safe and comfortable home by maintaining your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors! Give us a call at 775-841-9473 to schedule an appointment with your trusted electrical professionals.  We are here to make sure maintaining your smoke detectors is a part of your electrical safety plan.

4 Common Electrical Fire Causes

We all know the danger that is an electrical fire. But what exactly can cause it? After all, electrical fires can be uncomfortably common, considering they account for about 51,000 fires each year. So, it does raise the question of what can cause this terror to appear in our homes. Fortunately, that’s what the electrical experts at The Happy Outlet are here to help answer.

It is important to know of the common electrical fire causes. Doing so can help you prevent one from occurring in your home. Below are 4 common electrical fire causes.

1. Misusing Extension Cords

Misusing extension cords isn’t a mistake you would want to make. Extension cords are used to extend an outlet’s reach, sometimes with multiple outlets. Although their purpose can be useful, misusing extension cords can sometimes lead to an electrical fire.

There are several ways an extension cord can be misused. One of the most common is connecting multiple of them together. This reduces the wattage capabilities of each cord, possibly leading to melted casing, sparks, and an electrical fire. Overheated or damaged extension cords can also lead to a fire. This can happen if you use extension cords outside that are not weatherproofed.

2. Faulty Outlets/Light Switches

Your outlets and light switches are the most common ways to directly interact with your electrical system. Unfortunately, when they begin to lose function, the chance of an electrical fire increases.

Faulty outlets and light switches can be the result of damaged wiring, loose box connections, cracked casing, or deterioration from age. Once this happens, an outlet or light switch can showcase some signs that indicate an electrical fire may happen. If you notice these signs in any of your outlets or light switches, contact The Happy Outlet immediately:

  • Outlet/Light Switch Feels Warm or Vibrates to the Touch
  • Burning Smell Coming from Outlet/Light Switch
  • Outlet/Light Switch Emits Sparks or Shock
  • Frequently Tripped Circuit Breakers

3. Mishandled Space/Portable Heaters

Space and portable heaters are a great way to cut down on heating usage, but they must be handled carefully. These items are known to cause electrical fires when placed next to flammable material. If enough time has passed, space and portable heaters can cause nearby clothes, blankets, and curtains to catch fire. This is due to the heat of the coil in most heaters becoming incredibly hot after enough time.

4. Bad Wiring

The wiring in your electrical system gets things done. Electricity is transferred via wiring, and problems with your wiring can be dangerous. Issues such as loose connections, exposed or frayed wiring, and improper placements can all lead to an electrical fire. This might be due to possibly leaving hot wire exposed, which if touching a conductive material, can excite the current to dangerous levels.

The worst part about bad wiring is you may not know it is present in your home. That’s why it is important you have your electrical system inspected at least once a year. Be sure to contact The Happy Outlet if your electrical system hasn’t been inspected in a while.

When maintaining your electrical safety, keep in mind these common electrical fire causes to help avoid them. And be sure to contact The Happy Outlet if your home requires a quality and affordable electrical services. Give us a call at 775-841-9473 to get started!

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.