Tag: electrical safety

Baby-Proofing Outlets: A Comprehensive Guide

A child’s curiosity, while playful and innocent, can also lead to dangerous situations. This is especially true if their object of interest is an electrical outlet. A child toying with an electrical outlet can get electrocuted, which can lead to serious harm or even death. Therefore, it’s important to take ample safety measures with your outlets to help protect your children from electrical shock.

The professionals at The Happy Outlet want to ensure their Carson City neighbors have all the facts on baby-proofing their outlets. We have provided a comprehensive guide below.

Block all Unused or Rarely-Used Outlets

For outlets in your home you rarely or never use, we recommend blocking them with furniture or other objects immovable by children. Although it’s not a viable solution by itself, hiding or blocking unused outlets does help prevent your children from getting close to them.

Items such as a couch, nightstand, dresser, or other heavy furniture work well when blocking an outlet. Not only will children have a harder time getting close to these outlets – they may not even realize there is an outlet hidden away. However, as we stated, this step isn’t viable by itself, and should be paired with other baby-proofing practices.

Equip Outlets with Plastic Plugs

Plastic plugs are a cheap and formidable solution to help baby-proof your outlets. Usually available at only a few cents apiece, plastic plugs are inserted into the prongs of your outlet. Plastic is non-conductive, which means children cannot interfere with the outlet’s current because of the barrier created by the plastic plug.

However, plastic plugs can be a nuisance if you use an outlet often. You’ll have to take out and replace the plastic plug each time you want to use the outlet. For outlets you use frequently, we recommend performing other steps.

Cover the Entire Outlet

Instead of just covering the prongs, you can purchase a plastic cover to shield the entire outlet. There are several different types of outlet covers. Basic outlet covers are usually just rectangular pieces of solid plastic, which you must remove if you want to use the outlet.

A more complex and user-friendly type is the sliding plastic cover. Sliding plastic covers allow you to slide the plug-holes of an outlet away from the current, hence their name. This allows you to quickly switch from an outlet being usable to unusable. Although sliding plastic covers can be used to prevent children from receiving electrical shock, they also can prevent plugs from fully engaging to a current. Therefore, avoid plugging high-power appliances into outlets with sliding plastic covers.

Upgrade to Tamper-Resistant Outlets

One of the safest ways to baby-proof your outlets is by upgrading them to tamper resistant. Tamper-resistant outlets come equipped with plastic shutters behind the plug-holes that prevent any item other than a plug from being inserted. This is done via a spring-compressing mechanism that only activates when both shutters are pressed down. This prevents children from inserting objects into the outlet such as a fork, key, or their finger. Contact The Happy Outlet to install tamper-resistant outlets in your home.

Improve electrical safety for your children by baby-proofing your outlets. And if you would like to help improve overall electrical safety for your Carson City home, contact The Happy Outlet for our electrical safety services. Give us a call at 775-841-9473 to schedule an appointment and get started.

Additional Links:

12 Safety Devices to Protect Your Children – CPSC

Making Your Home Safe for Baby – Office on Women’s Health

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.

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.

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!


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!