You likely love your home’s electrical system, but seldom think about it. In fact, there are some common mistakes you have probably made that raise the risk of using your house’s electricity service. Here’s a checklist of resolutions to consider this New Year to make your home more efficient and safer.
Install a Whole-House Surge Protector
While you may want appliance-specific surge protectors for some applications, your entire home should also be protected. When a surge hits your system, it risks anything plugged into the system.
A whole-house surge protector installs at your breaker panel and protects everything plugged into your system. This includes your refrigerator, freezer, washer, dryer, dishwasher, air conditioner, and furnace, to name a few. Add to this, a whole-house protector also protects the wiring and receptacles throughout your house, adding some additional electrical fire protection.
Replace Batteries in Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
It’s easy to forget about some safety equipment around your home, including your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. However, in the instance you need them, you want to ensure they’re working properly. If your units are battery-operated, plan to replace their batteries. While you’re near them, plan to test them to make sure they’re still working. Check your detector’s owner’s manual for instructions on how to properly test your unit.
Switch to LED Light Bulbs
Light bulbs are a significant source of energy usage in your home. If you still have incandescent light bulbs, you’re using old technology that’s costing you a fortune. Switch to newer LED light bulbs, which last 30 to 50 times longer than traditional bulbs, plus they use only a fraction of the energy.
LED bulbs also produce significantly less heat. While that additional heat may be desirable during the winter, it adds to your cooling expenses in the warmer weather. Let your HVAC system manage your house’s temperature, and let your bulbs simply provide light by using the more efficient LED light bulb in your fixtures.
Reset Your GFCI Outlets
GFCI outlets are those found near any water source in or around your home that have what looks like a little breaker on them. These are useful for interrupting the electrical circuit when there’s a ground fault, which is the most common cause of electrical shock.
Manufacturers recommend resetting these outlets every month, but most homeowners don’t know that. Make a commitment to reset them now, and do so again throughout the year.
If you have any outlets in your kitchen, laundry room, bathroom, or utility room that aren’t GFCI, plan to get the right outlets installed. Ground faults are commonly caused by water, which is why you install them in these areas. Each outlet in these spaces should be GFCI, not relying on one earlier in the circuit, which delays the breaker’s reaction time.
Replace Your Thermostat With a Programmable Model
You may not think of your thermostat as being a part of your electrical system, but it controls a major consumer of energy: your HVAC system. Did you know that a programmable thermostat can save you up to 10% of your annual heating and cooling costs?
The way to achieve this is to reduce the strain on your system when you don’t need it as much. In the winter, you’ll lower the temperature, while in the summer, you’ll raise it, both by 7 to 10 degrees. A programmable thermostat automates these changes and allows you to set them when you won’t notice them. You may consider making them at night while you’re in bed or while your family is away from the house at work and school.
Resolve Daisy Chains
Everyone has had an instance where they required more outlets, so they string power strips together. Or you need a longer power cord, so you put multiple extension cords together. This is known as daisy-chaining, and it’s extremely dangerous for your home.
Trying to add more outlets with power strips risks overloading the circuit. This may only trip a breaker, but it could also lead to an electrical fire. Daisy-chained extension cords create tripping hazards around your home, with risks of electrical shock if one has damaged insulation. If your house has either of these, plan to have your electrical system updated with more outlets and possibly new circuits.
People around Waynesburg have turned to Beck Electric, Generators & Plumbing for electrical installation and repair since 2007. Our award-winning team provides electrical system installation and repair, installation and repair of generators, EV charging stations, and smart home setup. Call to schedule your service with our expert electricians today.