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The Do’s, Don'ts, and What-If's of Your Home's Electricity

Electric Tips for All Homeowners

There comes a point in every homeowner’s life when they might experience a problem with the most important element in their house: electricity. Nothing is off the table, whether it’s a malfunctioning light switch or receiving an abnormally high electricity bill.

To stay ahead of “the current” and identify electrical-based problems in the nick of time, here are some important tips all homeowners should know:

Reasons for High Electric Bills

One of the worst sights to see is a higher-than-average electricity bill — especially if you feel as if you’ve been doing your very best to keep your power usage to a minimum. While there’s a slim chance your electric company raised their rates, there are a few different factors to consider that may indicate you’re contributing to the higher bill without even knowing it.

Cell Phone Chargers are Always Plugged In

In the world of smartphone technology, there’s a chance that almost every outlet in your home has come in contact with a cell phone charger. And if you’ve explored an added layer of convenience, you may have upgraded a few outlets in your humble abode that are equipped with a USB port built-in!

However, if you tend to keep your cables plugged in around the clock (even when a phone isn’t attached), they can still draw power. “Vampire power” is a common scenario for many homeowners, and it can contribute to as much as 20% on your electricity bill each month.

To help ward away “the beast,” make a conscious effort to unplug any charger/cable that’s not in use, in addition to other objects you do not use (i.e., a television in a guest bedroom).

Using Incandescent Bulbs

If you examined every light fixture in your home, would they bear an LED or incandescent bulb? If they have the latter, that could be contributing to a steep incline in energy usage each month. For instance, if you have a 100-watt incandescent bulb in place, it needs approximately 876kWh (kilowatt-hour) of energy to illuminate.

To help cut costs and lower your energy consumption, you may want to consider looking into LED light bulbs. A 100-watt LED bulb uses about 0.50 kWh of energy to provide the amble glow you’re looking for. Additionally, these wonderful, inexpensive alternatives even have a longer lifespan than your average incandescent bulb — meaning you’ll be swapping them out much less (a perk for light fixtures in hard-to-reach places).

Common Electrical Problems in Homes

Electrical hardware can also run into problems, and the results can vary. Here are some of the most common issues you could encounter and what they could mean:

Defunct Light Switch

Light switches are very important details in your home’s electrical system. Without them, it would be merely impossible, as well as dangerous, to turn things on around your living space. However, there might be a day when a light switch stops working altogether — which can be startling.

More often than not, the reason why your light switch stops functioning is due to a short circuit. Short-circuiting happens when two hot wires come in contact with each other (or when a hot wire touches a neutral white wire). If you notice an issue with your light switch, don’t tinker with it (especially if the electricity is still on); contact your electrician right away.

Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping

There’s nothing more frustrating than having your circuit breaker trip out of the blue. In most cases, this is due to a circuit overload — which happens when too many high-powered appliances (i.e., big-screen televisions, computers, etcetera) are running on the same circuit.

To stay in the clear and prevent this from happening again, you’ll want to have your electrician add additional circuits in your home. Your electrician will be able to test your existing circuits, see how much power they can handle, and make adjustments accordingly to your needs.

How to Prevent an Electrical Fire at Home

While on the topic of common electrical problems found in homes, there is one subject that needs to be addressed separately: electrical fires. The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) reports that each year, residential electrical fires account for 51,000 house fires, 500 deaths, 1,400 injuries, and $1.3 billion in residential property damage.

To help lessen the chance of an electrical fire from occurring in your home, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Don’t Hide Electrical Cords Under the Rug

If you’re not fond of an electrical cord’s appearance in your home, you may feel inclined to hide it — such as placing it under a rug. While this might seem harmless, it’s rather dangerous.

With the chance of occupants in your home stepping directly on the cord when they walk on the rug, they’ll gradually break down the cord. Additionally, cords get hot when in use — and when it’s under a carpeted surface, it overheats much quicker than you’d anticipate.

Avoid Overloading Outlets

Overloading an outlet with multiple high-powered appliances can trip the circuit breaker and cause an electrical fire. As mentioned earlier, to help lessen the chance of this happening, have an electrician add more outlets and circuits in your home to help stay in the clear.

Have Your Electrical System Inspected Annually

When was the last time you had your home’s electrical system inspected by a professional? If you cannot recall, you may want to consider having this service performed at least once a year.

An electrician will assess your main service and surge protection, as well as life-safety-devices to alert you of hazardous or life-threatening issues. Plus, if they notice anything out of the ordinary, they’ll be able to present you with a solution and take care of the issue right away to make sure you and your loved ones are out of harm’s way.

Licensed and Experienced New Orleans Electricians

Since 1956, Stuart Services has provided homeowners with top-quality electrical services in New Orleans, Metairie, North Shore, and the surrounding areas. Our team of superheroes is available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, to lend a helping hand when your home needs it the most.

Call your local superheroes at (888) 650-5655 or contact us online to schedule an appointment with our certified team of electricians!
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