Your home’s electric meter has a series of spinning dials or numbers. You have seen this meter, but if you are like many people, you probably don’t know how to read it. Continue reading
Space heaters are a great supplemental form of heat. They’re compact, efficient and inexpensive to buy, and they’re a great way to keep the thermostat set lower, yet still be comfortable while reading or watching television. That said, if space heaters are used improperly they can present a danger to you, your family and even your pets. The team at Fusion Electric has put together these safety tips to keep in mind when using a space heater this winter:
Make Sure Your Space Heater Is Certified
There are three Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories (NRTLs) for electrical products sold here in the U.S. Make sure that the heater you’re using has paperwork that shows that it’s been tested and certified by either:
- UL (Underwriter’s Laboratories)
- CSA (Canadian Standards Association)
- ETL (Intertek Group)
If it has been certified by any one of these NRTLs, you can rest assured that you’re using a product that’s safe when used as directed.
Use Common Sense
Space heaters get hot — obviously! That’s what they’re designed to do, after all. But you’d be surprised how many people seem to forget that fact and end up burning themselves or inadvertently starting a fire by misusing their space heaters.
- put anything on top of your space heater (it takes less time than you think to ignite)
- put a space heater within three feet of furniture or a wall
- use a space heater with an extension cord, which increases the chance of electrical shocks, overheating and fires
- let children play near a space heater, since it can tip over and burn them
- touch a space heater if you’re wet — even if it’s just your hands we’re talking about!
Establish a three-foot safety zone rule for kids, and refrain from using a space heater in a bathroom unless it’s specifically designed for that use. And always make sure that your space heater is positioned on a flat, level surface (carpet with an extra-thick pile can make it more prone to tip).
Look for Safety Features When Purchasing a Space Heater
There are numerous space heaters on the market that have built-in safety features such as tip-over protection (the heater automatically turns itself off if it tips over), and overheat protection.
Make Sure to Buy the Correct Size for Your Space
Putting a space heater that is too large in a small space is not a good idea, and the reverse also holds true. A too-small heater in a large room isn’t going to heat more than a small area of a large room. To size a space heater: simply measure your room to find its square footage. For example, a 12 x 12 room measures 144 square feet. Then, multiply the square footage by 10: e.g. 144 sq. ft. x 10 = 1440. The answer — in this case 1440 — tells you how many watts your space heater should be. If the heater is rated by BTUs, simply multiply the watts by 3.41 to arrive at the correct number of BTUs. (In our example, the correct answer is 4,910 BTUs.)
Follow these safety rules, and you can confidently enjoy the added warmth that your space heater provides you and your family this winter and on those chilly spring mornings and nights as well!
If you have any questions about your space heater, or you’ve got an electrical problem that needs immediate attention from a licensed electrician in your Kansas City area home, don’t hesitate to give the professionals at Fusion Electric a call at (913) 563-7975, or contact us online.
Saving electricity is easier than you think. Simply changing some habits concerning which appliances and products you use and when you use them can get you significant savings on your electric bill. Besides the obvious and easy things like turning off lights when you leave a room, the team at Fusion Electric has compiled several ways for you to save money this winter:
Reduce Electric Use during Peak Hours
Many homeowners don’t realize that power companies change electric costs based on the time of day. It can cost 30 to 60 percent more to use things like the oven, dryer or heater during peak hours of energy use. Every electric company defines peak hours slightly differently, but typically 6-10 am and 3-9 pm are considered peak. Weekends are considered off-peak. So if you can do your laundry on the weekends and lower your electric furnace in the evenings by a few degrees, it will lower your electric bill. Considering the size of your electric bill each month, saving 30-50% could add up fast.
Lower Your Water Heater Temperature
If you have an electric water heater, you can lower the temperature to 125 degrees. While having it set to 140 degrees may seem nice while you are in the shower, most households are just fine with 120 degree water temperature and will not notice much of a difference. You can see a difference in your electric bill though. According to Energy.gov, (the U.S. Department of Energy’s website) for every 10 degree Fahrenheit reduction in temperature, you can save from 3%–5% on your water heating costs.
Installing a tankless water heater can save you 24%-34% on electric bills, but the installation cost is higher than that of a traditional tank-style water heater, so unless you’re planning on staying in your home for five more years, you may not get that investment back out.
Change Lights to LED Bulbs
Change the light bulbs in your home from inefficient incandescent bulbs to LED bulbs. LED bulbs will save you 75%-80% over incandescent bulbs. LED bulbs are more expensive to purchase than incandescent or CFL bulbs, but they last for years. To give you an idea of the monetary savings, Energy.gov estimates that upgrading 15 of the inefficient incandescent light bulbs in your home to LEDs could save you about $50 per year! Most homes have way more than 15 bulbs.
Related Read: 3 Money Saving Electrical Products You Can Install Today
Special Tips for Holiday Lighting
Get rid of old incandescent holiday lights too and replace them with new LED holiday lights. Old strings can use up to 99% more energy than the new LED strings. Plus, LEDs burn cool which can reduce fire hazards. One more tip is to put your lights on a timer to reduce energy waste overnight.
According to Energy.gov, even the most basic models of programmable thermostats can save you as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling by simply allowing you to turn your thermostat back 7°-10°F for 8 hours a day from its normal setting. The more intricate models can save you up to 20% (and more). This is because they help you run your heating and cooling system more efficiently, without compromising overall comfort. So if you’re currently paying $2,000 dollar a year on gas and electric, this means you can save between $200 and $400 after installing a programmable thermostat!
Switch Ceiling Fan Direction
In the winter, switch the direction of your ceiling fan so that it is pulling air up instead of pushing air down. Because warm air rises, this will help your fan pull cooler air from below and blow warm air off the ceiling circulating it around so the room feels more comfortable. This may allow you to lower your home’s temperature a few degrees without even noticing a difference in comfort. Not sure how to switch it? Just look for a small switch on the body of the fan and flip it in the opposite direction. (This may require a ladder to reach the switch).
TIP: During the winter, your fan should run at a low speed in a clockwise direction when looking up at it.
End Vampire Energy
Unplug electrical items when they are not in use. Although TVs, computers, printers, and scanners are only used sporadically, they typically remained plugged in 24/7. These devices suck energy 24 hours a day even when not in use, which is where the get the nickname “vampire” electronics. If it’s inconvenient to plug and unplug them each time, try attaching them to one easy-to-reach power strip so it’s a snap to power them on and off without searching for a plug and an outlet.
If you live in the Kansas City area and need troubleshooting, safety inspections, service upgrades, or any indoor or outdoor electrical repairs or installations, call Fusion Electric at (913) 563-7975 or contact us online.
We don’t fully appreciate all of our modern conveniences. Take the fact that you can light up a room with the flick of a switch or the turn of the knob on a reading lamp. It’s only when that flick of the switch, or twist of the knob, fails to produce any light that you realize how fortunate you are to have electricity. Sometimes it’s not a power outage that’s causing the light to fail. It could be a larger problem within your home that will require a little detective work to discover how to fix the problem.
If you’re not sure where to start, here are some troubleshooting tips to try when your lights won’t turn on:
Start With the Simple Stuff
Sometimes it’s the most obvious things that cause all the trouble. Start by examining the light bulb. Maybe it’s burned out, so you just need to grab a replacement. If it’s a lamp, make sure it’s plugged into an outlet! While an occasional flickering light normally indicates an issue with the bulb, constant flickering throughout your home could likely mean that there’s an overload on the electrical system. This is an issue that will definitely require the attention of a professional. If you experience consistent flickering call the professional electricians at Fusion Electric at 913-648-9487, or contact us online for quick service and professional results!
Grab a Flashlight and Head to the Power Panel
It could be a “tripped” circuit breaker. Sometimes a power surge can cause a circuit breaker to trip (cut off power) to a particular area of your home and simply flipping it back on can often solve the problem. The circuit breaker is the electrical system’s defense against voltage spikes and sudden fluctuations. While the occasional “tripped” breaker is nothing to be alarmed about, a consistent issue may indicate a serious problem with the breaker panel or somewhere else within the electrical system.
Test the Outlet
Get yourself an OHM-meter (a circuit tester) at the hardware store to stock in your toolbox for this and similar situations in the future. Test the outlet you’ve plugged your lamp into, to make sure it’s got power. If there’s no power, it’s possible you’ve got wiring troubles in the electrical wiring connected to that outlet. Time to call a licensed electrician! Electrical projects involving wiring are not a DIY project.
Check the Socket
Inside the socket of a lamp, or a ceiling fixture, there’s a copper or brass tab. If the tab gets bent or “mashed down”, the business end of the light bulb can’t make contact, and won’t light, even though there’s power flowing into the socket. Turn off the breaker that controls that light fixture, reach in with something made of wood or plastic, and bend the tab back up to a 15-20 degree angle. This problem is more common than you think.
Call a Pro
After you’ve tried “all of the above” and nothing works, it’s time to pick up the phone and call a professional — a licensed electrician. Electricity is too dangerous to mess with and you definitely don’t want to risk a serious shock or worse for the sake of an unlit lamp or ceiling fixture!
In Kansas City, call the professionals at Fusion Electric at 913-648-9487, or contact us online for quick service and professional results!
Winter is fast approaching and one popular thing we are starting to notice is that many people are purchasing electric space heaters or mini electrical fireplaces in an effort to save energy.
Did you know that space heaters pose a serious fire danger?
The U.S. Consumer Safety Commission estimates that approximately 25,000 house fires occur every year from space heaters. These fires have resulted in about 300 deaths and have caused thousands emergency room visits for third-degree burns.
For your safety, we’ve put together these quick tips on how to safely use an electric space heater:
Use a Dedicated Circuit
Electric space heaters can trip your home’s circuit breaker when plugged into a power outlet. This happens when the electric space heater’s energy exceeds the capacity of your home’s electric wire. The electrical overload can cause your home’s main electrical panel to shut down and trip the circuit to cut the power to the outlet where the space heater is plugged in.
If you are going to use an electric space heater, you should have a dedicated circuit installed to safely operate your space heater. Most electric space heaters consume upward of 1,000 watts and require a dedicated circuit to run safely.
Don’t Use Extension Cords
Avoid using extension cords to plug in a space heater. Anything that uses resistance to create heat (iron, hair dryer) uses a lot of power causing an extension cord to overheat and may catch on fire If you must use an extension cord, opt to use the shortest possible, heavy-duty cord, 14-gauge wire or larger.
Be Aware Of Your Surroundings
Place the space heater away from flammable surfaces such as curtains, blankets, couches, chairs, or other combustible material. If it can catch on fire, it will. An important rule to live by when using a space heater is the three-foot rule, no matter where you are using your space heater always keep it three feet away from anything flammable.
Avoid leaving your space heater running for too long. Not only will you reduce the lifetime of your space heater, but you will end up paying more money in the long run. Another rule of thumb is that you should never let your space heater run throughout the night or leave it on if you are not home.
Buy an electric space heater that has a tip-over safety switch. A tip-over safety switch automatically turns the unit off if it gets knocked over. Accidents will always happen, and fires can start quickly. The tip-over safety switch is perfect for families with pets and small children.
If you are planning to use a space heater this winter and would like to have a dedicated circuit installed, call Fusion Electric at (913) 648-9487. We’re here to answer all of your electrical concerns.
A whole house surge protector is a device that protects your electronics from electrical surges from outside sources. We’ve been seeing a lot of outages and electrical surges in Kansas City due to a variety of causes including:
- lightning strikes
- damage to electric lines
- repairs to electric lines
How Do Whole House Surge Protectors Work?
Electricity follows what is called electrical potential, or a “path” from a positive terminal to negative terminal. Another name for the negative terminal is “ground.” Electricity will always move toward the lowest potential, the negative terminal, the ground. Whole house surge protectors route large and sudden surges of electric current into a dedicated ground line. This keeps surges from going into your electronic devices throughout your house.
Do I Need a Whole House Surge Protector?
Absolutely, the average home in Kansas City experiences around 4-5 power surges a day. While most surges originate from inside the house, those that don’t (like lightning strikes) have the potential to cause major damage to any gadgets and appliances you have plugged in. Just think about how many electronics you have in your household! They are worth protecting.
Can I Use Power Strips Instead?
Power strips are great for protecting a few select devices. However, to better protect everything you have plugged into your electrical system, you should use a whole house surge protector. Power strips play an important role in protecting against small surges in your house, they aren’t built to handle the larger surges. Think of it like wearing a jacket and a long-sleeve shirt on a snowy day, they work better together than individually.
If you’re interested in protecting yourself from damage caused by surges, click here or call (913) 648-9487.
The electrical system is one of the most important aspects of a house, and yet it can also be the least understood by the average homeowner. That’s because no one teaches us these things in school
Here’s a step-by-step guide to the anatomy of your electrical system and what it takes for electricity to travel from the power plant to the outlet in your wall.
Related Read: 10 Simple Tips to Save On Energy Costs This Summer
From the Power Plant to Your Home
First, the power plant generates electricity and sends it to a transformer. The transformer converts this high-voltage electricity to a lower voltage that’s safer for smaller residences. Then, it passes the electricity to a meter and then connects to your house on the way at either the service drop or service lateral. To paraphrase the difference between the two:
If you have overhead service then the connection is a service drop and occurs at the roof. The connecting wires form a drip loop in order to keep rain from running down the wires and damaging nearby equipment. The wires then enter the mast-head on your roof and go down through a conduit to the meter.
With underground service the connection is a service lateral and happens close to the ground. Wire buried at least 2 feet underground travels from the transformer to the side of your house and up through a conduit to the meter.
The meter connects to your house’s grounding rod, which protects the electrical system in case of sudden static discharge. (This is otherwise known as lightning!) After measuring how much your household consumes, the meter outputs the electricity received to the service panel inside your house.
The service panel is where things get tricky, but this walk-through can help to demystify it. Your house’s main electrical circuit begins at the service panel. Electricity comes in via two 120 volt wires, each of which connect to a bus bar to power the circuit breakers in the panel.
Single pole circuit breakers attach to only one bus bar to receive 120 volts; that’s all that low power devices like lights need. Double pole circuit breakers attach to both bus bars, receiving 240 volts and powering energy-hungry appliances like your electric range, clothes dryer and air conditioner.
The electricity running through your house always returns to the service panel. It travels back along neutral wires, which connect to the neutral bar in the service panel. From there, it will pass all the way back to the transformer.
Knowing more about the way your house’s electricity works makes it easier to identify the source of trouble in the event a problem occurs. However, electrical systems are highly dangerous for the would-be DIY handyman or handywoman.
Related Read: 4 Reasons Why You Should Ditch Electrical DIY
If you notice any abnormality with your electrical service, give Fusion Electric a call, and let our skilled technicians handle the hot stuff! And for more helpful information, visit our blog today.
From Pinterest to Facebook, do-it-yourself projects are popping everywhere these days. With lists and lists of seemingly easy projects at your disposal, many believe that they can take on just about any project with a little help from the internet.
However, DIY electrical projects are a very different story and can be incredibly dangerous, which is why the professionals at Fusion Electric are shedding some light on why it’s time to ditch the DIY.
Already given up on electrical DIY? Learn how Fusion Electric can solve all your electrical needs!
What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
Whether you’re hoping to install outdoor lighting and speakers around the pool, or looking to hide cords and connectors while putting out your Christmas decorations, even the simplest job can go wrong when electricity is involved. Here are just a few ways electrical DIY can turn disastrous:
1. Hidden Hazards
When dealing with electrical issues, there are many hidden hazards. Whether it’s running into the family of racoons in the attic, or unintentionally crossing the wrong wires, there are always risks to consider.
While you may never see these hazards coming, professional electricians are trained to look for a laundry list of things to ensure safe electrical servicing and their own safety. Avoid the guessing game and leave projects you’re unsure of to the professionals.
2. Improper Installation
Improper installation can not only cause fires and damage your home, it can also permanently damage the equipment you are trying to install, whatever it may be. This damage can lead to thousands of dollars in repairs and replacements for your home.
3. Would it Pass Inspection?
Spending time and money on a DIY electrical project can not only be dangerous, but if not done properly, it may fail inspections.
We see homeowners who go through all the trouble of adding electrical to bonus rooms and additions themselves, all to find out that when they want to sell their home, these DIY add ons don’t meet the requirements to pass inspections. This can end up costing you thousands of dollars to repair, and it all could have been avoided by hiring a professional electrician.
4. Injury & Fatality
Most homeowners have little knowledge of the safety precautions and details of dealing with electrical maintenance, and why would they?
However, when homeowners try to DIY without extensive knowledge, any number of injuries can happen including severe burns, electrocution, and even death in some cases. Luckily, there are professionals who are highly trained in this industry, and your safety is well worth the extra money required to hire a trained professional.
Related Read: Stop the DIY! Why You Need to Call an Electrician
“Great service shouldn’t be shocking!”
When you finally decide it’s time to ditch the DIY, give the professionals at Fusion Electric a call. We offer a full line of commercial and residential services, including indoor and outdoor lighting, safety inspections, and upgrades in service.
We are locally owned and operated, and serve the entire Kansas City Metro Area. Give us a call and make Fusion Electric your go-to source for all of your electrical needs.
Contact Fusion Electric to set up an appointment, and be sure to check out our blog for more helpful information regarding your electrical needs!
Along with the purchase of an electric vehicle, also known as an EV, comes the need of electric vehicle service equipment, or EVSE. So where do you begin? The electricians at Fusion Electric break down the basics for you.
What Is an EVSE?
EVSE is an acronym given for the box, cord, and plug that will allow you to charge your EV at home, though it is not the charger itself. The EVSE is a two-way communication that ensures the current passed to the vehicle is both below the limits of the wall charger and below the limits of what the car can receive.
The EVSE has the ability to cut power in the event of an electrical malfunction, such as a power short, power surge, or a charging software meltdown. Essentially, your EVSE reduces the likelihood of an overheated charging cord, which could lead to a car or garage fire.
What Are the Different Types of EVSE?
There are two types of EVSE to consider: Level 1 and Level 2.
Level 1 charging equipment delivers a current of 110 or 120 volts. A pro to using a Level 1 is that it can be plugged into any standard home outlet. The con; it’s basically a trickle charge, which means that you gain 2-3 miles of driving for every hour of charge.
Level 2 charging equipment uses 220-240 volts; the equivalent to an electric oven or clothes dryer. Where a Level 1 EVSE would take 24 hours to charge an EV, a Level 2 EVSE can do the same in as little as four hours.
How Do I Install an EVSE?
The most important part in the selection process is making sure that you hire a qualified electrician to install the equipment. This shouldn’t be something you try to do on your own. There may be permits and inspections depending on where you live, and especially given the potential dangers of a malfunction, you want to make sure you do it right.
Your electrician will install the proper sized circuit breaker and run wiring inside conduit from the box to the EVSE’s location. Prices will vary for electrical work, by the amount of work that needs to be done and the cost of any necessary permits.
Throughout the installation process, keep your receipts. In some locations, the cost of an EVSE and installation qualifies for state or local incentives.
Looking for more tips? Be sure to follow the Fusion Electric blog for helpful articles on electricity and your home.
In-home theatres are becoming more and more popular in Kansas City homes. At Fusion Electric, we help with the electrical components for all types of theatres. Some are built with movie theatre style seating, others have a popcorn machine, and there are some that just have a really impressive speaker system. Regardless of what equipment you have to enhance the theatre, there are a few electrical components that are a must.
Related Read: All About Fusion Electric’s Indoor Lighting Services
The Electrical Must Haves
- Surround Sound: Most home movie theatres use a 7.1 surround sound system. This is a common system because it uses a subwoofer and has seven channel speakers. Typically, there is a center speaker that is either above or below the screen. There are two speakers on either side of the screen, typically positioned at ear height. The fourth and fifth speakers are usually found on the side walls in line with the seating. Lastly, the sixth and seventh speakers are found on the back wall or at the end of the viewing area.
- Video Projector: If you are looking for a in-home theatre that gives an authentic experience, you will want to use a video projector. The best part about a projector is that it requires minimal electrical wiring once it is hung. You will need a CAT5 control wire so that a radio frequency remote can operate the projector. You will also need to use an HDMI cable so that high-definition can be accessed.
- Video & Sound Systems: The headquarters of your theatre is where you house the video and sound systems, and your receiver. The receiver will connect to the projector and speakers. Other components you will want to include that connect to a receiver are a blu-ray player, cable feed or satellite feed, and a game console.
- Lighting: A movie theatre is only complete with the right lighting. Some in-home theatres use recessed lighting on the side walls or in the ceiling. Others use lighting with dimmers. If you really want to up your in-home theatre game, use a light dimmer that is controlled by a radio frequency remote.
Related Read: How to Save Energy Using Advanced Power Strips
There you have it, the electrical necessities of an in-home movie theatre. If you need help with electrical items, give the Fusion Electric team a call today, at (913) 563-7975.