Electricity is very powerful. If you are like most people, it’s something you use every day, but may not give it much thought. In fact, it’s so commonplace, you may forget how powerful and potentially dangerous it really is. Continue reading
We use electricity in our homes today now more than ever before, so electrical upgrades make sense. It’s no longer realistic to have just enough electricity to power lights and a few major appliances. Today’s family typically has multiple electronic devices, multiple TVs, electric cooktops, pool or spa pumps, central air conditioning…the list goes on!
If you live in an older home, there’s a good chance that your electrical system isn’t up to the job of powering your modern lifestyle safely and efficiently. What’s more, there will eventually come a time when you, or perhaps your children, will want to sell your home, and the more modern and “up-to-code” the electrical system, the better off you’ll be when that day arrives.
Here are 5 upgrades to consider that will not only bring your home into the 21st century and prepare it for a more efficient future:
1. Upgrade Your Electrical Meter to 200-Amp Service
As mentioned, most homes today use a number of power-hungry appliances and devices. A 100-amp service may have been fine a couple of decades ago, but that’s no longer the case. Upgrading to a 200-amp service for your electrical meter will go a long way toward serving your demands for power now and into the future.
2. Invest in Structured Wiring
A standard electrical upgrade maintains the value of your home, but adding structured wiring (heavy-duty data cables) which enables the latest features of TVs, stereo equipment, computers, security systems, etc., can actually increase the value of your home.
3. Add AFCI and GFCI Devices
Most building codes today require these electrical safety devices be installed in all new homes for good reason. Protecting your family against electrical fires with an ACFI (arc fault circuit interrupter) and against deadly electric shocks with GCFI (ground fault circuit interrupters), just makes sense. (If the technology exists to prevent an accident, why not use it?!)
4. USB Ports in Electrical Outlets
With so many electrical devices these days — smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc. — the convenience of having multiple USB ports or a USB hub — is undeniable!
5. Bury the Power Lines
Not only do buried power lines eliminate the tangle of wires running from the street to your house, they also protect wires against damage from falling limbs during thunderstorms, wind gusts and winter snow or ice events.
Considering one or more electrical upgrades for your Kansas City area home? Contact us at Fusion Electric for great service performed quickly and efficiently!
You hear tragic stories on the news about people dying from carbon monoxide poisoning or electrical shock and you think, “That will never happen to me.” But do you think they thought it would ever happen to them? No, they didn’t. The team at Fusion Electric has put together this helpful information about carbon monoxide safety to keep your family safe from these common dangers in your home that could actually kill you. Read on and make sure your home is safe,
Scary Facts about Carbon Monoxide
- On average 430 people die every year in the U.S. from accidental CO poisoning
- Carbon monoxide gas is colorless, odorless making it undetectable
- Carbon monoxide is typically vented outside of your home
- More than 20,000 Americans visit the hospital each year for suspected carbon monoxide poisoning
- Carbon monoxide can be created by stoves, generators, fireplaces, water heaters, vehicles, and furnaces
Safety Tips to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
- Your first line of defense is to make sure you have working CO detectors installed in several areas of your home
- Make sure you test your CO alarms once a month
- Replace the batteries in your CO alarms twice a year at least
- Know what sound your CO alarm makes when it’s set off
- If your CO alarms do sound, make sure everyone inside the home gets to a place where they can get fresh air, preferably outside. Call the fire department quickly
- Never let your car idle to warm up inside of a closed space like a garage. Always move your car outside first
- During and after a snowstorm, clear the exit vents to your dryer, furnace, and stove
- Always open the damper in your fireplace for proper ventilation when in use
- Only use gas and charcoal grills outside because they produce CO gas
Shocking Facts about Electrical Accidents
According to the ESFI (Electrical Safety Foundation International), more than 30,000 non-fatal shock accidents occur each year.
- More than two hundred people die from electrocution each year
- According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 70 percent of child-related electrical accidents occur at home, when adult supervision is present
- Each year, there is an estimated average of 60 electrocutions associated with consumer products. The three most common product categories are
1. small appliance
2. power tool
3. lighting equipment
Electrical Safety Tips
- Faulty appliances – never use an appliance with cracked, worn, or frayed cords
- Throw out all extension cords that are damaged or frayed
- Electrical appliances – never let electrical appliances come into contact with water.
- Old wiring – replace incorrect or deteriorated household wiring
Electric outlets – if there are young children at home, it’s recommended to use outlet covers.
- Swimming pools, hot tubs & spas – faulty wiring in pools and hot tubs pose the serious risk of electrocution and electric shock due to defective underwater lighting, faulty and old wiring, and improperly grounded vacuums.
GFCIs are regarded as one of the best ways to prevent electrocution. Have an electrician check to be sure you have properly working GFCIs on all outlets near water (kitchens, bathrooms, outdoor).
Related Read: 3 Reasons Your KC Home Needs an Electrical Inspection
Three Ways to Make Your Home Safe
1. Early Education about the Dangers of Electricity
One of the biggest ways to protect children from being electrocuted is by teaching them about safe electrical practices. This should start when a child is a toddler. Parents should continue electrical safety education during family safety drills while children are under the age of twelve. However, annual training is not enough since children need constant reminders.
2. Preventative Maintenance for Electrical Appliances
Making sure that all cords on lamps, kitchen appliances, and other electrical items are free from wear and tear is an important part of protecting young children. Cords that are broken, damaged, show wiring, or do not work properly should be discarded.
This includes extension cords. Outlets should be replaced if they are cracked or broken. Lights and appliances with a short in them should also be replaced. They are a fire and electrical shock hazard.
3. Make Sure Your Outlets Have GFCIs for Shock Prevention
Most parents know that installing outlet covers is the most basic way to protect their children from being shocked. Another big part of childproofing a home includes upgrading kitchen, bath, and outdoor outlets to Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI’s).
GFCIs prevent shock or electrocution if an appliance comes in contact with water (or any time it senses a surge in electricity). The GFCI measures the amount of current flowing from hot to neutral, so when there is imbalance, the circuit trips. Normally a GFCI can detect variations as small as 4 milliamps, and it trips quickly cutting off electricity.
How to Test a GFCI
To test your ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI), plug in a light or other device into the outlet then just press the test button in. You will hear a snap sound that trips the outlet and cuts power off to the two plug in connections. If the light goes out, you’ll know the outlets don’t work and the safety mechanism performed correctly. Once you know the GFCI is functioning properly, press the reset button and the outlet should once again be on.
The U.S. government recommends that GFCI’s should be inspected after every storm and once per month. They also say that more than twenty-five percent of people in the country do not know how helpful GFCI’s can be, and half of those that use them do not test their GFCI’s.
If you’d like a carbon monoxide detector installed or for more information about electrical safety, or perhaps a whole-house safety inspection, call Fusion Electric your Kansas City Electrician at 913-563-7975.
Many are unaware of the hidden dangers of carbon monoxide because this gas is invisible, odorless and strikes without warning. Tragically, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that more than 400 Americans die every year from carbon monoxide poisoning with an addition 24,000 receiving emergency care from its effects. That being said, it’s crucial to protect your family and home with the necessary precautions. Continue reading to learn more from the experts at Fusion.
What is Carbon Monoxide?
This colorless, odorless gas is emitted as fumes from vehicles and other household appliances. Carbon monoxide gas forms when there’s not enough oxygen in the air. Because it’s tasteless and colorless, high levels of this toxic gas often build slowly over time. Its toxicity is so high that even small quantities can be extremely dangerous.
Where Does It Come From?
You may not know it, but every home has numerous appliances that emit this gas. The risk of carbon monoxide poisoning increases when gas or charcoal-operated appliances are used indoors or in tight, enclosed spaces. Other dangerous appliances include:
- Gas generators
- Camp Stoves
- Gas ranges
Other risks include leaving your car running inside the garage or failing to properly clean the debris from your chimney or wood/pellet stove. Water or furnace heaters may also become potential risks if not serviced regularly.
What are the Signs of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?
Despite the grave danger of this toxic gas, the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning don’t always appear serious. Many report “flu-like” symptoms such as weakness, headaches, dizziness, and vomiting. Severe symptoms also include chest pain and mental confusion.
As the poisoning increases, many victims may pass out and slip into a coma-like state if they don’t receive quick emergency treatment. Children and the elderly are at greatest risk for carbon monoxide poisoning.
How Do I Protect My Home?
There are many vital ways to help keep your home safe from this hidden danger. Some of the most important methods include:
- Using a professionally installed carbon monoxide detector
- Regularly cleaning your chimney and keeping it debris-free
- Servicing all major gas appliances regularly (water heaters, stoves, etc.)
- Keeping gas or charcoal appliances out of your house and out in the open air
- Keeping all your appliances vented properly (stoves, chimneys, and water heaters)
Why Every Home Should Have a Carbon Monoxide Detector
Using a carbon monoxide detector is by far the best way to keep your home safe and well-monitored. This detector is battery-run and also equipped with backup batteries to ensure it’s always running. It works like a smoke detector and sounds an alarm whenever it detects levels of carbon monoxide within your home. It also gives a reading of how much carbon dioxide it has detected. Having a carbon monoxide detector installed could save the life of yourself and your family by providing a critical early-warning system for when to seek help.
Can I Install It Myself?
Because of how important this device is, it is vital to have it carefully installed by a trusted professional. Here at Fusion Electric, we offer professional installation services to keep your home safe. If not properly installed, your carbon monoxide detector runs the risk of being damaged or working poorly.
For more information on carbon monoxide detectors, or to plan your installation, please contact the experts at Fusion Electric today.
Although winter storms can provide pretty scenery and fun for the kids, the destruction they can cause is nothing to play around with. A power outage can affect entire towns for days, picking grocery stores clean of essentials, and leaving you stranded. Being prepared can mean the difference between a dire situation or an inconvenience, which is why it’s crucial to prepare your family and your home with a winter storm kit.
Related Read: An Electrician’s Guide to Power Outages
What Will I Need In My Winter Storm Kit?
Putting together a winter storm kit is one of the best ways to prepare your home and family for the unknown. You can buy pre-made kits from websites such as Live Prepared or the American Red Cross, or you can put your own kit together. (A DIY kit is recommended if your family has specific needs such as prescription medication or infant formula.)
When putting together your own winter storm kit, you should include these basics:
- Clean water
- Emergency food
- Emergency heat
- Matches and candles
- Prescription medications
- First aid supplies
- Sanitation supplies
- Battery-powered radio for updates
- Games or books to pass the time
Do I Really Need That Much Water?
YES! Survivalist experts recommend having one gallon of water per day, per person, for at least three days.
That means having a minimum 15 gallons of bottled water stored for a family of five. You can buy drinking bottle size, gallon size, or five-gallon jugs to store your water, depending on where it will be kept.
Winter Weather Hack: Many companies also sell emergency liners for your bathtub that you can fill when a winter storm is predicted. (The standard bathtub usually holds about 100 gallons.)
Don’t Be Left In the Dark
A sufficient winter storm kit should have several methods of emergency light, including flashlights with extra batteries, a kerosene lamp with fuel, and emergency candles with matches. A battery-powered camping lantern is also useful for lighting up main living areas of your home.
Food for the Whole Family
Make sure you have enough non-perishable food items for your family, for a minimum of three days, with seven days being recommended. Include items that do not need to be cooked (like energy bars, cans of tuna, and cans of fruit). Stock up on Sterno cans for occasional cooking when the power is out. Freeze dried emergency food is also important to have on hand, as it takes up little room and lasts for 10+ years.
Helpful Hint: If you have canned foods, don’t forget the can opener!
Stay Warm During the Storm
When the power goes out, so will your main source of heat. If you have a fireplace, stock up on quickstart logs, or have a sufficient woodpile somewhere that won’t be covered by snow. If you don’t have a fireplace, keep lots of warm blankets, thick socks, hand warmers, and winter clothing to keep warm.
Related Read: Are Electric Space Heaters Dangerous?
Plan Meds Ahead
Plan ahead to have extra supplies of prescription medication and medical supplies for anyone in your family who needs it, especially things like EpiPens, inhalers, or insulin. If you run out of medication while you are snowed in and your town is shut down, a simple inconvenience can turn life threatening.
It’s also important not to forget basic first aid supplies to your kit for minor injuries. Include bandages, antibiotic ointment, antiseptic wipes, fever and pain reducer, a cold compress, first aid tape, gauze, and gloves.
Reach for the Radio
A battery-powered radio will help you stay connected to the world outside and get updates on how disaster relief is coming along in your area. If you end up being stuck at home for several days with none of the regular entertainment devices working (No Netflix? How will you pass the time?!), card games, compact board games, books and puzzles can keep your family entertained. Good morale is important during times of trouble.
Don’t Forget Fido!
If you have pets, make sure you don’t forget them! It’s easy to forget a few things while prepping for winter weather, but make sure you prep for pets if you have them. Stock up on food and water for your furry friends as well.
Contact us for any electrical needs or concerns you have this winter, and stay safe as storms come your way! You can always give us a call at (913) 648-9487, we are here to serve you.
It’s that time of year again! The time when driveways and sidewalks are slick as can be and the snow shovels are coming out of hibernation. Have you considered the damage this same ice might be doing to your gutters and siding? Today, we’re giving you an inside look at why de-icing wires, also known as Heat Trace tape or cables, are a great investment for your gutters and roof this winter.
Related Read: Are Electric Space Heaters Dangerous?
What Are De-Icing Wires/Heat Trace Tape?
De-icing wires are simple, relatively low-cost wires you run along metal piping (such as your gutters) in order to keep the pipes warm and to melt away ice and snow.
Why Use De-Icing Wires?
De-icing wires prevent ice buildup from harming your home. They are especially helpful in preventing ice dams, which are walls of solid ice that form in your gutters that clog them completely which can lead to serious issues. Think of your gutters after fall, with all the leaves jammed inside and before you or a professional cleans them out. If ice dams form while they are already clogged, this will cause snow, ice, and water to overflow and back up onto your roof which may lead to leaks from water seeping in through the cracks.
Additionally, if ice freezes between the shingles on your roof or your siding, it can cause serious problems. When water freezes in between your siding and shingles, it expands. When this melting and refreezing occurs repeatedly, it can lead to permanent damage.
How Are De-Icing Wires Installed?
Although the installation may be fairly simple, because it involves an electric cable and potentially hazardous outdoor work, we strongly recommend hiring a professional to help. Give your trusted Kansas City electrician a call and for more information on installation and your home’s specific needs.
Related Read: Whole House What Protector?
Looking for an electrician you can trust? Give the experts at Fusion Electric a call at (913) 563-7975 or schedule an appointment online today!
You strung your whole house with twinkling holiday lights and couldn’t wait to turn them on. However, once you turned them on, they quickly faded to darkness. What happened?
If you experienced electrical trouble with your holiday lights, we’ll tell you the possible issues and how Fusion Electric can fix them!
Check the Breakers
Sometimes, an electrical problem is as simple as a tripped circuit! It’s so elementary, but many times we don’t think to check the most obvious things first. If you reset the breaker and the problem occurs again, it might be a good idea to call the professionals to have a separate circuit added for extras like holiday lights.
Adding this feature will make turning your holiday lights on and off very convenient and easy because your electrician can add a specific switch dedicated to your holiday lights, or certain parts of your home, if you wish! Another solution may be to switch to LED holiday lights because they require less energy and may be less likely to trip a circuit.
Related Read: Are Electric Space Heaters Dangerous?
Decorate with Safety in Mind
The important thing to keep in mind when using outdoor holiday lights to decorate is the fact that they’re outside. That means that the lights themselves, and the extension cords, are exposed to the elements — namely water, in the form of rain, sleet, and snow. Since it’s a well-known fact that water and electricity don’t mix well, make sure you’re taking the proper precautions, including:
- Using GFCI protected outlets to prevent electrical shocks.
- Equipping your GFCI protected outlets with a cover or bubble protector to keep moisture out.
- Inspecting extension cords that are meant for outdoor use for cracks, splits or frayed wires.
Again, skipping these steps could be a real safety hazard both in terms of moisture problems, electrical shocks, and the risk of a short leading to a fire.
Related Read: Whole House What Protector?
Be Extra Safe & Add Surge Protection
Most of us think of surges as being caused by lightning, but the truth is, 80% of surges are short, intense bursts, caused by us and all of our electrical demands!
A whole-house surge protector is another great safety measure for homes with lots of electronics in use during the holiday season. In fact, this protection is valuable throughout the year for families with many computers, cell phones, and other smart devices. Homes today are in more need of surge protection than ever before with all of the everyday devices these days that are equipped with circuit boards (washers, dryers, appliances, computers, etc.).
Need help with an electrical issue? Contact Fusion Electric online or give us a call at (913) 563-7975. We’d be happy to answer your questions!
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.
Do you ever wonder if your electrical system needs updating? Probably not, but it’s summertime and your air conditioner requires a lot of power which puts an extra strain on your electrical system. How do you figure out if you need electrical updates? Here are 5 signs your electrical service is outdated, meaning that you may need an upgrade!
1. Home Built Before 1980
Older homes hold so much charm and beauty, but if your home’s birthday is prior to 1980, it’s probably time for an upgrade to copper wiring. Homes built before then typically used aluminum wiring or wiring with a rubberized fabric wrapped around it. This can lead to wires coming loose or fraying, which means shorts and potentially, fires.
2. You See Your Circuit Breaker Box More Than Your Friends
Constantly running to the circuit breaker box to reset the circuits when drying your hair or when you start an appliance? Chances are, you are overloading your system and are in need of an electrician to assess your circuits and wiring.
Related Read: 4 Reasons Why You Should Ditch Electrical DIY
3. House Appears Haunted
Are lights going dim on their own? Do they flicker when you plug in and start the vacuum cleaner? This probably isn’t the work of resident ghosts in the home, but another good indicator that the circuits and wiring need upgrading.
4. Cords, Cords Everywhere!
Are extension cords a staple in your home decor? The need for multiple extension cords suggests not enough outlets in the home or not the right kind of outlets, both of which mean that it’s a good time to contact an electrician to assess your home’s system.
5. Angry Outlets
Outlets that are hot to the touch, make popping or buzzing sounds, or have black marks on the outlet covers are all signs of a serious problem with your electrical system. Outlets should blend in with your home. Any outlet that displays noticeable activity is not a happy outlet, and should be treated as very dangerous. Call an electrician immediately.
Related Read: Outlet Not Working? 3 Possible Reasons Why