Fire insurance, concept. An electrical outlet that is burnt after short circuit and may cause a fire at home.

Here Are 5 Ways to Avoid Electrical Accidents During the Holidays

During the holidays, a lot of people use more electricity than they normally do throughout the rest of the year. Because of this, there tend to be quite a few electrical accidents that occur between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. Fortunately, there are some ways to prevent holiday electrical accidents.

1. Hang up the Right Kind of Lights Outside

Not all types of holiday lights are meant to be hung outside. Some people don’t realize this, and they put themselves at risk of having an electrical fire. Before any types of lights are hung up outside, they need to be checked to make sure they are meant to be placed outdoors and that they are in good shape.

2. Do Not Plug in Too Many Lights

A lot of people make the mistake of plugging in too many holiday lights into a single circuit, and this can cause it to overload. When this happens, it can cause a short circuit and a fire. If a circuit gets overloaded and is no longer functioning properly, an electrician from Mr. Electric can replace or repair it.

3. Keep Holiday Lights Away From the Fireplace

Surprisingly, there are some Tampa, Florida residents who have a fireplace, and they like to decorate it for the holidays. While holiday lights might look good on the mantle, the heat from a roaring fire can cause them to melt. It’s best to only decorate a mantle with items that don’t need to be plugged in and won't melt.

4. Plug Extension Cords Into Outlets

For those who have a lot of holiday decorations that they place far away from an outlet, they may have gotten into the habit of plugging extension cords into each other. Unfortunately, this can cause the extension cords to overheat and damage the holiday decorations. They are better off using a surge protector that’s made for the outdoors or moving their holiday decorations so that they are closer to an outlet.

5. Use Space Heaters Properly

Tampa, Florida can get chilly during the winter months. Space heaters can be very beneficial for those who don’t have any other way to heat their homes. However, quite a few electrical fires occur because a space heater wasn’t used properly. They should never be placed in a walkway or an area where they can be easily knocked over. There shouldn’t be any objects or flammable items directly in front of them, and they should never be left unattended, even if it's for only a couple of minutes.

With the holidays comes an increase in electrical accidents. Fortunately, many of these accidents can be avoided if the right precautions are taken. Contact us at Mr. Electric for all your electrical service needs in Tampa or the surrounding area.

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6 Practical Tips for Lowering Your Electric Bill During Winter

As the months get colder, your energy bills tend to rise. Heating can be more expensive than air conditioning, and you're usually home more in the winter. Shorter days and longer nights paired with the holiday season are just a few reasons for a higher electric bill. You can save money on your electric bill this winter in multiple ways.

1. Weatherstrip Your Doors and Windows

Doors and windows may allow heat to leak out of your house, but new weatherstripping can help. Sealing your windows and doors can cut down on drafts during the winter months. Along with weatherstripping, door sweeps and draft stoppers will protect your residence during the cold months.

2. Close the Damper When Not Using the Fireplace

A fire in your fireplace can be cozy on a winter night. Remember to close the damper, or heat could escape when the fireplace isn't in use. A more efficient fireplace could help keep your home comfortable and lower your electric bill. Switching to a gas fireplace and a glass screen allows you to feel comfortable without losing heat through the chimney.

3. Unplug or Power Down Electronics

Your family probably uses electronics and appliances all the time that require charging. Unplug small appliances and electronics when not using them to prevent overcharging the devices. Electronics you can unplug include televisions, microwaves, and video game consoles. An easy way to lower your electric bill is to power down electronics when not in use. An example is allowing a computer to run instead of powering it down or putting it in sleep mode.

4. Turn Off or Replace the Lights

Make sure to turn off the lights when no one is occupying the room or leaving the house. Utilize the plentiful sunlight during the day in Tampa, FL. Our electricians can retrofit your lighting to help reduce your electric bill. Switching out incandescent bulbs for energy-efficient ones can use much less energy. ENERGY STAR light bulbs last roughly six times longer than traditional ones and use about 75% less energy.

5. Bundle Up

Turn down the thermostat for winter weather for an easy way to lower energy usage. Turning your thermostat down a few degrees for about eight hours can save up to 10% on your electric bill. You can wear a sweater or long sleeves instead of turning up the heat.

6. Get Outside More

One of the reasons that you use more energy in the winter is that you're usually home more. You're less likely to spend your time watching television when going out for a winter sport or activity. The less time your family is home, the fewer appliances will be using power.

As the holidays approach, households usually use more electricity for laundry, heating, and lighting. Keeping your windows and doors closed and replacing your air filter are easy ways to lower your electric bill. If you need circuit breaker replacements or upgrades to prepare for the winter, call us at Mr. Electric today.

A dangerous situation shown with a burnt electronical socket

Electrical Safety Tips to Remember This Fall

After a long, hot summer, the fall weather can be a nice relief. When the weather turns and the nights grow longer, there are few things to remember so that you can keep your household safe. These electrical safety tips should help you reduce the chances of receiving a shock, having to deal with a malfunction, or facing the very real danger of a fire.

Clean up Around the House

Even though Tampa doesn't get that cold, you may have deciduous trees on your property. These trees lose their leaves during fall, and those leaves could collect near your home. If these dry leaves are near outlets, light fixtures, or power cords, there's the potential that a spark could cause them to catch on fire. To prevent this from happening, remove leaves from your property in the fall.

Inspect your Outlets

Outlets seem like they might be able to last forever, but they can get worn down just like anything else can. This could be more likely if you use them frequently. In other instances, outlets haven't bee installed properly. Whatever the cause, it's important that you replace any outlets that seem damaged or loose. If they're discolored, this is a bad sign as well, since it could indicate a short circuit. Short circuits could easily start fires.

Make Sure Your Outdoor Devices Are Ready for the Weather

Outdoor electrical items should be inspected before you plug them in. This includes lights and decorations that you'd like to display during the holidays. First, you need to make sure that they were designed to work outdoors. They also need to be in good shape so they can withstand the elements. If water gets in, the electrical components could stop working. Another potential concern is that the internal wiring could malfunction and cause sparks to fly.

Have Your Electrical Panel Inspected

You may want to have a professional electrician take a look at your electrical panel to make sure it's up to code. In the winter, you probably put a lot more stress on your system, especially if you have holidays lights and displays to plug in. If a circuit is overloaded, it could shut off as a safety measure. It could also overheat, a scenario that's particularly dangerous. Intense heat could damage the insulation around the wiring. When wiring is exposed, electricity can flow where it shouldn't. It could cause smoke or fire, and it could pose a danger to anyone who may be around it. At Mr. Electric, we can assess what's going on and upgrade your panel, as necessary, so that it can better meet your needs.

This fall, we hope you can stay safe, and this information can help you do so. Call Mr. Electric if you could use a hand.

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What Are the Best Practices for Electrical Preventative Maintenance?

No one likes an unexpected costly electric breakdown. Routine electrical maintenance is the best way to protect your home or business. Preventive maintenance allows our electricians to find issues before they become a problem, and there are many tools and techniques to ensure everyone's safety.

Where Is Electrical Maintenance Performed?

Regular electrical maintenance ensures that all electrical equipment stays in good working order in Tampa, FL. Preventive maintenance includes inspecting, testing, and repairing electrical wires and equipment to prevent power loss and fires. Businesses and homes use electrical maintenance to protect everyone and prevent premature equipment breakdowns.

What Electrical Equipment Does Preventative Maintenance Include?

Electricians should do preventative maintenance at least once every three years, but some locations could need more frequent maintenance visits. Some electrical equipment may need annual, biannual, or even monthly maintenance depending on the operational nature and physical environment. For instance, equipment that's key to a process in a factory should have regular maintenance performed very frequently.

Every piece of electrical equipment has its specific maintenance requirements and schedules to keep running efficiently. Typical electrical equipment that our electricians cover during a maintenance visit includes:

  • Circuit breakers
  • Power outlets
  • Electromechanical machines
  • Air conditioners and furnaces
  • Generators
  • Protective relays
  • Surge protectors
  • Transformers
  • Lighting systems

Lighting Maintenance

Lighting maintenance improves the reliability of your lights and can cut costs. Our electricians can lower the risk of future breakdowns by performing tests and repairs. If it's more efficient, an electrician will replace your lighting.

An electrician will replace any burnt-out lights and perform a group replacement to cut lighting issues. Electricians check the lighting cables and wiring after changing the lights to ensure they are out of the elements. The final step is adjusting lights, cleaning the lighting systems, and checking any battery charges.

Electrical Safety Maintenance

Our electricians practice electrical safety maintenance to prevent hazards. During routine maintenance, electricians check for risks of electrical accidents. If you own a business, your electrical systems must meet OSHA and NFPA 70E standards. Tampa, FL homes must also be in compliance with the National Electric Code. Maintenance can ensure code compliance to help homeowners avoid fines and safety issues.

An electrician can also check major appliances for damage to the wires, cables, and cords. After discovering any defects, they will make the necessary repairs or replacements.

Understanding the best practices for electrical maintenance helps protect everyone. Each electrical system and piece of electrical equipment needs to be maintained to run efficiently and safely. If you have questions about electrical maintenance, call us at Mr. Electric for an appointment today.

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Why LED Lighting Should Be Considered for Your Commercial Facility

The lighting industry has come a long way over the years. If you're building a commercial facility in Tampa or are planning on making changes to an existing one, you should consider putting in LED lighting. LEDs, or "light-emitting diodes," come with many benefits. Several of those benefits will be described below.

Long Lifespan

Incandescent bulbs, which used to be very commonly found in commercial settings, can last around 1,000 hours, on average. This may seem pretty good, except when you compare that to the average lifespan of an LED, which is estimated to be 50,000 hours. It could even be as high as 100,000 hours. Clearly, LEDs have a huge advantage in this department. This means you can save some money not having to frequently replace your lights.

Efficient

LEDs are very efficient, and this will also save your business money in the long run. While it's difficult to give you an exact number of how much energy you'll save by using LED lights versus incandescent ones, we can tell you that many customers see well more than a 50% improvement in overall energy efficiency. It could be much higher, and that's because nearly all of the energy that goes into the diode is used to make light. In other words, there is hardly any energy that's wasted in these types of lights.

Disposable

Some lights, such as fluorescent lights, have mercury in them. This is perfectly fine when they're in operation, but they need to be disposed of in a special manner. LED lights aren't made with mercury or other materials that require special handling, so you can dispose of them easily when the time comes.

Don't Produce Heat

LEDs don't emit a ton of heat as some other lightbulbs can. They're safe to touch, even after they've been on for a while, and they hardly add heat to the environment. This makes them ideal for offices, industrial locations, and other facilities that want to keep people and/or products at a comfortable temperature. As we all know, it's hot enough as it is in Tampa, and we don't need to increase the temperature more.

Flexible Design

Since LEDs are small, about the size of a single fleck of pepper, they can be used in a variety of settings. Of course, it's rare to see a single LED light on something, other than perhaps an indicator switch on a circuit board. LEDs can be put together in many different combinations, so you can use them in anything from a small cabinet to a large warehouse. If you'd like to create some visual interest for customers at your place of business, that can easily happen as well.

There are so many reasons why LEDs are the lights of the future. They are ideal for commercial facilities, and if you'd like assistance with the installation of your new LED lights, the team at Mr. Electric is ready to step in. Contact us to schedule an appointment.

Stainless steel electrical circuit box open with circuits named by hand in basement on rough concrete block wall with conduit and ceiling and other pipes overhead painted black with dust on them

The 4 Best Tips for Electric Safety This Summer

Tourists come from miles away to enjoy the beaches in Tampa, Florida. As a resident, you have the chance to hit those beaches on any day of the week. When you come home, you want to make sure your family and friends are safe. Electrical problems can easily happen during the long and hot summer. Check out some of the best tips for electrical safety this summer.

Use Outdoor Extension Cords

Backyard parties are a great way to spend time with your loved ones. You might feel tempted to grab any extension cord you can find to power your lights or music. Never use any electrical cord outside unless it states that it is safe for outdoor use. Most of the cheaper extension cords are only suitable for indoor use. They can split or break outside and cause injuries or fires.

Check for Grounded Connections

Grounded connections reduce the risk of electrical shock and allow you to use different appliances or devices with the outlets in your home. A grounded outlet connects with a pole outside of your home. While the outlet allows you to plug in items with three prongs, the pole absorbs shocks if you plug in too many things or a power surge occurs. You especially need grounded outlets around your pool or other water features.

Know Your Breaker Box

Most Tampa homes have circuit breakers inside a breaker box. This is usually a gray metal box located in your basement or laundry room. The long summers in Tampa can lead to power failures as more people use their ACs and other devices. You need to know the location of the box and how to switch the breakers back on after a power outage.

Get an Inspection

Though you might see some symptoms of electrical problems such as dark marks on your walls and constant power outages, some problems present with no symptoms. That is why it's helpful to pay for a professional inspection before summer starts. An electrician working for Mr. Electric can tell you about all of the problems they found and the electrical repairs that you need, as well as let you know how much the repairs will cost.

Enjoy Summer in Tampa

Why worry about all of the problems that might happen this summer when you can relax and enjoy the warm weather? Mr. Electric makes it easy for to you have someone come out to your Tampa home and identify all of the potential risks you might face and the repairs you need. Call Mr. Electric today for any type of electrical repair or for a full inspection of your Tampa system.

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4 Things Licensed Electricians Would Like You to Know

Electricians receive the extensive training necessary to handle different aspects of your electrical system. Most professionals want you to understand the basics of your home’s electrical system. But you must be careful not to tamper with components or else you risk fire hazards and injuries. Here’s what your electrician wants you to know.

1. Avoid Overloading Your Outlets

Modern homes rely on multiple gadgets and appliances that require stable electrical power around the clock. Most homeowners turn to power strips to extend the power to their TVs and portable devices. But it is essential to understand the limitation of extension cords.

An overloaded circuit happens when you try to use too many appliances on one receptacle. If the system is overloaded, you may notice the lights dimming or crackling noises from the outlet or power strip. An overloaded circuit can trigger electrical fires and damage your appliances. You may want to upgrade your electrical panel to accommodate the additional devices.

Our team at Mr. Electric also recommends replacing two-pronged receptacles with grounded ones. Grounding prevents an overcurrent that could damage appliances or start a fire.

2. Consider Installing GFCI Outlets in Wet Areas

Florida’s Electrical Code requires GFCI receptacles within 6 feet of the outside of a sink. That means you need GFCI circuits in the kitchen and bathroom. Install GFCI outlets near swimming pools, laundry rooms, or water fixtures.

A GFCI (Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupter) device has additional overcurrent protection to minimize the risk of electric shock. Unlike a regular circuit breaker, it can disrupt the circuit within milliseconds. An installation is not only crucial for local code compliance but also to protect your home and family from electric shocks.

3. Your Local Electrician’s License Can Protect You

Electricians in the State of Florida must be licensed to perform residential installations. Regulations also require electrical professionals to acquire workers' compensation insurance.

Therefore, you should confirm that your local electrician has a license and insurance. The workers' compensation policy will protect you from property damage and injuries. If the electrician’s work causes damage to property or an injury, the insurance will cover the expenses.

4. Schedule an Electrical Inspection for Your New Home

If you are moving to a new home, it is always wise to schedule an electrical inspection. Some homes have aging or outdated wiring that can pose a fire or electrocution hazard.

Since many components of your electrical system are behind walls, the best way to ensure safety is having a qualified electrician conduct an inspection. You can request an estimate from Mr. Electric, a full-service company in New Tampa.

Consulting a professional is the ideal way to protect your home from electrical fires or appliance faults. Our company specializes in rewiring, GFCI outlets, panel installations, and generators. Call Mr. Electric today for up-front pricing and free estimates for electrical services in Tampa, FL.

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Follow This Checklist to Prepare Your Home’s Electrical System Before Your Vacation

Vacations are an excellent way to escape the cares of life. During your vacation, you can focus on having fun and relaxing so that you can regroup and jump back into the game feeling more refreshed. With any good vacation comes preparation and planning. You not only have to prepare by packing the essentials and plan where you will go and what you will do, but you also must prepare your home before you leave. One thing that takes much planning and preparation is your home's electrical system. Nothing will put a damper on your finances more than receiving a call from your local fire department notifying you that your house has been burned to the ground because of an electrical fire. To make certain that nothing goes awry while you're away, follow the below electrical checklist to prepare your home’s electrical system.

Unplug Your Electronics

Before leaving for vacation, you must unplug all electronics such as toasters, toaster ovens, TVs, microwaves, multimedia devices, and lamps. Leaving these electronics plugged in will not only consume unnecessary energy, but they will also leave your home at a higher risk of being damaged or destroyed by an electrical fire. Light bulbs are especially risky because they can overheat.

Adjust the Settings on Your Hot Water Heater

Newer hot water heaters have a vacation setting. The vacation setting enables your hot water heater to run less frequently to conserve energy while you're away. Before you leave, enable the vacation setting on your hot water heater. If you have an older hot water heater that does not have a vacation setting, set the temperature to the lowest possible setting.

Adjust Your Thermostat So It Consumes Less Energy

Before leaving, you must adjust your thermostat so that it consumes the least amount of energy. To do this, increase the temperature of your thermostat a few degrees higher than your norm. Do not turn your thermostat off entirely because Tampa, Florida has some hot and humid summers. Keeping your thermostat running will ensure that humidity does not build up in your home and lead to mold growth.

Have Your Electrical System Inspected

If it has been a year since your electrical system has had a checkup, please contact Mr. Electric. We can come and perform an inspection to make sure everything is working as designed. If we spot any problems with your electrical system, we can fix them. Schedule your inspection at least one month before you leave for your vacation so there is ample time to fix any glaring issues.

Have Surge Protection Devices Installed

Storms are a fact of life in Tampa, and during these storms, lightning can strike your home. This can cause surges of electricity to go through your home’s electrical system. When power surges hit your home’s electrical system, your wiring can become damaged, your electronics can be destroyed, or your house can catch fire. To protect your home’s electrical system against power surges, you must have surge protection devices installed to absorb the excess energy and redirect it away from your home’s electrical system.

If you're not certain that your home’s electrical system is prepped before you go on vacation, contact Mr. Electric today. We will come and help you get things in order.

Small Solar Garden Light, Lantern In Flower Bed. Garden Design.

Landscape Lighting Design Tips for Your Tampa Home

When done well, landscape lighting improves the security around your home by illuminating walkways, your driveway, and other aspects of your property that need to be seen. Directing flood lights on otherwise dark corners can discourage burglars. At the same time, the beauty of landscape lighting improves your home’s curb appeal and may enhance its value on the market.

Even if most of your landscape lighting is in your backyard, it still highlights the place where you entertain your guests and spend time with your family. It also lights up your landscape during the night, which may give it a more dramatic and even theatrical feel than it has during daylight hours. Our electricians are pleased to help you create the right landscape lighting design for your property.

Designing Your Landscape Lighting

Though our electricians from Mr. Electric can help with your landscape lighting, the design of it is ultimately up to you. With that in mind, there are a few things you should do before calling us in to help.

First, you should take a walk during the day and a walk at night to look for aspects of your property you will want to focus on. They don’t have to be trees or shrubs or an area of tropical flowers; a meandering fieldstone walkway, your outdoor kitchen, and your fountain or pool can all be lit up as well. Of course, if there’s a 300-year-old live oak draped with Spanish moss or a beautiful royal palm, or if one side of your house is smothered in bougainvillea, don’t hesitate to use that as a focal point as well.

After you’ve taken a walk around the area, make a drawing of it, and make sure to highlight all those points of interest. Add the height and length of any plantings or hardscaping to the sketch. The next step is where we at Mr. Electric come in because we can suggest the best lighting fixtures for your landscape. These fixtures include:

  • Accent lights and spotlights
  • Path lights
  • Wall wash lights
  • In-ground lights

You can also consider hardscape light fixtures that can be placed on walls, pergolas, columns, ledges, or handrails. If you have a pond or a pool, submersible lights might also be considered. After all this, we’ll help you with your final layout, space the lighting, run the wires, and install the power sources.

Call Mr. Electric for Landscape Lighting

Known for its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico, its vibrant downtown, and its Super Bowl championship football team, Tampa, Florida is an amazing place to live. To make your property even more amazing with vibrant landscape lighting, don’t hesitate to contact our electricians at Mr. Electric.

Toddler playing with plug

How Surge Protectors Safeguard Your Electronics

You may think a surge protector is just a way to plug in multiple electronics at once, but it's much more than that. Surge protectors provide defense for your sensitive electronics and help to reduce the risk of fires in case of a power surge. This article will explain everything you've wanted to know about how surge protectors work.

Power Surges: Why Your Electronics Need to Be Protected

Most electronics can handle a standard voltage level of 120 volts. However, current continuously flows freely through electrical circuits unless something limits it. This something is known as a voltage regulator. If your voltage regulator fails, you can get a surge of electricity to your electronics. This will essentially overload them and burn them out.

Events that cause power surges can include:

  • Faulty wiring
  • Turning large appliances turn on or off
  • Lightning strikes
  • Sudden restorations of power after an outage
  • Tree limbs falling on power lines

These are just a few examples of causes of power surges. The truth is that your home likely experiences several power surges daily. That's why you need a surge protector in case the voltage regulator fails.

How Surge Protectors Work

A surge protector can be thought of like a sponge. It absorbs all the voltage from the one outlet it's plugged into and distributes it accordingly. Therefore, if there is a power surge in your home, the surge protector absorbs it, protecting your electronics.

No matter how much current passes through the surge protector up to its allotted limit, it will only distribute the correct amount of current to each electronic device that is plugged into it. Even if there isn't enough current, the surge protector will still make sure that your electronics get the power they need.

You may be wondering how that works. Does the surge protector store power? The answer is no, it doesn't. It's able to regulate the voltage because it contains a metal oxide varistor, or an MOV.

MOVs regulates voltage through resistance. When the voltage is low, the resistance is increased automatically. When voltage is high, the resistance is decreased. This allows electrons to move in a manner that keeps the voltage at a consistent level.

Choosing a Surge Protector

When choosing a surge protector, make sure you aren't getting a power strip. They look similar, but power strips don't provide protection for your electronics. Surge protectors are given a rating, measured in joules. The higher the joules, the more voltage the surge protector can absorb. That means more protection for your electronics.

At the end of the day, surge protectors are a wise investment, and they're highly recommended. However, they aren't foolproof. If you find that you're having electrical surges in your home or other electrical problems, you'll need to get an inspection from a professional electrician. Call Mr. Electric for a team of the best electricians in Tampa and surrounding areas.

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