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.

Electrician is using a digital meter to measure the voltage at the circuit breaker control cabinet on the wall.

Everything You Need to Know About Watts and Amps

When talking about power and electricity, the terms watts and amps frequently turn up as part of the conversation. Understanding what each of these terms means is key to understanding how electricity is measured and consumed by different elements of your home or business. Here is a brief guide to everything you need to know about the differences between a watt and an amp.

What Is an Amp?

An amp, or amperage, references the quantity of current being drawn through a particular power source. Amps can be measured using an ammeter connected to a circuit to measure the flow of electricity. Amperage is often confused with voltage, which is the force of the flow of energy in a power source. Combining amps and volts gives you the wattage of an electronic device.

What Is a Watt?

A watt, or wattage, is a comprehensive measurement of power involving the voltage and the amperage of a particular device. Watts can be measured using a wattmeter or calculated using a basic equation that takes into account the amps and volts in play. While the term amps is exclusive to electricity, watts can also be used to describe other types of power output, such as the power output of a horsepower engine.

How Are the Terms Related?

Knowing the relationship between watts and amps can help you calculate how much power will be consumed by certain devices, appliances, and lighting fixtures. Multiplying the drawn amount of current in amps by the voltage of the electricity source gives you the amount of power drawn in watts. For instance, a device drawing 4 amps of current through a 12-volt source is consuming 48 watts of power.

In Tampa, FL, the standard voltage for electrical outlets is 120V, but in other parts of the world, the standard voltage for outlets is 220V. An electrical device rated for a higher wattage can drain more energy per minute than a device rated for a lower wattage. The higher power usage can have a dramatic effect on the amount of your electric bill, leading some people to choose lower-rated appliances to save money and energy.

Contact the Electrical Experts

Whether you use a traditional electrical system or take advantage of Tampa's nearly 250 days of sunshine with a solar system, amps and watts are two important terms to know when troubleshooting electrical issues at your home or business. In simple terms, amps refer to the amount of electrical energy being supplied, while watts are the overall working capacity of the supplied energy. If you would like more information about energy usage in your home or business, the qualified electricians at Mr. Electric are available to answer all of your questions.

The electrician is using a screwdriver to attach the power cord to the wall outlet.

5 Electrical Upgrades Worth Considering

Whether you’re planning to add upgrades to a new home or renovate an older one, electrical upgrades can provide you with several benefits. Electrical upgrades can increase your home’s value, lower your electricity costs, improve your home’s aesthetic appeal, and more.

But with so many electrical upgrades to choose from, how do you pick the right one? If you’re undecided on which electrical upgrades are suitable for you, here are five electrical upgrades worth considering.

1. Update Outlets

If you live in an older home, it’s highly likely your home has insufficient power outlets. Having insufficient outlets can be frustrating. Adding a few outlets to key areas can offer you convenience by allowing you to use your devices in previously unused areas of your home.

Additionally, if your property is old, your outlets are probably outdated. Updating outdated outlets can improve home safety by helping to prevent electrical shocks, power surges, and even electrical fires.

2. Update the Electrical Panel

Home energy needs have increased significantly over the past two decades. As a result, you should consider upgrading the electrical panel to keep up with the rise in your home’s energy demand, especially if you live in an older home.

By upgrading the electrical panel, you’ll not only enhance home safety, but you’ll also increase your home’s value.

3. Update Electrical Wiring

If you live in an older home, chances are high your wiring is outdated. Outdated wiring can pose a safety risk and make your home more prone to electrical fires.

If your lights dim or flicker when you switch on appliances, or you’re regularly tripping the breaker, consider calling a professional electrician to assess and replace outdated electrical wiring.

4. Install Ceiling Fans

New Tampa, FL is generally hot all year round, and temperatures can reach a high of 91 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer. Ceiling fans can provide comfort and reprieve from the heat on scorching days by distributing cool air throughout your home. Plus, ceiling fans are more energy efficient than air conditioners, making them a cost-effective upgrade that can lower your cooling costs.

5. Upgrade to GFCIs

Many older homes have electrical work that doesn’t conform with current electrical codes and standards. For instance, many homes don’t have GFCI outlets. Yet, the National Electrical Code requires homeowners to install GFCI outlets in all bathrooms, kitchens, garages, and outdoor areas.

Installing GFCI outlets can ensure your home complies with current electrical codes and standards. Additionally, upgrading to GFCI outlets can also protect you from electrocution because they can cut off the electricity supply if they detect a change in current. If your home doesn’t have GFCI outlets, consider calling an electrician to install them to create a safer living space and bring your home up to code.

Whether you’re looking to improve your living space or sell your home, these five electrical upgrades will add value to your home. Get in touch with the experts at Mr. Electric to have one of our highly trained electricians help you with your home electrical upgrade.

Toddler playing with plug

4 Tips You Should Teach Your Kids About Electrical Safety

Having babies and toddlers in the home can be dangerous as there are many sharp objects and live wires they can be exposed to. However, you can make it less stressful if you teach your children about electrical safety. Here are four tips your children should follow.

1. Keep Electronics Away From Water

The summers in Tampa, FL bring lots of rain and severe thunderstorms. This means there may be puddles of water around your home or even out on the patio. With so much stagnant water around, you may not notice that your kids are playing with electric devices near water. Water is a very good conductor of electricity, and if your electric device comes into contact with a human body and water simultaneously, a fatal electric shock can occur. Remember, the device must be plugged in at the time for this to occur.

Still, the important lesson to teach your children is to keep all electrical devices away from water and away from moisture. Even touching electrical devices with moist/wet hands while they're plugged in can give you an electrical shock. In fact, the shock can be fatal.

2. Do Not Stick Things Into Electrical Outlets

Holes in the walls must look inviting for babies and toddlers. And, it's probably easy for children to find a small piece of metal or even a fork. However, when you stick a metal object into an electrical outlet, you're essentially disrupting the flow of electricity and having it flow through you instead. The shock may not necessarily be enough to kill an adult, but it can certainly kill a small child.

3. Don't Chew on Electrical Cords

Electrical cords come in all types of bright colors, and for children who love to chew, an electrical cord can look like the perfect chewable toy. Unfortunately, chewing on electrical cords is the most common electrical injury in households. When children chew on the cords, the electricity is disrupted and instead flows through their mouths, causing a severe mouth burn.

4. Avoid Yanking Cords Out

It's tempting to be careless with cords when you unplug them. However, yanking them out damages the cord eventually, causing it to fray. When a cord is frayed, your children are more at risk of having an electrical shock. Teach your children to grab the plug when they want to unplug a device rather than pulling at the cord.

Electricity is a dangerous necessity, and having it inside your home when there are babies and toddlers can be a little frightening. However, at Mr. Electric, we believe that education is the best way to stay safe. In addition to educating your kids, we can help keep your home safe by providing childproof outlets. We can also provide thorough electrical safety inspections.

Contact us today for all your electrical needs. We provide lighting, safety, and electrical installation services.

Electrician is using a digital meter to measure the voltage at the power outlet in on the wall.

5 Reasons to Schedule an Electrical Inspection

The hot and humid weather in Tampa, FL means that you'll spend plenty of time indoors. Perhaps you'll work from home, stream shows, or do some of your other activities while resting in the comfort of central air conditioning. If your electrical system isn't functioning properly, you'll quickly notice issues with your electronics, appliances, cooling system, lights, and everything else that makes your home a comfortable haven. Thorough electrical inspections performed by licensed Tampa electricians like those at Mr. Electric help you maintain a safe environment. Consider these reasons to schedule an electrical inspection of your residence.

1. Power Surges or Flickering

An unsteady flow of electricity may cause your lights to flicker. Power surges, even small ones, cause incremental damage to sensitive electronics, home appliances, and air conditioners. If you've noticed issues with flickering or power surges, an electrical inspection can determine if your wiring, breaker box, or circuits have problems.

2. Malfunctioning Outlets or Switches

If you have an outlet or switch that doesn't always work, the receptacle or wiring might be faulty. Faulty wiring or a bad switch may draw too much current, which could lead to an electrical fire. When a switch or outlet malfunctions more than once, schedule an electrical inspection.

3. Tripped Breakers

Circuit breakers trip when the circuit demands too much current. If you have a breaker that trips regularly, your wiring could be faulty. Your home might need a breaker box with a higher capacity, or there could be an issue with the appliance or devices plugged into the circuit. An electrical inspection can determine the cause of a tripped breaker.

4. Burning Odor

If you smell a burning odor when using an outlet, appliance, or fixture, this is an urgent situation that requires a prompt electrical inspection. Damaged wiring or appliances may cause insulation to get hot, and the current flowing through the wiring could ignite a spark. Electrical fires are often hidden as they smolder. Then, they can quickly spread throughout a home. At the first scent of burning metal, insulation, or chemicals, cut off the power and call for an emergency inspection.

5. Preparation for the Future

When you're buying a home, an electrical inspection by our Tampa electricians gives you critical information about the wiring and fixtures. If you're thinking of selling your home, scheduling an electrical inspection ensures that you have time to make any needed repairs to get your property up to current code. Insurers may require an electrical inspection before they will issue a homeowner's insurance policy, especially if the home is more than 50 years old.

Electrical inspections provide you with peace of mind and protect your loved ones, belongings, and dwelling from potential harm. To gather more information or to schedule an inspection with our electricians, contact us at Mr. Electric today.

Close-up Of A Person's Hand Using Home Control System On Tablet

4 Advantages You’ll See With Smart Home Automation

The technological advances of the past couple of decades have made controlling various elements of your home easier than ever. Automatic control of these technologies, also known as smart home automation, can be accomplished by using a common network that can connect with the devices, appliances, and systems in the home. Smart home automation provides a level of command and functionality that wasn't possible in the past. Here are four of the advantages you'll enjoy when you use smart home automation in Tampa, FL.

1. Unlimited Flexibility

The flexibility of smart home automation is one of the biggest advantages of using this type of system. Smart home automation can be used for any home, in any configuration, and can accommodate any new devices and appliances you add as time goes on. New models can be integrated into the system seamlessly, and older models can be removed at will without a hassle.

2. Simple Convenience

Smart home automation lets you control all the different elements of your home via a single-user interface on your smartphone, tablet, or computer. Once you have taken a few minutes to learn how to navigate the interface, you can access numerous functions and devices across your home, including your thermostat, lights, audio speakers, TVs, security cameras, locks, and appliances. Being able to control all of these from one place will save you a lot of time and energy.

3. More Effective Home Security

Automating your home security system provides a number of benefits. Security system automation means you don't have to remember to turn the system on and off each day, as you can simply schedule different security elements to start and stop at certain times. You can also activate and review motion detectors and surveillance cameras remotely in real time from your connected device, allowing you to check on things from across the street or from another state.

4. Improved Energy Efficiency

Smart home automation can improve your home's energy efficiency by a significant amount, reducing your energy bills and your carbon footprint. Precise control of the thermostat and lighting allows you to make your home more comfortable while you are present while using less energy while you are away. You can also check to make sure entertainment devices and appliances are turned off, raise and lower motorized shades automatically on a set schedule, or preheat your stove on your way home from work or a day at the Florida Aquarium.

Conclusion

Consumer interest in smart home technology has made smart home automation one of the most talked-about home improvement topics today. With the world's biggest companies racing to innovate better smart home products for the masses, smart home automation will only continue to improve as time goes by. For more information about smart home automation in the Tampa, FL area, contact the expert electricians at Mr. Electric for a consultation today!

Electrical panel with switches and wires. Conducting electricity to the house.

6 Signs You Should Upgrade Your Home’s Electrical System

When you're living in a city that experiences severe thunderstorms frequently, like Tampa, you'll want to make sure your electrical system can handle it. If not, you could easily see your computer and appliances damaged in an electrical surge. Here are six signs you need up upgrade your home's electrical system this spring before the summer storms hit.

1. You're Getting Too Many Circuit Breaker Trips

A circuit breaker is designed to protect your electrical system from an electrical overload. When it trips, this means the circuit breaker has sensed an overload of electricity and has shut off automatically. When your circuit breaker trips occasionally, this isn't a problem. However, when it trips quite frequently, you need to call an electrician. There may be something wrong with your electrical panel or the wiring in your home. Frequent circuit breaker trips are a sign that you should upgrade your electrical system.

2. Smells Like Something Is Burning

If your electrical panel smells like it's burning, you should be concerned. The burning smell will probably be plastic as the covering around the electrical wires starts to melt. Contact our electricians immediately if your electrical panel smells like something is burning.

3. Lights That Flicker or Dim

If you have one light bulb that flickers, you may simply need to change that light bulb and put in a new one. However, if your lights flicker throughout your home, call an electrician to take a look at your electrical system. Flickering lights means there is an issue with your electrical system. You'll want to schedule a repair service with an electrician as soon as possible to prevent any damage to your appliances and electronics.

4. Your Electricity Bill Is Higher Than Normal

If you have a sense of what your normal bill is and you see it skyrocket suddenly, you may have faulty wiring. Make sure to eliminate all possibilities, such as your air conditioner over the summer. If there's no explanation, call us to see what the problem could be.

5. Broken or Slightly Burnt Outlets

If you see soot around your outlets, then sparks have already erupted within your walls. This is an extremely dangerous sign, and you should contact an electrician immediately to fix and upgrade your electrical system. Leaving it as is could cause injury to either you or a family member.

6. Your Bulbs Are Blowing Out Too Soon

If you believe your bulbs aren't meeting their life expectancy, it means too much electricity is flowing through them and making them burn out faster than they should. This is a result of faulty wiring.

There are many signs that you need to upgrade your home's electrical system. It's important to add this to your to-do list in the spring so that your home is well prepared for Tampa's tropical storms. Call Mr. Electric in Tampa, FL to get started. We provide lighting, safety, and electrical installations.

Here’s What Your Children Need to Learn About Electrical Safety

In Tampa, FL, where thunderstorms are commonplace — the city averages 78 thunderstorm days a year, according to Weather Underground — electrocutions happen whenever water and electricity mix. Watching your electronics fry can be unpleasant, but seeing your children harmed would be devastating. Teaching them about electrical safety shouldn't wait until a storm is on the way. Your kids should always be aware of electricity and how dangerous it can be. Here are some electrical safety lessons to teach them.

Don't Stick Things Into Sockets

Children who have just learned how to walk will start to discover devices and gadgets. They'll also become fascinated with holes in the walls, such as sockets. And curious kids will be tempted to find something sharp and long to stick into a socket to see what happens. Just saying no may not be good enough. In simple terms, explain to your children that electricity flows through sockets, and if they stick something into a socket, it will cause electricity to flow through them.

Keep Electrical Devices Away From Water

One of the more common accidents in households occurs when electrical devices like toasters and hair dryers are used near water. These devices leak electrical current into the water and can electrocute anyone touching the water. Even your mobile device can cause an electrical shock if it touches water while you're holding it.

It's important to teach your children to keep electrical devices at least 6 feet away from water. If they're in the bathtub, they shouldn't use a hairdryer or any other device that's plugged into the electrical system. Kids also need to understand that tools and other devices powered by electricity must always be kept away from outdoor water sources like the pool, sprinklers, or puddles.

Avoid Power Surges

Teach your kids about the dangerous power surges that can occur due to thunder and lightning. Get them in the habit of helping you unplug appliances and electronics whenever a thunderstorm is on the way.

Stay Away From Broken Wires

Broken wires that are either inside or outside of the house can be active and dangerous. Most live wires are insulated, but after years of wear and tear, they can become frayed and lose some of their insulation. When this happens, the wire is still active and can give you an electric shock when you touch it. Curious children may just see the pretty wire colors and be tempted to touch the live wires or even put them in their mouths. Make sure they understand that this is extremely dangerous. The moment you see any broken wires in your house, fix the problem immediately.

Don't Fly Kites Near Power Lines

Every year, children get electrocuted when their kites touch power lines. Although the kite's string isn't metal and therefore doesn't conduct electricity, it's often dirty with accumulated sweat. This surface liquid acts as a conductor, and the electrical current will be conducted from the power line down through the kite string. Teach your children to let go of their kites if the wind pulls them toward a power line. If they lose a kite, they can always get another one.

When you need residential electrical services in Tampa, contact our team at Mr. Electric. We offer installations, upgrades, and repairs. We also provide childproof outlets.

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4 Ways to Improve Your Home’s Energy Efficiency

Paying the power bill might seem more stressful during the winter. That's because so many homes in Tampa have inefficient designs. It takes a lot of electricity to keep them warm throughout the season. However, there are a few things you can do to improve your home's efficiency.

Adjust Your Thermostat's Setting

Mr. Electric has always shown our clients how to set up their thermostats to be more efficient. A great deal of the monthly electric bill usually goes to pay for what we've spent on heating.

Lowering the thermostat by a couple degrees can cut your heating bill by up to 15%. Try to keep the house around 68 degrees during the winter to save as much electricity as possible. If you've kept it that low, you'll notice a major difference the next time your heating bill shows up.

Reseal Your Windows and Doors

Another reason why your heating bill is so high during the winter might be leaks. Most of the time, there are a few of them around the house, usually near doors and windows.

Sealing them would prevent air from escaping whenever you've turned on the furnace. If you eliminate the leaks, you won't have to spend money on electricity to heat the outdoors. Make sure you've applied caulk around all the doors and windows. That's typically all you need to stop them from leaking.

Unplug Electronics When They're Not in Use

Everything you've plugged into an outlet has a constant supply of electricity sent to it. Even turning off your devices doesn't entirely stop them from using electricity. That's why it's important to unplug things when they're not in use.

Always remember to disconnect electronics once you've finished using them. That's the only way you can totally prevent them from wasting electricity. Simply taking the plug out of the wall can reduce your electric bill by 5% or more. That may not sound like a huge difference, but every little bit counts.

Upgrade Your Home's Light Bulbs

When was the last time you upgraded the light bulbs in your house? If it's been a while, you should consider switching to LEDs. They're way more efficient than the typical light bulbs you've used in the past.

LEDs can produce up to 200 Lumens for every watt they consume. An incandescent bulb only produces 16 Lumens if you've given it the same amount of power. That's over 10 times more electricity for the same result.

Upgrading all the bulbs in your house is an easy way to improve your place's efficiency. You've never seen a reasonable electric bill until you've had one with LEDs in all the sockets.

Your Trusted Tampa Electrical Experts

Mr. Electric would love to help you with your next electrical project. Our team of electricians has assisted numerous homeowners in Tampa, FL. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment and request a free quote. You can rely on our residential lighting services to get the job done.

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