On fire electric wire plug Receptacle on the concrete wall exposed concrete background with copy space

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.

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.

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