What You Need to Know About Knob & Tube Wiring

knob and tubeKnob and tube wiring is a common technique used in homes and buildings built in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Ceramic knobs support the wire and the ceramic tubes that protect the wire as it crosses the wood framing elements like the floor beams.  

Common Issues Associated with Knob and Tube Wiring

  • Rubber Insulation. The rubber insulation can become fragile. Mechanical abuse or overheating wears out the rubber, making it brittle in high heat spots, even connection above your ceiling lights. This requires replacing the wires
  • It is inclined to stretch and sag over time.
  • No Ground Wire. Ground wire makes an emergency trail for stray electricity so the risk of electrical fire and damage to sensitive appliances and equipment is reduced.
  • Common Hazardous Modifications. The fact that knob and tube wiring is quite old opens the possibility of improper modifications. The age-old systems have insulated wires with varnish and fabric materials that are inclined to deteriorate easily leading to an overheating or short circuit.

If you’re renovating your home, now’s the best and most appropriate time to replace your knob and tube wiring. Doing so will cost you less as the ceilings, walls, and floors are open and accessible. Home remodeling includes adding more receptacles or electrical outlets, ground- and arc-fault circuit interrupters, as well as knob and tube replacement.

Always have a yearly knob and tube wiring inspection to evaluate if it requires changing. Call a licensed electrician at American Air to address any concerns that surround your knob and tube wiring.

Electrical Home Appliances: Getting the Most Bang for Your Buck

electrical-home-appliancesElectrical home appliances can easily drive up your electric bill. and it is important to determine how much electricity they use. This will help you understand how much money is spent using them.

Heating and cooling appliances are big contributors to high electricity costs, along with major kitchen appliances. Read more for tips on saving money with your current appliances, or how to buy a new appliance that will save you money long term. 

Estimating the Wattage and Electricity Costs of Your Electrical Home Appliances

  • Read the EnergyGuide label. The EnergyGuide label provides consumers information about energy consumption and shows an estimate of the average energy consumption and cost when using a specific model of appliance. The actual costs will slightly be different depending on your usage, though. All appliances are required to have the EnergyGuide label that shows the following:
    • Manufacturer, model #, and size
    • Estimated operating cost in a year, which is based on the national average cost of electricity and the range of operating costs for comparable models
    • ENERGY STAR® logo that signifies that the strict criteria for energy efficiency were met by the appliance model
    • Estimated annual electricity usage
  • Main features of the home appliance and comparable models   
  • Use an electricity usage monitor to obtain the readings of how much electricity an appliance is consuming.
  • Search for an electrical website that provides a formula on how to calculate annual energy consumption and costs.
  • Install a complete home energy monitoring system. An energy monitoring system helps you to measure the electricity consumption of any 120-volt appliances or electronics but cannot be used for 220-volt appliances and electronics. It is available in most hardware stores and costs approximately $25 to $50. Remember to read the manual before installing and using the system.

 

Buying new? Buy Smart

There are a few factors to consider when shopping for home appliances: the purchase price, the operating cost and the life of the appliance. On average, refrigerators normally last for 12 years, washers and dryers for about 11 years, central air conditioners about 15-20 years, and furnaces for approximately 15 years. Always read the labels and check the features to ensure that the appliance you are buying has a low operating cost.

With the call for energy conservation, some manufacturers offer appliances that they tagged as “smart”. Smart appliances can be connected to home energy management systems or smart electric meters. This helps you switch your electricity consumption to off-peak hours.

Refrigerators, air conditioners, dishwashers and other appliances may be available as smart appliances. These appliances turn off during high peak electricity demand and use ingenious ways to shift energy consumption.

For example, your refrigerator might hold off defrosting until late evening or off-peak hours. Or your AC may run a little less often. If you live in an area where electricity is lower at night, also known as time-based rates, your electric bills would be much lower. You may not notice it, but this could contribute to significant utility savings. Talk to your utility provider to know more about the availability and advantages of smart grid technologies and time-based electricity rates.

Ensure to have regular appliance maintenance. Inefficient or a malfunctioning appliances will use up more electricity. So the next time you’re having heating and cooling problems, look for American air and they’ll guide you on how to buy, use, and take care of your home appliances!

Baby Proofing Everything Electrical in Your Home

babyproofingBaby proofing your home is an essential part of your child’s safety. Children are very curious individuals; so ensuring that your electrical outlets and appliances are hidden, covered or out of reach is just as important as anchoring large furniture to the walls. A study revealed that the most common injuries and causes of death for children below 18 are avoidable if the home is electrically safe.

Here are a few tips for babyproofing your home to make it electrically safe:

  • Block electrical outlets. Cover your electrical outlets. You can either use outlet caps, outlet plugs or electrical covers. According to the National Fire Protection Association, about 2400 children had burns and shocks caused by electrical outlets, with 12 deaths from sustained injuries.
    • Electrical Outlet Caps. These are the cheapest tools to prevent your child from sticking his finger or objects into electrical outlets. They are made of plastic, flat and easily plug directly into the outlet, so your child will not be able to take it out. The only disadvantage is you need to remove them each time you’ll use the electrical outlet. It is necessary to plug it back to keep your home electrical safe.
    • Electrical Outlet Covers. Also known as safe plates, these covers are good babyproofing electrical safety option, too. To use them, unscrew the cover on your outlets and replace them with these safe plates. They have spring-loaded covers that are fairly like the TRRs, allowing them to accommodate the prongs of a plug and move once you remove the plug. They are easy to install without tinkering any electrical wires.
  • Unplug Appliances. Unplug and store appliances that are not in use. Start with the bathroom. Unplug the hair dryer, curling iron, electric razors, etc. Minimize the probability of an appliance falling into water and causing injury by installing ground-fault circuit interrupters.
  • Hide Electrical Cords.  www.healthofchildren.com reported that over 63% of injuries in children 12 years and under are caused by household electrical cords, electrical outlets and extension cords. The market offers several cable management products to keep electrical cords bundled, hidden, and controlled to prevent them from getting mixed up or entangled. Organize your cords by using a combination of wraps, covers, ties, and sleeves.
  • Educate your Family. Set a good example to emphasize electrical safety. Make sure that your toddler understands not to touch and stick anything like pens, forks, fingers into the electrical outlets. Be very strict in implementing the rules of electrical safety in your home.

 

Electrical items play an important role in our daily lives. They are present in every room of your home. Babyproofing your home is the easiest way to ensure that your home electrically safe for your children. 

Why Your Major Appliances Need a Dedicated Circuit

dedicated circuitMost older houses do not have an electrical system with dedicated circuits. However, if you are renovating, adding a room to your house or building a new home, it is recommended to put in dedicated circuits for all of your major appliances. The National Electric Code stipulates that most appliances should have a dedicated circuit.

What is a Dedicated Circuit?

A dedicated circuit is any electrical circuit from your circuit breaker that is used for a single specific purpose, appliance or tool. A dedicated circuit will prevent more current to be drawn from what your circuit breaker can handle. Blown fuses, tripping of breakers, and overheating wire insulation are generally the result of a single circuit serving several appliances. When this happens, the circuit breaks down and may start the possibility of electrical fires or electrical failure.

What Needs a Dedicated Circuit

Appliances that use large amounts of power require a dedicated circuit. These include the following:

  • Refrigerators
  • Stand-alone or portable freezers
  • Ranges and ovens
  • Dishwashers
  • Microwaves
  • Washers and dryers
  • Hot tubs and other similar fixtures
  • Heating and cooling equipment
  • Garbage disposals
  • Sump pumps

 

It is also highly recommended to have at least one outlet for every floor of your home that is connected to a dedicated circuit. This is specifically convenient and safer when operating high-drawn portable equipment. Having dedicated outlets to power vacuum cleaners, blow dryers, space heaters, and other occasionally-used electrical items prevent breaker trips, as well decreases the risk of flickering lights.

Appliances that are connected to a dedicated circuit but with an inaccurate wire size and inadequate amperage than they require may result to overheating that can possibly result in a fire. So make sure that you hire an electrician Columbus Ohio, who has been tested for their competency and professionalism.

If you have been experiencing frequent trips from one or more circuit breakers, they are telling you to invest on a dedicated circuit for your appliances. If this is happening, look for a pattern – if it trips when using your microwave and toaster at the same time, it is a warning sign that the power supply line it uses is experiencing weakness of power.

Bear in mind that it is better to have several dedicated circuits rather than not having enough.

Tip: An appliance that runs with its own motor and is used regularly in one place needs a dedicated circuit.

Why Does My Circuit Breaker Keep Tripping?

circuit breakerEvery circuit contains cables, connections, switches and other electrical equipment that is designed to transmit a maximum electrical current defined by the manufacturer. The circuit can melt, break down or catch on fire if it is exposed to more than it can carry. Circuit breakers were created to solve this problem, making sure that each circuit carries only the maximum capacity that it can manage. When too much electrical current is transmitted through the circuit breaker, it will trip; causing the outlets not to work until the circuit is manually switched back.

 

3 Reasons Why Circuit Breakers Trip

Overloaded Circuit. Check your sockets. How many appliances are connected to a single outlet? Having more than one major appliance (like kitchen appliances, space heaters, AC units and hair dryers) plugged into the same circuit leads to over usage of what the circuit can accommodate. When this happens, the circuit overheats and is automatically turned off from the electrical system by the circuit breaker.

Short-circuit. A short-circuit is different than an overloaded circuit, and typically has a cable or a section of the fixed wiring that is damaged. Any change you make in your house can put your electrical cable at risk. Cables hidden behind walls can be damaged by a drill, a nail or a screw. Even digging in the soil while landscaping or gardening can damage underground cables. A licensed electrician can repair this, making your home safe!

Faulty Appliances. Earth leakage current, also known as residual or ground fault current, is electricity that runs from the electrical installation to the conductive materials of the home or to the ground. An appliance can cause an earth leakage current, which is the most usual cause why circuit breakers trip. Electrical appliances pass current between the installation live conductors. They can let the current to run through their metal elements into your body and to the ground when they become faulty. Certain kinds of circuit breakers can detect this current running to the ground, protecting you from electric shock.

Contact a professional electrician if your circuit breaker keeps tripping.

4 Reasons You Might Need to Hire a Licensed Electrician Columbus, Ohio

licensed electrician

Electrical failure is the usual cause of home fires in the United States. Over 50,000 are recorded.  The main reason for this is because most homeowners neglect to have their electrical connections checked. A periodic check of your electrical connections by a licensed electrician in Columbus, Ohio is essential to prevent any incidence of fire due to faulty wiring.

Here are 4 reasons to hire a licensed electrician:

  • Interruptions in Lighting Systems. A loaded circuit can cause interruptions in your lighting systems. This usually happens if large appliances like the refrigerator and the air conditioner are connected on the same circuit. These appliances use a huge amount of electricity that can result in dim or flickering lights. Always use a dedicated circuit for huge appliances.

 

  • System Shutdown or Failure. System shutdown or failure can occur in older homes because these are not designed to accommodate the modern demands of appliances. This results in blown fuses or tripped circuit breakers. These issues are indicators that your circuits are overworked and are incapable of handling your electrical usage. If you are experiencing these problems, an upgrade of your electrical system is required.

 

  • Multiple Extension Cords. The Electrical Safety Foundation International stated that improper use of extension cords are the triggers of over 3,000 home fires each year. The problem is that several homes do not have enough outlets, so homeowners overload their circuits using extensions cords. Instead of doing this, hire a licensed electrician to install a few outlets. This will prevent you and your family from tripping over the cords, make your home free of cluttered cords, and most of all will greatly reduce the risk of a residential fire.

 

  • Unmaintained Electrical System.  An unmaintained electrical system is dangerous, particularly for older homes. The most common electrical issues in these cases are old-fashioned circuits, along with bad and rusty wiring. It is always important to have your electrical circuits and wires checked by a licensed electrician to ensure that they are in good working condition.

 

Hire a licensed electrician from American Air to upgrade your electrical system. Remember, one call does it all.

Hardwired Detectors Recommended by Columbus Ohio Electricians

electrician-columbus-ohioThe proper installation of smoke detectors should be important to every homeowner. These safety devices protect you and your family from fire. The NFPA reported that three out of five home fire deaths in 2014 were preventable with funtioning smoke alarms. Hardwired smoke detectors get power from your electric panel and never turn off. American Air licensed Columbus Ohio electricians can easily install hardwired detectors in your home.

Why do our Columbus Ohio electricians recommend hardwired smoke detectors?

  • Reliable. Hardwired smoke alarms receive power from your circuit breaker and will continue to go off unless you turn them off. With the continuous alarm, even deep sleepers wake up.
  • Battery Backup. This means that they will function continuously even if the power goes off.
  • Unified. These detectors have wires that allow them to send signals to the other smoke alarms in the event of smoke. This feature is beneficial for larger houses as it gives plenty of time to evacuate before the other part of the house catches fire.
  • Easy to Maintain. Unlike the battery-powered smoke alarms, hardwired smoke alarms don’t need to be changed as often, making them easier to maintain. 
  • Insurance BenefitsSome insurance companies give benefits for hardwired smoke detectors. Ask your insurance provider if you could obtain a discount for installing a hardwired alarm.
  • Built-in Heat Detectors. This feature found in some hardwired smoke detectors reduces the probability of false alarms.

 

Calling American Air licensed Columbus Ohio electricians to install a hardwired smoke detector is the right move. Install hardwired smoke detectors and keep you and your family safe in the event of a fire.

Is Your Home Ready for an Electric Panel Upgrade?

random pics 006The electric panel is your home’s electrical system’s command center. Also known as the circuit breaker, its power may be switched off and on and is sent all over the home to the different outlets from the panel. It contains breakers or fuses that will “trip” or “blow” if ever there is a short circuit or an overcurrent. Amps are used to measure its capacity, and the total amp capacity of your electrical panel may vary depending on the age of your home.

With the modern electrical gadgets and huge appliances, get an electric panel upgrade to ensure that it is capable enough to manage all your electrical requirements.

Signs You Might Need an Electric Panel Upgrade

Only a professional electrical service provider can rule out an electric panel upgrade, but there are some signs that will tell you when to replace it.

  • Frequent Glitches in the Electrical System. Frequent glitches are easy to recognize. This includes frequent flickering or burning out of lights, blown fuses or tripping of breakers.  
  • Adding Load to the Electric Panel. If you plan to buy new gadgets or appliances or install an electric-powered hot tub, then you need to upgrade the electric panel. Even home remodeling can be an additional burden to the panel, especially if there is an increase in your home’s square footage. Your electric panel may not be able to tolerate the extra load.
  • Homeowner’s Insurance. If the homeowner’s insurance demand that you install a new panel, then you need an upgrade.
  • Selling Your Home. Upgrading your electric panel will allow you to increase the home selling price, particularly for the kitchen and bathroom.
  • The primary reason, though, for an electrical system upgrade is Safety. Fires can start with older electric panels because of overload.

 

If you have an older home you may have a panel with as little as 100 amps of capacity while modern homes typically will come with 200 or even higher amps. An electrician will determine the amperage suitable to your needs. They do this by performing a home energy audit or by measuring your electricity usage.

Upgrading an electric panel may include replacing old wiring and other upgrades. The cost will depend on the number of amps and any other add-on equipment or upgrades, as well as the building permit fee.

Why wait until something serious happens? Call American Air’s Grove City, Ohio electrical services now and have them check your circuit breaker!