If you are expecting your first baby, there are a lot of things to do to get yourself and your home ready for the new arrival. There’s a lot of excitement in preparing the baby’s room and buying all the little clothes and diapers. However, it’s important to not forget some very important safety issues that should be taken care of, and they can all be done with the help of three professionals. Here are three utility systems you may want to test and upgrade if necessary.
Water is an essential element for survival, and water quality and temperature can affect your baby. You’ll want to be sure that your water is free of contaminants and pollutants. For example, research shows that too many nitrates in water can harm a baby. Have your water tested, regardless of whether you have a well or are on the public water system. You can do this by hiring a plumber to test your water.
Water temperature is another thing that can harm your baby. The temperature of your water heater should be set at 100 degrees Fahrenheit or cooler. Temperatures greater than this can badly burn the delicate skin of babies and children. Ask your plumber to inspect your water heater to ensure the thermostat is working properly.
Lowering the temperature of your water heater is crucial if your plumbing network is in a series. For example, if your shower water gets extremely hot when a toilet is flushed or the water is turned on at a faucet, your plumbing runs in a series.
You won’t need to worry too much about the electrical outlets when you first bring baby home. But you’ll want to make sure the electrical outlets in your home are safe before baby starts crawling and getting into everything. For some reason, little ones are fascinated by electrical outlets.
To make matters worse, babies and toddlers are known to drool and stick their fingers into their mouths. A wet finger placed into an electric socket can severely harm a child. Fortunately, there are special protective outlet covers that can be installed to cover the dangerous receptacles. You can purchase these devices at your local hardware store and install them yourself, or hire an electrician to do it for you.
In your kitchen and bathrooms, the outlets should have a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). These are outlets that monitor the amount of current flowing, and the circuit within the outlet trips when there is an imbalance of current, which commonly happens when there is too much moisture. This is why these outlets are important in kitchens and bathrooms.
GFCIs have a button that needs to be pushed to reset the circuit. Sometimes, this button is red, but not always. If you don’t think your outlets in your kitchen and bathrooms have this special feature, hire an electrician to upgrade the outlets.
Poor indoor air quality can compromise the lungs of small children and may have a role in the development of asthma. It’s a good idea to install a HEPA filtration system in your home to help protect your baby from indoor allergens and pollutants. Most HEPA filtration systems can be retrofitted to existing heating and air conditioning units. Ask your HVAC technician for more information.
The air quality in your home may be affected by what is in your ducts. Mold, dust, debris and pests inside your HVAC ducts can enter the living quarters of your home every time air is forced through the ducts. Have the ducts professionally cleaned by your HVAC technician before you have a HEPA filtration system installed.Learn More
Lighting your home is a costly necessity. Although you are probably grateful that you don’t have to light up candles when night falls, you probably realize how costly it can be to keep your home flowing with bright light. Fortunately, there are a number of things that you can do to save on lighting your home without cutting out your power completely.
Swap Out Light Fixtures
If you haven’t touched your light fixtures for years, its time to swap out old fixtures for more energy efficient models. Older light fixtures suck energy and use bulbs that are less efficient, wasting your money. If you swap out the fixtures that you use most in your home for energy star rated fixtures, you can save up to $65 a year on lighting!
When you are swapping out your fixtures, opt for fixtures that use LED bulbs or compact florescent light bulbs. Both types of bulbs are more energy efficient than your standard bulbs.
Swapping out your fixtures is a bit time consuming and might be confusing. If you don’t feel comfortable switching them yourself you can hire a local electrician to swap out your fixtures for you. Not only will they be able to swap out your fixtures, but they will be able to point you towards the most energy efficient fixtures, with the best lighting, for each room in your home.
Clean Windows and Lightbulbs
If you have large windows, you should take advantage of the light that they bring into your home during the day. If your windows are smudged, greasy and spattered with dirt, it will limit the light that is brought into your homes. Clean your windows with newspaper and a bit of window cleaner for a streak-free shine, and you will be amazed at the improved quality of light.
Similarly, lightbulbs can collect dust and debris, which limits the power of the light that they emit. When your lightbulbs are obstructed by these things, you might find yourself reaching to turn on a few more lamps to get the amount of light you desire. Carefully clean each of your lightbulbs to ensure that it is emitting the best quality of light, and you most likely won’t have the need to turn on a supplemental lamp.
Focus Your Lighting
Instead of turning on the overhead lights and the lamps in the room when you are working on a specific task, use focused lighting. For example, when working at a desk, use a desk lamp that lights up your working area but leaves the rest of the room in the dark.
If you love to read at night, purchase a reading light that attaches to your book. These lights are usually small, powerful and battery powered. The reading light will flood the pages of your book for easy reading, letting the background fade into darkness and allowing you to focus in more powerfully on what you are reading.
Revamp Your Outdoor Lighting
Instead of having your whole backyard and front yard illuminated all night long, install motion sensor lights. These lights will detect movement and turn on, flooding your yard with light and scaring off any unwanted intruders. If you want to keep one area of your yard lit up all night long, purchase a timer. The timer will turn your lights on at a certain time and then off at a certain time. This means that you won’t ever forget to turn off your outside lights during daylight hours. Set the timer to go on after 10 P.M. and off just before daybreak, and you won’t ever waste energy from your outside lights shining while the sun is shining too.
Most of these tips will save you money each month on your electric bill, and none of them are too complicated to implement right now! Start changing the way you use your lighting, change some lighting fixtures, and you might be surprised at the difference it makes on your pocketbook.Learn More
With the warm weather approaching, you may be considering the use of an outdoor spa or swimming pool. Proper outdoor wiring and procedures of swimming pools and hot tubs will be crucial to your family’s safety and those using the equipment. Rather than leaving it to chance, hire a licensed electrician for electrical wiring, installation and inspection. Here are six aspects your electrician will oversee:
1. Following National Electric Code Regulations Regarding Power Lines
According to the National Electric Code (NEC), you must not install your hot tub or spa directly under outdoor power lines. The same rule applies for swimming pools and water fountains. Your licensed electrician will be knowledgeable on these codes, as well as your state and local codes. A hot tub, spa or swimming pool that is closer than 25 feet in any direction will be considered a safety risk.
2. The Use of a Correct Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter for Your Hot Tub
This is the power supply your hot tub or spa will connect to. Depending upon the size of the spa, your electrician may recommend a small 120 volt model or a more powerful 240 volt feed for a larger hot tub. Using inadequate voltage may result in a safety hazard or fire.
3. Installation of a Disconnect Switch on Your Hot Tub
A disconnect switch is another safety feature. This allows you to switch off your hot tub power in the event of an emergency. For convenience, it’s best to wire a switch that will automatically shut down hot tub power after a designated amount of time, such as 15-30 minutes.
Your licensed electrician will install the shut off switch several feet away from your spa or hot tub. This will prevent electrocution from contact of the wired circuit while in the hot tub. In addition, your electrician or electrical inspector will take note of city or township permit regulations for such installations.
4. Installation of Safe Underground Wiring
An electrician may install your underground wiring as needed. The professional will know the correct distance to install underground wiring, typically no less than five feet from the edge of the spa or pool.
5. The Use of Low Voltage Swimming Pool Lighting Systems
Electrical lighting for your swimming pool is another area of concern. For safety reasons, have a licensed electrician install your swimming pool lighting system. While a professional may install the higher 120 voltage lights, it’s best to err on the side of caution and go with the lower 12 volt system.
The electrician will most likely recommend that all cables be installed in conduits. For the novice, a conduit is some type of protective cover, in the form of a tube that will encase the wiring. To minimize the risk of electrocution, no wires should be exposed. Equally important, your licensed electrician will use up to date equipment when installing your lighting and fixtures.
6. A Thorough Inspection of Your Swimming Pool or Hot Tub
Last but not least, when hiring a licensed electrician for swimming pool or hot tub tasks, ask for an inspection. The professional will inspect all electrical components to ensure everything is in accordance with safety regulations. For instance, if swimming pool lights are flickering, the electrician may recommend you replace them. If faulty parts or hazards are noted, it will be documented, so you may have them repaired at once.
Your electrician will check to see that suction outlets in your swimming pool or spa are covered. Cracks or tears will be noted, so these may be replaced. Outlet covers should not be loose, therefore your electrician will check the fittings as well.Learn More