Protecting Your Home from Electrical Shorts and Fires

Is Baseboard Heating A Good Option For Your Tiny Home?

Although a tiny home offers many benefits such as the ability to easily turn it into a mobile home and reduced home maintenance expenditures, there are many challenges associated with building this type of home. One challenge is finding a way to affordably heat the inside. For some, baseboard heating seems like a good solution, but is it really optimal for this type of home?

Benefits of Baseboard Heating

Baseboard heating does have a few benefits that would be attractive to tiny home owners, and the most compelling is the price. These appliances are fairly inexpensive, costing an average of $150 to $200 to install a basic unit. It’s even cheaper if you have experience wiring electricity, because you can do the installation work yourself. However, finding an affordable electrician who can do the work for you at a reasonable price is usually not that hard either.

Another potentially money-saving advantage is that baseboard heaters run on 100-percent electricity. If you install solar panels on your tiny home, your energy costs will be zero. Additionally, electric heating powered by solar energy is a good option if you plan on making your tiny home capable of being mobile. You won’t be forced to only take your tiny home to places where you can plug into the grid or find natural gas or other fuel for a gas-powered heater.

This type of heating unit can also help save space. Since it attaches directly to the foot of the wall, you may have room for other items in your home, such as additional furniture.

Finally, you’re not using any combustibles like gas to run the appliance. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about leaks or safely storing natural or propane gas.

Potential Drawbacks

On the flip side, there are some drawbacks to this sort of heating. While these heaters don’t take up floor space, they do require at least 8 to 12 inches of clearance for safety and adequate air flow. This means you can’t place anything in front of them like a couch or table, so you’ll need to design your tiny home carefully to accommodate this requirement.

You’ll also need to make sure you can connect to the grid if you’re not going to use solar panels to generate electricity, which can limit your mobility if you’re planning to use your tiny home for travel. It is possible to use a generator to produce electricity in places where there’s no connection to the electrical grid. However, you’ll have some of the same challenges you would have if you used a gas-powered heating system (e.g. buying and storing fuel).

Of course, if you do choose to power your tiny home using solar, you have to factor in the cost of the system. The average solar panel produces about 200 watts of electricity and costs about $7 to $9 per watt to install. Baseboard heaters use about 250 watts of power per foot. So to power a 2-foot heater, you would need at least 3 solar panels, which will require an upfront investment of $4,200 to $5,400, and that doesn’t include the number of solar panels you may need to provide electricity for other things.

Lastly, it may take awhile for the heat from a baseboard heater to evenly distribute throughout the tiny home. Like any other heating system, maintaining the temperature is not a problem once the area warms up. However, getting to that point may be more of a challenge than other types of heating systems because there generally is no fan to help blow the warm air around. This may mean cold bathrooms in the morning and fall days when you’ll need to wear an extra sweater for a while.

Overall, baseboard heating can be an inexpensive and safe alternative to gas-powered heating sources. Do your research to find the one with the features that best support your needs and lifestyle. For more information about electric baseboard heaters or assistance with installing one, contact an electrician like Feldman Brothers Electrical Supply Co.

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5 Small Projects That Will Help Develop A Relationship With Your Electrician

When you have a large electrical project such as a full home rewiring or an electrical emergency, you want to be able to call an electrician that you can trust and who is familiar with the electrical system in your home. Unfortunately, many home owners wait until they are faced with an emergency before they consider contacting an electrician. This can leave you with less choice of electricians and inadequate time to properly assess your electrician’s credentials. Hiring various electricians to complete small projects around your home can give you an idea of the cost and quality of their work. It can also help you build a relationship with your electrician so you know that you can trust them. 

Here are five small projects you should consider hiring an electrician for today so you are prepared when you have an emergency project in the future. 

Updating Your Outlets With USB Ports 

Updating your electrical outlets and light switches are small, simple projects that many owners can do on their own. However, they also present a low-cost, fast project that gives you an introduction to an electrician and allows you to familiarize yourself with their rates and work style. 

A popular upgrade at the moment is adding USB outlets to your electrical outlets to charge small electronics more easily without overloading your electrical system. Alternatively, you may want to install dimmers or timers on your switches. 

Install Electrical Outlets In a Kitchen or Bathroom Cabinet

Installing a new electrical outlet is a more involved project that should take a little more time than upgrading your current outlets. It will give you an idea of how your electrician’s finished work appears and whether they have an eye for aesthetics. 

You may benefit from an additional outlet in a kitchen cupboard, where you can charge small electronics out of sight. Alternatively, an extra outlet in the bathroom can give you space to charge an electric toothbrush or shaver. 

Install Home Automation Systems 

Home automation systems include timers and scheduling for things such as your heating, laundry, and lights. They can allow you to control music throughout your entire home and to lock or unlock your door remotely. You may even be able to control your home’s automated system through an app on your smartphone while you are away from your home. 

Home automation requires significant wiring changes and the installation of new devices, which can give you a good idea of how your electrician will perform on a large project. It also allows the electrician to become familiar with how your specific home’s electrical system is currently setup in case there are emergencies in the future.  

Add a Whole-Home Surge Protector 

You are probably familiar with surge protectors that you add between the wall outlet and your electronics to protect your electronics from spikes in electricity. However, now you can add a surge protector to your whole house to help regulate spikes in electricity as they enter your system. A surge protector will cost around $1000 and will give you an idea of how your electrician works on quick projects that require your entire system to be shut down for a period of time. 

System Inspection 

While some electricians say that full-system inspections are unnecessary, others recommend an inspection every 3-5 years. Whether you think it is necessary or not, an inspection allows you to meet your electrician and gives them time to get familiar with your system so they can anticipate and possibly prevent future problems. 

Instead of waiting for an emergency, it is important to find an electrician that you trust now. Consider these five projects as test projects that will help you build a relationship with your electrician. For more information, visit websites like http://www.advantageelectricians.com.

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What You Should Know About Recessed Lighting Before Installing New Lights

If you’re looking at options to install new lighting in your house, you might be thinking about the possibility of recessed lighting. If you’re not familiar with recessed lighting, you might wonder if it’s even worth installing. After all, you’ll need to work with an electrician to help you install them, so is it really worth it? Here’s a look at the benefits of recessed lighting as well as the bulb choices you would have available.

What Are the Benefits of Recessed Lighting?

You might think that there aren’t enough differences in the types of lights available to really affect your home’s lighting enough to change it. The truth is, there are many benefits to opting for recessed lighting over other lights.

  1. You Can Install Them Anywhere – Recessed lights need little more than a flat surface and electrical wiring. That means you can install them on vaulted ceilings, sloped ceilings, stairways and walls.  
  2. They Are Versatile Lighting Options – Recessed lighting provides you with general ambient light in a room, but you can also install it as targeted lighting over work spaces or to spotlight a specific architectural feature. The versatility makes recessed lighting a great choice for almost any application.  
  3. You Can Customize Your Lights – The trim around a recessed light is the only visible part of the light case. You can customize that trim to match the decor of any room or area. If you have a space that benefits from extra light and reflection, you can opt for a mirrored surface. In rustic wood cabin structures, a wood veneer trim will help the lights blend in.  
  4. They Accommodate a Variety of Bulbs – Choosing recessed lights won’t leave you stuck with one single bulb option. Recessed lights can accommodate many types of bulbs, so your electrician can help you choose the best ones for your needs.

What Bulbs Can You Use in Recessed Lighting?

  • LED Lights – LED stands for light emitting diodes, and these are highly efficient lights. They don’t release an intense light, casting a blue, cool light in the room instead. If you’ve always liked the warm glow of incandescent bulbs, your electrician may be able to help you find a warmer LED, but they may be more expensive.  
  • Compact Fluorescent Lights – Compact fluorescent lights are often referred to as CFL bulbs and they are the most common options for replacing incandescent bulbs, which are no longer available in the United States. Compact fluorescent lights often generate heat, though, so you’ll want to be sure that you use them in areas where they aren’t going to be covered. Just make sure that you only install CFLs in fixtures that are rated for them, because they could damage other fixtures. Your electrician will tell you which fixtures are CFL-rated. Also, remember that CFL bulbs contain a small amount of mercury, so you’ll need to handle them carefully.  
  • Halogen Lights – Halogen light bulbs produce bright white light, and they are a long-lasting bulb. The low wattage makes them cost-effective despite the fact that they often cost a bit more than the other bulb options. If you’re installing halogen light bulbs, though, make sure your recessed lighting will be covered. Otherwise, the lights may be a bit too bright. The light produced is often a bit on the cool side, so you may want to counter that with some warm colors in your room decor if you use these lights.

Your electrician can help you assess the rooms in your home where you’re thinking of installing recessed lighting. He or she can tell you if your current wiring and construction will be suitable or if you need to plan on other work as well. If you aren’t sure about which bulbs are best, an electrician from a company like RDS Electric can often help you select those, too.

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Baby Proof Your Home With The Help Of 3 Professionals

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. 

Plumbing

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.

Electrical circuitry

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.

HVAC systems

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.

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4 Tips To Save Money On Home Lighting

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. 

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Six Electrical Safety Guidelines For Your Outdoor Spa, Hot Tub Or Swimming Pool

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. 

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