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Electric (20)

Wednesday, 09 August 2017 17:35

Could Your Home's Wiring Be a Fire Hazard?

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Many home in the Allentown area are over 50 years old, and older homes are statistically at higher risk of electrical fires. The main reason older electrical systems are more dangerous is that many have not been updated to meet newer, more stringent code requirements. Deteriorating wires, improper installation and modification, a lack of modern safety devices, along with an increase in the number of electrical devices in homes all combine to increase the risk of electrical fires.

By understanding what outdated wiring looks like, you can learn if your home is at greater risk. Depending on the age of the home, you will find one of three kinds of wiring.

Grounded Electrical Systems

Homes built in the 1940s through the present will have grounded electrical systems. Grounding is a critical safety feature that is designed to reduce the chance of shock or electrocution in the event of a short circuit. Grounding wires are connected directly to the earth through a metal grounding rod or a cold water pipe. Should a short circuit or an overload occur, any extra electricity will find its way along the grounding wire to the earth.

Aluminum Wiring

As the price of copper soared, aluminum wiring became more common in the 1960s and 1970s. Many of the receptacles and switched of the time we not designed to work with aluminum wire, resulting in bad fitting connections and a greater risk of fire. If your home has aluminum wiring that was installed in the 1960s or 70s have Hucker Electric perform a safety inspection to ensure it is safe and up to code.

Knob & Tube Wiring

The earliest type of wiring found in homes built in the 1800s through the 1930s, knob and tube wiring is an open air system that uses ceramic knobs to keep wires away from combustible framing. These suspended wires were directed through ceramic tubes to prevent contact with the wood framing and starting a fire. Knob and tube wiring is a fire hazard because it's not grounded and is more exposed to damage from old and faulty modification.

Have questions about your home's wiring? Call Maitz Home Services, we're here to help.
Roughly one-third of the homes in the U.S. are over 50 years old, and older homes are statistically at higher risk of electrical fires. The main reason older homes can be more dangerous is many were built with electrical systems which are no longer safe. Deterioration due to aging, improper installation and modification, a lack of modern safety devices, combined with today's electrical intensive households all combine to increase the risk of electrical fires.

By understanding what outdated wiring looks like, you can learn of your home is at greater risk. Depending on the age of the home, you will find one of three kinds of wiring.

Grounded Electrical Systems

Homes built in the 1940s through the present will have grounded electrical systems. Grounding is a critical safety feature that is designed to reduce the chance of shock or electrocution in the event of a short circuit. Grounding wires are connected directly to the earth through a metal grounding rod or a cold water pipe. Should a short circuit or an overload occur, any extra electricity will find its way along the grounding wire to the earth.

Aluminum Wiring

As the price of copper soared, aluminum wiring became more common in the 1960s and 1970s. Many of the receptacles and switched of the time we not designed to work with aluminum wire, resulting in bad fitting connections and a greater risk of fire. If your home has aluminum wiring that was installed in the 1960s or 70s have Maitz perform a safety inspection to ensure it is safe and up to code.

Knob & Tube Wiring

The earliest type of wiring found in homes built in the 1800s through the 1930s, knob and tube wiring is an open air system that uses ceramic knobs to keep wires away from combustible framing. These suspended wires were directed through ceramic tubes to prevent contact with the wood framing and starting a fire. Knob and tube wiring is a fire hazard because it's not grounded and is more exposed to damage from old and faulty modification.

If your concerned about your home's electrical system, call Maitz. We can inspect your wiring, service panel and other electrical components to ensure they are safe and meet all safety requirements.
Electrical receptacles have come a long way since the original 2-prong outlet. Today's outlets are designed to protect you from electrical shock while providing connectivity with electronic devices. Here are some of the new receptacles available.

1. Grounded Receptacle

The grounded three-prong grounded receptacle was introduced in the late 1960s. The ground reduced the risk of electric shock and prevented damage to sensitive electronic devices.

2. Tamper Resistant Receptacles (TRR)

TRRs have a built-in shutter system to prevent objects other than a three prong plug from being inserted. They provides better protection than "child proof" outlet covers.

3. Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) Receptacle

In situations where electrical appliances can come in contact with water, AFCIs prevent electric shock by immediately shutting off power when it detects that the electricity entering the circuit is different from the returning supply.

4. Surge Suppression Receptacle

Surge protection outlets protect sensitive electrical equipment from power spikes. While most people think of lightning as the primary cause of surges, most harmful electrical surges happen inside the home itself when large appliances, like HVAC systems, power cycle.

5. USB Receptacles

As the popularity of devices that charge through a USB (Universal Serial Bus) connections grows, many homeowners are finding that having dedicated UBS charging throughout the home is a great convenience.

Need electrical upgrades for your home? Call Maitz Home Services. We're here to help.

Sunday, 19 March 2017 17:55

Electrical Cord Safety Tips

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According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) every year in the U.S., about 4,000 injuries associated with electric extension cords are treated in hospital emergency rooms. Half of these injuries involve injuries from people tripping over extension cords. In addition, approximately 3,300 home fires are started by extension cords each year, killing 50 people and injuring roughly 270 more. How can you reduce the risks associated with electrical cords and keep you and your family safe? Here are some tips from the ESFI:

Never overload extension cords or allow them to run through water or snow on the ground.

An extension cords should not be used for permanent wiring.

Do not run cords through walls, doorways, ceilings or floors. If cord is covered, it may result in a fire hazard.

Do not use an extension cord for more than one appliance.

Multiple plug outlets must be plugged directly into mounted electrical receptacles; they cannot be chained together.

Make sure the extension cord or temporary power strip you use is rated for the products to be plugged in, and is marked for either indoor or outdoor use.

The appliance or tool that you are using the cord with will have a wattage rating on it. Match this up with your extension cord, and do not use a cord that has a lower rating.

Never use a cord that feels hot or is damaged in any way. Touching even a single exposed strand can give you an electric shock or burn.

Never use three-prong plugs with outlets that only have two slots for the plug. Do not cut off the ground pin to force a fit. This defeats the purpose of a three-prong plug and could lead to an electrical shock.

Use extension cords with polarized and/or three-prong plugs.

Buy only cords approved by an independent testing laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL) or ETL-SEMKO (ETL).

Remember, over reliance on extension cords is an indication that you have too few outlets to meet your needs. Call Maitz Home Services to have additional outlets installed.

Sunday, 19 March 2017 17:55

How AFCIs Keep Your Home Safe

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AFCIs are electrical devices installed in place of regular circuit breakers found in a home's electric service panel. The service panel is usually located in the basement or garage and distributes electricity throughout the home to switches, outlets and appliances. When an electrical overload or short circuit overload occurs, the circuit breaker trips, preventing damage or an electrical fire.

Extra Protection With AFCIs

AFCIs provide protection against electrical hazards known as arc faults. An arc fault is a electrical problem caused by damaged or overheated electrical wiring or appliances. Without AFCIs, arc faults may be hidden from plain view until it is too late.

Electrical arc faults are among the leading cause of residential electrical and fire-related injuries. For this reason, The National Electrical Code has required that they be used to protect almost every circuit in the home since 2008.

Have questions about your home's electrical system? Call Maitz Home Services. We're here to help.

Power failures can be more than an inconvenience, they can cause expensive damage your property. When the power goes out you lose heating and air conditioning, well pumps, refrigeration, and sump pumps - which can lead to basement flooding during severe storms.

With the frequency of power outages in the Eastern U.S. related to the increasingly intensity of storm systems and an over burdened electrical grid, a backup power generator is becoming an essential appliance for many homeowners.

It's hard to appreciate just how important a home generator is until the power has been out longer than a few hours. Generators sell out quickly before and during emergencies, so why wait until the next major power failure to consider buying one?

Types of Home Backup Generators



The two main types of residential generators are portable and permanent standby. If you plan to power a few lights, your refrigerator and a furnace, a less expensive portable generator may provide enough power. But keep in mind that you will need to ensure you have enough fuel on hand before the power goes out.

If you intend to run your lights and air conditioner, along with a well pump, sump pump, a freezer and other major appliances a permanent standby model is the best option. Permanently installed generators are connected directly to your home's utilities, when the power goes out they automatically start up to provide power for extended periods of time.

Professional Residential Generator Installation



When considering a generator for your home it's important to hire an experienced electrician who understands the types of generators available and can match the system to your home's existing power needs. At Maitz Home Service we have installed hundreds of residential generators throughout the Lehigh Valley area.

With an Maitz Home Services generator installation, you will have the peace of mind knowing that you are getting the right generator for your specific needs and professional service for the life of the unit.
Sunday, 19 March 2017 17:55

Home Electrical Safety Tips For Fall

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As the cold weather settles in and we begin to spend more time indoors, this is a good time to be aware of the electrical hazards around the home during the heating season. The Electrical Safety Foundation International offers the following tips.

1. Safely store warm weather tools like lawn mowers and trimmers. Check cold weather tools, such as leaf and snow blowers, along with their power cords, for unusual wear and tear.

2. Repair or replace worn tools or parts right away.

3. Unplug and safely store battery chargers that won't be in use again until spring.

4. Use only weatherproof electrical devices for outside activities.

5.Protect outdoor electrical devices from moisture. Make sure electrical equipment that has been wet is inspected and reconditioned by a certified repair dealer.

6. Keep dry leaves swept away from outdoor lighting, outlets and power cords.

7. Make sure electric blankets are in good repair and certified by an independent testing lab such as UL, CSA or ETL. Power cords should not be frayed, cracked or cut.

8. Do not tuck your electric blanket under mattresses or children, and do not put anything, such as comforters or bedspreads, on top of the blanket while it is in use. Never allow pets to sleep on an electric blanket.

Sunday, 19 March 2017 17:55

Home Electrical Safety Tips For Spring

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With the arrival of spring, many Allentown area homeowners will be looking to tackle home improvement projects With the warm spring weather comes home improvement projects around the outside of the home. So it's a good time to think about electrical safety to reduce the risk of accidental injury.

The Electrical Safety Foundation International (EFSI) recommends the following simple safety rules:
  • Ladders—even those made of wood—that come into contact with a power line can prove fatal
  • Keep all ladders at least 10 feet away from overhead power lines
  • Unplug outdoor tools and appliances when not in use
  • Inspect power tools and appliances for frayed cords, broken plugs and cracked or broken housing. Repair or replace damaged items
  • Water and electricity do not mix. Avoid damp conditions — including wet grass — when using electricity
  • Ensure that all outdoor outlets are equipped with Ground Fault Interrupters (GFIs)
  • Do not use power tools with an extension cord that exceeds 100 feet in length
  • Use extreme caution when cutting or drilling into walls where electrical wires or water pipes could be accidentally touched or penetrated
  • When using a wet-dry vacuum cleaner or a pressure washer, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid electric shock
If your home needs electrical work, it's best to let the professional electricians at Maitz Home Services do the work for you. We can handle any size electrical project, from installing new outlets to complete rewiring.


Sunday, 19 March 2017 17:55

Choosing the Right Fan For Your Home

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Fans play an important role in maintaining comfort and indoor air quality in your home. The several types of fans that serve different roles, they are:

Whole-House Fans

This type of fan is designed to circulate air throughout a home's ductwork. It is sometimes confused with an attic ventilator fan (see below), which exhausts hot air from the attic to the outside through an opening in the roof. In some cases, a whole house fan can take the place of a home's air conditioning system by circulating air during times of the year when it's not too hot, particularly when combined with ceiling fans.

Bathroom Exhaust Fans

A bathroom exhaust fan is designed to remove stale, humid air from bathrooms, laundry rooms and other enclosed spaces with high humidity. They improve air quality and reduce the likelihood of mold and mildew growth. When installing an exhaust fan it's important to ensure that the fan is ducted to the exterior of the house and not just into an attic.

Attic Fans

Also called an attic ventilator, attic fans regulate the heat level of a home's attic by exhausting hot air. They are usually controlled by a thermostat that automatically turns the fan off and on, or less frequently by a manual switch. An attic fan can be gable mounted or roof mounted.

Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans are a popular choice for improving airflow in rooms, as well as serving as lighting fixtures and enhancing room decor. While a ceiling fan doesn't actually lower the temperature, it circulates the conditioned air where it's needed most and provides evaporative cooling.

Need a fan for your home? Give Maitz Home Services a call. We're here to help.

According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) 2,400 children in the U.S. are treated for injuries caused by electrical outlets. To gauge the level of risk in the average home with small children, the ESFI conducted a survey of mothers with young children regarding the importance of Tamper Resistant Receptacles (TRRs), which have been required by the National Electrical Code since 2008 to prevent these injuries. The results show that much more education is needed.

  • Nearly 1/3 of parents with young children do not have their outlets childproofed.
  • 86% of parents who childproof their outlets use plastic outlet caps.
  • 40% agree that plastic outlet caps could be removed by toddlers
  • Over 1/3 are unaware if their child’s daycare provider or school childproofs their electrical outlets.
  • 44% of respondents are not familiar at all with TRRs.
  • 61% of respondents who have TRRs have them due to previous installation before they moved.

Why are TRRs preferred over other outlet protection devices such as caps or sliding outlet covers?

  1. 100% of all 2-4 year olds were able to remove one type of plastic outlet cap within 10 seconds in a study by Temple University.
  2. Outlet Caps may pose as a choking hazard.
  3. TRRs provide permanent security against the insertion of objects other than cord plugs into the energized slots.

If your concerned about the safety of your electrical outlets, give Maitz Home Services a call, we can help upgrade your outlets to tamper resistant receptacles.


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