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Electric (23)

Sunday, 19 March 2017 17:55

5 Tips To Save Energy Year Round

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Most homeowners would like to see their home’s energy consumption decrease in order to boost energy savings. The experts at Maitz Home Services are happy to help by offering our top 5 ways to drive energy savings higher, no matter the season.
Energy savings

These 5 tips can help you save money throughout the year:

1. Use your programmable thermostat to set an energy-saving schedule, and be sure to implement at least one eight-hour period a day when you dramatically adjust temperatures for maximum savings. Most homeowners schedule these periods when the home is unoccupied or when they’re sleeping.

2. Upgrade the insulation throughout your home. This action will create a better barrier to prevent heat gain during the summer, and prevent heat loss in the winter

3. Seal the air leaks around your home’s exterior. When you close leaks, you’ll keep more conditioned air inside and reduce energy consumption.

4. Change your system’s filter regularly to ensure proper airflow through the A/C. When airflow is constricted, your system will consume more energy.

5. Replace old, inefficient HVAC equipment, like your A/C or water heater, with high-efficiency systems that will dramatically boost your monthly energy savings, and maximize your investment over the life of the equipment.

By implementing some simple strategies to boost energy savings, homeowners can reduce their energy consumption while making their homes more comfortable. For expert advice, contact the HVAC professionals at Maitz Home Services today.

Electrical ProblemsAre you experiencing light switches or electrical outlets that don't work reliably? There can be a variety of causes for electrical problems around the home. The affected circuit controlled by a switch or outlet may not be completed because of another component. A switch may control an outlet which is unoccupied by a lamp or any other electrical device. Also, an outlet may be connected to a switch which is in the off position. Another cause may be related to a defective breaker, or a breaker which was tripped or turned off, but never switched back on.

Arching is another common reason that switches and outlets fail. If the arcing was caused by aluminum wiring, a hazardous condition may exist. If your home or building was constructed before 1972, or during the late sixties, it could have aluminum wiring. Aluminum wiring was used legally during those years, but outlawed for installation in new homes, commercial buildings, remodels and renovations after it was discovered it could lead to electrical fires.

Although aluminum wiring itself is generally no more hazardous than copper, its splices and connections with other metals present a real hazard because they can become corroded and cause arcing. Because arcing in these connections can lead to fire within surrounding materials, aluminum wiring has been discontinued.

However, many homes still contain aluminum wiring, and research conducted by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) revealed that buildings with aluminum wiring pose a fire risk which is 55 times greater than the risks with similar structures wired with copper. So, if you discover an electrical outlet or switch which doesn’t appear to be working correctly, it’s possible this outlet or switch has been damaged by a connection with aluminum wiring. If you have safety questions about this type of problem, or any electrical concerns regarding your residence or commercial building, please contact us immediately. Our licensed electricians are trained and to perform professional electrical safety inspections, and can repair any type of electrical problem.
With the start of a new year it's a great time to begin planning on how to save energy throughout your home. Here are a few tips and suggestions to save energy dollars year round.

Heating & Cooling

If you're planning on replacing your older air conditioner or furnace, consider purchasing a high efficiency model with an ENERGYSTAR™ rating. ENERGY STAR™ is a government-backed program designed to help consumers save money and protect the environment through superior energy efficiency. The ENERGYSTAR™ label will tell you how much energy you can expect the model to use annually.
  • Insulate ceilings to R-38 levels if your attic has less than R-19      
  • Caulk around windows, doors and anywhere air is leaking in or out
  • Apply weather striping around windows and doors
  • Wrap heating and cooling ducts with duct wrap
  • Set the furnace thermostat at 68 degrees or lower, and the air-conditioner thermostat at 78 degrees or higher, if your comfortable. 3 percent to 5 percent more energy is used for each degree the furnace is set above 68 degrees and for each degree the air conditioner is set below 78 degrees
  • Clean or replace furnace and air-conditioner filters regularly, following manufacturer's instructions
  • Replace old windows with new high performance multi-pane windows  
  • Install shades, awnings or sunscreens on windows facing south and/or west to block summer light. In winter, open shades on sunny days to help warm rooms
  • Close the damper when the fireplace is not being used. Try not to use the fireplace and central heating system at the same time

Water Heating

  • Set the water heater thermostat at 140 degrees or "normal." if you have a dishwasher. Otherwise, set it at 120 degrees or "low."
  • Use a water heater blanket
  • Install energy-saver showerheads
  • Wash your laundry using a cold water detergent
  • Fix defective plumbing or dripping faucets. A single dripping hot water faucet can waste 212 gallons of water a month. That not only increases water bills, but also increases the gas or electric bill for heating the water
  • Wash only full loads in a dishwasher and use the shortest cycle that will get your dishes clean. If operating instructions allow, turn off the dishwasher before the drying cycle, open the door and let the dishes dry naturally
Sunday, 19 March 2017 17:55

Holiday Lighting Electrical Safety Tips

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Holiday Lighting Electrical Safety Tips

With the arrival of the holidays many people are decorating their homes inside and out to celebrate the season. As with any electrical lighting or accessories, it's important to ensure that they are installed correctly to avoid electrical shock and fires.

The following are a few tips from The National Fire Protection Association to  avoid some of the most common electrical hazards
  • Avoid stringing too many lights together. Check light strings to see how many strings can be safely joined end to end. As a rule of thumb, don't string together more than three smaller push-in style bulb strings. Strings with screw-in bulbs should have no more than 50 bulbs total
  • Inspect electrical accessories before installation - Before stringing lights, inspect for cracked sockets, frayed, loose or bare wires or loose connections
  • Unplug light strings before replacing bulbs or fuses
  • Always turn off electric decorations before leaving home or going to bed
  • Don't Use high wattage bulbs in low-wattage ornaments
  • Avoid overloading extension cords
  • Never run extension cords through water, even those labeled for outdoor use
  • Brown or brittle needles are prone to fire, so always buy a fresh wreath or tree
If your house was built over 15 years ago, it may not be up to speed with the latest electrical safety and convenience features.

Here are a few things to consider.

1. Frequently tripping breakers. This indicates that circuits are drawing more current than they can safely provide. It can also mean a dangerous electrical fault on one or more circuits.

2. Fading and flickering lights. Does running appliances like an air conditioner or dryer cause the lights to dim or flicker? 220 amp appliances draw a lot of current and should be wired on dedicated circuits. If smaller appliances such as microwaves are also causing problems, consider adding a 20-amp line to service them.

3. Overloaded outlets. If power-strips and plug-in additions are tangling up your outlets, your electrical system is likely working beyond its intended capacity. Adding circuits with duplex receptacles can restore neatness and safety.

4. Not enough outlets. If your home looks has extension wires running under rugs and furniture, your increasing the risk of an electrical fire and accidents.  Consider adding more outlets.

5. Get grounded. Many older homes have outlets without three-prong grounded plugs. This is a bigger problem than not being able to plug in an appliance - it could indicate that your electrical wiring system is not fully grounded, and could be a safety problem.

6. Water hazards. Wet locations such as kitchens, baths and laundry rooms now require outlets protected by Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters GFCIs. Adding GFCIs will make your home code-compliant-and safer. If you already have GFCIs be sure to test them regularly using the reset buttons.

For all your home electrical needs, call Maitz Home Services. Our experienced, licensed electricians can ensure you have all the power you need to ensure your safety and comfort.

Whether you're giving your home a complete makeover, or just planning on upgrading your fixtures or appliances within your living quarters, it's a great time to also consider upgrading your electrical system.

Do you have receptacle outlets overburdened by multi-plug strips? Are your lamps and fixtures connected to extension cords? Does every three-prong plug need a two-prong adapter? These and other warning signs indicate a real need for electrical improvements. Here are a few points to consider:

1. Is your service adequate?

Many older homes still operate with outdated 60-amp electrical service, and sometimes with just a few fuses or circuit breakers to protect the entire system. Newer homes often have 100-amp service panels, but even this minimum requirement set by many current codes may fall short of your present or future needs. Consider upgrading service to 200 amps.

2. Is your service sized for extra demand?

If you're installing a major electrical appliance, like an electric wall oven, a microwave oven, a double-wide refrigerator or central air-conditioning, think about the additional power it may need. While a salesman or installer might tell you that your system can handle the load, be smart and ask your electrician for a second opinion.

Electricians often install 14-AWG wiring during renovations, which is adequate for most home uses. But heavier 12-AWG copper wire is a better choice because it's more energy-efficient and you won't have to upgrade all over again if you install appliances or fixtures with greater electrical loads. The cost difference for upgrading to 12-AWG copper wire is minimal. If you're adding a room extension or building a new home, it's a good idea to install 12-AWG wire (or larger, depending on the needs of each circuit).

3. Consider special electrical needs.

Different rooms in a home serve different purposes—an important consideration when you're planning improvements, especially where electrical work is involved. Family rooms, home offices and home theaters generally need more circuits, more outlets, and built-in or plug-in power-surge protection. Outlets in kitchens, baths, garages and outdoor areas require ground-fault circuit interrupters, or GFCIs. And you don't have to wait for a major renovation to add protection—you can install many safety devices yourself, such as outlet caps, switch guards and wire shields in nurseries and children's playrooms.

Sunday, 19 March 2017 17:55

8 Electrical Safety Tips For Fall

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As cold weather approaches and we spend more time indoors, now is a good time to make sure your home's electrical system is working safely. Here are some electrical safety tips for the home:

1. Check outlets for loose plugs, which can overheat and cause a fire.
2. Test ground fault circuits (GFC) outlets to ensure they reset properly when pressing the test button.
3. If there are young children in the house, make sure unused outlets have safety covers installed.
5. If you are frequently reseting circuit breakers, call an electrician to inspect the circuit and upgrade the electrical panel if necessary.
6. Make sure electrical cords are in good condition. Never use tape to fix a damaged electrical cord, always replace the cord.
7. Test smoke detectors and CO detectors
8. Check the wattage of light bulbs to make sure they are the correct wattage for the size of the fixture.

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

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, deaths related to household fires caused by children are highest during the holiday season, with the number of children injured or killed by fires more than doubling this time of year.

The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) offers these tips for keeping children safe.
  • Keep young children away from holiday lights, electrical decorations and extension cords to prevent electrical shock and burn injuries. 
  • When visiting family and friends, make sure that the home is safe for young children. Look for and eliminate potential dangers around electrical outlets, candles, and exposed electrical cords. 
  • Avoid hanging Christmas tree lights, ornaments, metal hooks, and other small decorations on the lower limbs of the tree where they could easily be reached by a small child. 
  • Never leave a child unattended while cooking or when a stove is within reach. 
  • Never use space heaters in rooms where children are unsupervised. Children may stick their fingers or other objects through the protective guards, causing burns or shock. 
  • Replace electrical toys with battery-operated alternatives for children under ten years old. 
  • Avoid buying toys that might be flammable, and be sure all electrical toys bear a safety label from a nationally-recognized testing laboratory such as UL, CSA, or ETL. 
Learn more about holiday electrical safety at
When buying a home most people hire a professional home inspector to inspect the house for potential problems and damage. However, when it comes to electrical systems many home inspectors don't always check the home as thoroughly as an experienced and licensed electrician would. Before signing a contract for the home, it's important to ensure that these electrical systems are checked and working properly.

1. Electrical Service Panel

A common problem with older homes is an undersized service panel. The electrical needs of a 1950s household were quite different from today's households. An undersize service panel will not only limit a home's functionality, it can cause safety problems. At minimum, the panel should be rated for 200-amps.

2. Worn Out Wiring

Fiberglass-insulated wires is commonly found in older homes and will fray over time and can be damage by rodents. Check where the wires pass through the walls and ceiling joists, these are the most common problem areas.

3. Ungrounded Circuits

Even if electrical receptacles have a ground prong a plug-in voltage tester should be used to make sure they are in fact grounded. The plug-in tester will also alert you if the polarity is wrong or if the circuit has other wiring problems like a lost neutral or a lost feed. All two-prong circuits should be upgraded to three-prong grounded outlets.

4. Dimming Lights

Check for light bulbs that are dim or blinking. Dimming bulbs are often a sign that there are voltage drops occurring in the circuit. Blinking bulbs mean there’s a loose connection somewhere.

5. Bad Wire Connections

Inspect junction boxes to ensure the wiring is well connected. Don't touch the wiring, just inspect it. If you spot potential problems, turn off the breaker before doing any work on the connections.

6. Smoke Detectors

Smoke detectors are required on every floor of the house, and they should be located right outside the bedrooms. If the detectors are not working, install new 9-volt batteries and re-test them to ensure they are functioning.

7. GFCI Receptacles

GFCI receptacles should be installed in areas that are near water, including bathrooms and the kitchen, the garage, the basement, and on the outside of the home – any place where an electrical system can come in contact with moisture.

8. Appliances

Check all appliances for proper operation and ask the current homeowner about any known issues or history of malfunctions.

9. Burn Marks

Look for signs of burning or scorching around receptacles, light switches and light fixtures. If scorch marks are visible, the circuit experienced a short at some time. Ensure that the circuit was properly repaired or the broken receptacle or switch was professionally repaired.

Need a professional electrical inspection? Call Maitz Home Services, we're here to help.

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