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Common Home Electrical Problems

Common Home Electrical Problems

Electrical problems have the potential to get really nasty no matter where they occur. They can be especially troubling, however, when they occur in your home. Not all electrical problems are equal, however. Some are fairly simple to fix, or not all that dangerous. Some, however, present a serious risk to your health and home. Let’s take a look at some of the more common electrical problems that homeowners deal with, and how to fix them.

Overlamping

This is a really common problem, which is also unique in that it is one of the only ones that is 100% user error. Overlamping is when a light socket has a bulb in it with a higher wattage than it can handle. Everyone has seen the warning signs on lightbulb sockets, stating what their maximum wattage is. Those warnings aren’t really guidelines so much as hard and fast safety rules. Overlamping can not only melt the socket, but the insulation in the wires leading to it. This is a huge fire risk, and not something you ever want to have to deal with. The solution for overlamping is simple: don’t use lightbulbs with higher wattage than the socket is rated for. If you don’t know what the socket is rated for, ask an electrician, just to be safe.

Flickering Lights

Another common problem, flickering lights indicates a short somewhere in the electrical circuit. Such short circuits are often caused by damaged insulation allowing wires arc electricity to each other, providing a different (and often dangerous) path for the current to travel down and interfering with the operation of the light. Just like overlamping, exposed wires that are allowed to arc to each other present a high risk of fire, and should be dealt with immediately by a professional electrician.

The most important thing to remember about your home electrical system is that electricity is inherently dangerous, especially in the amounts flowing through the walls of your house. A proper electrical system is designed to channel the current safely from place to place. However, any degradation in that system can drastically increase the risk of fire or electrocution. If you notice any issue that you suspect is related to your electrical system, call a professional immediately.

Reasons to Install a Whole-Home Generator

Reasons to Install a Whole-Home Generator

We can lose power for a number of reasons: weather-related events, environmental events like wildfires, road construction or a blown substation. Whatever the reason, it makes our lives exponentially more difficult when we don’t have the power we need to run our homes. One of the best ways to prepare for any event that can result in loss of electrical power is to install a whole-home generator in your home. 

Reasons to Install a Whole Home Generator

Having the best equipment is part of being prepared. Stand alone home generators are designed to seamlessly transition you to your back-up power should you lose yours. Here are some reasons why you will want to consider the installation of a stand alone generator:

  • Automatic operation – each whole-home generator is equipped with a sensor that will instantly switch your home’s power to the generator as soon as power is lost, whether or not you are home. The generator will also turn off automatically once power is restored.
  • No manual refueling – Whole-home generators are made to work with two fuel types: natural gas, or liquid propane (LP). For natural gas and LP generators, the fuel is piped directly to the generator.
  • Connected directly to your electrical panel –Whole-home generators are wired directly into your home’s electrical panel, so there’s no need for long extension cords through windows.
  • Overload protection – in the rare case that your generator gets overloaded, it is equipped with overload protection: the generator’s circuit will trip, which disconnects the unit from the load.

Being prepared means having the best tools at your disposal for the worst possible circumstances. Losing power isn’t a usual thing, but when it happens, it can disrupt our lives entirely. With a Generac or Kohler generator in your home, you won’t have to worry about this kind of disruption.

 

Why It’s Important to Hire Professionals for Electrical Work

Why It’s Important to Hire Professionals for Electrical Work

Electricity is a huge part of our day-to-day lives. As we become more and more integrated with our technology, that role is only going to get larger.

This increasing dependence on electricity is reflected in the home, as well, with an increasing number of electrical appliances being installed. It may be tempting to a lot of people to attempt some of this installation and maintenance on their own. Many of us have an urge to try our own electrical work, in an effort to save money and become more self-sufficient. While this drive to learn new skills is admirable, it really should not be practiced on something like your home’s electrical system.

Read on to find out why it’s important to hire professionals for electrical work.

Safety

Above all else, hiring a professional electrician keeps you safe. There is an incredible amount of power running through the average home’s electrical grid, and one wrong move can result in severe injuries, death or fire. The savings you would get from trying to do your own electrical work instead of hiring an electrician will never be worth the potential for injury or death. Be safe, and hire a professional electrician any time you need electrical work done.

Efficiency

The primary reason that people try to do their own electrical work is because they believe it will save them money. On the surface, this seems to be true. If you can wire your own outlet or ceiling fan, why bother spending money on a professional? The problem is that a lot of people who try to do their own electrical work don’t do it correctly, and end up causing more problems for themselves later on. Often, after fruitlessly trying to correct the mistake and making things worse, people have to call an electrician anyway to make things right. If you call an electrician the first time, instead of trying to do it yourself, you’re ensuring that the job is done right. This will save you a ton of hassle.

NOAA Hurricane Season Predictions

Check out the latest predictions from NOAA for the upcoming hurricane season!

http://www.noaa.gov/near-normal-atlantic-hurricane-season-most-likely-year

Near-normal Atlantic hurricane season is most likely this year

70 percent likelihood of 10 to 16 named storms
UPDATED: May 27, 2016. Audio from today's media call is posted to the "Related Resources" section below.
May 27, 2016 NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center says the 2016 Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 through November 30, will most likely be near-normal, but forecast uncertainty in the climate signals that influence the formation of Atlantic storms make predicting this season particularly difficult.
Hurricane Joaquin reaches Category 4 strength near the Central Bahamas on October 1, 2015.

NOAA predicts a 70 percent likelihood of 10 to 16 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 4 to 8 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 1 to 4 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher). While a near-normal season is most likely with a 45 percent chance, there is also a 30 percent chance of an above-normal season and a 25 percent chance of a below-normal season. Included in today’s outlook is Hurricane Alex, a pre-season storm that formed over the far eastern Atlantic in January.

“This is a more challenging hurricane season outlook than most because it’s difficult to determine whether there will be reinforcing or competing climate influences on tropical storm development,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. "However, a near-normal prediction for this season suggests we could see more hurricane activity than we’ve seen in the last three years, which were below normal.”

Dr. Gerry Bell discusses the 2016 Hurricane Season.
Dr. Gerry Bell discusses the 2016 Hurricane Season. (NOAA)

Bell explained there is uncertainty about whether the high activity era of Atlantic hurricanes, which began in 1995, has ended. This high-activity era has been associated with an ocean temperature pattern called the warm phase of the Atlantic Multi-Decadal Oscillation or AMO, marked by warmer Atlantic Ocean temperatures and a stronger West African monsoon. However, during the last three years weaker hurricane seasons have been accompanied by a shift toward the cool AMO phase, marked by cooler Atlantic Ocean temperatures and a weaker West African monsoon. If this shift proves to be more than short-lived, it could usher in a low-activity era for Atlantic hurricanes, and this period may already have begun. High- and low-activity eras typically last 25 to 40 years.

In addition, El Niño is dissipating and NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is forecasting a 70 percent chance that La Niña — which favors more hurricane activity — will be present during the peak months of hurricane season, August through October. However, current model predictions show uncertainty as to how strong La Niña and its impacts will be.

2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook.
2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook. (NOAA)

Despite the challenging seasonal prediction, NOAA is poised to deliver actionable environmental intelligence during the hurricane season with more accuracy to help save lives and livelihoods and enhance the national economy as we continue building a Weather-Ready Nation.

“This is a banner year for NOAA and the National Weather Service — As our Hurricane Forecast Improvement Programoffsite link turns five, we’re on target with our five-year goal to improve track and intensity forecasts by 20 percent each,” said NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan, Ph.D. “Building on a successful supercomputer upgrade in January, we’re adding unprecedented new capabilities to our hurricane forecast models — investing in science and technology infusion to bring more accuracy to hurricane forecasts in 2016.”

Coming online later this season are major new investments to further improve NOAA’s ability to monitor hurricanes as they form and provide more timely and accurate warnings for their impacts. NOAA’s new National Water Model — set to launch later this summer — will provide hourly water forecasts for 700 times more locations than our current flood forecast system, greatly enhancing our ability to forecast inland flooding from tropical systems. In the fall, NOAA will launch GOES-R, a next generation weather satellite that will scan the Earth five times faster, with a resolution four times greater than ever before, to produce much sharper images of hurricanes and other severe weather.

NOAA works with a number of partners in the private and public sectors to ensure communities and businesses have the information they need to act well ahead of a land-falling hurricane.

“While seasonal forecasts may vary from year to year — some high, some low — it only takes one storm to significantly disrupt your life,” stated FEMA Deputy Administrator Joseph Nimmich.  “Preparing for the worst can keep you, your family, and first responders out of harm’s way. Take steps today to be prepared: develop a family communications plan, build an emergency supply kit for your home, and make sure you and your family know your evacuation route. These small steps can help save your life when disaster strikes.”

NOAA will issue an updated outlook for the Atlantic hurricane season in early August, just prior to the peak of the season.

2016 Atlantic hurricane season tropial cyclone names.
2016 Atlantic hurricane season tropial cyclone names. (NOAA)

NOAA also issued its outlook for the eastern Pacific and central Pacific basins. The central Pacific hurricane outlook calls for equal 40 percent chance of a near-normal or above-normal season with 4-7 tropical cyclones likely. The eastern Pacific hurricane outlook calls for a 40 percent chance of a near-normal hurricane season, a 30 percent chance of an above-normal season and a 30 percent chance of a below-normal season. That outlook calls for a 70 percent probability of 13-20 named storms, of which 6-11 are expected to become hurricanes, including 3-6 major hurricanes.

How Much Could You Lose During a Power Outage?

How Much Could You Lose During a Power Outage?

When the power goes out in your neighborhood, you usually cannot tell how long you will have to go without it. A crew may be able to get it up and running in a matter of a few hours. But it’s not unusual for neighborhoods to be without any electricity whatsoever for an entire day and night, or even for longer.

Without a whole-home generator in place, you could end up with any of the following issues.

  • Spoiled Food: If your refrigerator is out for more than an hour or two, you could have to say goodbye to a couple hundred dollars in groceries.
  • Water Damage: Do you have a sump pump keeping your basement dry? Electrical outages are often associated with storms. If the power goes out, your electrically powered sump pump won’t be able to prevent permanent damage to your property.
  • No Heating or Air Conditioning: This is a particular problem if you live in an area that tends to experience either weather extreme. You can’t go long without working heating or air.
  • Hotel Stays: Without heating, air conditioning, and other important electrical equipment, you may turn to a hotel so that you can feel comfortable and remain productive. The cost of this may be quite high if you are housing an entire family.
  • Any Life-Saving Equipment May Not Work: Some homeowners have family members who rely on life-saving medical equipment to work at all time. While this often has a battery backup, a whole-home generator ensures continued performance for an extended period of time.

A whole-home generator usually uses natural gas to run, and lets you resume your life without any work on your part. Within seconds, an automatic whole-home generator can return power to the entire house, so that you don’t have to give it a second thought.

Welcome to our blog!

Welcome to the RCA Generators & Electrical Contractors blog.  We will be sharing tips, news and information on both generator and electric topics.  If you have a specific question or topic that you would like discussed, please feel free to contact us at: info@rcaelectric.com.  Have a wonderful day!