Electrical Basics for Back to School: A Guide

The Essentials of Home Electricity

Having an electrical grid is part of what defines the US as a first-world country. These days, it is essential, especially as the demand for “work from home” increases. People cannot function without it, yet it is a mystery to most.

Everyone knows that the light comes on when they flip a switch, but they may not know why. Electricity is energy produced by charged particles. In a home, energy moves through wires, and switches and plugs are used to create a circuit or a continuously flowing circle of connection for the electricity.

Defining the Parts of the Electrical System

electric meterWhile most people can recognize a switch or an outlet, they may not be aware of some of the other parts of the electrical system in the home. Below is a breakdown of main major components of a residential electrical setup:

  • Electric Meter: The electric meter is the mechanism that measures the amount of electricity that goes through it. The electrical wires from the municipal power grid (underground or overhead) connect to the house through the electric meter.
  • Disconnect Switch: This switch cuts power to the entire home. This switch is usually part of the breaker panel but can be separate from it.
  • Breaker Panel: The home’s electrical panel is where the electricity from the supply lines is divided into various circuits throughout the house. Switches control each circuit and are often labeled by room or by the appliance they service.
  • Outlets: Also called receptacles, electrical outlets have hot and neutral wires. When something is plugged in, the electricity passes from the hot wire through the machine (for example, a hairdryer), turning it on. The electricity then flows through the plug’s second wire and back into the neutral wire of the outlet, thus creating a circuit.
  • Switches: Switches are used to interrupt a circuit from the breaker box to (usually) a light of some kind. Switches come in many different styles, including dimmers and knob switches.

Warning Signs of Electrical Problems

burning plastic smellIf a homeowner is concerned about the age of wiring or electrical problems in general, there are a few indicators to look for that demonstrate a problem with the electrical wiring. If wiring is older, it may not be up to code, as the rules for electrical repairs change as technology improves. Having a consultation with an electrician about these concerns is never a bad idea.

If a homeowner notices any of these things, they should seek out a professional sooner rather than later:

Be Safe and Call an Electrician About Electrical Repairs

Electricity is a fantastic tool, but it can be very dangerous, especially to someone who is not trained. Electrical safety is paramount in preventing the worst, including fire and electric shock. A homeowner should not do electrical work because they don’t have the proper training. Hiring a professional electrician costs less than someone’s life.

About Elite Electric, Plumbing & Air

After serving Port St. Lucie, FL, and the surrounding communities for more than 30 years, Elite Electric, Plumbing & Air has been named best of HomeAdvisor in 2021 and is accredited by the BBB and NATE. They offer same-day service, courteous technicians, and straightforward pricing. Call them today for electrical services in Port St. Lucie, FL.

Time To Go Back to School With Electrical 101

Learning Electrical System Basics

The end of summer is nearing, which means many kids, teenagers, and college students around the country are heading back to school. And what better time to celebrate the return to school than having a personalized mini-class on the basics of electrical systems! Sure, it might sound a bit dry, but having a thorough understanding of Electrical 101 can be a huge help down the road.

Homeowners and their families should learn about the primary components of their electrical systems, how they function, and things to watch out for. They should also understand why hiring professionals is always the way to go when it comes to caring for their electrical systems. Continue reading for all of this information and more!

Wiring and Outlets

outlet

Let’s begin with a simple overview of wiring and outlets, as these are some of the most important components of home electrical systems. Electrical wiring involves cabling that connects with various devices like sockets, switches, distribution boards, and more. Electrical outlets are openings that connect to a power source via these wires.

There are typically extensive wires and outlets that run throughout the home, as many things depend on electricity (just think of how many lights can be found in a single room!). The electrical wiring and outlets may require various professional services, such as installation, faulty wiring, physical damage to any part of the electrical system, and more.

Outdoor Wiring and Lighting

Outdoor wiring and lighting are particularly important to understand, as outdoor parts of the system can be very different from indoor parts. At a base level, the types of lights used outdoors must be able to withstand temperature changes that many indoor lights do not need. After all, the temperature swings indoors are usually just a few degrees, compared to dozens of degrees outdoors!

In addition, there are electrical services catered specifically toward outdoor needs, such as services for outdoor lighting, pool wiring, and more. Outdoor electrical work generally has more variability. For example, the wiring in a pool needs to be such that there is no risk of electrocution since water is highly conductive. While homeowners can try to do outdoor lighting work on their own (or indoors too, for that matter), it is always best to seek professional help.

Be Sure To Hire a Professional

electricianAt the end of the day, electrical work should always be taken care of by an experienced, trained professional. Amateur electrical work is extremely dangerous, and it can be potentially lethal as well, depending on the situation. Electrocution is a significant danger that can occur if the electrical system is not handled properly.

Even if someone does not get electrocuted, amateur work can result in faulty wiring and other rookie mistakes that could prove hazardous to the entire home and everyone inside. Hiring professionals is smart, as many have years or even decades of experience in responsibly, efficiently, and safely handling home electrical systems.

About Elite Electric & Air

Elite Electric & Air of Port St. Lucie, FL, is a full-service electrical company that believes in providing top-notch services at reasonable prices. Their team of expert electricians provides tailored solutions to meet the unique needs of each and every one of their customers. Call them for 24/7 electrical help in Port St. Lucie today!

It's May Which Means It's Electrical Safety Month!

Different Ways To Practice Electrical Safety This Month and Always!

Electricity has come to be one of the standard systems inside every modern home. At the beginning of its time, people had electricity installed into their homes but were still too afraid to use it, so they would still rely on candles! Today, society has grown so accustomed to it that it’s easier to forget just how dangerous electrical systems can be. That’s why there is an entire month dedicated to electrical safety! It is crucial that homeowners are especially aware of how to maintain an electrically safe home in today’s world. There are different devices and protection that can be installed into the home. Homeowners should also be aware of several warning signs that could spell out danger. 

The Different Electrical Safety Devices 

There are four standard electrical safety devices that should be installed in every home today. 

These four devices include: 

  • Circuit Breakers
  • Fuses
  • Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI)
  • Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCI)

All of these devices work in different areas of the home to prevent an electrical overload. Overload can happen in the event of a power outage or if too many things are plugged in at once. If it weren’t for electrical safety devices such as these, homeowners would have to be ten times more cautious and aware of what electronics they use, how many they use at once, and even when a storm is expected! 

Common Warning Signs of An Overloaded Electrical System

overloadedThe main warning sign that an electrical system is overloaded is when a fuse pops. This is the universal sign that the system is overloaded with too many electronics plugged in at once and pulling too much energy from the electrical panel. That said, there are other signs as well. 

Common warning signs of an overloaded electrical system include: 

  • Fuses and circuit breakers that are tripped often
  • Flickering or dimming lights
  • Crackling or buzzing receptacles 
  • The wall is hot around the receptacles
  • A burning smell coming from the receptacles

Another common sign is when homeowners turn off an appliance or light switch and feel a mild shock. 

Information On Surge Protection and Why it’s Important

surge

Another critical electrical safety tip is to have surge protectors in the home. Surge protectors allow homeowners to plug in multiple things at once without overloading a receptacle or the system itself. They work by alternating the current circuits to prevent voltage spikes that cause problems. 

The main benefit of surge protectors and why they are so important is because they protect devices from surprise peaks in electricity. These power surges can damage devices and appliances, but with a surge protector, this doesn’t happen.  

Elite Electric & Air Keeps Their Customers Safe

When it comes to electricity, there is no time to mess around. The Port St. Lucie electrical professionals at Elite Electric & Air work 24/7 to provide excellent, efficient, and safe service for their customers. They’ve been in the industry for more than 30 years, so homeowners can trust that they will get the job done right no matter what. It’s time to call today!

Electrical Panel Repair

When Does Your Electrical Panel Need Repair?

Signs of a Damaged Electrical Panel

Every home is equipped with an electrical panel. Just like your plumbing, it’s an essential part of your house and, without it, your home would not be able to function. The electrical panel serves to route all electricity flowing to your home safely to the various devices that are connected to the electrical grid, including your washer and dryer, lights, and HVAC.

If your electrical panel stops functioning properly, you are not only at risk for appliances malfunctioning, but you could be at risk of starting a fire, as well. The following tips will help you spot when it’s time to repair your electrical panel.

Old Electrical Panels Are a Risk

As with any part of your home, the electrical panel has a lifespan. Most can function anywhere from twenty-five to forty years. After that point, they’ll start showing signs of wear and tear, and their age will get the best of them. Once they get past the forty-year mark, they’ll need replacing entirely to maintain maximum safety for your home and those who live with you.

old panelWhat are the signs that your panel is getting old?
  • Switches are too loose or too tight when flipped.
  • The breaker trips unaccountably.
  • There are visible signs of rust.

If any of these signs are present, it’s important to have a professional electrician examine your panel for needed repairs or replacement. Any of the above issues can cause significant problems and should not be left unrepaired.

Don’t Ignore a Burning Smell

A serious sign that your electric panel needs to be inspected and likely replaced is if you ever experience a burning smell coming from the unit. Burning smells coming from your unit are typically due to wires shorting out. When wires begin to short out, they not only cause your appliances and lighting to stop working properly, but they pose a significant hazard.

burning smell

When wires short out, they are burning themselves and can easily start a fire within the walls of your home. Once you have a fire in your walls, it can be too late to save your home from significant damage.

If you smell any burning, shut off the electrical panel immediately and call an electrical technician to inspect your unit. Short-circuiting wires always result in needing to be replaced before the electricity can be turned back on.

Flickering or Dimming Lights Could Indicate Panel Issues

light bulbsIf you’ve ever experienced a flickering or dimming lightbulb, you might have thought it was the lightbulb itself that was going out. But if you changed your bulb and you still had it happen, then it’s not the lightbulb that is your problem, but the electric panel.

When the panel starts to wear out or wires become damaged, they aren’t able to conduct electricity as well as they used to. The reason why you have ebbing lights is that the electricity is not flowing consistently to your appliance.

When you experience this and you’ve determined that it’s not the lightbulb, it’s vital to call a professional electrician so the problem can get fixed. Not only will you save money by not replacing endless lightbulbs, but you can also save yourself from a potentially hazardous situation if your panel stops working properly altogether.

Professional, Dependable Electricians

Elite Electric & Air has provided HVAC and electrical services in Port St Lucie, FL, for over thirty years. They offer 24/7 emergency services, 100% satisfaction guarantee, on-time arrivals, and upfront pricing. You’ll receive personalized attention, professional solutions, and a job done right the first time.