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Homeowner Maintenance & Safety Tips

Although we're always happy to come to your home for electrical installations, upgrades, troubleshooting and maintenance, there are some simple tasks that you as a homeowner can complete which will both increase the longevity of your electrical system and raise a flag to some potential safety issues. This will be a quick read, but could make a big difference in your home.

  1. Testing GFCIs monthly. GFCI is an acronym that stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. Your GFCI outlets look different from your regular outlets in that they have both a "RESET" and a "TEST" button on them.

Leviton GFCI

A GFCI can help to prevent electrocution. If a person's body starts to receive a shock, the GFCI senses this and cuts off the power before he/she can be injured. GFCIs are generally installed where electrical circuits may accidentally come into contact with water. There are two ways to exercise this first safety tip. If you have a GFCI outlet, press the "TEST" button on the GFCI, and then press the "RESET" button after to make sure it still functions. You'll know it's functioning correctly when the green light comes on after you press the "TEST" button, and when the "RESET" light comes on after you reset it. (some GFCIs are not equipped with Reset lights) If the buttons are not operative, you will want to have your GFCI outlet replaced.

The second way to exercise this: If you do not have any outlets that are GFCIs, you will likely have at least one, but perhaps multiple "GFI breakers" in your electrical panel. (If you have neither GFCI outlets, nor GFI breakers, you will want to call us to install protection where required). For this test, you will press the "TEST" button on the breaker, which will kick the breaker all of the way into the "off" or "tripped" position. Then, you will reset your breaker into the "on" position to restore power. This will tell you that your GFI breaker is operating properly. You can perform this same test on any ARC fault breakers you may have.

We recommend performing this test monthly.

2. Exercising Standard Breakers. Also in your electrical panel are all of your standard breakers. We recommend manually turning each breaker (one at a time) to the "off position", and then back to the "on" position to restore power, and doing this motion a couple of times to make sure the contacts are nice and solid. You'll know a breaker needs to be attended to if it does not give a solid "click" when you reset it. We recommend doing this yearly.

3. Testing Fire Alarms. Because they are infrequently used, fire alarms are an often forgotten, yet absolutely essential part of your home's safety. You should test your fire alarms monthly.

4. Cleaning Exhaust Fans. Performing this maintenance helps extend the life of exhaust fans, improves the operation of them, reduces the risk of rusting due to build up, and reduces the risk of airborne allergens. We recommend doing this semi-annually. Make sure the circuit breaker for the exhaust fan(s) is turned off, then use a soft cloth and some warm soapy water. Be sure to let the fan dry thoroughly.

5. Reverse Direction of Ceiling Fans. Although this may seem silly, reversing the direction of your ceiling fans in regards to what season it is can have an impact on your energy bill as well as the functionality of your fans. To keep cool in the summer, your fan blades should spin counterclockwise, and in the winter the blades should spin clockwise. To reverse/change the direction of your ceiling fan blades, you can simply use the directional switch located on the motors of most ceiling fans.

Thank you for reading and we hope you enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done!

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