Double Tapped Breakers or Lugs – are they safe or a fire hazard?

I have been getting a lot of calls about double tapped breakers  –  This means that two wires (conductors) are connected to one breaker on the same circuit breaker.

Why is this bad? – Most Breakers are not designed or rated for 2 conductors. One of the biggest dangers is the possibility of a loose connection they have been tested for the described rating on the breaker them selves. Anything beyond that may not be safe and may cause a bad connection which in most cases cause damage and in the wrong situation a fire.

This then leads to heat damage which can cause damage to other breakers and or the bussing in the panel

With two wires connected to the same breaker, the  breaker could overheat. If the two wires are not attached correctly, this could result in arcing and/or a fire.

How can you check to make sure you don’t have any double tapped breakers? –  Have a licensed electrician inspect your panel.

Disclaimer:   This is an informative blog only, as always – contact a local licensed electrician to help you with all your electrical needs

 

 

Things to Consider – Part 1

This is a 5 part Series covering the procedure for considering a rewire of an older home and the steps we take to rewire a home. We have also answered a few common questions

Have you ever thought about how much it would cost to rewire a house? Or maybe the steps you would have to take? What about the cost of an upgraded electrical panel and the steps for that? If you answered yes, then pay close attention because I am going to go through the steps and process to these questions to help you get a better understanding.

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  • Before you get to deep into our process on what a home needs for a rewire. Lets talk about the options. First we can usually break this up into sections for you. We would start by 1st (permitting) then Upgrading the meter base. 2nd we would then replace the feeders from the meter to the Electrical power panel. 3rd we would replace the Main Electrical panel with all new breakers. Then after this work we would start on the branch circuits these are for the outlets, switches lights etc throughout the home. This is usually the process if not we run into road blocks like not having enough breakers or a multitude of other things get in our way. so we think of the meter base, main feeders and the panel Like being the heart of your home then the circuits are the arteries running everything out to where the energy is used.

Stay tuned for the next part of this 5 part series!

Disclaimer:  This is meant as an information blog only, as always please contact a license and insured electrical contractor to work on your home or business.

Safety; Keeping it clean and clear

Lets talk safety again, can you see a problem in these photos?

IMG_0389 IMG_0388The problem is there is no clearance for the Electricians to work on the meter.   What happens if the meter starts sparking?  Oh my goodness, then you have your AC unit on fire also!  Plus the heat from the AC unit going can heat up the meter.   Electricians need room to work.  There is actually code on this, from the NEC Code Book –  “For equipment serving between 120 volts and 250 volts, the regulations require a minimum of three feet of clearance. The width of the working space in front shall be 30 inches minimum or width of the equipment. The OSHA standard (29 CFR1910.305 (d)) requires a dead front on electrical panel boards.”

imagesThere are many times Electricians have to wade through boxes or storage containers or outside equipment such as wheelbarrows, lawn mowers, hoses, etc to get to the panel/meter or box they are working on, which causes an unsafe environment for them.  Also, again, if there is sparking coming from the panel or meter or electrical box and it sparks and hits a cardboard box in your storage area, then you have bigger problems then a light or outlet not working.

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So, lets keep it clean for your safety and ours!

 

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Disclaimer:  this is an information blog, not meant as a how to, please always call your local insured and licensed electrical contractor to work on your electrical!

 

Doorbell Cameras/Security

Lets talk Doorbell Cameras and Security!

Unknown-4We want our homes and families safe!  We want to protect our belongings!  We want to feel safe in our own home!   We want our loved ones to be safe when we are not home!

( YES, We install door bell cameras )

There are so many different options out there

Costco has some

Walmart has some

Home Depot  has some

Ebay  

Amazon

There are a ton  of options on the web.

So, how do we know we get the best security system, or how to install it correctly?

Disclaimer – Always read the installation instructions and directions of each device they are all different and you need to understand there limitations and requirements.

 

Lets talk benefits first.  How many times have we seen on the news or  on UTube about the burglars caught on the security camera.  When they are in plain sight they deter the robbers, because they don’t want to be .  How about the porch bandits that steal your amazon or eBay delivery, these can deter the bandits or catch them in the act.

Video Camera  door bells help you know who is there at the door before you get to the door, some come with intercoms thats you can talk to the people at your some  you can link to your phone and check out who is at the door while you are in the basement or out back in your garden.

And of course, they increase your home value because of the safety reasons.

Yes, you can install the system yourself, but getting a professional to install your system can insure your quality of the system.  They can talk to you about different systems they have seen, different systems they have worked to problems others have had to help you get the best.  They are able to connect it to your electrical system, you could possibly get more cameras around the house, there are a lot of different options an electrician can help you with to get a better system.

 

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Disclaimer:  This post is an informational post not legal advice.  Always hire a licensed, qualified, insured electricians to work on your home.

 

 

Home Electrical Inspections

How many scary stories have you heard about someone buying a house and then finding out that their electrical system is completely shot and the new home owner now has thousands of dollars of work to do to get it all fixed.  Unknown-5

So coincidental, as I typed those first sentences I actually got a call from a lady that just signed on her house yesterday and her son got shocked today from a wire sticking out in the lawn and the snow was causing problems.  So, why are Home Electrical Inspections important?  We offer 2 types of Electrical Inspections, one, (for a limited time this month only) the Basic Inspection $39.00, where we go through the house , look at things and say everything looks ok, takes about 30 minutes, no report.  Then we have the Complete Inspection $300, up to 4500 sq ft house, where we take a few hours, pull out plugs, check wiring, thoroughly check the electrical in your home.  We have a written report we fill out and then we send you detailing things that need to be taken care of or things that you should consider in the near future.  Again, these are safety things, to keep your home and family safe, not frivolous fun things.

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Things we check:

Electrical panel  – breakers, grounding, clearance, and code.

Electrical Meter Main outside

Furnace and A/C Wiring

Attic – access and wiring

Basement/Crawlspace – access and wiring

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Every Bedroom and room – wiring and outlets

Garage   – wiring and outlets

Outside – outlets

These are all very important.  Like this morning, the kid got shocked from a wire touching the snow outside through the house when he plugged something in.  That sounds pretty dangerous to me!  Let stay safe!

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Disclaimer:   This post is meant as informational.  As always, please contact a licensed, qualified, insured electrician to work on your home or business.

Staying Safe on the Job

Did you know that . . . . . . to continue being licensed, in the State of Utah, Electricians have to take 8 hours continuing education every year – 16 every 2 years, and prove it to renew their licenses.  Handyman and unlicensed electricians, even ones that let their licenses lapse try to get away without doing the continuing education.  Who would you rather working on your electrical on your home or business.   NEC (National Electrical Code) Code Book, continually updates and changes electrical code, which is held to be the legal standard,  this is part of the 16 hours required every two years to renew their license.

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Did you know . . . . . . .safety equipment has to be checked and always pass inspection or it can not be used on a job site anymore.

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Did you know . . . . . . .Using outdated Electrical Equipment can cause danger to you or your house.

Did you know . . . . . . . working on live circuits can risk your life.  Coming into contact with live electricity can stop your heart and damage your lungs.

Did you know . . . . . . OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) also checks equipment and safety at big jobs.  Some of the things they want people to be aware of are:

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*Electrical hazards can cause burns, shocks and electrocution or death.

*Assume that all overhead wires are energized at deadly voltages. Never assume that a wire is safe to touch even if it is down or appears to be insulated.

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*Never touch a fallen overhead power line. Call the electric utility company to report fallen electrical lines immediately.
*Stay at least 10 feet away from overhead wires during cleanup and other activities. If working at heights or handling long objects, survey the area before starting work for the presence of overhead wires.
*If an overhead wire falls across your vehicle while you are driving, stay inside the vehicle and continue to drive away from the line. If the engine stalls, do not leave your vehicle. Warn people not to touch the vehicle or the wire. Call or ask someone to call the local electric utility company and emergency services.

*Never operate electrical equipment while you are standing in water.

*Never repair electrical cords or equipment unless qualified and authorized.

*Have a qualified electrician inspect electrical equipment that has gotten wet before energizing it.

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*If working in damp locations, inspect electric cords and equipment to ensure that they are in good condition and free of defects, and use a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI).

*Always use caution when working near electricity.

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Qualified Licensed and insured Electricians are becoming fewer and fewer with people constantly trying to save a buck here and there.  Always make sure your electrician is up to date on his licensing.   It may cost more than a handyman to do the work, but a bunch of the service calls our guys go on are fixing what another electrician did that wasn’t up to code or safe, so they ended up paying a second time to get it fixed.

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Give Sabin Electric a call  801358-5170!  We serve proudly throughout Utah and Salt Lake Counties.

 

Smoke Detectors

Smoke Detectors, they are extremely important life saving little nuisances.

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We had some neighbor boys over the other day and I was cooking and the smoke alarm starts ringing, so my kids all jump into well rehearsed action and start opening windows and fanning the smoke alarm.  I look at the boys and they are a little frightened standing by the door ready to escape. I said “don’t tell me you guys don’t use the smoke alarm as a dinner bell?”  They just smiled a little more frightened and then played outside the rest of the time.

But lets be serious, these have saved countless lives and could save countless more if people install them correctly and change the batteries 2 x a year.  What a pain, I know, but when it comes to protecting your families lives, is that really too much to ask?  There are so many different types and laws and preferences on smoke alarms.  My wife just learned that you are supposed to change the smoke detector out every 10 years.  

So what are the different types of smoke detectors?  There are heat detectors and smoke alarms.    Heat detectors  have a lower false alarm rate but they are slower than smoke alarms at detecting fires.  Smoke alarms have different choices also.

So, does it matter where my detectors are and if they are connected to each other.  Absolutely!  many laws require the 120 volt interconnected alarms with the battery back up in case of power outage.   It is especially important for the interconnected in town homes or apartment buildings, and condos, large buildings and shopping strips.

What about Carbon Monoxide/smoke alarms?unknown-1

Definitely!   Every home with at least one fuel-burning appliance/heater, attached garage or fireplace should have a carbon monoxide alarm.  If the home has only one carbon monoxide alarm, it should be in the main bedroom or hallway outside of the sleeping areas.  An alarm should be on every level of the home and in sleeping areas.  Make sure nothing is covering or obstructing the alarm. Test the carbon monoxide alarm once a week by pressing the test/reset button.  Remember, it may be a nuisance but it is for protecting your family.

Well, this has been fun, I am off to check my carbon monoxide alarm!

Disclaimer:   Remember, always call a licensed insured electrical contractor to work on your electrical.  Always check with local and state laws before you do any work.

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Generators – Do I Need one?

Generators are a very important part of our day to day world, but people don’t often think about them unless they are in need for them.   A generator is a device that converts mechanical energy to electrical energy for use in an external circuit.   Generators come in all shapes and sizes and horsepower.

These smaller ones would be used for homes and construction.

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These larger ones are for Hospitals and Businesses.

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Here are a few uses of generators:

Providing Emergency Backup power for Hospitals

Hospitals use and need a lot of power for obvious reasons. They use power to provide light, for air filtration, and for power machines that keep their patients alive. So if the power grid fails, they need a way to keep the most important machines working.  Generators kick on or can be started when the power goes out.  The generators power the minimum level of power needed to keep people alive and so Doctors and Nurses are able to take care of their patients still.

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Powering Cabins and Remote Buildings

We all love cabins and some of us wish we owned one out in the mountains.  Gas or diesel generators are used to power the cabin while it is being used.  It is nice to be able to see at night in the cabin to take care of children or whatever is going on.  Cooking on a stove is nice, warm water for showering and washing dishes, all from the generator.

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Powering Construction Sites

Some large construction sites use generators for the construction workers to charge their equipment, to use their equipment, to have lights to see.  Generators make it possible for the construction workers to get their work done also.

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Providing Backup Power for Nuclear Power Plants
Nuclear Power Plants need back up generators for safety.  If there is a natural disaster, and power fails, then the generators make it so the facility is safe and able to shut down correctly instead of caring a nuclear disaster.

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Providing Backup Energy for Emergencies

So, we all know how many natural disasters are going on around us, storms, earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes, floods, fire, and power lines being hit and down for days/weeks.  A back up generator at your home will be able to keep your refrigerator running, any people on oxygen or needing breathing treatments, lights on for little ones that are afraid, how nice and comforting it would be during a natural disaster to know that your family is safe and your food is safe and that you will be able to stay warm while all the craziness goes on outside of your home.

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So, with this information, you need to figure out if you are able and if you want/need to get one and have it connected to your home or cabin.  Generators come in all sizes, some are diesel and some are gas.  You will need to make sure that your generator has enough power and stock pile of fuel to keep you refrigerator and freezer and heater going during a natural disaster.  Call a licensed certified Electrician and have them help you make sure that you get the right one for your home and that it is connected correctly to your home to be able to protect your home.   Aaron Sabin has a lot of experience in commercial and residential generators.  Give him a call  8013585170

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We service all of Utah County and Salt Lake County.

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