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8 steps to maintain safety when wiring your house

When installing any type of wire or wiring system, there is always a risk involved.  Hurting yourself, someone else or loss of property if the wires are not properly installed are some of the dangers involved.

There are however proactive measures that can be taken when you are working with or installing wires.

1. Check codes and permits

Check out local codes and pull permits as they set standards for everything from how many outlets you’ll put in each room to what kind of wire you’ll be using.

2. Watch out for existing infrastructure

Part of avoiding damage is making sure nobody punches holes in plumbing or existing wiring. Live by the words “Ask twice, drill once” to be on the safer side

3. Clean up and restoration

If dealing with a damage done by rewiring, make cleanup and restoration as early as possible.

4. Aim for “home runs” for key areas and appliances

These are when a wire runs directly from a circuit breaker to an outlet, with no other devices on that breaker, thus reducing loads on the power system and keep popped breakers to a minimum, creating a balanced system.

5. Make sure the power is off

Make sure the power is always off before starting any electrical work and if possible make sure everyone in the area knows it is turned off for a reason. It may seem logical but it’s critical for a safe work environment

6. Wear safety glasses and protective clothing

Covering your eyes is a must when dealing with electricity to avoid sparks or other debris to get in your eyes.

7. Have the right tools on hand

Having the right tools for a wire installation is important. Some tools include: a voltage tester, wire cutters, wire and cable strippers, needle nose pliers, continuity tester, and others.

8. Check with your electrician

It is best to have a trusted, professional electrician do any electrical project. But if you are handling it yourself, follow all safety precautions from the beginning to the end of a project to help ensure the safety of you, your neighbors and your property. It will also guarantee the longevity.

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How to Choose the right electrical wire?

Whenever you shop for electrical wire, you will see that there are numbers of types and sizes from which you have to choose from. So different types of wire are made for different uses, but with any of these wire types knowing the right wire sizes or gauge, is key to making the right choices. Wire gauge refers to the physical size of the wire, rated with numerical designation that runs opposite to the diameter of the conductors . In other words, the smaller the wire gauge number, the larger the wire diameter.

Common sizes include 1.00 sq. mm, 1.50 sq. mm, 2.50 sq. mm, 4.00 sq. mm. The wire size shows how much current can safely pass through the wire. For standard non-metallic(NM) cable, these amperage capacities are

  • 0.50 sq. mm : 4 amps
  • 0.75 sq. mm : 8 amps
  • 1.00 sq. mm : 12 amps
  • 1.50 sq. mm : 16 amps
  • 2.50 sq. mm : 22 amps
  • 4.00 sq. mm : 29 amps

These ratings are for standard copper NM sheathed cable, but there are instances where these amperage ratings vary. Check all the wires and rates here

Stranded vs. Solid Wire

One more thing to keep in mind is to select the style of wire that best fits your needs. Some wire is stranded, while other wire consists of a solid copper conductor. In installations using metal conduit, the solid wire doesn’t always pull as easily if the conduit has a large number of bends. But solid wire is usually easier to secure under screw terminals, such as those found on standard switches and receptacles.

Why wire gauge is important?

Incase of overloading wire and overheating them, circuit breakers or fuses gives good protection but they are not much reliable and not  a foolproof protection. Both circuit breakers and fuse are designed to sense current loads to “trip” or “blow” before the wires can overheat up to the danger point.

There is the potential for danger anytime a device or appliance tries to draw more power on a circuit than the wire gauge is rated for. For example, plugging a heater rated for 22 amps into a 16-amp circuit wired with 1.50 sq. mm wire poses a distinct danger.

Differently it will be very safe by plugging appliances with moderate electric load into circuit with heavier gauge and a higher amperage rating. So, for example, running a laptop computer with a very small amperage demand on a 22-amp circuit wired with 2.50 sq. mm wire is perfectly fine.

Wire UseRated Amp capacityWire Gauge
Low-voltage lighting and lamp cords12 amps1.00 sq. mm
Light fixtures, lamps, lighting circuits16 amps1.50 sq. mm
Kitchen, bathroom, and outdoor receptacles (outlets);120-volt air conditioners22 amps2.50 sq. mm
Electric clothes dryers, 240-volt window air conditioners,electric water heaters29 amps4.00 sq. mm
Cooktops and ranges37-51 amps6 & 10 sq. mm
Electric furnaces, large electric heaters68 amps16.00 sq. mm

You can find your best wire here: just click here.

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When does an Electric Short Circuit Occur

When does an Electric Short Circuit Occur

Short Circuit Meaning

As the name implies, a short circuit is a condition where electrical flow completes its circuit journey via a shorter distance than is present in the established wiring. By nature, electricity seeks to return to the ground, and in a properly functioning circuit, this means that the current flow through the established wiring circuit, back to the service panel, and onward back through the utility wires. However, if the connections within the wiring loosen or break, electrical current may “leak” and flow into other materials. It this condition, the current instantly seeks to flow back to the ground by a shorter pathway. That pathway may very well be through flammable materials or even through a human being, which is why a short circuit presents the danger of fire or lethal shock.

The reason this happens is that these other materials offer a pathway of lesser resistance that is present in the copper wiring of a circuit. For example, in a light switch with faulty wiring or a loose wire connection, if the bare copper hot wire touches the metal electrical box or a metal faceplate on the switch, the current will leap toward whatever path of least resistance exists—which could well be through the finger, hand, and body of whoever touches the switch.

Causes of Short Circuits

Broken Circuit wire insulation

The wire which is old or damaged insulation will allow neutral and hot wires to touch, which will lead to the main cause of short circuit. With the passage of time nail and screw can puncture and can cause wire casings to deteriorate and allow short circuits. Animals like mice, rats, squirrels chew on circuit wiring, then inner wire conductors can be exposed to cause short circuits.

Loose wire connections

Any type of attachments can loosen, which will sometimes allow both neutral and live wires to touch. Fixing broken wire connections is difficult and will be best handled by a good electrician.

Broken or loose appliance wiring

Whenever any appliances are plugged into an outlet, then that wiring becomes an extension of the circuit, and if there is any problem in the wiring then it will become circuit problems. Old or broken appliances can develop inner short circuits over time. Short circuits in appliances can occur in the plugs, in the power cords or inside the device itself. It’s best to have a technician look at shorts in larger appliances such as ovens and dishwashers. Smaller appliances such as lamps often can be rewired yourself.

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May Is National Electrical Safety Month.

Electrical hazards in the workplace can cause serious injuries and fatalities if workers and employers do not take appropriate safety precautions. To raise awareness of National Electrical Safety Month, which takes place in May, the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) created a campaign that educates audiences about how to prevent injuries, fatalities, and property loss associated with electrical accidents, including fires. The campaign offers a wide range of resources, including fact sheets, tools to help promote electrical safety, and media outreach materials that will help employers establish an effective electrical safety awareness campaign in the workplace.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the following are examples of injuries that electrical workers are exposed to:

Electrical shock injuries: These injuries are caused by direct contact to an electrical wire or equipment and require immediate medical attention to avoid permanent damage.
Burn injuries: Electrical burns from direct contact with currents, or thermal burns from arc flashes or blasts are very serious. Arc flashes can cause deadly burns within seconds.
Fall injuries: When working from ladders or in other high locations, workers can fall from heights. In addition, they can be exposed to electrical currents from live wires.
Death by electrical shock: If a worker is exposed to too much current for a prolonged period, it can have fatal consequences.
Electrical Safety Tips for the Workplace
Electrical hazards can cause a range of serious safety issues, including fires, property loss, injuries, and fatalities. Fortunately, many of these issues can be avoided by taking simple safety precautions, including the following:

Indoor Safety Tips
Replace all electric cords that are damaged, frayed, or cracking. Avoid overloading electrical outlets, as this is a fire hazard.
Extensions cords should only be used on a temporary basis, and not for permanent household wiring.
Avoid running wires under carpets or rugs. Electrical cords should not be nailed to walls or floors.
Never place electrical appliances or tools near water. If an appliance has become wet, turn off the power breaker, then unplug the appliance and remove it from the water.
If children are in the vicinity, use outlet covers. Never insert anything into an electrical outlet, other than an electrical plug.
If you notice any flickering lights, sparks, or outlets that do not work, contact a licensed electrical contractor to ensure that the system is functioning properly.
Outdoor Safety Tips
Downed power lines are extremely dangerous. Never touch them or try to move them. Call 911 or a local utility company immediately and let them know that power lines are down.
When using a ladder or working on an elevated area, watch for overhead power lines.
Some utility lines are underground, so be sure to check the area for utility lines, pipes, or cables before digging or excavating in the area.
Do not plant trees in the vicinity of power lines or utility equipment.

Credit: lawyers.com

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Electrical Fires & Safety

A weekly article that will offer information concerning the Kilgore Fire Department and provide safety tips for home and family.

When we think about electricity, we think about electric current. Electric current is the power running along wires in our home and generates heat as it travels. The electrical current is like water running through a hose. The size of the cord can carry only so much electricity before it starts to overheat. The insulation on home wiring, fuses, and other parts of the electrical system are all designed to carry a certain amount of electricity safely. The more electricity you draw along a cord, the more quickly it heats up. For instance, an appliance like a space heater can draw a lot of current and needs to be plugged in with a properly designed cord.

Extension cords

The plugs on cords are the places where heat builds up and the more cords you connect together, the more trouble spots you have. The connection between an extension cord and an appliance cord does not have the same safety features as those that are built into a wall socket. That is why extension cords are for temporary use only.

Maintenance

Electrical wiring needs maintenance and inspections. Have your electrical system examined by a licensed electrician every 10 years, All electrical work should be done by a licensed electrician who obtains a permit when required. The permit process protects homeowners by requiring that an inspector check that the work is done correctly.

Arc-fault circuit interruptor

The AF-CI is a new device designed to actually reduce the likelihood of fires. It responds to arcing and sparking within a circuit before the circuit breaker or fuse trips. The AFCI breaker trips to help prevent the fire from occurring in the first place. The AFCI is installed at the electrical panel. AFCIs are mostly found in newly built homes, but can easily be installed in older homes equipped with circuit breakers.

Ground fault circuit interrupter

Installing GFCI receptacles can reduce deaths from electrical shock in and around the home by two-thirds. GFCIs should be installed by a qualified electrician in places near water such as kitchen counters, bathrooms and other areas subject to moisture, including outdoors.

Next week will be another article on electrical safety.

Stay S.A.F.F.E.,

credit: kilgore news herald

Dignity Cables

Rural/Metro Fire: Electrical safety in the home tips

Electrical fires are responsible for over 60 percent of accidental residential fires, according to Rural/Metro Fire Department.

Most of these malfunctions are due to improper use of extension cords and power strips.

Rural Metro wants to remind the community to remember the following safety tips when using electrical equipment:

  1. Remember that extension cords are for temporary use only, such as using a shop Vac for your car or using a string trimmer for your yard. Never use an extension cord for long term use such as a refrigerator.
  2. Never plug an extension cord into a power strip. This can overheat and cause a fire, especially when used with high power loads.
  3. Power strips can only be used for low power such as computers or AV equipment. Never use a power strip for high power loads such as space heaters, microwaves, coffee pots, or refrigerators. This can cause a serious fire in your home or office.
  4. Never run extension cords through ceilings, or staple to walls. Again, they are for temporary use.
  5. Finally, never run any cord under a rug. The cords can fray, get pinched and prevents the cord from releasing heat and could lead to a fire.

credit: kvoa.com

Dignity Cables

Electrical Safety Tips

  • Work with experienced Electrician: We advise you to work with a competent, experienced registered electrician to update any home wiring and to avoid going down the DIY(Do it Yourself) route for this task. Because incomplete knowledge is a dangerous thing.
  • Install additional outlets so that you end up relying on using multiple extension cords: If you plan on adding new rooms to your house or adding more appliances to existing rooms, make sure to get your electrician to install additional outlets to ensure that you won’t end up relying on using multiple extension cords for all your electrical needs.
  • Know appliance safety updates: If you have bought new appliances or electrical goods for your home makeover, make sure you register them so that you will be the first to know of any product recalls or safety updates.
  • Do not overload any sockets: Carefully plan out the layout of your appliances with the aim in mind to not overload any sockets. Make sure you are aware of the limits of your power outlets are and stay within them.
  • Work after researching thoroughly: Don’t undertake any DIY(Do it yourself) electrical work without researching thoroughly if it’s an installation that is permitted for homeowners to undertake.

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Fire crews issue reminder to ensure your holiday plans don’t go up in smoke.

‘Tis the season when people are using more electricity, likely to power up their favourite holiday decorations and to keep warm.

As more of us begin stringing those lights and putting up the Christmas tree, fire crews are urging you to use caution to make sure you have a safe holiday season.

“Around electrical safety, firstly make sure that you’re using only extension cords that are rated for their use, so indoor or outdoor-specific cords that are certified by ULC and that are large enough to hand the current load that you’re putting on them,” Vancouver Fire Captain Jonathan Gormick explains.

He recommends looking over the cords your currently have to make sure they’re up to snuff, and says to replace any that seem old or damaged.

Also, never route cords under carpets or furniture, no matter how much of an eye sore they may be.

“When you’re decorating and you want your living room or wherever your decorations are set up to look nice, it might seem convenient to tuck the extension cord away, what’s the worst that could happen? But there is a lot of bad things that can happen and it doesn’t take much for that insulation to get damaged and the possibility of that to short out.”

When it comes to space heaters, never leave them unattended, and Gormick says to keep them away from anything flammable, like curtains or other types of fabric.

“If people are still using live Christmas trees… they need to be watered daily and the water supply at their base needs to be kept full,”. “Those trees can dry out quickly and become extremely flammable when they’re dry.”

Of course, it’s also the time of year when many are probably cooking a lot of food for a lot of people.

He says to never leave cooking unattended, and make sure your home is equipped with working smoke alarms and fire extinguishers.

Increase in call volume

People tend to spend more time at home over the holiday season. When you factor that into the increased hazards associated with an uptick in electrical use, cooking, and other elements, Gormick says it’s not unusual to see an increase in call volume — especially in residential areas.

“Most of the calls we go to during the holiday season involve the things we mentioned,” he says.

However, crews aren’t just responding to reports of fires.

“It can also be a stressful time of year so we attend medical calls because family’s over, people are undergoing stress, people are over consuming, and of course then they get distracted when they’re cooking and we do see an uptick in kitchen fires this time of year.”

Gormick says it’s rare to see issues with outdoor lights, but adds people still need to be vigilant.

“It doesn’t take much to be safe.”

If you need more information about home safety, or if you’re concerned about your smoke alarms, you can reach out to your local fire department.

Article credit NEWS1130

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Practice safety with your holiday lights.

It’s the time of year when homes are filled with fun, decorative lights – but it’s also a dangerous time when fire hazards can threaten the holiday cheer. As the Valley’s largest electric provider, Salt River Project is encouraging customers to stay safe this holiday season as they plug in decorative lights, surge protectors and extension cords.

Each year, hundreds of homes are damaged or destroyed by fires that start with overloaded circuits, Christmas trees or holiday lights, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

“We can’t stress enough the importance of checking all of holiday lights and power cords before plugging in to make sure they are in proper, working condition. The desert heat can do a lot of damage to these stored items throughout the year,” said Regina Lane-Haycock, with SRP Safety Connection.

SRP offers free materials to learn more about electric safety. Visit srpnet.com/safety to request materials or for more tips.

Here are some important safety tips to remember:

*Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, loose connections or frayed or bare wires. Discard all damaged cords.

*Don’t overload outlets or extension cords.

*Plug holiday lights and displays into GFCI protected outlets to prevent serious electric shock.

*Use only indoor and outdoor lights that have been tested for safety and are certified with the Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL) label.

*To hook up outdoor lighting, use a three-prong grounded extension cord with the UL label.

*Always unplug tree lights and decorative outdoor lighting before leaving the house or going to bed.

*Indoor and outdoor automatic lighting timers can be used to ensure that lights are not left on by mistake.

*Check that cords are not exposed to water due to sprinklers or irrigation.

*Keep electric cords out of high-traffic areas.