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4 Reasons to Upgrade Your Outlets

Let’s be honest, it’s highly likely that the electrical outlets in your home are the same ones that came with the house when you purchased it. This is the case for most homeowners. The outlets on our homes aren’t given much thought at all – unless you are trying to plug something in. However, maybe it’s time to give our electrical outlets an extra thought or two. Keep your home in mind while we give you the four reasons to upgrade your electrical outlets.


Old Age

As we mentioned previously, it is highly likely that the electrical outlets in your home have been there since the house was built. No matter the age of your outlets, there are a few signs that indicate it might be time for an electrical upgrade.

  • Loose plugs
    • Have you ever plugged something into an outlet and it falls halfway or all the way out? This is a sign of an old outlet.
  • Cracked Plates
    • Your cracked plates have been collecting dust and debris over time, posing a major fire hazard.
  • Ungrounded outlets
    • A major sign of old age is ungrounded or 2-prong outlets.


Smart Outlets

Out with the old and in with the new. Nowadays we have a “smart” version of everything. So why not have smart outlets, too? Smart outlets are not only going to be energy efficient, but they will be equipped with a USB port, as well. Almost all of today’s technology charges through a USB cable. Why not install smart outlets in your home so you never have to worry about a USB adapter again?



Do you feel like the outlets in your home are in the most inconvenient locations? One of the best parts about installing new outlets is that your electrician can move and add outlets to your liking.


Safety and Efficiency

One of the most important reasons to upgrade your outlets is for safety and energy efficiency. As we mentioned earlier, loose outlets can be a sign of old age and are also very inefficient. While your plug is only half plugged in, you are wasting energy and posing a great risk of electrocution. Additionally, cracked or painted plates are fire hazards. Maintain a safe and efficient home, and upgrade your electrical outlets.


Call Gulf Coast Electric to have a licensed professional upgrade your outlets today!



Why You Should Call an Electrician to Install a New Thermostat

Installing a new thermostat in your home sounds like no big deal. If they sell them on shelves at Lowe’s and Home Depot, they have to be easy to install, right? Wrong. You see, thermostats are more than just cubes of plastic mounted up on your wall. They are the brains of your HVAC unit. They coordinate the airflow through your entire home and help keep the system running as efficiently as possible (saving you money). Although we know you are handy and YouTube is always helpful in teaching us a thing or two, here are a few reasons you should call out an electrician when it comes to installing a new thermostat.



When it comes to replacing your existing thermostat, you can’t just pick any old thermostat off the shelf and cross your fingers it will work. A thermostat and HVAC system must be compatible. For example, most of the new smart thermostats on the market today are only compatible with low-voltage HVAC systems. Low-voltage systems are also known as “centralized” systems. However, everyone’s home is different. Hiring an electrician to double check the compatibility of your thermostat to your HVAC system will only save you time and money in the long run.


Lots of Wires

Who knows wires better than electricians? There is a lot of wiring involved in replacing thermostats. Whether it’s cutting, stripping or rerouting, not having confident knowledge in what you’re doing is an electrical safety hazard. In fact, it is possible, depending on the age of your old one, that the new thermostat will require additional wires. Play it safe, and call out a professional.


Pros do More

Some of you may be asking, “Why would I call a professional if the installation instructions are right here on the box?” Hiring a professional is ensuring that the job is done right. Also, the electrician will do more than just install the new thermostat, move it to a new location, and/or add new wiring. They will likely service your HVAC system and check on any other electrical issues throughout the home.


Save yourself the headache and call out an electrician from Gulf Coast Electric today!



4 Electrical Repairs You Shouldn’t Do Yourself

We all love a good do it yourself (DIY) project. DIYs are great for saving some money here and there and letting your creative juices flow. However, nine times out of 10, the project or repair ends up taking you 1000% times longer to complete than your expectations. Furthermore, there are some home projects and repairs that require professional expertise. Whether they are complex and need a lot of time and detail or just outright dangerous, many electrical repairs should not be on your list of DIY tasks. Here are four electrical projects you shouldn’t do yourself.


Any wiring with the power on


Although you might see a YouTube video of experienced electricians working with hot wires, this by no means makes it is safe for you to do the same. Electricians have had years of training and experience to work with hot wires with confidence.


Repair appliances


As long as it is unplugged, an appliance can’t electrocute me, right? Wrong. Most large appliances have a device in them called a capacitor to help boost the startup. Although your appliance is unplugged, there is still an electrical charge in the capacitor, and touching that with any metal object while trying to fix it won’t end well.


Stay away from the service lugs


This one is simple – if you’ve never heard of service lugs and don’t know what they do, then you shouldn’t be doing any kind of repair in your breaker box.


Mess with the weatherhead


A weatherhead is normally a large metal pole that connects your house to the electrical service lines out front. This metal pole has 200 amps of electricity going through it. Therefore, don’t be inclined to fix a few loose bolts and screws. This is a job for a professional.


If you are in need of any of these repairs, PLEASE contact the professionals at Gulf Coast Electric or another professional electrical repair company.

4 Reasons for High Electric Bills

Budgeting your income each month for various expenses is complicated enough without the added stress of unpredictable, unusually high electric bills. You think you’re doing everything you can to save money with energy savings. So what could still be causing your bill to go up? Keep reading to find out a few reasons you might not have thought of that are costing you extra and tips to help.

1. You’re leaving devices plugged in while they aren’t being used.

One myth about energy savings is appliances that are off don’t affect the cost of your bill. Devices such as coffee makers and toaster ovens may be turned off after you finish using them but are still plugged in. They’re consuming what is known as ‘vampire power,’ a leading cause of high electric bills. Gaming systems that go into standby mode also aren’t entirely off and are a waste energy and money. Use a power strip for appliances that don’t need to be plugged in all the time, and flip the switch on the strip to save money instead of unplugging your devices.

2. You’re not strategically using your ceiling lights and fans.

Ceiling lights used to light up entire areas or rooms are energy inefficient and use more electrical power than you may think. Try using lamps as a less wasteful way to provide concentrated light sources throughout your home. In addition, ceiling fans are only useful when someone is in the room. Ceiling fans circulate air and make it feel cooler – they don’t drop the air temperature. So remember to turn off the lights and the fan when leaving a room.

3. You’re overusing the appliances in your home that are the most power-hungry.

Appliances that consume the most energy in your home include dishwashers, refrigerators, washers, and dryers. Keep your electric bill low by ensuring you’re maximizing the efficiency of these machines. This means not running the dishwasher until it’s full and not refreshing the dryer numerous times. If possible, wash your dishes and clothes with cold or warm water and dry on a low-heat setting.

4. You’re not efficiently using your A/C and heating.

If it’s a beautiful day outside and the air feels amazing – there’s no reason you shouldn’t crack the door or open a few windows so Mother Nature can work as your AC. In the winter, open your blinds during the day to use sunlight as a natural source of heat and close them at night to use them as insulation for your home.

Need help with your home’s electrical? Contact the professionals at Gulf Coast Electric today.

Top Interior Lighting Trends

Have you ever realized that each home has its own personality? From the darkest of reds to the most vivid of whites, a house is a home to everyone in its own unique way. Another way to add to your home’s character is through lighting. Interior lighting can create a perfect-for-you atmosphere just in time for the new year. Let’s take a look at the top interior lighting trends going on right now.

Modern industrial. We’ve all seen versions of industrial finishes, whether it’s furniture, lighting or painting. Modern industrial lighting involves sleek, clean lines that consist of an alternative feel. This type of fixture is sure to make a statement in any room.

Vintage Retro. If you’re going for a warmer feel, vintage style lighting is for you. Edison-style bulbs and other similar fixtures have been chosen consistently during 2018. This will continue in 2019. Want something authentic? You got it!

The bigger the better. As we mentioned earlier, statement pieces can really draw people in. The latest trend in interior lighting is one bold, big and bountiful fixture that fits your every wish.

LED lighting. Now is the time to get your LED fix, because they are getting cheaper! Many people are moving toward environmentally friendly lighting. They look great and are affordable, too! How’s that for savings?

Choosing a house can be fun, but creating a home is rewarding. At Gulf Coast Electric, light fixture installation is part of our expertise. Our electrical services are reliable, professional and of the utmost quality. We know a thing or two about character, so your home shouldn’t be any different.

Trends can change, but a home is forever.

4 Tips for Outdoor Lighting

As Christmas approaches, everyone begins their search for the best holiday deals. Children write their lengthy wish lists, college students return home and relatives anxiously wrap each gift.
While all of these things signal signs of Santa, there’s one universal factor that captures the heart of all people: lights. Christmas lights outline the homes on many blocks each season, so it’s important that they are assembled in a secure, efficient manner.

As your considering the color scheme and blueprint of your holiday display, consider these four tips to ensure your home’s safety.

Don’t use indoor lights outside. Indoor lights are not built for the inconsistent weather and moisture changes of each environment. Be sure to use only outside lights for your home’s exterior.

Keep your lights away from flammable materials. Electrical safety is no joke! It’s vital to position your lights a tactical distance away from any materials that could create an electrical spark. You don’t want a potential fire or power outage on your hands, right?

Cover all possible open locations. It’s crucial to cover all plugs and their containers to prevent an electrical mishap due to water exposure. Install an in-use cover for maximum protection.

Hire a professional. Ultimately, hiring a professional is the best option. Installing outdoor lighting is an intricate craft that should be handled by an expert. So sit back, relax and indulge in a box of gingerbread cookies!

Christmas is a time for celebration, not stress. At Gulf Coast Electric, we provide quality electrical services that will make this holiday season a breeze. Each electrician is trained to provide a standard of expertise you can’t find anywhere else. As you surround yourself with candy canes and hot chocolate, remember to consider these four tips. Contact Gulf Coast Electric today, call (850) 502.4906

Fall Electrical Safety Checklist

With the weather cooling off, the items we use in our daily lives are starting to change. To stay safe this fall, check out these five tips before you start turning off your fans and plugging in your space heaters.

Check your smoke detector

First things first, check each smoke detector in your home. Since the weather is cooling down, you’re probably using more electrical devices to heat your house and to keep you warm. It’s important that your smoke detectors are working so you’ll be aware if a fire breaks out in your home. If you notice they aren’t working properly, call an electrician to come check it out.

Use space heaters safely

Space heaters can be an easy way to heat your room or outdoor area quickly and efficiently. But be sure that nothing is touching the heater, and that nothing flammable is close by. Be sure to plug your space heater into an outlet – rather than an extension cord.

Check your extension cords

Cooler weather and the holidays call for a lot of lights and a ton of decorations – most of which need to be plugged in. Check your extension cords for damage and replace them as needed to make sure everything is working properly. For all of those outdoor lights, make sure you’re using surge protectors and weatherproof extension cords to keep them safe from the elements.

Sweep away leaves

Leaves are bound to end up in your yard as we head into fall. Keep sweeping away those leaves from your outdoor lighting, outlets and power cords because dry leaves can easily catch fire if a spark lands on them. Be sure to keep your outdoor air conditioning units free of leaves, dirt, and debris, as well. This ensures that your unit is in top shape so you won’t have to worry about damage later on.

Be careful with electric blankets

What’s the best way to stay warm while you watch holiday movies on your couch? An electric blanket, of course. When you start to use yours more frequently this fall, make sure you’re using it safely and you aren’t putting anything on top of it while it’s in use. And never let your pets sleep on it.

Electric safety is an important part of preparing for the fall. If you need help preparing your home for the cooler weather, call the professional electricians at Gulf Coast Electric 850-502-4906

5 Common Electrical Problems Around Your House

Since household safety is a priority to most of us, knowing about common electrical problems is essential. Knowing what is normal and what isn’t could save you money in fixes – and could even save you from events like a house fire. Keep reading to check out some of the common electrical problems that could happen around your house.

Your circuit is overloaded

As ironic as it may sound, most of our homes are not able to sustain an entire house full of electronics at all times. Because of this, your circuit may be overloading. If this is happening, try to unplug devices that aren’t being used.

Your light switches aren’t working

If you go to turn on your kitchen light one day and it doesn’t work, it could be the result of faulty or loose wiring. A problem with your wiring could lead to a fire hazard, so make sure to call a professional to get it checked out.

Your outlets are sparking

It’s never good when your outlets feel hot to the touch or start to spark. If this happens or you notice it start to happen, calling a professional right away. A professional electrician will be able to determine whether you have a problem with your wiring or with the fixture itself.

Your circuit breaker keeps tripping

When you have a lot of devices on at once in your house, you may notice that your breakers keep tripping. And that’s okay. If your breaker trips, it means it’s doing its job correctly and protecting your house. If you notice that this keeps happening, try unplugging devices that aren’t being used and lowering the settings on the devices you are using. If the problem persists, call an electrician to take a look at your breaker.

Your lights are either too bright, too dim or flickering

Lighting can be a good indicator to see if you have an electrical problem in your home. If some of your lights are super bright, some are very dim or some are flickering a lot, it’s usually because of a bad main connection for those lights. This problem needs to be fixed at by a professional, so give an electrician a call to check it out.

Knowing what to look out for can be a big help when it comes to electrical problems in your household. Whether you just want something checked or you need an electrical installation to be done, it’s best to contact a professional electrician. And if you don’t know where to start, call Gulf Coast Electric so we can help.

How Many Smoke Detectors Do I Need in My House?

Smoke detectors are one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to keep your home safe. There are approximately 374,000 home fires in the United States per year, according to the National Fire Protection Association. The best way to protect your home, loved ones and valuables is to ensure that smoke detectors are properly and professionally installed in your house. The majority of fatal house fires happen in homes with no smoke detectors or ones that aren’t functioning properly. Smoke detector installation in your home is essential and can be accomplished easily through the electric installation by a licensed electrician.
The NFPA recommends that every home have the following coverage:

• One smoke detector installed in every bedroom.
• One smoke detector installed outside of each sleeping area.
• At least one smoke detector installed on every story of your home even when bedrooms are not located on that floor.
o For example, a two-story home with three bedrooms will need at least five smoke detectors.

Even with smoke detectors that are hard-wired by an electrician into a home’s electrical system a battery is needed to provide backup power. A power outage or even a fire can render a house’s electrical system unusable. Candle use during a power outage is common and leading cause of house fires. So make sure your batteries are functioning.

When the battery is low, a beep or chirp will be emitted every 30 seconds or so by the smoke detector. You can wait for the audible low battery alert or pick a day every year to change out all of the batteries in your house at once. Some people pick April 1st or the start or finish of Daylight Savings. This keeps you from having to pull out the ladder several times a year and allows you to do the swap all at once.

Keep your family and your cherished possessions safe and make sure you have the recommended smoke detectors installed professionally and keep those batteries fresh. If you’re in need of smoke detectors or just want to make sure yours are in fighting form, call the expert electricians at Gulf Coast Electric today!

Hurricane Season is Here – Don’t Be Left In The Dark

A lot of tragic stories are formed during hurricane season. Here on the Gulf Coast, we’ve unfortunately seen that too many times. You don’t necessarily have to be in the direct path of a storm to feel when is its effects. One of the most common situations during hurricane season is a power outage. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to either prepare for a power outage or get your electricity back up and running as quickly as possible.

Tree removal/trimming

When a storm hits, one of the most common causes of a power outage is a tree or tree branch that falls onto a power line. The lightning or wind can knock down a tree, which could fall right over a power line, causing electricity loss for many people. This problem can be prevented by trimming the trees that are overgrown around any power lines. However, this is a very dangerous job and should only be left to the tree removal professionals. Cutting down overgrown trees near power lines can definitely make a difference during hurricane season.

Get a Home Inspection

Do you know how prepared your home’s electrical system is for the trial and tribulations of hurricane season? Gulf Coast Electric offers a 50-point home inspection – everything from the wiring to the circuitry. Make sure your home isn’t a fire risk so you can rest easy.

Report Electrical Outage

If you do happen to fall victim to a power outage during hurricane season, don’t give up all hope. You can easily report the outage to Gulf Coast Electric and we will be more than happy to help assist you with fixing your power outage. Please allow us some time to respond to your report and repair the damage causing the outage, as the problem could have occurred miles from your home.