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Which Electrical Wire is Hot?

Reliable electricity is a vital part of any modern home. The wiring in your home ranges from easily understood to extremely complicated. As a homeowner, you need to understand the very basics of electrical wiring. If you’re looking for information about the electrical wiring in your home but aren’t sure where to begin, look no further. Gulf Coast Electric has created this guide for Destin homeowners to help you better understand the three basic components of your home’s electrical system.

Safety first! 

Always turn off the power to whatever outlet you plan to work on. Using a small piece of tape, cover the breaker switch so it does not get turned on accidentally while you’re working. Make sure there is no power by using a voltage tester. Serious risks are involved when working on electrical systems, including electrocution and electrical fires. Proceed with caution and use the right tools. We at Gulf Coast Electric advise you to hire a professional electrician when you want to get your projects done safely.

What are all these wires?

The black wire is the hot electrical wire. Electricity is carried through this wire from the breaker box (also known as the load center) to the outlet or switch. The white wire is the neutral wire. This sends unused electricity from the outlet or switch back to the breaker panel. The green wire (sometimes it is bare copper) is the ground wire. Electricity travels through this wire back to the breaker and then outside. There it travels through a rod that is buried in the ground and is displaced. This stops the electricity from running through you! Sometimes a fourth wire is required in three-conductor wiring. This applies to three-way light switches. In that case, there is another hot wire, usually colored red. Wires must be joined together with their corresponding colors to create a circuit. If they are not joined correctly, an electrical short will occur.

Electrical Wiring Tips

  • Water is a great conductor of electricity. Avoid wet floors, keep your hands dry and keep electrical equipment away from tubs, showers and sinks.
  • Always turn off power at the load center. Mark the main switch with tape for a visual reminder.
  • Check for residual electricity with a tester. The equipment is not too costly and testing only takes a few seconds.
  • Wear rubber soled shoes and insulated rubber gloves. This is especially important when working in a damp area like a laundry room or bathroom.
  • Wear goggles to protect your eyes. This applies whenever you are using power tools.   
  • Use tools with rubber grips to minimize your risk of shock.
  • Never use equipment with damaged cords or frayed wiring.
  • Opt for nonmetallic ladders, such as wood or fiberglass. 
  • Check with your local electrical-codes department for compliance requirements.

Contact a licensed electrician for speciality wiring and any other electrical services to ensure your home’s electrical system is running properly and safely. Looking for a trusted electrician in Destin? Contact Gulf Coast Electric today!

Home Office Electrical Wiring Tips

For many, working from home has presented a variety of opportunities as well as challenges. Knowing how to properly set up the electrical wiring in your home office can have a lasting impact on your productivity and never leave you feeling disconnected.

The team at Gulf Coast Electric is prepared with a list of the best tips and tricks to successfully wiring the electrics in your at-home office space. 

Do You Have Enough Outlets? 

Electricians generally aren’t fans of extension cords. Not only are they an eyesore and take up unnecessary space, they can also be dangerous if not used properly. Extension cords have been known to overheat and spark electrical fires, so using proper outlets will always be the better option.

To avoid the use of them, do a quick assessment of how many outlets you would need to properly power your home office. If the amount you need is more than the amount you have, an electrician can be called to install more in optimal spaces. A professional might even suggest installing USB outlets that offer more plug-in options and increase the functionality of power outlets.

Connect Your Computer

Different outlets may be used all over your home office, but it’s important that your desktop computer has its own dedicated circuit. Computers use a lot of power and energy, so refrain from having them share an outlet with another device to avoid blowing a fuse, tripping a breaker or losing power altogether. 

This necessary safety feature isolates your computer’s use of power from other large devices such as TVs and refrigerators. 

Consider Investing In A Power Conditioner

While this gadget isn’t a necessity, it does add an extra layer of protection to all of the devices using power in your office space. A basic conditioner may be purchased at a local electronics store and is used to sterilize energy before it reaches the devices that are plugged into it. They are used to prevent high voltage and keep your gadgets safe from faulty energy waves.

Get a Reliable Internet Connection

While Wi-Fi is the most common resource for internet connection, it isn’t always stable. Because you will require a hefty amount of internet access to successfully work in your office space, installing hard-wired internet is suggested for stability and strength. 

Every-Day Tips

While a professional is needed to perform outlet installations, there are basic, everyday tasks you can do to keep your home office devices running at their best.

Unplug appliances when they aren’t being used

Keep cords from running near doors and windows, under rugs or carpets

Ensure your smoke detector is up-to-date

Inspect cords for damage regularly

Don’t overwork outlets

Book A Home-Wiring Electrician

If you aren’t certain that your home office is ready for all the energy it’s going to need, schedule a home visit with an experienced electrician. These professionals deal in specialty wiring specifically for in-home use, so they can make sure you have all the resources you need to be productive as you work from home. 

For all electrical services for your home office and more, call the pros at Gulf Coast Electric.

4 DIY Home Electrical Repairs

At Gulf Coast Electric, our professional, certified electricians are here to offer our clients superior services, but we also understand that some people prefer to complete some home projects on their own. 

DIY projects can be fulfilling and beneficial for homeowners ambitious enough to take them on, but certain projects can be tricky and pose a risk to your safety. In particular, DIY electrical repair should be approached cautiously. Electrical repair, in general, can be very complicated, and if you aren’t a trained professional, trying to perform electrical repairs on your own can be extremely dangerous. 

Home Electrical Repairs That You Can Complete Yourself

While repairing your home’s electrical wiring and appliances will typically require professional assistance, there are some DIY electrical repair projects that you might be able to tackle alone. Take a look at the following common home electrical repairs that should be fairly easy to DIY:

Movable or Detached Outlets

A loose electrical outlet that moves around in its box is a safety hazard. Outlets that move around easily or become detached within their boxes can quickly lead to a loosening of electrical wires and larger– and more expensive electrical problems. 

Luckily, loose outlets are an easy, DIY fix. Take the following steps to repair a loose outlet:

  1. Turn off the power leading to the specific area surrounding the outlet 
  2. Utilize a voltage tester to ensure that power is no longer running to the outlet
  3. When the voltage tester no longer detects power running through the outlet, unscrew the outlet’s cover and remove the outlet itself
  4. Reposition the outlet so it’s more stable and in-line with your wall. You may need to purchase additional materials (ex. outlet shims) from your nearby home improvement store if the outlet has moved too far into the wall 
  5. After repositioning the outlet, screw it back into its box and, once you’re sure it’s stabilized, screw the outlet cover back on

A Dead Doorbell

Problems with your doorbell could stem from a variety of sources such as your doorbell’s button, wiring, transformer or chime. When performing a DIY repair on your doorbell you should first inspect the button for any corrosion or debris. If corrosion or debris within the button isn’t the problem, you can detach the wires and tap them together to check for sparks and touch a multimeter tester to the chime and transformer terminals to see if those components are working properly.

Problems With Your Electric Stove 

If one of the burners on your electric stove is malfunctioning or not heating up properly it might mean you have a bad burner, a bad socket connection or a faulty switch. 

To repair an issue with a particular burner on your electric stove you should first try to switch the burner out with another burner on your stove that is working. If that burner doesn’t work in the new position, it could be an issue with the socket for that area of your stove. In that case, you should inspect the socket. If it looks burned or charred then you should replace the socket with a new one to remedy the problem. To change the socket you should:

  1. Unscrew the old socket from your electric stove
  2. Unscrew the wires from the old socket
  3. Screw the wires into your new socket
  4. Screw the new socket into your electric stove

If the socket doesn’t look scorched or corroded, then your burner may not be working due to a faulty switch. You can test the switch for the burner yourself using a multimeter tester or seek out professional electrical repair services. At Gulf Coast Electric we offer electrical repair in Destin as well as a range of residential and commercial electrical services.

Frayed or Broken Extension Cord Ends

Extension cords can be fairly expensive and are usually sturdy, but sometimes the ends can bend, wear out and break. Luckily, you can fix extension cords that have become frayed or broken near the ends on your own! You can complete this DIY electrical repair by cutting off the damaged plug/end, cutting the insulation jacket, stripping the wires, twisting the wires back tightly and then screwing them back into the end of the plug. 

You can also look up a detailed video with further instructions on how to perform each step and repair the extension cord properly. 

Contact Us

If you aren’t sure whether you should attempt any at-home electrical-related repairs or aren’t confident enough to do so, contact us at Gulf Coast Electric. We offer a variety of electrical repair services and can provide electrical system maintenance to prevent the need for repairs altogether. If you’re looking for electrical repair in Destin visit our website to connect with a professional and plug in to superior service!

How To Check For Bad Wiring In Your Home

Faulty wiring is a serious safety issue. It’s one of the leading causes of fires in the United States. Starting a house fire is the worst effect faulty wiring can have, but there are many smaller problems stemming from bad wiring. Do you know the signs of faulty wiring in your home?

What Issues Can Faulty Wiring Cause?

The serious issues faulty wiring can cause include:

  • Fire
  • Electrocution
  • A short circuit

When electrical wires in your home are damaged, fraying or cracking, they can’t do their job, which is conducting electricity safely. Although the wires may continue to work for a while, a fire could break out at any time. It’s very risky to ignore faulty wiring.

We all love a good DIY session, however, this isn’t the time for it. If you try to fix the wiring yourself, you may get electrocuted. There are varying degrees of electrocution, from a minor discomforting shock to a major incident that could kill you. It’s not worth it to DIY this kind of problem. Call the experts—they’ve been trained for this!

When too much electrical current comes through inadequate or improperly installed wiring, you may have a short circuit. This can cause blackouts in your home, serious damage to your electrical system and even a fire or a small explosion.

You don’t want to mess around with electrical wiring, and thankfully you don’t have to. Make a quick call to Gulf Coast Electric and we will get one of our trusted electricians out to your home as soon as possible! 

Faulty Wiring Also Can Cause These Smaller Issues:

  • Dimming and/or flickering lights
  • Light switches that are hot to your touch
  • Electrical outlets that sometimes give small shocks
  • Breakers and/or fuses blowing

What Are The Signs Of Faulty Wiring?

The good news here is that bad wiring usually has clear and unmistakable signs. The smaller issues list above include some of them. Other signs are your switch plates and outlet covers getting even slightly blackened, or a burning smell. If you smell something burning, call Gulf Coast Electric right away, as that is a sign that something could be seriously wrong.

If lights in your home flicker or dim, if you get shocks from an outlet or if you have to flip breakers often, give an electrician a call. None of that should be happening. It’s a sign your wiring needs a look by an electrical services professional!

How Can You Make Sure Your Home Has Electrical Safety?

Now that we’ve covered the signs that something is wrong, how can you make sure that everything is in order with your wiring? Can you get ahead of any possible issues?

Yes, absolutely. A licensed electrician can examine your wiring and find any issues that could present a larger problem later. This can save homeowners a lot of money by fixing the problem while it’s still small and inexpensive to handle.

A licensed electrician can also identify if your home is up to the current building codes and safety standards. If your home is older, your wiring may need work to bring it up to code for the latest safety standards. This isn’t just red tape—these standards are created to keep you safe.

Safety First!

Electricity is one of the greatest modern inventions, but don’t ever take it for granted. Save the DIY projects for painting or installing new flooring. Wiring requires a skilled and licensed electrician to test and solve any issues. Contact us today at Gulf Coast Electric to make sure your home has perfect wire safety!

What Happens at a Home Inspection?

A 50-point inspection is a home inspection designed for new homeowners who would like to know the condition and safety of their electric system, whether they’re in a new home model or an older home. 

Keep reading to find out what Gulf Coast Electric looks for when conducting a 50-point electrical audit. 

Home Inspectors vs. Electrical Service Technicians

Home inspectors are qualified professionals who will come into your home to visually inspect the structure and components. While there, they will look for any immediate or potential problems that may harm you or your family. Upon completion, a written report will be provided to you with a description of any problem areas that may have been found. The report may also include recommendations for further evaluation. 

Some areas included but are not limited to: 

  • Structural elements
  • Safety
  • Grounds
  • Roof
  • Exterior surfaces
  • Attic 
  • Appliances
  • And more 

Electrical inspections involve a comprehensive review, as well as a checkup of the electrical connections and wiring installed into your home. It is important to note that these inspections help to prevent fire damage, death, injuries and property damage from happening. When buying a new home, it’s important to have an electrical audit performed. Roughly 50% of home fires are caused by electrical failures due to malfunctions in electrical distribution or lighting equipment. 

Benefits of an Electrical Inspection 

Inadequate or outdated electrical wiring poses a potential fire hazard. It’s important to have a professional electrical audit of the wiring in your home at least once a year to prevent problems and give you peace of mind. 

What are the benefits of an electrical inspection?

  • Your home will be kept safe
  • You’ll put money back in your pocket
  • Malfunctions will be avoided
  • Your system will maintain efficiency 
  • You’ll be up to date on electrical standards

Electrical inspections also help homeowners who have bought an older home or gone through new renovations. If you’re noticing any of these symptoms, you should consider electrical services. 

  • Invisible ground rod
  • If your home was previously owned
  • Rust, corrosion or water exposure in electrical panel
  • Your lights flicker or dim more than occasionally
  • Discolored outlets and light switch faceplates
  • If your circuit breakers or fuses trip or blow often

Schedule An Electrical Audit in Florida Today

If you’re in the process of buying a new or used home or notice any of the signs mentioned above, don’t hesitate to call on Gulf Coast Electric today! 

What Is Specialty Wiring?

Many homeowners find themselves wondering what kind of wiring their home needs. For some, the concept of “specialty wiring” is out of their normal wheelhouse.

Specialty wiring is for things that aren’t in every home, for things such as hot tubs, swimming pools, marinas, docks, fountains, and even aluminum wiring.

Gulf Coast Electric can handle all sorts of specialty wiring services in Florida. When getting special wiring done, safety is of the utmost importance. Even after having a professional install specialty wiring to your home, homeowners will want to check that it has been installed properly.

Keep reading to learn more about different kinds of specialty wiring and their needed maintenance points.

Pool and Hot Tub Wiring

Pools are a great addition to the house, especially in the summers. Whether it’s to keep the kids busy and away from their phones in the summer, or for relaxing in the evening sun after a long day of work. Or it’s starting to get a little chilly and you want to opt for using the hot tub.

Even if you have a new pool or an old pool, it’s important to have safely configured wiring and to get it inspected periodically. Electricity and wiring do not mix well with water so it can be very dangerous. If the wiring isn’t done right, it could put you and your family at risk of injuries or death. You can trust electrical contractors like Gulf Coast Electric to safely install and monitor your pool’s wiring to make sure everything is working. From your pool’s pump to lights, we’ve got you covered.

Fountain Wiring

An outdoor fountain can add elegance and style to any landscape. But it requires pump wires that are not as beautiful. And because a fountain has water, it requires a GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter). Your city’s building code might require you to hire a professional to install GFCI and handle the wiring for your fountain.

Aluminum Wiring Services

Many homes that were built between the mid-60s to the mid-70s have aluminum wiring. That wiring might have been installed incorrectly, suffered a lack of maintenance over the years, or uses improper materials. These issues, such as wiring damage, can be dangerous and can cause a house fire. If your home uses aluminum wires, it’s important to have them inspected regularly and maintained properly to lower your risk of expensive repairs later on.

Docks and Marinas

For many, swimming and boating are key activities in the summer months. But, there are electrical hazards that can go with that fun. If your dock has electrical lighting, or an automated lift for your boat, chances are that this wiring is experiencing additional wear-and-tear from the weather surrounding it. Before hitting the water this season, make sure to have your wiring professionally inspected to reduce the chances of something going wrong in the midst of your summer fun.

Bucket Truck Services

Need electrical services that are too high to reach? Luckily, Gulf Coast Electric offers bucket truck services. Whether it’s to fix parking lot lights or outdoor signs, Gulf Coast Electric can reach it and get it done well.

The National Electric Code

The National Electrical Code (NEC) used to require GFCI protection for cord and plug-connected pumps on pools, spas, and hot tubs. And it required 120-volt underwater lighting fixtures and receptacle outlets in the vicinity of pools, spas, and hot tubs. Now, the code prohibits electrical installations closer than five feet from the water. It also requires GFCI protection for all electrical equipment, including 240-volt equipment located five to 10 feet from the water and for receptacles within a 20-foot perimeter.

A GFCI monitors the flow of currents through a protected lighting fixture, pump motor, or appliance circuit. It senses any loss of current to an outside path. If the current flowing into an electrical appliance or fixture differs by a small amount from what flows back out, the GFCI will interrupt the current flow to prevent a lethal level of electricity from reaching the consumer. The consumer may feel a painful shock but should be protected from electrocution.

Trust Gulf Coast Electric with your Specialty Wiring

At Gulf Coast Electric we specialize in worry-free electrical services. Don’t risk electrical challenges ruining your summer fun this year and get started with your journey to safe electricity today. Book your appointment now!

What is the best temperature for my home in summer?

As the summertime creeps closer, the fear of electricity bills begins to grow. In order to keep your home at a comfortable temperature while simultaneously not breaking the bank is an important skill to have every year. Gulf Coast Electric can help guide you in the right direction with some helpful electrical service tips. Keep reading to learn more about our recommendations to help save electricity, while still keeping cool, this summer!

Close Your Blinds 

Natural sunlight is always needed in a home, but during the peak hot hours of the day closing the blinds could help reduce the internal temperature of your home. Investing in blackout curtains not only helps with decreasing brightness in a room, but also blocking out heat to the room. Most homes lose from 10-15% of their thermal energy through their windows. Investing in blackout curtains can help keep your home cool and even potentially reduce your energy bill by up to 25%!

Best Thermostat Spots

Installing a thermostat near a window or in direct light could lead to inaccurate temperature readings. This could cause an unnecessary spike on an electric bill. The best spot for your thermostat is in a hallway or near the kitchen. If your thermostat is in an inconvenient spot, the average cost of moving it ranges from $130 – $450, but once it is in an accurate place, a proper reading can help you save more in energy bills!

Recommended Temperature 

When you are not home for long periods of time, make it a habit to turn the thermostat up to around 78 degrees. This is a comfortable temperature that will not leave you uncomfortable returning home after a long day in the heat. If this is not the most comfortable for your home, turn on a fan if necessary. Turning on a fan may sound simple, but always double check that it is running counter-clockwise in order to blow cooler air towards you, rather than pulling the air away from your living space.

Appliance Usage 

Saving chores for the morning or nighttime could help with the amount of heat inside. Using the dishwasher and the washer/dryer at night could reduce the amount of heat released into your home. During the hottest parts of the day, this could make your A/C work overtime to keep your home at a cool temperature. Using a grill outside instead of the stove/oven could minimize the amount of heat inside your home. Changing your air filter on your air conditioner every 4-6 weeks will also help with air quality and flow, reducing the amount of energy needed to condition the air in your home. 

Schedule an Electrical Audit

A great way to ensure protection from the heat this summer is to schedule an electrical audit for your home. Homes are prone to have so many small spaces such as around windows, door frames, crawl spaces, and recessed lights that let in heat and allow conditioned air to escape. Another thing to check is whether or not your home has proper insulation blocking the hot air from entering. At Gulf Coast Electric we offer an evaluation service where an our experts inspect your home for ways to save energy and money along with advice for the best lighting and electrical options.  Prepping your home for summer may seem like a daunting experience, but following these tips could help you stay comfortable and save money. Call Gulf Coast Electric today to book your electrical audit today!

Why Your Electricity Bill is Higher in the Summer

You may be wondering why your electric bill is suddenly higher than normal in the summer months. Florida summers are notorious for their heat and humidity, with a lot of humid weather and temperatures almost never dropping below 90 degrees. As it gets hotter and hotter, we all tend to want to stay inside with our electronics, appliances and the air conditioning.

In the summer, electric bills tend to be on the rise because of increased usage. Usually, there are more people using their ACs at full blast to fight the summer heat. School is out, as well, and the kids are home and living on their electronics. Due to this higher demand for energy, prices go up because the suppliers have to pay for that electricity. 

So how can we use our energy efficiently? 

Tips for Energy Efficiency at Home:

  1. Raise the thermostat. It’s possible to save money by raising the temperature in the house for a few hours every day. It’s recommended to raise the temperature higher while you are out of the house. While in the house, you should raise the temperature as high as you and the family are comfortable with. The closer it is to the outdoor temperature, the more money you will save.
  2. Seal the doors and windows. Closing the little cracks in the doors and windows will trap the cooler air inside and keep the family cooler for longer. One trick to check if windows and doors need to be sealed is to put a piece of paper underneath the door or window while it’s open. If you can pull the paper out after closing the window or door on it, that means that door or window needs to be sealed.
  3. Check and change your air filters consistently. It’s important to change them often to keep a clean and constant airflow.
  4. Unplug electronics when they aren’t in use. Standby power can use up a lot of energy and increase your bill more than it would’ve been otherwise. Using surge protectors can make it easier to turn off those standby power electronics.
  5. Use ceiling fans when you’re in that specific room. Ceiling fans can help keep the house cool when you raise the temperature. It’s more cost-effective to use a ceiling fan than keep your AC super low.
  6. Thermal drapes can help, too! Placing thermal drapes over the windows can help trap the cool air inside and keep warm air from coming in. 

By using less energy, you’re not only saving money but lowering the chances of potential blackouts. If you need a home electrical inspection, contact Gulf Coast Electric today!

When Does My Home Need an Electrical Inspection?

An electrical inspection can be imperative to your home’s safety. But what is an electrical inspection? It is an all-around check of your home’s electrical elements including wiring for outlets and the fuse box. Here are some reasons you should consider getting this electrical service: 

Buying a new home

If you are purchasing a new home, you want to make sure it is as safe as possible and won’t have any issues down the line. An inspection will help you avoid those potential dangers and make sure everything is up to code. Knowing the potential electrical hazards will give you comfort before your close or move in to your home.

Older homes 

This can also be beneficial if your new or current home is older in age. Older homes can have different lighting technologies that might not be up to current standards. After an inspection, you can be sure of what your house’s electrical and wire safety is like and what you need to do to improve it. 

Safety

One of the most important reasons to get an inspection is for the electrical safety of your home. Having a professional check the integrity of your electric components can ensure that there are no potential hazards. Electrical hazards can include mishaps in wiring or improper installation of other components. If these elements are done wrong, it brings the potential for electrical fires. 

Safety inspections analyze whether or not your home is up to code. While national and local codes can be hard to understand, your electrician should be up to date on the standards needed for your home. 

An electrical inspection being completed will give you and your family peace of mind that you are living in the safest home possible. 

Electrical bill cost

Monthly electric bills can be stressful, but an inspection can help ensure you are getting the lowest possible cost. An electrician can tell you if your electrical components are running inefficiently and therefore costing you more money. With that knowledge, you can update or get repairs to make them run more efficiently. 

If you feel any of these apply to you then you should contact an expert electrical technician. The Gulf Coast Electric staff is ready to help get the job done, so contact us today to schedule your electrical inspection. 

What is a GFCI Outlet?

A GFCI outlet, or ground fault circuit interrupter outlet, is very important to the safety of your home. In essence, a GFCI greatly reduces the chances of getting electrocuted by an outlet. You may have noticed that they are typically in specific parts of your house, and there’s a reason for that. By law, new homes are required to have GFCI outlets installed in places where water is nearby. This is because those areas are most susceptible to be a source of electrocution.

How do they work?

A GFCI outlet, or ground fault circuit interrupter outlet, is very important to the safety of your home. In essence, a GFCI greatly reduces the chances of getting electrocuted by an outlet. You may have noticed that they are typically in specific parts of your house, and there’s a reason for that. By law, new homes are required to have GFCI outlets installed in places where water is nearby. This is because those areas are most susceptible to be a source of electrocution.

Where are they required?

GFCIs are, in fact, required by law. Since being introduced in the 70s, GFCIs are now required in the following places:

  • Home exteriors
  • Crawl spaces
  • Wet bars
  • Bathrooms
  • Garages
  • Every kitchen outlet next to a countertop
  • Basements
  • Electrically heated floors

As we already mentioned, there is a consistent theme amongst the places listed above. They are all areas in which water can be prevalent or is on a consistent basis. This is because water is the most likely thing to trigger an electrical surge that results in injury. 

If you are in need of GFCI outlet installation, contact the professionals at Gulf Coast Electric. We can set up an appointment to have you feeling safe in your home.