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How To Save Money On Your Electric Bill

Learn The Best Ways To Save On Your Power Bill

As temperatures rise, so does the need for reliable air conditioning, and the extra stress on your electrical system can cost you. Air conditioning accounts for six percent of the energy costs in the United States, costing homeowners a whopping $29 billion a year! Gulf Coast Electric is here to share some tips to keep your home fresh and your electricity bill low this summer.

Saving money is normally on most people’s to-do list, but lowering your electric bill is a great way to conserve costs year-round. Decreasing your energy bill doesn’t mean you have to sit in the dark or read books by candlelight — there are little changes you can make in your home to save money.

Keep Your System Running Efficiently With HVAC TLC

Regular maintenance of your HVAC system is key to ensuring efficient operation. Clean vents, filters and air ducts regularly to prevent energy loss and maintain optimal performance. The National Air Duct Cleaners Association advises cleaning air ducts every three to five years and replacing filters every three months to ensure optimal performance and energy efficiency.

There are a few other tips you can apply to your heating and cooling systems to conserve energy costs.

Smart Cooling: Save Energy While Away From Home

Turn up the thermostat when leaving the house to conserve electricity during daytime hours. A programmable thermostat can automate this process, ensuring your home stays comfortable while reducing unnecessary cooling expenses.

Cool Cooking: Beat The Heat And Save On Energy

Avoid using the oven during the hottest times of the day. Instead, opt for meals prepared during cooler hours. Investing in a crockpot or outdoor grill can also minimize heat generation in your kitchen.

Avoid AC Overworking: Invest In Blackout Curtains

Install blackout curtains to block out sunlight and reduce heat absorption, allowing your air conditioner to work more efficiently. This simple addition can make a significant difference in your energy consumption during the hotter season.

Check For Drafts And Save On Cooling Costs

Inspect windows and doors for cracks that could let cool air escape. Use a sealant to address gaps and prevent energy loss. This tip helps ensure your home stays cool without overworking your air conditioner.

Conserve Electricity With These Conservation Tips

With the rise of modern technology, it’s nearly impossible to cut out electrical costs completely. Luckily, there are a few hacks that can lower your electricity fees without making drastic changes to your normal routine.

Save Energy With Air Drying

Opt for air-drying dishes and clothing whenever possible to reduce reliance on energy-intensive appliances like dishwashers and dryers. Using the air dry function on your dishwasher and hanging clothes to dry can save electrical costs and overall usage.

Preserve Fabric And Save Energy With Cold Water

Washing clothes in cold water offers a dual benefit — it reduces heating costs and helps preserve fabric quality. According to the Consumer Energy Center, heating water can consume up to 90% of the total energy it takes to operate your washing machine.

Enhance Cooling Efficiency With Ceiling Fans

Investing in ceiling fans can promote air circulation and enhance the cooling effect of your air conditioner. By using ceiling fans in conjunction with your AC, you can create a more comfortable environment while reducing energy consumption.

Take Charge Of Your Energy Savings With Gulf Coast Electric

There are simple ways you can reduce your electric bill without suffering in the heat this summer. Making a few minor changes and being aware of what’s happening in your indoor environment can make a huge impact on utility costs.

For professional electrical services and more information on how to save on your utility bills, contact Gulf Coast Electric today.

How To Check For Bad Wiring In Your Home

Ensuring Home Safety With Gulf Coast Electric

Faulty wiring is a serious safety concern and a leading cause of fires in the United States. Detecting and addressing signs of faulty wiring in your home is crucial for preventing potential disasters.

Gulf Coast Electric is here to guide you in understanding the signs of a problem and ensuring electrical safety in your residence. The next time you hear an electrical crackling sound in the wall or suspect faulty wires in your Destin home, call on our team!

The Serious Consequences Of Faulty Wiring

When electrical wires are damaged, frayed or cracked, they jeopardize the safe conduction of electricity. This not only poses a risk of fire but can also lead to electrocution or short circuits.

Ignoring faulty wiring is a hazardous gamble that could result in severe consequences. While DIY projects can be satisfying, attempting to fix wiring issues yourself can lead to electrocution or a house fire. The varying degrees of electrical shock — from minor discomfort to potentially fatal incidents — make it imperative to call in the experts.

Keep yourself and your home safe by trusting electrical work to the professionals on our team. Gulf Coast Electric’s trained professionals are equipped to handle all your electrical problems safely.

Understand The Risk Of Short Circuits

Improperly installed or inadequate wiring can cause short circuits. This may cause blackouts, serious damage to the electrical system and even fires. This emphasizes the critical importance of having properly installed and maintained wiring to prevent electrical mishaps.

Recognizing Faulty Wiring: Signs Of Electrical Issues In Your Home

Faulty wiring often exhibits clear and unmistakable signs. Keep an eye out for flickering lights and the frequent blowing of breakers or fuses. These aren’t the only warning signs though — stay vigilant and watch out for the following:

  • Dimming lights
  • Hot switches
  • Crackling sound in walls

Additionally, switch plates and outlet covers getting even slightly blackened or emitting a burning smell are red flags. If any of these signs are happening in your space, it’s crucial to seek professional assistance right away.

While these may seem minor, they are indicative of underlying wiring problems that require attention. Gulf Coast Electric can help address these issues promptly to prevent bigger problems.

Ensuring Electrical Safety: Proactive Steps

To ensure the safety of your home’s electrical system, enlist the services of a licensed electrician. A professional inspection can identify and rectify potential issues before they become major problems, saving you both time and money.

Our licensed electricians can also assess whether your home complies with current building codes and safety standards. Older homes may need wiring upgrades to meet the latest safety requirements, underscoring the importance of periodic inspections.

Prioritize Safety With Gulf Coast Electric

While electricity is a modern marvel, safety should never be compromised. DIY projects are well-suited for certain tasks, but electrical wiring demands the expertise of skilled and licensed professionals.

Contact Gulf Coast Electric today to ensure your home’s wiring meets the highest safety standards. When in doubt, it’s always better to be safe and consult with professionals. Don’t take chances with faulty wires — trust the experts to keep your home safe.

How To Protect Your Electronics During A Storm

When a storm comes rolling in, and the risk of thunder and lightning becomes apparent, it’s no surprise that many Destin homeowners feel wary. Even while the rain hits your windows and your home shelters you from the forces of nature, there’s always the risk of a power surge.

Every time it rains, there’s a slight chance that lightning could strike near your house, triggering a power outage. These are certainly annoying, but they can also mean bad news for anything electrical in your home. Gulf Coast Electric has all the answers for electric safety for Destin residents about how to stay safe during a lightning storm.

What Happens During A Power Surge?

A power surge refers to a sudden and brief increase in electrical voltage flowing through an electrical circuit or power line. This increase in voltage is usually for a short period, typically lasting only a fraction of a second, but it can be significantly higher than the normal voltage level that the circuit or device is designed to handle.

These surges can overload the power system in your home and trigger an outage. There is also the chance that anything electrical plugged in can be overloaded too and become fried in the process. Leaving them unable to turn out or properly function ever again.

How Can I Protect My Appliances?

There are a multitude of ways that homeowners can protect their appliances in the case of a storm. Here are three ways to keep your belongings safe during inclement weather

  • • Unplug devices — The most effective and straightforward method is to unplug your appliances and devices from electrical outlets. This prevents them from being exposed to power surges caused by lightning strikes or other electrical disturbances.
  • • Use surge protectors — Install surge protectors or surge suppressors on important appliances and electronic devices. These devices can divert excess electrical voltage away from your equipment, safeguarding them from damage during power surges.
  • • Whole-house surge protection — Consider investing in whole-house surge protection systems. These are installed at your electrical panel and offer comprehensive protection for all appliances and devices connected to your home’s electrical system, including those that are hardwired.

By following these guidelines, you are keeping your items out of harm’s way in case of a surge. These measures help ensure the safety and longevity of your valuable electrical equipment during storms and power fluctuations.

Comprehensive Surge Protection Services

To protect your devices and appliances while they remain plugged in, homeowners can always opt for purchasing and hooking up their devices to a power strip with a surge protector inside it. These can allow for multiple devices to be plugged in and protected from a power surge. While they will still go out during the power outage, the device will remain protected and not at any risk of being fried.

If you’re interested in investing in whole-home surge protection, turn to the team more Destin residents trust. Reach out to Gulf Coast Electric.

Gulf Coast Electric Is Here To Help Destin Residents

Storms can be a stressful and fear-inducing time for any homeowner. But there isn’t a thing to fear with Gulf Coast Electric here to help Destin residents with all their electrical repair needs.

Have you experienced an electrical outage or need electrical repairs in the area? Call us today and schedule services that get your home back to being brightly lit and operational.

How To Hide Cables And Ugly Wires At Home

Let’s be honest — cables and wires in our homes aren’t a good look. You can have a beautifully decorated living room, but cluttered cables stick out like a sore thumb. Gulf Coast Electric is here to help your home with these eyesores — read on to learn more.

Wire Safety Comes With Tidy Cables

A bunch of tangled wires and cables are not only hard to look at, but they can also be a hazard. This electrical clutter increases your risk of an electrical fire, electric shock and trip-and-falls.

Not only that, but if you have pets or small children, loose cords can be very dangerous to them if they put them in their mouths. To avoid any unsafe situations, follow along with our tips below.

Use Hooks To Hide And Organize Wires

Using hooks can help you not only hide wires, but also to keep them from tangling with each other. Again, tidiness and electrical safety often go hand in hand.

By placing hooks on the walls behind your furniture, you can redirect your cords cleanly along the walls and out of sight. You can also put hooks behind your TV, on the side of your end table or even under your desk.

Keeping your wires against the wall and cleanly hidden behind furniture prevents drawing attention to a big, cluttered mess. Not only does this make your space neater, it’s much safer, too.

Box Up Those Cords

If you don’t have enough space for hooks to carry the length of a wire, consider getting a decorative box. By storing your cords inside, they won’t be accessible to pets or children, keeping everybody safe. Not only that, but guests will never guess that a decorative box is hiding electronics!

Keep Your Chargers In A Drawer

If you dedicate a drawer solely to chargers, you will not only limit your mess, but you will never lose a charger again. This is an excellent way to stay organized, keep your household safe and keep the clutter to a minimum.

Hiding TV Cables

This step may require a bit more effort, and it works especially well with mounted TVs. Cord covers are your best friend when it comes to mounted screens. What you can do is measure from the base of the screen to the top of the baseboard, and find a cord cover for that length.

Once your cord is inside and the cover is mounted, you can even paint it the same color as your wall. While still visible, this will prevent visible clutter and cord exposure, creating a safer and more organized environment for you.

Electrical Safety With Gulf Coast Electric

Whether it’s your computer wires, your TV cords or just a big messy pile of chargers, Gulf Coast Electric is here to help you stay safe and organized. By reducing your electrical clutter, you are reducing a number of safety risks. If you have any questions or concerns about wire safety in your home, feel free to call us at Gulf Coast Electric — we’re happy to help!

Baby Proofing Your Home’s Electricity

Becoming a parent is life-changing. Although being a parent is very exciting, it’s normal to feel a little nervous as well. After all, curious children can get themselves into some tricky and even dangerous situations.

One of the top concerns for child safety is home electric outlets that release strong electrical currents. Baby-proofing may seem impossible as your child becomes more curious and adventurous. However, at Gulf Coast Electric, we’re here to help you put your fears to rest by providing practical baby-proofing methods to keep your child safe.

Plug-In Electrical Outlet Covers

The most affordable and common electrical outlet cover is a small, plastic plug inserted directly into the outlet. While effective, it can be slightly inconvenient to constantly remove and insert the cover between each use. These plugs are great for outlets that don’t get much use.

Slide Outlet Covers

Another way to baby proof outlets is to install slide outlet covers. These covers look just like regular outlet cases, but the opening for the plug can slide to cover up the open holes and prongs. Compared to removable plug-in outlet covers, this option is more convenient to use since it doesn’t use any loose parts.

In-Use Outlet Covers

Even when an outlet is in use, your child may still want to mess with it. After all, cords and plugs spark a lot of curiosity in little minds. Even though baby proofing in-use outlets may seem impossible, there are outlet covers that do just that.

In-use outlet covers act as a cage around the outlet to cover up the plug and outlet. There are small openings for the cords on the side of the cover. Although this is an effective way to baby proof in-use outlets, you can also move furniture to block the outlet when possible.

Baby Proofing Electrical Cords

When you baby proof house appliances, you should address loose cords in addition to the outlets. Cords can be fun for children to play with and chew on, even though they are dangerous. Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to baby proof your cords.

Buy A Cord Box

If you have an appliance with a cord that is way too long, you can buy a cord box to house the excess cord. This keeps it away from little hands that want to play and prevents it from getting tangled. 

Use A Cord Cover

To keep your child from chewing on electrical cords, you can use a cloth or plastic cord cover. Some covers are coated with a bitter flavoring to ward off curious mouths.

Secure Cords To The Wall Or Ground

A great way to stay organized and prevent children from messing with cords is to secure your cords to the wall or ground. You can use electrical tape or a duct cord cover to keep your cords in place.

Dealing With Power Strips

Power strips can be especially dangerous for children due to the high concentration of outlets and the mobility of the strip. A great way to baby proof your power strips is to purchase a power strip cover that keeps the outlets in a hard case, away from your child’s hands.

Baby Proof Your Home Today

Baby proofing a home is no small feat, but with a variety of products and resources, it doesn’t have to be stressful. As your child grows, explores and discovers the world, there should be no worry about a mishap in the home. Using the products listed above will prevent electrical injury and restore your peace of mind.

If you notice an electrical cause for concern while baby proofing your home, contact Gulf Coast Electric for a Destin professional electrician. We’re happy to help you with all your electrical needs!

Electrical 101: Wire Colors

With home improvement, there’s always more to be done! From adjusting lighting fixtures to rewiring and rerouting, you can find plenty of electrical do-it-yourself improvements for your home. However, if you’re going to step into the electrical improvement realm, safety and knowledge are key!

Luckily, Gulf Coast Electric is here to help guide you on your electrical journey! With our electrical safety and wire guide, you’ll be able to upgrade your home with ease. 

Electrical Safety

First up, it’s important to be safe when working with wires. If possible, we recommend getting a professional electrician to perform work around your home because DIY electrical tips aren’t a substitution for professional training. However, if you’re a handyman ready to learn about wiring, there’s a few things you can do to prepare!

  1. Purchase sturdy safety goggles, a fire-resistant face shield and thick rubber electrical gloves, and wear them before starting your project.
  2. Always turn off the circuit breaker on your main panel to cut the power to the circuit you plan to work on.
  3. Unplug the appliance before working on it.
  4. Test the wires with a multimeter to make sure that they aren’t live. 
  5. Do not touch gas or plumbing pipes when working with electrical lines. 

With these bases covered, you’re all set to start on your project!

Electrical Wiring Color Guide

Wires come in a full rainbow of colors, and they all carry electricity. However, that’s really the only similarity they have! The color of a wire shows its purpose and helps to keep your electrical space organized. 

The National Electrical Code (NEC) has a guide for some colors, but not others. Thankfully, electricians have their own language with wires, and we’re going to break it down for you!

Black Wires

These wires are “hot” or live wires. Live wires carry the electrical current from your home’s electrical panel to your appliance or fixture. While the NEC doesn’t require hot wires to be black wires, it’s the most common choice for residential wiring. 

You may see a black wire carrying the current from a light switch to its respective light, and that circuit section is called a switch leg. Traveler wires, although it’s less common, can also be black in color.

Red Wires

Red is another common color for hot wires! Larger appliances, ones that need 240 volts, need two hot wires to receive enough electricity. Typically, they’ll use one black hot wire and one red. 

Just like black wires, red wires can be switch legs. You’re likely to see them in devices that need two switch legs, like a ceiling fan with one switch for the fan and another for the light. 

Green, Bare, or Green and Yellow Striped Wires

Green, bare, or green and yellow striped wires, which are wires without a coating, act as ground wires. They work like a failsafe for the circuit. If the circuit isn’t working properly, these wires channel any unintentional current down into the earth to avoid people being shocked. 

Ideally, these wires should not be carrying electricity. However, they can, so always test them before making any cuts or disconnections.

Gray & White Wires

Gray and white colored wires are grounded conductors, or neutral wires. Where a black wire would carry electricity to the appliance, the neutral wire returns it to the panel. It essentially completes an infinite loop.

The NEC says neutral wires can be white or gray, or have three stripes of white or gray on any color background, minus green. Red, black or any other color tape at the end of a gray or white wire shows that the wire is actually a hot wire. 

Remember: these wires carry a current, so they should always be treated as live wires.

Blue & Yellow Wires

Yellow and blue wires are pretty versatile. They can be used as switch legs in wall pipes, or they can be used as a traveler wire in multi-way switches. Although black or red wires are the more common choice for this, especially in residential electrical circuits.

In industrial or commercial buildings with three-phase power, blue and yellow wires are a common choice. Even though you probably won’t see them often, remember to treat them as if they are a live wire!

Pink, Orange, Brown & Violet Wires

And here we have the rest of the wire rainbow! The main purpose of these extra colors are to provide color options to help keep circuits safe and organized.

Orange wires are the most common out of the bunch because we can use them like a live red wire. You’ll probably see them in a higher voltage circuit or in a fire alarm circuit. Violet and pink wires aren’t as common, but they’re sometimes used as switch legs or travelers. Brown wires are more common in industrial buildings where they’re used as live wires. 

Professional Electrical Wiring Services

Learning the wire rainbow is essential to stay safe when working with electrical circuits, but it’s overwhelming! If you’re looking for premium electrical services for your home, look no further! 

At Gulf Coast Electric, we pride ourselves on our knowledge and skill set. When you’re looking to upgrade your home with new lighting, whole home surge protection or a new outlet, you can trust our trained electricians!

Call today and speak with our friendly staff!

Do You Need An Electrician To Replace Your Light Fixtures?

Some homeowners jump at the chance to renovate and replace items; others are filled with dread at the thought. Many people will take their needs and turn them into a DIY project no matter which side they land on. Painting a room or replacing shower tiles yourself can be a great personal project. However, some things just can’t be DIY’d. The Gulf Coast Electrical team is here to tell you that installing new light fixtures in your Florida home is one of those things.

It is our job to make replacing electrical items in your home, like light fixtures, look effortless, but the reality is that electrical needs in your home will always range in complexity. Without an expert eye, it is easy for things to go south very quickly. Electrical malfunctions can be the leading cause of electrical fires. And electrical fires will turn what could have been an otherwise affordable job into an expensive disaster.

That’s why you should hire an expert electrician to get the job done. Read below to find out why hiring an expert is worth it.

Your Safety Matters

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, electrical malfunctions account for almost 7% of electrical fires. Homeowners can do many things to avoid this, like replacing aged appliances, but taking on a professional electrician to take care of all your wiring needs is a preventive measure.

It’s Not As Simple As It Looks

Wiring in your home is already a complex matter. Installing new light fixtures can become even more complicated when you find yourself needing to add new wires to your already existing connections. Many people don’t expect to deal with different types of cables, switch boxes or rewiring. So, it is always better when left in the hands of a pro.

You May Run Into More Issues

You could start out thinking you are only changing a light fixture and quickly realize more work needs to be done. Navigating damaged wires or even getting to the end of your project and realizing the lights still flicker may leave you frustrated. Experts have an easier time identifying what issues are present and have the equipment to deliver a solution. Save yourself time by finding a professional that is equipped with all you need to get the job done.

Light fixtures may not be the only thing you need an electrician for. Here are some common needs that an electrician can help you with:

  • Replacing wiring
  • Repairing circuit breakers
  • Installing outdoor lighting
  • Installing new outlets

Find An Expert

Unless you have extensive electrical experience, you should always hire a professional to meet your needs. It doesn’t matter whether your fixtures are being reinstalled in the same spot or you want them rewired to somewhere new. This job is better off in the hands of an expert.

Gulf Coast Electric is here to serve all of your electrical needs. Contact us to see what we can do for your Destin home!

Spot Common Energy Leaks During A Home Energy Audit

Home Energy Analysis And The Benefits Of Fixing Energy Leaks

Living in Panama City Beach means dealing with hot, humid weather that can make energy efficiency a challenge. To keep your home comfortable and your energy bills in check, it’s crucial to identify and fix energy leaks.

Addressing energy leaks in your home can lead to numerous benefits, including:

  • Lower energy bills — Reduce your monthly utility costs by eliminating energy wastage.
  • Increased comfort — Maintain consistent indoor temperatures and improve comfort.
  • Environmental impact — Reduce your carbon footprint by understanding an energy audit and using less energy.
  • Extended lifespan of appliances — Decrease the wear and tear on your HVAC system and other appliances.
  • Increased home value — Improve the energy efficiency of your home, making it more attractive to potential buyers.

Scheduling a home energy audit is a smart step, but what should you do to prepare for it? Here are some tips from Gulf Coast Electric! We’ll help you spot common energy leaks and prepare for an energy audit.

What Is An Energy Audit?

An energy audit — also called a home energy assessment — provides you with a general overview of your residential energy use. This process can help you determine where your energy is used and pinpoint inefficiencies within your home.

A professional audit is the first step in improving your energy use. It will effectively guide you when making your home improvements.

Energy Assessment Of Your Home

Before your scheduled home energy audit, it’s helpful to do a preliminary inspection yourself. Doing so not only familiarizes you with potential issues but also helps streamline the audit process. Below are some areas to focus on.

Inspect Your Home’s Exterior

Whether your home is brand new or has a few years of wear and tear, natural conditions and foundation adjustments can cause energy leaks. Walk around the exterior of your home and inspect the windows, doors, walls and roof for areas that may have become exposed.

This inspection is especially important during seasonal changes. Look for gaps, cracks or other signs of wear. If any are discovered, seal them with caulking, sealant, paint or insulation.

Check Your Insulation

Your attic’s insulation plays a crucial role in maintaining your home’s energy efficiency. Check for areas that may have become wet or show signs of mold or mildew. These signs indicate potential leaks from the exterior.

Also, inspect the insulation around appliances like your water heater and dishwasher. If you find any residue or damp spots, it’s time to call in a professional to troubleshoot your home energy issues.

Evaluate Your Electronics

In a tech-savvy area like Panama City Beach, household electronics are widely used. These gadgets make life easier but also consume a lot of energy.

Take inventory of your appliances and check for Energy Star certifications. Upgrading to Energy Star-certified appliances can significantly reduce your energy consumption. They can also save you thousands of dollars annually on your energy bills.

Conduct A Thorough Inspection

When it comes to spotting home energy leaks, it’s important to think outside the box. Look for hidden energy drains that might be increasing your energy bills, such as poorly sealed vents, outdated HVAC systems or inefficient lighting.

These less obvious leaks can have a big impact on your home’s overall energy efficiency.

Partner With Gulf Coast Electric

Spotting energy leaks can be challenging, but you don’t have to do it alone. The experts at Gulf Coast Electric offer superior residential electrical services, including comprehensive home energy audits.

Our team can provide professional advice and solutions to make your home more energy-efficient. We’ll take steps to ensure a happy, healthy living environment. Schedule your energy efficiency consultation today and take the first step towards a more cost-effective home.