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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Inadequate or outdated electrical wiring poses a potential fire hazard.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.

4 Home Electrical Components that Should be Upgraded

In this modern era, it is essential to have a renovated home to keep up with the fast-paced changes in technology that seem to happen every day. There are many upgradable components for your home that can improve your way of living and increase the efficiency of your devices. To make sure that you are up to date, consider the four electrical upgrade components below.

Upgraded Outlets

Modern families have more devices than ever before. Tablets, phones and laptops all require sufficient outlets to power them, so consider making sure that there are more than two outlets per room. Another functional upgrade worth considering is to add more USB outlets to your home. Nowadays, many devices come with USB chargers that can be conveniently plugged into USB outlets to fuel up a charge. 

It is also noteworthy to mention that you should ensure your outlets are up to date. If you notice that your plugs are beginning to slip out, it is probably time for new outlets. 

New Electric Panel

Old panels are likely to get rusty and operate less efficiently over time. Additionally, the electrical wires in your panel can fray. An old panel raises the risk of a fire or injury, and it can also raise your energy bill. 

Dimmer Switches

By replacing plain switches with dimmers, you increase the amount of lighting control that you have per room. This can allow for rich and precise illumination of any space or event. By installing dimmers, you can save money on electricity bills while simultaneously making each room more personalized and modern. 

Copper Wiring

A couple of decades ago, there was a copper shortage that caused many American homes to install aluminum wiring instead of copper. Although aluminum is as good a conductor as copper, it is much more likely to compress in walls and outlets, which can create safety hazards. It is a good idea to inspect your home’s wiring system to make sure that everything is still intact. Furthermore, consider upgrading to copper wiring if you find aluminum wires in your home. 

For more information on electrical upgrades or residential electrical services, contact Gulf Coast Electric

How Hurricanes Affect Your Home Electricity

Although the official Atlantic hurricane season lasts from June 1–November 30, hurricanes can strike at any time. It is important to understand the various ways in which hurricanes can affect the electricity in your home so you can practice electrical safety should you be forced into an unfortunate natural disaster situation.

Power Outages

Exposed power lines and utility poles are at risk of damage when hurricanes make landfall. With wind speeds ranging from 74mph to 154mph, hurricanes pose a major threat to these standing structures. The strong winds alone are capable of toppling utility poles, resulting in loss of power. Trees are also vulnerable to hurricane-force winds. Branches can snap, and shallow-rooted trees can be easily unrooted, knocking over power lines and poles if the wind has not already.

Compromised Electrical System

Hurricanes can generate 6-12 inches or more of rainfall, which can result in severe flooding. Electrical wiring that has been exposed to flood water or moisture can cause irreparable damage to internal components. Any wires that have contact with water would require replacement to ensure proper functionality. Hurricanes tend to dump ocean water along their path – salt water can cause corrosion damage to electrical wires. Worst-case scenarios would involve an entire electrical system replacement.

Increased Energy Prices

Not only can your home’s electricity take a direct hit from hurricanes but so can your electric bill. When the power goes out, there is an increased demand for energy with a lack of supply. Energy companies are unable to supply their customer’s with electricity, causing a major shift in energy prices. Typically, energy prices are raised when the demand is high and supply is low.

Prepare your home electricity for hurricanes

Hurricanes can be devastating and even unexpected. Luckily, there are a few steps homeowners can take to stay safe and alleviate major electrical issues.

  1. Maintain the trees on your property to avoid branches from snapping that could encounter utility poles.
  2. Treat all power lines as active and lethal. Should you encounter fallen power lines, keep a distance of at least 35 feet.
  3. Whether you choose to stay in your home or evacuate, shut off the breakers to avoid power surges.
  4. Contact a professional electrician to evaluate your electrical system. The experts at Gulf Coast Electric in Destin can perform a 50-point electrical inspection of your home to ensure it is prepared to handle major storms. If your home has experienced electrical damage due to tropical storms, contact us for electrical repair services today!

Outdoor Lighting Do’s and Don’ts

Outdoor lighting serves many purposes and provides an abundance of benefits. A well-lit home will enhance your home’s curb appeal by highlighting its architectural and landscape features at night. Lights around your property will also improve your security by alerting intruders that someone is home – even if you’re not. However, electrical safety is a huge factor when working with lighting outdoors. Here are a few do’s and don’ts to watch out for when placing your lights outside. 

Don’t Overload An Outlet

An overloaded outlet can lead to a power outage or, even worse, an electrical fire. Electrical circuits can only handle so much electricity. If one too many plugs are plugged into an outlet, it could cause a lot of damage. Make sure to map out your electrical circuits, and move around the lighting plugs as needed to a less loaded receptacle.

Do Use LED Lights

LED lights are an environmentally sustainable option to light up your yard because they use at least 75% less energy than the traditional, incandescent bulb. As an industry-standard, LED lights last 25 times longer and are safer than the alternative. LEDs also come in a variety of colors. 

Don’t Cover Your Wires in Mulch

Landscape lighting requires wires to illuminate your whole yard. While wires may be unsightly, it’s best not to cover them in mulch due to the risk of becoming exposed over time – and even getting caught up in your lawnmower. Always bury your wires underground to keep them safe from impairment.

Do Cover Your Outlets

Due to the outdoor elements, you must cover all of your outside outlets and their containers to prevent them from getting wet. If your outlet comes in contact with water, it could cause electrical issues or a dangerous electric shock. 

Don’t Use Indoor Lighting Outside

It’s crucial to never use indoor lighting outdoors. Indoor lighting is not as equipped to handle rain and other outdoor elements. Outdoor lights require a protective seal against moisture, which is something indoor lights do not have. As soon as they get wet, they’ll stop working.

Do Contact A Professional

Hiring a professional will guarantee a safe and well-done electrical installation. These experts can also help you plan a layout of your outdoor lighting and make sure everything is up to standard. Our fully licensed professionals at Gulf Coast Electric in Destin are here to help you light up your space with ease. Contact us today to learn more!

Salt water’s Effect on Electrical Components

We know that water and electronics don’t mix, but what about your boat or marina? Here’s how salt water can affect your electrical components in those particular areas – and what to look out for. 

Corrosion

If salt water comes into contact with an electronic device, it can severely corrode the protection surfaces of the circuits. Overtime, the electrical connections will also corrode, creating faulty or completely ruined equipment. Your electronics could even begin to read information incorrectly – or the salt water corrosion could create a short in the circuit. With a short, you could have an electrical fire and completely damage your equipment. If you start to see that your electrical equipment is eroding, call an electrician to inspect your materials for your own electrical safety. 

Rusting

Salt water is also conducive to rusting. Unlike tap or unsalted water, salt water contains the chemical NaCl, or sodium chloride. It acts like a charged ion when it is separated by water – so it can pull your electricity from different surface materials that typically do not conduct electricity. This is all due to chemical bonding. When rust accumulates, the iron is willing to give up its electron to bond with something else. Rust can corrode and weaken your materials and can even hinder your electrical conduction. 

Shorts Due to Submersion

An obvious and scary result of salt water and electronics is a short caused by submersion. As water connects with multiple circuits, the sparks fly and create shorts that lead to burning and frying any electronic you switch on. Frying electrical circuits can lead to major fires and can electrocute anyone that comes in contact with the device. To prevent this while at sea, make sure to store electronics in places that you know will not come in contact with the water. Next, be sure to seal your equipment with materials that can handle and resist the harm of salt water. 

If you are in need of electrical services regarding salt water and your electronics, contact Gulf Coast Electric today.