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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. 

4 Ways To Lower Your Electricity Bill

As we continue to spend more time at home, some of us are seeing our electricity bills rise alongside our stress. Don’t worry. Here are four ways you can lower your electricity bill and become more energy efficient at the same time. 

Programmable Thermostat

Installing a programmable thermostat is an easy way to lower your energy usage and save money at the same time. Being able to pick and choose the temperature in your house depending on whether or not you are in the house helps you stay comfortable and cost-efficient. Scheduling can be made easier with a compatible app on your mobile phone, which connects to the thermostat, allowing you to control the temperature anywhere and at any time. Not only are they convenient and easy to use, but they are also environmentally friendly. They allow you to be more energy conscious and efficient as you time your temperatures to your day-to-day routine. Once you get it programs, it’s good to go! 

Replace Your Air Filter

Over time, your AC’s air filter will fill up with dirt, dust and debris, making it harder for your unit to cool your home. Replacing the filter frequently, about every 2-3 months, not only will your help your health and home’s air quality, but it will also lower your electricity bill. By cleaning and replacing your air filter, you save your AC from working twice as hard and wasting energy trying to cool your home.

Keeping Sealed

A big factor in helping your home be more energy efficient is to make sure your windows and doors are properly sealed. This keeps the cold air in and the warm air out. Not sealing your doors and windows can waste lots of energy and money, making you and your AC work harder. Also, make sure that your freezer and refrigerator doors are tightly sealed to keep the cool air where it needs to be.

Cold Water

Another easy tip is to start washing your laundry in cold water rather than hot. This will lower the amount of electricity your washer uses in order to heat up the water – and will make it easier for it to do its job. You will see a significant drop in your utility bill by making this change, which you can even apply to showering, if you can withstand it. 

Saving energy and money sounds hard, but it can be made easy with these simple steps. If you need guidance in becoming more energy-efficient, call Gulf Coast Electric to speak to the Destin electric company homeowners count on. 

What Happens When You Overload An Outlet?

With the world changing and many of us still working from home, the amount of electricity we are using increases – and our electrical outlets work harder to keep us going. But what happens when you overload your outlet? 

How Do You Overload An Outlet?

Looking down at your extension cord to see a tangle of plugs and wire should raise a little concern. You can definitely overload your circuit by adding too many plugs to your outlet, and you can even cause a fire. The overload occurs when you are passing too much current through the circuit, constantly causing the breaker box to reset and eventually wear out. With too much electrical current, heat starts to build up – and can even be enough to start a house fire. 

What Happens If My Outlet Stops Working? 

If your outlet stops working entirely, it’s because your breaker has tripped. Don’t worry, your outlet isn’t completely broken. You can fix this by resetting the breaker. If your outlet looks damaged in any way, maybe disformed or bent, this means that there was some sort of larger problem – maybe a heating or an electrical fire. In this case, do not reset your breaker. Instead, call an electrical services company to completely replace your outlet. 

What Can I Do To Prevent An Overload? 

After learning about how dangerous an overload can be, being aware of what constitutes proper electrical safety is key. Most importantly, if your plugs start to get incredibly hot, unplug them from the electrical outlet. Beyond the possibility of starting a fire, you could also damage whatever electronics are attached and burn yourself, as well. 

Another good practice in electrical safety is knowing what voltage your circuit can hold – as well as how much current you are taking from the circuit. The voltage is like the pressure of a circuit, measured in volts – so think of it as its power. The current is the amount of energy, expressed in amps, found on any of the appliances you’re using. Understanding both components of your electrical appliances is a step closer in making sure you and your home are safe. 

Stay safe by calling Gulf Coast Electric, the most trustworthy electrical company in Destin, to speak to our employers and get your outlets inspected today.

What Is A Marina Electrical Inspection?

Electrical inspections are a crucial part in ensuring the safety of yourself, others and your equipment – in both your home and in any building you reside. But did you know that you can get an electrical inspection for your marina? Here are a few things that are involved in a marina electrical inspection

Ground Fault Detection 

ESD, or electrical shock drowning, is caused by static electricity in the water coursing through a person’s body, causing a quick and painful death. Far too many fatalities occur in marinas due to improper inspection of electrical currents and wiring throughout the dock and poor maintenance of equipment. 

One way to eliminate and prevent electrical shock drowning from occurring is to have a ground fault detection system in place at your marina. This will ensure that the next fault within an electrical current is spotted before a tragic accident can happen, keeping you on your toes and everyone safer. 

Boat Testing

If you have a boat of your own stored at a marina, it’s important to get it tested annually to check for an electricity leak or any other problems, such as wiring and rusting of chords. Having a trusted electrician take a look at your boast is the best way to go about an inspection, but you can also use a clamp meter to check for electricity leaks on your own. 

Consider installing an equipment leakage circuit interrupter, or ECLI, to ensure your machinery is working properly. Once installed, test it monthly to keep up with inspection standards.

Also, be sure to avoid using household extension cords for your boat to power ashore. Use shore power cords to power your boat for both the safety of everyone when operating your boat. 

Swimming 

A basic rule for marinas is this: Never swim within 100 yards of the marina in order to protect oneself from electrical shock within the water. If someone mentions a tingling or shocking sensation while swimming, immediately get out of the water and alert the dock or marina owner – then visit a hospital to check for any lingering shock or harm. 

Having a proper inspection and ensuring the safety of others by frequently testing electrical equipment at your marina is the best way to keep everyone out of harm’s way. If you are in need of marina electrical services, call Gulf Coast Electric today to schedule an appointment with a trusted electrician. 

Living in Florida, Hurricanes are Around. How can I Prepare?

With everything that is going on regarding the coronavirus, it’s hard to also think about hurricane preparations. However, being in Florida, it is always good to be prepared and up to date on the necessary services needed to keep you and your loved ones safe. Here are a few things to consider for your home.

Having A Backup Generator

For some people, this item is deemed as a necessity. For others, this might be thought of as unnecessary. Having a backup generator can keep your home running and keep you comfortable during a long-term power outage. Owning a backup generator will also save you money on groceries. When the power goes out, usually, all the perishable items in your refrigerator will go wrong the same day. So beyond maintaining a sense of normalcy in your home, owning a backup generator will prevent the things in your fridge from going bad and potentially save you hundreds in grocery bills.  

Electrical Safety

During a severe storm, it’s essential to be mindful of all your electrical appliances. When you don’t use preventative measures, there is a risk of injury and potential home damage. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), you should:

  • Turn off utilities, and turn on your propane tank.
  • Stay out of floodwaters, and do not drive in affected areas.
  • If your home is flooded, keep your power off until a professional has inspected your property.

With any unwanted issues that could affect the safety of your family, it’s crucial to have a professional check any equipment that could need to be replaced.

Electrical Services

Getting your house serviced to make sure you are prepared to withstand a storm is very important in Florida. If you come across any broken, live wires, it’s important to call a professional to disconnect the power. Having a professional come into your home and install surge protection can save many valuable electronics in a house. When a home or an area near the home is struck by lightning, it’s likely there will be a power surge. Power surges can destroy electronics.

For any electrical services and safety concerns, give Gulf Coast Electric a call. It’s time to think about being prepared for hurricane season.

Can Lights vs. Traditional Lights

Shopping for new lighting in your home can be tricky. Whether you’re looking for some inspiration or ready to install. It’s essential to know the difference in brightness to understand what you need.

What are ‘Can Lights’?

“Can lights” are lights that are recessed into the ceiling. You typically find these lighting fixtures in your kitchen or your living room with multiple can lights to brighten the space. Can lights get their name because of their housing. When you see a can light, it looks a lot like a can. They are typically metal and cylinder shapes. These lights are great for lighting up places that need extra lighting in multiple parts of a room.

Benefits of Can Lights

Can lights are sleek since they are flush with the ceiling. This installation creates the illusion of a more spacious room. There isn’t anything dangling, which is useful for spaces such as closets, pantries and laundry rooms where you may not necessarily desire to have anything in these tight spaces.

What are ‘Traditional Lights?’

Traditional lighting fixtures are going to be lights that hang down from the ceiling, They can have crystals attached to the frame for things like a chandelier or an intricate design shaped out of metal to create a modern-looking fixture. These lights get their name from the inspiration of classical architectural styles.

Benefits of Traditional Lights

Traditional lights are suitable for creating an ambiance in a room. There is typically only one traditional light in a room, whereas a can light can have multiple in a single room. These lights can be used as a staple piece or as art that is front and center in a room. These lights are not necessarily ideal for small spaces but can be a great addition to a home looking for a “wow” factor. These lights are great over dining room tables, in front entryways or in the master bathroom.

No matter what lighting style you are drawing inspiration from, your friends at Gulf Coast Electric are here for all of your light fixture installation needs. Give us a call today, and see what we can do for the room of your dreams!

How Do You Put Out An Electrical Fire?

Extinguishing an electrical fire can be simple as simple as using baking soda, but how do you know when that’s the best course of action? Here are the best practices to follow in case of emergency. 

Disconnect

First, find the source of power, and immediately shut it off if this does not put you in harm’s way. Otherwise, shut off the electricity in your home to prevent the fire from spreading. Finding the source of the fire and stopping it will keep you from electrocution and further damage. 

Big or Small

If the fire is small, you can use baking soda to extinguish it. The sodium bicarbonate in the baking soda will put out the fire, a chemical also found in Class C fire extinguishers. You can also use a fire blanket or a heavy piece of clothing over the flames to deprive it of oxygen. 

With a bigger fire, never reach for water to preserve electric safety. This could electrocute and shock you, as well as make the fire spread more quickly. Use a fire extinguisher that is labeled Class C, which is specific to electrical fires. 

Safety First

If you are still unable to extinguish the fire, get out of the house. Call 911, and get all residents and pets out of the house. Make sure you have two or more pathways to ensure a safe exit, and remain a distance away from the fire in case of an explosion. 

Once you are outside, close the door behind you to contain the fire before 911 has arrived to prevent further spread and damage beyond the house. Do not attempt to go back into the house until the fire department has stated it is safe to do so. 

For safe electrical services that keep you from experiencing an electrical fire, call Gulf Coast Electric to have your electrical appliances inspected to ensure your safety.