The Importance of Outlets and Switches for Home Safety and Improvement

How important are outlets and switches in a home? While we need electricity to power our lights and power our electrical appliances, outlets and switches play a key role in distributing the electrical circuit all around a home and in terms of circuit breakers during emergencies. Naturally, any home’s electricity starts with the electrical service connection. From the electricity provider to the feeder wires to the power pole and meter, the electrical contractor plays a key role in installing and connecting all your outlets and switches.

The importance of this is quite simple; electricity to light your home is useless if you cannot switch on or turn off your lights. Likewise, electricity to power your appliances is useless if you do not have outlets to plug in and get power. A good professional electrician will always provide an accessible disconnect switch outside of the house. This switch is usually close to a power pole or the meter in case of emergencies. The disconnect switch is meant to shut off power from outside a home in case of a fire or flash flood instead of entering a burning or flooded house.

Another alternative is to set up a transfer switch also near the meter or power pole to facilitate switching between live power and generator backup power. Although a very simple and basic task, the correct breaker and fuse panel should be installed in a home. The breaker is the first line of defense should it be necessary for the breaker to trip to prevent the main service wires from overloads. Otherwise, the wires would heat up and transfer extreme heat to outlets and switches that may cause a fire. Switches are necessary to turn on and off lights and other electrical items in a house.

The types and number of switches will, of course, be determined by the number of lights and electrical items that need switches.  Electrical outlets are important for portable appliances to plug into in order to obtain electricity for the device to operate. Televisions, computers, toasters, vacuum cleaners, and refrigerators are just a few examples. Some sources of light such as reading lamps need to be plugged before being switched on.  All outlets, regardless of whether in a small or large home, contain a hot, a neutral, and a ground terminal. Some outlets can be used for wet areas while other outlets cannot.

Comments Off

Don’t Ever Do These Home Improvement Mistakes

Don’t Be Color Blind

Many people love color but are afraid to use it. Try a paint color in the room to make sure you like it and that it works with the space. Observe the color at various times of the day as a painted wall will appear different in the morning, afternoon, and at night. If you don’t like it, paint over it. Color is a great punctuation and doesn’t have to be overbearing.

Too Many Knickknacks

Too much accessories and knickknacks is just like having too many decorations in a home. Rotate what you have, and if you really like something but it’s been out for a while, store it for a bit. You don’t have to have it all out at once and every surface should not be covered. Edit your collections so they look good as a small grouping.

Pillow Overload

If the pillows actually hinder being able to sit on a couch or lie comfortably on a bed, then it’s obviously too much. Instead of buying so many pillows, spend your time, energy, and money decorating an area of the room you’re actually looking at when sitting in bed.

Fake Flowers

This is a controversial topic, but fake flowers and plants are a mistake. They gather dust and don’t bring life into your home like real flowers, which look and smell better. Fresh flowers are expensive, but there are other things you can do instead of buying them all the time. Put lemons or other fruit in a bowl for a punch of color. You can also use some dried natural material like curly willow or bamboo stalks for a fresh look.

Furniture Up Against the Wall

Get the furniture off the walls and bring it to the center of the room. Sometimes the backs of furniture are beautiful, and a sofa with a console table behind it is a great place for a gorgeous display. Make it communal and create a focal point as this will enlarge the living room space.

Ignoring Windows

Besides paint, window treatments are the easiest and least expensive way to change the look of a room. A good rule of thumb is to hang curtains two inches above the frame of the window. If you have high ceilings, hang them all the way up to the ceiling to make the room seem bigger.

Comments Off

Home Improvement and Protection: Flood Protection Tips

Home improvement isn’t just about DIY projects and improving the overall appearance of your home. It also means protecting your home and being prepared against the elements, one of them being flood preparation and protection. If you live in a flood prone area or at least in an area that gets flooded at least once a year, you need to take precautions and protect your home or property. Here are some flood preparation tips:

Protect your car

If there is a weather warning or risk of flooding, move your car to higher ground as it takes little more than a foot of fast moving water to wash away a car.

Stock up on batteries

Stock up on batteries for all your flashlights and emergency lights. If it floods at night you will not be able to use the electricity. Also have extra batteries for a portable radio.

Secure your garden furniture

Store or secure any garden furniture as they will float or be blown away.

Protect your valuables

Move any valuable items and papers in an upper floor. If you live in a one-floor house, place your valuables and papers in waterproof storage containers.

Make sure your phone and other gadgets are charged

If you have time before the flood, charge any phones, tablets, or laptops as you will not have any electricity and these will allow you to contact emergency services or simply keep track of what is going on through the internet.

Protect your pets

Bring any pets to an upper floor or move livestock to higher ground as animals are prone to drowning in floods.

Do not use electricity

Do not attempt to use electricity anywhere in your home during flooding.

Call an electrician for inspection

Even after flood waters have receded do not use the electricity until the building has been professionally dried, inspected, and your electricity has been certified safe by a qualified electrician.

Avoid contact with flood waters

If possible, avoid having unnecessary contact with flood waters as it will be contaminated. Any contact with your eyes, ears, nose, throat, or open cuts can cause severe illness.

Avoid contaminated food or drink

Do not eat or drink anything that has come in contact with flood waters.

Contact your insurance company

Contact your insurance company as soon as possible and do not begin repairs until they have given the go-ahead as they will not pay for damages they have not seen. Make sure that your home is not under insured as this will mean the insurance company will only pay for a fraction of the cost of the repairs.

Comments Off