Safety Tips for Your Home

Hector Gonzalez, Lexem Electrical Owner and President

We use electricity every day in our homes without much conscious thought. We turn a light on or plug something in and it just works. Unless our needs change or something fails, we enjoy the quality of life that dependability of electricity affords us.

What if you treated your electrical system like your car and planned on its regular maintenance? We think you will find many benefits, including peace of mind and long-term value, from paying more attention to electricity in your home. Here are some of the most important items to consider for an electrical tuneup in your home.

  • Make sure that an antioxidant compound has been used with aluminum wiring
  • Service your main service panel and and have your subpanel connections tightened every few years
  • Install in-use covers on exterior outlets
  • Replace worn-out, loose receptacles and old switches
  • Install a whole-house surge suppressor
  • Install code-required, modern, tamperproof receptacles
  • Install motion sensor security lighting
  • Install vacancy sensors or timer switches on bathroom lighting or fans
  • Install ventilation in bathroom, attic, or underfloor areas to control moisture and mildew. Fans now come with internal humidstats
  • Tight connections protect against heat buildup. If your main electrical service travels through trees or over a long distance, ask PG&E to check the connections at the pole and at your service entrance head. Connections can get loose and lead to power outages
  • Update/check your main service grounding and bonding system. If you have had your plumbing updated or your water heater changed, sometimes these important safety features can become altered or disconnected.
  • Replace Federal Pacific panels and eliminate fuses in closets. Updated, properly sized circuit breakers are safer to reset and calibrated for the correct size and load they are connected to.
  • Knob and tube wiring should be checked in attics and basements prior to installing insulation.
  • Install arc fault protection for your bedrooms. This technology senses low-grade short circuits and trips out to protect against possible combustion while you are sleeping.
  • Install ground fault protection at your kitchen counters, bathrooms, laundry rooms, garages and workshops and exterior locations to protect against shock injury.

Energy Savers

Dimmer switches save 10% of the energy consumption of the lighting they control and are now required by regulations.

Compact and other types of fluorescent lighting. There are now lamps with much improved color rendering and an “instant-on” feature. These are sometimes even available free from PG&E and other government agencies promoting energy efficiency.

Consider upgrading to LED products for the home, including dimming solutions and vacancy sensors. LED lights are now decorative and high quality. An LED bulb costs significantly more than fluorescent or incandescent lights, but its lifespan is dramatically longer. LED can cut lighting energy use by 75%, and you won’t have to change the bulbs for an estimated nine years.

These are just some of the measures you can take to give your home increased electrical safety and reliability. Ask your Lexem Electrical technician for more information or request one of the services above.

Learn About Texas International Residential Code (IRC), Chapter 11 compliance

On June 16, 2015, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed HB 1736 into Texas law. This moved the state's single-family residential code from 2009 code to the 2015 International Residential Code (IRC), Chapter 11. All local jurisdictions must comply with the new code by September 1, 2016. The new Texas code includes an Energy Rating Index compliance option. The Texas state legislature modified the 2015 IRC required Energy Rating Index scores to a set of scaled scores that increases in stringency over time. The required index scores in Texas are: Climate Zones 2 and 3 is 65 or lower from September 1, 2016 to August 31, 2019, a score of 63 or lower from September 1, 2019 to August 31 2022, 59 or lower score after September 1, 2022. In Climate Zone 4, a 69 or lower score from September 1, 2016 to August 31, 2019, a 67 or lower score from September 1, 2019 to August 31, 2022, and a score of 63 or lower after September 1, 2022.

Visit the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI)

The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) is the leading authority on electrical safety in the home and the workplace. ESFI has a collection of educational tools and resources on their website, including practical information and safety tips on a variety of topics, from holiday safety to protecting our communities from dangerous counterfeit electrical products. Visit ESFI here.

Visit ESFI here.

Consumer Products Wiring Hazards Manual

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) developed this guide to warning signs of potential home wiring hazards and suggestions for mitigating these hazards. The guide is intended to help homeowners locate electrical dangers in their home before these hazards can cause fires or electrical shock. Although it provides guidance for pinpointing problems in the home’s electrical system, it is not an instructional manual for repairing defective electrical systems.

Visit Consumer Product Safety Commission here.

Interested in “Green Electricity”?

Planet Green has an interesting series of tips for how to “go green” with electricity.

Visit Planet Green here.

Learn About Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) Electrical Hazards

Click here to learn.

Review Hazard Information for Zinsco Electrical Panels and Zinsco Circuit Breakers

Click here to review.