How You Can Avoid Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

How You Can Avoid Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

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carbon monoxide detector ryan gath carbon monoxide poisoning

Carbon monoxide is a silent and deadly killer. More than 400 Americans die from carbon monoxide poisoning each year and over 10,000 more require medical treatment for symptoms of illness brought about by excessive exposure to carbon monoxide gas. Young children, senior citizens and those who have heart and/or breathing problems are most vulnerable to carbon monoxide poisoning; at the same time, even healthy individuals can be killed by this odorless gas. Thankfully, there are ways to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.

Following are some warning signs that can alert you to the fact that carbon monoxide is present in your home. If you see any of these danger signs, address the problem immediately by either having home repairs done or seeking medical help. It can mean the difference between life and death or at least good health and serious health problems. 

Warning Signs in the Home

Anything that burns fuel in your home has the potential to release carbon monoxide into the air. Fuel-burning devices include fireplaces that burn gas or wood, gas stoves and ovens, furnaces, boilers, water heaters, power generators, and power tools. Even excessive tobacco smoke can cause avoidable carbon monoxide poisoning. 

You should always be on the lookout look for warning signs that certain devices may be releasing carbon monoxide into the home. These include:

  • Moisture. Carbon monoxide creates moisture in the home, leading to condensation in the walls and/or on the inside part of windows. You will also likely notice water streaks on the device releasing this gas.
  • Moisture-related problems soon follow. These include excessive rusting near fuel-burning devices, especially on metal chimneys, appliance jacks, and flue pipes. Mold can also be a sign of carbon monoxide in the home because it grows when humid air comes in contact with a cold spot. Look out for moisture on walls, floors, and appliances in an unventilated area. 
  • Device malfunctions. When appliances release carbon monoxide into the air, they release other, visible signs as well. Be on the lookout for stains, soot, or discolored walls around where appliances are installed. Check appliance flames, as carbon monoxide causes flames to burn badly, slowly, or floppily. This gas may also turn a normally blue flame orange or yellow. 
  • Loose or disconnected vent/chimney connections or guards. Carbon monoxide poisoning happens because the gas does not have a route out of the home. 
  • Blocked chimney. Carbon monoxide may not block a chimney; however, a blocked chimney does cause carbon monoxide build-up in the home. If you notice your chimney is blocked, have it cleaned immediately.
  • Keep an eye on your plants and pets as well. While not all plants last through the winter it is unwise to automatically attribute wilting, dying plants to the change in temperature. If all your plants seem to be doing poorly and/or the plants closest to fuel-burning devices tend to die sooner than the others, this is a telltale sign you may have carbon monoxide in the home. 
  • A bad smell. If you notice a stale, stuffy, or burning smell in your home, be aware that this could be an indication that a device is releasing carbon monoxide into the air. While carbon monoxide is odorless, malfunctioning devices that release may also release other toxic gases at the same time. 

Health-Related Warning Signs

Carbon monoxide may be a silent killer but it is not always an instant one. It is not uncommon for households who are exposed to carbon monoxide poisoning to have one or more of the following symptoms: 

  • Aches and pains. These include headaches, stomachaches, and chest pain.
  • Breathing problems. You may feel short of breath when exercising or carrying heavy objects. Those who already have breathing problems such as asthma may feel out of breath even when relaxing.
  • Fatigue. You may feel tired all the time, have a hard time getting up in the morning, or simply not feel much like doing anything. 
  • Irritability. You and others in the home may feel confused, leading to increased anger, irritability, and/or frustration over small things. 
  • Pets are also vulnerable to carbon monoxide poisoning. If you have an indoor pet who is not eating well and seems to be overly tired, confused, or irritated, try taking it outside to see if symptoms improve. If the pet is noticeably better outside the home you can be sure that there is carbon monoxide present inside the house. 
  • Another telltale symptom is that everyone in the home feels ill to some degree.

At the same time, it is very important to note that some people can lose consciousness or even die without experiencing a single symptom of carbon monoxide poisoning. This is particularly true for those who are either sleeping or have had too much to drink. 

What Can You Do?

The CDC recommends that every single homeowner install a carbon monoxide detector in the home. Ideally, this detector should be installed where it will wake you up if you’re asleep. The batteries should be changed twice a year and you should install new detectors every five years or so.

Any device in the home that uses gas, oil, or coal should be serviced by an inspector on an annual basis. Having devices inspected before using them for the winter can avoid carbon monoxide poisoning at the onset. Additionally, all fuel-burning devices should be placed in areas with proper ventilation.

Don’t let carbon monoxide poisoning hurt you and those you love. It is easy and necessary for your safety to take these steps to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Do everything you can to prevent poisoning and remain vigilant for signs of carbon monoxide poisoning in your home. As the old saying goes, “Better safe than sorry.” Contact us today if you need a carbon monoxide detector installed in your home, and be sure to check out our amazing reviews!

By Ryan Gath Electric

Electrical Fires: How They Start and Prevention Measures

Electrical Fires: How They Start and Prevention Measures

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According to the latest statistics, electrical fires account for approximately 51,000 of the house fires each year in the United States. Nearly 500 people die in those fires and more than 1,400 come away injured. They account for $1.3 billion in damages to property. They’re a very real threat and nothing to turn your nose up at. Taking the necessary steps to minimize the risks to your home and family isn’t just worthwhile, it’s arguably your responsibility and duty to do so.

Make Sure Your Smoke Detectors Work

65% of the home fire deaths that occur annually happen in instances where the home has no functional smoke detectors or have otherwise faulty detectors. The most valuable thing you can protect in the event of a house fire is the safety and lives of those in your home. Should something happen, be it electrical or otherwise, you need to make sure there’s a fool-proof system in place to warn you and your about the imminent danger. You can start by changing out your detectors batteries every six months. If you’re looking at getting new detectors, we at Integra have the skillset to help. For optimal protection, we recommend what’s known as dual sensor smoke detectors. These types of systems are encouraged by the U.S Fire Administration to most effectively signal all growing fires as quickly as possible.

Risk Assessment Inspection

Risk management the act of going through the property and isolating potential electrical fire hazards. After a trained professional inspects the property, they can help you determine what steps are the most logical for you to take to mitigate or even outright eliminate those risks. Here are some of the most commonly found electrical fire risk factors found in the average home:

  • Faulty electrical outlets (loose frames, wires sticking out, sparking when plugs are inserted, etc.)
  • Ungrounded plus
  • Extension cord misuse
  • Space heaters in general
  • Old wiring
  • Flammable material ear light fixtures

Use Electrical Outlets Responsibly for Electrical Fire Prevention

All too often people abuse their electrical systems. Overloading outlets, over-using electrical extension cords, and using the wrong type of lightbulb are all huge risk factors for electrical fires. Using space heaters sparingly (if at all) use light bulbs that match the recommended wattage on the light fixture, and use extension cords sparingly and for brief periods of time.

Call Ryan Gath Electric Today for the best electrical remodel service in Massachusetts!

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By Ryan Gath Electric

Security Lighting Options to Keep Your Home Safe

Security Lighting Options to Keep Your Home Safe

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Did you know the FBI estimates that 400,000 burglaries occur each year during the holidays? The reason for this is obvious: A lot of people are purchasing expensive gifts and have more cash in their homes. At the same time, between holiday shopping and festivities, a lot of us are away more often. All of this combined makes homes prime targets for burglars, porch pirates, and other criminals.

Using Lighting to Enhance Your Home Security

To really enjoy the holidays you need to be sure that your loved ones, your home, and your possessions are safe. While a home security system with an alarm is important, it’s also critical to understand the vital role that security lighting can play. According to experts, well-chosen lighting can deter criminals from targeting your home. The following security lighting options can help keep your holidays safe:

  • Motion-activated door lighting: Burglars typically enter homes in a manner that draws the least amount of attention: through the door. If your porch isn’t well-lit, it’s easy for them to pick the lock on your door or smash a window and unbolt the door from the inside without being noticed. However, if you install motion-activated door lighting by all your exterior doors, the lights will turn on as soon as somebody approaches. And while that will likely make your guests feel welcomed, it will scare most burglars away.
  • Driveway lighting sensors: Just like motion-activated door lighting, driveway lighting sensors turn on the exterior lights as soon as a car pulls into your driveway. It’s great when you come home after a fun family dinner—but it’s not so great if you’re a burglar looking to hide a getaway vehicle.
  • Automatic lighting timers: Install automatic timers on your indoor, outdoor, and holiday lights so they automatically turn on and off, even when you’re not at home. Criminals will literally stake out a home until they believe the owner isn’t there—but if the lights come on, they have no way of knowing you’re not in. This security lighting option is particularly useful if you regularly come home after dark or if you’re planning to travel during the holidays.
  • Whole-property floodlight: This type of lighting floods the exterior of your entire property with light with one single switch. So, if you hear something suspicious outside, all you have to do is turn on the floodlight to scare the bad guys away! There are even budget-friendly options like Ring’s security floodlight that do the job well without breaking the bank.

In addition to providing security, good lighting also enhances safety. Dark evenings can make it challenging for your guests or family to navigate your yard and can lead to preventable accidents like tripping over lawn decorations, tools, or furniture. When these areas are illuminated, you can greatly reduce the risk of injuries occurring and make your whole home safer. This is especially important when it’s cold out, as ice and snow can make the whole ground slippery and dangerous.

Contact a Professional for More Information

If you are interested in adding security lighting to your home, it’s time to contact Ryan Gath Electric to help install the right equipment to keep you and your family safe. We will listen to your concerns and determine what the best options are considering your needs and your property.

For all of your electrical needs, call Ryan Gath Electric today!

By Ryan Gath Electric

What You Need to Know About Electrical Code Compliance

What You Need to Know About Electrical Code Compliance

  • Electrical
  • Uncategorized
electrical code compliance

If you’re upgrading your home’s electrical system or about to start a remodeling project, then it’s important to be aware of electrical code compliance requirements. Electrical codes are specifically designed to set a safety standard that minimizes the chances of injuries and property damage due to electrical shock, faults, or fires. In other words: While complying with electrical codes might seem like a hassle, it’s an investment in your and your family’s safety.

Of course, due to increased household power consumption and technological advancements, homes today have to meet a different set of requirements than homes that were built 20, 30, or 40 years ago. And although you won’t be required to upgrade your home’s old wiring just because it’s old, it’s a good idea to do it because it’s much, much safer. 

  • Replace all smoke detectors in your home every 10 years is a way to ensure the detectors are up to date with technology and any new safety requirements and standards in place. 
  • Read and store manuals for the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to understand how they work, warning signs that batteries require replacements, and what to do if the detector begins to malfunction.
  • Hire a professional to inspect all of the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home if you are unsure of whether they are working properly and want to verify all of the features are up to today’s standards.
  • Every 5 to 7 years it is advisable to replace carbon monoxide detectors in the home to avoid malfunctions while eliminating the risk of the detectors not working if there is a carbon monoxide gas leak.
  • When purchasing and installing a new carbon monoxide detector, look for an option that features an “end of life” sensor–giving you a warning ahead of time when you are in need of a replacement or inspection. 
  • Whenever possible, use lithium ion batteries for smoke and carbon monoxide detectors as lithium ion batteries have a longer lifespan than traditional batteries that are often used.
  • Install a carbon monoxide detector that includes an electrochemical sensor, giving you and your family peace of mind while avoiding carbon monoxide leaks and poisoning. 
  • Ensure that any alarm you choose to purchase, install, or already have in your home is either CSA or UL listed for the most protection possible. 
  • Another option when installing detectors throughout your home is to have them hard-wired with various types of battery back-ups available. Having a battery back-up in place is a way to gain peace of mind while reducing the risk of a dangerous house fire that spreads quickly.

Call Ryan Gath Electric today for answers to all your electrical questions!

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Please check with lender for up-to-date terms, conditions and eligibility requirements. Information on this page is subject to change. Ryan Gath Electric is not responsible for the terms and conditions of third party lenders, or the accuracy of this page. backup generator installation backup generator installation backup generator installation

By Ryan Gath Electric

Steps You Can Take to Help Your Automatic Backup Generator Installation

Steps You Can Take to Help Your Automatic Backup Generator Installation

  • Electrical
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Automatic Backup Generator Installation

A standby automatic backup generator is a great safety addition to any homeowner’s current abode. It ensures your home is protected immediately in case any power outages occur that take your house off the grid. It is also an amazing alternative to the convention portable generator by eliminating all the hassle involved with setting up a portable generator when the power goes off.

As eager as you may be to set up your new automatic generator right now, we can stress enough that the installation process is better left to a contracted professional. Specific codes must be met, and safety precautions taken, to guarantee that the generator works efficiently and reliably. Although you may not be able to set up the entire generator without the help of a professional, there are some preliminary measures you can take before your contracted plumber/electrician arrives to help him/her out! Here are a few steps you can take to prepare your generator for installation, as well as what happens once the contractor arrives:

Figure Out Where the Generator Will Go

It is very easy to decide exactly where the generator should be set up. It will always be outside, due to carbon monoxide output. You’ll also want it as close to your main inlet/fuse box as possible. Ideally it will be in an area where a natural-gas line and a line-voltage cable can reach the gas and fuse box inside your house without too much threading and headache. Once you find a good spot with the easiest access to both places from the outside of your house, you’ll want to set up the generator around 5 feet away from any doors and windows. This is to prevent any risk of damage to the unit or water pooling in or around the unit. Once that sweet pot has been discovered, it’s time to begin preparing the land. 

Tending to the Land

You are going to want to ensure that you have a pre-cast concrete pad and enough gravel to make a compacted bed. If you have both of these items, create the compacted gravel bad and set the pre-cast concrete pad on top of it so the bed is supporting the pad.

By doing this you’re keeping the generator out of the dirt and off the ground. In the event of any rainfall or bad conditions, the generator will be completely safe from any ground corrosion or rust exposure. Maintenance and preservation is key when owning your own automatic generator, and that all starts with the environment and specific placement of the generator itself.

Securing the Generator

Using four stainless-steel bolts, you’ll now want to fasten the generator to the concrete pad. This will ensure that even with decently strong storm-level winds, your generator will not be moving anytime soon. A loose or unfastened generator can mean serious generator issues down the line. Especially in severe weather conditions, high velocity winds will either make the generator rattle and shake, possible making internal parts within the generator shake loose. If these winds are strong enough, you may even be out of a generator altogether when it gets swept away with various other debris. Ensuring the generator is fastened securely will protect it from the elements in the long run. 

Call Your Trusted Plumber

The DIY crowd emits a collective groan. We understand, you’ve bought your beautiful new automatic generator and you just want to set it up without having to rely on anyone else. Unless you can safely and securely connect a natural-gas line from your house to your generator, though, then this call is necessary. Most of the time your contractor will be able to knock this out of the way fairly quickly, as well as the next task on the list.

As we stated in the beginning of this article, everything before this step is a way for you to minimize the hourly that your contractor may charge by prepping as much as you can before the professionals arrive. Your safety and your generator’s efficiency are the top priorities in this situation though, and unless you can connect a natural-gas line confidently then a professional must be called. 

Call Your Trusted Electrician

You are also going to need a line-voltage cable ran from your house to your generator. This is, like the last task, something better left to the professionals in order to ensure your safety. If you can confidently state that you are able to run a line-voltage cable by yourself with no problems, then you may be able to get through this task with no such help, but the majority of homeowners most likely cannot claim this confidently. You’ll also most likely need a transfer switch inside beside your electrical meter, which your contractor can take care of too!

Many contractors will be able to cover the entire generator installation process, but these few tips will help your contractor focus on the nitty gritty of the installation, and also help you save some cash if there is an hourly rate involved. 

Call Ryan Gath Electric today for answers to all your electrical questions!

Or check out our stellar Google reviews!

Please check with lender for up-to-date terms, conditions and eligibility requirements. Information on this page is subject to change. Ryan Gath Electric is not responsible for the terms and conditions of third party lenders, or the accuracy of this page. backup generator installation backup generator installation backup generator installation

By Ryan Gath Electric

5 Types of Outdoor Safety Lighting to Prevent Home Break-Ins

5 Types of Outdoor Safety Lighting to Prevent Home Break-Ins

  • Electrical
  • Uncategorized
outdoor lighting

Every 15 seconds in the United States, a home is broken into. It’s a scary figure to consider no matter how well protected or gated your neighborhood is. Burglars and thieves seem to always find a way, except when certain precautions are taken. While home security systems are certainly helpful in letting you know someone is trying to break in there are ways to prevent the attempt. Houses that take certain precautions make themselves a house that seems to risky to prowlers, encouraging them to pass on by. Lighting is one major way this can be accomplished. A burglar doing his homework is going to look for the easiest, most vulnerable home. A well lit home is not one a burglar typically wants to tangle with. With that in mind, let’s take a look at five types of outdoor safety lighting that will help prevent a break-in.

1. Motion Sensor Outdoor Lighting

Motion sensor lighting is one of the best break-in deterrents you can get for your money. If anything approaches your home and sets off the sensor, the lights will come on. This is particularly effective due to the startling nature of having lights suddenly turn on. Even if a burglar knows it was motion detection, they are still likely to take off running in fear that the lights have captured someone’s attention who might have seen them. These work best mounted close to the house as you don’t want every car that passes by to set them off. A person will have to come closer to the home where they shouldn’t be to make the lights come on, making this one of the most effective safety lighting break-in deterrents.

2. Flood Lighting

Flood lighting is another type of light that is extremely effective against home break-ins. Flood lights stay on constantly at night making your home very visible in the dark. Thieves prefer the easiest home they can find and they do not want to do their work in a flood light where everyone can see them. There are also great aesthetic benefits to flood lighting. Up lighting is done to accentuate trees and shrubbery by pointing the floodlights up at the tree from the ground, illuminating them to the point that everyone passing by can see them from the road. You may be investing a lot of hard earned money into your landscaping so why only show off a beautiful yard during the day? Down lighting creates a similar effect by mounting the flood lights high and illuminating the landscaping below. By using floodlights in both of these ways you can keep a beautifully manicured yard visible at night as well as deter burglars who would seek to break into your home. 

3. Outdoor Hanging Lights

These are great for front porches and doorways. They illuminate the doors making it way less likely that a thief will stand under a light and try to break in the door. It also protects you as you enter and leave the home at night. They can be especially helpful when you are fumbling for the right key and trying to see the keyhole. Not only do they add an element of safety, but they illuminate the architecture of your home adding to the curb appeal and raising property values.

4. Pathway/Driveway Lighting

Breaking into a home can happen in many different ways. People have been known to be grabbed walking up to a dark house or driveway. An easy fix for this is pathway and driveway lighting. Decorative lights can be used to line your driveway and the front walkway all the way up to your house. This makes muggers and thieves a lot less likely to take you by surprise in a well lit walkway. You can exit your car in the driveway with peace of mind knowing that you are well lit. Another safety benefit is that you won’t be caught off guard by anything sitting in the driveway or lying on your front lawn. Have kids? Then you have probably had a bicycle or two left in your driveway or toys on the front lawn. Driveway and pathway lighting keep these areas well lit so that you do not accidentally run over a bike or trip over a toy and hurt yourself. They also look beautiful from the road.

5. Post Lanterns and Torches

This type of decorative outdoor lighting is typically found around backyard decks and pools. They look great, add a romantic feel to the area and illuminate the parts of the yard you want to see. This also has a great safety benefit as burglars have been known to enter houses from the back yard to avoid detection.

Outdoor safety lighting is an investment in your home that beautifies it, adds curb appeal, raises property values and keep you and your family safe. A safe family is something you just can’t put a price on.

Call Ryan Gath Electric today for answers to all your electrical questions!

Or check out our stellar Google reviews!

Please check with lender for up-to-date terms, conditions and eligibility requirements. Information on this page is subject to change. Ryan Gath Electric is not responsible for the terms and conditions of third party lenders, or the accuracy of this page. gfci in lowell gfci in lowell

By Ryan Gath Electric

5 Things to Consider Before Buying a New Ceiling Fan

5 Things to Consider Before Buying a New Ceiling Fan

  • Electrical
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ceiling fan

The right ceiling fan can do a lot for you and your home. Equal parts form and function, a good ceiling fan can provide a nice, relaxing breeze while also tying the room together aesthetically. But, like any home improvement project, there are more than a few things to consider before you pull the trigger on a new fan. To make sure that your fan is the right one for you, be sure to consult with your Ryan Gath Electric representative.


Before you make any final decisions about any ceiling fans, you need to ensure that the fan you’re interested in is the right fit for your space . Literally. It may seem like an obvious thing, but you would be amazed to know how many inexperienced homeowners select a ceiling fan based only on visual appeal without thinking about how small or large they need it to be for their needs. For example In a room up to 50 square feet, choose a 29″ fan. Medium size rooms up to 100 square feet can fit fans from 36″ to 42″. Standard bedrooms and family rooms up to 400 square feet work best with fans that are 50″ or 52″.


As a semi-permanent fixture, you want your newly installed ceiling fan to look good in your home. Just as an ugly couch can ruin the appeal of an otherwise beautiful room, an out of place ceiling fan can detract from the overall aesthetic of your home. And since most fans come with lighting fixtures, you also can consider which lighting will best compliment your room. There are options like  spotlights and multiple glass shades that can be added to a fitter to enhance the design. A friend or family member with a keen eye for interior design will jump at the chance to help find you the perfect fan, but failing that, our resident expert representatives are ready, willing, and able to assist you in deciding on a fan that accentuates your home’s existing features.

Cooling Power:

Power, in the sense of how much cooling ability the fan brings to the table. A fan’s primary function is first and foremost to supply a refreshing cool breeze to your living space. Depending entirely on your preferences, a fan can provide a barely-there breeze or a noticeable gust of air. The air intensity, or lack thereof, is a huge part of picking a ceiling fan that you shouldn’t take lightly. 

Energy Efficiency

With everyone trying to be ecologically friendly these days, having a fan that is good on electricity may be something that’s important to you. Thankfully, ceiling fans are some of the best cooling products for conserving energy. Most fans only consume about 90 or so watts of electricity, leaving even the greenest A/C systems in the dust. That said, many people install an extra ceiling fan in a room to act as an energy-efficient cooling alternative to air conditioning. 

Special Fans for Special Rooms: 

Are you thinking of putting a fan in the bathroom? What about an outdoor fan to accentuate your covered patio? For more unorthodox installations, you need an especially designed fan. Bathroom fans need to be designed with small spaces in mind, and outdoor fans need specialized casings to protect them from the elements. Placing improper fans in these types of locations could mean serious damage to your fan and/or home. 

Call Ryan Gath Electric today for answers to all your electrical questions!

Or check out our stellar Google reviews!

Please check with lender for up-to-date terms, conditions and eligibility requirements. Information on this page is subject to change. Ryan Gath Electric is not responsible for the terms and conditions of third party lenders, or the accuracy of this page. gfci in lowell gfci in lowell

By Ryan Gath Electric

7 Factors to Consider Before Installing a GFCI in Lowell

7 Factors to Consider Before Installing a GFCI in Lowell

  • Electrical
  • Uncategorized
gfci in lowell

Many people don’t understand how electric circuits work, and the equipment used to protect your family from an electric shock or fire. This is done through a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI), which is one of the most important pieces of equipment in a home that can save your life. For any areas that have both water and electricity, a GFCI is a must in any Lowell home, and is required by law according to the National Electric Code (NEC).

What does a GFCI do?

A GFCI detects any irregular current flows and shuts off the power before things become serious. Without a GFCI, there is a heightened risk, putting you and your family at risk. Without a GFCI in place, property values are lowered due to the high risk of electrical issues being present. There are three main advantages to having GFCI outlets:

  • Preventing Shock

GFCI outlets prevent electrocution and shock. The built-in sensor monitors the change in electric flow and will shut down when there is a problem. Although a little more expensive than standard outlets, it is well worth the cost.

  • Preventing Fire

GFCI outlets detect ground faults. This aids in preventing electrical fires. Coupled with the assistance of electrical fuses, the likelihood of an electrical fire occurring is very slim.

  • Prevention of Appliance Damage

As time passes, there are instances where electric currents can damage certain appliances within home. This is one reason why computer hard disk drives fail or shut down. When using a GFCI, when leaks are detected, the circuit will shut down. This helps protect your appliances and equipment from being damaged.

What is the difference between a GFCI and a circuit breaker?

Circuit breakers are designed to protect an electrical circuit from damage caused by overload or short circuiting. It can be reset automatically or manually to continue operation. They are designed in a number of sizes – consider it a mechanical fuse. A GFCI senses a leak in the circuit, usually before the circuit break. Although both interrupt electrical shortages, the GFCI is more sensitive, identifying other places that have water usage.

Where should you install a GFCI in Your Lowell Home?

Before installing a GFCI, it is best to know where it should be placed. Because GFCIs detect electrical currents near water, it should be installed in an area that is subject to moisture. This includes bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, garages, and other places where moisture can collect.

How do you test a GFCI?

If you have a GFCI that was installed prior to 2006, you need to test it with a circuit tester. You plug it into the outlet and push the test button. If the power goes off, the GFCI is still working. Pressing the reset button will restore power. If the power does not go off, that means the GFCI is no longer working. Newer GFCIs give you an automatic warning when they are no longer working, and the power will shut off on its own. This indicates it needs to be replaced.

How does a GFCI differ from an AFCI?

An Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) outlet is designed to recognize arc faults, which are in the wiring. A GFCI protects people from electric shock. Faulty wiring in arc-faults can be a result of humidity or heat, extended mechanical or voltage stress, or age. When wires become damaged by nails or other punctures, animal bites, or bent wires that cause cord damage, this can result in arc-faults.

How do you use a temporary GFCI?

A temporary GFCI is used to provide electricity for areas that need temporary use. This is done by installing a GFCI breaker that should be tested on a weekly basis to ensure there are no hazards that could cause electric shock or fire. There are certain rules to follow for temporary installation, and additional guidelines to be followed for installation removal.

When can you use temporary GFCIs?

You can use temporary GFCIs when you have certain activities going on that require electricity, but can be removed after completion of the purpose. This includes remodeling, demolition of buildings, developmental work, emergencies, tests, decorative lighting for events, and other instances where temporary electrical power is needed. Temporary GFCI installation has time limits on the amount of time it can be used, based on the use. Portable GFCI devices are also widely used on job sites, for portable generators, vending machines and more.

Knowing these seven factors on how and why GFCIs are important can provide peace of mind, knowing the risk has been lessened and will keep your family comfortable and safe. Now you are aware of what is required, whether installing yourself or using a contractor. This will assist in making sure your home is protected the right way.

Call Ryan Gath Electric today for answers to all your electrical questions!

Or check out our stellar Google reviews!

Please check with lender for up-to-date terms, conditions and eligibility requirements. Information on this page is subject to change. Ryan Gath Electric is not responsible for the terms and conditions of third party lenders, or the accuracy of this page. gfci in lowell gfci in lowell

By Ryan Gath Electric

8 Most Common Electrical Code Violations

8 Most Common Electrical Code Violations

  • Electrical
  • Uncategorized
electrical code

Many confident homeowners take the DIY electrical plunge thinking it can’t be that difficult to install wiring into outlets and breaker boxes with little concern for the local electrical code. Although they may accomplish their goal of powering their home, that great feeling of “I did it all by myself!” is often short-lived and wrought with consequences, such as unsafe wiring, reduce property resale value and failure to pass regional and local electrical safety inspections.

What is the National Electrical Code?

A subgroup of national fire codes, the NEC is a book of electrical installation and renovation safety standards established by the National Fire Protection Agency. While not mandated by regional laws in the U.S., the NEC has been adopted by over 98 percent of all U.S. areas. Every three years the NFPA publishes a large volume of electrical safety codes covering both indoor and outdoor electrical practices and standards that serves as a reference guide for professional electricians. Topics discussed in the NEC include conductors, wiring, cables and voltages.

8 Common Electrical Code Violations Every Homeowner Should Know

1. Installing the wrong circuit breaker or failing to install circuit breakers

Circuit breaker boxes contain switches that “trip”, or turn themselves off to stop the flow of electricity in specific parts of a home if the electrical current in that particular area exceeds preset limits. When a switch is tripped, the circuit breaker needs to be manually reset to return the current to its preset level. Some circuit breakers will automatically reset without human intervention.  Neglecting to install the right circuit breaker (or none at all) is not only an electrical code violation but will also put your and your family at high risk for a fire raging in the wall on which the circuit breaker box is attached.

2. Switch locations do not have neutral wires

Most automated light switches require a neutral wire. Switches that don’t need a neutral wire will give you incandescent lighting only. If your home uses fluorescent, LED and other light devices under 20w, you must use a neutral wire or be in violation of electrical codes. The purpose of a neutral wire involves completion of the 120-volt AC circuit, which it accomplishes by providing a safe avenue back to an electrical panel. Here, the insulated neutral wire connects and bonds to the ground to prevent accidental electrocution.

3. Neglecting to install tamper resistant receptacles

The 2014 edition of the NEC requires all new or renovated homes/dwellings install tamper resistant receptacles with spring-loaded coverings (shutters) that protect contact slots in the receptacles. When you insert a plug into one of these TR receptacles, you compress both springs so that shutters open to allow insertion of a plug’s metal prongs. Since two springs need to be compressed simultaneously, a child inserting something into just one opening won’t cause electricity to flow into the receptacle.  Even if you do not have children, your new or renovated dwelling must have tamper resistant receptacles.

4. Not installing enough receptacles

The National Fire Protection Association estimates nearly 50,000 dwelling fire in the U.S. happen every year due to overloading an electrical system not equipped with enough receptacles. To compensate for lack of outlets, homeowners are quick to rely on extension cords not designed to handle large amounts of electricity. Signs of overloaded circuits that could cause fires include dimming/flickering lights, frequently tripped breakers and getting a slight shock when you plug in an appliance.

5. Leaving outdoor receptacles uncovered

Although this seems like a no-brainer, many building owners don’t think of the dangers involved with leaving an electrical receptacle exposed to the elements. If your dwelling has outdoor receptacles that aren’t shuttered, you are in violation of an electrical code that could delay the sale of your home or even reduce the value of your home.

6.  Failing to install ground fault circuit interrupters

Ground faults occur when electricity escapes wiring and takes a direct shortcut to the floor. When ground faults pass through a person, the result could be a deadly electrocution. This is why the National Electric Code requires GFCIs in outdoor receptacles and in new or renovated bathrooms, kitchens, unfinished basements and crawl spaces.

7. Outdated wiring in homes over 50 years old

Electrical wiring in dwellings constructed before 1970 may be in violation of local or regional electrical codes. Aluminum wiring widely used in the 70s may be safe but could present safety issues if connected to copper wiring. Older homes with aluminum wiring will probably need an inspector to confirm it has been properly installed, a complicated procedure best left to professionals.

8. Improperly configuring panels

DIYers aggravated by a constantly tripping fuse or breaker often may hastily replace the offending breaker with a larger capacity breaker. In addition to being extremely dangerous, it is also illegal to have wrongly configured panels and is in direct violation of electrical codes. A breaker is matched to load capacity and wire size. Larger breakers allow more and more current to flow through before they trip, catch on fire or blow out your home’s electricity system.

Adhering to electrical codes means living safely in your home, having appliances and fixtures that operate smoothly, saving on troubleshooting electrical problems, reducing your energy costs and maintaining a higher property resale value on your home.

Please check with lender for up-to-date terms, conditions and eligibility requirements. Information on this page is subject to change. Ryan Gath Electric is not responsible for the terms and conditions of third party lenders, or the accuracy of this page.

By Ryan Gath Electric

10 Things to Consider Before Home Rewiring

10 Things to Consider Before Home Rewiring

  • Electrical
  • Uncategorized
home rewiring

New houses are generally outfitted to accommodate the use of all our modern technologies, appliances and conveniences and as such don’t need a home rewiring. Many homes have large tech-savvy televisions, microwave ovens, computers and devices throughout. Today’s electrical construction accounts for them. But many older structures were built with the electrical needs of those times in mind and that may put you on the outside looking in when it comes to enjoying technology. Older construction may also be below current safety codes and you can’t put a price on peace of mind when it comes to the safety of your family. If you’re considering bringing your electricity up to speed, here are 10 things to consider.

1. Do You Need New Wiring?

Older homes often have outdated electrical wiring in terms of safety and the ability to adequately provide the necessary current of modern electronics. Some simply are not in compliance with basic electrical codes either. Here is a short list of things that would lend strong consideration to a complete electrical overhaul:

  • Knob and Tube: This type of wiring can be found in homes built before 1940. If untouched, these systems may be running okay in small residential homes. However, you run a greater risk of fire by keeping K&T because the systems may not be grounded and are designed to let heat resonate outward toward potentially combustible materials.
  • Aluminum Wiring: About two million U.S. homes have aluminum electrical wiring and many experts view this as a significant hazard. Aluminum wiring requires a specialized level of safety installation at each outlet, switch and junction box. Without this, or if it has been damaged or tampered with over the years, aluminum wiring could just be a fire waiting to happen. Get rid of it.
  • Scorch Marks: Outlets and light switches should remain cool. If you see charred areas or if they feel hot, you have a serious electrical problem. It may be limited to a particular switch or the entire system may be faulty. Either way, get it looked at by a licensed professional ASAP.
  • Circuit Breakers: When circuit breakers become overloaded, they shut off as a safety mechanism. If yours are tripping regularly, there is an issue that needs to be addressed by an electrician.
  • Other Warning Signs: If you find that your lights dim, electrical connections are loose, or you see frayed wires, sparks, or have been shocked, these are all signs that you have a problem. Have your system looked at by a licensed electrician. 

2. Reasons To Want a Home Rewiring

Electrical systems installed in homes that were built during the 1980s or earlier have difficulty keeping up with the demands our modern electronics place on them. Some still have 60 amp limits in contrast to 100-200 amps of new homes. Think about the technological progress for a minute. In the ’80s, homes had smaller televisions, limited video games, virtually no computers, few devices to recharge and only 25 percent of homes had a microwave oven. And, we’re not even thinking about the future of the electric car. You probably find yourself using surge protectors with multiple plugs-ins when you really need more outlets in your home. The bottom line is that enjoying modern conveniences means more convenient electricity stations.

3. How To Choose An Electrician

It’s a very bad idea to try to rewire your own home. Unless you happen to be an electrician, you may put you and your family in harm’s way. If something goes wrong or there’s a fire, your insurance may not cover the loss. Hire a professional. Selecting the right electrician for you is a bit of a process. It’s important that homeowners treat this as a business deal and not a personal arrangement. It’s advisable to take the follow steps and do your due diligence:

  • Create a detailed scope of work document
  • Field multiple, free, no obligation quotes
  • Check with your State to ensure the electrician is licensed
  • Read their business reviews online
  • Check Better Business Bureau ratings
  • Check into litigation history. Have they been sued or filed bankruptcy?
  • Ask questions about start to finish time
  • Avoid the use of subcontractors.

Sign a contract that includes the cost, payment installments, scope of work in detail, labor hours, job time frame, and a method to agree upon potential overages

4. Should I Get An Electrical Permit?

The simple answer is: Yes. It’s in your best interest to have the electrician pull a permit under his or her license. Most states require permits to alter or install new wiring although a drawn electrical plan may not be required on an existing residential home. For you, as a homeowner, a permit means that your home will be inspected and that ensures electrical codes are met and the property is safe for you and your family to occupy.

5. Should Electrical Contractor Be Bonded?

Again, the simple answer is: Yes. A contract or construction bond as they are referred to ensures that everything in your contract is fulfilled by the electrical contractor. For the purposes of having your home rewired, there are two types that are of particular importance to you.

  • Payment Bond: If your contractor does subcontract work to others and does not pay them properly or goes bankrupt, these unpaid or underpaid parties could put a lien on your property. With a bond in place, industry people can recoup losses without dragging you into a legal quagmire.
  • Performance Bond: These are generally tied to the agreement you reach and protect you from shoddy work, failure to meet job specifications, and provide money to complete the project if the contractor doesn’t. Basically, a performance bond is your contingency plan.

6. What Will It Cost?

Rewiring an average home can entail about 40 hours of work and electricians generally charge between $40 and $100 per hour, depending on their certification and experience. Standard materials that meet current codes average approximately $1,500, although costs vary from region to region. Expect the average-sized home to cost somewhere between $4,000 and $5,500 for basic work only. Items that can increase this cost include fixtures, luxury items, difficulty of installation and an additional big ticket item can be the need to upgrade to a 100-200 amp electrical panel. It’s a good idea to have the contractor provide line item costs in your agreement. Also, budget for potential cost overruns. Once walls are opened up, you never know what problems you’ll find.

7. How Invasive Is Home Rewiring?

The simple answer is: Very. Keep in mind that most wires are not easily accessible. They are inside the walls or under floors. There will likely be areas where the electrician will need to do demolition and these will require repair, plastering and paint later. The good news is that because you have a detailed contract that identifies the work areas, you’ll have a good idea what to expect during the process.

8. How Long Will You Be Without Power?

Once you start the project, it’s likely that you will be without power for a period of time. Generally, rewiring a home takes anywhere from 3 to 10 days. More complicated jobs can take longer. It’s important that you outline the start and finish times in your signed agreement. Plenty of contractors are juggling multiple jobs at the same time. A driving factor for some contractors is where the next pay installment is coming. The may shift their resources for financial reasons and balance getting a next check with your patience.

9. How To Manage Life Under Construction?

It’s a good idea to not be around while workers are dismantling your home. Seeing holes being knocked into walls can be very stressful, even though it will all be put back together in the end. Beyond that, there will likely be time without or with limited power. Hot water may not be available, stoves may not work among other inconveniences. Here are a few tips on managing the process.

  • Unplug all electronics before work begins
  • Have construction end at a certain time daily and retake your home after that
  • Have a gym or YMCA membership in place in order to shower
  • Wash all your laundry before the start date
  • Stay at a hotel for a few key days and make a mini vacation out of it
  • Be sure you emptied all the frozen and perishable goods from refrigerators
  • Prepare for well pumps to lose prime
  • Plan to grill meals outdoors or get lots of take-out

10. What are the benefits?

By rewiring your home, several personal and financial goals can be achieved that may include:

  • Ability to upgrade electronics and appliances
  • Convenience and efficiency
  • Lower insurance rates
  • Increased property value
  • Tax deductions
  • Safety and peace of mind

To say that electrical wiring ages like fine wine wouldn’t be correct, unless you mean it turns into vinegar. Time, changing needs and technological advancements will mean updating a home’s electricity at some point. Maybe electrical wiring is more like a trendy craft beer. It’s great for a while, until something better comes along or it just gets old. That’s when you need home rewiring.

Please check with lender for up-to-date terms, conditions and eligibility requirements. Information on this page is subject to change. Ryan Gath Electric is not responsible for the terms and conditions of third party lenders, or the accuracy of this page.

By Ryan Gath Electric