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!

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

Home Rewiring Options & Requirements

Home Rewiring Options & Requirements

  • Electrical
home rewiring options

If you’re living in an older home or have rental properties that are more than ten years old, you may be considering your rewiring options. Determining how and what to upgrade can be challenging at best, especially if you’re not familiar with rewiring options and requirements. In general, electrical work should only be performed by licensed contractors, but there are some DIY options that are relatively safe. Even if you won’t be doing the work yourself, it’s important to have a solid baseline understanding of the options available for rewiring your home or office building.

Why Rewire?

Many years ago, having around 60 amps of electricity was considered to be plenty for a “modern” home. Today’s energy demands are much greater, and can put a significant strain on an aging electrical system. According to experts, anything less than 100 amps is unlikely to provide the electrical service needed by today’s standards, but most homes today are outfitted with up to 200 amps to allow room for growth. Bottom line: don’t wait for electrical outages or flying sparks to decide to have a professional review your system. Instead, be proactive about electrical maintenance and save yourself time and money.

Rewiring Options

Rewiring a building carries a lot of challenges: ensuring that you have the correct electrical services to the building without ripping up walls, floors or installed decorations being the first big hurdle. That said, there are still big benefits to be found by rewiring your home, such as lowered reliance on dangerous electrical practices such as multiple power strips and extension cords or damage to sensitive electronics due to power surges or drop-offs. There are a few options when you’re considering a major electrical service upgrade: rewiring your entire home (big dollars!) or upgrading specific parts such as your electrical service panel — a much more cost-effective option if it will work for your home. 

  • Updating your electrical panel is another option that may help get your system back up to standards. While this is the first step in any rewiring project, it’s possible that this step may be enough to keep your home safe and effectively utilize the power you have available for quite some time. This is a good option when funds or time are limited, or when you don’t feel you’re quite up to the major project of rewiring your home. Replacing circuit breakers and electrical panels may not completely solve your electrical challenges, but they could potentially reduce them. It’s important to note that this step doesn’t fix faulty wiring, it simply provides your home with more power to be distributed throughout the current electrical structure that you have in place. 
  • Rewiring your home is the best option to consider if your home is greater than 40 years old. Wiring was significantly different around that time, and not only are you dealing with standards that may not quite be up to snuff, but the general decay of the wiring itself over time increasingly becomes a factor. The unfortunate fact is that electrical wiring is inside your walls, and getting to it is not easy at all. Switches often have to be replaced, you’ll need new wires, outlets, fixtures — and then the cost of any repair and repainting that’s required — altogether can cost from $5,000 to $8,000 for homes of an average size. That number shoots up significantly if you’re dealing with a larger home that has any type of restricted access to the wiring, or special wiring requirements such as for an indoor swimming pool or theater setup.

Standard Requirements for Rewiring

Staying within recommended specs can be complicated, but there are certain simple items to keep in mind when you’re considering a rewiring project.

  • Circuits in the kitchen and dining room should be a higher output 20 amp circuit, because they are more likely to draw additional current
  • When they’re not present, add a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) to any outlets that are near a water source
  • Match your numbers: a 15 amp fuse should only be used with a 15 amp cable. A mismatch between wiring and circuit breakers is a recipe for disaster

Electrical Hazard Warning Signs

Keep your home safe and worry-free by knowing the warning signs that can occur when your electrical services are not working as expected. Trained electricians can spot subtle signs, but diligent homeowners can be on the lookout for these potential problems. 

  • Circuit breakers that trip unexpectedly and often
  • Lights that flicker or dim
  • Buzzing sound from lamps, or a slight shock when you’re turning on appliances
  • Char marks on electrical outlets, or outlets that are warm to the touch
  • Lack of ground fault indicators where needed (kitchens, bathrooms — anywhere you find water)
  • Frayed wires or damaged and visible insulation
  • The smell of burning vinyl or plastic in various places throughout your home

Of course, it’s important to know that the most common cause of faulty wiring is when homeowners attempt to make changes themselves instead of working with qualified and trained professionals. It’s critical to ensure that any individual that you hire to work on your home’s electrical systems is fully licensed. 

Lifespan of Electrical Systems

The good news is that even though it can be challenging to get through a rewiring project, once you do complete it you should be set literally for life. The rating for most copper wiring is around 100 years with the proper installation. Environmental conditions such as temperature and humidity may also play a part in determining the usable life of your electrical system. In unusually warm areas, it’s not unusual for wiring to fail early simply due to the failure of the insulation protecting the wires themselves. Service panels generally have a 10-year to lifetime warranty, but should be reviewed more often for overall fitness.

Keeping your electrical systems up to date is an important part of home ownership. Waiting for the wiring in your home to go bad or have problems before you take action can cause some serious damage — not only to your home and property, but also potentially to your life. When it comes to electrical systems, it is always safest to have a licensed professional electrician on call for answers. 

Call Ryan Gath Electric today! We’ll explain all your home rewiring options!

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

Steps You Can Take to Help Your Automatic Backup Generator Installation

Steps You Can Take to Help Your Automatic Backup Generator Installation

  • Electrical
  • Uncategorized
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

Automatic Transfer Switches and Your Generator

Automatic Transfer Switches and Your Generator

  • Electrical
  • Generators
Automatic Transfer Switches

The automatic transfer switch is what connects your backup generator and your home. Being the lifeline between your generator and your home means that it’s a fairly important piece of technology, and that’s putting it lightly. In reality, there’s a lot to know about automatic transfer switches and their applications in your home.

How Automatic Transfer Switches Work

During normal situations, the switch is in the “utility” position. While in this position, the power is flowing directly from the electric utility. But when that utility goes down in the event of an emergency, the switch starts to go to work in channeling the power from the generator into your home. Essentially acting as a failsafe for when things go sideways, your generator starts to direct electricity to one, or a small number of circuits in your home, depending on how you’ve had it set up and the capacity of the generator you own.

Because safety is such an important factor in any electrical work, it’s vital that automatic transfer switches disconnect from the main electrical utility as soon as possible. This prevents the generator from channeling back into the utility lines, which could endanger your neighbors or emergency workers trying to restore normal power.

Automatic transfer switches’ main job is to supply power without any sort of human input, and just like generators, they come in a wide range of varitestes that serve different purposes for different homeowners’ unique needs.

Types of Automatic Transfer Switches

Switch Only

This is about the most basic type of ATS you can have, and for most people’s purposes, it works like a dream. A switch-only setup supplies power to your entire main service panel, or from a circuit breaker inside the main panel to a sub-panel. Either way, the only circuits getting powered during an outage are those connected directly to the ATS.

Power Management

One of the major headaches with generators during an outage is that certain appliances draw large amounts of power. Things like dishwashers, washing machines, and the like, leech a lot of electricity. While this is an avoidable issue for short-term outages, it becomes more problematic during extended periods without electricity. That’s where power management switches come in. These switches regulate the amount of power these energy vampires use as to conserve the reserves you have. Some products use a mechanism called load shedding that will turn off certain circuits to ensure others have adequate power. Another method imprints an appliance’s power requirements, then keeps the appliance from starting if there is not enough generator power available.

Service Entrance Rated

A service entrance is where the electrical utility enters your home. So a service entrance rated ATS is manufactured specifically to handle incoming connections from the power company and provides a way to shut off the power from that outside source. A generator bundled with service rated switch is great at supplying homes or small businesses  during a temporary outage.

Switch and Load

Simply put, a load center reduces the number of wires, cables and electrical boxes surrounding your generator. Once the power enters the ATS load center it is distributed to the breakers throughout the building.

Call Ryan Gath Electric Today!

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.

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
  • Uncategorized
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

5 Signs You Need Circuit Breaker Replacement in Westford

5 Signs You Need Circuit Breaker Replacement in Westford

  • Electrical
circuit breaker replacement Westford

Circuit breaker replacement in your Westford home can be an economical investment in protecting your home while avoiding damage to your appliances and fixtures and protecting your family.  They are a valuable first line of defense in home safety, but are often overlooked as a solution to real problems.  Your electrical panel is likely hidden in the basement or in a utility closet, well out of sight and thought. However, if you continue to ignore the warning signs and resist checking and replacing a circuit breaker as needed you can experience:

  • Flickering Lights: How annoying is it when you’re eating dinner with the family and the lights keep raising and lowering like in a haunted house? While distracting, you figure you can live with it.  That could be a big mistake.
  • Poor Performance from Appliances: Your stove may bake unevenly or never seem to reach proper temperature.  The dryer might shut off in mid-cycle. You may be convinced that all your kitchen appliances need to be replaced due to strange and inconsistent performance. What a waste of cash if it is simply a circuit breaker that needs to be replaced.
  • Damage to Essential Lights and Appliances:   When circuit breakers fail to control the flow of electricity properly you may experience bulbs that constantly burn out or a microwave that barely lasted past its one year warranty. Overheating can occur, causing lasting damage to coils and computer boards.
  • Potential of Smoke, Fire and Water Damage: When too much power is drawn through a power cord, an electrical fire can result from overheating. Your home could be severely damaged by smoke, water and flame. The cost of failing to check your electrical panel for problems continues to skyrocket.
  • Lower Property Value: When you experience a fire, no matter how small, the integrity and value of the property is lowered. Failing to upgrade electrical service to your home can result in a potential buyer hesitating to put in an offer. They want to purchase a home that is safe and has been maintained.

5 Warning Signs of an Impending Circuit Breaker Replacement in Westford 

  1. Burning Smell In The Electrical Panel: If you smell a burning odor coming from the panel that means wires and insulation have become overheated and are failing to protect your home from an electrical short elsewhere. Don’t wait! Shut off the main power to the house and call an electrician immediately for emergency service.
  2. Breakers Tripping Frequently: A circuit breaker is designed to trip when too much power is being drawn through it to protect your entire home. If a breaker is tripping every time you turn on a particular appliance like the microwave or vacuum cleaner, the breaker may be worn out and ready to fail. An electrician will be able to determine if it’s simply a bad breaker or if you need to add a circuit to your home
  3. Physical Damage: If you notice scorch marks around the breaker, at an outlet or appliances are failing due to melted wires, it’s a good bet that your electrical panel and breakers require immediate service. A melted wire is one step away from your entire house going up in flames. Place that emergency call to the electrician and unplug all fixtures from that circuit.
  4. Breaker Will Not Stay Reset: Probably after several months of resetting a breaker, it simply won’t stay on for any period of time.  The breaker has probably failed. However, your electrician will check the entire circuit to make sure further damage wasn’t done to the wiring.
  5. Old Age: Circuit breakers are designed to last for decades of use. However, if you have a home where the electrical panel has not been serviced in ten years or more, there’s a good chance that there are several breakers ready to fail. Having an electrician inspect your panel is a wise investment.

It doesn’t take a lot of time or money to have a failing circuit breaker replaced. When you invest in preventative maintenance on your electrical panel you will enjoy the following benefits:

  • Peace of Mind: Your home is now a safe environment for your family. You will sleep better when you don’t worry about the house catching fire.
  • Extended Life of Appliances and Fixtures: You can now expect your new refrigerator and cooktop to last for years, until you are ready to renovate again.
  • Improved Convenience: You never realized how much easier life is when lights, appliances and electrical devices work each and every time–simply because you invested in a precautionary repair.
  • Maintains Value of Your Home: Updated service to your electrical panel gives a buyer confidence they are making a good investment.

Call Ryan Gath Electric today for circuit breaker replacement in Westford.

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.

By Ryan Gath Electric

5 Critical Electrical Safety Features In Your Home

5 Critical Electrical Safety Features In Your Home

  • Electrical
electrical safety

Many people don’t realize just how much you’re required to know as a homeowner until they’ve already signed a mortgage and started moving in. If you’ve never owned a home before, it can quickly feel like a full-time job or a test that you can never quite study enough for. Out of all the things that are important to know as a homeowner, however, your house’s electrical system should always be at the very top of the list.

Not only does knowing not just what your electrical system does but how it works help to save you money on utility bills and decrease your carbon footprint, but it can also bring with it the biggest benefit of all: ensuring the safety of you and your family.

What Happens if You Don’t Know How Your Electrical System Works?

Failing to understand the various features and components that make up your home’s electrical system leaves you vulnerable in a number of different ways. This goes well beyond the simple fact that if something breaks, nobody will be around to fix it but you. It also brings with it a number of other issues, including but not limited to things like:

  • You’re decreasing your personal and home safety. Small problems with your home’s electrical system can quickly create dangerous situations before you know it.
  • You’re increasing the cost of your monthly utility bills by failing to take advantage of certain tips and best practices.
  • You literally don’t have the knowledge required to make smart energy consumption and safety decisions moving forward.

These are all pretty significant problems, but luckily they all have the same straightforward solution: education.

Why You Should Learn Your Home’s Electrical System Safety  Features

Along the same lines, taking the time to learn more about your home’s electrical system brings with it a host of unique benefits that you can’t afford to ignore:

  • You increase your home safety. If a small problem with your electrical system occurs, you know exactly what to fix (and most importantly, how to fix it) to avoid letting it snowball into a much more dangerous situation.
  • You decrease your monthly utility bills. Knowing your electrical system allows you to make sure it’s running efficiently, which avoids waste and sends those monthly bills as low as possible.
  • You can make smarter energy consumption choices. You can more easily identify which habits you and your family have that are costing you money, allowing you to put a stop to them sooner rather than later.

The Major Features of Your Home’s Electrical System

Now that you’ve come to the conclusion that you should learn more about your home’s electrical system, it’s key to start with the five mission-critical features that are all working to help keep your family safe. Electricity is inherently dangerous – to the point where the United States Fire Administration estimates that 6.3% of all home fires are caused by an electrical malfunction each year.

Below is a list of the features that are all working together to help make sure that you and your loved ones don’t become a part of that statistic.

  • The Meter. If your home’s electrical system is a living, breathing thing, think of the meter a bit like it’s brain. This box, typically located either on the exterior of your home or in an easily accessible place indoors, is the lifeblood of your system. It shows you how much energy you’re consuming in real-time, allowing you to make smarter decisions moving forward. Knowing how your meter works lets you double-check your utility bills for authenticity and can even clue you in on problems that you can’t see that are leading to increased energy consumption.
  • The Main Breaker Panel. If the meter is your electrical system’s brain, consider the main breaker panel as the heart. Typically located in a basement or closet, this breaker panel houses the distribution board that divides the electrical power your home receives in a variety of different directions, allowing you to turn on every lamp or TV or refrigerator in your home. If you “blow a fuse” and suddenly lose electricity at some point in your home, finding the breaker panel will be a top priority.
  • The Circuits. When power is piped into your home by your energy provider, it is funneled through to the rest of your system via these circuits. You’ll likely have different circuits for every part of your home – one going upstairs, one going down to the basement, one going out to the garage, etc.
  • GFCIs. Also called “ground fault circuit interrupters,” these are devices that automatically shut off electrical power to a circuit if it detects that electrical current is flowing where it shouldn’t be. GFCIs are what help protect you from electric shock and can even prevent fires.
  • AFCIs. Also called Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters, AFCIs help detect faults in your electrical system and are mainly intended to help prevent electrical fires at all times.

These are just a few of the major electrical safety features that keep your home and your family safe each day – even when you don’t realize it. Remember that knowing as much as possible about your electrical system doesn’t just save you money on your monthly utility bills or make sure that electricity is flowing the next time you try to turn a light on. It also brings with it the most important benefit of all: the peace-of-mind that only comes with knowing you and your loved ones are always taken care of.

Call Ryan Gath Electric today for answers to all your electrical safety  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

12 Frequently Asked Electrical Questions from New Homeowners

12 Frequently Asked Electrical Questions from New Homeowners

  • Electrical
  • Uncategorized
electrical questions

When you are in the market to buy a new house, so many questions can arise. Even when you do your best to understand how a home operates, there are all kinds of issues that can lurk under the surface. It’s important to ask the right electrical questions about your new home or potential new home during the process. One of the most vital parts of a home is the electrical system. Make sure that you ask the right questions to understand if it’s up to code, how it works, and frequent solutions to problems. Here are some common electrical questions asked about systems and the answers that will lead you to understand this aspect of a home’s inner workings.

1. What is a GFCI outlet?

 One of the most common electrical questions is about the exact purpose of a GFCI outlet. A GFCI outlet is a “Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter.” That doesn’t mean much to someone not familiar with electrical work. For a new homeowner, it’s an outlet that will protect you from electrical shocks because it has a safety in place that shuts off the electrical current if it encounters something it’s not supposed to, such as water or a person’s finger. It can also help to prevent outlet fires. Keep in mind GFCI’s are usually required by law in most places to be installed near water sources in kitchens and bathrooms and anywhere else that water may be present, such as basements or garages.

2. What do I do if an appliance is plugged into a GFCI and stops working, but the circuit breaker is not tripped?

There is a reset button on the outlet that allows you to restart it. All you have to do is unplug your appliance and hit the button.Then plug your appliance back in. It should work after that if nothing is wrong with the circuits.  

3. What is a short circuit?

This can occur in your electrical wiring when there is a low current connection between your fuse box and the device you want to power on. For example, if there is something wrong with the wires that are connecting everything, they might “short” out. The coating on the wire could be worn away, or broken from the breaker to the outlet. Even small animals in the rodent family sometimes chew through electrical wires in your walls. This is usually a problem that needs to be looked at by an electrician because sparks or fire can occur. 

4. Why would the motion sensor light installed outside continuously stay on throughout the night, or constantly turn on and off?

 For the first part of the question with a motion sensor light staying on, it might just be that your sensor is dirty, so it’s triggering it to stay on. That has nothing to do with electricity, but for the second part of the question it might be an electrical issue. The bulb might not be resting securely in the fitting. Try to replace the bulb and see if that solves the issue.

5. Why would a dimmer/light switch plate be warm/hot to the touch?

 If nothing is plugged into the outlet or there aren’t too many items stressing the electrical supply, it’s perfectly normal for it to be a tad warm. The lights tend to do that in a house. In general if it’s too hot to touch, that’s a serious problem. Damaged wires can cause excessive heat on regular switch plates.

For dimmer switches they have a maximum load measured in watts that they are allowed to safely handle. When they are overloaded you should add up the wattage of lighting units and reduce the load or upgrade the dimmer switch.

6. Why are some of the light switches in my house not connected to anything? When they’re flipped on and off, nothing happens. 

 When you move to a new place it can be hard to figure out which switch plate goes to what outlet. To test an outlet, plug something in that makes noise, such as a radio, then turn on the switch to see if it powers up the outlet. When you encounter a mystery light switch with no matching outlet that does anything, you can remove the outlet plate to see if there are any wires inside even connected to it. If there aren’t problems with the wiring being in the right place, you’ll need to trace the circuit, which you’ll probably want an electrician to do.  

7. Why can’t I turn a tripped circuit breaker in my electrical panel back on?

 If you trip a circuit breaker in your new home, give it a few minutes before you try to go down to the fuse box and let it cool down. Then if you press the switch in the circuit breaker and it still doesn’t come on, something could be overloading it. It’s usually a big appliance, like a washer/dryer, refrigerator, other large item, or too many running at the same time. It might be a broken appliance causing it. If not, the circuit breaker might be faulty or broken, needing replacement.

 8. What is an AFCI breaker?

 An AFCI or “Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter” is a specific type of breaker that helps to prevent electrical fires. It achieves this by sensing hazardous electrical arcs. Most arcs are normal and don’t malfunction unless a problem occurs, so having these types of breakers in place can make your new home much safer. 

9. What is a whole house surge protector?

 A whole house surge protector is a good idea since it tames dangerous power surges that can short out your appliances, or computers. Having one in place is ideally suited to areas that experience intense thunderstorms, where lightning might strike utility poles or lines near your home. Often without it these power surges can fry even GFCI plugs in your home.

10. What is the most energy efficient lighting for my house?

Another incredibly of the common electrical questions. The most energy efficient lighting for your new home, according to Energy.gov is light bulbs that hold the “ENERGY STAR” rating on the box. That includes CFL, halogen incandescent, and LED light bulbs. You might pay a little more upfront for these bulbs, but in the long run you’ll save on energy costs.

11. What is the difference between low voltage fixtures and standard fixtures? 

Low voltage fixtures in your home are the ones that sit in the background. That includes chandelier lights, recessed lighting, desk lights, and task lighting. Outside it might be landscape lighting that comes on at night with a timer. Standard fixtures are your larger lamps, main kitchen lights, and bathrooms lights. Brighter light that requires a higher wattage is usually considered standard.  

12. Why does my cabinet-mounted microwave occasionally trip my circuit breaker? 

Your microwave might trip your circuit breaker if you have too many appliances on at the same time on the same circuit. The solution here is to not run so many things at once, or move other appliances to different locations in the kitchen that don’t work on the same fuse. Or you can have a GFCI switch for the microwave outlet, which will hopefully trip the outlet and not the entire fuse to the kitchen.

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.

By Ryan Gath Electric