Preparing Your Home’s Electrical System For The Winter

Preparing Your Home’s Electrical System For The Winter

  • Electrical
  • Generators
Preparing Your Home's Electrical System For The Winter

The season of chilly air, cozy nights and winter wonders has arrived, and snow is already on the ground in some parts of the nation. In preparation for colder weather, many homeowners have taken care to ensure that their heating system is in top shape and that their plumbing is properly protected from freezing temperatures. When it comes to preparing for winter weather, many people overlook the importance of protecting their electrical system from damage. In order to avoid costly repairs and ensure a steady flow of power to the home, there are a number of steps that should be part of every homeowner’s cold season checklist. Ryan Gath Electric is the trusted local experts to help in Preparing Your Home’s Electrical System For The Winter.

Test/Replace Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detectors

These devices serve an essential, yet often undervalued role in keeping your family safe and secure. During cold weather preparations, be sure to check that each detector and alarm is functioning properly, and that fresh batteries are installed. Homeowners who have had the same detectors in place for many years may want to consider updating them with newer and more advanced devices. It should go without saying that the cost of replacing old smoke and carbon monoxide detectors pales in comparison to the cost of a fire or the emotional toll of carbon monoxide poisoning. 

Install Or Update Exterior Security Lighting

There are a number of excellent exterior lighting options currently on the market, many of which offer multiple features. Homeowners should evaluate their outdoor lighting, and determine if additional or updating lighting would bring value to the home. In addition to improving a home’s security, exterior lighting can make it far easier to unload groceries, care for pets or get the kids settled into the car after dark. Many options are motion-activated, and some even offer high tech features such as a security camera that can be accessed remotely. 

Install A Generator Or Tune-Up An Existing Unit

In many parts of the country, having a back-up generator is a wise choice during the winter months. If the power fails, a generator can ensure that the home remains warm and lit until service is restored. That can make the difference between a livable home and having to find alternate shelter. For those who already have a generator in place, an annual tune-up is a great way to make sure that the unit is in good repair and ready to be called into service if the need should arise. For those who have been considering adding a generator, there are a number of different options available at a wide range of price points. Anyone who has sustained a prolonged loss of power can attest to the benefits of having a generator within the home.

Test Electrical Outlets & GFCIs

Any winter preparation checklist should include a test of all of the home’s power outlets. This is a fast and easy task with the use of a multimeter (which is an inexpensive device that will last for many years.)  The multimeter will not only check to make sure that an outlet is getting sufficient power, it can also let the homeowner know if the wires are properly connected, and if the outlet is safely grounded. Ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) are special outlets that are designed to automatically shut off when an electrical fault is detected. However, they wear out over time, and will need to be replaced. A special device is used to test older GFCIs, and those manufactured after 2006 will simply stop working once the circuitry fails. Replacing a worn out outlet is a simple and inexpensive home repair project.

Replace Light Bulbs With Compact Fluorescent Lights

Updating your home’s lighting can lead to lower power bills and a greener lifestyle. One of the best ways to improve your home’s energy use is to replace traditional light bulbs with CFLs. Compact fluorescent light bulbs produce light differently than incandescent bulbs, and require approximately 70 percent less energy. That can rack up significant savings over the course of a year, especially when most of your home’s light fixtures have been switched to CFLs.

Conserve Energy Throughout Your Home

As the weather chills, conduct an annual check of your home’s energy efficiency. Look for areas where improvements can be made, and be aware of “phantom load,” which is a term used to describe power that flows to unused appliances or electronics. Many people are surprised to learn that power is continuously consumed by many devices, even when they are not turned on or in use. Simply shutting off the power can save hundreds of dollars each year. Be sure to unplug appliances that are not currently in use, and consider using a power strip to supply current to multiple devices, such as a television, gaming console, and sound system. That makes it easy to shut off power to those devices with one simple switch, rather than having to unplug each cord.

Choose Ryan Gath Electric When Preparing Your Home’s Electrical System For The Winter

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Here at Ryan Gath Electric, we want to make sure that your electrical system and the rest of your home stay safe throughout the winter months. When you call us for electrical system maintenance this season, we will work with you every step of the way to get your home’s electrical system ready for the cold weather. So don’t let your power go out in the middle of a blizzard – Call Ryan Gath Electric today!

By Ryan Gath Electric

The Importance of Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

The Importance of Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

  • Electrical
smoke detector by Ryan Gath Electric

Safety is a big priority, which means every home needs a functioning smoke and CO detector. Maintaining your home can be overwhelming to the point that it’s easy to forget about your detectors in the first place, but like any appliance, they too need routine maintenance. House fires can be devastating, causing a great deal of property damage and putting you and your household at risk. Some easy maintenance ensures your smoke and CO detectors do their job and keep you safe.

How to Keep Your Detectors Working

  • Replace batteries annually. Instead of waiting for that annoying chirp, it’s best to keep track of when you replaced the batteries, and act accordingly. Pick a date once a year to go throughout your home and replace the batteries for each detector. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
  • Test your detectors. The best way to ensure that yours work like they should is by routinely testing them. CO detectors, which test for carbon monoxide, should be tested weekly, especially since the gas is odorless, colorless, and can be fatal to breathe in. Smoke detectors can be tested once a month. Both have a test button used for basic testing to ensure they’re responsive.
  • Make sure your detectors are in the right location. Something you may not have considered is where your detectors are located. A detector should be in each bedroom, enclosed area, and separate floor, but they also only function properly in certain conditions. Make sure to keep all smoke detectors at least 10 feet from any cooking appliances, as that can cause false alarms. Placing a smoke detector near any windows, doors, or ducts can decrease how effective they are. CO detectors are even touchier than smoke detectors, and should be kept away from any heat source, dust, humidity, and extreme cold or hot temperatures.
  • Keep your detectors clean of debris. Dirty detectors can cause false alarms, which is why it’s important to clean the inside and outside of each one when you change the batteries. You can clean the inside of the detector of dust and debris by using either an air compressor or vacuum hose. The outside of the detector can be cleaned with a damp cloth. A clean detector guarantees it will only go off when it’s supposed to, and spares you the trouble of stressful false alarms.
  • Look into false alarms. A false alarm can be caused by a variety of reasons. If it starts to go off constantly, don’t just replace it, it’s time to investigate. A system that frequently goes off could simply be a matter of a bad location, such as being too close to the kitchen or bathroom. The batteries inside may have become loose or are in need of replacement. The detector could also just be a little dusty. If however, none of these solutions solves the constant chirping, it’s time to replace your detector.

Some Important Features to Consider

All homes should have detectors, both for safety and insurance. The technology for smoke and CO detectors has improved, which means it’s more than a matter of having detectors in your home, but deciding which ones will help you best. The most common smoke detector, the ionization smoke detector, is best at detecting fast flaming fires, but they’re bad at noticing slow, smoldering fires, often mistaking burnt food or steam for a fire. Photoelectric smoke systems work the exact opposite, best detecting slow smoldering fires, but much less responsive to fast flaming fires. Luckily there are dual-sensor smoke detectors, which work to sense but fast and slow fires. Besides choosing the type, there are a few additional features to consider.

  • Interconnecting detectors. Some detectors are built to interconnect without wires, and it’s a good feature to have. A home with detectors that can interconnect with each other means that if one goes off, the rest will go off, ensuring you don’t miss the alarm.
  • Digital carbon monoxide display. A digital display adds another layer of security, as it enables you to closely monitor the amount of carbon monoxide in your home. A CO detector goes off when the carbon monoxide in the room is at 70 parts per million (ppm), but 30 ppm is enough to harm people with heart conditions, pregnant women, and children.

How Ryan Gath Electric Can Help

The law requires that every home in the state contains a photoelectric smoke detector, no matter when the home was constructed. This means you need a smoke detector on every floor and within 20 feet of a kitchen or bathroom. You also must have a smoke detector right by every room in which someone sleeps. In short, any room in the house can benefit from smoke detector installation. Why put your family’s health at risk?

Schedule smoke detector replacement as soon as it is necessary or schedule smoke detector installation for new construction or if your home is not yet up to code. We’re ready to help you today! 

By Ryan Gath Electric

Lifesaving Advantages of Hardwired Smoke Detectors

Lifesaving Advantages of Hardwired Smoke Detectors

  • Electrical
hardwired smoke detector in Chelmsford by Ryan Gath

Every homeowner knows that smoke detectors are an important part of any safe home. They save plenty of lives every year by warning people of fire. Assuming you treat yours well, it can last around a decade before needing replacement. When you replace them, consider swapping them out for hardwired smoke detectors. These smoke detectors are directly connected to your home’s electrical grid. This minor design change provides major benefits for homeowners like you.

Here are just a few reasons you should switch to hardwired smoke detectors:


Secondary power source

One of the best advantages of a hardwired smoke detector is that they have two sources of power. As well as running on batteries, they constantly have a connection to your home’s power. Regular models only have battery power and you have to hope they’ll have juice for when disaster strikes. Hardwired models, with their nearly-constant source of power, will be ready for almost any fire. If a fire starts when the power is out, the battery backup is available to protect you.


High-quality heat detection

You might know how smoke detectors work by detecting smoke. However, some of the new hardwired smoke detectors also come with heat detectors. The combination of these two detectors makes your smoke detectors more accurate so they won’t go off because you burnt dinner. By improving their accuracy, you’ll be more certain a blaring smoke detector is warning of actual danger.



If you get multiple hardwired smoke detectors for your home, they can work together to protect you. Usually, smoke detectors are individual electronics that aren’t aware of what’s happening with other detectors. However, a single hardwired model can activate every alarm in a building if it detects a fire. This is especially useful in larger buildings to warn everyone before a fire gets out of hand.


What makes Ryan Gath my best choice for protecting my home?

If you need a smoke detector installation in your home, count on the help of the experts at Ryan Gath Electric. Whether you need a smoke detector installation for new construction, smoke detector replacement, or new installation for an existing home that is not yet to code, our experts can help. We’ll make sure that the smoke detector operates properly so that you can feel good about this aspect of your home safety. Call Ryan Gath today to learn more about our smoke detection services!

By Ryan Gath Electric

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detection Tips

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detection Tips

  • Electrical

Maintaining smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in the home is essential at all times, even if the task of replacing batteries and checking the detectors seems menial and monotonous.  With busy lives and schedules, it can be easy to forget to check on our detectors over time. It is essential to mark your calendar and track whenever a replacement or inspection is needed. Knowing the best tips to keep your home safe from carbon monoxide poisoning and the risk of fires is a way to drastically reduce the risk of accidents.

Smoke and CO Detector Tips for Families in Chelmsford, MA

Oftentimes, homeowners underestimate the importance of maintaining and checking on carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. This oversight can lead to deadly accidents in your home. Using essential tips for both types of detectors is ultimately the best way to keep your family safe at all times.

  • Replace all smoke and CO 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 CO 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 CO 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.
  • When purchasing and installing a new carbon monoxide detector, look for an option that features an “end of life” sensor. This gives 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 CO detectors. They 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 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 to them hard-wired with a battery back-up. Having a battery back-up in place gives peace of mind while reducing the risk of a dangerous house fire that spreads quickly
  • Do not use a barbeque inside your garage or bring a charcoal grill inside of the home- even if you have a large open space. Do not use a gas oven for any other purposes other than cooking, such as heating the home.
  • If you have a power generator, never place it inside of the home. Instead, be sure to use a generator only in open outdoor spaces.  

Risks of Not Maintaining Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Homeowners are often not aware of the potential risks of avoiding smoke and CO detector maintenance. Although it is easy to overlook, it can lead to inescapable fires or carbon monoxide leaks that go undetected.

  • You run the risk of an increased chance of carbon monoxide exposure, which is not detectable by smell or sight–often leading to severe health issues and in some cases, death.
  • Unexpected detector malfunctions are common for homeowners or occupants who avoid changing the batteries of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors regularly.
  • When you do not have proper running smoke detectors in the home you run the increased risk of experience a fire in the home. Residential fires can quickly spread if not tended to immediately, which also poses a threat to surrounding homes in your neighborhood.
  • If you experience a carbon monoxide leak in the home or if you have a fire due to poor detectors or not maintaining them there is a chance your properly value may drop if you are looking to rent or sell the location in the future.

Understanding the risks and threats that unmonitored carbon monoxide and smoke detectors pose is a way to remind yourself and your household when it is time to change batteries, inspect the detectors, or replace them altogether.  Call Ryan Gath Electric today for smoke and CO detector assistance!


By Ryan Gath Electric