The Best Lighting Types and Arrangements for Your Kitchen

March 18, 2020

For many homes, the kitchen is the hub of the entire house. Kitchens are no longer just areas for preparing food. Rather, the kitchen is now the center for social gatherings, family time, and just relaxing. Because of the variety of tasks that transpire in a modern kitchen, the lighting requirements may be complex. Having the proper lighting can be the difference between a beautiful and enjoyable space or a dark and depressing distraction. Luckily, the experts at GVEC Home® know that with just a few simple tricks, the lighting in your kitchen can make it your family’s favorite place. Task Lighting Is Crucial Whether you are decorating sugar cookies or doing homework, detail-oriented work often takes place in the kitchen. Because of this, it is extremely important to provide proper task lighting. Traditionally, kitchen task lighting was achieved using “can” lights or track lights that could be aimed at work surfaces as necessary. Today, the hottest trend is under-counter strip lighting. Using efficient LEDs, under-counter lighting provides clear and direct light exactly where you need it most. Floodlights Eliminate Shadows While task lighting is unquestionably important, it is not the only style of lighting needed for proper kitchen illumination....

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Why It’s Important to Get Your Home Electrical System Regularly Inspected

March 10, 2020

Electricity plays an integral role in supplying power to the many devices you use in your home on a regular basis. Electrical issues are a major source of property damage due to fires. Without regular maintenance, you could run into a variety of electrical problems that might put your family’s safety at risk. Regular electrical inspections can provide you with the peace of mind that everything is working in proper condition. Read on to learn about four reasons why it’s important to get your home electrical system regularly inspected by trained professionals like the ones at GVEC Home®. 1. Electrical Surge Protection Electrical surges can be caused by a number of things such as the operation of high-powered appliances, faulty wiring, downed power lines and major storms. An electrical surge can cause significant damage to your appliances and create short circuits throughout your house. During an electrical inspection, your technician can check for different points in your wiring that could contribute to a dangerous electrical surge. They can also advise if Whole-Home Surge Protection, offered by GVEC Home, would be useful to help protect the electronics and appliances in your home. 2. Fire Prevention Electrical short circuits are often the...

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What Are GFCIs? Why Do I Need Them in and Around My Home?

February 29, 2020

Although electricity is incredibly useful, it can also be incredibly dangerous if not properly respected and safely used. That’s why you must always be aware of the need for electrical safety to protect you and your family when using any electrical device. GFCIs: One of the Most Important Devices for Electrical Safety One of the most effective safety devices you can use in your home is known as a GFCI, which stands for ground-fault circuit interrupter. Continue reading for more on what these devices are and why they’re so important. What Is a GFCI? A GFCI is a device that’s combined with a power outlet to provide protection against electrical shock. Although GFCIs are usually integrated into the outlet, portable/pluggable versions are also available at hardware stores and other retailers. GFCIs work by detecting the amount of power flowing to a connected device and comparing that reading with the amount of power flowing from the connected device to the ground or neutral connection. If the outlet senses an imbalance in these two measurements, it will trip a localized circuit, interrupting the flow of electricity to the outlet. This is different from how a circuit breaker works, which only trips if...

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Space Heaters and Electrical Safety

February 10, 2020

When temperatures drop, it’s nice to have a warm, cozy home. If you want to keep things toasty without increasing your heating bill too much, you may consider setting up a space heater. Space heaters can be effective at heating certain areas of your home, but it’s critical for your family’s health and wellbeing to use space heaters safely. The Dangers of Space Heaters Each year, space heaters cause thousands of residential fires. Electric space heaters can pose a shock hazard if not handled properly. Since these appliances generally use more electricity than similarly sized portable devices, they can overload certain circuits, potentially leading lead to a power failure or fire. Because of how hot they can get, space heaters also pose a burn hazard, especially to children and pets. If a space heaters gets tipped over—a real possibility due to their size and shape—they can come into contact with flammable items or materials, creating a serious risk of fire. Tips to Use Space Heaters Safety In order to use space heaters safely, start by choosing only those that meet industry standards regarding safety (this information should be included with the heater). Here are a few additional tips for protecting...

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Why Hiring a Master Electrician [as opposed to a General Contractor] is Your Best Option

January 20, 2020

If you need electrical work performed in your home, especially during a major renovation, you should hire a master electrician rather than a general contractor. Master electricians have extensive knowledge about their field that general contractors lack. Here are the major differences between the two occupations. General Contractor As the name implies, a general contractor is a jack-of-all-trades. They are good for doing things such as installing fixtures, replacing your home’s siding or building a deck. However, general contractors don’t specialize in any one type of skilled trade. This means they can do jobs that don’t require specialized knowledge. If what you need done in your home is difficult, complex or dangerous, you’ll want to hire someone who specializes in that area, rather than a general contractor. Master Electrician It takes years of study and experience to become a master electrician. A journeyman electrician has spent extensive time in a classroom and working alongside an electrician in the field. A master electrician has received far more training than that. They can supervise other electricians and own their own business. A master electrician will get your job done right the first time. You won’t waste money on a botched attempt and...

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What Is the Reason for Energy Star Classification?

January 10, 2020

Over the last decade or so, there has been a push to make home appliances and other big-ticket items more energy efficient. The result has been the creation of the Energy Star classification system. When you shop at your favorite home goods store, you might notice the logo on some products. You may have even wondered why it should matter to you. Here is what you should know about the Energy Star classification and why it matters to you. What Is the Reason for Energy Star Classification? The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) created the Energy Star program in 1992. The goal has always been to reduce the amount of emissions and pollutants released into the environment. Since 2005, the program has operated under the authority of the Clean Air Act and the 2005 Energy Policy Act. To lower those pollutants, a rating system was setup. How Are Appliances Rated? Each appliance is rated according to its size and the amount of energy it consumes. A small appliance should not be an energy drain. A large product should not consume a little energy and operate poorly, either. The aim is to ensure the item operates as intended while limiting the amount...

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Seven Tips for Reducing Your Home Energy Usage

December 18, 2019

There are many ways to reduce your energy usage and save money on utility bills. Some of these are low cost and easy to implement. Here are seven of the most impactful methods. 1. Adjust Your Daily Behavior Turn off the lights when you leave the room. Switch off appliances when they aren’t in use, as many have standby modes that consume energy (also known as “energy vampires”). The biggest savings usually come from turning down the thermostat in cold months and allowing your home to get warmer in summer. For most homeowners, heating and cooling make up nearly half of the electric bill. 2. Replace Your Light Bulbs LED lights are highly efficient and consume a fraction of the energy of incandescent bulbs. At the high end, some of these bulbs can last over 20 years; plus, they’ve gone down in price considerably in the last decade. 3. Install a Programmable or Smart Thermostat Programmable and smart thermostats help automate your home’s heating-and-cooling schedule. This helps reduce the frequency that your AC/heating system cycles on and off, reducing your heating and cooling bill—in many cases, significantly. 4. Reduce How Much You Pay for Heating Water Turn your water heater...

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Eight Tips for Taking the ‘Shock’ Out of Holiday Decorating

December 1, 2019

The holidays are a time to gather with friends and family, to celebrate the previous year and to make resolutions to start anew in the year ahead. It’s easy to get so caught up in decorating your home that you forget about electrical safety. That’s why we wanted to take a few minutes to share some friendly tips to help you prevent an electrical or fire disaster from happening over the holiday season. 1. Keep Your Electrical Cords Secure When you’re mounting electric decorations and lights, never use anything sharp that can pierce the cord. Stay away from using nails or similar tools to attach your cables to the wall as these can easily fray the wires inside the cords. Choose mounted hooks instead. GVEC Home electricians are available to help safely install home electrical wiring during the holidays or during any other time of year, too. 2. Keep Power Sources Well Maintained for Safety Check around your house for any loose electrical connections, damaged sockets or damaged wiring. If you do notice any damage, don’t hesitate to call us. 3. Unwrap Your Presents Away from the Fireplace Opening presents is always fun, but make sure to keep the wrapping...

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Three Tips for Avoiding Electrical Emergencies at Thanksgiving

November 20, 2019

Everyone looks forward to spending time with loved ones and enjoying delicious food at Thanksgiving. But having so many dishes cooking at once can turn into a major problem. Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, many of which are due to electric malfunctions. As you get ready for the holidays, follow these three tips to avoid major electrical disruptions during your event. 1. Check Your Appliances Before the Big Day A few days before the holiday, pull out all the appliances you plan to use. Plug them in to see if they work, and check the cords for any fraying or other damage. This should include everything from cooking implements to electric carving knives, television sets and holiday lights. On Thanksgiving itself, you might be too busy to notice a broken cord or sparking appliance that could set off a huge fire. 2. Never Overload Your Outlets We know it can be tough having limited kitchen space and needing to run a stove, crockpot, mixer, dishwasher, coffee machine and food processor all at once, but, never grab a power strip and start plugging in all these items simultaneously. Kitchen appliances use a lot of power which can...

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Chirping Smoke Detector? Low Batters, Broken Detector, or Sign of an Electrical Problem?

November 9, 2019

GVEC Home® has provided electrical expertise and services in Gonzales and throughout South Central Texas since 1938! Something you may not think about calling an electrician for is a chirping smoke detector. While this issue may often be a simple fix, sometimes it could be signaling an electrical issue. Low Battery Chirping indicates an error with the smoke detector. The most common error is a low battery, so this is the first possibility you should consider. Swap the battery. Note that some smoke detectors will continue to chirp after a fresh battery has been installed. In this case, you will need to clear the error in the processor. Luckily, most units have a reset button that you press to do this. Resetting can also overcome chirping due to a power outage or surge. Other Battery-Related Troubles If that does not work, inspect the battery area closely. Ensure that the battery sits flush and the terminal is not obstructed in any way. Make certain that the battery door is closed and effectively securing the battery. In Need of Cleaning At this point, it is time to consider cleaning the sensing chamber. Clean the outside of the unit with a damp cloth....

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