The National Electric Code and Why It Matters

September 26, 2019

While most of us are unaware of the protections in place under the National Electrical Code (NEC), it’s a good idea to understand how it could affect you. The NEC—also known as NFPA 70—is a standard for safely installing electrical wiring. It was created and developed by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) as part of its National Fire Code series. Although the NEC is not written by lawmakers, it has become deeply influential around the country in allowing states, regions, and cities to standardize safe electrical practices. To address the latest technology and ensure that people remain safe, the NFPA revises the NEC every three years. Here are two of the most important NEC revisions over the last 20 years. Tamper Resistant Receptacles An estimated seven children are taken to the emergency room every day to receive treatment after inserting small objects into electrical outlets. Parents can protect their children from this risk with tamper-resistant receptacles. This type of device looks like a regular outlet, but it features an interior shutter mechanism that can only be accessed when you apply pressure to both sides as you automatically do when inserting a plug. The NEC has required that these devices...

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Is an Electrician Career Right for You?

September 10, 2019

To be an electrician is to be part of a profession that helps keep homes and businesses running. Trained electricians will always be in demand, and new specialties in the electrical field keep popping up as technology advances. If you are considering a career as an electrician, there are several things you should know. Training to be an Electrician Takes Time An electrician is responsible for the electrical well-being of homes and businesses. Poorly installed wiring or a slight mistake in doing an electrical repair can mean power surges or fires. While the requirements for becoming an electrician vary from state to state, nearly every state mandates that electricians go through a learning and apprenticeship process that takes several years. In Texas, you must have 8,000 supervised hours of electrical experience before you can get a basic Journeyman Electrician’s license. This usually takes about four years. To become a Master Electrician, you need another 4,000 hours of experience. Training to be an Electrician Is Hard Work Anywhere wires go, electricians must go. People with electrical training do jobs both indoors and outdoors. They may have to snake through crawl crawlspaces, climb onto roofs and descend into cobwebbed basements. Professional Electricians...

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How Often Should I Replace My Appliances for Maximum Efficiency and Safety?

August 15, 2019

While you can maximize an appliance’s life span with proper maintenance and careful usage, there will eventually come a time when you have to replace it, no matter hard you work to take care of it. Let’s look at how often you should replace home appliances, along with the fundamental problems associated with not replacing these important machines often enough. Even If It Ain’t Broke…It Might Be Broke In talking about how often to consider replacing home appliances, it’s helpful to keep in mind the old saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” There’s one big problem with this saying in regard to home appliances: Older home appliances that seem to do their jobs adequately may have reached a point of inefficiency that, for practical purposes, renders them “broke.” Ask yourself, for instance: How often does your old washing machine go out of balance or spin-off track during a cycle? Do you find yourself putting it back on track with every load? Does food in your old refrigerator spoil more quickly than you would expect—or more quickly than it used to when you first bought the fridge? Do you find you need to turn the temperature dial to maximum...

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The Latest New Electrical and Electricians Tech and Why They Matter

August 1, 2019

At GVEC Home, we understand that many consumers want to bring their homes up to date with the latest efficiency standards. The good news is that many efficiency upgrades are relatively easy for homeowners to do themselves. Here are a few do-it-yourself upgrades you should consider making around your house. Add LEDs for Greater Energy Efficiency For generations, incandescent lighting was the standard. Many of you probably still remember a time when, after changing a lightbulb and shaking the old bulb, you’d hear the jiggling noise of broken filaments, confirming the bulb was dead. Today, LED lighting is making that dead-filament dance a thing of the past. LED technology can help you achieve significant savings on lighting your home. For one, LEDs lasts much longer than incandescents. Plus, LED brightness has greatly improved over time and is now comparable to that of incandescent bulbs. Certainly, the up-front cost of LED bulbs is slightly higher; however, it’s important to remember that these bulbs outlast incandescents by many years while using far less energy and saving money on your electric bill. In fact, LEDs use less energy per lumen than any lighting type! These factors make LED lighting the clear winner against...

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What’s the Difference Between a Circuit Breaker and a GFCI?

July 16, 2019

GFCIs and Circuit Breakers Do Different Jobs If you’ve ever had electrical work done on your home, you may have heard the electrician talk about circuit breakers and/or GFCIs. It’s not uncommon for people to get confused about how these two devices differ. Although both can alter the flow of electricity in your home, each performs different jobs. Here are some differences and similarities between these two important electrical components, along with an explanation of how they protect a home’s electrical system from damage and home dwellers from dangerous electrical shocks. What Is a GFCI? A ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) is a specialized outlet with a built-in breaker. These devices are designed to prevent shock in the event an electrical device comes in contact with water. You typically find these outlets in kitchens and bathrooms, but also near pools and anywhere else where electricity is used near water. If you’re using an appliance in your kitchen or a hairdryer in the bathroom and its flow of electricity surges because the user comes in contact with water, the breaker inside the GFCI will trip, automatically switching off the current. When a GFCI shuts off the power this way, there’s a...

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Breaker Box Basics: Avoiding Nasty or Life-Threatening Electrical Shocks

July 6, 2019

If you plan to remodel your house, change electrical wiring or alter your outlets or lighting, it’s important to know the basics of electrical safety. Otherwise, you could end up encountering a shock that’s painful at best and life-threatening at worst. Knowing how breaker boxes work is key to avoiding dangerous shocks. Understanding How the Breaker Box Works The breaker box is usually a rectangular panel that opens to reveal an array of switches. Most homes include a single breaker panel, and these can be found at various locations around a home; however, they’re often found in a garage, storage area, basement or hallway. Keep in mind, though, that a breaker box can be located almost anywhere. If you have trouble locating yours, try looking outside. The big switch at the top controls all power in the home. The smaller switches control various electrical circuits. These smaller switches should be labeled, but if not, you can do “flip tests” to see what each switch controls. When Should You Flip the Main Breaker? Flipping the main breaker can help keep you safe if you need to quickly shut off all power in the house. Do this if there’s a flooding event,...

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Six Reasons Your Home Might Be Guzzling Electricity

June 19, 2019

The Shock of High Electric Use At some point, most of us have experienced the unpleasant surprise of opening a larger-than-expected electricity bill. Did the unanticipated expense send you scrambling to understand why your bill was so high? Did you wonder how you might be able to avoid such surprises in the future? This blog is for you. Here’s a look at six things the residential electricity experts at GVEC say often contribute to high energy bills. 1. Weather Matters on Your Electricity Bill Weather matters. You’ll find this simple refrain spread across all GVEC’s social media, on our blog, and in The GVEC Review each month. The hotter or colder the weather outside, the harder your HVAC system must work to maintain the temperature you set the thermostat to. If it’s 103 degrees on a hot August day, for instance, and you set the thermostat to 70, that’s a 33-degree differential! Your AC will likely run nonstop to keep up as long as the difference remains so high. That’s why GVEC recommends a thermostat setting of 78 degrees during the summer. At this setting, the differential on that 103-degree day would be 25 degrees—still not small, but certainly more...

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How LED Lighting Can Make a Difference in Your Home

June 1, 2019

LED Lighting: A Switch Worth Making These days, many people are switching from traditional incandescent lighting to LEDs. This technology provides multiple benefits, and at GVEC, we recommend that you consider making the switch, too. LED costs have come down in recent years, but they remain slightly more expensive than traditional bulbs. The extra upfront cost, however, is worth it in the long run. Here’s why. LED Bulbs Help Lower Energy Costs LED lighting consumes only a fraction of the energy used by incandescent bulbs. In fact, LEDs use less energy per lumen than any other current lighting technology. And of course, the less energy consumed, the less money you pay on your electric bill. As an added bonus, less energy consumed means less demand on the grid, which can be beneficial for all GVEC members, especially during the peak demand times of summer. Consuming less energy is better for the environment, too. LED Lighting Lasts Longer LED light bulbs last longer than any other bulb on the market. In fact, they last 40 times longer than incandescents. No matter where a light fixture is located, a reduction in the need to change bulbs saves time and hassle, but reduced...

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Do It Yourself Electrical Work Isn’t Your Safest Bet

May 23, 2019

It’s a common practice to do repairs around the house without hiring a specialist. The list of reasons for this can range from saving a few bucks to the sense of pride you gain from doing it on your own. With electrical work, it’s important to weigh the safety risks into your choice. Let’s look at the reasons why doing electrical work yourself is not the best option. Many homeowners dislike hiring outside specialists for small and, sometimes, even large repair jobs around the house. “Why pay someone to do a job I can do myself?” these do-it-yourselfers often rationalize. This practice isn’t terribly uncommon. Many do-it-yourselfers take great pride in completing the work—and doing it well—all by themselves. With electrical work, though, it’s important to weigh the safety risks against the cost savings; even that feeling of accomplishment from a job-well-done should take a backseat to issues of safety. Let’s look at the reasons why doing electrical work yourself is not the best option. Getting Your Wires Crossed A home or a business building can contain hundreds of yards of electrical wires, serving to power appliances, electronics, lighting and more. Getting any of these wires crossed or making improper...

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Five Ways to Keep Your Kids Safe Around Electricity

May 2, 2019

Kids are born ready to explore their world. Because of their natural curiosity, they should be taught the risks associated with electricity. Here are five tips for keeping them safe. Kids are born ready to explore their world. Because of their natural curiosity, they should be taught the risks associated with electricity. Here are five tips for keeping them safe. 1. Electricity and Water Don’t Mix Each year, many accidents happen when electrical items come into contact with water. Teach kids to never mix the two. Also, if they notice an electrical appliance in a body of water, they shouldn’t reach in to retrieve it or even touch the water and should instead tell someone about it. 2. Don’t Yank the Cord; Pull the Plug Instead When electrical devices need to be unplugged, kids should be taught how to gently pull the plug to disconnect it from the outlet. Some people have a tendency to yank the cord, and this is dangerous. Yanking a plug can damage the appliance, the plug itself and/or the outlet. Exposed wires can cause much bigger problems. If you notice any electrical issues in Gonzales, TX, GVEC Electrician Services can repair it for you—just give...

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