Choosing Safety: OSHA Workplace Standards

Electricity mobilizes almost all aspects of modern life, both at home and on the job. Of course we’re familiar with it – comfortable even. However, it can post serious hazard in the workplace, especially for engineers, electricians, and power line works who work directly with it. Direct contact with electricity can result in shock, electrocution, and burns. And when electricity escapes its circuitry, it can cause fires and explosions.

It’s because of these dangers that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)  was established in the ’60s to ensure and safe working conditions in the workplace. OSHA sets safety regulations and provides training, outreach, education, and assistance so workers can enforce its standards to protect themselves and their surroundings.

OSHA workplace standards

Health and Safety Standards

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, OSHA controls health and safety regulations. These regulations limit hazardous chemical exposure and employee access to classified information. They require the use of protective equipment and cautionary measures in case of accidents around dangerous machinery as well.

In order to guide employers and employees in avoiding hazards and developing effective plans, OSHA publishes “Safety and Health Program Management Guidelines”. The guidelines identify several crucial elements needed for a successful safety system:

  • Management leadership
  • Employee involvement
  • Worksite Analysis
  • Hazard prevention and control
  • Safety and health training

The main goal of the guidelines is to provide employers, workers, and representatives with a flexible safety format which employers can adapt to any workspace. The adaptability allows companies of all sizes to use the programs to make changes where they’re needed.

The guidelines detail a proactive, inclusive plan to prevent hazardous conditions. Employers collect information about the known hazards beforehand, periodically inspect the workplace, and investigate all accidents, injuries, illnesses, and fatalities. OSHA pushes companies — employees and employers alike — to communicate trends or problems seen in order to prevent injuries.

Specifically, OSHA suggests employers take the following steps to create a safe environment:

  • Create a list of hazards in order from most to least important
  • Assign a trustworthy individual to implement controls on specific machines which require a steady hand
  • Establish a goal end date to have all new regulations and tasks completed
  • Track their company’s progress via charts, regular inspections, and employee reports

Responsibilities Under OSHA

OSHA regulations of course also list things every employer must do to ensure their workers remain safe, however. For example, employers must:

  • Provide safety training to workers in cohesive languages
  • Perform tests in the workplace, such as air sampling
  • Display the official OSHA Job Safety and Health Law poster
  • Provide personal protective equipment
  • Notify OSHA within eight hours of a workplace fatality

Why OSHA Standards are Important to Our Relationship with Clients

When you choose White’s Electrical as your electrician, you’re choosing a professional company who is proud to adhere to OSHA standards. We take safety very seriously, and are constantly reassessing our own safety practices to ensure the safety of both our employees and clients. Our licensed electricians are highly trained, skilled, and ready to take on any job – safely. 

Where is the Most Electricity Used in Your Home or Business?

Where is the Most Electricity Used in Your Home or Business?, Power, Whites Electrical

Ever thought about where the power is being distributed in your home or office building? Knowing where the largest consumption of energy is located is the first step to saving yourself money.

Energy Consumption Within Your Home

Power in the Kitchen

Although the appliances in your kitchen may not be the costliest, they consume a lot of energy from the abundance of them in a single space. For instance:

  • The Fridge and Freezer — It’s estimated that around 4% of the energy costs in your home come from the fridge and freezer. Although the percentage is small, it reaches about $100 a year in most households. However, you can save the amount of energy used by this appliance by keeping it clean and maintained.
  • The Oven — In most cases, it’s more energy efficient to have a gas-powered oven in your home. An oven including a self-cleaning feature is better insulated and therefore, more energy efficient but it uses a huge amount of energy. To save energy, use a lid or tin foil to keep food from spilling over instead.
  • The Dishwasher — This appliance accounts for around 2% of the home energy costs. By rinsing dishes and loading the machine to full capacity, you save on water used in cleaning them and you use the energy efficiently.

Power in the Laundry Room

In the laundry room, there are two main appliances which account for a high amount of costs in your home. To save energy, you can switch to more energy efficient models or make changes to increase efficiency:

  • The Washer — Between both the washer and dryer, 17% of the energy used in your home takes place in the laundry room. That percentage comes needing to heat water for the different cycles. For clothes which aren’t overly dirty, wash a full load in cold water. This helps reduce the energy costs in this one appliance.
  • The Dryer — Some models for this appliance come with moisture sensors. They can detect when clothes are dry and turn off the appliance when finished.

Power in the Living Room

Most families spend a lot of time in the living room, using multiple appliances which consume energy to bring entertainment and convenience:

  • The Lighting — The lighting travels throughout the house but it’s important to know when to use it and turn it off when no longer needed. For the entire house, lighting accounts for 9% of the energy bills.
  • Television and DVD Players — Televisions in homes are used constantly but they only use about 6% of the energy. To keep this appliance from using more energy than necessary, unplugging them or using a power strip which powers everything down at once saves more than most people realize.

Energy Consumption Within Your Office

Energy use within office buildings and other businesses vary due to the size of the structure and the staff working within. The following are factors of energy use within a business:

  • Lighting — In an office building, about 16% of the electricity is used every day. A simple way of saving energy would be to turn off the lights or installing occupancy sensors.
  • Computers — Employees ultilize computers every day in an office space for all kinds of work. Ultimately, these devices use around 17% of the energy in a building. Due to this factor, occupancy sensors can turn off all plugged-in devices when not in use.
  • HVAC System — Trying to maintain a constant temperature within a space is hard when a large group of workers occupy the space. It’s no surprise the HVAC system account for 28% of electrical use because it’s constantly changed by individuals. By installing simple controls to maintain constant levels during weekends and seasons, the heating and cooling system will no longer have to work overtime.

Because nearly all our equipment runs on electricity, it can make it hard to conserve energy. With electricity rates going up constantly, however, it’s important to address. The licensed electricians at Whites Electrical can help you do so. Our team will make sure you have quality advice and service when looking to save electricity.

Understanding Your Breaker Box

Understanding Your Breaker Box Whites Electrical Indianapolis Indiana Electrician

An electrical circuit breaker panel is the main distribution of electrical circuits in your home. The system receives and distributes electricity through your home, and without the proper knowledge, you could end up in a dangerous situation if you tried to work on it.

How Does a Breaker Box Work?

The breaker panel is essentially a big switch filled with other smaller switches. The smaller switchers — breakers — control the power in all aspects of the building. They’re similar to the switches inside a living room. Flip with the switch on the wall, and you’ve got power and vice versa. As an added feature, these breakers perform a variety of safety services. They protect the wiring from overload, your home, and its occupants from fire and electrical shock.

Explaining the Aspects of a Breaker Box

Circuit Breakers

Each circuit within your home has a corresponding breaker. The corresponding breaker in the box not only controls whether electricity is on or off but, if there is an overload on a circuit, the connected breaker automatically shuts off to stop the flow of electricity to that circuit. An overload of electricity can occur from too many appliances running at once or a short circuit.

There are two main types of standard breakers:

  • Single Pole – These are single switches which supply 120 volts of power to all circuits within the home. Devices controlled by these breakers are light fixtures and ordinary plug-in outlets.
  • Double Pole – Double pole switches supply around 240 volts of power within a household. This supply of power controls heavy appliances such as clothes dryers and whole-house central air conditioning.

Other types of breakers, such as Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCI) and Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI), provide special purposes like additional safety protection from fire and electrocution.

Service Disconnect

In case of an emergency, the breaker box allows you to shut off the electricity to your entire home by flipping the service disconnect. The service disconnect is the biggest breaker in the box and is sometimes referred to as the “electrical main.” This is where the power from the electric company flows into the box, starting from the main circuit before flowing through the rest.

Expansion Slots

Many breaker boxes have empty slots for additional circuits to be added as needed by a licensed electrician. New circuits run electricity to new appliances in your home or a room such as the garage or basement if required.

The Lifespan of a Circuit Breaker

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates the life expectancy of a circuit breaker to be around 30 to 40 years, and it’s the same for the GFCI, AFCI, and standard breakers. Because a breaker is a mechanical device, humid conditions or corrosive atmospheres will shorten the life span. On the other hand, a dry, indoor location with moderate temperatures will extend its lifespan. Another way to extend the lifespan of a breaker box is to “exercise” it once a year by flipping each breaker on and off three times.

Breaker boxes provide power for your comfort and convenience. Maintenance and constant attention ensures the breaker box runs efficiently. At Whites Electrical, we are a team of highly trained electricians who can answer any questions and service all residential or commercial project. Contact us today to set up an appointment to have your home powered efficiently today.

Surge Protectors: Protect Electronics from Voltage Spikes

Surge Protector - Voltage Spike - White's Electrical - Indianapolis, Indiana

Christmas is now past, and as the new year rolls in, it’s good to think about practical matters, such as protecting all the electronic equipment you just purchased. The reality is that every electronic device is at risk of damage through the very thing that powers it — electricity. Surge protectors can save your expensive electronics and appliances from electrical surges that will outright destroy the device or decrease its lifespan.

What is a Power Surge?

Voltage Spike - Surge Protector - White's Electrical - Indianapolis, IndianaA surge means that the electrical voltage (the pressure behind the electrons) suddenly increases in the circuit. Think of it like plumbing: the electrons are the water molecules, the voltage is the pressure behind the water, and the circuit is the plumbing system as a whole.

In a plumbing system, the more pressure there is behind the water, the faster the water moves through the pipes and out your faucet. Likewise, the more voltage there is in an electric circuit, the “faster” (or more violently) the electrons move; the electrons have more force.

During a power surge, the voltage spikes for a short time — thousandths or millionths of a second. The surge can carry tens of thousands of volts. That high voltage (“pressure”) will damage electronics.

A large voltage spike will fry circuit boards, crash hard drives, and ruin electrical equipment of any size. A spike can even damage equipment when the equipment is not powered on but just plugged in. Smaller spikes do permanent, sometimes invisible damage to electronics by degrading performance and shortening their lifespan.

What Causes Voltage Spikes

Voltage Spike - Lightning - Surge Protector - White's Electrical - Indianapolis, IndianaVoltage spikes occur when power suddenly drops and spikes. These drops and spikes occur for many reasons, both inside and outside the house.

Power outages are one source for voltage spikes. The spikes occur as electricity cuts out and then suddenly returns. 58 percent of blackouts occur due to nature, with 27 percent from severe weather, 20 percent from fallen trees, and 11 percent from animals.

Specific sources for spikes include:

  • Short circuits
  • Tripped circuit breakers
  • An appliance (such as dryers, air conditioners, etc.) turning on/off
  • Lightning storms (within a mile)
  • Damaged power lines
  • Winds that cause power lines to touch
  • Branches or animals that conduct energy between power lines
  • Rolling blackouts
  • A nearby factory suddenly increasing/decreasing power consumption

Surge Protectors vs. Power Strips vs. Circuit Breakers

Circuit Breaker - White's Electrical - Indianapolis, Indiana

Circuit Breaker

Before going further, you should understand that surge protectors should not be confused with power strips. Power strips simply extend an outlet to provide additional plug ins for devices. They do not protect devices from voltage spikes.

You also should not confuse surge protectors with circuit breakers. Circuit breakers stop the flow of electricity through your home’s circuits when the amperage — not the voltage — increases. Amperage refers to the electrical current flowing through a wire. (If voltage is the pressure in a plumbing system, amperage is the flow of water.) Problems that cause the amperage to increase typically include overloaded circuits (too many appliances pulling electricity in one circuit), short circuits, and ground faults.

True surge protectors work by keeping voltage spikes from reaching the electronics they protect. When a spike reaches a surge protector, the device redirects electricity to the ground wire, which then directs the electricity to the ground, away from the circuit.

Types of Surge Protectors

Whole-House Surge Protector - Voltage Spike - Surge Protector - White's Electrical - Indianapolis, Indiana

Whole-House Surge Protector

There are several kinds of surge protectors. Each protects your home at different levels and offers different levels of protection. Whole-home surge protectors are the first type. They’re located between the power grid and your home. They protect your home from voltage spikes originating outside your house.

The second type is a surge protector that provides whole house protection but which is located between your meter box and breaker box. It likewise protects your home from outside spikes.

The third type of surge protector is a point-of-use protector. These protectors are the kind you’re most likely familiar with. They are located between wall outlets and your devices, and they offer protection from voltage originating both inside and outside your home.

When choosing specific surge protectors, know that not all surge protectors are created equal. Different models deliver different levels of protection. You can learn how well a specific model will protect your electrical systems by looking at its rating, measured in Joules (a unit of energy). A quality point-of-use surge protector will provide at least 1,200 Joules of protection. To protect higher-end devices, we recommend you look for a surge protector that’s rated for at least 2,000 Joules.

Besides the Joules rating, also look at a unit’s voltage clamping. Voltage clamping refers to the voltage at which the surge protector begins directing electricity to the ground wire. We suggest looking for a device with voltage clamping of 400 volts or less.

Also worth considering is a UPS. UPS stands for universal power source. A UPS surge protector provides a battery backup if the power goes out. The battery allows for safe shutdown and data backup. This type of protector is useful for computers and equipment that requires a shutdown procedure in the workplace.

Replacing Surge Protectors

Surge Protector - Voltage Spike - Surge Protector - White's Electrical - Indianapolis, IndianaBecause surge protectors take the brunt of voltage spikes, they will not last forever. Whether a voltage spike damages a surge protector depends on how intense the spike is. The higher a surge protector’s Joule rating, the less likely a spike will damage it. But even small spikes will damage surge protectors over time.

Quality surge protectors have diagnostic lights that will let you know whether the surge protector can still offer protection or not. Depending on the model, a surge protector with diagnostic lights will tell you specific problems the unit encounters. Some protectors will also emit an audible sound when their components have been compromised.

If you own a surge protector without lights and which doesn’t emit a sound, you will want to replace it after a few voltage spikes to make sure the unit provides adequate protection.

It’s important to note, too, that your surge protector is as only as good as its grounding. Surge protectors work by shedding electricity. So, if your house does not have ground wiring, surge protectors cannot work. This is one among other reasons we suggest upgrading two-prong outlets in your home.

Surge Protector Cost

TV not working - Surge Protector - Voltage Spike - Surge Protector - White's Electrical - Indianapolis, IndianaIn 2016, insurers paid $825 million in lightning claims alone. Each of these claims averaged more than $7,500. Many of the claims, unfortunately, could have been avoided had the home or business owner installed adequate surge protectors.

These statistics highlight the cost of not protecting your electronics and appliances. Consider: a high-end surge protector costs less than $100 and can last years. A new Ultra HD TV costs hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.

Also consider whole-house surge protectors. These units typically cost less than $300. Appliances they protect easily cost twice that, if not more.

If you want whole-house protection against voltage spikes that can cause thousands of dollars in damage, White’s Electrical can help. Our team of qualified, highly trained electricians can handle anything with electricity running through it, including your house. We’ll help keep your electronics safe. Contact us today with any of your electrical concerns.

Why Hire a Licensed Electrician ‘Near Me’ in Indiana?

Licensed Electrician Near Me - White's Electrical - Indianapolis Indiana

Being a licensed electrician means that a person has fulfilled his or her licensing requirements. It means they’re educated and have completed the required number of training hours. And it means they can complete electrical work safely and to the specifications of your “near me” local, state, and national standards.

Why is it Important to Hire a Licensed Electrician ‘Near Me’?

High Stakes

Licensing is important because of the stakes. Low electrical voltage in homes (120 and 240 volts) can stop hearts, and industrial voltages can reach to ultra-high levels of more than 1000kV. Not only can electricity kill people, but errors within electrical systems can lead to fires and thousands of dollars in equipment failure. Simply put, electrical errors lead to worse consequences than mere inconvenience (which itself may be severe if the electricity goes out, considering how many appliances rely on electricity).

Electricians Need to Complete Training

It’s for these reasons that training to become a licensed electrician is among the longest apprenticeship programs. Electrician apprentices learn how to safely work with electrical systems and how to abide by local and state laws.

In Indianapolis, Indiana, once an apprentice completes his or her training, the apprentice must pass an examination to become a licensed electrician. To do so, they must have at least six years of documented experience as an apprentice. They must also have at least three reference letters from customers they’ve worked for during that time.

Municipalities that offer contractor’s licenses usually require additional training and experience. For example, the licensing board in Lafayette, Indiana, requires that an electrician have ten years of experience, verified by a city engineer, before receiving a contractor’s license. An electrician may, alternatively, have a four-year electrical engineering degree and six years of experience.

Licensing requirements for electricians are similar throughout the state.

Only Electricians can Work on Electrical Systems

It’s also important to hire a licensed electrician because, by law, a person must be licensed to perform electrical work. Indianapolis code Sec. 875-201 “requires an electrical contractor to be licensed if performing work to connect electrical power for onsite construction, to install, alter, replace, service or repair a system distributing electrical power, to service equipment supplying power to factory-constructed dwellings located in a mobile home park, and to install, modernize, replace, service or repair all or any part of an electrical power distribution system.”

Codes such like this are in the books of every municipality throughout Indiana. Local codes vary, however, which is why you want to find an electrician who is “near me.”

How to Verify an Electrician’s License

Depending on the city in Indiana, licensing boards will offer several types of licenses. A residential license allows an electrician to work on one- and two-family structures. A master’s license (also referred to as a commercial/industrial license) allows an electrician to perform unrestricted electrical work. And a contractor’s license requires that an electrician verify an employee’s work. Local municipalities may also divide contractor’s licenses into commercial/industrial and residential licenses.

When you view a license, make sure that a person’s name matches the name on the license.

There are three ways to verify an electrician’s license:

  • Use the electrician’s full name, license number, or the company name to verify the license with your local licensing board. In Indiana, there is no state-wide licensing board, so you will have to look up a license within an individual municipality.
  • Ask for proof of liability insurance. The insurance company can verify the license.
  • Look up the electrician on a digital list of

If you’re looking for a licensed electrician in or near Indianapolis, Indiana, White’s Electrical has you covered. Specializing in residential electrical work, White’s Electrical is licensed, bonded, and insured to ensure your home and family remain safe and that all our work is performed correctly. Call or schedule an appointment with us today.

2017 Recap: Electrical Device Recalls

Hoverboard - 2017 Recalls Electric Devices - White's Electrical - Indianapolis Indiana

During the past two decades, recalls of electronics and electric devices have steadily increased. 2017 was no different. Stricter regulations and easier reporting have forced manufacturers to stop on top of product safety.

Of all the electrical items recalled in 2017, the lithium-ion battery led the charts. The problems these batteries pose is consistent among manufacturers and products: the batteries overheat, catch fire, and (in some cases) explode. Eleven hoverboard manufacturers had to issue recalls because of these batteries; three computer manufacturers issued recalls; and one electric window covering manufacturer and electric skateboard manufacturer had to issue recalls.

Why all these lithium-ion batteries have failed is not because they’re a new technology. Lithium-ion batteries have been around for decades. Their failure has more to do with poor quality control, poorly designed circuitry, and manufacturers failing to cool the batteries, which are known to degrade in high temperatures. Recalls for lithium-ion batteries came scattered through the year.

The award for Impeccable Timing of a Recall goes to Nantucket Distributing. Nantucket issued a recall of its pre-lit, artificial Christmas tree on January 12. Conveniently, the recall came right after the 2016 holiday and post-Christmas discount shopping season ended.

We’ve put together a list of all electrical devices recalled in 2017. We’ve only included residential equipment in this list, so you will not find recalls for vehicles or medical devices here. We have also only included electrical products that have been recalled due to failure of their electrical system. Thus, we haven’t listed recalls such as Southwire’s Globe and Snow Globe stake lights. (The globes on these items refracted light, which could single or melt items in close proximity. Obviously, this posed a fire hazard.)

For a full list of items recalled in the United States of America, visit the website for the United States Product Safety Commission.

2017 Recalls for Electric Equipment

Cleaning Equipment

2017 Recalls Electric Devices - White's Electrical - Indianapolis Indiana

Dirt Devil Pet Vacuum

 

  • Vacuum Cleaners — Royal Appliance recalled 149,000 Dirt Devil Pet vacuums because the prongs in the electrical cord can detach and remain the outlet.

Electrical / Lighting

LectroFan Sound Machines - 2017 Recalls Electric Devices - White's Electrical - Indianapolis Indiana

LectroFan Sound Machine

  • Adaptors — Barns & Noble has recalled the casing on the power adaptor for its NOOK Tablet 7. The casing can crack when the adaptor is plugged in, which puts consumers at risk for electric shock. Power adaptors sold with LectroFan Sound Machines have also been recalled. ASTI issued the recall the adaptors’ casing can break when plugged in, exposing the prongs and posing an electrical shock hazard. In December, Netgear issued a recall for the power adaptors to its outdoor Arlo cameras. Water can leak into the “waterproof” connector and cause a short circuit, fire, melting, and overheating.
  • Batteries — Springs Window Fashions LLC recalled Zeus lithium batteries in some of the company’s motorized window coverings. The batteries overheat, leak, and discharge, posing fire and burn hazards.
2017 Recalls Electric Devices - White's Electrical - Indianapolis Indiana

Moonlight Soothers Nightlight

  • Nightlights — Skip Hop recalled its Moonlight & Melodies The problem is that the nightlights’ power adaptors can break, which poses the risk of shock. AM Conservation Group likewise recalled its Model 2017-G nightlights because they can overheat. In February, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts recalled its Happy Holidays! Mickey Mouse Nightlights. Liquid from the nightlight can leak from the nightlight and into the electrical outlet, which poses a fire hazard.
  • Outlet Converters — Ningbo Litesun Electric recalled its outlet converters, sold through Home Depot, because they reverse electrical polarity, which creates a risk of shock and fire.
  • Portable Generators — MWE Investments recalled its Westinghouse Portable Generators, as the generators can overheat, posing a fire hazard to consumers.

Electronics

  • Cellphone Batteries — Replacement batteries that FedEx Supply Chain used to refurbish Samsung Galaxy Note 4s can overheat. Apparently, some of the batteries FedEx used were counterfeit.
  • Clamp Meters — Digital clamp meters produced by Extech were recalled because they fail to provide accurate voltage readings.
2017 Recalls Electric Devices - White's Electrical - Indianapolis Indiana

Panasonic Lithium-Ion Battery for Sony Laptops

  • Laptop Batteries — Sony has continued its recall for Panasonic batteries used in Sony laptops because the lithium-ion batteries can overheat. In January, HP expanded a recall for lithium-ion batteries in HP and Compaq Notebook computers because the batteries overheat. Toshiba did the same earlier in the month for lithium-ion batteries used in laptops for the same reason.
  • Science Kits — Little Passports recalled Science Expeditions Northern Lights Kits. The battery packs overheat, posing a burn hazard.
  • Solar Panels — Bosch Solar Services recalled 28,000 roof-mounted solar panels because the panels overheat. SolarWorld recalled its Amphenol PV cable connectors, which it sold with solar panels. The connectors can develop cracks, which let moisture in and therefore threaten electrical shock.

Decorative

  • Christmas Trees — Nantucket Distributing issued a recall of its prelit, artificial Christmas tree because the fuse can overheat and blow, which poses a fire hazard.

Food and Water

  • Filtered Water Dispensers — Nestle Waters North America recalled its AccuPure floor standing filtered water dispenser. The units can overheat and smoke.
  • Food Dehydrators — Greenfield World Trade recalled its EZDRY Food Dehydrators because the units overheat.

Heating & Air Conditioning

  • Air Conditioners — Carrier, Bryant, and Fast have recalled certain Packaged Terminal Air Conditioner models because their power cords can overheat, which poses a fire hazard.
  • Air Handlers — Goodman has issued a recall for certain wall- and ceiling-mounting air handling units that are commonly installed in apartment or condominium units. The units’ disconnects may not disable the power, which puts people servicing the unit at risk of shock.
  • Furnaces — Goodman, Amana, and Daikin recalled 80 percent of their gas furnaces due to an electrical shock hazard.
2017 Recalls Electric Devices - White's Electrical - Indianapolis Indiana

Carrier and Greenspeed Heat Pumps

Household Accessories / Lighting

  • Door Chimes — Swann has recalled certain models of its wireless door chimes. The back cover can detach from the units, which exposes electrical parts that can shock users.
2017 Recalls Electric Devices - White's Electrical - Indianapolis Indiana

Curio Design’s Modular Light Kits and Bases

  • Lamps — Michaels has recalled three models of its Rock Salt Lamps because the cover grill can overheat and ignite, putting consumers at risk of electric shock and fire. A few days before Michaels issued their recall, Curio Design recalled about 1,500 modular light kits and bases. The lights can crack during assembly, and the bases have faulty wiring. West Elm recalled its Table Lamps because the wire running through the lamp can cut or fray the adjustable joint, putting consumers at risk of shock. Also, earlier in the year, Williams-Sonoma recalled its Rejuvenation Wall Sconces because the wiring in them can fray, posing a shock hazard.

Infant/Baby

  • Motion Seats — Fisher-Price recalled various models of its Soothing Motion Seats because the motor housing can overheat, posing a fire hazard.

Large Appliances

  • Dishwashers — BSH Home Appliances recalled 469,000 dishwashers because the power cords they produced overheat. The recall affects dishwashers from Bosch®, Gaggenau®, Jenn-Air®, Kenmore®, and Thermador®.
  • Stoves — Arçelik A.S. recalled its Blomberg and Summit electric range stoves. Due to incorrectly installed electrical system, the stove can become energized, which can shock or electrocute people. One death was reported due to this issue.

Outdoor

2017 Recalls - Electric Devices - White's Electrical - Indianapolis Indiana

Outxpro Mosquito Zapper LED

  • Bug Zappers — R & D Products recalled its Outxpro Mosquito Zapper LED light bulbs because the base of the LED bulb can separate from the connector, posing the risk of an electrical shock. The zappers were sold through Amazon.com.
  • Extension Cords — The Canadian Tire Corporation, Ltd., recalled certain of its Mastercraft brand outdoor extension cords. The manufacturer improperly installed the unit’s prongs on these cords, which can cause the female end of the electric outlet to spark.
  • Lawn Mowers — Hongkong Sun Rise Trading recalled its cordless electric lawn mowers because its electrical system can short circuit and catch fire.
  • Swimming Pool Motors — Nidec Motor recalled some of its programmable, variable-speed swimming pool motors because they are not properly grounded. The affected units have “Emerson” or “EcoTech EZ” printed on the control box.

Recreation/Relaxation

  • Adjustable Beds — Customatic Beds recalled its adjustable beds because the bed’s outlets were wired incorrectly. The units pose an electrical shock hazard.
  • E-Cigs — Firewood recalled its Firewood 4 vaporizers because the electrical system is not wired correctly, and an electrical short can occur, posing the risk of fire.
  • Handheld Massagers — HoMedics recalled their handheld massagers due to the fact that the massagers’ cords can break and pose electrical and burn hazards.
  • Lift Chairs — La-Z-Boy issued a recall for the power supply covers on certain lift chair models. The covers can become detached, which poses a risk of electric shock.

Safety Equipment

  • Fire Alarms — Honeywell International recalled its SWIFT® wireless gateway, which it sold with its fire alarm systems. The SWIFT® systems fail to communicate with the fire alarms, which means that the fire alarms might not go off if the system detects a fire.

Toys

  • Battery Chargers — Performance Designed Products recalled its XBOX ONE 2X Smart Chargers battery chargers for XBOX ONE game controllers. The battery chargers can overheat and damage the game controllers or burn consumers.
2017 Recalls Electric Devices - White's Electrical - Indianapolis Indiana

Sonic Smart Wheels Hoverboard

Four ways to Upgrade Two Prong Outlets

Two Prong Outlets - White's Electrical - Indianapolis

Between 1920 and 1960, tens of thousands of houses were built in the United States. Almost all of them had two prong outlets. Many of them still do. While the majority of Indiana’s houses were built in the 1990s, there are more than 8,600 currently for sale built between 1920 and 1960 in the Hoosier state. Many more off the market. If you live in a house with two prong outlets, you might want to consider an upgrade. You are at risk for more than inconvenience when you try and plug in your 21st century TV into one of these outlets.

Risks Associated With Two Prong Outlets

There are two risks associated with two prong outlets: electrocution and power surges. Both of these issues have to do with the fact that the wiring in two prong outlets isn’t grounded. In outlets built since 1962, U.S. electrical code has required all outlets be constructed with a ground wire. This ground wire protects electronics and people from electrical surges and faults by providing a pathway for extra energy to escape the house’s circuitry. When a fault or surge occurs with grounding, the energy travels through the ground wire to the electrical panel. There, it will trip the circuit breaker or blow a fuse, thereby shutting down the circuit before damage (hopefully) occurs. The energy then continues through the ground wire into the earth below the structure, where it dissipates harmlessly.

Without grounding, it’s also impossible to protect your electronics and appliances with surge protectors. Surge protectors work only if they are can connect to a ground wire. Without this wire, they offer no better protection for electronic devices than do multiprong outlets.

Two Prong Outlets are Not Up to Code

GFCI - Two Prong Outlets - White's Electrical - Indianapolis

GFCI Receptacle

Upgrading your home’s electrical system can cost between 5 and 15 percent of your home’s value — a price tag many people cannot afford. With this in mind, regulators determined that homeowners with two prong outlets need not upgrade them. However, that doesn’t mean they’re the safest option.

For more than 50 years, code has required all new construction have grounded, three prong outlets. More recently, U.S. electrical code has required that not only outlets be grounded but that outlets in areas with water present have a GFCI. A GFCI, short for ground-fault circuit interrupter, protects people from electrical shock by cutting off the circuit if a short circuit occurs. (A short circuit is when energy is directed out of the regular circuit pathway through a path with little or no resistance.) If that short circuit occurs because a person is being electrocuted, a GFCI can save their life.

No such protection is available with a two prong outlet.

Two Prong Outlets Suggest Other Problems

Murray fuse box - White's Electrical - Indianapolis, Indiana

Murray fuse box

Two prong outlets also raise flags about other electrical issues that may be present. Homes built before 1965 were built with 30- or 60-amp fuse panels. While 60-amp fuse panels were made with at least one 240-volt wire for larger appliances, 30-amp fuse panels only provide 120-volt wiring, and they are inadequate for modern household electrical needs.

60-amp fuse boxes are problematic because they, too, cannot handle well modern requirements upon electrical systems. In comparison, newly constructed homes today are built with 200-amp circuit breakers (the service panels that replaced fuse boxes).

When there is too much energy running through a wire, the wire heats up, putting the house at risk for fire. Too much energy (electricity) will also blow fuses. You will have to constantly replace if your fuse box’s amperage rating doesn’t meet your needs.

Another problem to be on guard for when two prong outlets are present is the lack of grounding in outlets that have three prongs. If a house has both two and three prong outlets, it means that the three prong outlets were installed for convenience and that they’re not actually grounded. It could also means that only part of your house’s electrical system is grounded.

You will want to test your outlets to find out whether they are grounded or not. If the three prong outlets are not grounded, regulations require that you label them with the words “No Equipment Ground.”

Four Ways to Upgrade 2 Prong Outlets

To upgrade your two prong outlets, you cannot simply add a three prong outlet. While this will solve the convenience issue, it will not solve the safety issue.

If you truly want to address your two prong outlets and make them safer, you have four options.

Option 1: Rewire Your Outlets

Your first, and best, option is to hire an electrician to rewire your house’s outlets and its electrical panel. If the expense is a concern, consider having your electrician rewire select outlets into which you will plug larger or more sensitive electronic devices, such as a computer or game counsel.

Note that this is not a project you can do yourself. Only a certified electrician has the expertise necessary to run a ground wire from the outlet to the service panel and then properly ground it.

Option 2: Ground Three Prong Outlets with the Metal Housing Box

Many two prong outlets were installed in metal boxes. While the circuitry itself wasn’t grounded, these individual boxes oftentimes were. If your house has two prong outlets with metal boxes, it is possible you can ground your outlets without overhauling the wiring.

To find out whether the metal housing is grounded, purchase a circuit tester. Insert one of the tester’s prongs into the hot slot (the shorter slot in the outlet). Put the other prong onto a screw holding the cover plate. If the tester lights up, it means the metal box is grounded.

If the box is grounded, you can install a three prong outlet and ground it by attaching it to the armored, or BX, cable in the back of the box.

Option 3: Install a GFCI at the Outlet

The third option to upgrade a two prong outlet is to replace it with a GFCI. While a GFCI will not protect your electronics from power surges, it will protect you from electrocution and short circuits. If you replace your ungrounded, two prong outlet with a GFCI, you must label it with “No Equipment Ground.”

Option 4: Install a GFCI at the Circuit Breaker

It’s also possible to replace your two prong receptacles with three prong ones and add a GFCI circuit breaker at the service panel. Doing this will likewise protect you from electrocution. If you do this, you will have to label outlets with “GFCI Protected, No Equipment Ground.”

Whatever you decide to do, we recommend having a certified electrician complete your electrical work. Safety is always a concern when working with electricity, and an expert will best take care of your home.

Funny-Sounding Terms Electricians Use

Funny Terms Indianapolis Electricians use White's Electrical

Imagine you are remodeling your home in Indianapolis, and you need your electrical system rewired. So, you hire an electrician from White’s Electrical. Upon arriving and poking around, the electrician begins talking about the neighborhood bird and how there is a problem with the bank. You might assume he is up to some funny business, but you would be wrong. Electricians use industry language and slang like everyone else. A BURD (not “bird”) is a Buried Urban Residential Distribution. And a “bank” has nothing to do with the financial institution. Rather, it is a group of electrical devices connected in a specific way to increase electrical capacity.

Below is a list of funny-sounding, industry-specific words electricians use that, were you uninformed, you might find confusing.

Dictionary of Funny Words in the Electrical Industry

 

Funny Words Indianapolis Electricians Use - White's Electrical

Alligator

A tool on a hot stick with which utility workers tie a wire or cable into an insulator.


 

Anchor

Holds conductors where they end at a pole or other structure. It is buried in the ground and connects to the pole by a guy-wire.


 

Arc

An electrical discharge through the air.


 

Arrester

Limits surge voltage by diverting it.


 

Baker Board

An insulated platform used when working on a pole.


Ballast

A device that limits the current.


Funny Terms Indianapolis Electricians use White's Electrical

Bank

Electrical devices that are connected to increase electrical capacity.


Bayonet Cap (BC)

A type of lamp base.


Bonding

Joining metallic parts.


Funny terms Indianapolis Electricians use - Buried Urban Residential Distribution

BURD

Buried Urban Residential Distribution.


Burden

An electrical load on a circuit.


Bus

A conductor, such as a metal bar, that connects one or more circuits to an interface.


Power Transformer - Funny Words Indianapolis Electricians Use - White's Electrical

Can

An overhead transformer.


Candlepower

Luminous intensity.


Cold

Circuits, lines, or equipment that does not have electrical power.


cutout fuse - Funny Words Indianapolis Electricians Use - White's Electrical

Door

The tube of a fused cutout.


Drop-Out

When a relay moved to a position in which it is no longer electrified.


FAT

Factory Acceptance Test.


 

Fishing

The act of pulling wires through walls when installing the wire.


Flower Pot

Slang for Universal Bushing Well.


Gut

Slang for “Line Hose.”


Hand bender - funny terms Indianapolis Electricians Use - White's Electrical

Hand Bender

A tool used to bend metal tubing and conduit.


Hertz

Unit of frequency.


Home Run

The main line from a service panel to the first device in the circuit.


Hot

A line or device that has electricity running through it.


ILL

Initial Lamp Lumens.


funny terms Indianapolis Electricians Use - White's Electrical

IOU

Investor Owned Utility


Keyless

A lighting device made out of porcelain used for temporary lighting or in a storage area.


funny terms Indianapolis Electricians Use - White's Electrical

Ohm

Unit of electrical resistance.


Pick-up

When a relay switches to an electrified position.


funny terms Indianapolis Electricians Use - White's Electrical

Pig tail

A temporary light.


Pothead

Slang for the device electricians use to move an overhead conductor underground.


funny terms Indianapolis Electricians Use - White's Electrical

Raceway

A channel used for holding conductors, cables, tubing, wire ways, and bus ways.


RPM

Reinforced Polymer Mortar.


Tag Line

A rope used to control things that are being lifted.


Temper

The softness of metal.


Funny terms Indianapolis Electricians Use - White's Electrical

Transformer

A device that changes voltage.


Transmission System

The highest-voltage network an electric utility system uses.


Trunking

A long metal or plastic container that houses cables and wires.


Funny terms Indianapolis Electricians Use - White's Electrical

UPS

Uninterruptable Power Supply.

 

 

How to Safely Dispose Broken LED Bulbs

How to safely dispose led bulbs white's electrical mooresville indianapolis greenwood indiana

LED bulbs are on track to replace CFLs as the lighting method of choice. They’re more energy efficient than CFLs, they last longer, and they don’t contain mercury — a poisonous heavy metal used to create CFL lightbulbs. However, although LEDs don’t contain mercury, they do contain other toxic substances, of which consumers are largely unaware. Because LEDs so have toxic substances, it’s important to know how to safely dispose of LED bulbs.

LEDs are a Good, Energy-Efficient Choice for Lighting

First, it’s important to note that LEDs are excellent choices for lighting. They’re 90 percent more efficient than incandescent light bulbs. That efficiency means homeowners who replace incandescent lights with LED bulbs will save on average $4 per year per bulb per year, which over the lifespan of a LED bulb amounts to $163 saved. And that’s with an estimated LED bulb price of $8.

But LEDs are much less expensive than they were even in recent years. 60-watt equivalent bulbs currently average between $1.50 and $2.50 per bulb on Amazon, making them very affordable.

How to safely dispose led bulbs white's electrical mooresville indianapolis greenwood indiana

LEDs also outshine their CFL cousins, literally. CFL bulbs, though still much more efficient than incandescent bulbs, consume more energy than LEDs. And they’re notorious for not shining at full brightness for several seconds after being switch on. Plus, homeowners cannot control these bulbs with dimmer switches, something they can do with LED lights.

Besides all this, although LEDs do contain toxins, aren’t by considered toxic by law, which means you can dispose of them at the landfill (although we encourage recycling).

LED bulbs are simply the best choice on the market for residential and commercial lighting needs, and no home- or business owner should shy away from installing them. Quite the opposite — they should be looking to retrofit their residence if they haven’t already.

Toxins in LED Lights

How to safely dispose led bulbs white's electrical mooresville indianapolis greenwood indiana

Going with LED lights for their benefits doesn’t mean ignoring safety. It’s well known that LEDs contain lead, arsenic, and other potentially harmful substances. A study published in 2010 in Environmental Science and Technology specifically identified low-intensity, red LEDs as most often containing the highest amount of toxic materials. The study identified white LEDs as having the last amount of lead but still containing nickel, another heavy metal.

Disposing of Broken LEDs

How to safely dispose led bulbs white's electrical mooresville indianapolis greenwood indiana

The study therefore suggests that people treat broken LEDs as hazardous materials. If an LED lightbulb breaks in your home or workplace:

  • Put on protective gloves and sweep up the LED pieces into a plastic bag using a stiff piece of cardboard (if you use a broom, consider disposing of the broom after using it).
  • Next, use sticky tape to pick up any small fragments left over. Put the tape with the fragments into the plastic bag.
  • When all the pieces are picked up, place the bag in a sealable container.

Because LEDs aren’t considered toxic by law, you can dispose of the fragments with other landfill materials. If you want to dispose of them in a more environmentally manner, contact your local municipal agency for instructions.

Municipal agencies in central Indiana include:

If your LED bulb has simply dimmed out (LEDs don’t burn out; they emit less light over time), you can either throw it away or recycle it at a local recycling center, via an online recycler, or with a local retailer who accepts LEDs.

If you’re looking to retrofit your business or otherwise want LED lighting, contact White’s Electrical to learn how we can meet your needs.

Wiring: A Gnawing Problem

https://www.flickr.com/photos/rothwerx/2641452698. By Jeremiah Roth. Mice rats chewed wire. Electrical Electrician Indianapolis Indiana.

Photo by Jeremiah Roth

It’s a well-known fact that rodents incessantly gnaw. They have to because their front teeth never stop growing, and they need to wear the teeth down. Because of their instinct to chew and gnaw, rodents — namely rats and mice — can wreak havoc in electrical systems when they expose wires after chewing off the coatings. Once wires are exposed, the wires can short or cause fires.

Another reason rats and mice gnaw on cables is because the cables obstruct their path. Rodents and other animals tend to move very efficiently when they travel. So, when a cable obstructs their route, they will try to remove it by gnawing and biting at it so they can travel easier.

A third reason (or theory) why these animals gnaw cables is that they’ve learned food is often stored in plastic containers. So, they’ll chew through plastic in hopes of finding a meal.

Whatever the reason, the fact remains that vermin are here to stay and will continue to get into electrical systems. Here are five ways to prevent rats and mice from destroying your wiring:

No. 1: Deter Rats and Mice

The best way to prevent chewed cables and wiring is to deter the rats and mice that cause the damage. There are a number of ways of doing this.

Clean Up

First, make sure the areas around the wires are free of clutter and debris. Rats and mice are constantly looking for places to nest. So, the cleaner an area is, the less chances are that they’ll take up residence.

Seal Holes

Mice can enter buildings through cracks as small as 1/4 inch. So, to keep rodents out, you’ll need to identify and block all the entry points into your building. Weakened areas and rotting wood are also possible points of entry for rodents, as they’ll gnaw their way into the structure.

Limit Access to the Roof

There’s no reason to make it easier for rats and mice to get into your building. Trim back limbs and plants that are hanging over your roof or growing right beside the building.

Take Out the Trash

Store biodegradable trash (food) outside in containers vermin can’t get into. Nothing invites rats and mice more than the smell of free food.

Use Repellents

Commercial repellents can deter rodents from entering an area. Some spray repellents mimic predator scents, like coyotes and bobcats. Others come in pouches or bags and smell pleasant (peppermint, eucalyptus, etc.).

No. 2: Protect the Wires

Some locations, like college campuses and stadiums will always invite rats and mice. If it’s impossible or very difficult to keep rodents out of your facilities, your best bet is to protect your wires.

One way to protect your wires is to lay them in concrete. Rodents won’t chew through concrete. Even a thin layer will protect wires.

A second option is to run the wire through steel trunking or covers. Like concrete, rats and mice can’t chew through it, so wires inside of these housings will remain safe.

A similar idea is to run wires through plastic tubing. It, too, will protect wires from gnawing and chewing. With either steel or plastic, however, you’ll have to make sure there are no gaps or entryways into the conduit, as the tight space will make a nice nesting area for rodents. The rodents will gnaw the wires if they can get in, which is what you’re trying to prevent.

No. 3: Stick to the Route

One of the reasons rats and mice chew cables is because they’re trying to clear a path so they can travel efficiently. Thus, if a cable goes through a hole or joist, rodents may gnaw at it so their path is clear. But if a cable lies flat or goes over the top of a joist, the rodents will most likely ignore it.

No. 4: Check Out the Material

Producers are being pushed to develop biodegradable products. That being the case, some now make wiring with coatings derived from soy. Apparently, rodents find the coating particularly attractive. Environmentally friendly indeed.

No. 5: Roadblocks

Since the eighteenth century, cones have been used to stop rats and mice from traveling along cables. Modern adaptations, such as ConeStop, do the same. Rats and mice run along conduits because they provide a nice roadway for them through buildings. But if you block their road, the animals will go elsewhere, where they can move more freely.

Apparently, the method works, and it keeps rats and mice off cables.

If you’ve experienced trouble with shortages or fires because of chewed and damaged cables, call a pest control expert to deal with the animals. Call White’s Electrical to repair your wiring.