Electric Space Heaters – Three Tips to Avoid the Shock of Misuse

Colder temperatures in the Midwest may prompt some people to start using electric space heaters in their home or office. Before you plug in an electric space heater just anywhere, consider some of the guidelines suggested from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Choose the Right Heater

Make sure your electric heater is listed as being tested with a nationally recognized testing laboratory. These heaters meet specific safety standards, and all the safety precautions and alerts will be provided in the sales information that accompanies your heater.

Don’t use an electric heater that has the heating element exposed. There are many types of electric heaters, and the heating element should at least be covered with a wire grill or a guard surface of some sort. Portable electric heaters that operate by circulating water or oil are constructed differently, and the heating element is usually enclosed already.

Locate the Heater Properly

Evaluate the area where you will be using the electric heater, and take this into consideration. Although electric heaters don’t have an open flame, they can still ignite other materials located near them.

The heating elements of some types of electric heaters are hot enough to ignite nearby combustibles like draperies, paper, clothing, furniture, and flammable liquids. It is, therefore, important to check surrounding objects periodically to see if they feel hot.

If you are using an electric heater in your office, don’t place it under your desk near a wastebasket, or close to a coat rack, etc. Electric heaters at home should never be used as a device for laying clothes on to dry. It may be tempting to warm up your mittens, but it could also prove deadly if they ignite.

Don’t put the electric heater anywhere near water, and don’t touch an electric heater if you are wet. Keep heaters away from bathtubs, sinks, and other sources of water. There are proper heaters to use in your bathroom, so make sure you choose the right heater for the right location in your home or office.

Use the Electric Heater Properly

Usually, the manufacturer’s instructions will give guidelines for proper placement, how long to operate it at one time, etc. Some manufacturers suggest not using an extension cord to plug in the electric heaters, instead, plug them directly into the wall outlet. If an extension cord is necessary, use a heavy-duty cord of 14-guage wire or larger. If the electric heater has a grounding prong, make sure the extension cord also has the grounding (three-prong) plug.

Choose an electric heater that is appropriate for the size room. Do not purchase oversized heaters, and follow the room guidelines that are provided in the specifications included in the sales information.

Portable electric heaters are designed to heat up a small area quickly, but they are usually not designed to operate for a long time continuously. As a safety precaution, turn off the heater when you are out of the room, and it’s a good idea to unplug it also.

Whichever type of electric space heater you choose to use, make sure you keep it clean and dust-free. If you notice fraying on the wiring, if it smells strange, or if it isn’t heating properly, unplug it immediately, and call your local electrician.

Witt Electric, LLC is the family electrician you can trust to help with large or small home and office electrical needs. Learn more about our services here.

Energy Saving Tips – Occupancy Sensors

Indoor lighting controls, also called occupancy sensors, are able to detect activity within a certain area. They provide convenience by turning lights on automatically when someone enters a room. They reduce lighting energy use by turning lights off soon after the last occupant has left the room.

Location is important when installing these sensors. Occupancy sensors must be located where they will detect occupants or occupant activity in all parts of the room. Locating a sensor in an obscure corner of the room that rarely has traffic would not contribute to a cost savings in energy.

There are two types of occupancy sensors: ultrasonic and infrared. Ultrasonic sensors detect sound, while infrared sensors detect heat and motion. For instance, if you were used to waking up to a stereo turned up to full volume, the ultrasonic sensor would add to your wake-up pleasure by turning on the lights automatically for you also. On the other hand, infrared sensors are helpful to install as a deterrent to thieves. Even though they may be stealthily quiet, once they enter a room and move around, the infrared sensor will know they are present and illuminate their work in progress!

In addition to controlling ambient lighting in a room, they are useful for task lighting applications, such as over kitchen counters. In such applications, task lights are turned on by the motion of a person washing dishes, for instance, and automatically turn off a few minutes after the person stops.

Consider functionality of your home and the lighting zones within each room. It is possible to save energy by using occupancy sensors throughout your living environment. Witt Electric can offer suggestions and solutions for all your home lighting needs.

Indoor Lighting Efficiency Can Save Energy Costs

When designing indoor lighting for energy efficiency, you want to consider some basic design principles and methods.

The U.S. Department of Energy suggests the following energy-efficient lighting design principles:

  • Increasing the amount of light is not always better for every situation. People are different, and their visual performance can fluctuate, depending on the light quality as well as quantity. Understand your own preferences, and those of your family members before you invest in extra lighting solutions.
  • Make sure that you match the amount and quality of light to the performed function. When you are performing tasks that require a high degree of visual attention, making sure you have adequate lighting will help reduce eyestrain.
  • Install task lights where needed and reduce ambient light elsewhere. If all your work is concentrated in one corner of the room, for instance at a desk, you could consider dimming the lights throughout the room and using specific task lights while at your desk.
  • Use energy-efficient lighting components, controls, and systems. Review the sales material to determine the best level of efficiency, or call your trusted electrician for suggestions.
  • Maximize the use of day lighting. Sunny days help improve you mood, and they reduce your electric bill – when you open the curtains and let the sun shine in!

Here are some basic methods for achieving energy-efficient indoor lighting:

Install fluorescent light fixtures for all ceiling- and wall-mounted fixtures that will be on for more than two hours each day. These often include the fixtures in the kitchen and living room, and sometimes those in bathrooms, halls, bedrooms, and other higher-demand locations.

Install dedicated compact fluorescent fixtures, rather than compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) in incandescent fixtures, so that fluorescent bulbs continue to be used for the life of the house.

Use CFLs in portable lighting fixtures that are operated for more than two hours a day.

Use ENERGY STAR® labeled lighting fixtures.

Use occupancy sensors for automatically turning on and off your lights as needed. Too often, electricity is wasted because an unoccupied room is lit up for hours at a time.

Consider painting your walls a lighter color. This often helps to minimize the need for artificial lighting.

If recessed lights are used in a ceiling with an unconditioned space above it, use only Underwriters Laboratory (UL) approved fixtures that are airtight, are IC (insulation contact) rated, and meet ASTM E283 requirements.

There are many ways of making your home lighting systems more energy efficient. If you’d like specific suggestions for your home, Witt Electric can help you understand your lighting needs, and offer recommendations to your current lighting conditions. Upgrading your indoor lighting efficiency can help reduce your energy bill.

Electrical Service and Repair Lenawee County MI

Electricity is a natural part of our lives, and we often take it for granted – until it’s not working. If you have an electrical problem, don’t stay in the dark – call a certified electrician who offers 24 hour emergency electrical service and repair.

Electrical Service and Repairs by a Master Electrician

When you need electrical service and repairs on your electrical system in Lenawee County Michigan, a master electrician has the additional education, training, and experience to troubleshoot any electrical problem in your home or office.

Attempting to perform electrical repairs yourself or hiring someone who is not specialized in electrical repairs could prove costly, or even deadly. Faulty wiring could cause a fire, and poorly repaired circuits can cause damage to electrical appliance motors.

Emergency Electrical Service

An electrician who provides emergency services when you need them could save you money in the end, and can help protect one of the biggest assets that you own. The certified electrician knows the right parts to use in your system, how to properly install them, and will test them to make sure they are working safely and efficiently.

Preventive maintenance on your electrical service and timely repairs can keep an electrical system at optimal performance. Regularly servicing an electrical breaker panel can reduce the potential for hazards. Other possible problems with your electrical service include lights blinking, a buzzing sound coming from your electrical panel box, or breakers that feel warm.

A certified Michigan electrician understands the conditions necessary to keep your electricity operational and within the required codes. Trust Witt Electric when you have emergency electrical service and repair needs.

LED Lights: Get Yours During Post-Holiday Light Sales

Are you taking advantage of the price breaks and closeout sales left over from the holidays? If you traditionally decorate your home with holiday lights, consider the LED holiday lights for more energy efficiency. Now is a great time to stock up for the next holiday season, because many stores are reducing the price of remaining LED lights.

LED stands for light-emitting diode. These Christmas lights provide the decoration you want, while using less electricity than traditional lights.

Normally, LED lights cost a bit more for the initial purchase, but they save money in the long run. They cost less to operate, and usually last around 20,000 hours – that’s a lot of holiday seasons! According to the Department of Energy, running LED holiday lights on one 6-foot tree for 12 hours per day for 40 days can save 90% or more energy when compared to traditional incandescent holiday lights.

The standard C-7 string of lights with 125 bulbs at 4 watts each averages $27.21 as the electricity cost. The mini-incandescent lights of 300 bulbs at 0.4 watts each averages a cost of $6.53; while the LED holiday lights of 280 bulbs at 0.04 watts each has an average electricity cost of only $0.61.

Here are some more advantages of buying the LED lights while they are on sale now, to use during the next holiday:

LED holiday lights are cooler than incandescent bulbs, so they reduce the risk of fire and personal injury. The LED lights are more durable than incandescent bulbs. The lamps are typically made out of solid plastic rather than glass. And, because they use less power, it is safer to connect multiple strings of LED holiday lamps end-to-end without overloading the wall socket.

If you’re planning an extensive holiday lighting scheme, consider the location of your electrical outlets, and the power supply for those lights. If you need a safety analysis of these areas before your next decorating exhibition, call Witt Electric LLC, your local licensed electrician. Click here to learn about all our electrical contracting services.

Witt Electric

Witt Electric
Cindy & Gary Witt - Master Electrician
3785 West Cadmus Road,
Adrian, MI 49221-8708
Telephone: (517) 265-6997
Email us: wittelectric@yahoo.com