Smoke Alarm Safety

An important step in protecting your home and keeping your family safe is making sure your smoke alarms are properly working. If you built your home today, current codes in North Carolina require smoke alarms in each sleeping room, outside each separate sleeping area near the bedrooms, and on each story of the home, including the basement. If you have a larger home, you may need additional smoke alarms.

Current standards also require that all smoke detectors are interconnected and hardwired. With a hard wired connected system, the activation of one alarm will active all alarms in the home. Each smoke alarm should have a backup power source in case of power interruption.

smoke detector

Maintaining And Replacing Smoke Detectors

Proper maintenance and replacement of your home’s alarms can reduce the risk for smoke alarm failure. Check each smoke detector monthly by pressing the test button on the outside of the case. If your alarm has replaceable batteries, the battery should be replaced once a year. Alarms with non-replaceable 10-year batteries are designed to remain effective up to 10 years. If the alarm with the 10 year battery chirps it is warning that the battery is low. In this case, you should replace the entire unit right away.

When doing home improvement projects, you should never paint, sticker, or decorate the alarm. This could keep the smoke detector from working.

Is It Time To Replace Your Smoke Alarm?

Smoke alarms have a limited life span. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends that every alarm in your home be replaced after 10 years.  Not sure how old your smoke detector is? Remove the alarm from the ceiling and look on the back of the device for the manufacture date. If it is less than 10 years old and works properly during monthly tests, it’s ok to keep the alarm.

Alarms over 10 years old or alarms that don't work properly during a test (and new batteries do not correct the situation) then it is time to replace the alarm immediately. In older homes you may also want to consider adding additional smoke alarms to meet the current requirements. An electrician can ensure that any new alarms you install are hard wired and work properly with the rest of your smoke alarm system.

Electrical Home Inspections

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Ensure whole house comfort and peace of mind with an extended coverage plan from Central Carolina Air Conditioning. When you add whole house coverage to your Policy of Assurance you will receive on plumbing and one electrical inspection each year to ensure your plumbing and electrical systems are working properly.

Eight reasons to upgrade your home electrical panel

Electrical Panel Replacement

When is it time to replace your home’s electrical panel? If you are like many of us, you probably don’t think about your electrical panel unless you need to flip a circuit breaker. However, the electrical panel is an important part of your home’s electrical system. Here’s a quick list to help you decide if it’s time to think about replacing it.

1. Age: Electrical panels can last anywhere from 25 to 40 years. However, useful, safe operation can vary due to power surges, general use, and even manufacturer issues. To ensure your panel is operating as expected, an electrical inspection for your home is recommended once a year. If your panel has fuse technology instead of circuit breakers, that’s also a sign that it is probably time for an electrical panel replacement. Many insurance companies will charge a penalty if you have an outdated panel with fuses.

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2. Smell: If there is any kind of burning smell near your electrical panel, it is always better to have it inspected by a qualified technician to ensure that it is still operating safely. A qualified technician can advise you on repairs needed or let you know it's time for an electrical panel replacement.

3. Tripping Breakers: Circuit breakers are designed to turn off the flow of electricity on circuits that are drawing too much power. If breakers trip often, it could be a sign that you have an increased load and need to upgrade your panel.

4. Home Upgrades: Home improvement projects often include changes to the demand on the electrical system like adding new outlets or appliances. An increased electricity demand could be a reason to for an electrical panel replacement with additional circuits.

5. Heat: Electrical panels should not be warm to the touch. Heat coming from a panel could indicate an issue that needs to be inspected by a qualified technician immediately. The technician can do a complete inspection and advise if it is time for an electrical panel replacement.

6. Overall Condition- If you have a rusty electrical panel, it is an indication that your panel has come in contact with water. In addition to replacing your panel, you will also want to find the source of the water and address that issue as well.

7. Noise: If you hear buzzing or hissing sounds, it’s time for an inspection by a qualified professional. What could be a simple fix such as a bad wire or loose connection, if left unaddressed, can cause further damage to your panel. This could result in an electrical panel replacement and wiring replacement.

8. Flickering Lights- Do your lights flicker every time you vacuum your home? If you notice frequently flickering lights during daily activities around your home, it may mean it’s time for an upgrade to handle the increased power draw.

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Electrical Maintenance Inspection

At Central Carolina, we recommend an electrical inspection service once a year to ensure your home's electrical system is working as expected. In a Central Carolina electrical services inspection, you can expect us to check your panel and do an infra-red scan to look for hot spots. We will tighten all electrical connections. We inspect your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they are in proper working order and within their useful lifespan. We will test your outlets and provide you with any recommendations for service to keep your home running and your power on.

What is an electrical panel?

The electrical panel is a metal box that contains all the electric circuits for a home. Often found in the garage or basement, the panel takes the electricity purchased from the power company and distributes it throughout the home to power lights, appliances, and electronics.

Different areas in the home, or even appliances, will have their own circuit in the electrical panel. These should be clearly labeled inside the panel to help with the management of electricity in your home.

Each circuit is controlled by either a fuse or a circuit breaker. Fuses, which look like tiny light bulbs, are typically found in older panels. In a panel with fuses, If the circuit is overloaded, the small wire inside the bulb will melt and that stops the electricity to that circuit. Then the fuses will have to be replaced manually.

Circuit breakers are more common in today’s homes. These look like switches inside the electrical panel. If a circuit becomes overloaded, the switch will flip to cut the power. Before flipping the switch back to the regular position, simply reduce the load on the circuit by unplugging the electronics or appliance that caused the breaker to flip.

As a rule of thumb, it is best to have your entire electrical system inspected once a year by a professional electrician. The electrician will check your electrical panel and advise you of any issues or concerns.

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panel maintenance

Electrical Maintenance Inspection

At Central Carolina, we recommend an electrical inspection service once a year to ensure your home's electrical system is working as expected. In a Central Carolina electrical services inspection, you can expect us to check your panel and do an infra-red scan to look for hot spots. We will tighten all electrical connections. We inspect your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they are in proper working order and within their useful lifespan. We will test your outlets and provide you with any recommendations for service to keep your home running and your power on.