Tag: electrical system maintenance

Everything You Should Know About Your Home Electrical System

everything you should know about your home electrical system

Every homeowner should know at least the basics about the electrical systems in their home. If something were to malfunction or cause problems, you should know what you might be dealing with and how you can fix it (or prevent it from happening in the future). To help you get started, the pros at Roman Electric have prepared a guide on everything you need to know about your home electrical system.

1. Understand the Importance of a GFCI

Most homes have ground fault circuit interrupters pre-installed. However, if you have an older home, you might have to install it yourself. GFCI outlets can prevent electrocution—essentially, if the GFCI senses electrical difference flowing into the current, it will immediately shut off the circuit. This is especially useful in places where appliances are exposed to water. A GFCI can protect human life so it is important that you them installed around your home. The National Electric code requires them installed in places like your bathroom, kitchen, basement and even outdoors.

2. Find Ways to Save Electricity

There are numerous simple steps you can take to save electricity and on your electric bill. Here are some ways you can easily save electricity in your home:

  • Reduce Energy Vampires

Energy vampires are devices or appliances that eat up electricity even when they are not being used. As long as they are plugged in, they are slowly increasing your electricity bill. Make sure that you unplug devices like your laptop charger, hair dryer, and coffee machine when they are not being used. If you’re going on vacation, consider unplugging other larger appliances as well.

  • Turn Off Unnecessary Lights

If you are not using a certain room in your home, make sure the lights and fan are on. During the day, make use of the sun!

  • Switch to LEDs

LED lights are significantly more efficient than incandescent bulbs. They use 75% less energy and last 25 times longer.

3. Know the Main Parts of Your Electrical System

Here is some home-electrical vocabulary you should know:

  • Electric Meter

The utility company’s lines extend to your home and are connected to your electric meter. Here you can measure the amount of electricity your home is using.

  • Main Service Panel

Electricity comes into your house from the main service panel and is essentially distributed to your electrical home appliances on hot wires. The current is then returned back to the utility on neutral wire which completes the circuit.

  • Disconnect Switch

Located on the exterior of your home next to the meter, the disconnect switch can shut off power from outside your home.

  • Main Circuit Breaker

The main circuit controls the power going to the branch circuit breakers, which control the power being distributed to your home appliances. Turning it off shuts off power to the branch circuit breakers and your home. If you don’t have a disconnect switch, the main breaker can be used to shut off power to your home.

Have any more questions about your home electrical system? Contact the pros at Roman Electric at 414-369-3798 or schedule a service online.

Electrical Wiring Tips: What is Hot, Neutral, and Ground

Before you perform any project or home improvement on your electrical system, you must have some understanding of how it works. Wiring is how electricity is distributed throughout your home, arguably making it the most crucial part of your electrical system. But how does wiring manage to transport electricity?

The answer becomes clearer when we look at the three roles wiring must fulfill: hot, neutral, and ground. These three components work in tandem to distribute power throughout your home, as well as help maintain electrical safety. It is recommended you understand each component’s capabilities.

For Milwaukee homeowners seeking electrical wiring tips, Roman Electric has assembled a guide on hot, neutral, and ground wire. Follow our guide below to better understand your electrical system!

Hot Wire

Hot wire is used as the initial power feed to a circuit. It carries the current from the power source to the outlet. Acting as the first instance of a circuit, they are always carrying electricity, meaning it is dangerous to touch a hot wire while there is a power source feeding it.

Hot wire is identified by its black casing. This is the main color of hot wire for most homes. However, other hot wires can red, blue, or yellow, although these colors can indicate a different function besides powering an outlet. Regardless, all hot wire should be treated the same: do not touch hot wire unless there is no connected and operating power source.

Neutral Wire

Once hot wire has initialized the beginning of a circuit, there must be another wire to complete the circuit. This role is filled by neutral wire. Neutral wire carries the circuit back to the original power source. More specifically, neutral wire brings the circuit to a ground or busbar usually connected at the electrical panel. This gives currents circulation through your electrical system, which allows electricity to be fully utilized. Additionally, this prevents faulty or excess currents from residing in your outlet.

Neutral wires are identified by their white or gray casing. Although they may not always be circulating an electrical current, they should be handled with as much caution as hot wire.

Ground Wire

So, with hot and neutral already being used to make a circuit, what role is left? The answer is safety of course! Ground wire acts as defense against unstable electrical currents. Under normal circuit conditions, ground wire isn’t carrying any current. But when an electrical accident such as a short circuit occurs, the ground wire takes the unstable current away from your electrical system and sends it toward the ground.

Ground wire is easily identified by its green casing. But not all homes may have it. Although it is a requirement by the NEC for newly-built homes, older homes don’t always have a ground wire. To tell if your home has ground wire, check your outlets. If your outlets have three prongs, then your home has ground wire. If there are only two prongs, then ground wire may not be utilized. If the latter is the case, we recommend consulting with Roman Electric to help determine if your home can be retrofitted with new ground wire.

Check back at Roman Electric for more electrical wiring tips! And contact us for affordable and quality wiring and rewiring services. Give us a call at 414-369-3798 for Milwaukee’s leading electrical experts.

Related Links:

Electrical Grounding Made Simple – The Spruce

Upgrade a 2 Prong Outlet with a New GFCI – The Spruce

5 Parts of Your Electrical System That Have an Expiration Date

When listing off the items in your home that can expire, often the first suggestions are milk, fruit, eggs, and generally any food. But do electrical panels expire? While these food expiration dates are important, it’s also essential to recognize the parts of your electrical system that have an expiration date. Unfortunately, your electrical system isn’t built to last forever, with some parts eventually reaching the end of their lifespan. And by identifying which parts have an expiration date, you’ll be more prepared when the time comes to replace them.

If you’ve ever had questions such as “do electrical panels expire?”  then you’ve come to the right place! The electrical experts at Roman Electric have detailed 5 parts of your electrical system that have an expiration date. Follow our guide below to better maintain your Milwaukee home!

1. Electrical Panel

Electrical panels (and by extension, circuit breakers) act as the central control of your electrical system. Its function is to feed power into every circuit of your home. But do electrical panels expire?

Yes! After about 25-40 years, it’s recommended to get a replacement. Electrical Panels slowly deteriorate over time, and issues will begin to arise a few decades after installation. Older electrical panels begin to trip more frequently, have less modern safety precautions, and become outdated in terms of electrical capacity.

2. Light Bulbs

There are three types of light bulbs available for your home: incandescent, fluorescent, and LED. Each of these light bulbs has a different lifespan, and we have listed them below:

Incandescent – 1,000-2,000 hours. Incandescent bulbs are also the least energy efficient type of bulb but are the cheapest to purchase.

Fluorescent – 7,000-15,000 hours. These light bulbs have more energy efficiency than incandescent bulbs but less than LEDs. Their price is also between the other bulbs.

LED – 25,000-50,000 hours. These light bulbs are the most energy efficient but have the highest cost.

3. Ceiling Fans

The lifespan of a ceiling fan largely depends on the model you purchase. Cheap, low-quality ceiling fans can last a little as 3 years, while higher-quality can last up to 30 years. With the lifespan range being so wide, you’ll want to do some research before buying a new fan.

4. Smoke Detectors

Most smoke detectors have a lifespan of about 10 years, provided you replace the batteries about once a year. After this expiration date, they begin to lose their accuracy when it comes to detecting smoke. This creates a safety hazard, as your home is less effective in protecting you from smoke and fire. Since smoke detectors are usually installed all at once, it’s recommended to replace every device in your home each decade.

5. Wiring

Electricity relies on wire to safely travel through your electrical system. Therefore, it’s important to maintain and know its lifespan. Although most copper wiring can last up to 100 years, it’s the wiring insulation that can deteriorate. After about 25 years, house wiring insulation can become cracked and damaged, which can lead to exposed wire. This creates a safety hazard, as exposed hot wire has a chance of touching conductive material and creating a short circuit. Therefore, it’s recommended to rewire your home every 25 years to help ensure your electrical system has safe wiring.

Help maintain your electrical system by knowing which components have an expiration date. And contact Roman Electric to have a professional service your electrical panel, lighting, ceiling fan, smoke detector, or wiring. Give us a call at 414-369-3798 for Milwaukee’s leading electrical experts.

Mother’s Day DIY: Electrical Inspection for Mom’s Home

Finding the right gift for Mother’s Day can be tricky. You want to give mom a present that shows love and appreciation for all she’s done. Hence why Roman Electric recommends gifting your mom with a DIY electrical inspection for her home!

This Mother’s Day, Roman Electric wants to honor Milwaukee moms by helping to maintain their electrical systems. Below are some DIY electrical inspection tips you can perform for mom!

Test Mom’s Electrical Outlets/Switches

Go through and identify every outlet and light switch in mom’s home. Furthermore, give the outlets a quick test using a small device, such as a nightlight, to see if they are functioning. Flip every light switch on and off as well. However, do NOT test an outlet or switch if it exhibits these signs:

  • Burning Smell from Outlet/Switch
  • Burnt Marks/Other Damages on Outlet/Switch
  • Rumbling or Sizzling Sound Coming from Outlet/Switch
  • Outlet/Switch Feels Warm to the Touch

If any of these signs are present in an outlet or switch, contact Roman Electric immediately for further assessment.

Test Mom’s Smoke and CO Detectors

Smoke and CO detectors are an invaluable safety measure in any home. Therefore, by testing mom’s smoke and CO detectors, you’re helping to prepare her in the case of a fire or carbon monoxide leak. Test each detector as follows.

Note: Before proceeding, alert everyone in the home that you will be testing the smoke and CO detectors. Testing them emits a loud beep which should be heard around the entire house.

  • Testing A Smoke Detector – Have someone stand in a room of the home farthest away from the smoke detector being tested. Then, press and hold the test button on the smoke detector. After a few seconds, the alarm will sound off. If the person can hear the alarm where they stand, the detector is working properly. If the sound is weak or nonexistent, replace the batteries.
  • Testing a CO Detector – Have someone stand in a room of the home farthest away from the CO detector being tested. Hold down the button on the CO detector until you hear two beeps being emitted. If the person can hear the alarm where they stand, the detector is working properly. If the sound is weak or nonexistent, replace the batteries.

For more information on maintaining smoke detectors, click here.

Identify Mom’s Circuit Breakers

Circuit breakers are how power is distributed to a home. Therefore, think of them as the nervous system of an electrical system. Each circuit breaker provides power to a specific circuit. By knowing the connection of each circuit breaker in mom’s home, you’ll be able to help assess a situation such as a troubleshooting a faulty outlet or shutting off an unstable electrical current.

There are a few ways you can help identify where each circuit breaker distributes power. The first idea that comes to mind would be to simply shut off a circuit breaker and see which circuits were closed. However, this is not recommended, as this wears down the breaker each time. Additionally, you don’t know which appliances you are shutting off power too. For example, if you shut off power to a water heater, it may consume excessive energy to power it back on.

One solution we do recommend is using a circuit breaker finder. This tool can be found at almost any department store and utilizes a transmitter and receiver to find the circuit breaker’s associated circuit.

For detailed instructions on how to use a circuit breaker finder, click here.

Give back to mom this Mother’s Day with our DIY electrical inspection tips! And when mom is ready to have her electrical system inspected by Milwaukee’s leading experts, contact Roman Electric today! Give us a call at 414-369-3798 for our electrical system maintenance inspection services!

Electrical Inspection Tips: What to Expect

Electrical inspections play a crucial role in maintaining your electrical system. Performing one helps to maintain energy efficiency and electrical safety. But do you know what to expect from an electrical inspection? If you’re not exactly sure, don’t worry. Instead, learn from the electrical experts at Roman Electric!

Milwaukee homeowners should know the process of an electrical inspection. Below are some steps taken by our electrical experts!

Electrical Flow is Examined

Being the main component of your electrical system, we examine the flow of electricity in and out your home. We check every circuit, wiring, boxes, and outlets. We also examine the service drop, which is how electricity is supplied to your home.

Circuits are examined for any faulty or improper behavior. This can be caused by damaged wiring, loose connections, or deterioration by age.

Outlets, Breakers, and Devices are Tested

We run each of your outlets through a test to determine their functionality. Each outlet is also examined for any damages, loose connections, or other defects. The same applies to your electrical panel, circuit breakers, and lighting. Wiring is thoroughly examined throughout this process, helping to identify any issues.

Electrical System is Inspected for Code Compliance

Throughout the inspection, we determine if your electrical system falls in line with local codes and regulations. We do this by checking to see if your home is suitable by NEC (National Electric Code) standards. NEC guidelines are required for every home.

One example of an NEC requirement is the need for GFCIs. GFCIs (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters) are an outlet possessing a safety mechanism that protects against shock. According to the NEC, GFCIs are required in all bathrooms and kitchens of a home. This is examined during an inspection.

For more information on NEC requirements, click here.

All Problems and Issues are Identified

We perform a full analysis of your electrical system. This helps to identify any present issues, along with the severity of each problem. Problems can be loose wiring, damaged boxes, faulty installations, or more. We let you know the exact status of your electrical system, and the possible effects of each issue.

If your electrical system fails to comply with code, we provide you with the full extent of the situation.

Advice and Solutions are Presented

Electrical inspections are the time to ask questions! We offer extensive advice on further maintaining your electrical system, as well addressing any concerns you may have. Feel free to ask as many questions as you’d like.

If we have identified any issues with your electrical system, we then assess and present the best options to take. This is done to help ensure electrical safety and code compliance.

This guide should give you an idea of what an electrical inspection entails. And if you are ready to schedule your next electrical inspection, contact Roman Electric today! We offer affordable and quality electrical inspection services for your Milwaukee home. Just give us a call at 414-369-3798 to schedule an appointment and get started!