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Mobile Home – Silver Label Re-certification

Re-certification for Mobile or Manufactured Homes

Mobile Home ElectricalJust like all homes built in Canada, a manufactured home must meet very specific safety standards before it can be sold to the public. An electrical design plan, specific to each manufacturer, series and model, must be registered and approved before production can begin. The manufacturer may not deviate from this plan as the CSA approval is granted for this unaltered design only

Upon completion, a Canadian Standards Association (CSA) certification label is attached to the manufactured home by the manufacturer before it leaves the factory. The label lists a unique CSA number specific to the home, which means the unit has been built according to the registered and accepted plan, has passed inspections, and meets all safety requirements as of the date of completion.

This certification remains valid indefinitely provided the electrical system is never altered in any way OR if all subsequent electrical alterations are completed under a valid electrical permit by a certified licensed electrician. Technical Safety BC IB-EL-2015-02

Owners of manufactured and mobile homes are advised to retain proof of all permits for electrical alterations as these will be required by the realtor or interested buyers when the home is listed for sale.

 HELP, I can’t find my CSA number.

Depending on each manufacturer, the CSA certificate label is usually located on the exterior of the mobile home near the front door, or near the electrical panel.

Occasionally this important information is covered up or removed and unknowingly discarded during home renovations.

If a CSA label is not found on the unit itself, a replacement label cannot be issued. Please note that the CSA number recorded on documentation only is not sufficient. Re-certification of the home is now required. Technical Safety BC requires a qualified licensed electrician to inspect the electrical system in the home to ensure it meets current safety standards, update safety measures if necessary, and initiate an electrical approval label. This label is called a Silver Label and can be used in lieu of a CSA number to allow the mobile or manufactured home to be sold.

I want to sell my Mobile Home.

The sale of a mobile home is contingent on:

  • the presence of the original CSA certification label on the unit itself AND the unaltered electrical system, or proof of all electrical permits to support past electrical alterations.

OR

  • the presence of a Silver Label signifying the home has been inspected and all unregistered electrical alterations have been checked for safety. Also needed is proof that all subsequent electrical changes (completed after the Silver Label was obtained) have been completed under an electrical permit.

What do I need to do to apply for Silver Label re-certification?

Call Blue Crest Electric at any of the telephone numbers below.

We will guide you through the process of attaining the Silver Label recertification for your home.

Our skill and specialized knowledge of the electrical systems in mobile and manufactured homes, and our past experience of recertification of these systems makes us experts in this process.

The age, condition or location of your mobile or manufactured home is irrelevant as the required safety standard applies to every unit in BC, whether sold privately or with the assistance of a real estate agent. Ref:BC Safety Authority Directive D-E3 080606-1

As required under Electrical Safety Regulation ESR 21(d), Blue Crest Electric will:

  1. Complete the required electrical inspection and megger testing to assess the condition of the electrical system as required by Technical Safety BC, and submit the required report on your behalf. On occasion we have even found the original CSA certification label during this inspection.
  2. Provide the required electrical permit to request Silver Label re-certification.
  3. Repair or install electrical wiring or devices, if required, and submit the Contractor Authorization and test report to inform Technical Safety BC that the home meets current electrical standards and qualifies for Silver Label re-certification.

All work is quoted in advance and completed to Code by qualified professional Red Seal electricians and apprentices.

Your Blue Crest Electric electrician will be able to answer all your questions regarding your electrical needs and the re-certification of your mobile or manufactured home.

Electrician Versus Handyman

When called in to make a repair, our electricians frequently hear the following comment, “but the handyman said he could do it.” This tells us that homeowners may not be aware of some very important information.

Electrical Outlet TestingElectrical (like Plumbing and Gas Fitting) is a Red Seal Accredited trade. This means that all electrical installations, repairs and renovations are provincially regulated and must follow national Code standards for every installation. This is for the safety and protection of the public.

The Electrical Code has very specific guide lines for every electrical application. These guidelines are there because past experience and evidence has shown that following very specific installation procedures reduces the risk of fire, and therefore reduces the incidents of personal injury and loss.

The risk of fire and injury increases when:

  • Incorrect procedures, techniques and/or products are used for electrical installations or repairs.
  • Load calculations are not factored into the electrical installation.
  • Questionable work is not inspected and corrected by a trained professional electrician.
  • Aging electrical systems are not evaluated and serviced regularly.
  • Electrical work is not done by an experienced electrician who is knowledgeable in the most recent Electrical Code requirements.

A Handyman is an individual who provides minor renovations and maintenance repair services that do not fall under the responsibility of a nationally recognized and regulated trade, such as electrical, plumbing or gas installation, to name a few. The handyman’s work is not regulated which means that no formal training is required. The work is done without a permit so therefore there is no accountability for quality, correctness or safety as the work is not inspected. Generally, there is no performance insurance policy protection so the customer/homeowner must assume 100% of the responsibility and risk for the work completed. It is illegal for a handyman to work on the electrical system in your home or business.

A Licensed Electrician must successfully complete 4 levels of apprenticeship training to earn the title of certified journeyman electrician. This apprenticeship includes four-10 week sessions of in-school academic training, with practical assessments and written exams for each level, plus a minimum of 6000 hours of supervised work based training and experience. This education usually takes 4 to 5 years to complete.

But a conscientious journeyman electrician knows that his education is not over with the completion of those hours or that final exam. He must also stay current on newer techniques, safer products and the most recent Code updates which may change every three years. He knows that, even though most of his work may be hidden by drywall, brick or stucco, the safety of the building and its’ occupants depends on his knowledge and expertise.

Since the BC Safety Authority demands this level of knowledge, skill and experience to make changes to an electrical system, homeowners are wise to expect the same.

An Electrical Contractor is licensed by the BC Safety Authority to provide electrical services to the public by employing licensed journeymen electricians and apprentices to do the work. An electrical contractor must carry the proper licensing, insurance policies and bonds to protect the customer. Only the electrical contractor (not a handyman or an electrician) can purchase the required electrical permit for the electrical work in your home or business. This work is monitored and inspected by the BC Safety Authority to ensure it meets the stringent requirements of the current National Electrical Code.

An electrical contractor must also remain current on all Workers Compensation (WCB) dues to ensure his electricians and apprentices are covered by this insurance policy, otherwise the homeowner will be considered the employer and be held responsible for any injuries on their property. A reputable contractor will maintain an electrical bond in accordance with the B.C. Safety Standards Act and also carry a generous insurance policy. These provisions are there to protect the customer in the event of a problem with the work or services provided.

Entrusting any part of the electrical system to a handyman, just because he may be familiar with construction, is like allowing the janitor to remove your appendix just because he works in the hospital.

Important

  • If you live in a single detached residence, it is illegal for anyone other than a licensed electrical contractor, to provide and charge you for most electrical renovations, installations and repairs.
  • If you live in a multi family living complex such as a condo, apartment building, duplex or your home has a rental suite, all electrical work must be done by a licensed electrical contractor.
  • Your property or homeowner’s insurance policy may be affected should there be a claim as a result of electrical work done by an unqualified person.

Keep your home and family safe. Call a professional.

Entrusting your electrical repairs, installations and renovations to a professional, just makes good sense. Call Blue Crest Electric Ltd.

Electrical Safety For The Holidays

Every year fire departments across the Lower Mainland are called out to homes, set ablaze by faulty or over loaded electrical wiring, or malfunctioning holiday decorations. It is heartbreaking to hear about yet another family left homeless during what is supposed to be the most joyous time of year.

Porch ChristmasIn their enthusiasm to celebrate the season, some homeowners are creating unsafe conditions with the use of electricity in decorating their homes and yards for the holiday season. Incorrectly applied electricity is not very forgiving and can cause significant damage, and in some cases even tragedy.  Just following a few precautions can make all the difference in keeping the focus of this wonderful season a joyous one. The following safety tips are a few things every homeowner should know, when using electricity for holiday decorating.
Please remember:

  • Use only Christmas lights that are approved for use in Canada. The BC Safety Authority website has a bulletin that lists the testing and approval agencies that are accepted in BC for all electrical equipment and products. Knock-off products are making their way into some stores, so purchase carefully.
  • Always inspect for frayed wires, broken sockets or loose connections before you start your decorating. Discard damaged sets as they can cause shocks or start a fire.
  • Replace burned out light bulbs with bulbs of the correct wattage, as stated on the packaging. An incorrectly sized bulb can create over-heating in the socket and cause a fire.
  • Use only outdoor rated lights for exterior applications as they are designed for our wet winter conditions. The packaging should state whether lights can be used indoor, outdoors or both.
  • LED Christmas lightsTo safe on energy consumption, consider replacing the traditional, larger, old style light bulb strings with cooler burning, energy efficient LED lights.
  • Except for exterior receptacles that are more than 2.5 meters (8 feet) above grade, all outdoor electrical decorations must be plugged into ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protected receptacles. Keep in mind that an extension cord, plugged into a soffit or upper deck receptacle, must be GFCI protected if that power is being dropped down to below the 2.5 meter level.
  • To eliminate dangling or trailing extension cords, install additional soffit receptacles or strategically placed receptacles in landscaping.
  • Always stay at least 3 meters (10 feet) clear of all power lines or feeder lines (the wires connecting the power from the electrical pole to your home) when decorating exterior locations around the house and yard.
  • Only use a wooden or fiberglass ladder when working with live electrical circuits, as metal ladders conduct electricity and therefore pose a threat of electrocution. Leave all light strings unplugged until installation is complete.
  • Never use nails, tacks or staples to attach the string sets to any surface. Use plastic or insulated holders, or run strings through hooks instead.
  • Never put electric Christmas lights on a metallic tree or a tree with a metal frame.  Faulty light strings can energize the tree and cause injury if touched, or short out the lights and cause a fire. Illuminate metallic trees with colored floodlights placed at a safe distance from the tree and out of reach of pets and children.
  • Use extension cords properly. Outdoor rated cords can be used either outdoors or indoors but indoor rated cords are restricted for indoor use only.
  • Use a properly sized extension cord for the electrical load it is required to carry, as an overloaded extension cord can get hot enough to burn.
  • Never run extension cords under carpets or rugs and always uncoil a cord that is in use to prevent possible overheating.
  • outlet fireThere is often a tendency to overload wall outlets during the holiday season. This is an unsafe practice and should be avoided even for short periods of time. Here is a simple formula to determine how many lights you can safely string together. Find out the wattage of each bulb on the string (the packaging should have this information) and multiply it by the number of lights strung together. The resulting number should not exceed 1400.
  • Insert plugs fully into outlets as poor contact may cause overheating or shock. A receptacle that allows a plug to move around or fall out completely is worn out and should be replaced.
  • A breaker that keeps tripping requires your attention. Do not ignore it! The circuit may be over loaded or the breaker may be wearing out and needs to be replaced. Call us for assistance.
  • Turn off all Christmas lights before leaving home or retiring for the night.
  • Never pull on a string of lights as this can result in stressed or frayed wires. Remove the strings carefully and store loosely coiled so you can do this all over again next year.

Christmas lightsThis year, as you bring those decorations out of storage, think safety. As you scale ladders, climb trees and balance on rooftops to share the Christmas spirit with your neighborhood, think safety. The best gift you can give your family is a safe home. Let’s make this Holiday Season a safe one.

If you require more information regarding the safe installation of electrical decorations, just Contact us here or call us at any of the numbers listed on our contact page.

Ways To Reduce The Electric Bill

With the cost of electricity climbing higher every year, homeowners are looking for ways to shave a few dollars off that utility bill.

Here are some things you can do to reduce the cost and amount of energy consumption in your home.

  • Install timers so bath fans don’t run unnecessarily, “an hour per shower” is generally enough. Reducing the length of every shower by just 1 minute translates into a $23/per person saving each year.
  • An occupancy sensor for the garage, pantry or closet turns the lights off automatically after you have left the room and shut the door.
  • Compact Fluorescent bulbs use 75% less energy and last 7 times longer than Incandescent bulbs.
  • LED light bulbs use 90% less energy and last 10 times longer than Incandescent bulbs.
  • Dimmers help set the mood in any room. If you dim down by only 15%, you save electricity and can double the life of your lamps.
  • Reversible ceiling fans save 10% on heating bills by bringing the warmer air near the ceiling down to where you need it.
  • Ceiling fans will make a room feel several degrees cooler in summer, reducing the need to run the air conditioner.
  • Programmable timers automatically operate landscape lights, outdoor lighting (sometimes left on for days at a time) and inside lighting, also giving your home a “lived-in” appearance when you are away for an extended period of time.

Small changes made in several areas of your home will translate into reduced energy consumption and therefore reduce the bottom line on the electric bill.

If you have any questions, or require more information, please Contact us here, or call us at any of the numbers listed on our contact page.

Extension Cords

Which Extension Cord Do I Buy?

Occasionally our electricians are asked about the use and safety of extension cords in and around the home or business. Because of the extensive choice available on the hardware store shelf, it may be a confusing decision as to which one to buy.

Extension CordI am reminded of a customer whose refrigerator was cycling at an alarming rate. After some time, he called an appliance repair company to troubleshoot the problem, thinking that the refrigerator needed fixing. The refrigerator power cord had been plugged into a flimsy extension cord, which in turn had been plugged into a wall outlet some distance away. The light weight extension cord was incapable of providing sufficient power to keep the refrigerator compressor running. Both the compressor and the extension cord were too hot to touch! The customer was able to save the appliance but the reality was that a fire could easily have occurred had the problem gone undiscovered for too much longer.

Flexible extension cords are designed as a convenient and quick solution when temporary power is needed. A properly rated cord should be used for each specific use and location. But how do you know which cord to use?

Here are a few tips to help you make the right choice. 

  • When choosing your extension cord, take note of the gauge or size of the wire it is made of. A heavier gauge wire will have a smaller or lower number. For example, a 12 gauge wire would be larger, and can therefore power larger wattage appliances than a 14 gauge wire.
  • Purchase the correct gauge of cord to meet your needs as some power is always lost due to resistance (voltage drop) as it travels down the length of the cord. For example, a 12 gauge extension cord, up to 100 feet in length, can safely power a 12 amp circular saw. A 14 gauge cord can only be 60 feet long, and a 16 gauge cord can be no more than 35 feet long to provide sufficient power for the same saw.
  • If you are going to use an extension cord to power two or more appliances you must add the total wattage rating of all connected appliances to determine which gauge size you will need. This is an important tip for all those students heading off to college or university, who are planning to solve all their electrical needs with the use of one power bar extension. Overloaded extension cords can get hot enough to burn.
  • Never run extension cords under carpets or rugs and always uncoil a cord that is in use to prevent possible overheating.
  • Check cords occasionally for damage. A nicked cable or damaged cord end is dangerous. Discard it and replace it with a new cord.
  • Never use an indoor rated extension cord outdoors although the reverse is acceptable. Extension cords that can be used outdoors are clearly marked “Suitable for Outdoor Use”. Using a cord which is not designed to withstand the elements could result in an electric shock or fire hazard. An outdoor rated cord is a small price to pay for safety. As an added note, please remember to always use a proper GFCI when plugging anything into an outdoor power source.
  • An improperly placed extension cord can create a tripping hazard so avoid laying it across a garden path, and any other area where it can catch someone’s foot.

The extension cord is a useful tool that provides a quick and efficient means of bringing temporary power to a variety of locations. But where frequent or constant power is required, Blue Crest Electric recommends the installation of a properly installed electrical outlet for the safest and most reliable power source option.

If you have any questions or require more information, just Contact us here or call us at any of the numbers listed on our contact page.

Sump Pump Safety

Power outages seem to be a fact of life in the Lower Mainland of BC. and certain parts of the Fraser Valley seem to be more prone to this than others. Whether the cause is a tree brought down onto nearby power lines by a passing windstorm or interuptions caused by regular mainainance on the power grid by the local power supply company, the result is the same. Your home has no electrical power, no TV and internet services and probably no telephone.

To some homeowners this is an irritating inconvenience, to others it could mean an expensive clean up. If you don’t have the luxury of a standby generator that kicks in during a power outage, there are some safety measures available to reduce the risk to your home.

A battery powered back-up sump pump takes over for your electric sump pump in the event of a malfunction or power failure.

Odds are high that if you need your sump pump, it is most likely storming outside and there is a high probability of a power loss.

The float of a battery powered, back-up sump pump is positioned higher up the sump hole, above the main electric pump. If the electric pump fails and the water level continues to rise, the battery powered back-up pump kicks in and does the job in place of the electric pump. An audible alarm sounds alerting you to the fact that you are now using the back-up system.

The 12 volt DC battery will last for approximately 4 hours or until electric power is restored (whichever is less), at which time it will shut off and recharge for its next call of duty.

For maximum reliability, we highly recommend that your sump pump have its own designated circuit to reduce the risk of other things on the circuit tripping the breaker thereby leaving you unprotected.

Contact us here or call us at any of the numbers listed on our contact page. Our electricians would be happy to assist you with any of the electrical requirements to ensure your home stays dry during the next  downpour.

Security And Landscape Lighting Solutions

Hard Wired Lighting

Landscape LightingAlthough British Columbia is usually blessed with long beautiful summers, our province is also known for it’s lengthy periods of rainfall when the sun is nowhere in sight.  And since we are located on the 49th parallel, the number of daylight hours are also significantly reduced for much of the year. Taking this into consideration, it is wise to use hard wired lighting options for key locations around the yard and garden. For consistent and reliable year round lighting solutions for both decorative use or safety and security purposes, hard wired electrical fixtures are still the best option. A strategically placed light fixture, with an attached motion sensor, can fill a dark corner, stairwell or alley with instant light when movement is detected. Low level pathway lighting provides safety around stairs and other uneven surfaces while flood lights can fill a large area with enough light to enjoy an evening volleyball game or pool party.

Landscape LightingHard wired exterior lighting fixtures come in a wide range of styles to suit any structural or gardening theme and are not dependant on weather or seasonal light conditions. The addition of  photocells, motion sensors, timers and even dimmers makes this a very energy efficient, convenient, and reliable lighting solution.

The installation of LED fixtures and lamps has greatly landscape-lighting3reduced the operating cost of landscape lighting to only pennies a day, making this an extremely cost effective alternative. The demand for affordable, energy efficient products has encouraged lighting manufacturers to provide the consumer with more fixture choice and options.  A licensed, certified Blue Crest Electric electrician will be able to advise homeowners as to which products are best suited for any given location.

landscape-lighting4Transform your backyard space into the personal retreat you imagine. Permanent, hard wired lighting provides year round safety, security and enjoyment. With some creative planning, carefully chosen lighting fixtures, proper placement and correct installation, you can extend the enjoyment of your backyard well past sunset and into every season of the year.

Solar Lighting Options

The sun is our closest star and is situated about 93 million miles away from the earth. It is about 109 times larger than the earth and yet the earth receives only about two billionths of the sun’s total energy output. That small fraction is enough to sustain life on our beautiful planet. Most of the sun’s energy, that reaches the earth, is spent evaporating moisture into clouds. Much of the remaining energy is converted into carbon-based life through a process performed by plants called photosynthesis.

June 21st is known as the Summer Solstice. It marks the meteorological start to BC’s long awaited summer!  On a clear day British Columbians enjoy approximately 16.25 hours of actual sunshine on this, the longest day of the year.

Harnessing the sun’s energy for small applications is easy. Solar cells (photovoltaic cells) change sunlight directly into electricity. Calculators, decorative garden lights, and some lighted road signs routinely use this form of energy very effectively.

Landscape Solar LightingSolar energy is free, and its supply is inexhaustible. The use of solar energy produces no air or water pollution, making it a very attractive energy source for the environmentally conscience consumer. The performance of these solar cells is dependent on the amount of sunlight directly reaching the cells. Climate conditions like clouds and fog have a significant effect on the amount of solar energy received by the cell.

Landscape Solar LightingSmall, retail solar lights are not bright enough for task or security lighting. However they may be used for lighting paths and walkways with either practical or decorative style fixtures. Garden lighting can bring out the colors and textures of interesting foliage, luminescent floating orbs add magical decorative touches to ponds and pools, and whimsical twinkling dragonflies lend fascinating detail to any backyard. The beauty and enjoyment of the garden can extend well past sunset with the addition of these creative and artistic fixtures.

Landscape Solar LightingOutdoor solar lights are simple to install, safe to use and relocating them is a breeze because there is no wiring involved. Just make sure they are strategically placed so they receive plenty of direct sunlight for optimum recharging.

For year round outdoor lighting solutions, Blue Crest Electric Ltd. recommends the installation of a combination of solar and hard wired lighting sources. Contact us here or call us at any of the numbers listed on our contact page.

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters

GFCI Protection Saves Lives

A Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) is a specialized automatic safety device that instantly terminates or interrupts the electrical current when leakage or a ground fault is detected in the circuit. When correctly installed by a certified electrician, it is estimated that this inexpensive electrical device could reduce the incident of shock and electrocution by 70% if the necessary areas of every home in the country were properly outfitted with GFCI protection.

GFCI’s are now considered to be standard equipment in the residential construction industry and offer the best protection available against electrical shock and electrocution.  Many older homes, built before this code requirement was adopted, still do not have this small, inexpensive but very important life-saving device. The purpose for the GFCI is to protect people and their property, so proper installation by a qualified electrician is important. Blue Crest Electric encourages every homeowner to ensure their home is properly outfitted with GFCI protection.

WHAT IS A GROUND FAULT?

Ground fault is a term used to describe an electrical current that unintentionally flows to ground rather than following its intended path to or from the electrical panel. Electricity will always take the path of least resistance to ground, similar to water flowing via the easiest route. A fault can occur when electricity, flowing through an appliance or damaged cord or wire, comes in contact with water, metal or other conductive substance. It may also occur if a person comes in contact with the live wire. The electrical current is diverted from its original path and passes through the person and then is absorbed into the ground. This is a very dangerous situation which can cause severe injury or even death.

WHAT DOES GFCI PROTECTION LOOK LIKE?

There are three kinds of GFCI protection available. 

GFCIA GFCI receptacle looks similar to a regular receptacle but has the additional test and reset buttons.  The current Electrical Safety Code requires GFCI protection be installed within specific distances of any area of your home where electricity is in close proximity to water. This would include areas such as kitchens, laundry rooms, and bathrooms to name a few. Outdoor receptacles around ponds, swimming pools, and hot tubs or any exterior outlets that are less than 8 feet above grade must also be GFCI protected. This Lutron product is one example of what a GFCI receptacle looks like.

GFCIA GFCI circuit breaker can be installed in the electrical panel in place of a regular breaker to protect the entire selected circuit. The GFCI circuit breaker serves a dual purpose. In addition to terminating electricity in the event of a ground fault, it will also trip when a short circuit or an overload condition occurs. The entire branch circuit including any outlets, light fixtures, or appliances on that circuit are protected by the GFCI circuit breaker in the electrical panel. The example shown here is made by Cutler Hammer.

Portable GFCIA portable GFCI can be plugged into a standard receptacle. These units are not intended to replace standard GFCIs or GFCI circuit breakers, but rather should only be used where temporary, short term protection is required. This kind of GFCI protection is useful where cord-connected appliances and equipment are used outdoors, on construction sites, or near water. Please keep in mind that portable GFCI units provide protection only to the outlet the GFCI is plugged into, not the whole receptacle. A portable GFCI unit should always be tested for reliability prior to each use. This example is made by Power First.

Note:The product photos provided here are examples only. Each manufactures brand, style and model may vary somewhat in features, design and appearance. For correct installation and your peace of mind, we strongly recommend that GFCI receptacles and GFCI breakers be installed by a professional journeyman electrician.

 

HOW DOES A GFCI CIRCUIT PROTECT ME?

A GFCI receptacle or circuit breaker works by measuring the electrical current on the “hot” wire and also on the “neutral” wire of a branch circuit. Under normal circumstances, electricity flows out from the main electrical panel on the “hot’ wire and back to the main electrical panel on the “neutral” wire completing the circuit. The amount of electrical current on these two wires should be equal.

When a ground fault occurs, the amount of current flowing back to the electrical panel drops because the electricity has “escaped” to ground by some unintended method. A GFCI outlet or circuit breaker senses this imbalance and immediately intercedes by tripping, thus causing a break in the circuit. The flow of electricity stops instantly. Underwriter Laboratories Standard 943 requires a Class A GFCI to trip when there is a ground fault current of only 6 milliamps (mA). This level of electrical current is extremely low, well below the amount of current that would send a normal healthy adult’s heart into fibrillation.

HOW DO I KNOW IF MY GFCI IS WORKING?

It is important to test your GFCI to ensure proper function. Studies show that as many as 10% of installed GFCI‘s do not work because of improper installation, wear or damage. It is recommended that GFCI receptacles be tested monthly and after every electrical storm or power surge to ensure personal safety and proper home protection. An improperly installed or damaged GFCI receptacle may still provide electrical power, but unfortunately no ground fault protection from electrical shock.
Follow this simple testing method to test a wall or receptacle type GFCI.

  •  Plug a nightlight into a GFCI protected outlet and press RESET to prepare the GFCI for testing.
  • Turn the light on
  • Press the TEST button of the GFCI. The light should turn off.
  • Press the RESET button and the light should turn on.

If the light does not turn off when the TEST button is pressed, discontinue use of this circuit as it is not GFCI protected. Contact Blue Crest Electric Ltd. to correct the problem.

To test a GFCI circuit breaker, follow these steps.

  1. Locate the GFCI circuit breaker in the electrical panel which is usually found in the garage, basement or utility room.
  2. Verify that the GFCI breaker handle is in the ON position.
  3. Press the TEST button on the circuit breaker. The handle should immediately snap to the tripped position. Check an appliance or light on the circuit to make sure it does not work.
  4. Press RESET and return the handle to the ON position. The power will now be restored.

If the circuit breaker fails to trip when the test button is pressed, call us to correct the problem.

For true service professionalism and impeccable customer service, call the right electrician. Call Blue Crest Electric Ltd. at any of the telephone numbers listed on our contact page.

Tamper Resistant Receptacles

Child Electrical SafetyDuring a six year period between 2003 – 2009, more than 360 Canadian children, under the age of six, were injured in accidents involving electrical wall receptacles.  The extent of the injuries range from first to third degree burns.  But tragically, these  electrical  injuries  also  account  for  an  average  of  four deaths by electrocution each year. Over seventy percent  of  these incidents  occurred  in  homes  where  adult supervision was  present  at  the  time  of  the  incident. These unfortunate statistics have initiated one of the  important  changes  to  the 21st edition of the Canadian Electrical Code, revised for 2009.

Better Safety at Last!

Tamper Resistant Electrical OutletThe introduction of a tamper resistant receptacle to the general public in a residential environment is a much needed  safety  measure.  Tamper Resistant receptacles are now available on the market and can easily be identified by the TR marking or the words Tamper Resistant. These receptacles are now mandatory in all new residential dwellings except in  areas  not  accessible  to  small children  such  as  attics  and  crawl spaces. Tamper Resistant receptacles  are  preferred  over products with caps or sliding covers as caps  may be lost, and could also become a choking hazard for certain age groups. Children can learn to master  sliding  receptacle  covers when they watch adults use them.  TR receptacles provide security against the insertion of objects other than cord plugs into the energized parts.

The reality is that accidents happen very quickly, even under the most watchful eye. The installation of Tamper Resistant receptacles will reduce the incident of electrical shock and injury in your home.

How is this product different?

The  TR  receptacle  will  work  just  like  any  other electrical outlet except it has a built-in, spring loaded shutter system behind the face plate that closes off the contact openings or slots of the receptacle. When a plug is inserted into the receptacle, both springs are compressed and then open, allowing the metal prongs of the plug to make contact and create an electrical  circuit.  Because both springs must be compressed at exactly the same time, the shutters will not open when a child attempts to insert an object into only one receptacle opening. Consequently there is no contact with electricity and an injury or tragedy is avoided.

Life just got a little easier for Parents and Caregivers

Electrical OutletAlthough TR receptacles are not required for existing homes, parents have been waiting for this technology. In order to provide a safer environment for their children, many homeowners are choosing to replace their existing receptacles with the Tamper Resistant version. The convenience and peace of mind knowing that automatic protection is always in place, whenever a plug is removed, is comforting for anyone who has been entrusted with the care and supervision of a busy toddler.

The installation of Tamper Resistant receptacles are an important step in making your home a safer place for all children. A licensed, certified Blue Crest electrician will be able to assist with this task. Please Contact us here or call us at any of the phone numbers listed on our contact page.

Note: The TR receptacle examples shown here are Pass & Seymour products.

Smoke Alarms and Co Alarms Save Lives

Make Fire Protection A Priority

It is estimated that 94% of all homes in North America have at least one smoke alarm. Most homeowners understand that a functioning smoke alarm significantly reduces the incident of home fire related deaths. Home fire deaths have steadily decreased as the numbers of homes with working smoke alarms has increased. Unfortunately, our electricians are finding that many homes are equipped with non-functioning or unreliable smoke detectors. Battery powered units containing dead batteries or no batteries at all (because someone “borrowed” them) have unknowing homeowners living with a false sense of security, believing they are protected in the event of a house fire. Some units have been intentionally disconnected as they created an annoyance when activated by steam or smoke from a nearby kitchen or bathroom. In some cases an aging device, now 8 to 10 years old, is still being entrusted with the safety of the occupants.

House FireFortunately there are solutions to these problems and with just a bit of information, homeowners can choose the correct smoke detector for any location in their home. An inexpensive household smoke alarm can save your life by sounding an alarm, alerting you to a fire, and giving you time to escape safely.

There are two types of smoke alarms on the market today though it is possible to purchase a unit that combines both technologies.

  • Ionization detectors respond more quickly to flame fires which often produce smaller combustion particles such as in a burning waste paper basket or grease fire. Because of this sensitivity, it is possible they are more easily activated by normal cooking activities.
  • Photoelectric units seem to respond more quickly to smoldering fires such as a cigarette dropped on a mattress or couch. Both types can be activated by steam or a high humidity environment.

Carbon Monoxide (CO) Sensors should also be installed to warn of increased levels of this deadly poisonous gas. The BC Building Code provides guidelines as to where these units must be located. CO gas is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas produced by fuel-burning appliances such as a gas range or hot water tank, wood, coal or gas fireplace, or an idling vehicle in an enclosed garage, among other things. A dangerous situation may quickly arise if venting is inadequate or compromised in any way. These sensors can be purchased singly or in combination with ionization smoke alarm units.

Specialized smoke alarms for the hearing impaired are also available. A flashing strobe light, bright enough to cut through the room’s natural or incandescent lighting, in addition to the piercing alarm, alerts the home occupant of a fire. Some units also come equipped with a portable vibrating disk to be placed under the pillow at night.
Most fire related deaths occur at night while people are asleep. The smoke from a fire may not awaken the occupants; rather it may act as a sedative and actually put them into an even deeper sleep. Therefore, an up to date, functioning smoke alarm is the best early warning system in the unfortunate event of a house fire.

The BC Building Code stipulates that an interconnected smoke alarm be located on every level of the home, and in very specific locations in the home. If one alarm is activated, all connecting units will sound, thereby alerting everyone in the house of the danger. The most recent Code revision states that smoke alarms must be placed inside all sleeping rooms.

Child Sleeping SafeTests show that children are more likely to be awakened by a talking alarm as opposed to one that just sounds a shrill alarm.

Along with proper installation, it is important that each smoke/CO alarm is correctly positioned to maximize its’ effectiveness in regards to the room’s air flow. Ceiling installation is recommended as smoke, heat and combustion products rise upwards, then spread out horizontally.

Blue Crest Electric electricians are able to supply and correctly install the required number of interconnected fire alarms for your home. Contact us here, call us at any of the numbers listed on our contact page.

HOW TO MAINTAIN YOUR SMOKE ALARM

As with all electrical components, regular care and maintenance of your smoke alarms is necessary. This ensures that the units are functioning properly and will activate when you most need them.

Here are a few tips to keep your units working for you.

  • Test your smoke alarms by pressing the test button once a month.
  • For battery operated smoke alarms, replace the battery at least once a year with brand new batteries.
  • Never “borrow” the smoke alarm battery for another use.
  • Vacuum the alarm regularly as cobwebs and dust can impair the alarm’s sensitivity.
  • Never paint a smoke alarm.
  • Check the expiration date on each unit and have it replaced before it expires. The shelf life of a smoke detector is generally 8-10 years, and CO detection is generally 5-7 years. Expired units are not considered to be reliable.

Develop A Home Fire Escape Plan

And finally, in addition to equipping your home with proper smoke and CO alarms, please take the time to develop a home fire escape plan. Then review and practice it regularly with the other occupants of the home. Your local fire department and library will be able to provide you with information on how to plan your home fire escape route.

Your life, and your family’s life, may depend on it.