Tag Archives: certified electrician

Aluminum Wiring

Insurance Concerns with Aluminum Wiring

Owners and perspective buyers of older homes often face insurance concerns with aluminum wiring. New policy applications, or the renewal of existing policies, may require an electrical inspection to confirm the presence of aluminum wiring in the home. Insurance companies consider aluminum wiring in the home to be a greater risk than copper wiring. Aluminum wiring was used extensively in homes built between 1965 and 1980. As electrical concerns arose from the use of aluminum wiring, industry changes were made. Copper wiring is now the most commonly used wiring for branch circuits.

Insurance Concerns with Aluminum Wiring In The Home

  • Higher risk of fire. Sources claim homes with aluminum wiring are 55 times more likely to have a fire hazard condition.
  • Higher electrical resistance resulting in damaged wiring and devices due to overheating.
  • Oxidation on aluminum wiring when exposed to oxygen, resulting in failure of connections.

BC homeowners have three ESA approved options for addressing the concerns of aluminum wiring in the home: CO/ALR or AL/CU Devices, Copper Pigtails, or a Complete Home Rewire using copper wiring. For more information on these options, click here.

Only a trained and certified electrical contractor should complete any of these methods and ensure that proper installation procedures are strictly followed. Depending on the circumstances, a Blue Crest Electric technician may recommend one or a combination of Code approved options.

Symptoms That May Indicate Aluminum Wiring Problems

  • Flickering lights that cannot be traced to a failing bulb or other external cause
  • Plugs that do not work, even with the circuit energized
  • Unusual static on the radio, TV or computer
  • Switch plates and receptacle covers that are warped, discolored or warm to the touch
  • Circuit breakers or fuses that trip for no apparent reason
  • Strange odor similar to that of burning plastic around switches and receptacles
  • Smoke or sparking around electrical devices

If you notice any of these problems, it is important to have a certified, electrical contractor check the electrical system as soon as possible. If your insurance provider has never requested an electrical inspection, it is very likely that this will happen sooner rather than later. Like you, your insurance provider wants the assurance that your home is safe.

Our Blue Crest Electric technicians would be happy to address all your aluminum wiring needs.

Thunderstorm

Thunderstorm

Lightning Storm

A recent incident in BC had one woman receive a jolt from an electrical current after lightning hit a power pole near her home during a thunderstorm. At the time, she was holding her cell phone which was plugged into a charger.

Electrical currents from a lightning strike will travel through overhead cables, wires and cords using the path of least resistance until it reaches the ground. In this case, the BC woman created part of that path for the electrical current to reach ground.

According to Environment Canada, each year lightning kills approximately 10 Canadians and injures approximately 100 to 150 others. For information on the different ways lightning injuries occur, click here.

What To Do During A Thunderstorm 

  • Unplug your cell phone or devices when using them during a thunderstorm
  • Stay away from electrical appliances or anything that will conduct electricity during a thunderstorm.
  • If possible, turn off and unplug appliances and electronics.
  • Avoid using a telephone connected to a land line. Use only battery operated or cordless devices.
  • Stay away from doors and windows.
  • Avoid washing your hands, showering or washing dishes. Lightning can travel through metal plumbing lines.

A lightning strike up to two kilometers away can cause irreparable damage to your home’s sensitive electronic equipment. Many people believe that their point-of-use surge strips or power bars will provide all the necessary protection. The surge bars should only be used as a secondary line of defense, as many have a one-time use only. After the first strike is absorbed by the surge strip, it becomes nothing more than an extension cord. The best way to protect your home from all types of power surges is a full panel surge protector installed directly on the main electrical panel. A high quality surge protector may sacrifice itself during a thunderstorm, but should protect all your sensitive electronic equipment. For more information on power surges and surge protection, click here.

For your safety and peace of mind, our certified electricians would be happy to install a full panel surge protector in your home.

Flooding and Electricity

Flooded House

The concern regarding flooding and electricity tends to come up most often in springtime. That’s because spring is considered to be Flood Season in most parts of Canada. The reality is that any home can be affected by flooding, and at any time of year. Since flooding and electricity is always a dangerous combination, some basic electrical safety knowledge is helpful.

Whether your home falls victim to the rising waters in a flood prone area, or an over flowing toilet, knowing what to do (or not to do) regarding electrical safety during a flood  is important.

Flooding and Electricity Safety Tips

  • Never touch electrical equipment or appliances if you are wet or standing in water. This could result in an electrical shock or even electrocution.
  • If it is safe to do so, unplug appliances and electrical devices from the power source receptacle.
  • If possible, move appliances out of the path of water, whether from external flooding or a burst pipe, water heater, or over flowing tub or toilet.
  • Do not enter the basement or low lying areas where water and electricity may both be present.
  • If water is approaching and the area around the electrical panel is still completely dry, turn OFF the main breaker before you evacuate. This helps to prevent fires and protect first responders who may need to enter the building.
  • If you have advance notice of a flood and have time to prepare, move electrical appliances to a higher level out of the path of approaching water.
  • If flood water has already entered your building, do not touch any electrical components. Call a licensed electrician for help to safely access the electrical risks.
  • Watch for damaged or downed power lines while evacuating.
  • Stay out of standing water as it may be electrically charged by an underground power source or downed power lines.
  • Homes located in low lying, flood prone areas should have a Flood Evacuation Plan in place so family members/occupants know what to do and where to go, in the event of a flood emergency. For information on how to develop an Emergency Flood Evacuation Plan, Click HERE.

Flood Prevention

  • Inspect and service the hot water tank regularly, as this is a very common cause of flooding. Replace an aging hot water tank as recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Keep gutters and down spouts clear of debris, ice and snow so water can drain away from the house and not pool around the foundation and openings to the home.
  • Inspect and maintain electric sewer and sump pumps annually.  Install battery backup pumps with alarms to alert you when it is running on battery power.

Water damage is a major contributor to high insurance claims resulting in increased annual premiums to a homeowner’s insurance policy. Although flood damage from natural causes is not usually controllable, regular service and maintenance of electrical and plumbing equipment can often identify equipment problems before a flood can occur.

Counterfeit Electrical Products

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Are you wondering if your online purchase is a counterfeit electrical product? As a residential electrical service company, Blue Crest Electric electricians are frequently asked to install customer supplied lighting fixtures in BC’s Lower Mainland homes and businesses. Our electricians are always happy to assist with this task, except when the fixture is lacking the required CSA, ULC or an equivalent accreditation mark.

Does an Accreditation Mark mean it’s not Counterfeit?

An accreditation mark, such as that from Canadian Standards Association (CSA) or other approved testing agency, means that the product has been tested by an independent third party and it has met the required industry standards for safety and performance. Every electrical product sold or installed in Canada must bear an approval mark. This mark represents the product manufacturer’s investment and commitment to specific safety standards.

Technical Safety BC has confirmed that a Canadian approved accreditation mark must be found directly on the fixture itself and not only on the packaging or accompanying paperwork. This specific requirement is also written into our Canadian Electrical Code, which means this is the law. The following link provides a list and examples of approval markings required within the Province of BC.

https://www.technicalsafetybc.ca/sites/default/files/alerts/B-E3%20071019%203.pdf

A fixture that is missing an approved certification mark is most likely a ‘knock-off’ or counterfeit product and should not be trusted to meet Canadian safety standards. Blue Crest Electric’s experience with this situation has been exclusively from consumer online purchases, or when consumers have personally imported fixtures into Canada from the USA or beyond. And, as if consumers don’t have enough to worry about when purchasing electrical products, apparently the ‘bad guys’ have also been attaching counterfeit labels and markings directly onto counterfeit electrical products.

How can the Consumer Avoid Counterfeit Products?

So, how do you know if you have purchased a counterfeit fixture? The fact is, you probably won’t know, but a skilled electrician might. In some cases your electrician may notice something unusual about the fixture itself, or the specified wiring method. The convenience of online shopping has provided the counterfeit industry with a lucrative opportunity and the warning of ‘buyer beware’ certainly applies. Buying electrical products locally from reputable retailers, whose professional reputation is at stake, is a big step in mitigating the risk. Hiring a Blue Crest electrician for the installation will also ensure a safe and Code compliant installation.

Canadian anti-counterfeiting agencies are actively working to stop the import of counterfeit products into Canada. The following link allows consumers to report suspected counterfeit products to assist in tracking down the source.

https://www.csagroup.org/services-industries/marks-labels/brand-protection/submit-an-incident-report/

Surge protection needed to protect against electrical power surges.

Surge Protection – A must for every panel

Ice StormMany Lower Mainland homeowners are still faced with a lot of clean up after an ice storm recently swept though our area. The sound of chainsaws can be heard in almost every neighbourhood as property cleanup continues. But some of the storm’s damage is not visible from the street. Some of the damage has occurred inside many homes.

With electrical power lost to thousands of BC homes (especially Abbotsford and Langley), our electrical crews have been working hard to repair the damage. As power is restored to homes by BC Hydro, an unfortunate electrical surge can occur. An analogy would be of what happens when opening a spray nozzle after water pressure has built up inside a garden hose. That initial burst of water is similar to the burst of electricity that can sometimes occur when the electrical system is re-energized after a power outage. This is called an Electrical Power Surge. The surge darts randomly throughout the home’s electrical system, damaging any unprotected electronic equipment in its’ path.

Electronic equipment, such as computers and entertainment equipment, which were plugged into surge protection strips or bars, appear to have been spared damage. But numerous homeowners have reported damage to unprotected components like the furnace, heat pump and/or large kitchen and laundry appliances.

Is Surge Protection Available to Protect Large Appliances?

Although it is not possible to use a surge bar on these large expensive appliances, surge protection is still available in the form of a panel surge protection device.  This specialized surge protector must be installed directly on the main electrical panel by a licensed and certified electrician. It works by immediately redirecting an incoming surge to ground, before it enters the home’s electrical system.

Many homeowners now understand the value of electrical panel surge protection and are asking Blue Crest Electric to supply and install this important safety device as soon as possible.

Call Blue Crest Electric Ltd. today for an appointment to install a high quality whole-home surge protector directly on your electrical panel. Make sure your home is protected, before you are hit with an electrical power surge.

For more information about Surge Protection, click on this link Here 

 

Mobile Home Electrical

Mobile Home – Silver Label Re-certification

Mobile Home Electrical

Re-certification for Mobile or Manufactured Homes

Just 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.