Every year, Canadians die or become ill because of carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless toxic gas produced by fuel-burning appliances. If your home has one or more fuel burning appliances, or an attached garage, you should definitely have carbon monoxide detectors installed on every level of the building.
Some of the Most Common Sources of CO Are:
Vehicles idling in an enclosed space, such as a garage. The CO will build up and possibly leak into the building. Even sitting in an idling car in an open garage can be dangerous.
Gas water heaters, ovens & dryers. If fuel-burning appliances are not installed properly, regularly maintained or used correctly, CO can build up inside the building.
Fuel-burning heating systems such as gas or propane furnaces & wood, coal or gas fireplaces can emit CO gas. For safe use of these heating sources, proper maintenance and venting is very important.
Portable barbecues & back-up generators, which are intended for outdoor use only.
Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning:
Chest tightness or shortness of breath
Because of their similarity, poisoning symptoms are often misdiagnosed as the flu.
How to Protect Yourself:
Never use fuel burning heaters in an enclosed area because of the risk of CO
Don’t let your car idle in the garage, even when the garage door is open
Inspect fuel burning appliances annually
Never use portable gas, propane or charcoal grills indoors
Never use a gas-powered generator in an enclosed space
Don’t use a gas oven to heat your home because CO can build up inside
To warn of increased levels of this deadly poisonous gas, carbon monoxide detectors should be installed on every floor. Detectors can be purchased as a single unit or in combination with ionization smoke alarm units. For more information on CO/smoke detector safety, click here
Contact Blue Crest Electric and one of our electricians would be happy to install a hard-wired, battery backup CO detector in your home.
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.
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.
Many 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
Dangerous wiring, hidden behind the walls, is a common find for a service electrician and can result in anything from a circuit power failure to a residential house fire. This problem is a ticking time bomb as the danger can sometimes lay hidden for years before a failure occurs.
A fire requires three things to burn: an ignition source or spark, a fuel source and oxygen.
This was clearly emphasized at a local Fire Department’s training session that our crews attended many years ago. So our electricians explain this to homeowners whenever they come across open splices buried inside walls like this one found today. Everything about this unpleasant find is WRONG and DANGEROUS!
When wiring is properly terminated inside a correctly rated and installed electrical box, it is isolated from nearby combustible materials (wooden studs, beams, etc.) and although an electrical box is not airtight, the amount of oxygen inside the enclosure is quickly depleted should any arcing occur. The spark is also contained and can not reach a fuel source, so it is quickly starved of both fuel and oxygen, and the potential fire dies out.
We’d like to say that this type of find is unusual, but it’s not. Our electricians come across this problem much too often, and in homes of almost any age. If you suspect there may be unauthorized, amateur wiring somewhere in your home, please call us and we can investigate and correct the issue before it becomes a serious problem. We can not emphasize enough the importance of hiring a licensed electrician to complete all regulated electrical work.