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15 Ideas to Make Your Home More Efficient

Posted on 5 March, 2017 at 1:00

Whole House Surge Protectors

Posted on 5 March, 2017 at 0:45

What You Need to Know

What is a Power Surge? A Power Sureg is a transient voltage spike in a power or data line. The spike is very brief, usually lasting only a few millionths of a second (the blink of an eye is thousands of times longer than typical surge), but it can still cause damage, degrade, or destroy electronic equipment. Because surges are so fast,even fuses, circuit breakers and GFCI's are not quick enough to protect the damage.

How do they happen and what to look for - Power surges occur when the flow of electricity is interrupted, then started again, or when something sends electricity flowing back into the system.Switching high  powered equipment on and off is one example. Lightning and utility grid switching are the largest source of surges generated from outside a building but only 20% of surges are caused by lightning strikes and an overwhelming 80% of power surges are internally generated. A few signs of a power surge gone unnoticed are:

  • Computer lock-ups or latch-ups
  • Unexplained data corruption 
  • Equipment shutdown 
  • Flickering Lights
  • Premature failure of electronic ballasts or printed circuit boards (electronic rust)

Even if your home or business does survive an electrical surge or one happens to go unnoticed, there is still damage that occurs each and every time. This transient damage is commonly referred to as "electronic rust". This type of damage eats away at the circuits that allow the electricity to flow between electronic components on a printed circuit board e.g. Computer, printer etc. and if left unchecked will eventually stop your equipment from working right in its tracks. Consequences of electronic rust are:

  • Hard Drive crashes
  • Data transmission errors
  • Circuit board failures

What is a Surge Protective Device? - A Surge protector (or surge suppressor or surge diverter) is an appliance or device designed to protect electrical devices from voltage spikes. A Surge Protective Device (SPD) is intended to limit transient over voltages and divert a surge with the goal of preventing equipment damage and downtime due to transient voltage surge reaching the devices they protect. 

Am I covered by my insurance? - Yes and No. Depending on your coverage. Insurance companies do offer coverage for incidents like a lightning but they DO NOT cover damage to equipment caused by the lightning strike, electrical incidents resulting internally or caused by your utility company.In fact, utility companies do not cover or reimburse for any damages caused by wildlife, weather, and lack of power, a power outage, power surge or something beyond its control including the guarantee of continuous and constant supply of power. Coverage for damaged equipment requires the purchase of additional policy coverage. 

Whole House Surge Protectors - unlike a power strip with surge protection capabilities, a whole-house surge protector is not a point-of-use device. It is not something that you’ll handle directly, plugging it into the wall, nor is it something that you will plug other electronics into. Instead, a whole-house surge protector is wired directly into the electrical panel that regulates the distribution of electricity throughout your home. When there is a power surge, for whatever reason, the surge protector will deal with it before that power surge even makes its way onto any of your circuits.

Even when compared with the best point-of-use surge protectors, whole-house surge protection systems are enormously more beneficial. First of all, they protect your whole house. This means that you don’t have to pick and choose which devices are protected by your surge protectors. Also, they will cover large appliances, such as your HVAC systems, which would not generally be plugged into a surge protector. They can handle much larger power surges, including those cause by lighting strikes, and will protect you from power surges making their way into your home through various inlets, including landlines. This is not the same level of protection that smaller power strips can offer. 

Whether protecting your home,  an amusement parks, casinos, manufacturing facilities, mining operations, retail stores, office buildings, we have products designed to be compact, provide the highest level of performance and are seamlessly integrated into your electrical systems. 

For a free consultation on SPD's contact us 

Kidde NightHawk Smoke Detector, Carbon Monoxide Alarms Recalled

Posted on 14 January, 2017 at 0:15

A national recall has been issued for 1.5 million Kidde smoke detector and carbon monoxide alarms in Canada because they may not chirp in the case of an emergency.


The recall applies to two Kidde NightHawk models that are hard-wired into a home's electricity and were manufactured between June 2004 and March 2011. The affected models are:


KN-COSM-IBCA, which has a battery backup

KN-COSM-ICA, which doesn't have a battery backup

The issue is the alarm may no longer chirp in the model with battery backup even after the original batteries have been replaced. In the case of the model without battery backup, the chirp may not work if power is removed and then restored.


"This could lead consumers to believe it is still working, which poses a risk to consumers not being alerted to a fire or carbon monoxide incident in their home," said the Health Canada recall notice.


In Canada, there haven't been any reported incidents, according to Health Canada, but there have been eight in the U.S., where 3.6 million units of the models have been sold. Health Canada did not detail in its recall notice the nature of those incidents, but said there have been no injuries.


The alarms are white, round and measure about 13 to 15 centimetres in diameter. The word Kidde is both on the front and back of the devices, while the manufacturing date is on the back and can be thought of as being in the three or four o'clock spot of a traditional clock.


People with the recalled alarms should stop using them and can contact Kidde for a free replacement or a discount on a new alarm.


Kidde Canada can be contacted at 1-888-784-2323 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday to Friday, or through its" target="_blank"> website.

Phantom Loads

Posted on 26 February, 2016 at 22:55

Once upon a time, when you turned off an appliance, it was off. Now many appliances (especially ones with remote controls, clocks or microprocessors) are designed with 'standby' features, which means they're ready for action at a moment's notice. It also means they're constantly drawing electricity 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


Every year, US consumers waste an estimated $4 billion on these phantom loads, which amounts to about 5 percent of the country's total electricity load, according to a study by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.


If you're serious about conserving energy, find those phantoms, which include computers, TVs and other appliances with plug-in wall cubes, remote-controls or clock displays.


Use these four tips to zap phantom loads at your house and reduce global carbon emissions:


1. Use power strips (available at hardware and discount stores) that let you unplug several appliances by flipping a single switch. This is especially important for TVs, VCRs, microwaves and computers, which are the worst culprits.


2. Unplug appliances when you're not using them.


3. Plug the offending appliances into sockets controlled by a wall switch.


4. Use clocks powered by rechargeable batteries.


5. When buying new appliances, choose models with the lowest standby power consumption.


You'll save on energy bills and help save the planet when you banish these furtive phantoms from your home.

Before you hire a contractor, Do your homework!

Posted on 9 February, 2016 at 23:35

Download the Service Alberta Consumer tips PDF file here.

Home Safety Check List

Posted on 9 February, 2016 at 15:40

Home Safety Checklist ( Download Here)

Protect your family from fire and other electrical hazards by using this complimentary short checklist below.


*Are the bulbs the appropriate wattage for the size of fixtures? A bulb of too high wattage may

lead to fire through overheating.


*Are cords placed out of the walking areas and free of furniture resting on them? Tripping hazard

may result. Also, stepping on cords or placing furniture on them can cause damage and create

fire hazard.

*Are cords in good condition (not damaged or cracked)? Shock or fire hazards can result from damaged

cords. Do not attempt to repair cords yourself. Take any item with a damaged power cord to an authorized

repair center, call us or safely dispose of the item and purchase a new one.

*Are cords unwrapped? Tightly wrapped cords can lead to overheating.

*Are all extension cords being used only on a temporary basis? Extension cords are not safe as permanent

house wiring. Have receptacles installed where they are needed.


*Are all outlets and switches working properly? Improperly operating outlets or switches indicate that

an unsafe wiring condition may exist.

*Are all outlets and switches cool to touch? Unusually warm outlets or switches may indicate an unsafe

wiring condition exists.

*Do you hear crackling, sizzling, or buzzing from your outlets? Give us a call to identify the cause.

*Are all outlet and switch cover plates in good condition? Replace any missing, cracked or broken

cover plate.


*Are all appliance cords placed away from hot surfaces? Pay particular attention to cords around toasters,

ovens, and ranges. Cords can be damaged by excess heat.

*Are all appliances located away from the sink? Electrical appliances can cause a shock if they come in

contact with water. Plug kitchen appliances into GFCI protected outlets.


*Have you ever received even a slight shock (other than one from static electricity) from any appliances?

Do not touch the appliance until it has been checked by an electrician.

*Is there excessive vibration or movement when the washer or dryer is operating? Movement during

operation can put undue stress on electrical connections.


* Canadian Electrical Code requires temper resistant outlets to be installed throughout your home.

(Certain exclusions apply) If you have small children it is recommended to have TR outlets installed if

your home was built prior to this code requirement.



*Smoke/CO alarms should be located on every level of home, inside each bedroom, or outside each sleeping area.

(Certain Code requirements apply)


*Are the bathroom outlets protected by GFCIs? GFCIs should be installed in kitchens, bathrooms, and other areas

where the risk of electric shock is high.

*If you have any GFCIs, do you test them regularly? GFCIs must be operating properly to protect against electrocution.

Test your GFCIs at least once a week.


*Is your fuse box or circuit breaker box appropriately labeled? Labeling helps easily identify what circuits power each room.

*Does everyone of appropriate age know where the fuse box or circuit breaker box is located and how to turn off and

restore power to home?

*Are you regularly resetting tripped circuit breakers? Circuit breakers that are constantly tripping indicate that the circuit is

overloaded or that other electrical hazards exist. Consult a qualified, licenced electrician.

*Is your home protected by Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCIs)? AFCIs are devices that replace standard circuit breakers

in the electrical service panel and that greatly reduce the risk of home electrical fires. If you are interested in having AFCI

protection added to your home, consult GMO Electrical Services.


*This list is provided for your convenience to be able to identify some electrical hazards that may exist in your home.

As this list does not or intended to cover all possible hazards, if at any time you are in doubt, please give us a call

we will be glad to help. Consultations and estimates are always free of charge!


Electrical Safety for Kids

Posted on 1 February, 2016 at 23:05

  • DO ask a grown up to put safety covers on outlets if there are little kids in the house.

  • DO unplug hair dryers, hair straighteners and curling irons when you’re done with them.

  • DO remind your parents to look up and look out for powerlines if they’re working in the yard with a ladder or trimming trees. They should also call the electricity company before they dig holes to build a deck or a fence.

  • DON’T stick anything into electrical outlets, into the end of an extension cord, or into electrical stuff that’s plugged in. (your mom is right, never stick a knife into a toaster!)

  • DON’T plug too many cords into an outlet. Even using adapters to add cords can still cause overloads and fires. Ask your parents to buy a proper power bar.

  • DON’T use any cords that look cracked, pinched, have loose plugs or look worn out. Never use cords that heat up when they’re plugged in even if they look okay otherwise.

  • DON'T yank the cord from an outlet -- it can damage your electronic stuff or the outlet or both.

  • DON’T touch outlets or switches if the cover is missing or broken.

  • DON’T plug anything into an outlet if there’s water on the floor or counter near it.

  • DON’T use hair dryers, radios, or any other electrical stuff in or near water – like the sink, tub or shower.

  • DON’T play near any power lines or electrical equipment like the green boxes you see in lawns or fields.

  • DON’T get on any roof to play or to get a ball or toy if it lands up there. Powerlines usually attach to a house near the roof. If you touch one, it could kill you.

  • DON’T fly kites near powerlines, ever.

  • DON’T climb trees near powerlines – tree branches can hide them. Remember, electricity can go right through the tree branch - and right through you!

  • DON’T climb hydro poles or the fences around electrical stations – even if your ball goes in there. Get a parent to call the hydro company – they can help get it out.


Product Safety

Posted on 1 February, 2016 at 23:00

Check that all electrical appliances have recognized approval marks to ensure they meet the electrical safety requirements. Sample of these approval marks can be found here.

Safety Tips-1

Posted on 1 February, 2016 at 22:50


  • Replace or repair damaged or loose electrical cords.

  • Avoid running extension cords across doorways or under carpets.

  • In homes with small children, make sure your home has tamper-resistant (TR) receptacles.

  • Consider having additional circuits or outlets added by a qualified electrician so you do not have to use extension cords.

  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions for plugging an appliance into a receptacle outlet.

  • Avoid overloading outlets. Plug only one high-wattage appliance into each receptacle outlet at a time.

  • If outlets or switches feel warm, frequent problems with blowing fuses or tripping circuits, or flickering or dimming lights, call a qualified electrician.

  • Place lamps on level surfaces, away from things that can burn and use bulbs that match the lamp's recommended wattage.

  • Make sure your home has ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) in the kitchen bathroom(s), laundry, basement, and outdoor areas.

  • Arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) should be installed in your home to protect electrical outlets.

Dan Doofus gets Grounded on Electrical Safety

Posted on 1 February, 2016 at 22:40

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