With cooler evenings comes the desire to retreat to the hot tub and sink into the warm water. But are you making sure that you remain safe while you relax? We’ve compiled 20 hot tub safety tips to keep in mind while you enjoy your soak.
Ensure you have proper wiring. You need to make sure that your hot tub’s wiring complies with the National Electrical Code, which includes an emergency shutoff that is accessible, visible, and at least 5 ft. away. You also want to make sure your hot tub is properly installed and plugged in (no extension cords!).
Beware of electricity. Keep electrical appliances away. Instead, use battery-operated appliances around the hot tub and keep extension cords as far from the water as possible.
Supervise all children. Don’t turn your back for even a minute while children are in the hot tub. Children are more prone to overheating and need lower temperatures to remain safe. Consult your pediatrician for the right temperature or if you want to bring in a child younger than five.
Establish rules. Expecting good behavior from all of your guests, including the adults, is always good, but especially when you’re in or near water. Running, jumping, diving, and pushing should be strictly prohibited, as should standing on the hot tub cover.
Prepare for emergencies. Make sure all guests know where the emergency shutoff switch is before they get in the tub. It’s also a good idea to know CPR and have a first-aid kit on hand.
Check your water. If your water is cloudy, don’t get in! Cloudy water is an indication that it’s unsanitary and could cause skin infections. Stock up on a good sanitizer and regularly test the bacteria to make sure your water remains safe. Remember: never add water to acid, always add acid to water.
Safely store cleaning supplies and chemicals. Make sure all of your supplies and chemicals are stored out of reach of children and pets. They should also be in a cool, dry location.
Shower before and after use. This is not only proper etiquette, it can also keep out bacteria that will thrive in your hot tub’s warm environment.
Don’t wear street clothes. Everything worn in the hot tub should be clean.
Beware of storms. You should never use your hot tub before, during, or immediately after extreme weather conditions, especially electrical storms.
Maintain a safe temperature. Many hot tubs come with a factory setting of 104° F, but most users are more comfortable between 102° and 100° F. Children generally need less than 100° F.
Check for skin infections and open wounds. Because bacteria love warm environments, entering a hot tub with existing infections or open wounds will help spread infection.
Be aware of any health issues. Before you climb into a hot tub, make sure you know how you will react if you have an illness such as diabetes, high or low blood pressure, or are pregnant.
Don’t use drugs. Speaking of an illness, check with your doctor to make sure you won’t have a reaction while on medication. Also, be smart about your recreational use.
Don’t drink alcohol. Another big no-no is drinking while hot tubbing. Alcohol use can increase your chances of having a heart attack or passing out and drowning while you’re in the hot tub.
Use plastic containers. If you do have food or (non-alcoholic) drinks around, make sure you use plastic instead of glass or anything else that could shatter in the hot tub. It’s better to be safe than cut yourself in the tub while trying to retrieve or avoid shards.
Check your drain and suction covers. Make sure your hot tub is compliant with the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act with the proper drain cover and suction covers.
Don’t use a hot tub alone. Accidents and emergencies are easily avoided when you soak with a friend or family member.
Install handrails and anti-skid devices. Getting out of and into hot tubs safely should be a priority. You can use treads on your steps, mats around the tub, sand paint on your deck, or similar measures.
Always cover and lock the tub when it’s not in use. Check your cover periodically to make sure it still fits snuggly, all locks and latches are functioning properly, and that you lock the hot tub every time.
Hot tub safety is no joke. Neither is its wiring. If you’re worried about your current hot tub’s wiring or need to install a new spa, call us today. We are the experts you need in Fort Collins and Windsor.
With an average of 34,000 electrical fires being reported annually, it’s important to know what you can do as a homeowner to avert disaster. Here are some tips to ensure that will help you prevent electrical fires in your Northern Colorado home.
Install GFCIs: Install Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters throughout your home to prevent fires because they automatically shut down if a circuit is overloaded or at risk.
Install an AFCI: Arc-fault Circuit Interrupters detect electrical abnormalities and shut down the circuit before it overheats. If you have an older home, it’s a good idea to replace your circuit breaker with an AFCI since arc faults are nearly impossible to catch before there’s a fire.
Know when you have faulty wiring: Faulty wiring can be a huge problem for older structures. These are the signs you should be aware of:
Light switches are hot to the touch
Outlets spark when you plug something in
Flickering light bulbs
Lights dim when you use appliances
Outlets are buzzing, hissing, or crackling
Circuit breakers are constantly tripping or shorting
Wires or fuse boxes are hot to the touch
Burning smell from an outlet
Check your outlets: Make sure that all of your outlets are tight and fitted to the wall – loose-fitting plugs can be a fire and shock hazard. You should also replace any broken or missing plates to avoid having exposed wiring, and put protective covers on any unused plugs if you have children.
Don’t tamper with plugs: You should NEVER remove the third prong from plugs. It’s better to replace your two-conductor outlet if you need to use a three-pronged plug. You should also avoid bending prongs and follow all manufacturer instructions while installing appliances.
Use surge protectors: If you need to plug in multiple items, you should invest in a surge protector to make sure you don’t overload your outlet.
Replace damaged cords: If you notice fraying or cracking on your cords, you should replace them. Most appliances have the replaceable cords available through the manufacturer.
Know where to run your cords: You create a hazardous environment when you run electrical cords under carpets, furniture, or rugs because you’re not able to tell if the cord becomes damaged or overheated.
Unplug small appliances: It’s a good habit to unplug smaller appliances when they’re not in use anyway, but you can lower the probability of them catching fire if they’re disconnected.
Use correct bulbs: Avoid using bulbs with higher watts than your lighting fixture recommends, or replace your incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs to reduce the heat created when your light is on.
There are thousands of ways to save money on your monthly and yearly energy bill. Most people think you have to upgrade to save money but that couldn’t be further from the truth. All you have to do is make a few minor adjustments to your electronics and appliances and you could have hundreds of dollars each year back in your pocket.
Most people will go straight for the oven when baking but most things will do just fine in the toaster oven instead. You’ll also save more time as the toaster oven doesn’t take as long to heat up. By cooking, you’ll also warm up the area and not have to crank up the heating system as high.
Energy Star or Nothing
Energy Star uses much less energy than other appliances. This includes washers, water heaters, furnaces, refrigerators and more. You may pay more up front but the savings, in the long run, are well worth it.
Most people put everything in the dishwasher by default but this isn’t the best approach. Wash large pots and pans by hand as they take up the most space. When loading the dishwasher, make sure you pack it full and never leave space. Let your dishes air dry instead of using “heat dry.”
Use cold water to wash your clothes
Up to 90% of the energy from washing your clothes goes to heating the water. Here are some interesting stats about the impact of using hot/cold cycle to wash your clothes:
Similarly, if you wash with the hot/cold cycle (in a top loading machine and an electric water heater), you’ll end up with 2407 pounds of CO2 per year — just over a metric ton — which is equal to about one round-trip cross-country flight (6171 miles of long-haul flying).–Collin Dunn, Treehugger.com
Use a Low-Flow Shower Head
Older shower heads use 4-6 gallons of water per minute.
“The average American shower uses 17.2 gallons (65.1 liters) and lasts for 8.2 minutes at average flow rate of 2.1 gallons per minute (gpm) (7.9 lpm).”–home-water-works.org
Low-flow shower heads are easy to install and use only 1.5 gallons per minute. They range in cost so you’ll have to choose wisely to save the most money.
Utilize a Programmable Thermostat
You can save up to 10% off your utility bill with a programmable thermostat and it’s relatively easy to install. There is a sweet spot to every house so you’ll have to experiment to see what works and doesn’t work.
Insulate your Outlets and Light Switches
Light switches and outlets can be a source of air leaks. Insulating can prevent leaks and save you money.
Add Attic Insulation
Your attic is where most of the heat in your home escapes. Heat rises and most homes aren’t built with enough insulation to keep it from seeping out through the attic. You can save the most money by going with Fiberglass insulation and installing it yourself. You can save up to 20%-30% on heating and cooling costs by insulating your home.
Cover Your Floors
This is for people who have tile or laminate in their home as it absorbs cold air and then circulates it back through your home. A rug will retain heat and become an insulator between the floor and your house.
Use Home Window Tinting
Home window tinting is an inexpensive way to retain heat and save lots of money. Most people will change out their windows before even thinking of home window tinting. It’s a film you can apply to your windows that reflect light and also help regulate temperature and in your home. Not only will it keep your home cooler during the summer but also warmer in the winter.
Winters can be especially cold in Windsor and Ft. Collins but most people enjoy the shift in weather once it hits. Wearing layers is a great way to keep warm with out spending too much on your monthly energy bills.
Switch to LED Lighting
LED lighting is all the rage. While they didn’t start out very cheap, they are more affordable than ever before. They are still more of a long term investment but they have rendered incandescent lights just about obsolete. More on LED lights..
While Incandescent lights convert 10% of energy into light, LED converts 95% of energy consumed into light. They can last up to 25 times longer than a standard light bulb and use at least 75% less energy.
Low Flow Toilets
As more and more people go green, there will be better technology to save money and energy. Low flow toilets are part of the next big wave.
“Toilets can consume up to 40% of the total water used in your home. A low-flow, 1.6-gallon toilet will reduce usage and can save up to 12,000 gallons of water per year. A dual-flush toilet allows you to choose between 1-gallon flush or a 1.6-gallon flush.”
Use Electronics and Appliances Responsibly
Believe it or not, your appliances and electronics can account for 20%-30% of your household energy bill. There are simple things you can do to save money on your monthly energy bill. When going on vacation, unplug your computers, TVs, appliances and other electronics. Leaving them plugged in wastes energy. Shut off your computer when it’s no longer in use. Most people will leave them in sleep mode. Laptop computers use less electricity than desktop computers.
Choose your lighting Wisely
Not every room has to be lit up like a Christmas tree. You may not want as bright of lights in your bedroom as you would in your living room. Installing dimmers can also reduce the amount of electricity you use in each room. You could also install motion detectors so when you leave the area, the lights turn off. Also, something simple as cleaning your lights can help reduce energy costs.
Insulate and Seal your Home
Insulating and Sealing your home can make your home more comfortable and energy-efficient, ultimately saving a lot of money over the year. Some common places leaks may occur are electrical outlets, attic hatches, around pipes and wires, baseboards, window frames and mail slots.
Alternate Ways to Keep your home Cool
Installing a ceiling fan can help cool your home without an air conditioner. If you have an air conditioner, replacing your air filter will increase airflow and reduce friction. Set a thermostat to a good temperature and then turn it down at night when you aren’t home. Roughly 2% of the heating bill will be saved per each degree that the thermostat is lowered. Installing a programmable thermostat gives you more control over and can save you anywhere between $100-$200 per year! Make sure to lower your curtains to better insulate your room.
If you have any questions about saving money on energy or need help with repairs or installation, give us a call. 970-457-4099
As mentioned in our “5 Common Causes of Electrical Fires” article, According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), there are 28,600 electrical fires per year. These fires cause $1.1 billion in property damage and loss and are responsible for 310 deaths and 1,100 injuries each year.
We know what causes electrical fires but how do we go about preventing them? We have listed the best ways to prevent electrical fires in your home. Doing these simple things will keep you and your family safe from unexpected disasters.
The older the home the more important it is to hire a reputable electrician to inspect the wiring. Wiring wears out over time especially aluminum wiring which is more fire-prone than copper. Having someone inspect your wiring is important. As a general rule of thumb, you should check your wiring if it’s older than 10 Yrs. If it looks worn out, frayed, or tattered, you’ll want to get it replaced immediately. One small spark can start a massive fire.
Plug and Cord Damage
Bad wiring is one of the biggest causes of electrical fires. If you see anything tattered, worn out or frayed, replace it immediately. Bad cords can overheat and/or cause sparks starting a fire in the process.
Overloading a socket is a common cause of electrical fires. This happens when you plug in too many things into the same outlet, extension cord or power strip. Electrical circuits can only provide so much electricity at one time. There are power strips that shut off as soon as it becomes too overloaded.
Keep flammable materials away
Irons, hair dryers, lamps and portable space heaters can all be dangerous depending on where you keep them in your home. Blankets, towels, and rugs have all started electrical fires next to regular household appliances. Tucking extension cords and cables under your rugs can also cause excessive heat which can, in turn, start a fire.
Check appliance reviews
Not all appliances are built to last or even with the same standards. Poorly made appliances are a big part of a lot of electrical fires. Make sure you search online to see whether or not they have any complaints or are defective in any way.
There are wattage and fixture requirements that most people ignore. Make sure you follow these recommendations and the light bulbs are screwed in tightly so they don’t over heat.
Circuit Breakers and Fuses
It’s best to have an electrician check the rating on the fuse for the circuit breaker they’re protecting. It should be noted that replacing a fuse with the same size you are removing is best practice.
As you continue to upgrade your home with more lighting, appliances or new electronics, you could potentially overload your homes electrical service capacity. A big clue is if your fuses frequently blow and you’ll have to increase the capacity of your electrical service or add new branch circuits.
Hire an Expert
If it seems too complicated for you to fix it’s probably dangerous for you to even try it’s time to contact a professional. There’s no reason to risk serious injury or your life to save a few dollars. It’s important to reach out to a reputable expert in the area. Having someone who is familiar with the wiring is important as they will know how to properly fix it.
We all know that LEDs are one of the best ways to start going green.
But if that doesn’t matter to you then why should you switch over? If you’re all aboard the helping the environment train, there are a few things you should know before making the switch. One of the biggest reasons to switch over is that the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) passed in 2007. It requires traditional incandescent lights to be 25% more efficient which is hard to achieve unless than brightness is lowered. Instead, manufacturers have elected to focus their efforts on more energy efficient lighting technologies.
LED lights Save you Money because they last a long time
LED lights didn’t start cheap and they aren’t as cheap as incandescent lights but they pay off over time. Think of them as a long term investment instead of an up front discount. LED lights started as high as $30-$40, which is a hard to justify paying for. They are now mostly in the $10-$15 range for a 60-Watt equivalent LED bulb. While incandescent bulbs suddenly burn out, LED lights slowly dim and burn out over time. In some cases, LED lights can last you two decades. Swapping 1 standard light bulb to LED can save you anywhere from $40-$80 over its lifetime.
LED lights use less energy
While Incandescent lights convert 10% of energy into light, LED converts 95% of energy consumed into light. They can last up to 25 times longer than a standard light bulb and use at least 75% less energy. They also emit very little heat in comparison to an incandescent light which releases about 80% of their energy from heat. This makes them much safer because they are much cooler to the touch. During the holiday season, if you use LED Christmas lights, you can expect less of a fire hazard. Believe it or not, you could use the same LED Christmas lights for up to 40 holiday seasons.
LED light bulbs come in different colors
LED bulbs produce a wide range of colors such as white, yellow, purple, and red. Depending on where you want your LED light to be will determine what color light you’ll need. The most popular LED lights are “bright white”, “soft white”, and “warm white.” If you want the nice, warm, yellow glow of an incandescent light bulb you’ll want to go with warm white and soft white. Bright white will produce light closer to daylight and what you’ll see in retail stores. The light color is measured in kelvins and the lower the Kelvin, the warmer the light.
Energy Tips that Will Save you Money
Lighting can cost you as much as 50% of your energy bill. It’s important to be mindful of turning the lights off when you leave a room or leave the home. There are quite a few other things you can do to lower your energy costs. Below, we have outlined some of the top money saving tips for lighting you can start implementing right away.
Daylighting your way to money saving
What is daylighting? It’s a way of using natural light to illuminate your home such as installing skylights. Installing skylights can add natural lighting to your home.It’s important to buy double-pane or you won’t save as much money. Light shelves are horizontal surfaces above eye-level that have high-reflectance surfaces that reflect sun onto the ceiling. A clerestory window is a higher section of the wall above eye-level that illuminates a room and also allows fresh air.
More efficient lighting
Incandescent lights are less efficient and cost more money to light your home. What are Incandescent lights? They are old-school, cheap light bulbs that emit yellowish light and can burn out suddenly. While they are cheap up front, they actually use more energy and end up costing more in the long run.
Today, more and more people are using LED or compact fluorescent lamps to save energy and light their homes. Both can reduce energy by 50% to 75% with new advances in lighting control also helping you control your energy costs from the palm of your hand. They can also last 10 times longer than regular incandescent bulbs.
If you need help with installation or have any questions, feel free to give us a call. 970-457-4099
Historic homes can offer a number of unique and aesthetically pleasing options simply not found in more modern homes—from wood trim around your doorways and staircases to built-in bookcases, pantries, and even secret passageways.
However, homes built before the 1930s or so can also boast some outdated components. From knob-and-tube wiring to lead-lined water pipes, outdated technology can limit your ability to upgrade or even replace certain appliances if not updated.
Fortunately, upgrading your home’s wiring doesn’t need to be a complicated or cost-prohibitive process. Read on to learn more about the intricacies of knob-and-tube (K&T) wiring and what you’ll need to consider when upgrading your historic home’s wiring system.
When you remodel your home, some common electrical mistakes could result in an electrical fire if you aren’t careful. Although recent statistics published by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) show that electrical fires account for 9 percent of home structure fires nationwide, they account for 16 percent of home fire deaths.
Since your home has a complex electrical system that puts you at risk, it helps to know what kinds of problems can occur during a remodel that requires electrical work. To prevent these risks, don’t do any electrical work yourself if you aren’t completely sure how to do so safely-call a qualified electrician instead.
Are you looking to save money on your electric bills-especially when it comes to heating your home? Since electric heating options range in complexity, read below for answers to your questions about the efficiency and cost savings of the different types of electric heating systems. If you have any other questions, get in touch with an electrical contractor.
Baseboard Electric Heaters
If your home isn’t connected to a central heating system, baseboard electric heaters-which generally are installed in each room in the home-require no duct work. Although 220-volt baseboard heaters are inexpensive to buy, they can be costly to operate.
However, hardwired electric baseboard heating units cost less to operate than an electric furnace, but they need line-voltage thermostats to control the temperature. Line voltage thermostats are commonly used to power hard-wired baseboard heaters, but both the baseboard units and thermostats should be installed by a qualified electrician.
Additionally, with baseboard heaters, you can have zoned heating that can save you up to 20 percent in energy. Since you are heating individual rooms in your home-which are controlled by separate thermostats-you have the option of heating only rooms that are occupied. Zone heating is most effective when the zones operate independently and are separated from other rooms by a wall and door.
You may not think about the wiring in your home every time you flip a light switch or plug in an electronic device. But you rely on a safe, efficient electrical system to keep your home comfortable, safe, and well-lit.
When making an electrical change or trying to identify the source of an electrical issue, your first step may be to schedule an inspection.
In this blog, we list some of the most common reasons to have a residential electrical inspection and what you can expect from the inspection process.
It’s time to switch out your old bulbs for new, energy-efficient LEDs or CFLs. And take advantage of the savings, while they last. Right now, Xcel Energy is partnering with participating retailers to offer special discounts. Save up to $5 on select models of LEDs, or buy CFLs for as little as $1 per bulb.