If you’re interested in reducing the costs associated with central heat, a space heater may be perfect for your Fort Collins home. By using a strategy called “zone heating,” you can turn your most-used rooms into comfortable spaces and reduce your thermostat. This reduces the amount of energy your home uses. However, you should know how to buy and use your space heater safely. We suggest that you call Chadwick Services to inspect your electrical system before plugging it in.
Before you buy your space heater
First, know how much space you’re heating. Indoor space heaters are measured by watts. Buying a heater that emits too much wattage may result in higher energy bills. Meanwhile, too little wattage won’t heat your space and may overheat. According to Sylvan, a general rule of thumb, “roughly 10 watts of heating power for every square foot of floor area in the room.”
For safety reasons, make sure the unit you’re looking at is Safety Certified by a company like UL, which independently tests for safety. Also, ensure the cord is heavy duty and long enough to reach the outlet. You can also buy units with safety features like tip-over, overheat, and touch protection.
Before you turn it on
When you get home, check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they’re functioning properly. Next, don’t place your space heater on any furniture and keep it at least three feet away from combustible furniture. This includes beds, sofas, window treatments, rugs, etc.
Keep the space heater away from water and establish a child and pet-free zone. Enforce the zone at all times and don’t allow anyone to operate the heater without proper training.
Make sure the space heater is securely plugged directly into the unit. You increase your chance of fires by using an extension cord or by running the unit’s cord under a rug. Regularly inspect the cord to make sure it’s not frayed, cracked, or broken.
Regular safety maintenance
In addition to checking the cord, make sure you turn your space heater off every time you leave the bed or go to bed. Don’t leave a space heater on overnight or when you’re not monitoring it. Some units come with a timer that will allow you to control when it’s on or off, but it’s a good idea to make sure it turns off.
As we discussed before, perform regular maintenance on your smoke and CO detectors.
Types of space heaters:
Now that you know how to use your space heater safely, here are the types you will likely choose from. A word of caution: never use a gas-powered heater indoors. Those should only be used in well-ventilated spaces.
Oil-filled space heaters are great for small rooms or for personal use. They’re usually portable and come with handles and wheels to move from room to room. The oil inside never needs to be replaced and they’re silent because they don’t use fans.
Ceramic space heaters are among the most common and use fan-forced air. They’re compact and are ideal for areas up to 150-square-feet.
Infrared space heaters are generally the most energy efficient. They’re great for personal use because they produce heat quickly and without a fan.
While you shouldn’t use these types of space heaters to heat your entire home or treat them as a long-term heating solution, they can be very useful and efficient in the winter months.
Inspect your wiring before installing a space heater by calling Chadwick Electric Services today.
Your family’s safety is probably your top priority, but are you doing everything possible to ensure that safety? Maybe one thing you’re missing is effective security lighting on the exterior of your home. Having a well-planned system will not only make you feel more secure, it’ll deter intruders from invading your space. Intruders don’t like the light. A well-lit exterior is the first line of defense for your family. To make sure you have the best outdoor security lighting system for your Fort Collins home, here are some tips to follow.
How to place your lights
Security lighting should be well thought-out and specific to your home’s architecture and landscape. The wrong placement or brightness could be the difference between an intruder running away and finding their way inside. First, make sure there won’t be any large blind spots. You can do this by placing more soft lighting versus a few bright spotlights. Softer lighting allows the light to dissipate more evenly across larger surface areas. Bright light is more concentrated, making it easier to create blind spots.
Next, make sure you secure all sides of your house. Most people just focus on the front and back yards, neglecting the other sides of their structures. This makes non-lit areas easy targets for intruders. For infrequently used sides, install motion or heat sensitive lights to scare intruders. For high-traffic areas, you can install lighting that complements your home.
Once you’ve decided where your lights should be, you need to figure out how to place them. The higher your security lights, the better. However, they should all be facing downward and you need to make sure they’ll emit the right amount of light. Lights placed too high with not enough brightness won’t scare anyone off–you may not even notice the light. Lights placed too low with too much illumination will create blind spots.
You also want your lights facing down for a reason. Too much glare in your neighbors’ eyes will deter them from looking at your house when the lights turn on. This means they won’t look to notice an intruder. You need them to see what’s going on in your yard, especially if it’s on a side of the house you can’t see.
Lights are also placed high to deter tampering. Hardwiring your security lights is a great option, but it’s not always feasible. For that reason, you need to make sure that the wiring is hard to access. You can also use solar options for areas that get a good amount of sun during the day. Also, make sure your power box has its own security light, just in case.
Finally, make sure you use white or clear bulbs for your security lighting. Color bulbs are perfect for accenting or adding some fun elements to your landscaping, but should not be used for security. They make it too hard to clearly see what set off the motion sensor.
Security lighting maintenance
Once you’ve installed the perfect security lighting system, you need to make sure it does its job – all the time. Changing burnt-out bulbs immediately is incredibly important. So is cleaning off dust and other debris on a regular basis. The best approach to this is establishing a routine that’s easy to follow. For example, checking all of the bulbs and wiping off the lights at the beginning of every month. Yes, every month. You also want to check the wiring and photocells if you have solar lights, as well as trim any trees or shrubs that make it difficult to see out your windows.
A final note: You should not rely on security lighting alone for safety. A well-rounded exterior lighting system is one of the best ways to deter intruders. This includes having permanent and motion sensor lighting that work together. Having a front porch light is important as is having lights above every entrance. Put these lights on timers for added security when you’re not home.
You need a professional electrician to install hard-wired security lighting, so call Chadwick Electric Services today for your Fort Collins or Windsor home.
In the winter months, you’re going to be spending a lot of time indoors, which is a good thing unless your smoke alarms and/or carbon monoxide detectors are malfunctioning. In order to ensure that your family will stay safe, regular smoke alarm and CO detector maintenance is incredibly important.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, there are more than a million fires every year and an average of 3,000 deaths related to fires. The CDC also reports that each year, more than 400 deaths result from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning not linked to fires. These deaths are all avoidable with working detection systems in place. The National Fire Protection Agency tells us that the death rate is doubled in homes without working smoke alarms, so protect your family and follow these tips to keep your family safe.
Maintenance Tips for Your Smoke Alarm and CO Detector
- Check the batteries every six months by testing the detector. Change the batteries at least once a year. If it’s chirping, change the batteries right away. If you have a 10-year battery in your detector, replace the entire device immediately.
- Test the system once a month. Press the test button on your device to verify that it’s functioning properly. This will also get you and your family familiar with the sound of the alarm.
- Dust the unit on a monthly basis to remove debris and grease from its exterior. Give it a more thorough clean twice a year by using a vacuum attachment. This will get the dust buildup and cobwebs out of the interior.
- Check your manufacturer’s instructions for expiration dates and be prepared to replace your unit as the date approaches.
Additional Safety Tips
- In the case of a fire or carbon monoxide emergency, create and practice a home escape plan. These won’t necessarily match each other. For most CO alarms, you may be able to call for help from an open window, but you need to get far from your home in the case of a house fire.
- To avoid CO buildup, clear any snow from your vents for the stove, furnace, dryer, and fireplace after snowstorms.
- The NFPA suggests having the smoke alarms throughout your house interconnected. This may be a task for a professional electrician.
If you need any assistance installing or replacing the smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in your Fort Collins home, please contact us immediately. Don’t let your family go a day without the proper safety precautions. Call us today: 970-457-4099
In Colorado, we’re lucky to have some of the most comfortable weather year-round to enjoy the great outdoors. If you’re able to have a great backyard, you want to make sure you can spend time outside whenever you want, which is why it’s a good idea to ensure your outdoor lighting in Fort Collins and Windsor meets all your needs.
How you know you need to update and add to your current lighting:
- Do you have beautiful trees or statues in your landscaping that just disappear at night? That’s really unfortunate because you should be showing off the outdoor elements that personalize your exterior. Use uplighting to highlight trees, large shrubs or statues. Conversely, any paths should be downlit. To best complement your focal points, light man-made objects with a golden hue, while plants should be bathed in blue light.
- Are your pathways are hard to see? People should be able to comfortably navigate your landscaping, which means you may need to install a series of lights along any pathways. However, make sure the lights act as subtle hints. You don’t need to create a ballpark or airplane landing for people to understand where the path is leading them.
- Does your water feature gets lost at night? Whether you have a fountain, a pond, a pool, or a waterfall, you want to be able to bring attention to in a subtle manner. Waterproof lights are great for fountains and to peek out from under waterfalls. String lights reflect well off of pools and soft downlighting is a beautiful choice for ponds or waterfalls.
- What’s the use of having a living or dining space outside if you can’t use it at night? Add ambient lighting by installing overhead or spotlighting, or go with moonlighting that cascades from your tall trees. If you choose overhead lighting, install a dimmer switch to control the amount of light and how you want it experienced.
- Do you have a pleasant seating area set off from the rest of your yard? Wouldn’t it be nice to let people know that it’s there? Define your spaces with a mixture of uplighting and downlighting, but make sure it’s subtle and allows for some intimacy.
- Do you feel safe at night? Motion-sensor floodlights can increase your sense of security. Or just having enough light surrounding your house is usually a good way to keep suspicious characters and curious wildlife from wandering into your yard.
- Does your house look flat at night? Capitalize on shadows created from stone or brick siding, or showcase your home’s incredible architecture by having a well-planned lighting design. Make sure you install lights in your landscaping as well, to soften the effect of the lights and the silhouette they’ll create.
Whether you need to add a few lights or overhaul your entire exterior, you may need to hire a professional electrician for installation. Chadwick Electric Services can ensure your outdoors are safe and all wiring is up to code.
Make sure your lighting lasts and works for you. Call us today.
Don’t worry. We understand that you really want to save money by tackling your electric problem on your own. But are you setting yourself up for even higher costs and safety risks if you don’t hire a qualified, licensed electrician? Chances are, you are. Hiring a reliable and local company like Chadwick Services for your Northern Colorado electric service will save you time, money, and headaches. Here’s why.
- Licensing: We are licensed by the State of Colorado, which means we have proven that we have trained the required number of hours, receive ongoing training, know all state codes and regulations, and make safety our number one priority.
- Permits: Before your project begins, you know that all necessary permits will be pulled to ensure quality and safety.
Inspections: When you have the proper permit for your electrical service, you can guarantee the job is up to code. If anything’s amiss, we fix it for you. Simple as that.
Insurance: Not only is Chadwick Electric fully insured and bonded, we can help you avoid any fights over your home insurance that may result from do-it-yourself electrical projects.
Safety: As we mentioned earlier, safety is our number one priority – and it should be yours, too. Don’t put your home and family at risk by tackling a job that should be handled by a professional.
Knowledge: As the saying goes: “A little knowledge can be dangerous,” which is why it’s important to let a professional work on your electrical problem. Even if you know a few things about how electricity works, our extensive knowledge and expertise allow us to solve a problem quicker, more efficiently, and much safer.
Longevity: We all know that person who tries to fix their own plumbing only to have it break over and over again. While there are risks to water leaking, electrical fires are much scarier. When you hire Chadwick Services, you have a guarantee that your wiring will be done right, saving you money and headaches.
Troubleshooting: Almost every project will have some kind of surprise. Most of the time, it’s small and can be easily fixed – unless you try to fix it yourself. Then it can become a much larger problem that could’ve easily been taken care of by an experienced electrician.
It’s Complicated: This may seem like a no-brainer, but many people forget or don’t understand the complexities of a home’s wiring. Since it’s all connected in some way, a small mistake can spell disaster. Maybe not right away, but you’ll notice it – and it could be incredibly expensive.
Guarantee: When you hire Chadwick Electrical Services in Windsor, you have a guarantee that the work will be done right the first time. The same can’t be said for the neighborhood handyman or yourself.
Proper Wiring: Not all wiring is created equal. Choosing the correct wiring for the job will avoid disasters big and small.
Proper Tools: As a DIYer, you won’t always have the tools that you need to tackle complicated tasks related to electrical repairs. We do.
If you’re at all concerned about saving money and time or the safety of your family, call us before you start any electrical repairs. We’re available 24/7 for emergency services and for all installation services. Electricity can kill you, so better safe than sorry, right?
Are you one of those people who turns your ceiling fan off during the winter? Sure, it makes sense because you don’t want cool air circulating while you’re trying to stay warm. However, you could be missing out on a major money-saving opportunity.
Use your ceiling fan year round
According to Energy Star, you should be using your ceiling fan year round to save both energy and money. In the summer months, your fan should be spinning counter-clockwise to create a wind-chill effect. Since you don’t want cooler air in the winter, you should reverse the blades’ direction. There is a simple switch inside your fan for this. Running your ceiling fan clockwise at a low speed will push down the warm air that collects near your ceiling.
This technique can lower energy consumption in the winter by up to 15 percent! You’ll reduce the need for in-room heat devices, such as space heaters, that produce heat but don’t circulate it throughout the room. You’re also able to reduce your thermostat by a couple of degrees since the heat won’t get trapped at the ceiling.
If you have an older fan that doesn’t have a reverse switch, you should consider updating it to a newer model so you can take advantage of this money-saving technique.
Be sure that you dust and clean your fan blades and ensure your wiring is still secure. Also, don’t forget to replace the bulbs while you’re up there.
If you’d like to install a ceiling fan or have your wiring inspected for safety before winter starts in Fort Collins, call Chadwick Electric Services today.
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.
Update your electrical system: Ideally, electrical systems should be updated every 10 years. Now that so many households are adding more and more technology, it’s a good idea to make sure your current wiring is able to handle the load.
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.
Are you worried about electrical fires in your home? Call us today for an inspection. We also offer 24-hour emergency services!