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Electricians Tips & Tricks Blog

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Welcome to the Mister Sparky Tips & Tricks Blog! Look around to read our latest posts or delve into our archives for great ideas on maximizing your home’s energy efficiency, upgrading your electrical wiring, selecting new appliances or keeping your home safe. Whether you’re buying or building a new home, preparing for renovations, or just trying to keep on top of your own home maintenance, you’ll find interesting topics and helpful tips right here.


Technological innovations are developing faster all the time, and many of them have implications for the modern home. If you wish you could control all your appliances and electronics from a single smartphone or have a house that learns your behaviors and predicts your needs, it’s not science fiction -- it’s the smart home.


And if you’re looking to learn more about the old-school basics, like bringing your home into compliance with local building codes, replacing broken fixtures or setting up a generator to keep your household humming through a blackout, feel free to start your journey here. You might even find inspiration for a new home project or be reminded of an overdue opportunity for preventative home maintenance!


Check back often and bookmark this page to stay on top of the latest posts.



New kitchen appliances

Achieving Clutter-Free Kitchen Counters

  • 06/28/17

In many homes, the kitchen is the center of activity. Everybody’s got to eat, and kitchens have all that available table and counter space for meal prep, work and other projects -- at least in theory. 

If you like to have all your favorite cooking tools and appliances at arm’s reach,
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microwavefire

What to Do When Your Microwave Fails You

  • 06/21/17

From reheating leftovers to making fresh bowls of popcorn in minutes, microwave ovens perform some of our favorite kitchen tasks in a fraction of the time and energy required by other appliances. Many might admit to being a little dependent on their microwaves -- which can spell trouble if they
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electronics

Ditch the Devices and Unplug for a Day

  • 06/14/17

Are you feeling burned out from too much screen exposure? Computers, tablets, smartphones and television can make our lives easier and more entertaining, but they can also distract you from stopping to smell the roses -- and can even start to feel overwhelming.

If you can’t remember the last time you
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lightning

Happy Anniversary to Benjamin Franklin’s Lightning Experiment

  • 06/07/17

The first day of summer is nearly here, and the calendar is already dotted with stormy days from all over North America. The next lightning storm that passes through your area may give you a moment to reflect on a legendary tale of American ingenuity -- Benjamin Franklin’s kite and
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solarcharger

Freeload This Summer With Solar-Powered Gadgets

  • 05/31/17

What’s better than free? With the right gadgets and devices, you can do more under the hot summer sun without spending a dime on batteries or utilities. 

As much as you can save and help the environment by installing solar panels on the roof of your home, that’s not the only
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electronicsrecycling

Dispose of Outdated Electronics the Green Way

  • 05/24/17

There’s one downside to buying the state-of-the-art version of any electronic device: it doesn’t stay state-of-the-art for long. Technology is developing at breakneck pace, leaving a trail of outdated electronics in its wake.

As long as you’re still using and enjoying your old record turntable or Atari 2600, there’s no reason
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surge

What Do Surge Protectors Actually Do, Anyway?

  • 05/17/17

We all know that surge protectors can save our sensitive electronics from getting fried during an electrical storm, transformer explosion and other sources of electrical surges. But do you know how surge protectors actually work?

While the important thing is to make sure your household surge protectors are in place and
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tvclean

Clean Your Electronics Regularly and Carefully

  • 05/10/17

Electronic devices like your television, computers and smartphones are probably among the most expensive and heavily-used items in your home. So to maximize the lifespans of these electronics and make them more enjoyable to use, it’s important to maintain them with routine, gentle cleaning.

Some electronics are quite sensitive, especially to
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outlet2

Build a Clever Wall Safe With Electrical Outlet Hardware

  • 05/03/17

If you have valuables in your home, you may have considered investing in a safe. But while a safe can keep precious possessions locked up tight, it can also draw attention to the location of that treasure. Sometimes, a good hiding spot is just as effective as a heavy, intimidating
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coveredoutlet

Take the Power Outdoors With Exterior Electrical Outlets

  • 04/26/17

The beauty of having electrical outlets all over your home is that you can power what you need where you need it. But while homebuilders are pretty good at predicting the power needs of individual rooms, they tend to favor a less-is-more approach to installing outlets on a home’s exterior.

You
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Earth Day

Give the Planet a Break on Earth Day

  • 04/19/17

How will you be celebrating Earth Day this Saturday? Even if there are no big events in your area, you can get in the spirit by making some small changes in your home and habits to help heal the environment. From reducing emissions to repurposing household junk, these Earth Day
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flashlights

Buy a Flashlight -- and Choose Wisely

  • 04/12/17

If your home’s electrical system is well maintained, you can have confidence that the lights will come on when you flip the switch. That is, unless there’s a storm-related power outage. Or a utility blackout. Or a transformer malfunction near your home.

Unfortunately, there are several potential causes of temporary power
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cords

Choose the Right Extension Cord for the Job

  • 04/05/17

When the nearest electrical outlet is so close, yet so far away, an extension cord can put the power right where you want it. But there’s a big difference between bringing a cell phone charger to your bedside and firing up a treadmill in front of your TV. When you
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New kitchen appliances

Be Prepared for Kitchen Fires

  • 03/29/17

It happens to the best home chefs -- a little too much grease around an open flame, and suddenly there’s a fire. A large share of home fires start in the kitchen, so it pays to prepare for this moment by gathering a few basic supplies and understanding exactly what
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batteries

Buying and Maintaining Rechargeable Batteries

  • 03/22/17

Rechargeable batteries offer power on-the-go with two key advantages over their disposable equivalents: they’re far cheaper in the long run, and they’re better for the environment.

But because there are so many different types and brands -- and because the upfront cost of purchasing rechargeables is higher than with buying disposables
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green

Go Green For a Day

  • 03/15/17

St. Paddy’s Day is nearly here -- do you have your green outfit picked out? Regardless of whether or not you choose to go green in your mode of dress, St. Patrick’s Day is as good a day as any to go green with your energy consumption.

For most of us,
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outlet2

Three Prongs Good, Two Prongs Bad

  • 03/08/17

Among the more obvious pieces of electrical safety advice you may have encountered is to never saw the third prong off of an electrical plug in order to fit it into a two-prong outlet. But just because we can recognize that as a self-evidently bad idea doesn’t mean everyone knows
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laptop

Portable Chargers Put the Power In Your Hands

  • 03/01/17

In this high-tech age, our gadgets can be essential lifelines. Smartphones, tablets, laptops and other devices are what help us connect with colleagues, avoid boredom and find our way from Point A to Point B. They can seem almost magic, but there’s one great equalizer that limits them all: battery
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220volts

No Adapters Needed With USB Combo Outlets

  • 02/22/17

In a crowded home where every family member has a cell phone and a tablet, electrical outlet space can be in high demand. And even if there’s plenty of outlet space to go around, the clunky chargers for these devices can clutter countertops and disrupt what could otherwise be streamlined
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LED, incandescent and compact fluorescent light bulbs

When Upgrading to LEDs, Don’t Trash Your CFLs

  • 02/15/17

Just a few years ago, an energy efficient LED bulb might have cost you $20 or more. But today, you may be able to get as many as six bulbs for that price, and consumers are taking notice.

LEDs were always extremely energy efficient and long lasting -- the high upfront
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Municipal building code

Does Your Home Have Knob and Tube Wiring?

  • 02/08/17

Since electrical work isn’t for amateurs, many homeowners don’t know much about the electrical systems in their homes. With all the wiring hidden behind the walls, it may be that all you know is what you learned in your pre-sale inspection -- if you remember, that is.

When it comes to
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badelectrician

Electrical Work is No Novice Job

  • 02/01/17

Many homeowners know the pride and satisfaction that results from completing DIY repairs and improvements. But when it comes to electrical work, the stakes of making a rookie mistake can be high.

There are several common electrical projects that aren’t complicated or extensive, but even the simplest jobs can result in
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security

Troubleshooting Motion Detector Lighting

  • 01/25/17

One of the most affordable and effective components of any home security system is motion detecting outdoor lighting. Installed by a professional electrician, these lights can give you years of reliable service and peace of mind.

But like any part of your household electrical system, problems can arise from time to
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outlet2

What Does It Mean When an Electrical Outlet is Warm?

  • 01/18/17

And What Should I Do About It?

We're all accustomed to our modern conveniences, and most homes are packed with all manner of electronic devices plugged into various outlets and power strips. But because we’re used to power always being present, we often neglect to perform routine safety checks around the
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laptop

Surge Protection May Save Your New Gadgets and Gifts

  • 01/04/17

Did you get what you really wanted during the holidays this year? Maybe that new smartphone you've been eyeing, or that extra-big HDTV? Perhaps you even got a new laptop or tablet. Whatever your favorite gift was, if it plugs into the wall, it could be at risk of electrical
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Golden Christmas tree

Mister Sparky Wishes You Happy Holidays!

  • 12/28/16

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winter

Do You Have Snow Day Plans?

  • 12/14/16

Throughout much of the country, there's always the chance that a winter snowstorm could disrupt your best-laid plans. School can get canceled, and though it's less likely, you might even get the day off of work. But once you're left to your own devices, what do you do with the
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House under heavy snowfall

Never Shovel Your Sidewalk or Driveway Again

  • 12/07/16

Snow and ice are major concerns for homeowners throughout much of North America, and that usually means pulling out the snow shovel a few times each winter. Shoveling snow can be strenuous and uncomfortable work, but it's the only way to get those sidewalks and driveways clear -- or is
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xmaslights

Be Safe, Decorate Smart

  • 11/30/16

The holidays are nearly here, which means it's time to string up the lights. And while it doesn't take an electrician to get that job done, it doesn't hurt to think like an electrician - especially when it comes to safety.

Whenever you're using electricity, heat-producing lighting and power cords,
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thanksgiving

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

  • 11/23/16

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Hire an Electrician for Home Theater Perfection

  • 11/16/16

If you're ready to take the plunge and purchase a state-of-the-art home theater system, you have more to consider than just the equipment you intend to purchase. Even if all of your components are top-of-the-line, you won't get the most bang for your buck without professional design and installation.

To make
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leds

Make the Switch to LEDs and Save

  • 11/09/16

Daylight saving time has ended and winter is on its way. That means you're using your household lighting much more often, and if you're still using incandescent light bulbs, it could also mean a noticeable jump in your electrical bills.

But it doesn't have to be that way -- if you're
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windfarm

Renewable Energy Outpacing Less-Clean Competitors

  • 11/02/16

You probably already know that the use of renewable energy sources like wind and solar is on the rise, but a recent report reveals that these clean energy solutions have actually taken the lead in new energy production around the
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Stay Safe During Trick-Or-Treating This Halloween

  • 10/26/16

Halloween is one of the most anticipated nights of the year for millions of children who can’t wait to dress up and score some candy. But in order to ensure a fun night in the neighborhood, it’s important to observe
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Putting Hot Food in the Fridge is Safe, But Costly

  • 10/19/16

If you’re a hawk about refrigerator energy efficiency, you probably already do things like keep your fridge and freezer mostly full, clean the coils regularly and avoid browsing for snacks with the door open. But one tactic can be a
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leds

Save Energy Effortlessly With Lighting Controls

  • 10/12/16

We all know it’s a good habit to turn the lights off when you leave the room. But be honest -- how often do you forget?


Leaving an unnecessary light on for
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congress

October is Energy Action Month

  • 10/05/16

Last year, President Obama declared October to be Energy Action Month, a time when Americans are encouraged to take steps to reduce their energy consumption and cut greenhouse gas emissions. In this second October of focused
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flood

Do You Need to Replace Water-Damaged Wiring?

  • 09/28/16

The recent floods in Louisiana caused 13 deaths and millions of dollars in damage. Some homes were submerged to their roofs, while others received just a few inches of water. Now that cleanup and repairs are underway, homeowners are evaluating
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wiring

Is Your Home Wiring In Need of an Upgrade?

  • 09/21/16

Even if your home was built to last, it could be that the wiring hidden within your walls is in need of an upgrade. This is especially true if you know your home’s wiring to be more than 50 years
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New kitchen appliances

Kitchen Appliances Can Be Dangerous If Misused

  • 09/14/16

Most homeowners don’t put too much thought into how they use their major kitchen appliances on a day-to-day basis. The appliances feel familiar, and some basic safety precautions are probably built into most daily routines. But as the saying goes,
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bigdata

Energy Disaggregation Makes the Grade

  • 09/07/16

Whether or not you’re familiar with the term “energy disaggregation”, you’re likely to start hearing it more and more. That’s because technology companies have been working diligently to fine-tune this new tech, and one has just reached a significant benchmark
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cords

Pull the Plug on Energy Vampires

  • 08/31/16

You’ve probably heard that it’s important to unplug your cell phone charger when your phone isn’t connected, because the charger will continue to drain power. While this is true, cell phone chargers generally draw a tiny amount of power on
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Only You Can Prevent Household Electrical Fires

  • 08/24/16

The technology of household electrical safety has come a long way, but to prevent accidents such as electrical fires, us humans have to do our part. That means making sure the electrical infrastructure in our homes is safe and well
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arc

How to Treat Electrical Shock

  • 08/17/16

Electricity is as dangerous as it is helpful. A well-constructed home designed with an electrician’s expertise poses very little risk of accidental shock, but accidents can happen nonetheless. And there are electrical shock risks outside the home as well, including
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Portable generator at home

Buying a Generator is a High-Involvement Purchase

  • 08/10/16

Power outages of any considerable length are a major pain. Lack of HVAC can push your home temperature into uncomfortable or even dangerous ranges. Food begins to spoil inside the fridge. With no television or Internet, entertainment options dwindle, and
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Toddler playing with electrical outlet

Child Proofing Outlets, Plugs and Cords

  • 08/03/16

Welcoming a new baby into your home means lots of joy and lots of work. There’s more to preparing your home than decorating the nursery, especially when it comes to boosting household electrical safety.


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lightning

Make Safety Simple With Whole Home Surge Protection

  • 07/27/16

Surge protection is nothing new; if you own a computer or HDTV, there’s a good chance you have those electronics plugged into surge protection devices right now. But instead of buying individual devices to protect your electronics one outlet at
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House with outdoor lighting

Add Drama and Safety to Your Home with Outdoor Lighting

  • 07/20/16

No matter how much you do to beautify the exterior of your home, you won’t be able to appreciate it after dark unless you put some of that effort into your outdoor lighting scheme. A good outdoor lighting design can
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Home inspector

Find Opportunities for Savings with a Home Energy Audit

  • 07/13/16

Most homeowners want to do what they can to make their homes more energy efficient, but it’s less common to know exactly where to focus those efforts. To make informed decisions about energy efficiency upgrades, you’ll need to search your
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outlet2

How to Map Your Electrical Panel

  • 07/06/16

Have you ever tripped a circuit breaker? If you have, you probably made your way to your home’s main electrical panel to restore power to the circuit. You may have noticed labels or a map indicating which breakers correspond to
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fireworks

Practice Safety When Celebrating With Fireworks

  • 06/29/16

At Mister Sparky, we can appreciate all kinds of sparky (or sparkly) things -- even a fireworks display on Independence Day! Taking in a professional public display is always a great way to ensure a memorable evening, but having your
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laptop

Save Energy With Computer Upgrades and New Habits

  • 06/22/16

Many homeowners can name the appliances and devices in their homes that consume the most energy -- the HVAC system, hot water heater and refrigerator top the lists in most North American homes. Consumer electronics generally use far less energy,
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Clothes dryer

Make Your Dryer More Energy Efficient With a Few Simple Tricks

  • 06/15/16

Did you know that your clothes dryer is one of the biggest energy hogs in the typical home? According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR program, the dryer usually consumes more energy than the dishwasher,
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appliances

Appliance Upgrades May Be More Affordable Than You Think

  • 06/08/16

The state of the technology used in our household appliances is advancing rapidly. Refrigerators, washers, dryers, dishwashers and other major appliances are becoming more sophisticated and energy efficient; some are even more durable -- though no appliance lasts forever. And
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Lower utility bills

Cook Green and Stay Cool With Small Kitchen Appliances

  • 06/01/16

Slaving over a hot stove may sound like an appealing chore in the dead of winter, but who wants to do that in the middle of summer? Not only is it uncomfortable, it can be a huge drag on your
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fridge

Prioritize Safety Over Savings With Refrigerator Temperature

  • 05/25/16

Savvy homeowners look for ways to reduce their energy use in every area of their homes. And when it comes to home appliances, few use as much energy as your refrigerator. But if you’re tempted to adjust the temperature settings
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fridgedoor

Your Refrigerator is Running, Perhaps Inefficiently

  • 05/18/16

Your refrigerator is one of the most indispensable appliances in your home. But because it’s generally low-maintenance (not to mention a pain in the neck to move), it’s an easy appliance to take for granted. That’s all the more reason
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detector

Smoke Detector Maintenance is Serious Business

  • 05/11/16

Nearly all homeowners know by now that smoke detectors are critical pieces of home safety equipment. According to the National Fire Protection Association, the rate of home fire deaths in homes without functioning smoke detectors is
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fitbit

Smart Meters May Help You Get Hooked on Energy Efficiency

  • 05/04/16

Most homeowners don’t think about energy efficiency several times a day. But if they did, they might be able to make serious strides toward lower bills and emissions by making small, quick adjustments like doing laundry four hours later than
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blackout

With Blackouts More Likely, the Solution May Be Smart Tech

  • 04/27/16

Summertime heat waves are no picnic for anyone, but they can be especially stressful for the national power grid. When air conditioners are running across entire regions, the demand placed on the electrical grid can increase the risk of widespread
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earth

Celebrate Earth Day With Energy Efficiency Upgrades

  • 04/20/16

Do you have any plans to do something great for the environment this Earth Day? Start change at home by boosting your household energy efficiency -- a move that not only reduces your contribution to destructive greenhouse gases,
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rodent

How to Prevent Rodent Damage to Your Electrical Work

  • 04/13/16

Are you harboring unwanted guests in your home? Rats, mice, squirrels and even raccoons are notorious for taking up residence in people's homes without asking. In addition to being a health hazard to your family, rodents love to chew, and seem to have a particular penchant for the insulation on
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mortgage

Do You Have Money Saved for Emergency Electrical Repairs?

  • 04/06/16

Some electrical repairs just can't wait. If you discover loose wiring, a faulty circuit or other problem in your home electrical system, it is essential to call an electrician immediately. At best, electrical problems can be annoying. At worst, they can damage your appliances or even start a
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How to Be Prepared for a Power Outage

  • 03/30/16

One minute, you're watching television with your family – the next minute, all the lights cut out and the TV goes black. Blackouts are relatively rare in most regions of America, but when they do occur, they can cause serious problems for any family that relies on its electrical work.
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appliances

How the Internet of Things Benefits You and Your Utility Company

  • 03/23/16

By now, you’ve surely heard of the Internet of Things. The term describes a growing network of everyday objects that are all linked together, providing immense opportunities for automation and communication. Many households already interact with the Internet of Things to a certain extent, but we’ve only scratched
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smartfridge

Next-Gen Smart Fridge Knows When Food is Going Bad

  • 03/16/16

Are you sick and tired of putting food in the fridge and forgetting about it, only to find it rotten and moldy weeks later? Not only is it a waste of food, you're left with a disgusting mess to clean up. One day soon, however, your refrigerator could send you
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modernkitchen

Check Out the Next Generation of Efficient Electric Appliances

  • 03/09/16

Are you impressed by the nation's current lineup of efficient electrical appliances and devices? You ain't seen nothing yet, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The DOE recently released a report previewing some of the big technological breakthroughs that are poised to help you get the most out of
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bathroom3

Tips for Electrical Safety in the Bathroom

  • 03/02/16

Water and electricity make a dangerous combination. That's especially true in your bathroom, where you use water from the sink and shower to clean yourself, but also rely on electrical devices like shavers and hair dryers. That's why you need to take special care with your devices in the bathroom
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congress

Learn About Your State's Energy Efficiency Programs

  • 02/24/16

You're probably familiar with some of the federal energy efficiency programs by now. The most prominent, the Clean Power Plan, was announced last year with ambitious targets to limit carbon and other pollutants generated by the nation's electrical work. What you might not be aware of is the
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ecosetting

Do Eco Settings on Your Appliances Really Save Energy?

  • 02/17/16

Economy settings have become a standard option on nearly all modern appliances. They purport to put the decision about energy conservation in the consumer's hands: Do you run the machine in its normal mode, or use the most economical setting to burn up less power and marginally reduce your contribution
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gdp

Clean Energy Investment Can Drive GDP Growth

  • 02/10/16

The way we generate power to fuel the nation’s electrical work is a hotbed of controversy. Concerned pundits worry that reductions in fossil fuel consumption could be detrimental to job growth and hamstring the American economy. However, other experts argue that increasing our reliance on wind, solar and
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Power surges damage electronics

Low Voltage Direct Current Could Power Homes of the Future

  • 02/02/16

What if everything you knew about your home electrical work got turned on its head in the not-too-distant future? That could be reality, not science fiction, and maybe even sooner than you think. It’s not so far-fetched that in the coming decades, the electrical work in the American
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uniform

Don’t Get Scammed By Fake Utility Readers

  • 01/28/16

Your home should be a safe, secure refuge for your family and possessions. Unfortunately, there are people in the world who would liberate you of your money and other valuables if they have an opportunity. Sometimes, people who claim to work for the local electrical works can actually
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nuclearplant

What is the Future of Nuclear Energy in the United States?

  • 01/26/16

Does nuclear energy have a role in the clean energy future of our country? Currently, nuclear production accounts for 797.1 billion kilowatt hours annually, or 19.5 percent of total generation in the United States, according to the Nuclear Energy Institute. About 30 percent of all the nuclear power
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drill

Tricks for Running Wiring Through Your Walls

  • 01/21/16

When it comes to residential electrical work, most people just call up an electrician without a second thought. And for good reason – working with electricity can be difficult and dangerous if not done properly. However, there are some simple jobs that amateur electricians can perform on their own if
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plugs

A Brief History of Plug Design

  • 01/19/16

Ever wonder why the plugs for our electrical devices are shaped the way they are? In North America, nearly every piece of electrical work relies on the standard two-prong model to draw power, with many power cords including a third
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homeefficiency

Measuring Energy Efficiency Accurately

  • 01/14/16

Energy efficiency is a laudable goal, but many of us don’t always know the best or most cost-effective ways to move forward. It’s important to avoid falling prey to myths or overly-rosy projections about how much
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doorframe

How to Run Wires Around a Doorway

  • 01/12/16

Electrical work can be complicated, but there are some simple tasks that you can complete yourself without having to bring in an electrician. One example is running wires or cables for your devices and appliances around a doorway. Sometimes, you
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Power surges damage electronics

How to Upgrade the Amp Capacity in Your Home

  • 01/07/16

If you live in an older home, you might find that your electrical work can’t deliver all the power you need for your modern equipment and devices. Newer homes have at least 100 amp service, and many are rated at
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winter

Don’t Let Winter Storms Catch You Off Guard

  • 01/05/16

It’s been a mild winter so far in many regions of North America, but there are still several weeks in which major winter storms could develop. Don’t let the unusually warm weather of the holiday season make you complacent --
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2016small

Have a Happy New Year!

  • 12/31/15

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electricalfire

How to Identify Electrical Fire Hazards at Home

  • 12/29/15

Electrical fires are something to avoid at all costs. A fire that starts in your electrical work can tear through your home at exponential speed, putting possessions and lives at dire risk. Most home electrical systems are perfectly safe, but
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Golden Christmas tree

Have a Very Merry Christmas!

  • 12/24/15

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energystar

Energy Star Releases List of Most Efficient Appliances of 2015

  • 12/22/15

There’s no better time than now to update your electrical work with the latest in washing machines, refrigerators, televisions and other devices. To help you decide among the thousands of appliances available on the market, the federal Energy Star program
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splice

How to Splice Extensions on Your Electric Wires

  • 12/17/15

It's a problem that many a DIY electrician has run into a time or two: You want to move an outlet, or add a new light to a room, but the wires on your current circuit just aren't long enough.
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SAD

Using Indoor Lighting to Fight Seasonal Affective Disorder

  • 12/15/15

Winter can be a dreary time. Depending on where you live, cold weather can stretch on seemingly forever, and sometimes it feels like the sun doesn't come out for months on end. It's not unusual to feel a little low
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xmaslights

Put Safety First When Stringing Up the Lights

  • 12/10/15
For many homeowners, one of the most anticipated traditions of the holiday season is stringing decorative lights inside and outside the home, on trees, in bushes and just about anywhere else. Putting the lights in place can be just as enjoyable as basking in the glow of the finished display,
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electricblanket

Be Careful With Electric Blankets This Winter

  • 12/08/15

Electric blankets can provide some much needed warmth and comfort during the long winter months. Nothing beats a personal heat source on your bed, staving off the nighttime chills. Electric blankets can even help you save money by allowing you to keep your thermostat turned down a few notches. However,
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lightfixture

Tips for Connecting New Light Fixtures to Old Wiring

  • 12/03/15

There are plenty of reasons to install new indoor light fixtures in your home. Perhaps you want to update your interior aesthetic, or save energy by upgrading to efficient LED bulbs. Maybe you even want to bring your lighting into a smart home control system. Although
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powerstrip3

Use an Overhead Power Strip for Convenience at Your Workstation

  • 12/01/15

Tangled wires are a pain in the neck. That's true whether you're managing multiple devices at your computer desk, trying to find space at a cluttered kitchen counter or juggling power tools at your workbench. One way to bring order to chaos is to create an overhead power strip, a
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thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

  • 11/26/15

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arc

Protect Your Home with Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters

  • 11/24/15

When it comes to your home electrical system, safety should be your number one priority. Electricity can be dangerous when your wiring isn't connected properly, and a house fire can rip through your home and possessions with alarming speed, putting you and your family's very lives at risk.
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powergrid

Electric Grid Moves Toward Dispersed Power Generation

  • 11/19/15

Chances are, the computer, tablet or phone that you are using to read this post is powered by electricity produced by coal, natural gas or nuclear energy. Currently, the overwhelming bulk of power for the nation's electrical work is generated in large, centralized plants that use those three fuels. However,
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efficienthome

Build the Ultimate Energy-Efficient Home

  • 11/17/15

Imagine a future free from electricity bills. A home where you can maintain or improve your current levels of comfort, but one that is so efficient that it costs little to nothing to power its electrical work. Someday soon, this vision could become a reality, with a combination
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appliances

This Device Can Disaggregate Your Energy Usage to Help You Conserve

  • 11/12/15

Do you ever lie awake at night thinking about new ways to cut back on your energy consumption? You'll soon be able to rest soundly, because there's a new piece of technology that can make all your dreams come true. One of the trendiest ways to save energy with your
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windfarm

Wind Power Technology Takes a Leap Forward

  • 11/10/15

Wind power is on the rise these days. As the nation advances toward the electricity grid of the future, renewable power sources like wind and solar are poised to take up a larger share of our electricity generation. For renewable fuel sources to truly meet the demand necessary
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220volts

How to Upgrade Your Home to 220 Volt Service

  • 11/05/15

Most homes today have the capacity to handle 220 volts in their electrical systems. Modern dryers, stoves, hot water heaters and other appliances all use the high voltage standard, which can deliver twice as much as the 110 volts used by computers, televisions, smaller appliances and other electronics. Chances are
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powerstrip2

Get the Latest in Modern Power Strip Technology

  • 11/03/15

The lives of 21st Century Americans are filled with endless electronic gadgets and appliances. A modern home filled with computers, entertainment systems and portable devices can quickly run short of convenient electric outlets to provide power to the media extravaganza. That makes power strips a must. In addition to providing
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mortgage

SAVE Act Legislation Would Allow Mortgages to Reward Energy Efficiency

  • 10/29/15

Mortgage lenders try to look at the big picture, considering things like taxes and insurance when deciding how much they can loan out to homeowners and buyers. However, there's a major ongoing expense that appraisers currently don't take into account – monthly utility bills. You don't need to be an
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outlet2

When is it Time to Upgrade Your Outlets?

  • 10/27/15

Wall outlets are the primary point of interaction most homeowners have with their electrical systems. Those of us who aren't electricians or contractors may never open our circuit boxes or run a wire through the wall, but we plug and unplug things from our outlets every day. Those
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coalplant

Electric Cars Can Cause More Pollution Than They Save

  • 10/22/15

Electric cars are all the rage these days. They promise savings to consumers, who can install charging stations in their homes with the help of an electrician and dramatically their gasoline bills. Electric cars also give Americans a way to feel good about helping the environment, since they
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modern

Can You Save Energy and Maintain the Same Standard of Living?

  • 10/20/15

Saving energy is a laudable goal. By using less electricity and other energy around your home, you reduce your contribution to environmental degradation and climate change. On the other hand, easy and reliable access to electricity is in large part responsible for the high standard of living that most Americans
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lightning

How to Protect Your Home from Lightning

  • 10/15/15

There's nothing more important than protecting your home and its contents – including, of course, your family. That's why it's crucial to take steps to guard against lightning strikes, which can cause major damage to your home’s electrical work and can even start a fire. Fortunately, there are several measures
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windmill

How to Install a Windmill in Your Backyard

  • 10/13/15

Have you ever dreamed of generating your own electricity, right in your backyard? That dream could become reality with a residential wind turbine. Wind turbines won't work for everybody, but in the right conditions, they can provide part or all of the power you need to run your home electrical
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questions

Don't Fall for This Common Misunderstanding About Home Energy Use

  • 10/08/15

Do you find energy conservation confusing? You're not alone. According to a recent study, Americans are by-and-large misinformed about what household appliances consume the most electricity. As a result, homeowners who wish to cut down on the energy they use in their home electrical work might find themselves
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electricmeter2

How to Read Your Electric Meter

  • 10/06/15

Have you ever received a nasty shock when your electric bill arrived? Maybe the amount you owed skyrocketed when you turned on the air conditioning for the summer, or the refrigerator started breaking down and consumed an excess of electricity. No matter what the cause of your sky-high electric bill,
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solar

Google Can Help Evaluate Your Home's Suitability for Solar Panels

  • 10/01/15

Technology giant Google made its start as a search engine, subsequently branching into email, cloud storage, advertising and so much more. Now the company from Mountain View is surging forward with a new application, promising to tell consumers if their roofs are suitable for installing solar panels. The program, called
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gfci

Learn the Benefits of Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters

  • 09/29/15

One of the biggest hazards of your home electrical system is the possibility of an electric shock. Whether there is an accident during an electrician’s work or there is exposed wiring that could shock someone inadvertently, this is a hazard that can cause serious injury and even death. Fortunately, by
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neighbors

Do You Conserve More Energy than Your Neighbors?

  • 09/24/15

Tired of breaking the bank just to keep up with the Joneses? Forget fancy cars and other status symbols. How about a way to maintain a friendly neighborly competition that actually involves saving money instead of spending? Americans have a wealth of resources at their disposal to empower families to
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homebatteries

New Storage Batteries Could Revolutionize Residential Power

  • 09/22/15

A home battery can solve a lot of problems. With enough storage, you can buy electricity when it's cheapest, then dole it out when you need it. Plus, you'll be protected in case of a blackout. Until very recently, the technology for a practical home battery system wasn’t powerful enough
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electriccar

One Day Your Car Could Power Your Home

  • 09/17/15

Here's a novel idea to ponder: One day, your car could be the power source for your home electrical work. That's right, electric cars are being primed to send electricity from their batteries back into the home and even to the electric grid. They aren't full-time power sources, of course,
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cleanenergy2

What Obama's Clean Power Plan Means for You

  • 09/15/15

The times, they are a-changin'. President Obama recently announced the details of his highly anticipated Clean Power Plan, a measure aimed at reducing the country's harmful fossil fuel emissions and limiting our contribution to climate change. The plan, when fully implemented, should reduce carbon emissions by 32 percent below 2005
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security

Beef Up Your Home Security by Adding Outdoor Lighting

  • 09/10/15

There are few things more chilling than a home burglary. Imagine a stranger rifling through and stealing your possessions – to say nothing of the danger if you or your family members are home at the time of the break-in. Fortunately, you can take steps to deter potential thieves by
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internetspeed

Use Your Home Electrical Wiring for Internet Connectivity

  • 09/08/15

Tired of a spotty wireless network impeding your home Internet use? Walls, ceilings and distance all conspire to degrade the strength of wireless signals, which can make it difficult to stream movies or even just browse the Web in certain parts of your home. Fortunately, there's a piece of technology
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fusion

Can Fusion Bring Safe, Cheap Energy to the Nation?

  • 09/03/15

The future of electricity production in the United States is very much in flux. When President Obama introduced his Clean Power Plan, it was an indication that the days of fossil fuel dominance could be on the wane. If coal, oil and natural gas are on their way
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engineers

Energy Department to Support Improved Home Generator Production

  • 09/01/15

Looking for new ways to reduce your electricity bills? The Department of Energy is on the job. The agency is sponsoring research that could help decentralize the nation's electrical grid – instead of powering your electrical work from large generating stations, you could create your own electricity on-site by burning
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cords

Charge Your Devices Quickly with Combo Outlets

  • 08/27/15

Is it driving you crazy to charge all of your devices? Smart phones, tablets, digital music players, digital cameras and more have made many facets of life more convenient, but they come with their own complications and annoyances as well. For one thing, all those devices need their batteries charged,
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congress

Federal Legislation Could Help You with Energy Efficiency

  • 08/25/15

Are you sick and tired of paying an arm and a leg for your electricity bills? Congress is considering legislation that could bring you some relief. A bill was introduced to the House of Representatives this summer that would update the Title I Home and Property Improvement Loan
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green

Learn the Difference Between Green and Renewable Energy

  • 08/18/15

Energy deregulation gives consumers choices when it comes to the companies that provide their home electricity. Suppliers can compete for your electricity dollars in a variety of ways, offering low prices, short and long-term contracts, fixed or variable rates, and a choice in how your energy is generated. The sheer
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grid

Get a Glimpse of the 21st Century Power Grid

  • 08/13/15

Nearly every single person living in the United States relies on the electrical grid. It's how electricity gets from the power plant to your home, powering your devices and appliances. With no grid, none of the electrical work in your home will function – no television, no air conditioning and
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map

How Much Does Electricity Cost in Your State?

  • 08/11/15

Location, location, location. Many factors in your quality of life are affected by where you choose to live, including your energy costs. Wallet Hub recently released a report that surveyed the average energy costs, including electricity, in all 50 states. Read on to learn more about where your
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carcharger

How to Install an Electric Car Charger in Your Home

  • 08/06/15

If you’re considering the purchase of an electric car, good for you! You're doing your part to reduce the nation's reliance on oil and cut down on fossil fuel emissions, and you get to drive around in style to boot. But with many newer models, you’ll need to set up
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damagedwiring

When is it Time to Upgrade Your Electrical Work?

  • 08/04/15

You can't see the electrical wiring in your home, but it’s integral to your day-to-day life. The electrical work behind your walls is responsible for lighting your home, powering your microwave and electric stove, running the air conditioning and so much more. So while your electrical work might be out
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badelectrician

You Can Be Liable for Unlicensed Electrical Work

  • 07/30/15

Revamping your home's electrical work can be a big headache. You need to find a qualified electrician and write what could be a hefty check for work that might require opening holes in your walls and temporarily making a mess of your home. The last thing you want after a
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modem

More Efficient Modems and Internet Equipment on the Horizon

  • 07/28/15

The march of consumer product efficiency continues. Modems, routers and other internet equipment are the latest items to get a bump in energy efficiency thanks to a voluntary agreement between manufacturers and trade associations. The standards mean that new equipment should use about 10 to 20 percent less electricity than
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Efficiency

Upgrades Aren't Always Enough for Energy Efficiency

  • 07/23/15

As we venture further into the era of climate change, humans are constantly searching for ways to decrease energy consumption and increase efficiency. Unfortunately, there's no silver bullet. Truly reducing our impact on the global climate requires a combination of an increase in renewable power generation, CONTINUE READING >

stove

Soon You Will Get Text Messages from Your Electric Stove

  • 07/21/15

The Internet of Things is arriving in a big way. Smart thermostats, smart refrigerators, smart home security systems and more are all moving toward one integrated home system. One day soon, all your HVAC equipment, electrical work and appliances will be connected and in communication with
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outletfire

How to Prevent Electrical Fires

  • 07/16/15

Nothing is more important than your family's safety. That's why you need to make every effort to identify and eliminate fire risks in and around your home, particularly in your electrical work. Faulty wiring, delayed maintenance or carelessness can lead to a disaster that can cost you your home and
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bigdata

Big Data Will Bring Benefits to Utilities, Consumers

  • 07/14/15

The world is getting more connected, and machines are collecting massive amounts of data about consumer habits. In the energy sector, the rise of big data is poised to revolutionize the way utility companies provide electricity to homeowners. That's good news for you – the more information you have at
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leds

LED Lighting Technology and Your Smart Home

  • 07/09/15

Are you still using incandescent light bulbs? Your electrician would recommend a different course. Efficient lighting technology has blown up in the last few years, and advanced technologies are just getting better. Light emitting diodes, or LEDs, are at the forefront of modern lighting thanks to their inexpensive
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solar

Home Solar Energy Market is Heating Up

  • 07/07/15

Solar energy is taking off. In the first quarter of 2015, solar accounted for half of all new electricity production in the United States. That's great news for consumers, because a good deal of that energy is generated by residential solar panels, which reduce the amount that homeowners
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electronics

Smart Plugs Let You Control Devices With Your Phone

  • 07/02/15

Smart technology is poised to take over the home appliance market. We already have smart thermostats, smart lighting and even smart refrigerators. If that's not enough for you, there are some new contenders on the market that allow you to turn any electrical device in the
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electricstove

How to Install an Outlet for Your Electric Stove

  • 06/30/15

When it comes to electricity usage, an electric stove is a powerhouse. Consequently, you can't just plug them into the standard 110 volt outlets that are most common in the United States – most stoves require a special 220 volt outlet instead. If you are building or remodeling a kitchen,
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boston

How Does Your City Fare in Energy Efficiency?

  • 06/25/15

Energy efficiency starts in the home, but the policies and practices of your local municipality play a big role as well. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) recently compiled an efficiency ranking for 51 of the largest cities in the United States, looking at local government
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efficiency2

Avoid Misconceptions When Investing in Home Efficiency

  • 06/23/15

Improving your home energy efficiency is a worthy and admirable goal. You can help reduce your impact on the environment while saving money with savvy decision making. However, the up-front investment for some efficiency upgrades is substantial, so always do your due diligence before you find electrician services and commit
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efficiencypollution

Energy Efficiency is the Best Way to Fight Climate Change

  • 06/18/15

Climate change is a growing concern in North America. We’re already seeing some of its consequences, with warmer temperatures and more extreme, less predictable weather over the past decade. Nevertheless, we continue to burn massive amounts of fossil fuels to satisfy our energy needs, sending troublesome levels of carbon dioxide
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Efficiency

Fewer Americans are Taking Energy Efficiency Measures

  • 06/16/15

Everyone likes to save energy, right? You’re reducing your impact on the environment and saving money on utility bills at the same time – talk about a win-win scenario. However, despite the obvious benefits, the percentage of Americans who take energy efficiency steps in their lives is actually dropping, according
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wiring

Outdated Electrical Work Can Drive Up Insurance Bills

  • 06/11/15

Homeowners insurance is an often-overlooked but significant cost in owning a home. Your insurance policy protects you against major losses in the event of a disaster, but you need to invest in premiums each month, which can be tricky for any family on a budget. However, you do have a
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roof

Capture Energy Savings with Your Roof

  • 06/09/15

Roof replacement is rarely a happy job. It's messy, time-consuming and expensive. If it's time for you to install a new roof, however, you can make the best of it by including energy-saving features that can cut down on your utility bills and take some of the sting out of
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powerstrip

Idle Devices Cost You Big Money

  • 06/04/15

There's an easy way to save money on your electricity bills that doesn't require any new appliances, smart technology or other expensive upgrades. This revolutionary idea is beautiful in its simplicity: Just unplug your devices when you aren't using them. It turns out that “always on” or standby technology is
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homebuilding

New Homebuilding Trends Toward Efficiency

  • 06/02/15

It's no mirage – energy efficiency is gaining traction. Whether people are concerned about contributing to climate change by burning fossil fuels or saving money on their utility bills, there is rising demand for homes that can do more with less. Home builders are paying attention, and the new house
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solar

Options Expanding for Free Solar Installation

  • 05/28/15

Are you curious about solar energy, but scared away by the up-front costs? It's an understandable concern. Although going solar can dramatically reduce or even eliminate your electricity bill, the initial installation of the panels can cost between $15,000 and $30,000, far beyond the reach of many homeowners. However, a
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smartmeter

What You Need to Know About Smart Meters

  • 05/26/15

Is your utility company planning on installing a smart meter on your home? You're not alone. These meters have been implemented in a number of regions across the United States, as well as in other countries in North America, Europe and Oceania. Read on to find out more about why
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retired

How to Cut Your Energy Bills When You Retire

  • 05/21/15

When the day comes for you to retire from work, you might find yourself with a lot more free time and a lot less money. Hopefully, you've planned your savings so you don't have to live your golden years on a shoestring budget, but in any scenario, it’s wise to
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batteries

Will Batteries Revolutionize Our Energy Grid?

  • 05/19/15

Battery technology has already made our lives more portable and convenient. From the disposable alkalines you used to use to power your Walkman to the modern rechargeable batteries in your cell phone and laptop, they allow us to take our work, entertainment and communication systems on the go. But batteries
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powerplant

How Can the EPA Clean Power Plan Help You Save?

  • 05/14/15

New rules will soon be in place to govern fossil fuel usage and cut carbon pollution coming from America's power plants. The Environmental Protection Agency proposed the plan last year, and it is expected to be finalized this summer. Most of the rules have to do with the generation of
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energybills

Save energy by breaking down use appliance by appliance

  • 05/12/15

Sometimes the biggest challenge in saving energy is knowing where to start. Your monthly gas and electric bills come in big lump sums, so how can you identify the best opportunities to reduce your consumption? One of the smartest ways to get a clear idea of your energy consumption is
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gamers

Save Energy with Your Video Game Consoles

  • 05/08/15

Did you know that your video game habit is an energy hog? The costs aren’t limited to the price of your console and games – the Xbox One and other gaming systems actually draw a large amount of electricity. In response to criticism about how much power the Xbox consumes,
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cable-box

Energy-efficient cable boxes can cut your power usage

  • 05/05/15

Looking for a creative way to save energy? Don't forget about your cable box. The television might not be the first device most people think of when it comes to energy conservation, but that's about to change. A voluntary agreement among manufacturers, cable providers and the federal government calls for
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Home inspector

Get the Most from a Home Inspection

  • 04/30/15

When you're in the market for a new house, every little detail counts. If you overlook an important flaw, you could be in for major repair or overhaul bills in your would-be dream home. Fortunately, you can avoid unexpected costs with some savvy when it comes to choosing your home
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wind farm

Wind could power the U.S. by 2050

  • 04/28/15

The electricity you use to power your home is most likely generated by burning coal, with some nuclear and natural gas-fueled current in the mix for good measure. However, that could all be changing, and faster than anyone expected. While renewable fuel sources like solar and wind power make up
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Earth Day

Earth Day energy-saving tips

  • 04/21/15

This Earth day, why not play your part by making some small changes around the home to cut back on your electricity consumption? For every kilowatt hour your can knock off your meter, you're saving coal or natural gas that gets burned to generate electricity. 

Saving Energy Starts with You

Small
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Mike Rowe and Mister Sparky electrician

A Perfect Fit: Mister Sparky Unites with TV’s Mike Rowe

  • 04/10/15

One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning®, Benjamin Franklin Plumbing® and Mister Sparky® are North America’s most trusted home services brands thanks to the skilled, hardworking tradespeople who proudly wear our uniforms. That’s why we’re equally proud to announce a partnership with Mike Rowe, creator and executive producer of CNN’s “Somebody’s
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Microwave oven

Use your microwave to save money and energy

  • 04/07/15

Why slave over a hot stove to provide healthy meals to your family when you could be saving time and money by using a microwave oven instead? In many cases, the microwave will use less energy than your range or oven and still create a delicious meal.

Radio Wave Technology

Using a
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Lower utility bills

Buying a bigger home may not mean bigger energy bills

  • 03/26/15

Do you need more space for a growing family? One of the tradeoffs to buying a larger home is having to pay more in utility costs for heating, cooling and other appliance use. However, advances in energy efficiency mean that you can offset some of that increased consumption. That means
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Spring cleaning tips

Spring cleaning tips to help lower your energy bills

  • 03/24/15
Ah, spring! When the temperature rises, the snow melts and birdsong provides a pleasant morning soundtrack. For many families, the onset of spring weather means it's time for a thorough house-cleaning — and a ramp-up of your energy-efficiency efforts? You can take advantage of your annual deep clean to make
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Incandescent light bulbs

A brief history of electricity

  • 03/17/15

When it got dark yesterday, you probably flipped a switch and turned on the lights in your home. It’s something we do every day, but most American homes have only enjoyed safe and convenient electricity for little more than 100 years. Read on for a brief tour through the history
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Clothes dryer

Save money with Energy Star-certified dryers

  • 03/12/15

Is it time to replace your old dryer? Great news: The federal Energy Star program has started certifying clothes dryers, making it easy to pick out the most cost-effective and efficient models. Read on to find out what the change means and how to pick out the best model for
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Electrical wiring and diagram

New "open building" construction makes electrical work easy

  • 03/05/15

One of the hardest parts of electrical work is accessibility. In some situations, adding a new outlet or replace old wiring can require nearly tearing your walls apart. There is a solution, however: Open building can make things easier by focusing on flexibility, ease of access and disentanglement of systems.
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Smart fridge

New smart fridges can save you money

  • 03/02/15

You already have a smart phone – maybe even a smart thermostat. What's next? Believe it or not, refrigerators are next in the line of devices with advanced features and technology to improve our domestic lives. A new smart fridge, manufactured by GE, is scheduled to come
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Girl turning off light

Teach your kids to save energy

  • 02/26/15

You've done everything you can to conserve energy in your house -- purchased the latest Energy Star appliances, insulated your walls, and turned your thermostat down to 68. But the next thing you know, your kids are leaving lights on in rooms they aren't occupying. Or staring into the refrigerator
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Portable generator at home

Tips on choosing the right generator

  • 02/23/15

Don't get caught in the dark if a storm or other disruption knocks out your power. You can protect your home and your family with a backup generator. Read on for tips on how to pick out the right one for your house.

Why Do I Need A Generator?

Blackouts are unpredictable.
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Toddler playing with electrical outlet

Electrical safety tips for parents

  • 02/19/15

Do you have a baby or toddler in your home? If so, call a residential electrician, who can prevent a number of electrical problems that could pose a threat to your little one. Here are some additional ways to protect your child from dangerous electrical currents in your home.


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Energy-efficient washing machine

Save on energy bills with your washer and dryer

  • 02/16/15

Everybody needs clean clothes. Unfortunately, your laundry room can clean you out your wallet if you aren’t careful. Washers and dryers can be notorious for using energy and driving up your utility bills. Fortunately, advances in technology mean that modern machines use a lot less electricity, gas and water than
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CES show 2015

Consumer Electronics Show highlights money-saving devices

  • 02/09/15
The Consumer Electronics Show held recently in Las Vegas showcased some of the devices leading the way to the next generation of energy efficiency. Among the equipment on display: Super-efficient lightbulbs, fans, dryers and more. Some of the designs will stick around, others might not, but the show allowed consumers
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House with outdoor lighting

Outdoor lighting tips for your home

  • 02/05/15

The next time you call your local residential electrician to come fix any electrical problems you have in your home, you may want to ask him or her about outdoor lighting. According to the American Lighting Association, exterior lighting can not only enhance the beauty of a home,  it can
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Federal tax form and money

Get federal tax credits for energy efficiency

  • 02/02/15

It's hard to believe, but tax time is just around the corner. If you're like most taxpayers, you try to minimize what you owe Uncle Sam by taking all the deductions you're entitled to. If you made efficiency upgrades to your home last year, make sure you apply for credits
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Washing machines in energy efficiency graph

New appliances can save you money

  • 01/29/15
You might not be looking forward to shelling out the cash for a new washing machine or refrigerator. But there’s some good news: According to a recent report by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), home appliances are currently at an all-time high in efficiency and effectiveness,
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Save energy, money, environment

What motivates you to save energy?

  • 01/26/15

When we talk about reducing energy use around the house, it’s frequently in the context of saving money on monthly utility bills. It makes sense — money plays a role in so many decisions that we make, from where we work to what kind of car we drive to where
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LED, incandescent and compact fluorescent light bulbs

How to choose the right light bulbs for your home

  • 01/22/15

Do you get confused when you walk into the light bulb aisle of your home supply store? Those old familiar incandescent bulbs are gone, phased out due to federal efficiency standards. In their place are options like compact fluorescent lights (CFL), light emitting diodes (LED) and halogen incandescents. What does
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Electrical home maintenance banner

Home maintenance and safety tips

  • 01/19/15

You can help keep your electrical system in safe working order by being mindful and following some simple precautions. Check out Direct Energy's infographic for some basic electrical home maintenance tips that will keep you a step ahead. It's also a good idea to call in a professional electrician once
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Woman testing smoke alarm

Fire prevention safety tips

  • 01/15/15

When winter temperatures dip below freezing, families across the country fire up their furnaces, boilers, space heaters, woodstoves and other heating devices to beat the cold and keep their homes warm and snug. Unfortunately, the very appliances that ward off the winter chill can put you in danger of a
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Truth about electricity myths

Debunking electricity myths

  • 01/12/15

Smart homeowners are always looking for ways to lower their electricity bills. Not only do you save money, but you reduce your environmental footprint as well by decreasing your reliance on fossil fuels. Lowering your electricity and other utility bills can increase the value of your house and
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New kitchen appliances

New trends in kitchen appliances

  • 01/08/15

Do you have ranges and ovens on your mind? Maybe you just got a big bonus from work, or your last child finally graduated from college. There's no better way to celebrate than a new kitchen. From granite countertops to the latest in state-of-the-art appliance technology, you can cook in
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Happy woman sleeping

Saving energy will make you happier, study says

  • 01/05/15

If you cut back on your energy usage, you will be a happier person -- and not just because of all the money you'll save on your electricity bill. It turns out many of the activities that make people happier, like sleeping and socializing, are those that involve little or
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Happy New Year 2015

Happy New Year!

  • 01/01/15

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House under heavy snowfall

Could your home withstand a natural disaster?

  • 12/29/14

With winter descending full force, residents of northern states are bracing for the potential of major blizzards. Of course, other extreme weather events like hurricanes, tornadoes and floods can strike throughout the year, putting life and property. Wise homeowners make sure they prepare in advance so their homes have a
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Golden Christmas tree

Merry Christmas

  • 12/25/14

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Green, energy-efficient home

Green homes sell for more money

  • 12/22/14

If you're looking to increase the efficiency of your home, there's some good news: Not only can you save a bundle of money with lower utility bills, studies show that you will be able to sell your house faster, and for more money as well. Green houses are attracting more
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Brownout sign

Protect your home from brownouts

  • 12/18/14

Hopefully, you have surge protectors set up in your house to protect your electronics from power surges, or voltage spikes, that can fry your devices. Unfortunately, surge protectors won't save you from the evil cousin of a power surge -- a low voltage event, or brownout. Dimming lights in your
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Christmas tree and dreidel

Holiday safety tips

  • 12/15/14

The Christmas carols are already playing nonstop in shopping malls and on the radio. Before you know it, Christmas day will arrive. Whether that means flying off to visit far-flung friends and relatives, or inviting the extended family into your own home, follow these tips to have a meaningful, and
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Solar panels on roof

Is solar power right for your home?

  • 12/11/14

Solar power isn't just for going off the grid anymore. More and more homeowners are finding solar panels are a great option to supplement their existing power source and lower utility costs.

If you have the cash to make the up-front payment, installing solar panels can be a smart long-term
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Municipal building code

Does your home violate your local building code?

  • 12/04/14

If you are looking to remodel, expand or sell your home, there's a good chance you will have a close encounter with your local building code. These laws can be extensive, confusing and change frequently. The code is there for your safety, but it can still be frustrating to deal
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Overflowing washing machine

Should you repair or replace a broken appliance?

  • 12/08/14

Household appliances are expensive investments, so it's an alarming moment when the hot water heater sputters to a stop or the washing machine starts spewing suds all over the laundry room. If you're lucky, the problem is something that can be inexpensively repaired. However, sometimes your appliance is telling you
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Woman with circuit breakers

What You Need To Know About Your Circuit Breaker

  • 12/01/14

Perhaps you've always wondered what's in the mysterious metal box on the basement wall. It's a circuit breaker box, and without it your whole home electric system would be unsafe, leaving you in danger.

Circuit box repairs or upgrades require an expert, but you don't need to be a master electrician
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Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

  • 11/27/14

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Thanksgiving dinner

Thanksgiving safety tips

  • 11/24/14

Turkey day is upon us, when relatives and friends descend from near and far to gobble stuffing, watch NFL football and reflect on the things they are thankful for. In the spirit of the holiday, make sure that by the end of the day you can still be grateful for
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How the power grid works

Understanding the power grid

  • 11/20/14

Electricity gives us light, warmth and many of the conveniences of modern life. It powers industry, our homes, our schools and our offices, yet most of us take it for granted. Do you know where your electricity comes from or how it reaches you to provide the energy you depend
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A space heater may save money

Can you save money with a space heater?

  • 11/17/14

Temperatures are falling rapidly, and some regions of the country have already seen snow. With winter settling in, renters and homeowners are cranking up their thermostats to stay warm and cozy while bracing themselves for a big bump in utility bills due to heating costs. Savvy consumers looking for a
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Power surges damage electronics

Protect your home from power surges

  • 11/13/14

Wondering why that expensive new DVD player mysteriously stopped working? The culprit might be a power surge. A power surge can enter the home, fry the circuit breaker and spread to various outlets in the house. If an appliance is plugged directly into the electrical system, it may not survive
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Ways to save energy and money

Saving energy saves money

  • 11/10/14

We all know that lowering the thermostat a degree or two in the winter will also lower our energy bills, and that turning off the lights when you leave a room conserves energy. There's a lot more you can do to protect your wallet from high utility bills. The U.S.
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Recessed lighting is an ideal option for basements

Helpful hints for basement lighting

  • 11/06/14

Too often, basements are left in the dark, relegated to storage space. These lighting tips will help you make the most of this neglected spot and bring the space to life.

Hire a professional
You don't want to tackle potentially dangerous
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Some easy steps to saving money with your refrigerator

Refrigerator tips for saving energy -- and money

  • 11/03/14

Refrigerators are among the biggest energy guzzlers in the average household, after heating and cooling systems and hot water heaters. You can't unplug your fridge to save electricity unless you want to spoil everything inside, so you need to seek out other methods to keep your bills down.

The first step
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Energy vampires could drive up your electric bills

Power vampires make for scary electric bills

  • 10/30/14

Halloween night is when ghouls and goblins hit the streets, but beware -- there are vampires already lurking inside your home. Energy vampires, that is, or electronic appliances that drain power even when turned off. If you aren't careful this wasted energy (also known as phantom loads) can turn your
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Head outside for family fun during a power outage

Power outages can mean family fun

  • 10/27/14

The digital age has made us especially reliant on technology - and electricity - for our entertainment, and most kids are even more plugged in than their parents. So when the power goes out, finding fun and engaging activities can be tough. Need some electricity-free activities the whole family can
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Sparks from outlets are a sign of electrical trouble

Common symptoms of home electrical problems

  • 10/20/14

There are many electrical problems that can spring up in your home, but it can be tough to recognize them. How do you know when it’s time to call an electrician? Here are some key signs that you may need electrical repairs in your home.


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Consider safety when creating your Halloween yard display

Tips for a safe and energy-efficient Halloween

  • 10/20/14
Halloween is almost here, and it's time to start planning a great yard display. Vampires, ghosts and graveyards can liven up your property, get you in the holiday spirit and put a good scare into neighbors and trick-or-treaters alike. And of course, you'll want to light up your ghouls at
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Make a power outage emergency kit

Power outage safety tips

  • 10/20/14

Winter storm season is approaching in many parts of the country, and power outages often accompany severe weather. Here are some tips on what to do and what to avoid in case of a power outage.

Safety First

Some simple steps you can take to ensure your family’s safety:


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