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SPRING CLEANING SAFETY TIPS

Spring is finally here (although we sure have felt it off and on since December)!  We all know that Spring hits and we get the itch to clean out closets, spruce up your landscaping, tackle new DIY projects; the list goes on and on.  What you may not always think of is small electrical repairs, changes, and tests you can make to ensure the safety and functionality of your home.  The list can be daunting, so we have compiled a few quick and easy suggestions to get you started.

  • Replace or repair damaged or loose electrical cords.
  • Avoid running extension cords across doorways or under carpets.
  • In homes with small children, make sure your home has tamper-resistant (TR) receptacles.
  • Consider having additional circuits or outlets added by a qualified electrician so you do not have to use extension cords.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for plugging an appliance into a receptacle outlet.
  • Avoid overloading outlets. Plug only one high-wattage appliance into each receptacle outlet at a time.
  • If outlets or switches feel warm, frequent problems with blowing fuses or tripping circuits, or flickering or dimming lights, call a qualified electrician.
  • Place lamps on level surfaces, away from things that can burn and use bulbs that match the lamp’s recommended wattage.
  • Make sure your home has ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) in the kitchen bathroom(s), laundry, basement, and outdoor areas.
  • Arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) should be installed in your home to protect electrical outlets

Beyond these, we would definitely recommend calling our office to schedule an electrician to visit your home or place of business to help you locate, test, repair, or replace any current dangers and/or problems. 

If you are concerned that there are more problems within your house, especially those that could present a fire hazard, call our office and ask about the CurrentSAFE Electrical Hazard Detection (EHD) Test that we are licensed to perform. 

CurrentSAFE EHD Test

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All of the Batteries

I do not know about you all, but in my house there are never enough batteries. We have an entire drawer dedicated to batteries, chargers, and battery chargers.  My husband has purchased every type of battery and battery charger under the sun in hopes to curtail our spendage on batteries.  Now, I had no idea the world of batteries was so vast and expansive until recently.  Did you know that you are supposed to charge certain types of batteries in a bag just in case they explode?!  I did not until it happened (luckily the battery was charging in said bag).  Anyway, here are some quick battery tips for those of you who find yourselves in the dark when it comes to most things batteries. 

LithiumIonBatterySafety-page-001

NOTE: While on the phone with my husband telling him the good news about my battery safety finds he informed me that this safety list is for Lithium Ion Batteries which are not the same as Lithium Polymer Batteries (although they are basically the same).  Goes to show you, once you think you have learned everything (or something new) about batteries, there is always one more fact out there.

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NEW YEAR, NEW HOME

With the beginning of this New Year we have found ourselves, personally, in the process of moving to a new home. Downsizing and moving closer to our grandchildren.

This move has made me contemplate what exactly takes place in purchasing a new home: What are the determining factors?

I have realized that we make what could be a lifelong, or certainly a long term commitment based on a few minutes in a house. Of course we do our due diligence; we look at the neighborhood statistics, look at the style of the house, the square footage, the age.

But we do not move in and try it on for size.

We check the electrical; make sure there is not a Federal Pacific Breaker Box. We look at the electrical connections in the attic and we make sure that the closet fixture isn’t wired with a spliced electrical cord.

Then we do the same with the plumbing, at a distance.

We hire an inspector to inform us of the small and potentially large issues needing repair in the house that we may (or may not) purchase.

 We don’t walk around in the home for a week or so and then say, “Ok, it’s a fit, I think I’ll take this one.” We are not afforded that luxury. We must make this financially daunting life affecting decision basically on the fly.

 Not until you actually move in, or start moving items in, do you suddenly realize what factors are now REALLY going to be affecting your life. We concentrate on the monthly mortgage, the utility bills, and predictable formulas, however there are far more factors that are not visible upon first inspection.

 The sound of the street traffic, while you are in your back yard at midnight.

How many people walk their dogs in the neighborhood.

You can’t know in advance, exactly where the floor is going to squeak when you get up to raid the refrigerator at 3AM.

You can’t know whether your cat will like the new location of her litter box.

Will your dogs want to swim in the backyard pool?

Will you be able to back your car down that seemingly endless driveway?

To counteract these things you have to be forward thinking and proactive every day. The same way that we tell our employees to prepare for the service call at your home. If they are going to change out a breaker box, make note of the switch plate color and have some outlets and switches on hand in case the customer has a need to upgrade.

The point being, it is really the small things in life that really affect us the most. All we can do is be prepared for those intrinsic things that we don’t always know or see.

Happy New Year and to those of you moving this year: Happy New Home and check for a litter box closet.

Toni Terrill Skaff

President

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City of Bellaire Holiday in the Park

Lighting the Tree

Ohms Electrical Services was proud to be the Electrical Supervision for the City of Bellaire’s Holiday in the Park.

The spectacular event is a holiday tradition of music, Santa, and family fun. A towering Holiday Tree, glowing with lights, shimmering ornaments and a stunning star topper lights up the park during the holiday season.

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SAFETY WHEN SANTA COMES HO HO HO-ing

Thanksgiving has come and gone. The turkey comas have worn off.  The dishes are all done and the houses are all clean (hopefully).  We all know that the day after Thanksgiving, our brains fill with lights, inflatable yard creations, pine, and egg nog.  What we don’t necessarily think of is safety and fires during the fun-filled (and stressful) Christmas season.  So, in hopes to take some of that stress off of all of our wonderful customers, and begin that often forgotten thought train and conversation about holiday safety in our homes, check out the photo below:

in-the-right-light-decorate-your-home-safely-during-the-holidays

If you still have questions, concerns, or just want to talk about your Christmas decorative plans or rant about holiday stressors, call our office or shoot us a message from our website.

 

 

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MUSINGS FROM OUR PRESIDENT

We have thought and discussed as a team, and felt it would be both informative and enjoyable to have a regular (or semi-regular) blog from our Owner and President, Toni Terrill Skaff.  The subject will be entirely up to her, and in her own voice.  So, without further ado, here is the first MUSING FROM OUR PRESIDENT:

Small business employs approximately 4.5 million people annually in the state of Texas. The majority of those small businesses consist of 100 employees or less. Ironically, being the small fish in the large pond, we are often the hardest hit with tax changes and insurance increases. 

As small businesses we have been given the responsibility of making sure that garnishments are made so that child support reaches children. We are responsible for reporting when individuals move from job to job and we must keep up with all the employment law and human resource requirements, often with one and two person offices.

When a law is created relating to financial payment and individuals are slow to follow through, the responsibility gets placed on the employer. Garnishments for child support, in many states garnishments for bad debts, become the responsibility of the employer. This is most taxing on the small business employer that does not generally house a large Human Resource Department to facilitate these requirements.

When we provide health insurance for our employees, we are not given any preferred rates or large group discounts, we pay what the individual would pay, and we are required to pay a majority percentage of the cost. Many small business owners cover the entire cost of the health insurance for each employee. Thinking about the cost of health care, this is daunting.

As Election Day comes around every four years, small business must steel themselves for new financial hits. More paperwork requirements and more laws to tie their hands. Our lobbyists are very small in number. Though we are simply trying to make a living, create a product and/or service for our customers, and create jobs for our employees, we seem to be the first on the line of attack when tax changes are made. There seems to be a hidden agenda against the small business man.

There is also an illusion that small business owners can work and vacation when they want. Much to the contrary; we take off the least amount of vacation and sick time. The majority of small business owners are in the trenches day after day working with their employees, not merely supervising and overseeing.

Personally, we started our business in order to raise our family in a closely knit environment; to have some control over how our children’s’days would be spent.

Many businesses are begun the same way for similar reasons. A vast majority of small businesses are family-owned and -operated.

The culture of a small business frequently is that of a family atmosphere. We provide personal support to employees if they have family issues, we provide financial support often by extending advances and loans.  We have helped many employees with car repairs, house purchases, weddings, quinceneras, and funerals. The small business employer is most often the first person that is approached for help during hard times.  That is not always for just financial support but emotional support as well.

Small businesses should be protected. They should have the respect of everyone especially the government. We hold within our four walls collectively the livelihood of over 4 million souls and their families. This is monumental: what affects us effects the entire country.

 

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TO CHRISTMAS LIGHT OR NOT TO CHRISTMAS LIGHT?

Halloween has come and gone. The evenings are longer, and a bit chillier.  Before you know it, Thanksgiving will be here, and then *POOF* it will be Christmas. 

I don’t know about your family, but the first thing my kids ask about the morning they wake up on November 1 is Christmas lights. Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas lights just as much, if not more than, the next guy.  But honestly, they can be a huge ordeal to tackle, for even the most skilled and talented.  It’s not just putting them up, making sure they are all shining or blinking properly, are hung straight and spaced out evenly; removing them and storing them can be an epic nightmare as well.  I would prefer doing just about anything holiday related, including standing in line for Santa with terrified, screaming children, then go anywhere near a string of wadded up, tangled, broken Christmas lights.

lights-1

So, in light of all of that festiveness (and to help you avoid year-round Christmas lights), we are now offering Christmas light installation, removal, and storage!

Here are just a few benefits scattered across the web for professional Christmas light installation:

 –Staying clear of dangerous, unsafe ladders;

 –Avoiding inclement weather;

 –Faulty extension cords;

 –The aforementioned tangled, damaged, and potentially dangerous strands of Christmas lights;

 –Keeping track of said strands of Christmas lights year-round; and

 –Crossing one thing off of your busy holiday schedule of events, tasks, chores, jobs, parties, and fun.

Like I said, this is the short list; believe me, I could go on and on. I cannot tell you how many years our house had the lights on all year just to avoid dealing with taking them down, storing them, and putting them back up.  So, let us start your holiday season off smoothly and stress free, and you can turn your attention to that 10 foot Noble Fir your kids have been begging you for!

lights-2

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WHY OHMS AS A COMPANY NAME?

Is the owner’s last name Ohms? Do you mean Homes Electric?  These are just a couple of the numerous questions we have been asked, so I thought that my first blog post should address our unique moniker.

Ohms Electrical Services was opened by Tommy and Toni Skaff in 1981, and Toni took to the task of creating a company name that would stand out and create attention, and those numerous questions. Because as long as people are talking about you, your name is out there. 

So, Ohms Electrical Services was named for Georg Simon Ohm:

Georg Simon Ohm, more commonly known as Georg Ohm, was a German physicist, best known for his “Ohm’s Law”, which implies that the current flow through a conductor is directly proportional to the potential difference (voltage) and inversely proportional to the resistance. The physical unit of electrical resistance, the Ohm, also was named after him.

ohms-law

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Why CurrentSAFE instead of Megger Test?

 

You have choices when it comes to doing inspections for electrical damage and risks. Although the Megger Test and CurrentSAFE may seem like similar options there are several factors that set CurrentSAFE apart.

 

CurrentSAFE is nondestructive.

The Megger test sends a 500 volt to 1,000 volt DC current across an electrical system that is designed for 240 volts AC. The test voltage is two to four times greater than the normal operating voltage, and can be very destructive. The test current has been known to destroy lights bulbs and printed circuit boards that have been inadvertently left in the electrical system as it is being tested. So instead of testing for damage the megger test can cause damage. The CurrentSAFE Service is a completely nondestructive test in virtually all aspects. You cannot create more damage with any test instrument that is used in the CurrentSAFE Service.

 

CurrentSAFE can pinpoint the problem.

A megger test is very limited and only measures one value in the electrical system. Meggers only test the resistance of the conductor insulation. Meggers cannot test the resistance of the conductor material itself. A very important part of an electrical system test is to determine the resistance in the path of the electrical current. Resistance in the normal current path due to a damaged connection caused by the energy of a Lightning Strike would never be detected by a megger test. Increased resistance in the normal current path caused by a Lighting Strike can create a poor electrical connection which can build up sufficient enough heat to start a fire in an outlet or junction box.

 

CurrentSafe is more thorough.

If you do a megger test and the resistance of the conductor insulation fails the only thing that you know is that somewhere along the entire length of the circuit the insulation had become defective. The question is where do you start to look for the problem. It is like trying to find the so called needle in the hay stack. With the CurrentSAFE Service we methodically check every inch of wire in the electrical system, and every switch, every receptacle, and every light fixture outlet to insure that no latent defects from the Lightning Strike exist.

Need an electrical inspection?

Unlike most electrical contractors, Ohms electricians are CurrentSAFE certified experts in electrical hazard detection.   They are highly trained in all aspects of electrical safety and testing. Our electricians thoroughly inspect, test, safety check, and evaluate all the electrical system components of your home. They don’t guess or speculate when it comes to accurately finding core problems and recommending cost-effect solutions. The result of the comprehensive evaluation is an understanding that your electrical system is safe for you and your family, and delivering clean power. Contact us for more information or to schedule your appointment.

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