Category: Helpful Tips

How to Prepare for Tornado Season

How to Prepare for Tornado Season

In Central Arkansas, chances are, you’ll find yourself in a pinch preparing for the next predicted tornado. Energy conservation will immediately become a priority, as you don’t know if you’ll have power after the storm hits. It’s important to take the appropriate precautions in case you do lose power because electricity could take several days to be restored. Otherwise, you and your family could end up without any fresh food, water, or communication devices to get in touch with emergency services. In times like these, having a backup power source can be quite valuable. 

5 Safety Tips for Putting Up Holiday Lights

5 Safety Tips for Putting Up Holiday Lights

Once the holiday season rolls around, Christmas lights can be found strung up everywhere, from shops across town to the homes in your neighborhood. When you think about putting up the holiday lights and decorations, you’re probably concerned about how the lights will match your outside decor, if your Christmas tree has enough ornaments, or if the bulbs will turn on.

5 Tips for How to Choose Outdoor Lighting

5 Tips for How to Choose Outdoor Lighting

When you stop and consider the lighting inside your home, you might immediately think of the recessed lighting in your kitchen or the cozy glow of your bedside table lamp. In fact, it’s easy to get a little overwhelmed thinking about all the lights that make up your kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, and beyond. The inside of your home can have various types of light sources — and your front porch and backyard are no different.

Exterior lighting comes in all different shapes and sizes. While there is so much to choose from, you may not know where to start. Are you looking to create a certain type of outdoor atmosphere? Is your main goal to entertain guests, or would you prefer to put a spotlight on your beautiful garden? If you need help finding the right solution for your needs, we have some outdoor landscape lighting tips that can help.

Much like the interior of your home, exterior lighting can make or break the look you’re aiming to achieve. Fortunately, making a plan and understanding your needs can make finding the perfect lighting easy. Let’s discuss five top tips for how to choose outdoor lighting.

Make a Plan 

Although decorating any part of your home is fun and exciting, there’s no reason to rush when choosing outdoor light fixtures. In fact, taking your time and writing down measurements are some of the top tips for how to choose outdoor lighting. You don’t want to accidentally buy light fixtures that look too big on your wall or out of place in your landscaping.

Do you want to add lighting to your front porch? Consider measuring your front door. You’ll want to find light fixtures that are only one-third of the height of the door.

Know Your Lighting Needs

When learning about outdoor landscape lighting tips, it’s important to note that not every type of outdoor light fixture has the same purpose or durability. For starters, there are two main types of exterior lighting that you should know about: wet-rated and damp-rated.

Wet-rated lighting is what it sounds like — it can be installed in places that are directly hit by rain and moisture. Think wall lights and various types of landscape lighting. On the other hand, damp-rated lighting cannot be installed where rain and other types of water will touch it. This type of lighting can handle a little dampness or moisture, but certainly not for long periods. Think ceiling lights and ceiling fans.

Along with choosing between damp vs. wet-rated lighting, you will want to consider the beam angle of your spotlights if you wish to install any. Wide beams are excellent for spotlighting landscaping and stone structures, while narrow beams are recommended for spotlighting statues and taller trees.

Put Safety First

Safety is a critical component of outdoor lighting and something many homeowners focus on. Is this also a main concern of yours? If so, you’ll want to survey your yard and find areas that could use extra illumination. Path lights and security lights can provide much-needed peace of mind, especially if your yard is cast into shadow or difficult to navigate at night.

There are many tips for how to choose outdoor lighting, but throughout them all, safety should never be overlooked. When you remember to put safety first with your residential outdoor lighting installation, you can avoid an unwanted injury or security risk.

Determine Your Desired Style

When learning outdoor landscaping lighting tips, know there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for every home. There are many lighting designs to choose from, but do you know which design fits your style?

For instance, outdoor wall lights can come in various styles. If you have a modern home, you might want to choose a design that’s sleek and minimalistic. If you’re going for a more rustic look, it’s best to consider a design that’s more traditional.

Consider Every Possibility

Installing the right exterior lighting is no small task. However, our tips for how to choose outdoor lighting are not quite over yet. It’s also important to look carefully at your landscaping and hardscaping to ensure that you meet all of your needs. For example, don’t overlook architectural features like retaining walls.

While you may think of retaining walls as only for practical purposes, highlighting them with accent lighting can transform an outdoor space in unexpected ways. Plus, illuminating these structures can provide additional safety.

Let Staley Electric Handle Your Outdoor Lighting Needs

Whether you’re planning to host summer get-togethers or want to increase your family’s safety, exterior lighting can make a notable difference. Combined, these five outdoor landscape lighting tips will allow you to meet your goals and more.
At Staley Electric, our landscape lighting services can help you create a charming outdoor ambiance while putting your safety first. We offer everything from motion sensor lighting to lighting that you can conveniently control from inside your home. Contact us today to see what our electricians can do for you!

What Is a GFCI Outlet?

What Is a GFCI Outlet?

As a homeowner, you want the space you live in to be as safe as possible. Of course, it can be easy to worry about the potential dangers lurking inside your home, especially regarding your electrical system.

Fortunately, many safety devices will help protect your household against electric shocks and fires. A ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet is one of these electrical devices. New construction homes are built and sold with GFCI outlets already installed. However, you might not be as familiar with these important safety devices if you have an older home. In fact — it’s possible that your home doesn’t meet GFCI outlet requirements.

What is a GFCI outlet? Fortunately, this question isn’t difficult to answer. Let’s discuss what a GFCI outlet is used for and why they are so important.

What Do GFCI Outlets Do?

When you enter a bathroom or kitchen, you might notice an outlet on the wall with “reset” and “test” buttons. These are GFCI outlets. Now you might be sitting there, asking, “What is a GFCI outlet, exactly? What makes these outlets so special that I need to have them inside my home?” Luckily, these safety devices are pretty easy to understand.

GFCIs, which are sometimes referred to as GFI outlets, are uniquely designed to protect your home’s electrical system. How? It’s simple. These devices measure the amount of current that flows from a hot to neutral wire. They will immediately cut off the flow of electricity when an irregular or high amount of electrical current is detected.

These outlets are integral to electrical safety because they help prevent electrical fires and electrocution. For example, if a ground fault occurs, the electrical current will flow toward the ground. When this happens, electrocution becomes a real possibility for those within its vicinity. The GFCI outlet will cut off the electrical current before this dangerous event can occur.

GFCI vs. Regular Outlets

You might be wondering: what is a GFCI outlet compared to a regular outlet? Really, the main difference is the safety component. Regular outlets simply don’t have the ability to cut off an electrical current in the name of safety.

However, some visual aspects set these two outlets apart as well. For instance, regular outlets are known for being smaller than their GFCI counterparts. You also won’t find any “reset” or “test” buttons on your regular outlets. Although these two devices might look fairly similar, one certainly shouldn’t be mistaken for the other.

How to Test a GFCI Outlet

There are a couple of ways to ensure your GFCI outlet is working correctly. For starters, you can press the “test” button. When you do this, the electrical current will shut off to the nearest appliance or device, and the “reset” button should pop out. At least — it should if everything is working properly. Once you’ve done this, you must press the “reset” button to restore the power.

You can also purchase a GFCI tester to see if the device works as it should. These devices are fairly inexpensive and can usually be purchased at your local home improvement store.

Where Is a GFCI Outlet Needed?

Now that you know what a GFCI outlet is used for, you are probably curious to know where they are needed throughout your home. When it comes down to it, these devices should be installed in locations prone to moisture. Think kitchens, bathrooms, garages, and laundry rooms.

Water is known to conduct electricity, and these safety devices are designed to help prevent a disaster before it has a chance to strike.

The National Electrical Code (NEC) has many requirements for GFCI outlets, so you should review these carefully to ensure your home is up to code. However, it’s also worth noting that the NEC requires GFCIs to be installed on exterior outlets.

Are GFCI Outlets Really Necessary?

There’s a reason why GFCI outlets are known as important safety devices. These outlets can be the difference between a safe home and a devastating electrical shock. Of course, you will also need to make sure your home is GFCI protected if you plan to sell it; these outlets are required by law — even in older homes.

While you can have typical GFCI outlets installed, you might want to consider the benefits of a GFCI circuit breaker. These devices protect the entire circuit instead of a single outlet.

Now that you know what a GFCI outlet is used for, it’s crucial to make sure that the outlets throughout your home meet the specified requirements. This simple upgrade can provide much-needed peace of mind regarding potential electrical dangers.

Schedule Outlet Services With Staley Electric!

“What is a GFCI outlet?” If you were asking this question before, hopefully, you now have a better understanding of how these safety devices work. When these electrical outlets detect a shift in the electricity flowing to and from a circuit, the electrical current will shut off immediately — protecting you and your household in the process.

It’s incredibly important to know what a GFCI outlet is used for, especially if your home currently doesn’t have them. Now that you know how crucial these devices are, don’t hesitate to contact Staley Electric for outlet services.
Our professional electricians are proud to offer a wide range of solutions to fit your needs, from electrical home automation to landscape lighting in Little Rock, AR. Contact us to find out what our experts can do for you!

Why Is My Light Switch Sparking?

Why Is My Light Switch Sparking?

When it comes to the electrical system in your home, you expect everything to work without a hitch. For example, you immediately expect your phone to start charging when you plug the charger into an outlet. You also expect a room to go from dim to bright the moment you switch on the light.

However, you may one day experience something out of the ordinary. For instance, you might turn on the light one morning — and notice a strange spark as you do so. If this is the case for you, it’s understandable if you feel worried. The word “spark” makes many people immediately think of a fire hazard. It’s only natural that you want to learn what causes a light switch to spark and how you can fix it ASAP.

So, why is your light switch sparking? We’ll answer this question below.

Believe It or Not, Sparking Can Be Normal

If you want to know what causes a light switch to spark, it’s important to start by saying that this occurrence isn’t always something that you should be worried about. In fact, a small spark can be completely normal.

When you turn on a light switch, you may notice a small spark as a result of the electricity attempting to leap from one contact to another. This is known as a “load arc.”

Of course, you should also be wary of any large sparks or additional problems — as these can be a matter of concern.

However, Sparking Can Also Be Cause For Concern

There are several potential reasons why your light switch is sparking. Although this occurrence can be normal, it’s important to be aware of the fact that it can also signify that it’s time to replace your light switch.

Keep an eye out for scorch marks, snapping sounds, or visible signs of smoking. In most cases, these problems — when combined with sparking — will indicate that your light switch has become faulty.

When it comes down to it, there’s a chance that the light switch has simply worn out. If you want to know why your light switch is sparking, consider the possibility that the switch has reached the end of its service life. Get in touch with a residential electrician in Little Rock as soon as possible so that they can perform a professional replacement.

Additional Signs of a Bad Light Switch

Now that you know what causes a light switch to spark, you might want to know what other signs can indicate that it’s time to replace your light switches. All-in-all, the answer to this question can vary depending on what kind of switch you have.

A hand flicking on a standard lighting switch.

Standard Toggle Switch

When you turn on a toggle switch, it should always feel cold. If you find that the light switch is warm to the touch, this is often a common sign that it’s going bad. Also keep a record of if and when your light flickers, as this can also be traced back to a faulty switch.

You’ll also want to listen for any sounds that are out of the ordinary. These noises can include crackling or buzzing; when you hear these sounds, there’s a good chance that electricity is arcing inside the switch. It’s important to address this problem immediately, as these noises can indicate that a fire hazard is present.

A dimmer switch.

Dimmer Switch

It’s fairly normal for dimmer switches to be warm to the touch. However, if the switch feels hot to an excessive degree, this is certainly cause for concern and can indicate that you should replace the switch.

If you think your dimmer switch might be at the end of its life, watch out for any strange sounds. In some instances, buzzing can suggest that you need to use a different type of light bulb. All you have to do in this specific situation is choose a new type of light bulb. However, in other cases, these unexpected noises can signal that your dimmer switch should be replaced.

Upgrade Your Light Switches With Staley Electric!

If you’ve handled small home improvement projects throughout your home, you might be tempted to replace the faulty light switch yourself. However, it’s important to remember that light switches have many parts, including ground wires and terminal screws. If you’ve never worked with these electrical components, the smartest and safest option is to turn to a professional electrician for the job instead.

Now that you have a better understanding of why your light switch is sparking, contact the professional team at Staley Electric. Whether you need an electrician for generators, wire connections, or faulty light switches, rest assured that our experts can provide you with a dependable solution.

If you think you need your light switch replaced, we’re happy to help. Our professional electricians know what causes a light switch to spark and can fix the problem without delay. We’re proud to provide light switch repairs in Little Rock, AR, or the surrounding area today!