GMO Electrical Services

Our Blog

An ongoing series of informational entries

Surge Protector Spruce Grove

Whole House Surge Protectors

June 21, 2019

What You Need to Know

What is a Power Surge? - A Power Sureg is a transient voltage spike in a power or data line. The spike is very brief, usually lasting only a few millionths of a second (the blink of an eye is thousands of times longer than typical surge), but it can still cause damage, degrade, or destroy electronic equipment. Because surges are so fast,even fuses, circuit breakers and GFCI's are not quick enough to protect the damage.


How do they happen and what to look for - Power surges occur when the flow of electricity is interrupted, then started again, or when something sends electricity flowing back into the system.Switching high powered equipment on and off is one example. Lightning and utility grid switching are the largest source of surges generated from outside a building but only 20% of surges are caused by lightning strikes and an overwhelming 80% of power surges are internally generated. A few signs of a power surge gone unnoticed are:

  • Computer lock-ups or latch-ups
  • Unexplained data corruption
  • Equipment shutdown
  • Flickering Lights
  • Premature failure of electronic ballasts or printed circuit boards (electronic rust)


Even if your home or business does survive an electrical surge or one happens to go unnoticed, there is still damage that occurs each and every time. This transient damage is commonly referred to as "electronic rust". This type of damage eats away at the circuits that allow the electricity to flow between electronic components on a printed circuit board e.g. Computer, printer etc. and if left unchecked will eventually stop your equipment from working right in its tracks. Consequences of electronic rust are:

  • Hard Drive crashes
  • Data transmission errors
  • Circuit board failures

What is a Surge Protective Device? - A Surge protector (or surge suppressor or surge diverter) is an appliance or device designed to protect electrical devices from voltage spikes. A Surge Protective Device (SPD) is intended to limit transient over voltages and divert a surge with the goal of preventing equipment damage and downtime due to transient voltage surge reaching the devices they protect.

Am I covered by my insurance? - Yes and No. Depending on your coverage. Insurance companies do offer coverage for incidents like a lightning but they DO NOT cover damage to equipment caused by the lightning strike, electrical incidents resulting internally or caused by your utility company. In fact, utility companies do not cover or reimburse for any damages caused by wildlife, weather, and lack of power, a power outage, power surge or something beyond its control including the guarantee of continuous and constant supply of power. Coverage for damaged equipment requires the purchase of additional policy coverage.


Whole House Surge Protectors - unlike a power strip with surge protection capabilities, a whole-house surge protector is not a point-of-use device. It is not something that you’ll handle directly, plugging it into the wall, nor is it something that you will plug other electronics into. Instead, a whole-house surge protector is wired directly into the electrical panel that regulates the distribution of electricity throughout your home. When there is a power surge, for whatever reason, the surge protector will deal with it before that power surge even makes its way onto any of your circuits.


Even when compared with the best point-of-use surge protectors, whole-house surge protection systems are enormously more beneficial. First of all, they protect your whole house. This means that you don’t have to pick and choose which devices are protected by your surge protectors. Also, they will cover large appliances, such as your HVAC systems, which would not generally be plugged into a surge protector. They can handle much larger power surges, including those cause by lighting strikes, and will protect you from power surges making their way into your home through various inlets, including landlines. This is not the same level of protection that smaller power strips can offer.

Whether protecting your home, an amusement parks, casinos, manufacturing facilities, mining operations, retail stores, office buildings, we have products designed to be compact, provide the highest level of performance and are seamlessly integrated into your electrical systems.

For a free consultation on SPD's contact us 

Phantom Loads

Phantom Loads

June 1, 2019

Once upon a time, when you turned off an appliance, it was off. Now many appliances (especially ones with remote controls, clocks or microprocessors) are designed with 'standby' features, which means they're ready for action at a moment's notice. It also means they're constantly drawing electricity 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


Every year, US consumers waste an estimated $4 billion on these phantom loads, which amounts to about 5 percent of the country's total electricity load, according to a study by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.


If you're serious about conserving energy, find those phantoms, which include computers, TVs and other appliances with plug-in wall cubes, remote-controls or clock displays.


Use these four tips to zap phantom loads at your house and reduce global carbon emissions:


1. Use power strips (available at hardware and discount stores) that let you unplug several appliances by flipping a single switch. This is especially important for TVs, VCRs, microwaves and computers, which are the worst culprits.


2. Unplug appliances when you're not using them.


3. Plug the offending appliances into sockets controlled by a wall switch.


4. Use clocks powered by rechargeable batteries.


5. When buying new appliances, choose models with the lowest standby power consumption.


You'll save on energy bills and help save the planet when you banish these furtive phantoms from your home.

Home Electrical Safety

Home Electrical Safety Check List

April 30, 2019

Protect your family from fire and other electrical hazards by using this complimentary short checklist below.


1. CHECK THE WATTAGE OF ALL BULBS IN YOUR LIGHTS.

*Are the bulbs the appropriate wattage for the size of fixtures? A bulb of too high wattage may lead to fire through overheating.

2. CHECK ALL LAMP CORDS AND EXTENSION CORDS

*Are cords placed out of the walking areas and free of furniture resting on them? Tripping hazard may result. Also, stepping on cords or placing furniture on them can cause damage and create fire hazard.

*Are cords in good condition (not damaged or cracked)? Shock or fire hazards can result from damaged cords. Do not attempt to repair cords yourself. Take any item with a damaged power cord to an authorized repair center, call us or safely dispose of the item and purchase a new one.

*Are cords unwrapped? Tightly wrapped cords can lead to overheating.

*Are all extension cords being used only on a temporary basis? Extension cords are not safe as permanent house wiring. Have receptacles installed where they are needed.

3.CHECK ALL WALL OUTLETS AND SWITCHES

*Are all outlets and switches working properly? Improperly operating outlets or switches indicate that an unsafe wiring condition may exist.

*Are all outlets and switches cool to touch? Unusually warm outlets or switches may indicate an unsafe wiring condition exists.

*Do you hear crackling, sizzling, or buzzing from your outlets? Give us a call to identify the cause.

*Are all outlet and switch cover plates in good condition? Replace any missing, cracked or broken cover plate.

4. CHECK ALL COUNTER TOP APPLIANCES

*Are all appliance cords placed away from hot surfaces? Pay particular attention to cords around toasters, ovens, and ranges. Cords can be damaged by excess heat.

*Are all appliances located away from the sink? Electrical appliances can cause a shock if they come in contact with water. Plug kitchen appliances into GFCI protected outlets.

5. CHECK ALL LARGE APPLIANCES

*Have you ever received even a slight shock (other than one from static electricity) from any appliances?

Do not touch the appliance until it has been checked by an electrician.

*Is there excessive vibration or movement when the washer or dryer is operating? Movement during operation can put undue stress on electrical connections.

6. CHECK FOR TAMPER RESISTANT (TR) OUTLETS

* Canadian Electrical Code requires temper resistant outlets to be installed throughout your home.

(Certain exclusions apply) If you have small children it is recommended to have TR outlets installed if your home was built prior to this code requirement.

7. CHECK FOR THE PRESENCE AND PROPER PLACEMENT OF SMOKE/CO ALARMS AND TEST EACH ONE AT LEAST ONCE A MONTH.

*Smoke/CO alarms should be located on every level of home, inside each bedroom, or outside each sleeping area.

(Certain Code requirements apply)

8. CHECK FOR GROUND FAULT CIRCUIT INTERRUPTERS (GFCIs)

*Are the bathroom outlets protected by GFCIs? GFCIs should be installed in kitchens, bathrooms, and other areas where the risk of electric shock is high.

*If you have any GFCIs, do you test them regularly? GFCIs must be operating properly to protect against electrocution.

Test your GFCIs at least once a week.

9. CHECK YOUR BREAKER BOX

*Is your fuse box or circuit breaker box appropriately labeled? Labeling helps easily identify what circuits power each room.

*Does everyone of appropriate age know where the fuse box or circuit breaker box is located and how to turn off and restore power to home?

*Are you regularly resetting tripped circuit breakers? Circuit breakers that are constantly tripping indicate that the circuit is overloaded or that other electrical hazards exist. Contact us.

*Is your home protected by Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCIs)? AFCIs are devices that replace standard circuit breakers in the electrical service panel and that greatly reduce the risk of home electrical fires. If you are interested in having AFCI protection added to your home, contact us.

10. SAFETY FIRST

*This list is provided for your convenience to be able to identify some electrical hazards that may exist in your home.

As this list does not or intended to cover all possible hazards, if at any time you are in doubt, please contact us we will be glad to help. Consultations and estimates are always free of charge!