How Many Holiday Lights Can I String Together?

As the holiday season approaches, you’re probably starting to unpack all of your lights and decorations to begin decking the halls. Before you start your holiday overhaul, you need to be careful when it comes to your electrical decorations — mainly, your lights.

While you’re untangling all of your twinkling holiday lights, you need to stop and think — how many holiday lights can I string together?

Lighting Factors

In order to avoid overloading your outlets or blowing a fuse, you should factor these things into stringing together lights.

The Type of Bulb

This also includes the size of the bulbs. Difference sizes of bulbs use more or less electricity, so that affects how many different sets of lights you should string together.

Other Electronics

If you have other appliances, such as a TV or lighting fixture, running on the same circuits as your holiday lights, that will limit the amount you should string together.

Numbers

There’s a little bit of math involved here, but it’s not too heavy. Take the voltage of your outlet (most standard home outlets are 120 volts) and multiply it by the amps of your circuit. The number you get is your wattage, or the amount of electricity your circuits can handle.

Once you have that number, compare it to the amount of wattage used by your holiday lights. You should only aim to use 80% of your wattage, so you may have to take one string of lights off the strand.

Typically speaking, most circuits can handle around five to six strands of lights, but it’s better to break them up a bit so you don’t risk overloading your outlets.

With 24 years of experience, TFC Electric Inc. can help you keep all the members of your family safe from electrical harm. Since 1994, we have been serving Suffolk County with any and all electrical needs. Call us today at 631-589-2800 for more information.

Most Common Thanksgiving Electrical Problems

Thanksgiving is one of the best and most delicious times of the year. With all the family together and yummy food being served, there are very few reasons anything negative needs to happens on this day. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t issues at all. These are some of the most common electrical issues we’ve seen happened on Thanksgiving that you should do your best to avoid.

Overloaded Outlets

To no one‘s surprise, there will probably be a lot of pictures taken on Thanksgiving. Between the necessary food shots and the multiple cousin selfies, all those pictures are going to cause people‘s phones to die pretty quickly. When that happens, they will all rush to charge them, which can lead to your outlets being overloaded with power. Not only can overloaded outlets short and stop working, but they can be up a potential safety risk as well.

Electric Stove Issues

With all the hustle and bustle that goes on during Thanksgiving, you’d be surprised how often, and easily, someone would throw a dish towel, accidentally, onto a burning electric stove. This causes the towel to burn and potentially catch fire, leading to a big fiasco. Make sure to keep any flammable or burnable objects far from your electric stove for everyone’s safety.

High Electric Bills

Like we said, there’s a lot going on on Thanksgiving. Between charging phones, running electrical appliances, and all your lights being used, Thanksgiving can cause you to end up with a very high electric bill. Keep your bill low by turning off all appliances when you’re not using them and using power strips for smaller appliances to completely cut the power and avoid vampire electricity.

With 24 years of experience, TFC Electric Inc. can help you keep all the members of your family safe from electrical harm. Since 1994, we have been serving Suffolk County with any and all electrical needs. Call us today at 631-589-2800 for more information.

Charging Your Electric Car: What You Need to Know

Congratulations! You’ve decided to decrease your carbon footprint by purchasing an electric car to drive around every day. The thing is, as we all know, you’ll have to plug that car in to be able to keep driving it.

Before you jump at the first outlet you see, here are a few things you need to know.

You Shouldn’t Use a Regular Outlet

Well, you can, but you’ll be waiting a while before hitting the road. Your basic 120-volt outlet can provide you with the necessary amount of power needed to charge your electric car, but it will take a longer time to get a full charge.

If you want to be able to charge your car faster, you should have a 220-volt outlet installed in your home or an actual charging station.

You’re Better Off Installing a Charging Station

In order to most efficiently and quickly charge your car, you should consider installing electric vehicle service equipment, otherwise known as an EVSE. Not only does an EVSE charge your car faster, but, depending on when you charge your car and how often, it could help lower your electric bills.

The Benefits of an EVSE

Most EVSE’s allow you to safely turn the power to your car on and off, and some models allow you to schedule times to charge your vehicle. Your charger also can provide you with usage reports and indicate how much available power your car has. Best of all, a lot of chargers can detect if there are any electrical problems with your car.

 

With 24 years of experience, TFC Electric Inc. can help you keep all the members of your family safe from electrical harm. Since 1994, we have been serving Suffolk County with any and all electrical needs. Call us today at 631-589-2800 for more information.

Why Does My Blow Dryer Smell Like It’s Burning?

When you’re going through your daily morning routine, do you ever notice something’s off with your blow dryer? A common problem many people experience with their dryer is a burning smell while using it. Since that’s never a scent you want to smell coming from any electrical device, you should get to the root of that issue right away.

Why Does My Blow Dryer Smell Like It’s Burning?

Dirty Lint Trap

On the back of every blow dryer is a lint trap over the air intake that keeps dust and hair out of the barrel of your dryer. However, over time, if you don’t clean the trap regularly, all that dust can clog up your dryer and restrict its airflow. If that happens, your hair dryer can give off a burning smell once you turn it on.

To fix this problem, you’ll need to clean the lint trap. The easiest way to do that is to take the lint cover off and use a toothbrush to rub the lint free.

If your dryer still smells like it’s burning, you may have to open the body to remove any hair that may have made its way past the filter.

Old Hair Dryer

If your blow dryer has been in your bathroom for a number of years, it won’t be as efficient and can draw more electricity from your outlets and overheat. That can cause your hair dryer to give off a burning smell. If that’s the case, you should replace your blow dryer.

Sometimes, the problem could be with your outlet itself. If there’s too much electricity going to the outlet or there’s a loose wire or connection, you could experience a burning smell. In that case, you should have the outlet looked at.

With 24 years of experience, TFC Electric Inc. can help you keep all the members of your family safe from electrical harm. Since 1994, we have been serving Suffolk County with any and all electrical needs. Call us today at 631-589-2800 for more information.

Why You Should Be Scared of Your Buzzing Outlet

Have you ever gone to plug in your phone charger and right before you stuck the prongs into the outlet, heard a slight buzzing coming from the outlet? If so, you’re not the only one. Buzzing outlets can be quite common — but that doesn’t mean you should just ignore them.

There are several reasons you should be concerned about buzzing outlets in your home.

What Causes Buzzing Outlets?

Connectivity Issues

Sometimes, if they’re more worn-out, the wiring connections in your outlets can come loose and cause the outlet to vibrate and make a buzzing sound. This is more common in older homes whose outlets have been in use for a while and haven’t been replaced or repaired over time.

If that’s the case, having your outlets professionally replaced may stop the buzzing.

Breaker Issues

If the breakers in your electrical system are sending too much or too little electricity to your outlets, the imbalance could cause your outlets to buzz. Unlike connectivity issues, breaker issues can’t be solved just at the outlet. You’ll likely need to have the breaker replaced entirely in order to rid your outlets of the annoying buzzing noise.

Polarity Issues

Your outlets can most likely suffer from polarity issues if they weren’t installed correctly to begin with. (This is common if you make electrical work a DIY project or hire a cheap, but shoddy electrician.) If your outlets have polarity issues, you’ll need to have a professional come to your home and fix them.

Why You Should Be Scared of Your Buzzing Outlet

No matter the root reason, buzzing outlets are always the result of improper electrical function. When your outlets aren’t working properly, they put you and your home at risk of electrocution, fires, and other dangerous situations. If you having buzzing outlets, you should have them looked at and repaired ASAP.

 

With 24 years of experience, TFC Electric Inc. can help you keep all the members of your family safe from electrical harm. Since 1994, we have been serving Suffolk County with any and all electrical needs. Call us today at 631-589-2800 for more information.

 

Halloween Lighting Tips

Boo! Halloween is right around the corner! If you haven’t started decorating your home for the spooky holiday, luckily, you still have time — and one of the easiest ways to decorate is by adding some lights to your yard. To make sure you’re getting festive but also following the right safety precautions, here are a few Halloween lighting tips you should follow.

Light Your Pathways

You don’t want trick-or-treaters tripping over themselves because they can’t see where they’re going when they visit your home for candy.  If you don’t already have path lighting, buy a few pumpkin buckets and put portable led lights in them to line your walkways. Now you’re in the Halloween spirit and keeping guests safe.

Create Light-Up Mummies

Need a few more spooky patio decorations? Grab some mason jars and wrap white medical gauze around them. Glue on some googly eyes, and place electric tea light candles inside them so your mason jar mummies can glow atop a patio table.

Hang Eyeballs

We don’t mean real eyeballs, don’t worry. If you don’t want to get actual Halloween lights, take some holiday string lights and ping pong balls and turn your lights into creepy hanging eyes. Simple use permanent markers to draw eyes on the ping pong balls, cut a small hole into each one, and place them over a light.

Whipsy, Haunted Lights

If you have a few connecting lights in your yard, get some black cheesecloth or other whispy fabric, and place it over your lights to give them an eery appearance. Just make sure you don’t place the cloth directly onto any lightbulb, especially if it’s an incandescent bulb, since this can pose a fire hazard.

With 24 years of experience, TFC Electric Inc. can help you keep all the members of your family safe from electrical harm. Since 1994, we have been serving Suffolk County with any and all electrical needs. Call us today at 631-589-2800 for more information.

Scary Ways You Could Electrocute Yourself

A major scare factor in horror movies and haunted houses is someone electrocuting themselves. While you know that electrocution is fake in the movies, it can become a reality if you’re not careful at home.

There are plenty of scary ways you could electrocute yourself just by doing everyday things.

Pulling Out a Cord from An Outlet

When you unplug your hairdryer or lamp, what are you grabbing? If you’re grabbing the actual plug, good. If you’re grabbing the cord and pulling that from the socket, you could easily electrocute yourself.

Using Electronics Why Frayed Wires

The rubber coating on the outside of your electronic cords is there for a reason. If the rubber has broken or worn away in some spots and the wires are frayed, using that appliance could cause electrocution. Either get the cords fixed or toss the electronics altogether.

Touching Water While Handling Electronics

It may be tempting to grab at your phone to answer a call while you’re washing your hands, but you’re smart enough to know that water and electricity do not mix. Keep electronic devices and appliances away from water when you’re using them to avoid getting shocked.

Putting Metal in the Toaster

We’ve all experienced the dilemma when your bread is stuck in the toaster, but don’t use a metal fork or knife to try to get it out. That’s a sure fire way to electrocute yourself. Instead, unplug the appliance and use a heat-safe utensil to get your toast out.

Keeping the Power on During Repairs

Even though all electrical work should be done by a professional, if you’re doing some DIY projects around your house you can easily electrocute yourself if you leave the power on. Always unplug your appliances or electronics before making any repairs.

 

With 24 years of experience, TFC Electric Inc. can help you keep all the members of your family safe from electrical harm. Since 1994, we have been serving Suffolk County with any and all electrical needs. Call us today at 631-589-2800 for more information.

What is Vampire Electricity?

For centuries, folklore, fairy tales, and horror movies have taught us to be afraid of vampires because they’ll suck your blood or turn into a bat and fly madly around your home. In that regard, we have some good and bad news. You don’t have to be afraid of the Hollywood vampire — they’re not real. But you should be afraid of a different kind of vampire: the kind that sucks your electricity.

What is Vampire Electricity?

It has plenty of other names, but this term refers to the electricity that is wasted by appliances and gadgets that, although they’re turned off, still use energy. If that doesn’t scare you, this might: vampire electricity can sometimes account for 20% of your energy bill. Think about that — you’re paying for electricity you didn’t even use.

What are Electricity Vampires?

There are probably dozens of electricity vampires all over your home, and you don’t even realize it. Two huge ones are wall warts and bricks. Wall warts have big plug boxes, such as a phone charger, and bricks have large boxes between cords, often laptop chargers or TVs plugs. When left plugged in, these vampires constantly use energy.

Other Vampires Include:

  • Cable boxes
  • Video game consoles
  • Standby coffee machines
  • Appliances with standby lights or clocks.

How to Control Vampire Electricity

Unplug Your Devices

Does your phone charger really need to be plugged in when you’re not home? No, it doesn’t! Unplug chargers and other devices you don’t often use so they’re not using more energy and hiking up your utility bill.

Use Power Strips

Once you flip the switch to “off” power strips actually cut the power to appliances plugged into them. If you purchase smart power strips, they’ll automatically cut the power when they can tell a device isn’t being used.

With 24 years of experience, TFC Electric Inc. can help you keep all the members of your family safe from electrical harm. Since 1994, we have been serving Suffolk County with any and all electrical needs. Call us today at 631-589-2800 for more information.

Making Your Home More Eco-Friendly

It’s 2018 — there’s no reason your home should be using inefficient systems and appliances that put a bigger strain on our environment and cost you more money. Get with the times, and work to make your home more eco-friendly.

Switch Your Light Bulbs

Get rid of those old halogen bulbs around your home, and replace them with LED or CFL bulbs. These use a fraction of the energy that halogen bulbs do and last much longer, so you’ll be saving money and helping the environment multiple at the same time.

Install Energy-Efficient Windows

Some of the cool or warm air your HVAC system pumps into your home can escape through thin, inefficient windows. While it’s a big investment, replace your current windows with better insulated, energy-efficient ones.

Lay Down Some Carpet

Carpets and rugs can act as insulation to keep conditioned air inside your home and reduce energy waste. If you’re not keen on permanent carpets, throw down some area rugs around the house. Plus, adding them in the bedrooms can keep your feet toasty on cold mornings.

Open Your Blinds

Help out your heating system, and open your blinds when the sun is shining on your home during the day. This helps add more heat to your home and allows your heating system to cycle off sooner, saving energy.

Invest in Energy-Efficient Appliances

Your fridge and washing machines may seem to be doing fine-enough jobs, but it doesn’t mean their working efficiently. Upgrade to energy-efficient appliances that use a fraction of energy compared to older appliances.

Grow Houseplants

Houseplants are a great way to improve your home’s indoor air quality while adding a pretty, decorative touch around the house. They help suck the harmful particles out of the air and pump fresh oxygen back into your home. Clean air makes for a clean home!

 

For help making the electrical components of your home more eco-friendly, trust the experts at TFC Electric. Since 1994, we have been serving Suffolk County with any and all electrical needs. Call us today at 631-589-2800 for more information.

Electrical Safety During a Storm

When the forecast is promising rough weather, you need to start thinking about how you’re going to keep your family safe (and entertained) while the rain and winds rage on outside your home. While the entertainment can likely be covered with a good movie cue, safety is a whole other story.

Make sure your family follows these electrical safety tips during a storm!

Stay Inside

This may sound extremely simple and easy — it is — but you’d be surprised at how many people go outside during a storm to “look at the lightning because it’s so pretty.” Big mistake! Lighting could easily strike and electrocute you, so just watch lighting storms from inside through a window.

This also goes for your animals! Make sure you bring them inside so they’re safe and not terrified during the storm.

Don’t Plug in a Portable Generator

Portable generators require special wiring and/or transfer switches to safely work, so unless you have previously had a licensed electrician prepare your home to allow for a portable generator, you shouldn’t just plug it into any home outlet.

Without the right transfer switch, the generator could create a big risk of electrocution.

Don’t Run a Generator Inside

Portable generators should only be operated outside where there is proper air ventilation, so don’t try to run them in your garage or inside your home. If you have the proper transfer switch, run your generator outside, under a canopy structure to prevent it from getting wet.

Stay Out of Flooded Areas

If heavy rains have caused your basement to flood, even just a little bit, don’t go in the water. Outlets, plugs, or other appliances could have electrically charged the water, so one step into it could electrocute you.

Stay Away from Power Lines

Even if there’s a power outage during or after the storm, don’t assume downed power lines are dead. Report down lines to your utility company, and stay at least 10 feet away from them until a utility worker has inspected them.

With 24 years of experience, TFC Electric Inc. can help you keep all the members of your family safe from electrical harm. Since 1994, we have been serving Suffolk County with any and all electrical needs. Call us today at 631-589-2800 for more information.