Home & Family

Home Electrical Safety

Tips, Tricks & Safety Musts

At Maglio Electric, our dedicated team of electrical contractors has the experience to do the job right, and we understand that safety and reliability are the two critical measures of success in any electrical project.

Click below for safety tips and home electrical advice from the Maglio Electric team.

  • Loose Plugs

    If you plug something into a household receptacle and the plug falls out, your outlet contacts are probably worn out. While this is not a code violation, it is much more than a frustration. It is a dangerous situation for your home and family! Worn-out contacts that won’t grip your plug could lead to electrical arcing. Think of an arc as a mini lightning bolt, which could heat up construction materials and become a fire hazard.

    Solution: Replacing the outlet. This is a very inexpensive task requiring a new receptacle (less than $5 at most hardware stores), a screwdriver, and a voltage tester. However, if you do not feel comfortable or qualified to replace the receptacle on your own, contact a licensed electrician to do the job. The charge will be minimal, and it’s an investment in your safety and peace of mind.

  • Tree Lighting Safety

    Holiday trees make any home welcoming, but they can quickly become a danger if homeowners aren’t mindful about safety. When it’s time to put up the tree, be smart about lighting choices. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) estimate that 240 annual home fires involve holiday trees. These fires lead to nearly two-dozen annual deaths, over 2500 injuries, and over $900 million in property damage. Keep the following tips in mind as you decorate your home for this year’s seasonal festivities.

    Real Trees

    Buy fresh, healthy trees. You should be able to pull on the branches and see very few falling needles, if any. Dry trees + string lights & heat sources = fire danger. Before decorating your tree, make a fresh cut one to two inches from the bottom of the trunk to ensure that the tree can “drink” properly. Check the tree’s stand every day, and add water as needed. Do not allow water levels to drop below the bottom of the tree trunk.

    Additional tips for live trees:

    • Never set up your tree near a fireplace, heating register, or radiator.
    • Avoid using real candles to decorate the tree.
    • Check all light strands before you use them to ensure that they are UL-approved and structurally sound.
    • Plug light strands into a working GFCI receptacle.
    • Never leave holiday lights on when you go to bed or leave the house.
    • Discard live trees by four weeks after purchase.

    Artificial Trees

    Artificial trees are convenient, but they can still be hazardous. Made of plastic and similar synthetic materials, fake trees can burn when there is a lighting malfunction or spark from a nearby heat source. To reduce the chance of fire, purchase a fire-retardant tree with UL-approved light strands. Plug lights into GFCI receptacles, and unplug the tree when you go to bed or leave for the evening. Remember, if your artificial tree is consumed by fire, it can release dangerous toxins from the plastic ingredients. Avoid chemical exposure and get help immediately.

    An Important Note About Electrical Safety

    No matter what type of tree you decide on, be sure that light strands, extension cords, and power strips are purchased from a reputable manufacturer, and are UL-approved for safety. Do not use cheap electrical products purchased at discount stores or packaged in boxes without proper labels detailing the manufacturer and reputable certification marks. Some counterfeit electrical materials are not properly tested for safe consumer use.

    Don’t take unnecessary risks to make your home merry! When it comes to holiday lighting, the best way to prevent fires is to be vigilant about safety. Questions about tree or holiday lighting? Our licensed electricians are happy to help. Dial 908.735.6218 to speak with a member of the Maglio Electric team, or visit the National Fire Protection Association for more tree tips.

  • Dangers of Overlamping

    Even if you haven’t heard the electrical industry term “overlamping,” chances are you’ve been guilty of it at some point. Overlamping occurs when you install a light bulb that’s higher in wattage than your fixture manufacturer recommends. Overlamping is an electrical code violation that can be quite hazardous.

    High-wattage bulbs get very hot, sometimes melting the socket and wiring insulation. When this happens, the risk of electrical arcing is increased. Arcing occurs when an electrical current skips from one wire to another, leading to sparks and fire danger. Even if you avoid a fire, your fixture and nearby wiring is permanently damaged after arcing occurs.

    To keep your family safe and protect your home’s electrical system, be careful which bulb you grab. Use light bulbs that match your fixture’s recommended wattage (printed on post-1985 fixtures). If you have an older fixture that does not provide a recommendation, never use bulbs over 60 watts.

    Questions about overlamping? Call the licensed electrical team at Maglio Electric or connect with us online today!

  • Flickering Lights

    Lights that flicker on a windy day may set the tone for a fantastic ghost story, but in reality the cause is all too common. The problem comes with an easy fix by your licensed electrician.

    The power lines that come into your home from outside fit into a box-like device called a weatherhead. The wiring is covered with a protective coating that reduces the risk of fire and electrical shock. However, age and other factors (some of them weather-related) can cause the wiring to become frayed.

    When the wind blows, the fraying cables temporarily short out, causing a flickering of the lights. While you’re not violating any codes with the occasional flickering light, it’s a fire risk that should be repaired.

    Call a licensed electrician specializing in residential repairs. They can work with your local utility company to replace the weatherhead and keep your family safe.

  • Not Enough Outlets

    Today’s electrical codes require outlets within four feet of each doorway, and every 12 feet after that. In some cases, older homes rely on power strips and extension cords to meet their electrical needs.

    While heavy-duty (at least 14-gauge) extension cords or surge protectors may be a temporary solution to your electrical access problems, avoid using them for the long-term as this increases your risk of home or business fire. The best way to ensure that you have enough outlets to meet your needs is to have a licensed electrician install more receptacles. This project is relatively inexpensive, and it makes life much easier and safer.

    Keep in mind that your licensed electrician may need to cut holes in ceilings or walls to do this properly, so plan on hiring a drywall contractor when the project is complete.

  • Food Safety After a Power Outage

    Foodborne illness is serious; so it’s important to plan ahead for storm outages and carefully consider what to keep or toss after an outage strikes.

    Preparation:

    1. Keep several blocks of ice and a few cheap, foam coolers on hand. These inexpensive supplies can prevent costly food replacement.
    2. Purchase nonperishable items that don’t require refrigeration. Choices should be high in protein, complex carbohydrates and other nutrients. Examples include peanut and almond butter, shelf-stable dairy products, canned chicken and tuna, soups, trail mix, nuts and seeds, healthy cereals, dried fruit and bottled water.
    3. Purchase a small grill for outdoor use. (NEVER use a propane or charcoal grill in your garage, basement or other interior space, as it will produce dangerous carbon monoxide fumes.)

    Food Safety Tips:

    1. According to the Red Cross, perishable foods like meat, eggs and dairy products are dangerous when stored above 40 degrees for 2+ hours. When an outage lasts less than two hours, most foods are safe if the refrigerator door remains closed.
    2. Food in a half-full freezer lasts up to 24 hours, while food in a full freezer lasts twice as long. Again, avoid opening the freezer unless absolutely necessary.
    3. If you believe an outage will last longer than two hours, put meat, dairy products, eggs and leftover meals in an ice-filled cooler. You may also need to put freezer items in a cooler during prolonged outages. Use a digital thermometer to ensure that coolers stay below 40 degrees. During winter, to set coolers outside for added refrigeration.
    4. Visit foodsafety.gov for a comprehensive list of food dangers. The website discusses refrigerated and frozen items in detail, and has a handy printable reference.
    5. Never risk your health or your family’s health. When in doubt, throw it out. If you are unsure whether food has become too warm during an outage, replace it. Money savings is not worth the risk of illness.
  • Is Old Wiring Safe?

    While all of the wiring in your older home may not be entirely “unsafe,” it’s not a risk you should take. Until 1940, many builders installed knob and tube wiring. Knob and tube wiring does not meet contemporary electrical codes, and many insurance companies cite this type of wiring as a fire hazard. In addition, many older homes suffer from flickering lights, hot faceplates and problematic circuits—and these could cause a fire if left unaddressed. Even if wiring seems to be functioning well, it is a good idea to update the electrical system in homes that are over 40 years old. This type of service upgrade makes your property safer, more functional, and more energy efficient.

    Wiring can cost thousands to replace, so it’s important to schedule a consultation with a qualified electrical contractor to get the most from your investment. It may be possible to do some retrofitting without a whole-home rewiring, but it’s always best to consult an expert before making a decision.

    In the meantime, if you experience flickering lights, hot light switches and outlets, or frequent circuit overloads, it is important to schedule an appointment ASAP. Problems like these may indicate the presence of a larger electrical issue, which increases fire danger and puts you and your family at risk.

  • Food Safety After a Storm or Power Outage

    Lengthy power outages put you at risk for foodborne illness, so it’s important to know: (1) how to prepare for an outage by keeping staples on hand, (2) which refrigerated and frozen foods are safe to eat after the power goes out, and (3) which foods should be discarded after a long outage.

    Be Prepared

    • Keep two or three coolers and several blocks and bags of ice on hand, year-round. Even inexpensive foam coolers can save you hundreds in food replacement.
    • Invest in shelf-stable foods that can sustain you when a storm, disaster or outage lasts for several days. Options should be high in protein, fiber and important nutrients, and may include single- and multi-serve boxed milk products, peanut & almond butter, trail mix, nuts & seeds, dried fruit, canned tuna & chicken, canned vegetables, soups, and bottled water.
    • Use a grill or propane stove if you have access to the outdoors. NEVER use these devices indoors, since they put off harmful CO2 fumes.

    Avoid Foodborne Illness

    • According to the Red Cross’ rule of thumb, perishables like meat, eggs and dairy products become dangerous when stored above 40 degrees for two hours or more. Generally speaking, outages shorter than two hours are not a problem—but it is important to keep your refrigerator closed during this time to prevent a loss of cold air.
    • Food in a half-full freezer can last up to 24 hours, while food in a full freezer lasts up to 48 hours. Again, avoid opening and closing the freezer unless absolutely necessary.
    • If you know that an outage will last longer than a couple of hours, remove meat, milk, dairy products, eggs and leftovers and place them in your ice-filled cooler. If the outage continues for a day or more, do the same with items inside your freezer compartment. Use a digital thermometer to ensure that coolers stay at 40 degrees or less. Another handy tip: consider setting them outside during a snow or ice storm for prolonged storage.
    • Visit www.foodsafety.gov for a detailed list of which foods to save and which to toss after an outage lasting more than two hours. The website provides comprehensive information about freezer foods and refrigerated items.
    • Do not take chances when it comes to perishable food. If you don’t know whether food has become too warm during an outage, throw it away and replace it. It is not worth the risk to eat something you’re unsure about.
  • Tree Lighting Safety

    When it’s time to don the holiday décor, remember to prioritize fire safety. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), an estimated 240 annual home fires directly involve Christmas trees. USFA reports indicate that these tree fires lead to nearly two dozen annual deaths, over 2500 injuries, and $900+ million in property damage.

    Whether you celebrate with a real or artificial tree, there is an increased fire risk if you are not mindful of tree placement and light safety.

    Real Trees: Purchase the freshest tree possible. The combination of a dry tree, electrical lighting and other heat sources can be a deadly one. Avoid setting up your tree near fireplaces, radiators, candles, etc., which increase fire risk and dry your tree out faster. Throw out damaged lights, and make sure the ones you use are UL-approved and that they are plugged into a GFCI receptacle. Finally, unplug or turn off tree lights when you head to bed.

    Artificial Trees: Purchase a fire-retardant tree. While this does not eliminate fire danger, it helps. Made primarily of plastic and similar materials, artificial trees are susceptible to fire from a lighting malfunction or another heat source. When artificial trees burn, they release toxins into the air. If you are using an artificial tree, set it up away from external heat sources (fireplaces, radiators, etc.) and use GFCI receptacles for light strings. Again, unplug the tree when you go to bed or leave for the evening.

    When it comes to holiday lighting, the best way to prevent fires is to be vigilant about safety as you set up and enjoy the tree. If you prefer live trees, the NFPA reminds homeowners to discard even well-watered trees by four weeks after purchase.

  • Cleaning & Maintaining Exhaust Fans

    Your bathroom fan doesn’t just remove odor. It’s also designed to prevent the mold growth that comes with moisture retention. As you steam up the bathroom during hot showers, moisture settles quickly. Running your exhaust fan dries out the bathroom so mold doesn’t make its home on shower curtains, caulk, walls, and other surfaces.

    Few people take time to clean these helpful bathroom exhaust fans. Unfortunately, neglecting this simple task leads to unhealthy—or unsafe—consequences. Dirty exhaust fans fail to remove moisture from the air, causing mold to grow in vents and along bathroom surfaces. In addition, dirty fans can be a fire risk if lint accumulates in the unit. Here’s how you can prevent mold growth and fire hazards:

    1. Shut off power to your bathroom at the main electrical panel.
    2. Remove the fan cover by unscrewing it from the ceiling or wall.
    3. If possible, remove the fan blade by taking out additional screws. If the blade will not come out, vacuum around it and wipe it down with a wet cloth.
    4. Wash the vent cover (and the fan blade, if possible) in mild dish detergent and warm water. You may need a scrub brush to remove stubborn buildup between grooves in the vent cover. Allow the cover and blade to air dry.
    5. Put the blade and vent cover back on, taking care to tighten screws properly so they don’t fall out during fan vibration.
    6. In a pinch, use canned air to blow the dust out of your fan. It’s not the most thorough method, but it helps.

    Additional note: Make sure your exhaust fans are thermally protected. Thermal protection means that your fan will shut down if the motor overheats. In older homes, thermally protected fans were not the standard, so check to be sure.

  • Holiday Safety

    To safely display holiday lights without presenting a danger to your home or family, remember the following tips:

    • Before hanging holiday lights, examine each strand for frayed wires, cracked bulbs or other damage. Replace damaged light strings.
    • Make sure that all holiday lights have been tested and rated for safety by the Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL). Avoid purchasing used light strands that do not include a box with manufacturer’s specifications and safety rating data.
    • Follow manufacturer’s instructions about indoor/outdoor light use. The manufacturer may also specify how many strands can be safely used together. Typically you should not attach more than three strands of holiday lights together.
    • Do not overload circuits, and plug all lights into a GFCI-protected outlet to avoid shock. Use a surge protector when plugging in multiple light strands.
    • Unplug holiday lighting if you’ll be sleeping or away from home.
    • Don’t cover lighting wires with rugs or furniture. If wiring becomes hot or damaged, it could start a fire. Instead, keep wires exposed; running them along the base of a wall so they will not trip passersby.
    • If you have small children, cover unused outlets with safe plastic caps.

    To avoid leaving holiday lights on by mistake, use lighting timers for indoor and outdoor holiday lights.

  • Power Outage
    • Turn off lights, appliances, and electronic devices to reduce damage caused by a sudden electrical surge. Leave only one small lamp on. It will alert you when electrical service is restored.
    • Use flashlights during a power outage instead of candles. Candles are especially dangerous if there are unexpected carbon monoxide emissions in your home—since they could spark a fire.
    • Determine whether your entire house or a portion of your house has lost power. If only a portion of your home is dark, look for a tripped breaker. Flip the tripped breaker switch and check to see if power is restored.
    • If your entire home is without power, contact your electrical provider. The company will have information about block- or community-wide outages.
    • If flipping the breaker switch or contacting your electrical provider does not solve your outage problem, avoid putting your family at risk. Contact a licensed electrical contractor immediately. You may also wish to take refuge at a friend or family’s home until the problem is solved.
    • NEVER operate a generator indoors, in your basement, or in a closed garage. To avoid toxic carbon monoxide buildup, generators should always be used outdoors. Always read the manufacturer’s instructions before powering up any generator model.
    • If you are outdoors during a power outage, do not approach or drive over downed power lines. Call 911 if a damaged power line is causing immediate danger. Otherwise, alert your local utility company about the damage.
  • Whole-House Surge Protection

    A power surge, also called a “transient over-voltage,” is a sudden voltage boost that impacts your electronics and causes a fire hazard. Surges come from a variety of sources, including lightning strikes, automobile and construction accidents, and utility malfunctions. Entering your home through telephone wires, electric wiring or cable TV hookups, high-voltage surges can damage appliances, HVAC systems, entertainment systems and home office equipment.

    To protect your home and your family from dangerous power surges, you need more than a power strip purchased from the hardware store. You can safeguard your residence by ensuring that it is properly grounded. When your home is grounded, a power surge will not make it into your electrical system. Instead, it will be directed to the ground around your property.

    While most new homes are built to include surge protection, many older homes are not properly equipped for power surges. If your home was not designed with surge protection, a whole-house surge protector can guard it against the catastrophic damage caused by stray electric charges.

    To learn more about protecting yourself from electronic loss while reducing your home’s risk of fire damage, contact the experts at Maglio Electric. Our team will conduct an on-site evaluation of your home, and determine which surge protection measures will achieve your goals and meet your budget requirements. To schedule an appointment, contact our team today!

  • Electrical Safety

    Each year, thousands of homes and businesses are ravaged by electrical fires caused by improper wiring, faulty fixtures, and damaged electrical connections. To avoid electrical hazards and prevent related injuries and property loss, Maglio Electric urges you to follow these important electrical safety tips:

    • Regularly check your home or business for damaged outlets, frayed electrical cords, flickering lights, misused extension cords, and overloaded electrical outlets. When usage exceeds recommended wattage or electrical equipment is damaged, fires or shock may occur.
    • Place fire extinguishers in key areas of your home or business. Remember to check expiration dates frequently, and replace extinguishers as necessary.
    • Electrical projects can be dangerous! Rather than attempting them yourself, hire an experienced, licensed electrical contractor to complete repairs and installations.
    • Test all Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI’s) regularly to ensure that they’re operating safely and correctly. First, press the reset button on the GFCI before plugging in a small lamp. Press the GFCI “test” button. Your lamp should turn off. To restart the flow of electricity, push the “reset” button. Your lamp should turn back on.
    • To eliminate lighting hazards, do not exceed recommended fixture wattage. Look inside the fixture to determine correct wattage when it’s time to replace the bulb.
  • Lightning Protection

    Number one on the list of home insurance claims, lightning does over $1 billion in damage to U.S. buildings each year. According to the Lightning Protection Institute, a single bolt of lighting can carry more than 30 million volts of electricity. To protect yourself and your family from NJ lightning storms, remember these tips:

    • Do not use landline telephones during lightning storms since the electrical current can follow the phone line. If you must make a call, use your cell phone. It’s also a good idea to avoid taking a bath or shower during a storm, since water conducts electricity.
    • In advance of a storm, protect your electronics by disconnecting the internet, satellite connections, TV antennas, computers, etc. DO NOT attempt to disconnect electronics during a lightning storm, however—since you could be electrocuted during a power surge.
    • Utilize point-of-use surge protector strips throughout your home. While they are not foolproof, they can help to mitigate sudden spikes in power.
    • Hire a qualified NJ electrician to install residential lightning protection. Depending upon your home’s structural requirements, this may include air terminals, grounding rods, metallic bonds, surge arresters/suppressors, and tree protection systems.

    If you are concerned about preparing your New Jersey home for a potential lightning strike, Maglio Electric can help. To learn more about purchasing a high-quality lightning protection system for your home, call the Maglio team at 908-735-6218 or 908-735-2126 today.

  • Frying Turkeys

    If a turkey fryer is part of your holiday tradition, safety is critical. Observe the following safety tips as you’re entertaining this year:

    • NEVER use a turkey fryer indoors, in your garage, or on a wooden deck. Turkey fryers must be used outdoors, and placed a safe distance from your home or other building materials.
    • Find a flat surface for your turkey fryer. Accidental tipping could cause major injury to the user or nearby guests.
    • Use safety equipment such as goggles and heavy-duty oven mitts during cooking. Splattering oil is dangerous for eyes and skin.
    • NEVER leave your turkey fryer unattended. Many fryers do not have temperature controls, and oil may catch fire as it overheats.
    • Don’t allow children or pets near the fryer, even after you’re finished cooking. Fryer oil remains hot for hours after use and could cause severe injury upon exposure.
    • Properly thaw your turkey before cooking. The National Turkey Federation (NTF) recommends 24 hours of thawing time for every five pounds of turkey weight.
    • Keep a fire extinguisher nearby for emergencies. When fires become unmanageable, remove yourself from the area and call the fire department.

    At Maglio Electric, we are committed to your holiday safety. For questions about using your turkey fryer, carefully read the manufacturer’s insert and all included fryer instructions. For concerns about holiday electrical safety, call Maglio Electric at 908-735-6218 or 908-735-2126.

  • Candle Safety

    As the holidays approach, many New Jersey home and business owners celebrate with rich, warm candlelight and scented wax burners. Unfortunately, this seasonal cheer comes with an increasing risk of structural fires and skin burns. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, most candle-related fires result from human error and negligence—and an average of 42 home candle fires are reported every day. To avoid injury and safeguard your family, employees and guests, be vigilant about fire safety before burning candles or tart warmers. Remember:

    • Light candles or wax burners in a safe, open space. Most candle-related fires result from furniture, curtains or other textiles coming into contact with an open flame. All objects should be at least one foot away from burning candles.
    • Keep hair and loose clothing away from lighters, matches, and candles.
    • Keep candles in sturdy glass, metal or ceramic containers, and place them where they are out of reach and cannot be easily knocked down.
    • Do not leave your burning candle or tart warmer unattended. In nearly 20 percent of cases, the U.S. Fire Administration reports that candle fires occur when homeowners abandon the flame—whether intentionally or unintentionally.
    • Avoid lighting candles late at night. Statistics indicate that nearly half of candle fires occur between midnight and 6 am, since people fall asleep without extinguishing the flame. Set an alarm to remind you to blow out candles before bed.
    • Do not use candles in a home where oxygen is in use. A spark in an oxygen-filled room can quickly set off a fire.
    • Do not allow children to light or extinguish candles without supervision. When children are small, it is best to keep them away from flames altogether. When you do allow them to help, set a good example by explaining proper safety guidelines.
    • When possible, avoid lighting candles. Many stores carry electric or battery-operated candles that simulate a real flame and are much safer to use.

    At Maglio Electric, your safety is our priority. Always keep decorative or fragranced candles within sight while they burn, and protect them from drafts and air currents. For more questions about holiday safety, contact the Maglio team at 908-735-6218 or 908-735-2126 today!

  • Generator Installation

    Standby electric generators can be a lifesaver during inclement weather, power outages, and other disasters, and (depending upon size) can power most major electrical appliances in your home. However, if the generator is not installed properly—it could be deadly to you, your family, and electric company lineman working to restore power in the area. Installation of your GE or Briggs & Stratton standby generator should never be considered a “do-it-yourself” task.

    To install a NJ standby electric generator, a qualified electrical contractor must (1) install a complex transfer switch that generally requires the addition of an adjunct electrical panel, (2) have a qualified plumber connect a fuel source, and (3) hardwire the appliance into your home’s electrical system. Incorrect wiring or electrical work could cause electrical overload, leading to a structural fire. It is also important to note that your GE or Briggs & Stratton generator produces carbon monoxide exhaust, which can cause illness or death when inhaled. Your generator must be properly placed and installed in order to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, and a reputable electrical contractor is trained to do this. In addition, the local authority having jurisdiction must make inspections during the installation process—and when the generator installation is complete.

    At Maglio Electric, we are concerned about the safety and wellbeing of your family, employees, and guests. Certified in standby electric generator installation, our technicians work to safeguard your home or business in the event of an emergency. Call today to schedule your generator installation or request an estimate.

  • Breaker Safety Tips

    Every now and then, an electrical overload trips your circuit breaker and it needs to be reset. If the breaker trips again right after you reset it, however, you could have a significant problem on your hands. While breakers do wear down over time and this situation could signal a faulty breaker or an ongoing electrical overload, it is often indicative of a serious underlying problem.

    Should this occur, do not attempt to fix the breaker yourself, as this could prove to be very dangerous. Instead, unplug all appliances drawing power from the affected circuit(s) and stop trying to reset it. A breaker that trips over and over could trigger an electrical fire. Report the problem to the Maglio Electric service team, and we will dispatch a technician to safely repair the underlying problem.

  • Electrical Safety Checklist

    It’s easy to take a home’s electrical system for granted. Consistent, reliable and safe electric service has always been right at our fingertips!

    Unfortunately, for as long as we’ve had electricity running through our homes, we’ve had to deal with accidents. In-home electrical fires and accidents result in hundreds of American deaths and thousands of critical injuries each year. In addition, over 50,000 home fires result in more than $1.3 billion in annual property damage.

    That’s why thorough, routine inspections are so important in maintaining your home’s safety. To make it easy, Maglio has put together a handy guide designed to keep your home safe from electrical hazards. Click here to learn more.

  • Putting Out an Electrical Fire

    The first and most important step in putting out an electrical fire sounds very simple: DO NOT THROW WATER ON IT. The challenge is keeping a cool head and remembering this important rule when you need it. Because water conducts electricity, throwing water on this type of fire can spread it—and put you at risk for electrocution.

    Instead, follow these steps in the event of an electrical fire:

    • Call the fire department, and let them know it’s an electrical fire.
    • Shut off the electricity, whether it’s pulling the plug or shutting off the main breakers to the house.
    • If possible, put out the flames using a class-C or multi-purpose ABC fire extinguisher. You cannot use any other type of fire extinguisher on an electrical fire. The extinguisher should be clearly marked, but if you’re unsure—do not use it.
    • If you don’t have the right fire extinguisher and the fire is small, dousing it with baking soda may be enough to put it out.
    • Get out of the house and wait for help to arrive.

    To remember these important tips, print and post them in your kitchen: on the refrigerator, or inside a cabinet door. There is nothing more important than your safety, and our caring professionals are happy to answer your safety questions upon request.

  • Flickering Lights

    Lights that flicker or trip the circuit breaker in your home might seem like just a small annoyance. In reality, though, this situation is a potential fire hazard that requires prompt attention. Loose wiring splices or old light fixtures that have seen better days can cause consistent issues with flickering lights. Replacing the faulty, worn out items solves your circuit breaker problems and reduces the risk of electrical fire.

    To investigate the source of flickering lights, a Maglio technician will shut off the power to the fixture in question and examine it for loose connectors. Depending on what they find, they may need to remove old, loose wiring splices or connectors and install professional grade replacements—in addition to replacing the old fixture with a new one.

    It can be very dangerous to replace fixtures and connectors without the help of a trained electrician. Rather than diagnosing the flicker yourself, call on Maglio Electric for assistance. Our electrical contracting experts are happy to answer your questions or repair safety problems at your home or business, and we provide competitively priced solutions to light and wiring replacement.

  • Warm Outlet Faceplate

    While it’s not out of the ordinary for a dimmer switch to be slightly warm, other warm outlets and faceplates may be cause for concern. If you notice a faceplate that feels warm to the touch, there could be several causes.

    • You may be operating too large an electrical load, especially if you are using a multi-outlet adapter and have several things plugged in at once.
    • Your home may have insufficient wiring to accommodate your electrical load.
    • There may be a loose electrical connection behind the outlet or switch.

    It’s a good idea to call a qualified electrician to investigate outlets that stay warm—especially when they’re not in use. Schedule a service call and avoid using the outlet until help arrives. If the outlet is hot to the touch, cut power to the circuit and call an electrician immediately. A hot outlet is a serious fire hazard, not to mention an injury hazard for children and pets that might inadvertently touch the faceplate. Do not attempt to fix the problem yourself. Your NJ electrical contractor will check for loose and melted wires or burned insulation when they evaluate the faceplate, and will recommend a cost-effective solution to ensure your safety.

  • Extension Cord

    Do you have an extension cord that’s wrapped in electrical tape or has loose connectors? These are natural results of wear and tear, but it’s important to balance the need for safety with your desire to get the most life out of your electrical equipment.

    • If your cord has a damaged section, you can cut it off and attach a new connector. This will decrease the overall length of the cord, but it’s cheaper than purchasing a new one. If you are not familiar with this process, do not attempt it.
    • If your connectors are loose, they should be replaced. Loose connectors are unstable and pose a fire hazard. Don’t use the cord until you have new, tight-fitting connectors.
    • If your cord is badly damaged, don’t take chances. Purchase a new extension cord. It’s not worth the risk to continue using the old one.
  • Shower Shock

    If you experience a mild electrical shock when your body comes into contact with a metal fixture in the shower, discontinue your shower and call the utility company or a qualified electrician, ASAP. More than likely, you have a grounding problem.

    When water flows through plumbing, it creates a small amount of static electricity, which is typically dispersed by proper grounding. If the ground is installed improperly—or not at all—static buildup can lead to an uncomfortable shock. There may also be an open circuit in the main water line, which must be addressed by the water company.

    Water + electricity is not a good combination, and you should take shower shock seriously. To schedule a troubleshooting appointment or speak with a master electrician, contact the Maglio team today.

  • Portable Generators and Ethanol Gas

    As ethanol-gasoline blends become more common at the pump, the alcohol content is taking a toll on small engines. While it may be a renewable fuel, ethanol gas is hard on motors like those found in portable generators. Ethanol contains alcohol, which causes engines to run unusually hot. In addition, ethanol formulations are highly corrosive.

    To avoid damage due to ethanol-enhanced fuels, do not allow the fuel to sit in your generator tank for long periods. Drain the fuel tank, or add an ethanol stabilizer if that is not possible. Without a stabilizer, the ethanol attracts condensation and separates from the gasoline. When you start the generator, water and/or ethanol may be drawn into the fuel line, causing the engine to stall.

    The best option: when possible, choose ethanol-free gas to prevent rust, corrosion or engine failure from ruining your backup power investment.

  • Loose Outlets and Switches

    When outlet receptacles or light switches become “wiggly” and are pulling away from the wall, it may be because the plate is not securely mounted to the electrical box it guards—or the electrical box is no longer secured to the stud behind it.

    Some simple solutions:

    • You may just need to tighten the mounting screws with a small screwdriver. Do not overtighten, as this may shatter the outlet cover.
    • If tightening these screws does not work, turn off your home’s power at the electrical panel before attempting further repairs. When you remove the faceplate, you may notice that the outlet does not fit tightly between the plate and the electrical box. If this is the case, purchase inexpensive outlet spacers from your local hardware store. These small plastic pieces slide between the outlet and the power box, eliminating the “outlet wiggle” and improving electrical safety.
    • In some cases, the electrical box may need to be remounted to the supporting stud. If you are not comfortable doing this, call a NJ electrical professional to complete the job. Remember, loose and damaged receptacles can be a fire hazard, so it’s important to repair them before continuing their use.

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"Thank you so very much for your quick response to my problems. It certainly reassured my worries and I will always remember and appreciate it. My best to you and yours." Rosemarie Pacella Whitehouse Station, NJ
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