How Safe Are Your Children Around Electricity?

a close up of an electrician shaving a wire | colorado springs electricianKids are naturally energetic and curious. They can get into absolutely everything, especially what you don’t want them to. Because of this, kids can get in to danger and we must be diligent about electrical safety in our homes.

Wires

Look out for frayed wires! Fraying typically happens on either end of the wire and can occur because of time or the way in which we use the wires. If they are pinched or bent against the wall by a piece of furniture, a break is likely to happen in the cable and our wires can get damaged. And while a frayed wire may still work, it is dangerous to keep around.

Children can find frayed wires and hurt themselves due to the overheating of the wires, the sharpness of the frayed wire itself or the electrical charge that can run through them if touched with wet or sticky hands, something young kids tend to have. Don’t try to repair a frayed wire. Replace it.

Keep your wires close to the walls. If you have wire running through the middle of rooms or doorways, they are easy for kids to trip over which will cause harm. Keep wires out of well-travelled areas.

Outlets

Check your outlets! Kids love these things! Naturally curious children tend to stick things into the mysterious holes. If you have a lot of outlets within reach of children in your home, make sure they are tamper resistant receptacles or that the outlets are covered.

Tamper resistant receptacles stop objects other than electrical plugs from being inserted. They have been required in new builds and renovations since 2008. If you have a newer home, you likely have these already. If not, or if you’re unsure, your outlets can be inspected and new ones installed, if needed, by a professional.

Outlet protectors can also be purchased and put into outlets. For them to be effective, remember to place them back in the outlet after using it.

Lights

Examine your lights! Any bulbs that we use in our kids rooms should be LED and produce lower heat so they are not burning to touch. As well, we should make sure that no lights bulbs are touching blankets, curtains, stuffed animals, scattered clothes or books in our kids’ rooms or the rest of our house.

And don’t forget to teach your kids about electrical safety! Instruct them about what they should stay away from, look out for and why.

Summary

Electricity is convenient and helps us enjoy safer, happier, healthier, homes. However, it can also be dangerous if misused. Make sure your children are aware of the dangers, and of the simply precautions to stay safe. Give One Source Home Service in Colorado Springs a call today if you’re concerned about the electricity in your home.

6 Sounds You Don’t Want To Hear From Your Air Conditioning or Furnace

old rusty hvac system that needs repair in colorado springsWhen summer is coming on, it can be surprising how quickly we adjust the thermostat from giving us a little heat in the morning to take the chill off the house to switching on the air conditioning to combat the afternoon heat. Even if the furnace has been working well throughout the winter, if you start hearing one of these seven sounds, you may have a problem and need to contact an HVAC professional before it turns into an even larger repair bill.

Scraping Sound

A loud scraping noise, a grating metal-on-metal sound, coming from inside your furnace could be a serious problem with the blower wheel. Maybe the wheel is coming apart from the shaft and scraping the casing or in some other way the motor is causing the wheel to scrape the casing. Turn off the air conditioning and/or furnace immediately and call an HVAC service company.

Fast Clicking/Flicking Sound

Remember that sound when you were a kid and attached a playing card to the spokes of your bicycle wheel? If you hear that kind of fast thwapping sound from your furnace, something might be stuck on one of the blower wheel blades or one the housing around the wheel. While your air conditioning (or heat) may be working just fine, this stuck object is causing resistance and it will cause excessive wear on the motor. Get it cleaned up by a furnace technician.

Squealing Sound

A squealing noise from the blower motor could be caused by a belt wearing out. That’s normally not an expensive repair and best taken care of before the belt stretches further or breaks.

Grinding Or Metal Groaning Sound

A bearing problem in the blower motor will make a dull repetitive groan. Some blower motors have ports for adding lubricant, but some are sealed. Adding lubricant will often eliminate the groaning sound, but you have to use the correct oil, not WD-40. An HVAC company doing an annual maintenance inspection on your furnace would like do this kind of lubrication.

Rattling Sound

If you hear a rattling sound from your central air conditioning unit outside of the house when the air conditioning is coming on, the hardware around the compressor could be loose. An air conditioning service repair person should be contacted.

Popping Sound Or Banging Sound

If you turn on the furnace for heat and you hear popping sounds or a distinct banging sound (like from a cap gun), the furnace probably has dirty burners that need to be cleaned. The gas is not being ignited right away. Instead it’s building up and then igniting in a mini-explosion. You’ll want to get this serviced by a professional immediately.

Summary

When operating properly, your HVAC system should be fairly quiet, but if you’re hearing one of these seven sounds you really should contact One Source Home Services in Colorado Springs to come in and repair the problem before it turns into an even bigger problem.

Eliminate Those Pesky Toilet Clogs

Plumber's tools on toilet at colorado springs home | colorado springs plumberIt’s a really good idea to have a plunger in the bathroom for the next time the toilet is clogged. It can easily be stored under the sink or in a storage closet. And it is the best and quickest way to clear most clogs from the toilet.

But what if you don’t have a plunger? Maybe you’re at the cottage without a plunger. Maybe your plunger broke and you haven’t hand a chance to get a new one. Is there any hope for clearing a clog?

Hot water

Put on the kettle and pour a full kettle of hot water into the toilet. This works surprisingly well most of the time. It works even better when used in conjunction with a plunger, but will often been effective even without it.

Baking soda and vinegar

You might have heard of the recommendation to use baking soda and vinegar to unclog a sink. This fizzing/dissolving solution can sometimes work for a clogged toilet too. You don’t want to recreate your volcano project from elementary school so be careful with the amount of baking soda and vinegar you combine in the toilet bowl. Start by scooping out a quarter-cup of baking soda into the toilet bowl as close to the drain as possible and then add an equal amount (quarter-cup) of vinegar. The bubbles and fizzing action should drop down to the clog. Depending on the result you see you may want to repeat or try a half-cup. Follow it up by pouring a kettle full of hot water into the bowl.

Even if this doesn’t full clear the clog, if you see improvement repeat the baking soda and vinegar. When it fully works you should hear a quick suction sound and then see the water drain naturally. Follow up with hot water and a couple of flushes to be sure it’s cleared.

What not to do

Many homeowners will run to the grocery store and purchase a bottle of chemicals that are supposedly “guaranteed” to clear the drain. We do not recommend these products as they are harsh chemicals. They are unsafe and may be corrosive to your plumbing or cause damage to older pipes. They may even cause serious injury if they splash on you or on a technician who comes in to clear the clog. Consumers often report that these drain-cleaning chemicals fail to clear stubborn clogs. In many cases you’re just pouring your money down the drain with these chemicals.

Don’t ever use baking soda and vinegar before or after using these drain-cleaning chemicals. Remember it’s impossible to completely clear out all these different components before trying something different because after all the drain is clogged.

The best solutions…

If the hot water and baking soda, vinegar and hot water methods fails to unclog your toilet, you could always go out and buy yourself a plunger. There are definitely times when a clog is so stubborn that only a professional plumber will be able to clear it completely and quickly. So don’t hesitate to call One Source Home Service in Colorado Springs if these methods fail to clear the clog.

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