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Note to #1 in the article. In addition to certain outlets requiring GFCI protection, some of these outlets need to be listed as weather resistant, these outlets are made to be more resistant to rust, they must also be tamper resistant (TR/WR). The article fails to mention also that ALL easily accessible replacement outlets are required to be listed as Tamper Resistant (TR). These outlets are constructed with "shutters" built inside that keep a child from being able to insert anything into them. Additionally, all 15 and 20A circuits in the home are now required to be protected by Arc Fault Circuit Interruption (AFCI). There are a couple of exceptions to the AFCI requirement, but the circuits that are excluded typically are required to have GFCI protection. The days of removing an old 2-prong outlet and popping in a new one are long gone.
Sometimes you hear it when you turn on an appliance. Sometimes you hear it when you're doing nothing at all. The popping sound from a breaker box is a dangerous problem, as it likely indicates arcing electricity. The wire connections in the box might not be connected well, or they might have deteriorated to a dangerous state. Either way, don't go near that electrical panel! We have the proper tools and safety gear to tackle your troublesome wires, so call us right away.
Handy-man services can not legally install, repair, or alter your electrical system unless they are duly licensed by the State of North Carolina. Electricity works when it is wrong, that doesn't mean it is safe.
From NFPA 72 - "10.4.7 - Replacement of Smoke Alarms in One- and Two-Family Dwellings. Unless otherwise recommended by the manufacturer's published instructions, single- and multiple-stations smoke alarms installed in one- and two-family dwellings shall be replaced when they fail to respond to operability tests, but shall not remain in service longer than 10 years from the date of manufacture."
Some manufacturers recommend every 7 years.
There are two of the most common types of smoke detectors:
1. Optical detection - photoelectric
2. Physical process - ionizing
Photoelectric detectors are generally used for large rooms. They combine a light source and a sensor. As smoke passes between the two and interrupts the beam, it goes off. The NFPA says, "photoelectric smoke detection is generally more responsive to fires that begin with a long period of smoldering (called smoldering fires)." These are considered to provide adequate protection for smoldering fires, but not so much for flaming fires.
Over time, the lens gets dusty and, like having cataracts, is less and less likely to "see" smoke. Vacuum the alarms occasionally with the soft brush attachment to help remove dust accumulation from the lens and insects from the chamber.
Ionizing detectors are generally cheaper to manufacture, but is more prone to false alarms. They are very sensitive, capable of detecting smoke that is not visible to the eye. These have a radioactive element which passes a constant current through an ionization chamber between two electrodes. Any particle that enters the chamber, like smoke, interrupts that current and sets off the alarm.
The NFPA says, "Smoke alarms become less reliable with time, primarily due to aging of their electronic components, making them susceptible to nuisance false alarms." Or worse, the alarm may fail to sound at all if there is a fire. Hence the recommendation to replace every 8-10 years.
Test your smoke detectors monthly with the test button on the unit. If your house is wired to current code with multiple alarms, they will be hard-wired and interconnected. When you press the test button on one unit, all of the alarms should begin to sound.
Current code requires that there be one alarm inside every bedroom, one alarm outside of every sleeping area, as well as at least one alarm on every level of the home. The alarms should be hard-wired, inter-connected and have a battery back-up.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration:
Contact us for replacement of your old smoke detectors.
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- Travis J. Dahnke
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