Category Archives: Safety & Security

Why You Should Always Plug Outdoor Tools and Lighting Into GFCI Outlets in Charlotte

GFCI Ground Fault Interrupter Circuit OutletThanksgiving is here and many of us have already started hanging up decorations to celebrate the holiday season. If you like to hang lights outside around your Charlotte area home you want to make sure that they are plugged into a GFCI outlet. If you do not have a GFCI outlets the electrical safety experts at Douthit Electrical can easily provide this important safety upgrade.

What Is a GFCI outlet?

A ground fault circuit interrupter are special outlets that stop the flow of electricity when they sense that a person is being shocked. They are normally installed in areas where electricity and water may come into contact. They are commonly used outside because of rain and snow and the potential for electrocution. If you use power tools you should also be using a GFCI outlet. A GFCI outlet will protect your power tools and appliances from electrical damage.

Have a safe and happy holiday!

Keep your Charlotte, NC home safe from fire and your family safe from electrocution. Hang those holiday lights but make sure to plug them into a GFCI outlet. GFCI outlets are hassle free but should be installed by an expert. For fast and friendly service you can count on call Douthit Electrical today.

 


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6 Scary and Spooky Signs it’s Time For New Electrical Outlets in Charlotte

Electrical FailureHalloween might be scary, but electrical hazards such as worn or damaged electrical outlets are far more frightening! Not only do damaged and outdated electrical outlets interfere with how well your electrical appliances work, but they also increase the risk of electrical shock and fires.

Along with customer satisfaction, safety is a top priority at Douthit Electrical. Electrical outlet replacement and repair are examples of important Charlotte electrical upgrades that will make your home safer and more energy efficient.

Take a look at these six scary and spooky signs it’s time for new Charlotte electrical outlets!

  • They aren’t GCFI outlets To minimize the chance of electrical fire and shock, all outlets in any home or business should be GCFI outlets; no exceptions! If you have any outlets that aren’t GCFI’s, call us immediately to have them replaced!
  • Your home is a few decades old and hasn’t had an electrical upgrade Historic homes are filled with character and charm due to their age, however time takes a toll on their electrical systems. Outdated electrical outlets and wiring pose many dangers, so it’s important to schedule a Charlotte electrical inspection with us to identify ways to make your home safer.
  • Sparks If your electrical outlets spark when you plug in an appliance or device, it needs to be replaced immediately. Sparking poses a major fire hazard and is typically the result of a short circuit or worn connections.
  • Circuits frequently and suddenly trip A circuit that frequently trips is not only inconvenient and maybe even a bit spooky, but it also indicates it’s time for electrical upgrades, such as new electrical outlets.
  • Wobbly and loose sockets Constantly plugging appliances and devices in and out can cause the spring mechanisms in electrical outlets to become loose. It may seem harmless, however these loose connections are a serious fire and safety hazard and should be repaired immediately.
  • Burned, cracked outlet plates Never plug an appliance or device into an outlet that is cracked or discolored from burns. This could indicate a number of major safety concerns, such as overheating connections. Cracked outlet plates expose loose terminals that put the entire household at risk of electrical shock.

Charlotte electrical upgrades are a must when it comes to electrical safety. When it comes to electrical outlet repair and replacement, trust the experts at Douthit Electrical to keep your home and business safe!


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Indoor and Outdoor Electrical Safety Tips for Fall in Charlotte

Raking fall leaves with rakeFall is a season of big change, and these changes can have impact on your home’s electrical system and how you use it. Although electrical safety should be a priority year round, fall activities, holidays, and cooler temperatures make being diligent about electrical safety especially important this time of year!

Ensuring the safety and satisfaction of our customers is a year round job at Douthit Electrical, and one we’re happy to do. Our wide range of professional Charlotte electrical services help our customers stay safe with the passing of each season. And with the arrival of fall, you can always “fall back” on Douthit Electrical for electrical system maintenance!

Use these simple indoor and outdoor electrical safety tips for fall in Charlotte!

  • Keep ladders, trimmers, and other outdoor tools and equipment away from overhead wires Whether you’re cleaning the gutters, hanging lights, or trimming branches, staying clear of overhead wires and avoiding contact at all costs is essential!
  • Safely store your seasonal outdoor equipment To prevent electrical shock and malfunctions, it’s important properly store warm weather equipment. Drain lawn mowers, trimmers, warm weather tools of fuel and store in a safe, dry area. Before using cold weather tools like leaf blowers, check their cords and batteries for signs of damage.
  • Keep dry leaf piles away from outdoor lighting, outlets, and power cords As fun as they are to jump into, dry leaf piles can be a potential electrical fire hazard and should be a safe distance away from electrical appliances, lighting, and power sources.
  • Always plug outdoor tools and lighting into GFCI outlets Ground fault circuit interrupters, or GCFIs, are crucial when it comes to electrical safety. They help to prevent electrical fire and shock by cutting off the flow of electricity when it becomes unstable.
  • Know how to use your electric blanket and space heater properly The improper use of electric blankets and space heaters can result in electric shock or fire. Never use these devices if their cords are damaged or frayed and be sure to strictly follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.
  • Never run electric cords under rugs You might be tempted to cover up the sight of an electric cord by throwing a rug over it, but doing so increase the risk of electrical fire.

Falling for these electrical safety tips will help to keep your household safe as the seasons change! Fall is also a great time for Charlotte electrical system maintenance and electrical upgrades. For fast, friendly, service you can count on, call Douthit Electrical!


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How to Prepare for a Summer Power Outage in Charlotte

Hot summer temperatures provide the perfect opportunity for enjoying outdoor activities, but these temperatures also increase the likelihood for power outages to occur due to stormy weather and a strained electrical grid. Not only are summer power outages inconvenient, but they can also pose electrical hazards.

You can minimize the stress and electrical safety risks associated with summer power outages by preparing in advance, and that’s something the experts here at Douthit Electrical are happy to help you with! Our experienced Charlotte electricians can help you identify ways to make your home’s electrical system safer by performing services such as generator maintenance and surge protection.

Here are a few simple ways you can prepare your family for summer power outage in Charlotte!

  • Create an emergency kit and keep it handy Having the lights suddenly go out can be alarming and disorienting, which can make it difficult to find a flashlight, batteries, or other necessities you might need during a power outage. Assembling a power outage kit ahead of time and keeping it in a safe, easy to access area of your home means you won’t have to frantically scramble around in the dark.
  • Know how to use your generator safely Having a generator can be a real lifesaver, but using one without knowing how to do so safely is extremely dangerous and can even put your life, and the lives of those around you, at risk. If you’re ever unsure about generator safety in Charlotte, call us immediately!
  • Prevent circuit overload Flip any light switches that were on before the power went out to the off position in order to prevent an electrical surge once the power is restored. You should also unplug any major appliances that aren’t plugged into a surge protector, but the best thing to do would to be call us in advance and take advantage of our Charlotte surge protection services!
  • Have a family back up plan Creating a family back up plan can reduce confusion and stress during a power outage. Keep a physical list of emergency contact information and shelters handy in the event your cell phone battery dies. Review emergency procedures with your household.
  • Check your home’s fire and security systems In some cases, a power outage may reset your home’s thermostat, fire alarms, security system, and even your sump pump. Be sure to check all of these once the power is back on to make sure they’re working as they should.

We get it; a summer power outage can be scary! But the only thing scarier than a summer power outage is not being prepared for one. For help with power outages and other electrical emergencies in Charlotte, call the professionals at Douthit Electrical!


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5 Outdoor Electric Grill Safety Tips for Charlotte

Although safety should always be a priority when preparing food on a grill, electric grills require a few more safety precautions than their charcoal or gas counterparts. According to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), an average of 8,900 home fires are caused by outdoor grilling each year, which is why being aware of electrical hazards and practicing outdoor electric grill safety is so important.

At Douthit Electrical, the only thing more important than the satisfaction of our customers is their safety, which is why we go the extra mile in making electrical safety a top priority. If you have an outdoor electric grill or are considering getting one and are concerned about safety, you can rely on our professional Charlotte electricians to address and resolve any potential electrical hazards.

Here are 5 simple outdoor electric grill safety tips for Charlotte residents.

  • Turn it off before turning it on Ensure all the knobs are completely set to off before plugging your outdoor electric grill in and using it. This quick step can prevent electric shock and fire.
  • Avoiding grilling in rainy weather Electricity and water are a dangerous combination, so even if your outdoor electric grill is plugged into a GFCI outlet, you still shouldn’t use it in rainy weather. While the cords are able to withstand outdoor elements, the slightest amount of rain significantly increases your risk of electric shock.
  • Is your outdoor electric grill grounded? Before using your outdoor electric grill, make sure that it’s plugged into a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet. These outlets significantly reduce the risk of electric shock or fire by tripping the circuit if there’s an imbalance in the electric current. GFCI’s are essential for outdoor electric grilling! If you need a GFCI outlet installed for outdoor use give us a call.
  • Inspect wiring for signs of damage Always check to make sure your outdoor electric grill wires are free of cracks, cuts, and other signs of damage before plugging it in. If the wiring is damaged it must be replaced before the grill can be used. Be sure your wires are completed untangled and out of the way to prevent trips and falls.
  • Location is everything An outdoor electric grill should only be used when it’s at least 10 feet away from your home, or anything flammable which includes a wooden deck or patio.

Nothing tastes better than a meal that was safely prepared on an outdoor electric grill! If you have concerns about your outdoor electric grill or electrical safety in general, don’t hesitate to call Douthit Electrical for fast, friendly, and professional electrical services in Charlotte!


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How to Avoid Electrical Service and Utility Reading Scams This Summer in Charlotte

Technician reading the electricity meter to check consumptionYour home’s electrical system works hard during the summer, but fake electricians and utility readers are also hard at work trying to take advantage of trusting homeowners. In the past, you may have received sales calls about energy savings or reducing your electrical bill that were easy to dismiss, but scammers have since gotten smarter and can be hard to ignore if you don’t know what to look out for.

When it comes to electrical safety and energy savings, don’t trust just anyone! Rely on us, the professionals at Douthit Electrical and our variety of highly reviewed electrical services in Charlotte. As a licensed, insured, and professional electrical service with an A+ BBB rating and decades of experience, you can always trust our experts to put your family’s safety and satisfaction first!

Here’s how you can avoid fake electricians and utility scammers in Charlotte this summer and year round.

  • Always ask for identification. Any person that attempts to access your home or property should present identification without hesitating. Ask for an official photo ID and ensure it has an electrical contractor’s or utility company’s logo on it, as well as an ID number. You should also ask for their professional license and insurance. If in doubt, call your utility company immediately.
  • Check out their uniform and company vehicle. Are they wearing a uniform with the company’s official logo? Are they driving a company vehicle emblazoned with the same logo? Everything should match, including their ID!
  • Never give out personal information. A professional electrician or utility company representative would never call you out of the blue or come over unannounced and ask for your sensitive and personal billing information for services they’re trying to sell you. For example, many scammers will claim your service is about to be shut off for lack of payment or that you need an emergency electrical inspection in an attempt to get your money and information upfront. Don’t do it!
  • Do you know where your meters are located? Most utility readers are located on the outside of homes, so there’s no reason for someone that claims to be a utility reader to enter your home. If someone insists on coming to read your meters although they’re outside, close the door and call the police!
  • Go with your gut. True electricians and utility company meter readers are well trained professionals and should never be aggressive or make you feel uncomfortable. Always err on the side of caution if you suspect a scam. Share this information with your entire family, as seniors, children, and teens are especially vulnerable.

For top notch electrical services in Charlotte that you can count on, always trust the professoinals at Douthit Electrical!


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The Do’s and Don’ts of Bathroom Electrical Safety in Charlotte

When it comes to maintaining a comfortable and safe home, electrical safety should be a top priority. This is especially true when it comes to rooms with plumbing such as the bathroom, where the combination of electricity and water presents several electrical safety hazards. Being mindful of electrical safety in the bathroom protects you and your family from electrocution, injury, and fire.

Customer safety and satisfaction are always our top priorities at Douthit Electrical, which is why we always go the extra mile when it comes to helping our customers identify potential electrical hazards in their bathroom and throughout their entire home. Scheduling a Charlotte electrical safety inspection will make you aware of any potential problems in your home’s electrical wiring and help you avoid an electrical emergency.

Check these do’s and don’ts of electrical bathroom safety in Charlotte!

Electrical bathroom safety do’s

DO make sure every single electrical outlet in your bathroom is equipped with ground fault circuit interrupters. GFCI’s prevent electrical shock by shutting down the flow of electricity when a circuit is improperly grounded. GFCI’s should be tested monthly.

DO keep electrical outlets a safe distance away from the shower and covered when not in use.

DO consider having a fixed heating fan installed instead of using a space heater in the bathroom. Even when plugged into a GFCI equipped electrical outlet, space heaters pose many risks and are responsible for thousands of electrical fires each year. Using one in the bathroom only increases their potential for causing shock or fire.

DO keep electrical items such as hair dryers and shavers away from the sink, shower, toilet, and tub areas. When not in use, keep them in a closet, drawer, or on a shelf for safe storage.

Electrical bathroom safety dont’s

DON’T use electrical devices in the bathroom while you’re in or otherwise in contact with water, including standing on a wet floor. This may seem like a no brainer but it’s easy to forget.

DON’T keep electrical items plugged into bathroom outlets when they’re not in use, especially around the sink. You may think it’s easier than plugging them in and out, but letting them remained plugged in only increases the risk of an electrical injury or fire.

DON’T use an extension cord in the bathroom. Any damage that exposes its wiring can come in contact with water on the countertop or floor and cause serious if not fatal electrocution.

DON’T forget about bathroom lighting. In the bathroom, enclosed or recessed lights are safer than freely hanging lighting fixtures. Vapor-tight and moisture resistant lighting should be installed in the shower area for absolute safety.

In addition to these tips, call Douthit Electrical and rely on our highly rated Charlotte electrical services to maintain your home’s electrical wiring and safety!


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How to Prevent Rodent Damage to your Electrical Wiring in Charlotte

Mouse.Although some may think they’re cute, the problems that mice, rats, raccoons, and squirrels can cause homeowners are very ugly! Not only do they pose a threat to your family’s health, but they can also do a number on your home’s electrical wiring. These uninvited house guests love to chew on everything in sight, especially the insulation surrounding your electrical wiring.

After time, the damage rodents cause to your home’s electrical system can lead to a series of major problems, including breakdowns, malfunctions, and even electrical fire. At Douthit Electrical, customer satisfaction and electrical safety are always our top priorities. Our highly rated Charlotte electrical services can repair the damage done by pests to keep your home’s electrical system running properly.

Not sure if you have pests in your home that could be feasting on your electrical wiring? Here’s what to look for.

  • Listen for scratching or scurrying Rodents usually aren’t shy about taking up residence in your home and often leave droppings and nest material as they scratch and scurry about your home. Whether there’s a little or a lot, this is a clear indication that rodents are present, which means the threat of rodent damage to your electrical wiring is too.
  • Inspect wiring periodically to make sure insulation is intact The insulation surrounding electrical wiring is no match for rodent teeth and appetites! Bite marks and damaged insulation are clear signs. Unfortunately, taking a look at your home’s wiring is easier said than done since much of it is concealed behind walls. A home remodeling project that tears opens walls is a perfect opportunity to check for rodent damage.
  • Take note of unexplained electrical problems Is the power or circuit in a certain room or a particular area of the house unreliable? Is one or several of your breakers tripping for what seems like no reason at all? If any of these electrical problems sound familiar, rodents could be the culprit.
  • Be sure to seal cracks The most effective way to prevent rodent damage is to keep them out of your home altogether! Cracks and holes are like open doors for pests, so be sure to seal these up with caulk or foam spray to keep them out.
  • Know when to call an exterminator If you can’t keep pests out despite all these efforts, then it’s time to call a professional exterminator. Doing so is an investment in the overall safety of your home.

If you have any suspicion about rodents in your home and are concerned about the damage they can cause to your electrical wiring, call Douthit Electrical immediately to schedule a thorough electrical inspection in Charlotte! This simple step can save thousands in costly repairs in the future and is the best way to spot rodent damage.


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How to Safely Handle Common Minor Electrical Problems in Charlotte

freehand retro cartoon faulty toasterEveryday electrical safety is important, and seemingly minor electrical problems are no less inconvenient or dangerous than major ones. For example, kitchen appliances and cooking equipment are responsible for thousands of household fires each year, many of which started out as minor issues.

At Douthit Electrical, we believe regular maintenance of your home’s electrical system in addition to electrical safety education are the best ways to prevent minor electrical issues from turning into major problems. With a variety of highly reviewed electrical services in Charlotte, our electricians are committed to keep your home safe!

Use to these tips to safely handle common minor electrical problems in Charlotte with ease!

A smoking blender
With health foods such as homemade juices and smoothies becoming more popular than ever, people are bound to experience this minor electrical problem. If you’re blender, juicer, or food processor starts smoking suddenly or emits a burning plastic smell, do not touch it! Instead, unplug it as soon as possible. If you’re unable to do so without touching it, cut power to that area via the electrical panel or circuit breaker. Give the blender time to cool before tossing it and replacing it with a newer, more reliable one!

Shattered light bulbs
The sudden loud popping noise of a breaking light bulb can be a real shock! Before cleaning up the mess, it’s always a bright idea to unplug the light or lamp before attempting to replace the broken bulb. To get a better grip and minimize the chances of getting a cut, use a bar of soap and wedge it into the broken bulb to create a sturdy handle that’s easy to twist and turn. To clean up the broken glass, be sure you’re wearing footwear and use a piece of bread to mop up glass shards.

A sparky toaster
According to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), U.S. fire departments responded roughly 162,000 home fires that involved cooking equipment such as toasters between 2009 and 2013. As such, toaster safety is extremely important! Always keep a fire extinguisher within reach in your kitchen to put out sparks and small fires. While you may be tempted to use water to put out any sparks, never do this! After putting out the sparks, call 911 and our electrical service number right away (704-SAMEDAY) to ensure the wiring inside your home hasn’t caught fire as well.

If at any time you’re unsure of how to handle a electrical problem, no matter how small, call us right away. When it comes to electrical safety hazards, it’s always best to err on the side of caution! For safety, satisfaction, and expert electrical service in Charlotte, call Douthit Electrical!

 


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Summer Thunderstorm Electrical Safety in Charlotte

Caution Tape, Tree And Wires Down On RoadFrom time spent outside by the pool to strong thunderstorms, summer provides many opportunities for potentially dangerous electrical mishaps. Electrical safety is just as important in summer as it is during the winter! According to the National Weather Service, 5 people have already died of lightning strikes this year in warmer weather, so exercising electrical safety is critical!

At Douthit Electrical, your satisfaction and safety are always our top priorities. Our highly reviewed electrical services in Charlotte have helped to keep our community safe since 1985. With a team of friendly, experienced, and professional electricians, you can always trust us with your electrical safety concerns.

Here are a few electrical safety tips for summer storms.

Electrical safety during summer thunderstorms in Charlotte

  • Immediately report downed power lines by calling 911. Always assume a downed power line is still energized and never approach it or go near the wires or electrical substation. If you’re in a vehicle, never attempt to drive over downed power lines.
  • If the power goes out, do not plug your generator directly into your household’s wiring unless you have the proper transfer switch has been installed by a professional, licensed electrician, like us!
  • Do not use corded phones during a thunderstorm. They’re not safe. Opt for cell or cordless phones instead.
  • If you can avoid it, do not bathe, shower, or run water while it’s storming. You should also avoid contact with plumbing, such as faucets and sinks. The dishes can wait!
  • Draw blinds during severe storms as a means of protection in the event a window breaks.
  • Avoid lightning strikes while indoors by staying away from windows and doors.
  • Bring your dog indoors. Dog houses are not lightning safe!
  • Take shelter as soon as possible in a structure that has plumbing or wiring that grounds it from lightning. If no shelter is available, move to a low point and crouch down.
  • If your basement is flooded, be wary of stepping into standing water. Unfortunately, the human body is a great conductor of electricity, and submerged electrical cords and outlets can energize standing water and create a dangerous trap.
  • If your washer and dryer get wet due to flooding, call us for an inspection before attempting to use them, even after they’ve dried out. Electrical appliances exposed to water can be extremely dangerous if not properly conditioned or repaired before re-energizing!
  • Unplug any electrical appliances that you don’t need to use immediately before the storm arrives. Surge protection in Charlotte is strongly recommended and can prevent your electrical appliances from becoming damaged.

It’s always wise to err on the side of caution, and the best way to do that is by trusting Douthit Electrical with all your Charlotte electrical safety upgrades, repairs, and concerns this summer and year round!


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