Electrika provides residential electrical services since 2004. Over the years, we have seen every possible scenario. Here’s a trustworthy resource about our profession: safety, prevention, pieces of advice, smart tips and much more. Happy reading!
July 07, 2016
Summer is here and that means that people all over Montreal & Laval will be flocking outside to enjoy the warm months poolside. We don't blame them- in fact, we're the first in line with our inner tubes and water wings!
We thought now would be a good time to go over some helpful poolside electrical safety tips. Some of these may be a no-brainer, but when it comes to electricity, you can never be too safe!
Contact us to book a service call, or learn more about our pool and spa electrical services.
Outdoor Electrical Cord Safety
These days we have more electrical gadgets than ever. When relaxing in or by the pool, it's normal to want to enjoy our electrical devices (like our phones or tablet computers). After all, there isn't anything much more relaxing than lying by the pool reading a Kindle.
These devices need power, and outdoor extension cords are an easy way to provide electrical accessibility. A couple of things to remember…
Most Electrical Cords Are Not Rated for Water
If you want to enjoy your boom-box poolside and need to plug it in, it's tempting to run an electrical cord from the outlet to where you're seated. This isn't a bad thing to do assuming that you follow a couple of simple rules:
Never submerge an electrical cord in water – Even if the cord is advertised as being waterproof, submerging an electrical cord in water is asking for an electrical fault (at best) or an accidental electrocution (at worst).
Always plug extension cords into a ground fault protected outlet.
Always keep extension cords away from the edge of pool(at least 3 metres)
Never leave an extension cord lying around or plugged in when you aren't also there. After a long night it can be tempting to leave things where they are; always take the time to clean up extension cords, and never leave them plugged in unattended.
Keep electrical cords away from traffic areas, or areas where they pose a tripping hazard. Tripping over an electrical cord next to a pool is asking for an injury.
Water Is an Excellent Conductor
Be mindful of where water is likely to splash. A submerged electrical cord is a hazard - care should be taken to ensure that electrical cords are not at risk for being exposed to water from splashes, sprinklers, etc.
Run extension cords in areas well away from water – Take care to ensure that the cord is secured properly, out of travel areas, and away from areas that could be splashed.
Small Devices Don't Enjoy Swimming
As tempting as it can be, going for a swim with your smartphone in your pocket isn't a good idea. Some smartphones are waterproof (some new devices from Sony are designed to go swimming with you), but the vast majority won't handle the water well.
Keep your phone, speakers, and e-readers well away from the water and any area that may become exposed to water.
May 17, 2016
If you're thinking about upgrading your home's heating system in Montreal, you may be overwhelmed by all of your options. Although you do have many different options to pick from, at Electrika, there are several reasons why we think you should go with an electric heating system.
In the middle of winter, you may wish that you had a more efficient heating system so that your utility bills weren't so high. As your Montreal electrician, one of the main reasons why we think you should go with an electric heating system is because the equipment these systems use is less expensive to install and use than fuel-fired systems.
Although other types of heating systems have their advantages, there's always the risk that an explosion or fuel leakage will occur. With an electric system, you can eliminate these safety concerns.
In the middle of winter, the last thing you want to deal with is your heating pump freezing up or your boiler breaking down. However, if you have an electric heating system, you will have to do relatively little maintenance on your system in order to keep it up and running.
4. A Cleaner Burning Process
Gas and wood burning heating systems can reduce smoke and fumes that are released into your home throughout the duration of the winter. If you'd like to avoid cleaning up after your heating system, especially in the spring, electric is a good way to go.
5. Comfort Flexibility
You probably don't use every room in your home on a daily basis. As a result, with a fuel-burning electrical system, you're wasting money in the winter because you don't have the option to only heat certain areas of your home. However, one of the best parts about electric heating systems is that they can be controlled with several different thermostats in order to heat specific zones. This way, you're not paying for heat you're not actually using.
April 11, 2016
Installing landscape lighting can be an excellent way to add value to your home and get more enjoyment from your outdoor space. However, it's important to choose your lighting carefully if you want results that are both attractive and functional. At Electrika, we help Montreal homeowners complete a variety of home lighting projects, and we typically recommend the following steps for people who want to get the best landscape lighting.
Before you start planning out your landscape lighting, take time to get familiar with the different lighting fixtures and their typical uses. You'll probably want to incorporate the following types of lighting into your outdoor space:
Wash: This soft lighting is angled upward to illuminate flat or tall objects, such as garden walls, home facades and trees.
Bullet: This strong, focused lighting can be oriented upward to highlight features such as garden art, architectural details and tree trunks.
Well: This lighting is inset into the ground and aimed straight upward to illuminate the bases of buildings or trees.
Downlighting : This soft lighting is mounted high and aimed downward to reveal paths, plants or foliage.
Flood: This broad and powerful lighting can be used for security purposes, or it can light up larger buildings and trees.
Additionally, you can use garden lights, which are typically 18 to 24 inches high, to throw small circles of light downward onto your lawn or plants.
When you're choosing your landscape lighting, it's important to select the optimal type of lighting for each feature. Bullet and wash lighting are popular choices for illuminating home facades, architectural details, trees and structures within gardens. Flood lighting can also help showcase garden features, structural focal points and trees. You can use downlighting and garden lighting to show off your plants and lawn, but use them sparingly to ensure that your entire yard isn't uniformly illuminated.
Get Expert Help
Designing your own landscape lighting can make a great do-it-yourself project, but if you want the best possible results, consider hiring a Montreal electrician to complete the final lighting installation. A professional can ensure that the lighting and electrical wiring is installed effectively and safely, which can enable you to enjoy your beautiful landscape lighting without any unwanted complications.
March 16, 2016
Electrical problems are a common source of concern for homeowners in Montreal, since these issues can cause anything from power outages to fires. Fortunately, it isn't hard to head off home electrical problems if you're aware of the most common signs of trouble. At Electrika, we are highly familiar with these warning signs, and we recommend that you contact a Montreal electrician if you notice any of the following issues.
Issues with your circuit breaker, outlets or switches may indicate problems with the electrical wiring. Circuit breakers that are overloaded or simply aged may trip frequently, and loose wiring or broken electrical devices may cause your outlets or switches to stop consistently working. If any of these problems occur on a regular basis, it's best to schedule a professional inspection to identify the underlying issue.
If your ceiling lights flicker or give off excessive heat, there may be a problem with the bulbs you're using or with the wiring itself. To rule out bulb issues, verify that each bulb is screwed in tightly and that you are using the correct wattage for the fixture. If you've addressed these issues and the problem persists, it's best to have a professional take a look at the fixture or the wiring.
Other Warning Signs
There are various other seemingly innocent developments that can reveal serious home electrical problems. Be on the lookout for the following issues:
Large or persistent sparks
Burning odors originating from outlets or switches
Shocks from touching appliances
It's normal to occasionally notice minor shocks when you walk over carpeted areas or small sparks from outlets. However, if you observe any of these other signs, you should contact a professional who can identify the origin of the problem.
When dealing with home electrical problems, remember that these issues have the potential to cause property damage and serious physical injury. To avoid unnecessary risks, make sure to enlist the help of a professional electrician if you notice any of the above issues or any other abnormal problems with your electrical system.
March 01, 2016
Electrika's electricians faithfully follow our service guide, a booklet that we provide you showing the list price of each job. Before we get started working on your home, we establish the job or jobs that need to be done, then consult our service guide for the price of that job. We ensure that all of the details and prices are written upfront and that all your questions are answered.
The advantage of this pricing method is that you know precisely what you are paying for and you know the total amount before any work is done. This avoids any unwanted surprises!
Alternatively, paying hourly rates can be a disadvantage as only estimates can be made. The rough projected amount of hours may not reflect the final tally. As well, hourly rates do not create incentive for efficiency. The longer they stay, the more you pay and if they make a mistake, you are ultimately paying the price!
We urge all customers, when you are hiring ANY trades person, to get your prices upfront and in writing. Furthermore, ensure that the tradespeople are certified, licensed, and insured. Don't be shy to ask for references! Any company in good standing will be happy to share them with you. Finally, consider trusted consumer services like CAA-Quebec to ensure that your hard-earned money is being spent on quality. The cheapest quote often means inefficient and under-qualified workers.
Quality, safety, and reliability is what we are all looking for.
February 23, 2016
Unless your home was built in the past couple of years, there's a good chance that you could benefit from having an electrician Montreal come and look at your electrical system. In fact, at Electrika, there are several things that an electrician from our team can do that can not only increase the safety of your home, but also increase your comfort.
1. Help You with Faulty Circuits
Do your electrical circuit breakers trip all the time, leaving you in the dark? If you're tired of this happening, one of our electricians can help you make sure that your circuits aren't drawing more current than they can safely provide.
2. Declutter Your Outlets
If you're like many people, you may have several additional plug-strips hooked into your electrical outlets. Although this may give you the power you need for all of your devices, doing this can put too much stress on your electrical system. One of the electricians on our team can install additional outlets in your home to get rid of this problem.
3. Upgrade Your Wiring
If you live in an older home, your wiring Montreal may be severely outdated, especially if it was built before 1975. One of the electricians on our team can inspect your home's wiring and perform upgrades to make thing safer.
4. Update Your Electrical Service Panel
Over time, rust may start to take over the surface of your home's electrical service panel. When this occurs, it's essential to have one of our electricians take a look at it. Otherwise, your home's main wiring connections could be at risk.
5. Increase the Safety of Your Home
The main thing to keep in mind is that if you've never had your home's wiring checked, you may be living with an electrical system that is unsafe to use. If you'd like to restore safety and functionality to this system, one of our electricians can make sure that everything is up to code and in line with modern safety standards.
February 18, 2016
If you have recently had a power outage in your area and you have called Hydro Quebec, you will have noticed that they issue advice in how to protect your electronic equipment against surge protection (if you do not have surge protection installed in your home).
Hydro-Québec advises the following in order to protect your electronic devices from voltage disturbances and power surges:
When a storm is approaching, a power interruption occurs, or if you plan on leaving home for a longer period of time, unplug all your electronic devices and/or turn off the power bar.
Your electronic devices should be plugged into CSA or ULC compliant power bars that are equipped with surge protection (hint: not all power bars have surge protection).
Avoid plugging in devices that are on the same circuit as a motor-powered appliance, like a dishwasher or refrigerator.
Surges can also happen from inside the home when larger appliances—such as refrigerators, furnaces, and air conditioners—switch on and off, as when the compressor starts on the fridge. While you may not always notice surges, they can damage electronics and appliances immediately or gradually over time.
It is critical that before any surge protection is installed in your home, your grounding system is verified. If your home does not have proper grounding, all efforts to protect against a surge will not work.
At Electrika, we use a three-tiered approach to protect your home from power surges. They are:
Installation of Primary Protection at the main panel. This surge protector protects against external surges that will come in on the main power lines.
Installation of Primary Protection at telephone or cable entry. This protects against external surges that come in through telephone or cable lines, which could damage the electronics attached to them!
Installation of Secondary Protection at point of use. Power strips or bars protect against power surges at each point of use for electronic equipment. Remember, however, that not all power-bars have surge protection so check the label before you purchase one!
February 09, 2016
Electrika Inc., Montreal's home electrician, is proud to announce a new guarantee to complement its already industry-leading guarantees on service and satisfaction: same day service.
We will guarantee that if you call us before 10 a.m., from Monday to Friday, you will receive service on the same day!
Same two-hour appointment will be provided, with a courtesy call a half hour before we arrive if you want it.
If you're looking for an appointment for today call your Montreal home electrician right now.
Le 4 février 2016
Occasionally Electrika receives calls from customers who are renovating their home and their request goes something along the lines of:
“Our contractor has run all the wires, the walls are up, and all we need now is a master electrician to connect them to our panel, put in the switches etc.” Our answer is always: “We do not provide this service.”
And here is why:
In Montreal homes (and Quebec), it is illegal to have anyone other than a master electrician complete electrical wiring in your home. It is not okay to have a general contractor run all the wiring in your home.
If we connect those wires, our insurance is on the line if they were run incorrectly (and often times, they are – this is a very real and potential fire hazard). If you did not have a master electrician install those wires, you are responsible for that mistake with your home insurance.
We hear many cases where Montreal homeowners have been informed that having a general contractor run wires is an effective way to save money. We all want to save money, but compromising on safety and legality rather than aesthetics will cost you more money and your peace of mind in the end.
Hire the licensed, certified and insured master electrician in Montreal to do the right work before your walls go up and feel reassured that your newly renovated home is safe.
If you have any more questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call us or send us an email.
February 02, 2016
Montreal homeowners: It happens to the best of us during home renovations.
Open up a few walls and suddenly the scope of work has to be revamped to accommodate an unwanted surprise.
One of those unwanted surprises is knob and tube wiring. There are two types of reactions when people are confronted with this type of reveal: distressed acceptance or rationalized denial.
Knob and tube was one of the first ways electricity was introduced into our homes and it was the most common way to wire homes from the early 1900s and tapered off in the 1960s. In other words: it's very old. Since Montreal is one of the oldest cities in Canada, we have some fairly old homes in our neighborhoods. If you bought an old house in Montreal that was built before 1960, it could be very likely that you still have some old knob and tube lurking behind your walls.
Here is why you should replace your knob and tube:
You can keep those vintage crown mouldings but old wires are a tragedy waiting to happen.
Knob and tube is an open air wiring system, which means it should not come into contact with any type of insulation. This means that you need to be aware of every renovation and repair (large and small) that has occurred in your home over the last 100 years. This is the only way you can guarantee that insulation has not been added to areas with knob and tube.
At Electrika, we often find that knob & tube has been spliced into by handymen and sometimes other electricians! This is dangerous and very illegal. Sometimes we find the splicing done around old tinder beams and close to insulation, we always tell homeowners how lucky they were to find it! Knob and Tube that has been tampered with is a significant fire hazard.
Knob and tube is a single conductor ungrounded system that is that was designed to connect to a 60 Amp service to bring electricity to different areas of the home. Electrical requirements over a hundred years ago were much simpler with a few lights and small appliances knob and tube could accommodate these needs.
Often times a 60A service does not accommodate modern day electrical needs in Montreal homes.
Because knob and tube poses a significant fire hazard, many home insurance policies will not insure a home where it is discovered.
Did a recent home inspection reveal knob and tube in your Montreal home? You will need to schedule a consultation with a Master Electrician (that's Electrika!) in order to understand your best options moving forward (whether it be to re-wire your home or to lower your selling price on an offer etc.)
In light of this news, have no fear. There are many ways a home can be re-wired without opening up all the walls. And while this may not be the best news, consider that this news is better than a house in flames.
Preventative measures prevent tragedy of all kinds.
If you are a Montreal homeowner or an interested buyer in a home that has knob and tube, call Electrika today to schedule a consultation with one of our licensed and insured