We at A-Star really enjoy designing electrical systems for new homes. It gives us the opportunity to ensure your electrical panel is set up to operate at peak efficiency, that your circuits are all laid out cleanly, that you have all the electrical outlets you need in all the right places, and that your lighting is planned to provide ambient, task, and accent illumination to set the appropriate mood in each and every room.
Designing a new electrical system from scratch also gives us the chance to wire in safety features to meet the requirements of the 2014 Alberta Building Code updates, which included new specifications for smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. The updated standards are very good for improving protection from fires and carbon monoxide poisoning, and we are pleased to help carry out the changes.
Present code for new homes requires combination detectors that detect smoke and carbon monoxide to be placed on each floor and for smoke detectors to be installed in each bedroom and each hallway leading to a bedroom. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors must all be interconnected, so that when one goes off they all go off, which greatly increases the chance of exiting your home safely and mitigating damages. They also all must have a battery backup in case your power goes out.
When we design your electrical system we will include the installation of these life-saving devices to meet all the demands of the new home building codes. We highly recommend current homeowners consider doing the same to increase their peace of mind. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors must be connected to a designated 120-volt electrical circuit as well as to each other, and placed 12 inches down from the ceiling. All of this requires some fairly intensive and intricate electrical work, which is why a certified journeyman electrician like us at A-Star is necessary to make sure everything is in working order and up to the standards set out in the code.
Be aware of the expiry dates on your detection devices. Most require replacement after ten years, whether or not they have been in operation. All smoke detectors should be tested once a month by pressing the test button on the device. Make sure they can be heard in all areas of your home. Also ensure there is not dust or other debris blocking openings. Never paint a smoke detector. Replace their batteries once a year as well, regardless of whether or not they have given off the warning “chirp.”
Main Causes of Fires in Homes
A fire in your home can be devastating. Not only is there the loss of personal possessions that you love, you might also be displaced from your home for many months. Take precautions and prevent fires at home by being aware of their most common causes, according to First Alert:
- Cooking equipment. Smoke detectors should always be placed near kitchens in the event that anything flammable may catch fire from stove or oven burners. Never leave a hot stove unattended.
- Electrical wiring and appliances. Frayed or faulty power cords can spark and start a fire quickly, as can overstressed power bars. Older electrical systems including aluminum or knob and tube wiring can also spark within walls and start a dreaded electrical fire.
- Candles. Although pretty to look at, candles are extremely dangerous. Never leave a room with a candle burning, always use proper candle holders, and keep candles away from anything flammable.
- Portable heaters. Lots of us in Canada love our portable heaters in the winter, but they can easily set nearby carpets, bedding, curtains, and clothing on fire. Keep anything flammable well away from portable heaters and have them checked yearly to ensure they are still operating within safety standards.
How Carbon Monoxide Can Invade Your House
Carbon monoxide is often called the silent killer as it is invisible, odourless and tasteless, but can be deadly within minutes of breathing it in. The gas quickly replaces the oxygen in your blood, causing cells to die rapidly, and organ failure soon follows.
Anything that burns fuel can cause carbon monoxide poisoning. Usual sources are:
- Vehicles left running in enclosed garages
- Improperly vented wood-burning fireplaces
- Gas appliances such as water heaters, ovens, and dryers
- Portable generators
Carbon monoxide detectors save lives. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches, dizziness, nausea, drowsiness, difficulty breathing, and vision problems. If you experience any of these, leave your home immediately.
Have an Escape Plan
The City of Calgary has developed great guidelines for creating your home escape plan in the event of fire or the presence of carbon monoxide. There should be two ways out of every room in your house in the case of emergency. Make sure everyone knows to test doors for heat before using them to exit, and to stay low to keep your head out of the smoke. To slow the spread of smoke and fire always shut doors behind you.
Plan a spot outside and away from your home for everyone to meet up. Home escape plans should be practiced at least twice a year and using different scenarios to make sure everyone remembers what to do.
Contact A-Star for Your Electrician Needs in Calgary
Alberta has a number of strict guidelines and codes in place for all electrical work. As we work together to design or improve your electrical work, we will ensure that all codes are met or surpassed and that all necessary inspections have been completed. We will create an electrical system for you that works at its peak and meets all your needs, while keeping you safe from unwanted perils such as power outages and fires. Contact us now!