How Can I Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in My Home?

Winter can be a prime time for carbon monoxide poisoning as people turn on their heating systems and mistakenly warm their cars in garages.

The National Safety Council recommends you install a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector in your home near the bedrooms. Check or replace the battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall. The CDC offers these additional tips:

  • Have your heating system, water heater and any other gas or coal-burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year
  • Do not use portable flameless chemical heaters indoors
  • Never use a generator inside your home, basement or garage or less than 20 feet from any window, door or vent; fatal levels of carbon monoxide can be produced in just minutes
  • Have your chimney checked and cleaned every year, and make sure your fireplace damper is open before lighting a fire and well after the fire is extinguished
  • Make sure your gas appliances are vented properly
  • Never use a gas oven for heating your home
  • Never let a car idle in the garage
  • Know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning

Steps to Take When Carbon Monoxide Alarm Sounds
The CPSC says never ignore a carbon monoxide alarm, and do not try to find the source of the gas. Instead, follow these steps:

  • Immediately move outside to fresh air
  • Call emergency services, fire department or 911
  • Do a head count to check that all persons are accounted for
  • Do not reenter the premises until emergency responders have given you permission to do so

Call the experts at Mister Sparky and let us help you make your home as safe and comfortable place for you and your family.

Source: National Safety Council

Halloween Safety Tips


Here are some helpful tips to keep you and your little trick or treaters safe this Halloween:

Walk Safely

  1. Cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks.
  2. Look left, right and left again when crossing and keep looking as you cross.
  3. Put electronic devices down and keep heads up and walk, don’t run, across the street.
  4. Teach children to make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them.
  5. Always walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to
    the left as possible.  Children should walk on direct routes with the fewest street crossings.
  6. Watch for cars that are turning or backing up. Teach children to never dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.

Trick or Treat with an Adult

  1. Children under the age of 12 should not be alone at night without adult supervision. If kids are mature enough to be out without supervision, they should stick to familiar areas that are well lit and trick-or-treat in groups.

Keep Costumes Both Creative and Safe

  1. Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers and, if possible, choose light colors.
  2. Choose face paint and makeup whenever possible instead of masks, which can obstruct a child’s vision.
  3. Have kids carry glow sticks or flashlights to help them see and be seen by drivers.
  4. When selecting a costume, make sure it is the right size to prevent trips and falls.

Drive Extra Safely on Halloween

  1. Slow down and be especially alert in residential neighborhoods. Children are excited on Halloween and may move in unpredictable ways.
  2. Take extra time to look for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs.
  3. Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully.
  4. Eliminate any distractions inside your car so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.
  5. Drive slowly, anticipate heavy pedestrian traffic and turn your headlights on earlier in the day to spot children from greater distances.
  6. Popular trick-or-treating hours are 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. so be especially alert for kids during those hours.

Why your outdoor GFCI keeps tripping

Why your outdoor GFCI keeps tripping and ruining your Halloween display.

Nothing is more frustrating than when you go to the trouble of setting up the best Halloween display on the block… then you turn on the lights and your GFCI trips. It’s a downright spooky feeling!

A GFCI is one of the most common residential, commercial, and industrial safety devices. The most common types are single-phase electrical outlets used in households near water sources, such as in kitchens, bathrooms, and outdoor receptacles. They are there for your safety, so when one keeps tripping, it’s time to get it checked out.

Most likely, your outdoor GFCI outlet is tripping due to one of these problems:

  • There’s a ground fault somewhere in the circuit.
  • Moisture invaded the receptacle box.
  • The GFCI outlet is faulty.

So, how do you know which one is your problem? Don’t worry. We’ll show you how to determine what’s tripping your outdoor GFCI outlet and what you can do to fix it.

Just call the experts at Mister Sparky and let us take the scare out of your Halloween display frustration. Make an appointment or call 410-457-7297.



Dive in! But remember that Electricity and Water don’t mix! Electrical Safety Tips for Pools and Spas

pool and electricity safety

Is Your Electrical Panel Threatening Your Safety?

As popular home electrical products in the 1970’s, Zinsco panels and Federal Pacific Electric Stab-Lok® Circuit Breaker are notorious among modern electricians as fire hazards. If you live in a house built during that era, one could be lurking in your circuit box, threatening your family and home.

What’s Wrong With a Zinsco Panel
In short, Zinsco panels often fail to trip offline because of a design flaw in which conducting bars become detached. With the power unable to be knocked offline, the electricity only stops flowing when the wires burn into nothing — possibly along with your home and possessions.

Federal Pacific electric panels may be hazardous to your safety

Federal Pacific electric panel

Federal Pacific Electric Stab-Lok Circuit Breaker Panels
Like Zinsco panels, FPE Stab-Lok panels endanger homes because of their failure to trip offline. One study revealed that up to 60% of FPE Stab-Lok panels did not trip when necessary.

If you have a house built in the 1970’s or 1980’s, you need to call Mister Sparky to check for and replace either of these two potentially dangerous electrical devices. Not sure type of panel you have, get a safety inspection today.

Electric safety tips for kids at home

We all have worries about our kids from the day they are born… and we may think we are safest when at home. But did you know that the home and yard where they play may actually present more hazards when it comes to electricity than you think?

Here are some things you can do about it:

  • Store electrical appliances and gadgets out of reach of children.
  • Never keep any appliance near a bathtub, sink or any other water source.
  • Make sure all the electrical wires and cords are away from the gas or any other source of heat.
  • Avoid having any appliance switched on and then leaving it as it is in the presence of your kid.
  • Make sure you unplug the appliance before cleaning it.
  • Keep small objects out of reach- children tend to plug them into the sockets.
  • Cover open sockets that are within a kid’s reach. Most kids tend to stick fingers into the outlet, which may be risky.
  • Remove unused wall outlets.
  • Apply tape over unused electric plug holes or cord holders.
  • Do not allow your little one to go near the vicinity of power lines.
  • Keep your kids away from electrical substations and transformers.
  • Ensure your kids are not climbing any trees that may be close to power lines as these lines conduct electricity through the branches.
  • Strings of flying kites or helium filled balloons can act as conductors of electricity. Watch out for your kids when they are playing with kites in a storm or anywhere around electric cables.
  • Watch out for fences, which may conduct electricity.
  • Always encourage your children to play out in the open area where there are no power lines
  • It is preferable that you supervise your kids when they play with a remote control or any other electrical devices.
  • Ensure your children get dry quickly when they come out of the pool.
  • Avoid usage of electrical appliances when close to swimming pools.
  • Make sure they are away from utility boxes as they have various electric connections inside
  • Watch out for electrical lines that may be hanging low or may be cut.
  • When playing ball or when playing with pets make sure your kids are not near any electric substations.
  • As an adult do watch out for electric lines when using a ladder, chainsaw or other outdoor equipment.

Of course, a great way to make sure you and your family are safe is to leave the electric in the hands of professionals. Call the experts at Mister Sparky and ask about our home safety inspection. If might just save a life!

Is that new house concealing hidden electrical dangers?

Just because it’s new doesn’t mean it’s safe!

When we came across this story recently, we thought immediately of how one of our electrical safety inspections can make a huge difference in the lives and safety of our customers and neighbors. Read this scary news article and then feel free to call us for your inspection.


May is National Electrical Safety Month: How Safe is Your Home?

According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), a non-profit organization devoted to promoting electrical safety in all homes, schools, the home can be a hazardous place. That’s why we at Mister Sparky like to make sure our customers are up to date on all the recent electrical codes.

Here is a link to the latest codes for your convenience: National-Electrical-Code-Your-Guideline-to-Safety-82FC

All electrical safety initiatives by ESFI are designed to prevent injuries and fatalities through education. The more you know, the less likely you’ll are to experience an electrical emergency or suffer electrocution. In order to make sure your home is up-to-code (National Electrical Code), it’s important to have a certified electrician inspect your home every year.

One of the first things your electrician will check is your breaker box or electrical panel. In our next post, we’ll discuss the differences between certain types of panels and what you should be looking for the make sure your family and home are safe and sound.

In the meantime, be sure to make your electrical safety inspection appointment. Your drug-tested and professionally-trained electrician at Mister Sparky will give you peace of mind.

Protect the Ones You Love this Valentine’s Day!

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, 11% of fatal residential fires are caused by electrical malfunctions!
This Valentine’s Day, show your loved ones how much you care with a Home Safety Inspection from the professionally-trained, background-checked and drug-tested technicians at Mister Sparky.
Don’t delay, ensure the safety of those you love with a Home Electrical Safety Inspection; click here for details:

Winter electrical safety tips from the National Fire Protection Association

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With all the time spent indoors during the holiday season, many of us forget about the safety hazards all around us. To ensure that you do not have a home fire this winter, follow these home heating safety tips below.

NFPA Tips:

1. Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.
2. Have a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.
3. Never use your oven to heat your home.
4. Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.
5. Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
6. Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
7. Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.
8. Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.
9. Test smoke alarms monthly.
Of course, one of the best ways to help ensure your family’s safety all winter and all year long is to have a safety inspection by one of our Mister Sparky electric experts. Call 410-457-7297 today or click here.