OGDEN -- Most Top of Utah homeowners probably have surge protectors on their computers, and some may have added that protection for their flat-screen TVs.
But with more money being put into expensive home electronics, many homeowners may be unaware that all electronics in the home could use the extra protection.
Homes experience small surges on a regular basis that can damage anything hooked to electrical power, so it's no wonder more consumers are installing whole-house surge protectors.
New to the industry, whole-house surge protectors are relatively inexpensive to install and can end up saving money in the long run.
"Those little spikes will just eat at your electronics," said Bret Hadley, owner of Master Electrical Service. "It won't cause your computer or TV to go bad right up front, but as those spikes kind of eat away at them, it will take them out eventually."
For Hadley, who has been in the electronics business for more than 20 years, helping customers with their electrical needs is right up his alley. The most common calls he gets are for things not working, such as outlets or fixtures. He also gets calls to update homes, because many built during the 1970s or earlier will have outdated electrical systems.
Hadley and his company are discovering that with the sluggish economy, many homeowners are staying put and updating their houses, which, in many cases, should include the electrical system.
Houses wired more than 50 years ago won't be able to handle today's electrical demands, because wiring styles have changed, said JayDee Kasperson, one of the technicians for Master Electrical.
He recently encountered a house that was wired for a 60-amp service. The minimum required these days is 100 amps, so the electrical system for the home was severely underpowered. Kasperson said he was surprised there hadn't been a fire at the house.
Regular check-ups help prevent house fires caused by the electrical system.
According to the technicians at Master Electrical Service, 90 percent of people call an electrician only when they have a problem or need something new put in, but electrical systems need maintenance, too, about every two years.
"What I see people doing wrong the most is misusing extension cords or trying to wire things themselves and not making their connections tight," Hadley said. "Loose connections are the No. 1 cause of electrical fires."
The other important thing homeowners can do is change smoke detectors every 10 years and carbon monoxide combos every seven years, as recommended by the manufacturers. They are wired into the electrical system of the house and will often start beeping without shutting off, which is a signal that it is time to replace them.
"I realize there are a lot of ways to save money, but one thing you don't want to skimp on is smoke detectors," said Kasperson.
"It's the safety of your family and basically everything you own at stake, and there is definitely a difference between the cheap and more expensive detectors in how well they work."
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