Electrical Fires 101: Top 6 Causes & How to Prevent Them

What-are-the-common-causes-of-electrical-fires

Electrical fires are one of the worst catastrophes a homeowner can experience. Every year, over 51,000 fires are caused by electrical problems in the US alone. These lead to nearly five hundred deaths, almost 1500 injuries, and more than $1.3 billion in property damages.

Considering the destructive potential of these fires, it’s no surprise that Americans are strongly advised to keep a close eye on their electrical systems, and to leave any repairs to a qualified electrician in Fort Collins, CO, rather than attempt to tackle these issues on their own.

But how do electrical fires occur? What are the 6 telltale signs that your property is at risk of an electrical fire? What can you do to prevent these fires from occurring? Keep reading to learn the answers to these questions.

What are the common causes of electrical fires?

Although electrical fires are scarily common, they’re also largely preventable. Knowing what warning signs to look for can go a long way toward helping you identify the possible source of an electrical fire and addressing the problem long before the actual fire can appear.

Always be on the lookout for these 6 common causes of electrical fires:

1. Improper appliance setup

Appliances can vary widely in their needs and the amount of strain they put on your electrical system. Some even need a voltage regulator and shouldn’t be plugged directly into an outlet. Failing to follow the correct procedures can damage the appliance and lead to an electrical fire. To be on the safe side, always have your new appliances installed by a seasoned electrician.

2. Overloaded extension cords

Every extension cord has a maximum capacity. Exceeding this capacity by plugging multiple power-hungry appliances into the extension cord can result in the cord malfunctioning and catching on fire, so make sure you’re not unknowingly overloading your extension cords. Likewise, old extension cords that are damaged or have exposed wiring are a serious fire hazard and should be replaced with newer models.

3. Worn or frayed cords

Damaged power cords and exposed wiring of any kind can generate dangerous levels of heat. This can cause nearby surfaces such as curtains and rugs to catch on fire. If you detect this problem in your home, you should either have the cords replaced or call in an electrician to fix them (if possible).

4. Improper light bulbs

Never install a higher wattage bulb into light fixtures or lamps that are rated for lower wattages. Doing so may overload the lamp and cause the socket to catch on fire.

5. Keep flammable materials away from light fixtures

Putting paper or cloth over a lampshade, or keeping a hot light bulb close to curtains or other light, dry materials is a disaster waiting to happen. Always make sure there’s enough clearance between light sources and any flammable materials nearby.

6. Old electrical systems

As with most other technologies, electrical systems of old weren’t as dependable as their modern counterparts are. Because of this, old homes that have never been rewired or weren’t wired during the past couple of decades are at an increased risk of an electrical fire.

Where can I hire a reliable electrician in Fort Collins, CO, and the nearby area?

Handyman Connection of Fort Collins is your one-stop-shop for all your handyman needs. Our crew includes highly experienced electricians, plumbers, carpenters, construction workers, and other experts from a variety of different trades.

Whether your home is situated right at the heart of the city or out near the Poudre River Whitewater Park, you can trust our technicians to quickly arrive at your place and perform the necessary tasks with utmost care and professionalism. Contact us today!

Top 6 Signs You Need to Call in an Electrician

Electricity is among the most important inventions of all time, and one without which our modern society simply wouldn’t be able to exist. That being said, unlike many other technologies we depend on on a daily basis, faulty electrical systems can cause massive damage to our property and even lead to life-threatening injuries.

For this reason, homeowners in Fort Collins and across the US are strongly advised to refrain from attempting DIY repairs on their electrical systems and to instead always leave this task to professional electricians.

But how do you know when it’s time to call in an electrician? What are some telltale signs that the electrical systems in your home are in need of replacement or repair? These are the questions we’ll be answering in the following article. Read on.

How do I know if I have an electrical problem?

Failing to address electrical malfunctions in a timely manner can result in costly repairs and may even lead to an electrical fire. For this reason, familiarizing yourself with the early signs of electrical problems is important to ensure your safety and peace of mind.

Never ignore these 6 signs of a malfunctioning electrical system:

1. One or more circuit breakers are tripping

It’s perfectly normal for a circuit breaker to trip occasionally. However, if this is happening all the time or as soon as you trip it back on, you may be overloading its safety capacity, or you may have a wiring issue on your hands.

2. Lamps are buzzing when you turn them on

Hearing a slight buzz or feeling a little shock whenever you turn on a lamp is an early sign of a severe electrical problem that should be addressed as soon as possible.

3. Electrical outlets are hot to the touch

An electrical outlet should never become physically hot. If this is the case at your home, stop using this outlet immediately and get in touch with an electrician. Not doing so runs a very real risk of an electrical fire.

4. Burning smells

If a burning odor is coming out of any outlet or switch, turn off the electrical panel right away and contact an electrician. Keep a close eye on the smelly switches and outlets, and keep your fire extinguisher on hand: you may be dealing with the onset of an electrical fire.

5. The electric bills are unusually high

Seeing an increase in your electric bills is normal during the cooling season when you have your air conditioner working around-the-clock. But if your electric bills have skyrocketed for no apparent reason, this may be a sign of a serious problem with your electrical systems.

6. Lights are dim or flickering

A flickering light typically means the light bulb is defective or loose in its socket. That being said, this can also occur as a result of faulty electrical wiring or loose fixture connections. If changing the bulb doesn’t fix the problem, call in a professional ASAP.

Where in Fort Collins can I hire reliable electricians?

Ever since residential electrical systems were first invented, scientists have been working on making them more reliable and 100% safe for general use. However, until science gets there, we’ll all need to rely on the services of professional electricians.

That’s where Handyman Connection of Fort Collins comes in! Our team consists of supremely qualified electricians, plumbers, builders, woodworkers, and more. Whether you live near the Gardens on Spring Creek or out at the edges of the city, you can count on experts to show up in a timely manner and meet your needs with maximum efficiency. Call us today!

Deck Cleaning 101: All You Need to Know

What is the best way to clean decking

It really pays to make sure your deck is tidy and looking its best at all times. After all, not only is your deck an ideal place to relax after a long day at work, spend some quality time with your family, or enjoy an outdoor party with your friends, it’s also a major aesthetic element of your property that contributes to its curb appeal.

Needless to say, the easiest and most effective way to do this is by booking professional deck cleaning services in Fort Collins. But what if you don’t have the time to call in the experts, or if you simply want the satisfaction of doing it yourself?

In previous articles, we answered some common questions about residential decks and discussed some concerns homeowners have when planning a new deck. Now we’ll give you a short guide on how to clean your deck like an expert. Read on.

What is the best way to clean decking?

In addition to making your deck look more appealing and sanitary, deck cleaning is also an excellent opportunity to inspect it for any signs of wear or damage. If you find any problems, be sure to have them addressed by a qualified technician.

First, prep your deck by clearing things up a bit:

  • Remove all the furniture, grills, pots, rugs, and decorations. Check for branches, leaves or any kind of debris especially between the deck boards. Think about using organic waste as compost for your garden plants.
  • Water the plants near your deck and wrap them up into plastic or old cloth to protect them from chemicals. Don’t forget to let them breathe when you finish.

Now it’s time to give your deck a good scrubbing:

  • Before you begin, make sure you’re wearing rubber gloves, eye protection, and a face mask, especially if you’re going to be using any harsh chemicals. Keep in mind that many cleaners also come in eco-friendly variants.
  • Start by scrubbing away any grease marks that may remain on your barbeque grill. Thoroughly rinse before applying any other cleanser.
  • Grab your broom or a heavy-duty vacuum cleaner, and use them to remove small dust and dirt. If there are a lot of leaves or other light debris, blow it away with a leaf blower.
  • Most of the cleaning liquids are based on oxygen bleach or some kind of acid, such as vinegar. Whether you buy it or use a homemade recipe, be careful when you scrub over the boards. Read about the ingredients and avoid ones that may be damaging to the material your deck is made of.
  • If you don’t want to use heavy-duty products, a bucket with soap and water should be more than enough to brush away most of the dirt. In case you do not have the protective equipment, this would be a safer method.
  • Once you’ve scrubbed the deck clean, hose it down with the garden hose. Make sure there aren’t any inorganic leftovers since they damage the wood. Let the deck dry.

Where can I book reliable deck cleaning services in Fort Collins?

Handyman Connection of Fort Collins is an established home repair, and maintenance company that caters to clients across Fort Collins and other cities in Colorado. Whether you’re looking for reliable deck cleaners, highly qualified plumbers, or experienced electricians, you can count on us to meet your every home improvement need.

Get in touch with us today if you’d like to learn more about who we are and what we can do for you. We’re looking forward to making your home the best it can be!

5 Tips for Repairing a Deck

Is it worth repairing a deck

Everyone who owns a garden or a backyard knows that it’s the deck that ties it all together. However, due to regular wear and constant exposure to the elements, your deck can get damaged over time and require deck repair. This is especially true for decks here in Fort Collins, CO, given its climate throughout the year. 

As always, the best way to fix any issues and keep your deck in a great condition is to outsource this task to the experts. In the following article, we’ll take a look at 5 time-tested tips seasoned handymen follow when repairing a deck. Read on.

Is it worth repairing a deck?

Not only is it worth it, it’s actually strongly recommended. The reality is that a damaged deck is not only less functional and detrimental to the appeal of your home, but may pose a serious safety hazard.

Furthermore, as with any other part of your property, keeping your deck well-maintained ensures that it can properly serve its intended purpose. Even if you’re planning on moving, you may want to consider repairing your deck, as it adds to the value of your house.

How do you repair an existing deck?

Deck repair, even though cheaper than building a new one, is not an easy task, and you’ll need to know how to approach the issue in order to repair it properly. You’ll also need to procure the necessary permits for whatever type of work you intend to undertake in Fort Collins.

Here’s how to fix a deck:

1. Gather tools and materials

In order to do any sort of repair work, first you need to gather the required tools and materials that you’ll need for the job.

Safety equipment:

  • Eye protection
  • Ear protection
  • A dust mask
  • Work gloves

Measuring tools

  • A pencil sharpener 
  • A tape measure

Tools:

  • A drill
  • A handsaw or a circular saw
  • A regular screwdriver
  • A claw hammer 
  • A pry bar

Materials:

  • Screws and nails
  • Matching timber decking boards
  • Deck cleaner
  • Decking oil for the protective finish

2. Find and identify the damage

Inspect your deck to find any loose or splintered boards and popped screws or nails. When it comes to loose boards, try to assess if they can be simply repaired by tightening them with a screw or a nail, or if it’s in need of replacing. 

When in doubt, always go for the safer option and replace a loose board. Splintered and cracked boards should be removed and replaced as they are a safety hazard. Any popped screws or nails should be removed and replaced as well.

3. Remove old and damaged screws, nails and boards

Once you’ve found and identified all damaged boards and popped screws and nails, it’s time to remove them. Using a claw hammer or a pry bar, begin removing damaged boards that you’ll later replace with new ones. Remove popped or rusty screws and nails.

4. Replace damaged deck parts

Now that you’ve removed all damaged screws, nails, and boards, you need to replace them with new ones. This is where the measuring tools come in handy. Correctly measure all boards that need replacing to ensure a perfect fit and prevent gaps in your deck. 

After measuring, cut the new boards with a saw and screw or nail them in tightly so that they don’t loosen. Remember to replace any popped screws or nails on boards that don’t need replacing.

5. Clean and oil the deck

After repairing the deck, it’s time to clean the deck and apply a protective finish. Deck cleaning chemicals can be harsh, so be sure to wear safety gloves. There are many deck-cleaning products so make sure to choose one that fits your deck. 

Need a handyman to help with deck repair in Fort Collins, CO & beyond?

Here at Handyman Connection of Fort Collins, we specialize in various sorts of home improvement and maintenance work, including deck installation, deck repair, door installation, framing and repair, gutter repair, and so on. We also take pride in our efficiency, especially in terms of saving water and energy. 

Give us a call today to book our services or learn more about what we offer. We’re looking forward to hearing from you.

Top 3 Things to Consider Before Building a Deck

What to know before building a deck

As anyone who has added a deck to their property will tell you, deck-building is a major home improvement project. Careful planning and decision-making is a must in order to ensure the end result meets your needs and fits well with the rest of your property.

In the following article, we’ll look at 3 key factors you should consider if you’re planning to add a deck to your property. Doing so will not only provide you with a great deck you’ll be proud of for many years to come, but also help you avoid problems that may otherwise require costly deck repair at your Fort Collins home. Read on to learn more.

What to know before building a deck?

A deck installation is an investment in your home. It adds outdoor square footage to your property and provides a unique outdoor living space for you and your loved ones. It may also positively impact the value of your property if you decide to sell your home.

Consider these 3 things before building a deck:

1. Materials

The materials your new deck is made of will determine its price, appearance, how it feels to use, how long it lasts, how easy it is to clean, and how damage-resistant it is. For example, pressure treated wood lasts about 15 years and tends to be the most affordable material. However, it requires more maintenance and may splinter over time.

On the other hand, composite decking doesn’t splinter and tends to last 25-30 years, all while having the texture and color of real wood. However, it also costs more and is heavier than other types of wood. You need to carefully consider the pros and cons of different materials to ensure your new deck meets your needs and budget.

2. Purpose

What is it you want to do with your deck? Do you want it to serve as an outdoor cooking area? A place to entertain guests? A dedicated space for gardening? Do you want it to be private or wide open?

Different functions require different amounts of space and different types of deck accessories. Carefully consider what you want your deck to be, and don’t hesitate to look for inspiration online or consult with professional deck builders.

3. Type

Which type of deck are you looking to build on your property? Attached or detached? Multi-level or poolside? Rooftop or entryway? Different types of decks can serve vastly different purposes and accommodate different kinds of accessories. Carefully choose the one that best meets your needs and the layout of your property.

Is it cheaper to build your own deck?

Although it may seem relatively straightforward, deck building is a complex construction project that requires specialized knowledge and equipment in order to ensure your new deck complies with the local building and safety standards. An improperly built deck isn’t just going to be of poorer quality: it may also be dangerous for the occupants.

Because of this, you shouldn’t attempt to build a deck on your own unless you have a background in construction, as well as access to the necessary tools and materials. If this doesn’t apply to you, it’s strongly advised that you outsource your deck installation to the experts.

Where can I book expert-level deck repair in Fort Collins?

Handyman Connection of Fort Collins provides professional home improvement and maintenance services to clients across Fort Collins and the nearby communities. Whether you’re looking to hire experienced deck builders, electricians, painters, plumbers, or general handymen, you can count on us to meet your needs with utmost diligence and precision.Our team will happily attend to your home improvement and maintenance needs while you focus on your other responsibilities or enjoy a fun afternoon at the Carnegie Center for Creativity with your friends and family. Contact us today.

What Is a Deck and Why You Should Build One at Your Property

What is considered a deck

To say that outdoor living is all the rage these days would be a huge understatement. Even before the pandemic, many Americans were choosing to spend their leisure time in their backyards and even plan entire “staycations” at their homes.

Nowadays, with COVID-19 still being a major safety concern for many of us, having a great backyard that lends itself well to both family gatherings and quiet relaxation time is absolutely crucial. And what better way to do this than by building a gorgeous deck at your property?

But what exactly constitutes a deck? What are the different ways a deck can be incorporated into a property? Can a new deck installation increase the value of your property in Fort Collins? Read on to find out.

What is considered a deck?

Decks are flat platforms that are attached to a house. They’re elevated from the ground and usually enclosed by a safety railing. Depending on the homeowners’ preferences, they may also be covered by a pergola or a canopy.

Decks come in different types, including:

Attached decks

As their name suggests, these decks are attached to a house, usually at the back. These decks work best with homes that are either U-shaped or L-shaped, as this enables the deck to fit naturally and perfectly at the intersection of the walls.

Rooftop decks

If your house or garage has a flat roof, you can use that space to build a rooftop deck that gives you a lovely view of the surrounding landscape. These decks are a common feature in urban areas and typically require safety rails.

Detached decks

These decks aren’t directly attached to a house, but can be positioned anywhere on the property. Depending on elevation, they may either be accessed via a pathway or a stairwell.

Poolside decks

A poolside deck is a great addition to any swimming pool or pond. Since the materials a deck is made of won’t get as hot as concrete does in the summer, it makes it more comfortable for swimmers to walk around barefoot as they enter and leave the pool. These decks are also frequently accessorized with umbrellas and lounge chairs.

Entryway decks

These decks often resemble porches, but they have a more open design and include accessories such as planters, benches, and other items. They may also be equipped with outdoor living features such as barbecues, tables, and the like.

Multi-level decks

These decks are actually multiple decks that are interconnected and spread on more than one level. This makes them the ideal option if your property has steep slopes, hills, rocky terrain, or otherwise varying elevations that would make it difficult to install a traditional deck.

Will adding a deck increase the value of my home?

Assuming that they were maintained properly, decks have a nearly dollar-for-dollar ROI (Return on Investment). This means you’ll easily come out even if you decide to install a quality deck at your property.

What’s more, the increased popularity of outdoor living features means that many property buyers are much more interested in homes that already have a deck. Therefore, a deck significantly adds to the appeal of your property and may make it easier to attract the right kind of buyer.

Where can I book a professional deck installation in Fort Collins?

Looking to make sure your new deck stays in good condition, looks its best, and is compliant with the local regulations? Or perhaps you need the help of an electrician, plumber, painter, or general maintenance technician? At Handyman Connection of Fort Collins, we can assist you with all that and more.As the leading home maintenance and improvement company in Fort Collins, we’re uniquely positioned to ensure the key systems in your home are working flawlessly at all times. Get in touch with us today.