Home Escape Plan

The Most Important Thing Every Family Should Have in the Event of a Fire
Pacific Coast Electric Heating & Air Offers Safety Tips as a Part of National Fire Safety Month

SAN JOSE, Oct. 21st, 2020 – October is National Fire Safety Month, and Pacific Coast Electric Heating & Air is celebrating it by providing a series of safety tips that homeowners should know. This is the last of five releases with helpful information, and it discusses an important topic: having a clear escape plan for a family.

When fires occur, often people only have a few minutes to react. In those instances, it’s important that every family member understands how to quickly and safety evacuate a burning home. Any hesitation can cost a person their life.

Here’s what every family should do to protect their loved ones in the event of a fire:
• Make a plan for immediate escape from every room in your home that takes into consideration the ages and abilities of every member of your household. Infants and others who cannot get out on their own will need help from a family member during drills and in a real fire emergency.
• Try out all windows and doors to see that they are easily opened in case they’re needed as an escape route.
• Remove hazards like heavy furniture or free up stuck windows that may interfere with a quick exit.
• Consider buying fire escape ladders for use if a back-up escape route is upper story windows. (Practice deploying ladders from ground-floor windows during drills.)
• Agree on a meeting place in front of and a safe distance away from your home.
• Teach children the fire department emergency number, 9-1-1, and make sure they understand that they must get out first and then call for help.
• Practice your escape plan and make adjustments if anyone is not successful in being alerted and quickly exiting to your meeting place.
• Once everyone is comfortable with the escape plan, hold a drill when they are sleeping. Young children especially can often sleep through the loud smoke alarm signal. Find out if your child awakes to the alarm signal; if not, assign a family member to awaken the child for drills and in case of a real life emergency.
• Plan to practice again in a few months.
• If anyone in the family cannot awaken to the signal of the alarm, regardless of age, assign a buddy to that family member to help awaken them for drills and in case of a real life emergency.

For more information on Pacific Coast Electric Heating & Air, please visit www.pcelectricheatingandair.com or call (408) 508-6372.

How to Prevent Fires from Smoking Materials

How to Avoid the Number One Cause Of Home Fire Deaths
Pacific Coast Electric Heating & Air Offers Safety Tips as a Part of National Fire Safety Month

SAN JOSE, Oct. 15th, 2020 – October is National Fire Safety Month, and Pacific Coast Electric Heating & Air is celebrating it by providing a series of safety tips that homeowners should know. This is the fourth of five releases with helpful information, and it discusses an important topic: eliminating home fires due cigarettes, cigars, or other smoking related materials.

According to the Home Safety Council, the leading cause of deaths is smoking materials.

“Lit smoking materials can ignite just about anything in a moment’s notice if left unattended. And people should always be careful when discarding of a cigarette, for example. Ashes may still be hot when they appear to be extinguished. If thrown into a trashcan too soon, you could easily have a home fire,” Raymond Porras, Field Advisor of Pacific Coast Electric Heating & Air, said.

Here are some safety tips all smokers should know:
• If someone smokes in the home, have a large, deep, flat-bottomed ashtray on hand.
• When the ashtray is full, douse the butts with water before dumping it in the trash.
• Keep all smoking materials out of the reach of children.
• Never, in any instance, smoke while lying in the bed.

For more information on Pacific Coast Electric Heating & Air, please visit www.pcelectricheatingandair.com or call (408) 508-6372.

Supplemental Heating Equipment Safety

Supplemental Heating Equipment Can Add Warmth but also Danger in the Home

Pacific Coast Electric Heating & Air Offers Safety Tips as a Part of National Fire Safety Month

SAN JOSE, Oct. 6th, 2020 – October is National Fire Safety month, and Pacific Coast Electric Heating & Air is celebrating it by providing a series of safety tips that homeowners should know.  This is the third of five releases with helpful information, and it discusses an important topic: eliminating home fires due to supplemental heating equipment.

According to the Home Safety Council, the second leading cause of home fires is supplemental heating equipment, such as portable heaters, wood stoves, and fireplaces.

“If something combustible is placed too close to one it can catch fire due to the radiant heat or sparks from a fire,” Raymond Porras, Field Advisor of Pacific Coast Electric Heating & Air, said.  “That’s why we warn so many people about using portable heaters in bedrooms, especially considering they will be asleep and unable to react should a fire occur.”

Here are some home safety tips relating to supplemental heating equipment that everyone should know:

  • Never leave a heater working if you are out of the room or asleep.
  • Purchase space heaters and other electrical equipment and woodstoves that have been tested for safety and listed by a testing laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
  • Make sure that portable heaters have a tip-over feature that will automatically turn it off if tipped over.
  • Read operating instructions before use and keep the instructions handy for referral.
  • Use space heaters that have guards that help prevent combustible items from coming in contact with heating elements.
  • Move all combustibles three feet away from space heaters, fireplaces, and woodstoves when in use.
  • Closely supervise children so they stay a safe distance away from the woodstove, fireplace, or space heater when in use.
  • Install woodstoves in compliance with local building and fire codes.
  • Install a barrier between the woodstove and the floor to protect combustible flooring from extreme heat.
  • Have fireplace and woodstove chimneys inspected each year and cleaned of built-up creosote as needed.
  • Have chimney connectors inspected every year and cleaned as necessary.
  • Keep a sturdy screen in front of the fireplace opening to keep hot embers inside.
  • Maintain a safety distance of three feet for all combustibles from the furnace and water heater also.
  • Have your furnace serviced each year before the heating season.
  • Store volatile products such as paint thinner in the garage or shed away from the house.
  • Gasoline is highly flammable and should never be brought into the home.  It should be stored in an approved gasoline container in a garage or shed, away from children’s hands.

Of course, another safety concern of portable heaters is the extension cords used with them.  Extension cords should not be coiled up while plugged in, and they should not be underneath carpet or rugs: both are major fire hazards.

For more information on Pacific Coast Electric Heating & Air, please visit www.pcelectricheatingandair.com or call (408) 508-6372.

Kitchen Safety Tips

How Homeowners Can Eliminate the Number-One Cause of All Home Fires
Pacific Coast Electric Heating & Air Offers Safety Tips as a Part of National Fire Safety Month

SAN JOSE, Sept. 28th, 2020 – October is National Fire Safety Month, and Pacific Coast Electric Heating & Air is celebrating it by providing a series of safety tips that homeowners should know. This is the second of five releases with helpful information, and it discusses an important topic: eliminating home fires due to cooking equipment.

According to the Home Safety Council, cooking equipment creates more home fires than anything else. “When in the kitchen, it can take just a momentary lapse of concentration, and you have a potentially serious problem on your hands,” Juan Conchas, Install Manager of Pacific Coast Electric Heating & Air, said. “And you should never leave anything cooking while unattended. That’s a recipe for disaster.”

  • Here are some kitchen safety tips everyone should know:
  • Remove or distance combustibles that are stored near the cooking surface, including curtains, decorations, and towels.
  • If interrupted while coking, turn the burner to low, and throw a towel over your shoulder or carry a spoon with you as a reminder to return quickly to the range after taking care of the interruption.
  • When frying with oil, never leave the pan and heat it slowly so the oil doesn’t reach the ignition point. When finished cooking, turn the burner off, move the pan to a cool burner, and put a lid on it.
  • If you should have a pan fire, put a heavy oven mitt on and slide a lid over the pan from front to back. Then, turn the burner off. This method is a better option for household pan fires than fire extinguishers, which if used improperly can spray burning grease out of the pan, actually spreading the fire.
  • Store pan lids near the cooking surface so you don’t waste time locating one if you have a pan fire.
  • Never move the pan when there is a fire in it.

For more information on Pacific Coast Electric Heating & Air, visit www.pcelectricheatingandair.com or call (408) 508-6372.

10 Fall Activities To Do With Family & Friends

Are you ready for the fall season? Here are 10 fall activities you can do with family & friends this year!

  1. Go to a farmer’s market: usually open during weekend mornings, the farmer’s market is a great place for you to go with family or friends to get local and fresh produce. Look for pumpkins, squash, apples, and other delicious fall fruits and vegetables.
Photo by Jakub Kapusnak / Unsplash

2. Head to a pumpkin patch: what better way to spend the day than go pick the perfect pumpkin for carving (or eating)? Many pumpkin patches are also beautifully decorated which are great for photo opportunities with your loved ones.

Photo by Aaron Burden / Unsplash

3. Visit an apple orchard: see how many pounds of apples each person can pick!

Photo by Terra Slaybaugh / Unsplash

4. Bake fall-themed desserts: pumpkin/apple/pecan pies, cinnamon apple muffins & pancakes, the list goes on!

Photo by Element5 Digital / Unsplash

5. Go on a hike: get your daily exercise while enjoying the crisp fall air. If you are heading to a county/state/national park, be sure to check if it is affected by COVID-19 closures.

Photo by Aaron Burden / Unsplash

6. Take a sip at a winery: some wineries in Napa & Sonoma County are open for outdoor tasting! Check the winery’s website before you go.

Photo by Kym Ellis / Unsplash

7. Add to your garden: some fall flowers to plant include chrysanthemums and pansies.

Photo by Callum Skelton.

8. Host a movie night or take a trip to your local drive-in theater: drive-in theaters will allow you to socially distance while still enjoying a good movie!

Photo by Corina Rainer / Unsplash

9. Get lost (or not) in a corn maze: compete in teams to see who ends up finishing the maze first.

Photo by Kimmy Williams / Unsplash

10. Plan a picnic at a nearby park or your backyard: enjoy your meal outside with the fall breeze!

Photo by Kate Hliznitsova / Unsplash

Spiced Apple Pancakes Recipe

*These spiced apple pancakes are perfect for the fall! Here’s what you’ll need:

Ingredients

1 1/3 cup all purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powser

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon, separated

1 tbsp granulated sugar

1/2 tsp kosher salt

4 tbsp butter, divided

1 large egg, separated

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 1/4 cup milk

4 large apples, peeled, cored, and finely chopped (about 5-6 cups)

1/2 cup brown sugar

Directions

  1. Mix the flour, baking powder, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. In another bowl, combine the egg yolk, vanilla, milk, and melted butter. Combine dry ingredients with the wet ingredients and then add in 1 1/2  cups of chopped apple.
  2. In a different bowl, beat the egg whites with a mixer until stiff peaks form. Add the egg whites into the batter.
  3. In a pan over medium heat, melt the rest of the butter (2 tablespoons). Add the rest of the chopped apples, brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/4 cup water. Cook the apples until they have softened, about 10-15 minutes.
  4. Time to cook the pancakes: melt 1 tablespoon butter onto your pan. Add in 1/4 cup pancake batter into the pan. When you notice small bubbling in the pancake, flip it over and continue cooking until both sides are light-golden brown. Repeat process with the rest of batter. Serve pancakes with the apple topping from step 3.

We hope you enjoy this delicious recipe!

*Credit goes to Lena Abraham, Food Editor at Delish.

Abraham, Lena. “Spiced Apple Pancakes.” Delish. Hearst Magazine Media, Inc, July 2020. Web. 22 September 2020.

Smoke Alarm Safety

Sixty-Two Percent of Home Fire Deaths Are Due to Families Not Having Smoke Detectors or Having Smoke Detectors That No Longer Work: Pacific Coast Electric Heating & Air Offers Safety Tips as a Part of National Fire Safety Month

SAN JOSE, Sept. 21st, 2020 – October is National Fire Safety Month, and Pacific Coast Electric Heating & Air is celebrating it by providing a series of safety tips that homeowners should know.  This is the first of five releases with helpful information, and it discusses an important topic: protecting homes and families from the potential of fire and smoke.

According to the Home Safety Council, more than 3,000 people die from fires each year.  Eighty percent of those occur while in the home; the majority of those happen when people are sleeping.

“A fire can build and grow in just minutes.  That can cause poisonous gas to build up in a home easily.  If you’re asleep, it’s an extremely dangerous situation.  That’s why smoke alarms are the most important thing all people can have in their homes,” Juan Conchas, Install Manager of Pacific Coast Electric Heating & Air, said.

According to the National Fire Protection agency, 62 percent of home related fire deaths resulted because the home didn’t have smoke alarms, or the alarms were not functional.  “If your smoke alarms are over 10 years of age, I can’t emphasize enough to have them replaced, or at least inspected at the very least,” Conchas continued.

Here are some smoke alarm safety tips everyone should know:

  • Smoke alarms should be installed on every level of the home as well as outside sleeping areas.
  • For additional protection, install a smoke alarm in each bedroom.
  • Alarms should be tested every month and the batteries replaced at least once a year.
  • Install alarms near the highest pitch of the ceiling, at least four inches away from the wall.
  • Avoid placing alarms too close to the kitchen and bathrooms where fumes and steam can result in false alarms.
  • Purchase smoke alarms that are listed by Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
  • Install special alarms for anyone in your home who is deaf or hearing impaired.
  • Test smoke alarms after returning home when away for more than a few days.

“The best smoke detectors people can have today are interconnected smoke alarms.  If one signals, all of them throughout the home will simultaneously chirp.  This provides families maximum safety—they don’t have to wait until the smoke or fire is perilously close to alert you,” Conchas added.

For more information on Pacific Coast Electric Heating & Air, visit www.pcelectricheatingandair.com or call (408) 508-6372.


11 Signs To Look Out For When Deciding To Rewire Your Home

Here are 11 signs to look out for when deciding to rewire your home!

1) Frequent blown fuses or tripped breakers
2) Over-amped or over-fused electrical panel
3) Dimming or flickering lights
4) Hot or discolored switch plates, cords, or plugs
5) Lightbulbs that frequently burn out in a socket
6) Buzzing or sizzling sounds
7) Burning smell
8) Arcs or sparks from an outlet when you plug/unplug a cord
9) Loose outlets
10) Cracked, cut, or broken insulation
11) Electrical shock when you plug in/touch a cord

If you notice any of these signs in your home, please give us a call so our electricians can take a look! Your safety is of the utmost importance to us.

Rewiring Your Home

Your home in the Bay Area will contain either one of or a mixture of the following wire type;

Each wire type had its own distinct advantages and disadvantages at the time of its installation. Your home’s electrical wiring lifespan is greatly affected by type, power usage and quality of its installation. Power demands have increased exponentially over the years which means the older systems have become undersized and lacking in protection. In short, if your home does not have modern NM-B cables then you should consider having an electrician inspect your home as soon as possible. Most homes will have the option of adding additional wiring, replacing only certain sections or rewiring entirely. In addition to wiring to code, you will have the option of increasing maximum power, lighting and protections.


Knob and Tube 1880-1940’s

  • Lifespan: 25 years
  • Cloth sheathing
  • Designed for minimal 60A systems (mostly lighting)
  • Difficult to integrate into new systems
  • No interior grounding wires

If your home has Knob and tube you should seriously consider a full electrical rewire. Most insurance companies have difficulty insuring these homes and may also require that it be updated. Attempting to integrate this wiring with modern NM Cable is often done incorrectly and leaves the home in even more danger. The cloth sheathing lasts for about 25 years before it begins to crack and becomes brittle, exposing the bare electrified copper conductor which is an extreme fire hazard.


Bx (Armor Clad Cable) 1930 – 1950’s

  • Lifespan: 30-40 years
  • Armor protection
  • Designed for 60A – 100A systems
  • Difficult to integrate into new systems
  • Not a sufficient grounding source

    Bx wiring was a step in the right direction however it does still have a lot of the same issues as Knob and Tube. The best part about it is the armor around the electrical conductors. This makes the lifespan increase as well as the safety of people operating near it. That being said the cable does not make for an acceptable ground like modern armored cables, which means you still need to rewire in order to have grounded receptacles and lighting. In addition most of the wiring will be on only a few circuits meaning most modern users will be in an overload situation.


Aluminum NM 1960-1970’s

  • Lifespan: 10 years.
  • PVC or Cloth Sheathing
  • Aluminum conductors designed for 100A-125A system
  • Extremely difficult to integrate into new systems
  • Typically contains undersized grounding conductor

Aluminum wire became a cost effective option primarily due to copper prices being high (Vietnam War). However, it was quickly realized that this type of wire drastically increased the rate of electrical fire. In general Aluminum is not as good of a conductor as Copper which means it often needs to be oversized. The wire is more susceptible to overheating, melting and arcing, all of which can cause an electrical fire. In addition, almost all additions to the system are done in copper and often need to be tied into the existing aluminum. The two metals are extremely dangerous to connect to each other if done improperly.


Anaconda NM 1960-1980’s

  • Lifespan: 30 years
  • Cloth Sheathing
  • Designed for 100A-125A system
  • Easily integrated
  • Typically contains undersized grounding conductor

Anaconda cable is the closest you will get to modern NM-B cable. It contains a grounding conductor which means it will give you access to ground protection and 3 prong receptacles. The exterior sheathing is the biggest problem with this cable. It is cloth based and often rips easily and exposes the copper conductors to being harmed. There are also issues with termites and rodents eating away the sheathing. Most Anaconda is on its way out but can be integrated into newer systems if it is protected properly (CAFCI breakers).


NM-B Cable 1984 – Present

  • Lifespan: 50 years
  • PVC sheathing
  • Designed for 100A – 400A systems
  • Gold Standard of Cables
  • Proper grounding conductor size

If you have wiring that looks like the above photo then congratulations you have the most modern iteration of residential home wiring. These cables are built for modern day living and can last an extremely long time if installed properly. You may still want to check if you have proper circuit breakers installed (CAFCI) as these breakers became code 15 years later.


Why Hire Us?

Here at Pacific Coast Electric Heating and Air we have completed and continue to do the most residential home rewires in the area. This is not a light task as it involves coordinating with multiple contractors, inspectors, utilities and of course electricians. We are experts in our field and take care of the project in its entirety for you. Projects can last anywhere from (1) one week to (2) two months depending on how much work is performed. Here are some of the advantages in hiring us;

  • Our company is licensed, bonded and insured with legal contracts
  • Our Project Managers will coordinate the entire project for you
  • 100% financing available
  • You do not need to move out of the home while the work takes place
  • We guarantee the work passes a final inspection and is to modern code
  • An unmatched 30 year warranty on all labor and materials
  • Licensed Electricians performing the work
  • Customizable options so that you end up with exactly what you want
  • Transparent to the dollar pricing
  • And last but not least our Client Care Guarantee: Our electricians are the best in skill, attitude and workmanship. While they are in your home or place of business your property will be protected from any possible damage. Our electricians will not swear or use tobacco products while on your property. They will courteously answer any questions and leave your home as neat as they found it. They will wear protective shoe covers and place floor protection on all work and traffic areas.
For an Emergency or Consultation Contact Us Anytime!

For an Emergency or Consultation Contact Us Anytime!

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National Electrical Safety Month

MAY IS NATIONAL ELECTRICAL SAFETY MONTH!

According to a recent NFPA report, during 2011-2015 electrical distribution or lighting equipment was involved in the ignition of 34,000 reported home structure fires, on average, per year. These result in 418 deaths, 1,570 injuries and $1.4 billion in property damage. The fires involved equipment such as wiring, lighting, cords and plugs. This report also states that electrical distribution or lighting equipment ranked first in direct property damage and third among the major fire causes in the number of home fires.

The NFPA ask residents to adhere to the following safety tips:

  • Check all electrical cords to make sure they are not running accross doorways or under carpets where they can get damaged.
  • Have a qualified electrician add more receptacle outlets in your home to reduce use of extension cords.
  • Use light bulbs that match the recommended wattage in a lamp or other light fixture. Check the sticker on the fixture to determine the wattage.

You should always have all electrical work done by a qualified electrician, including scheduling electrical inspections when buying or remodeling a home.

Please contact an electrician if you are encountering any of these signs in your home:

  • Frequent problems with blowing fuses or tripping circuit breakers
  • A tingling feeling when touching an electrical appliance
  • Discolored or warm wall outlets
  • A burning, rubbery smell coming from an appliance
  • Flickering or dimming lights
  • Sparks from an outlet
  • Crackling or sizzling from outlets

Never use extension cords or multi-outlet converters for appliances. All major appliances should be plugged directly into a wall outlet. Only plug one heat-producing appliance into a receptacle outlet at a time. A heavy reliance on extension cords is an indication that you have too few outlets for your needs.  Remember, power strips only add additional outlets; they do not change the amount of power being received from the outlet.

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