ICE CO. SPOTLIGHT

The Spotlight will highlight topics spanning industry news, safety, product and equipment reviews, codes and much more! We look forward to a dialogue with you.

What is an Arc Flash

Friday, October 23, 2015

What is Arc Flash?

An arc flash is an explosive burst of heat and light, caused by a sudden, uncontrolled electrical arc (or current passing through the air). Temperatures may reach as high as 35,000°F in just 1/1000 of a second, vaporizing metal, causing fatal burns, and generating a blast wave that can collapse workers’ lungs and rupture eardrums. Shrapnel, toxic gases, and intense UV rays can cause additional injuries. Arc flash accidents can kill in an instant, or cause a long, slow, and painful death. Even non-fatal injuries from an arc flash may require months or years of medical care and therapy.

What Happens in an Arc Flash?

An arc can begin whenever a conductive object gets too close to an exposed current source. Dropping tools, opening panels on deteriorated equipment, inserting or removing components from an energized system, and even a rodent infestation can provide an opportunity for an arc to begin.

If that arc has enough energy, it can continue to ionize the air around it. This ionization reduces the electrical resistance along the path of the arc, allowing the arc to draw even more current. As more and more energy flows through the arc, the process builds on itself, and in a moment the arc becomes an arc flash.

The primary source of injury in an arc flash is the burst of heat. Just like lightning, an arc flash releases an enormous amount of heat energy in a very short time. That heat also melts and vaporizes the materials around it, such as wiring and metal equipment panels, as well as drastically raising the temperature of the air nearby.

As this material heats up very quickly, it expands to create a pressure wave, just like thunder. That pressure wave can scatter the broken and melted fragments of equipment like a spray of bullets. Even after the immediate blast, the vaporized material can form a cloud of toxic vapor, mist, and dust. Arc flash is one of the more dramatic electrical accidents, and is often deadly where proper safety precautions have not been taken.

Steps for Arc Flash Safety

Preventing arc flash accidents or minimizing their impact requires a comprehensive safety program, involving both electrical workers and management. The following steps should be taken to ensure worker safety.

First, perform an electrical risk assessment. Use the guidelines in NFPA 70E and IEEE 1584 to identify and assess electrical shock and arc flash hazards throughout your facility.

Determine protective boundaries for electrical equipment. NFPA 70E recommends Limited and Restricted Approach Boundaries to protect workers from electric shock and a separate Arc Flash Boundary to protect them from burns in the event of an arc flash. Employees should keep outside these boundaries during ordinary work.

Identify equipment and components that present a significant risk of arc flash. The NFPA identifies the following types of frequently-affected equipment:

  • Switchboards
  • Panelboards
  • Industrial control panels
  • Meter socket enclosures
  • Motor control centers

Next, ensure all potential arc flash hazards are properly labeled. Warning labels that inform workers of potential hazards are a key part of arc flash prevention. The National Electric Code (NEC) Article 110.16 addresses arc flash protection, stating that affected equipment  ”shall be field marked to warn of potential arc flash hazards...." In addition, NFPA 70E requires that arc flash labels contain information specific to each piece of equipment, detailing the exact hazards that are present.

Pre-printed arc flash labels can be used, although pre-printed labels must be modified in the field to include the required information. A better option is to print custom arc flash labels on-site. Specialized software can track and organize the information for each label, such as available incident energy, approach distances, and required Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Labels should be kept legible and up-to-date, since arc flash hazard levels can change any time your electrical system is modified.

Finally, make sure that workers are adequately trained. Any employees who will work on electrical equipment need to be aware of the dangers of arc flash, understand the warning labels and signs, and know how to select and use the appropriate PPE.


Get Prepared for Fall

Thursday, September 17, 2015

It may be only September, but the leaves are changing here in Oregon. This has me thinking about all the things I need to do around the house to get ready before the cold weather settles in. Even if in your neck of the woods, you are still enjoying warm sunny weather (lucky you), you'll benefit from preparing for the winter weather that is only a few months away.

                      

1. Clean Out the Gutters

All the leaves and grime that you neglected while you were out swimming, hiking, or riding your bicycle this summer have built up in your gutters. If left full of debris, clogged gutters and drains can form ice dams that prevent your drainage systems from working properly. This can lead to water seeping into your home, which can lead to all sorts of issues and extra energy costs. Save yourself the hassle of repairing a leak by simply cleaning your gutters and drains now. When you do, run water through the gutters to check for misalignments that could also cause water damage.

2. Keep the Outside Air Out and the Inside Air In

Warm air will escape out of any cracks and can make your heating system work harder and cost you more to heat your home.  Use caulk to seal cracks and openings between stationary house components like a door frame and weather stripping to seal components that move like an operable window.

3. Show Some TLC to Your Furnace

Your furnace may be a distant memory since you last powered it on, but before the cold weather descends and you must reluctantly switch it on, give it some TLC. Clean your furnace annually each autumn. Sediment build-up can cause your system to work less efficiently or potentially become a fire-hazard. Cleaning your system and getting it inspected will reduce the risks.

During the winter try to change your filter regularly; a dirty filter will decrease air flow and energy-efficiency. And if your furnace is ready to be replaced, buy an energy-efficient model. It will save you money and energy each month!

4. Get Your Ducts in a Row

Your ducts are often times out of sight, out of mind, tucked away in the attic or basement, but a home with central heating can lose about 20% of the air that moves through the duct system. Make sure your ducts are in order by properly sealing and insulating them. Tightly sealed and insulated ducts can potentially reduce your annual energy bills by $120 or more! 


Why You Need an Electrician

Friday, August 14, 2015

Electrical contractors are crucial to any new build of commercial or residential premises. They can also be incredibly helpful when looking to renovate an existing building, where your expertise is not that skilled. You may feel that you are capable of performing smaller tasks, but where electrics are concerned it is far better being safe than sorry.

Electricians are trained professionals who understand how dangerous the work can be, and how important it is to stick to the strict guidelines. When you are performing any work within your home that involves electrics, you need to consider if you should hire electrical contractors. There are smaller tasks that you may be able to perform with confidence; however, larger jobs may need an expert.

Many people try to do an electrician’s job themselves, which will often lead to problems further down the line. Therefore, making the decision early on in the project to hire contractors will save you both time and money. If you have found that you are in too deep and do not understand what you are doing, you need to hire a professional electrician. They will be able to notify you of the problem and instruct you how to make it better.

Hiring the professionals to carry out the electrical work within your home or business will ensure that everything is done safely. Electricians will be able to install all electrical components around your home. Plugins, ceiling fans, security lighting, light switches and wiring in appliances can all be done with ease. You will be surprised how easy the electricians will make it look; however, they are trained to do their job.

There are many common issues and problems with the wiring in homes all over the world, and typically these issues have arisen from the wrong people performing the tasks. By hiring qualified and experienced electricians, you will be guaranteeing that your home is safe. They will be able to rectify any existing issues, and ensure that all new work is carried out in the correct manner.

 

If you have been having problems for a while, they will source the issue and fix it correctly. Performing jobs around your home and business may seem like a good idea, and you may think that you are saving money, but you should call an electrician the moment that you begin to find problems with the wiring in your home.


Home Electrical Safety

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Tips for Home Electrical Safety

U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated annual average of 47,820 reported home structure fires involving electrical failure or malfunction 2007-2011. These fires resulted in 455 civilian deaths, 1,518 civilian injuries and $1.5 billion in direct property damage.

With that being said, it is very important to make sure all of your electrical appliances, extension cords, light bulbs and other equipment is in good working condition.

Always ensure you replace or repair appliances that are damaged. Cracked cords, broken plugs and any burning smell from the appliance need to be looked into immediately. If you are leaving your home for a significantly long period of time, it is a good idea to turn-off and unplug heavy duty appliances such as ovens, A/C, heaters etc.

Unplug unused appliances and stow cords safely out of reach of pets, young children or hazardous situations.

Always follow appliance instructions carefully, and do not attempt amateur repairs or upgrades.

Do not staple or nail cords in position at any time; if the cord does not remain where desired, use tape or twist ties to secure it.

Cords should not be placed beneath rugs where they can become a trip hazard or where frays will not be noticeable. Furthermore, covering a cord will prevent it from keeping as cool as possible.

Do not overload outlets with multiple adapters or power strips; relocate cords instead.

 

Lastly, use bulbs that have the correct wattage requirements for each fixture. Using a higher wattage bulb can cause the fixture to overheat.




Summer Hazards

Friday, June 06, 2014



Summer vacation is upon us and there will be children out and about, enjoying their break from school. In this blog we are going to take a break from our usual topics to touch on some summer hazards that children may come across and what parents should look for in order to keep their children safe!

We touched on drowning along with electrical shock in our last blog, so we are going to focus on four more hazards to be on the lookout for.



Bicycle Injuries

Broken bones are the most common injuries that come from falling from a bicycle, but without proper safety equipment, some injuries can be fatal. Over 26,000 traumatic brain injuries happen each year from children falling from bicycles while not wearing a proper helmet. Head injuries are life threatening and can be deadly. These traumatic injuries can happen in your own driveway so make sure your child has a proper fitting helmet and don’t allow them to ride on the street until they are in their pre-teen/early teen years and properly understand the rules of the road.



Falling

Children falling from playground equipment, trampolines or in the house, account for over 2.8 million injuries per year and 4% of child deaths. Make sure that all windows have proper screens and be sure to have proper supervision when children are playing on any equipment, especially supervision on younger children and toddlers. Be sure that no children are climbing higher than 4 feet without proper assistance and that all playground equipment has proper cushioning and there are no exposed sharp edges or bolts.



Burns

Children can get burns from campfires, cooking or fireworks. In your home, make sure to have stove guards, smoke alarms and do not have home fireworks, go and watch ones run by professionals. Burns cause almost 9% unintentional deaths in children.



Poisoning

Medications, cleaners, cosmetics and citronella oil are all examples of poisons that children can get into and cause harmful reactions or death. Over 300 children are treated for poisoning each day and at least 2 of them die. Poisoning causes 3.9% of deaths in children. Be sure to keep chemicals out of sight and look for any chemicals within reach. Be sure to keep the Poison Control Center number by your phone.  1 – 800 – 222 – 1222

 

Don’t let your child become one of these statistics. Supervision is KEY.

Be safe, have fun and enjoy the summer!


Summer Fun

Saturday, May 31, 2014


The WARMER it gets the CLOSER it gets...


And you KNOW what that means.....





June, July & August are packed full with fun water activities, family vacations, and some much needed R&R!!


Water activities are great ways you can cool off and keep active during these next few months, which makes this is the perfect time to remind our fellow readers about the simple tips that we all easily forget on the long wait to summertime.




SAFETY BY THE WATER,

 SAFETY IN THE WATER,

AND NEAR THE WATER, 

SAVES LIVES!!!



"TEN people die EVERYDAY from drowning!!! One in five of those people are CHILDREN ages fourteen and younger. Drowning ranks 5th among the leading causes of unintentional injury deaths in the United States." -Centers for Disease Control and Prevention




A less common, but incredibly deadly danger when it comes to swimming, is electrical shock. Pool lights can have faulty wiring or can have products that are not properly grounded. If a person is not killed immediately from the shock, they can be rendered immobile and unable to call for help, resulting in drowning.




When looking for electrical hazards, keep in mind:

-          Underwater lighting/faulty wiring

-          Aging or neglected wiring

-          Underground pumps, washers or vacuums

-          Electrical products near a pool that could potentially fall in (IE. Radios)


Always be ALERT & ACTIVE during all water activities. It can make the difference!!


(Interested in more facts regarding Water-related injuries in the United States? Check out this articleUnintentional Drowning: Get the Facts)

Make pool safety a priority in 2014!


Electrical Fire Prevention

Monday, May 19, 2014

Electrical fires account for more than 

50,000 fires,

$1.3 billion in damage,

500 deaths 

and 1,400 injuries EACH YEAR!!


 Simple tips and tricks could save your life, your home and your possessions. 


Tips & Tricks #1 Don’t Overload the Circuits




The electrical circuits in your home are not designed to run at maximum capacity all the time. By minimizing how much electricity you force through each circuit, you can easily reduce the risk of having an electrical fire. Some homes may have less circuit’s available, especially older homes. Although it may be costly at the time, a safe and effective idea is to have an electrician install new circuit breakers on your electrical panel. 

 


Tips & Tricks #2 Replace Those Cords!




If you see wiring in your home that is frayed or damaged, do NOT just try to fix it with electrical tape and forget about it. You may think you’re making a great DIY fix but you are not reducing the risk of electrical fire from the damaged cord. Replacing damaged wiring is not as expensive as one might think, and after a trip to the hardware store, you’ll still be able to put your DIY skills to the test, in a safer way!


Tips & Tricks #3 Play It Safe




Another simple way to help prevent electrical fires in your home is by keeping items in safe places. Avoid leaving hot irons and curling irons plugged in if you aren’t in the room, especially if you have small children. If you are charging your everyday items, such as, cellphones, laptops, iPads, etc. leave them on hard surfaces like your desk or a table. AVOID leaving them in places like the couch or the bed. This can quickly cause them to overheat and the materials are easily flammable. 


Tips & Tricks #4: Hire an Electrician


Make sure to routinely have a licensed electrician go through your home and give a thorough examination of your electrical system. If you notice any issues with your circuit breakers, flickering lights, overheated or loose plugs, or experience any shock from an outlet, LET YOUR ELECTRICIAN KNOW IMMEDIATELY! This cannot be stressed enough. Don’t wait to see if it happens a second time. The next time, it might be too late. Take the chance to get it fixed while you have the chance!




Stay Grounded!


Winter Savings

Wednesday, January 29, 2014




Winter is in and Fall is out!!


It's that time of year again. In the past few weeks, you have probably noticed a change in the amount of your electric and/or gas bill, and it's probably due to the amount of heater usage. 


Electricity can be very expensive, but saving can be quiet simple!




You may be wasting your heat! It is important to check around your home to be sure it is not escaping under doors or through cracks. You could be wasting some in many minor areas that have been overlooked. 


There are many things you can do around your house to help those skyrocketing energy bills. Many are easy to overlook, so we wanted to break it down for you.




It is important to regularly check the insulation in your home. Close to 50% of household energy usage is from heating, so you want it to keep in as much heat as possible. 


If your windows are letting out heat, without completely replacing them, you may need to seal the windows. Temporary fix items can be found at your local hardware store. Click here for more options to insulate your windows. 




A simple and free solution to get the most out of your heating, is to keep any unused room doors shut. Also turn off the vent in that room as well. No need to waste heat on any empty space!


Also, always remember to turn down the heat when you are out of town or away from the house. There is no need to continuously run it. If you have a programmable thermostat this can make it even easier!




There are many ways to save this season! Global Energy Efficiency has a great info-graphic with tons of great information. Click here to check it out!




Keeping you warm and informed is our number one goal!

Until Next Time,

Your ICE Co Team!



Winter Fire Prevention

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

People are at a greater risk of electrical fires in the winter months, from the lights in and outside of your house, to the cooking in your home, and even unsafe heat sources.  


Winter officially began on December 21, and you have probably been using your heater more often than the previous months. The heater is great for keeping you warm, but it comes with consequences (if you don’t know what to do to ensure they are in fact safe).


Since a house down the street from me busted into flames last week, it got me wondering what measures need to be taken in my home, to prevent that from happening.


You are probably thinking, “That will never happen to me”, right? It CAN happen to you.




FEMA shares statistics to help citizens understand the severity and prevalence of winter fires:


  1. 905 people die in winter home fires EACH year
  2. $2,091,000,000 in property loss occurs from winter home fires
  3. 67% of winter fires occur in one- and two-family homes
  4. Cooking is the LEADING cause of all winter home fires
  5. 5PM – 8PM is the most common time for winter home fires

FEMA and NFPA.org states that heating equipment is involved in 1 in every 7 reported home fires and 1 in every 6 home fire deaths. The months that heating fires occur in half of the time are in December, January and February.


Knowing what to do and when, can help you from being a victim of a winter house fire.


Call a qualified electrician if you have:

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

Remember to always have ALL of your electrical work done by a qualified electrician.


If you are remodeling your house or buying a new home, you should have it inspected by an electrician as well.


If you have a portable heater in your home, make sure to keep it in a secure place with nothing around it and never use an extension cord for the heater. Also, make sure to turn it off and unplug it when not in use. You should never sleep or leave your house with it on.


Make sure to keep your heater maintained and serviced on a regular basis.




It is important that you check your smoke alarm every month to make sure it is working condition. It is recommended to replace your fire alarms every 10 years.


Generators that are portable should never be used inside your house or garage. Keep it outside far away from any doors or windows.


Click here for a full list of tips customized for your home needs. 



Remember to always have an escape plan that is studied by everyone in the home. Everyone in the home should know ways to escape if something unfortunate like this happens.


Click here to create your fire safety plan online.


Keeping you safe, warm and informed is our main goal!


Until Next time,


Your ICE Co Team


Electric Idea- October

Monday, October 15, 2012

There was a “time” when “hot off the presses” really meant something in the world of printing right? Not a “time” that our juvenile employees remember, surely, but there are some in the office who stare off into the distance, eyes hazed, remembering way back when.

Well, you’ve been waiting for the October edition of Electric Ideas haven’t you, and it’s hot off the presses waiting for you too!

Last month if you recall we highlighted sticky notes, porch swings, onion goggles… we continue right where we left off.

This is a perfect remedy to the hard headboard while trying to read before bed debacle we all get ourselves into, is it not?

See article HERE.

 

Raise your hand if you make toast for breakfast in the morning… This product could save you the hassle of looking out the window to check the weather while toasting breakfast. Once your toast has popped you’ll have the forecast right in front of you. You might consider packing a lunch, doing a jig, or reading the ICE Co. blog with that two minutes saved. The options are endless.

See article HERE.


 

 

BUG. When a woman reads BUG, she thinks who will squish, and remove this for me? When a man reads BUG, he thinks his wife must be near. BUT in this case I don’t think anyone will want to squish this creative bug.

See article HERE.

 

Halloween flavor:

See article HERE.


October finale is this unique stone abode.  We determined the electrical service must be fed from underground and haven’t come to a solid conclusion as to whether it is a 100amp or 200amp panel board.

See article HERE.

Happy trails!
ICE Co.
Power. Current. Grounded.



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