7 Holiday Safety Tips

Christmas Safety Tips to Keep You and Yours Safe This Holiday Season

The holiday season is officially here, and with Christmas just a few weeks away, give yourself the gift of reassurance and peace of mind by following our seven christmas holiday safety tips.

Decking the halls can be a hazard to the health and safety of your family. According to the B.C. Government, each year, preventable fires during the holiday season injure British Columbians and cause thousands of dollars in property damage.

It’s essential to take the proper precautions to keep yourself, your home and your loved ones safe.

Here are a few key safety tips for the holidays:

#1: O Christmas TreeChristmas Safety Tips - keep tree watered
Keep your Christmas tree hydrated! Water your tree daily, or cut the bottom at a 45-degree angle and stick it in water to keep it fresh. Remember, green is good.

Even if your tree is fake, the risk still exists. Look for the label “fire-resistant” or “fire-retardant” on your artificial tree. This label doesn’t mean it won’t catch on fire, but it does mean that it’s less likely, and if it does, it’ll be much easier to extinguish.

Tip: Embrace Smart Technology.
Automate your Christmas tree lighting by adding a WiFi smart plug. Have full control with a quick tap on your connected smartphone, or connect to a voice assistant such as Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri. Adding smart tech doesn’t have to be complicated; it provides convenience along with a level of increased safety.

#2: Walking in a Wire-filled Wonderland

Christmas Safety Tips - inspect wiresCarefully inspect each electrical decoration before you put it on your Christmas tree or around your house. After many years of use, wires can become cracked or frayed. Any loose connections may cause a harmful shock or start a fire.

Test any lights before use and after a close inspection. Toss out any defective wires. It’s not worth saving a few bucks as the risk of a severe incident is so high.

Do you know what that third prong on plugs is used for? It’s there for a reason! The “grounding pin” prevents shock in case of failure.

Lastly, make sure that your outdoor lights and decorations are plugged into GFCI protected outlets.

Tip: Do the Math
Be sure to distribute your light strands among multiple extension cords and look for the wattage rating. If the combined wattage of your lights exceeds the wattage rating of the cord, it may overheat.

#3: A Holly Jolly (and well lit) ChristmasChristmas Safety Tips - use LED lights

Make the switch:

  • Use battery-operated candles in place of traditional candles.
  • Use LED lights instead of traditional incandescent lights. They use less energy (which saves you money!), and they run much cooler. Any lights hung outdoors need to be specifically designed for that use. Indoor lights placed outside can potentially cause an electrical hazard in the rain.

Stay away from knock-off or discount electrical decorations such as lights. Be sure to look for a label specifying that an independent testing laboratory has inspected it; there are three standard labels found in Canada (UL, CSA and ETL).

Tip: Read the Instructions
We often toss them out – but for any electrical decorations, especially lights – it’s prudent to follow the use and care instructions exactly as written by the manufacturer.

#4: All I Want for Christmas is Safe and Secure Cords

Christmas Safety Tips - replace worn wires/cordsPinched cords can damage the cord’s insulation, putting it at risk of causing electrical shocks and fire. Make sure cords aren’t stuck under heavy furniture or rugs. Replace any cords or wires that look frayed or damaged.

Always unplug your cords by using the gripping area. Pulling the cord itself can cause breakage.

Tip: Nails and Cables Don’t Mix
Use insulated hooks or Command brand damage-free hanging solutions to avoid electrical issues caused by nails or staples that can pierce the cable.

Christmas Safety Tips - turn off the christmas lights


#5: O Holy Night, Goodnight and Sleep Tight

Always turn off everything before going to bed or leaving the house.



#6: Physical Distancing (before it was the norm)

Christmas Safety Tips - keep decorations away from fire

Besides keeping your distance from those outside your household this year, make sure holiday decorations are at least 3 feet away from heat sources such as heaters and fireplaces.

Tip: Replace your smoke detector batteries every year as you put up your tree.

Batteries in your smoke detector should be replaced annually, and this occasion can serve as a great reminder. Did you know that smoke detectors expire every 10 years? When was the last time you checked yours?

#7: Leave it to the Pros

We can help.

Before you dig out the old lights and pull out the ladder, consider letting us take care of the hassle instead! We are pleased to offer custom Christmas light installations. Allow our experts to handle the hassle of hanging your lights for you, and let’s make our neighbourhoods shine extra bright this year.

As a full-service electrical contractor, no job is too big or too small. From simple residential light fixture upgrades to highly complex commercial electrical projects and everything in between, our vast experience and friendly customer service make us the perfect choice for your electrical needs year-round.

The team at Kobalt Systems would like to wish you well in this coming holiday season. We are looking forward to a prosperous 2021, and all the best for a new year.

energy efficiant appliances

4 Ways to Protect your Electronic Devices from Power Surges

Protection Against Power Surges in your Home or Business

Damage from power surges is preventable. Today’s homes and businesses are filled with modern appliances and expensive electronics. All of these devices require constant surge protection from the damaging effects of a voltage spike or better known as a power surge into your home. A power surge is a burst of electricity that travels through our cords and wires and can cause small or significant damage to our electrical devices and appliances, either instantaneously frying them or shortening their lifespan slowly over time. These power surges are frustrating and potentially costly to deal with, and to make things even more unpredictable, can happen when you least expect it.

Energy-Efficient Appliances

One of the most significant contributors to power surges in homes is old, outdated, power-wasting appliances. Our ovens, dishwashers, washing machines, clothes dryers, microwaves, and air conditioners can all suck significant power from our houses. If we have too many of these devices plugged into the same place, we will likely see an upswing in power surges in our home. Consider investing in energy-efficient devices which will use less power and protect your house at the same time.

Surge Protectorspower bar surge protector on fire

Many people rely on plugging their expensive electronics into surge protection devices (SPDs) and think they are safe. Contrary to popular belief, not every power bar has a surge protector in it. A surge protected bar will cost you more money but will be worth the investment, and help you defend your devices in the event of a power surge. This is the easiest solution, but unfortunately these SPDs won’t cover you completely because power surges can enter through other channels as well. The telephone line, your electrical service line, an antenna and cable are all ways electricity can get routed into your home or business during a power surge.

Upgrade or Repair Wiring

If you have highly noticeable issues in your house with power such as dimming lights, buzzing noises, the occasional smell of burning plastic, or your breakers or fuses getting tripped or burnt out, you likely have problems with your wiring. In many older and current houses, wiring can become frayed, damaged, or brittle which can lead to complications. To protect yourself and your home from power surges, have a professional come in to inspect your wires and identify any problem areas.

Get Smart with Plug Sharing

Power surges happen most often when a circuit is overloaded by a powerful device that uses more electricity and puts off more power than the circuit can handle. The surge will be device and outlet specific. Anything that is sharing the same outlet or extension cord as the device which caused the power spike will be at risk of getting damaged as well. Don’t plug your smartphone in with your ancient window air conditioning unit or your laptop in with your dishwasher and microwave.

 In our opinion adding whole home surge protection to your electrical service is your best shield against unexpected power surges. It truly is the most reliable way to safeguard your devices and appliances.

Our licensed Journeyman Electricians at Kobalt Systems can offer the following surge protection services:

  • Whole Home Surge Protection
  • Business Surge Protection
  • Office and Computer Surge Protection

We proudly provide electrical services in Victoria, BC and Southern Vancouver Island. Contact us today or call us at 250 213 3788

electrical service

How to Better Secure your Sliding Glass Door

Sliding glass doors can look great in your home and they are great for letting in lots of natural sunlight. They make it easy to get outside to your deck, backyard or balcony. But sliding doors are also a less secure entry point into your house—often the entry point of choice for burglars. There’s no getting around the fact that your glass sliding door is not as secure as a traditional wood, metal or fiberglass door. Glass is easily broken and even a thief who’d rather not make all that noise can probably make short work of the flimsy locks on most sliding doors. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to better secure your sliding glass door.

  1. Block the track

We know this is the classic defence, but all too often we still visit homes where there is no track-blocker. Too many people never get around to it. It’s easy to make your own blocker; just saw a hockey stick, broom handle or piece of dowel to the right length to firmly block the door from sliding. You could also purchase a more advanced security bar.

  1. Install a better lock

Many homes have good secure deadbolt locks on their front doors, but then the sliding glass door to the back deck is secured only by the manufacturer’s simple latch clamping onto the frame. The average burglar will pry that open with a screwdriver. The good news is that you can install a better lock and it’s generally not too hard to do. You’ll find there are different options, but one good solution that is inexpensive is a loop lock.

  1. Reinforce the glass

Consult your warranty to determine what kind of glass you have in your sliding door. Older doors often have glass that will shatter quite easily upon impact. It’s possible to apply a security film that will greatly strengthen the glass. There are thin films available that make it difficult to break through the glass. There are thicker protection films that add protection against extreme winds, thrown object impacts and even bullet resistance!

  1. Install a security camera

Get a home security professional to install a motion-activated security camera along with appropriate lighting for the greatest peace of mind. Tie this into a whole home security system and most thieves will run rather than try to break-in. It’s not worth the risk of breaking in through a sliding door if you know you are being recorded and triggering an alarm.

With countless security, exterior lighting and integrated technology options out in the market today, Kobalt Systems residential home security systems start with a base package that customers can choose to build upon to customize and enhance by adding additional hardware. Our team of security experts and licensed electricians are happy to discuss the different options in detail and can help you personalize and design the best system for your home. Enjoy piece of mind knowing your family and home are safe. Contact us today to schedule a consultation 250 213 3788 or email at info@kobaltsystems.ca

Step-By-Step to Help You Troubleshoot Electrical Problems

How to Troubleshoot Electrical Issues

Has this ever happened to you? You go to turn on the coffeemaker in the morning… only to press the button and not see any coffee being brewed! Or maybe you plug in your phone to charge but it never charges!

Most people rarely think about their home’s electrical system. Because your homes electrical wiring system is mostly behind the walls and not visible in your daily life, it’s easy to not worry about it. Out of sight, out of mind. However, when something is not working, we all of a sudden worry about what’s going on behind our walls.

So, when something is not working, what should you do? Use this simple list to help you troubleshoot any electrical problems / issues you face in your home.

First, see if there is power anywhere else in the house. It could be that there’s a power outage affecting your home or the whole block, but you didn’t notice because it was such a sunny day!

If there’s power elsewhere, make sure there is nothing wrong with the appliance or gadget that you’re trying to plug in! (It happens a lot: you might think there’s something wrong with your home’s power when in fact your coffeemaker has just decided to stop working or your phone cord has actually broken.) If there’s nothing wrong with the device then the problem may be associated with that receptacle and/or any other powered items sharing the electrical line. (For example, maybe there are too many appliances plugged in and turned on to that one line.) Unplug other items that share the same circuit.

Next, head to your electrical panel (sometimes people call it a “fuse box” or “circuit panel”) and look for any breaker that has been tripped. Reset it to restore power to that line. (Your circuit panel is made up of circuit breakers that will temporarily “break” the line when something is wrong.)

If power is restored to the line, great! Go back to making coffee… and just keep an eye on how many items you are plugging in to the receptacles that share the line at any one time.

If power is not restored, do not attempt to investigate further or do your own electrical repairs. Electrical current is dangerous and can even be deadly. Leave it to the pros. Get an electrical expert to help you and they’ll quickly and easily diagnose the problem and give you a recommendation to help you solve it.

Think of circuit breaker like a warning sign. If they are constantly tripping something is going wrong with your home’s circuits. Just like the check-engine light in your car, it’s time to call the professionals before something get seriously damaged or catches fire.

The team at Kobalt Systems is here to help, and our Journeyman Master Electricians in Victoria, BC are experts at assessing, repairing, removing and replacing out-dated and faulty whole home electrical wiring systems.  Contact us today 250 213 3788 or email info@kobaltsystems.ca

Electric Service Upgrade – What to Expect

Here’s what to expect during your electrical service upgrade:

  • Kobalt Systems will provide a consultation to determine what your homes existing amperage size is and establish what your electrical needs would be.
  • Through a electrical load calculation, our team will work with you to find a solution to fit your budget, while ensuring the upgrade has the potential for future growth.
  • We will contact the Technical Safety Authority or City of Victoria to obtain the required electrical permits for the work.
  • Our project manager will coordinate with BC Hydro express connect to obtain a BC Hydro request number for your upgrade. We will then complete the electrical contractor declaration and provide details regarding the permit issued by the electrical inspection agency.
  • Now it’s your turn: You will need to create or login to your existing BC Hydro web account and provide the connect request number and then authorize the connection request.
  • Once that you have authorized the connection request, you must approve connection charges and confirm payment method with BC Hydro through your web account. BC Hydro will then review and approve the connection request. We can now schedule your electrical service upgrade.
  • On the morning of the upgrade BC Hydro electrical contractor will disconnect the power connection into your home.
  • Kobalt Systems will then update your electrical service including meter base, panel and grounding system. We will also install additional upgrades or updates that are required to be brought up to the Canadian electrical code standards.
  • Later that same day, once the equipment has been installed a building inspector from the Technical Safety Authority or the City of Victoria will review the home to approve the installation.
  • Once the installation has been approved, BC Hydro will reinstate electrical service to your home.