Why You May Have Failing Light Fixtures

When you have failing light fixtures, there are more significant risks than most suspect. There are some telltale signs that a fixture is defective, and if you know what to look for, you can replace the fixture before it ultimately malfunctions.

Dangers with Failing Light Fixtures

One of the hazards of a faulty light fixture is that it tends to release large amounts of heat and can expose electrical currents. If you touch it, you could experience static shock or a burn.

This is especially dangerous for children and pets. In severe cases, sparks can fly from frayed wiring, creating a fire hazard.

We all experience the annoyance of flipping on a light switch as we step into a dark room in our home, and nothing happens. Sometimes, the light comes on for a second, then goes dark with a buzzing sound. Usually, it’s only a burned-out old bulb.

There are other reasons for failing lights. A few things that you can do to investigate the outage include:

  1. Check that the light fixture is plugged in
  2. Replace the old bulb
  3. Check your circuit breaker box for a tripped circuit 

More severe issues beyond a faulty light bulb include the possibility that your light fixture is defective, its wiring is wrong, or you may have a broken switch, or another problem with your electrical panel. These problems need to be handled by a professional electrician.

Please leave any serious electrical work or electrical problems in your Northeastern Ohio home to Streb Electric’s electrical contractors and professional electricians.

When a Professional Electrician is Needed

So, the professional electricians at Streb Electric advise getting your fixtures replaced immediately should you notice the following indicators.

There are several types of situations that require calling a professional electrician for repairs:

  • Recurring Breaker Tripping: An electrical short can happen if contact in a faulty fixture occurs. This happens when a neutral wire and a hot wire come into contact. The sudden surge in electricity will cause your breaker to trip. If your breaker trips again after you turn it back on, you are probably dealing with an electrical short. This can be dangerous because it is also a fire hazard. A professional electrician must deal with this situation because of the fire hazard.  
  • Incorrect wiring: Wires may have come loose in the fixture, a common error when amateurs attempt to do the electrical wiring. Warning signs of loose wiring include flickering lights right before they go out. Do not open the fixture and tinker with the wires—leave that job to Streb Electric.
  • Wrong socket: Like the bulb, a socket can go bad. A dirty or flattened socket will stop working. If this is a permanent light fixture, the solution is to change the socket–such as ceiling lights or ceiling fans.
  • Bad outlet: You can test the outlet by plugging other appliances into it. Modern GFCI outlets should be installed if your outlets are older because they are grounded and safer.

These are the most common possibilities, but only some of them. When in doubt, call our professional electricians. We’ll find the exact source of the problem and provide the best, safest solution.Streb Electric is here for you! Contact us when you have light fixture troubles.

Smart Lighting for Outdoor Settings 

Outdoor lighting for outdoor settings sets the night’s mood and lets you keep those unforgettable evenings alive. Perhaps you want to take it to the next level with Smart Lighting. Streb Electric can help you make it happen.


This article explores the innovation of smart outdoor lighting, showcasing its technological integration for efficient and customizable illumination in outdoor spaces. It delves into various fixtures and techniques such as uplighting, downlighting, and step lights, emphasizing their contributions to ambiance and safety enhancement. Highlighted benefits include energy efficiency, remote control access via smartphones, and heightened security measures facilitated by motion sensors. If you want to learn more about how to go about setting up smart lighting in an outdoor setting, our team at Streb Electric can provide guidance in implementing these advanced smart lighting solutions.

What is “smart lighting”?

Today’s lighting systems combine the best parts of new technology into a “smart” system. Smart lighting is one aspect of smart outdoor lighting. 

By “smart,” we mean they can think for themselves rudimentarily. The controller is connected to Wi-Fi and can be controlled through an app on your phone or tablet. You can preset timers whether you’re at home or not. And if you have a photocell attached, your lights will automatically turn on and off when they sense that it’s dark or light outside.

Modern landscape smart lighting is also low voltage, meaning it uses much less electricity than its older counterparts. Also, all fixtures are LED, which produces just as much light with less heat — so there’s no chance of your pine straw mulch bursting into flames (which has happened to people with older systems!).

What types of light fixtures are available?

Lighting Techniques & Types

There are many different types of lighting for many different lighting strategies. For instance, some lights are more useful and used for specific tasks. Others provide accents, highlighting certain aspects of a landscape.

Essential list of the most common techniques and types:

Uplighting and downlighting. If you want to highlight the architectural features of your home or a specific part of your garden, uplighting is achieved by installing lights in or on the ground. Placing a light on your roof or in a tree is called downlighting because these lights cast downward shadows. Both techniques create ambiance or mood or draw the eye to specific focal points in a landscape.

Post lights. These are standard posts on the ground with a lamp on the top. These are common for lighting pathways.

Inground “bullet” lights are standard for lighting pathways and patios. When installing these, we drill into the stone or pavement and put the lights directly into the holes. These provide a sleek, almost runway-like feel since they’re flush with the grade. With galvanized aluminum finishes, they never rust and are great for modern landscape designs.

Step lights. We install these safety features underneath the risers or steps of stairs, preventing anyone from tripping or falling! They also are great for “wayfinding” — helping guests navigate a new landscape by lighting the ideal pathway.

Undercap lights. These are installed underneath the “caps” of certain hardscaping features. For instance, I’ve worked on mortared stone sitting walls that surround gathering spaces in a landscape — such as a fire pit or patio. These walls have a stone “cap” on the top, and we install lights designed to fit underneath the cap, creating an incredible glow.

String lights. Perfect for patios! String lights are a common way to add some ambiance to a communal area in a landscape.

Water feature & custom lighting. There are no limits to the techniques and types of lighting you use in a landscape!

Benefits of Smart Lighting for Outdoor Settings

The obvious benefit of adding a landscape lighting system to your property is to make more of your outdoor space available after nightfall. We joke about how you will never want to go back inside, but it’s true — when your landscape is beautifully and thoughtfully lit, staying outside is worth it!

Other Good Reasons

It’s easy to use! As we mentioned, you can control everything with the tap of your finger. Transform your garden into a gathering place for friends and family. There is no need to be limited by daylight. Smart lighting lets you and your loved ones enjoy being outside all night— without even thinking about turning the lights on.

It will complement and even enhance your landscape. Two words: curb appeal! Accent critical features of your landscape, add subtle step lighting to your front entranceway or light up the edges of your patio with bullet lights. And as a bonus, your landscape will be much safer to navigate once it’s dark out.

It will save you on electricity bills compared to conventional lighting! Today’s low-voltage LED systems use very little power, and with the additional smart features like the ability to sense outdoor lighting conditions, you’ll use even less energy.

Keep the night going.

Today’s smart lighting system sets the tone for the evening and lets you keep those unforgettable nights alive as long as you want.

Outdoor smart lighting offers several benefits, combining innovative technology’s convenience with outdoor lighting’s practicality. Here are some advantages of outdoor smart lighting:

Energy Efficiency: Smart outdoor lighting systems often use energy-efficient LED bulbs, allowing precise control over brightness and scheduling. This can save energy by ensuring that lights are only on when needed.

Remote Control and Automation: With outdoor smart lighting, you can remotely control and automate your lights using a smartphone or a smart home hub. This allows you to turn lights on or off, adjust brightness, and set schedules from anywhere, enhancing convenience and security.

Security Enhancement: Outdoor smart lighting can contribute to home security. Motion sensors and scheduled lighting can deter intruders by creating the illusion of an occupied home. You can program lights to turn on automatically when motion is detected or even when you’re away from home.

Integration with Smart Home Systems: Many outdoor smart lighting systems can be integrated into broader smart home ecosystems. This integration lets you control outdoor lights and other smart devices, creating a seamless and interconnected home automation experience.

Increased Safety: Well-lit outdoor spaces enhance safety by reducing the risk of accidents and improving visibility. Smart lighting can be programmed to illuminate paths, stairs, and entrances, making it safer for residents and visitors to navigate outdoor areas.

Customization and Ambiance: Smart outdoor lighting often allows for customizable color options and brightness levels, enabling you to create different atmospheres for various occasions. You can adjust the lighting to match your preferences for a party, relaxation, or outdoor dining.

Weather-Responsive Lighting: Some advanced smart lighting systems can be equipped with weather sensors. These sensors can adjust the lighting based on weather conditions, ensuring appropriate illumination during fog, rain, or other adverse weather situations.

Longevity of LED Bulbs: Many outdoor smart lighting solutions use LED bulbs, known for their energy efficiency and long lifespan. LED bulbs generally require less frequent replacement, reducing maintenance costs and inconvenience.

Environmental Impact: By using energy-efficient LED bulbs and implementing smart controls, outdoor smart lighting can reduce environmental impact. Lower energy consumption and longer-lasting bulbs mean fewer resources are needed for manufacturing and disposal.

Enhanced Aesthetics: Smart outdoor lighting can enhance the aesthetic appeal of your outdoor spaces. Whether highlighting architectural features, landscaping, or creating artistic lighting effects, smart lighting allows for creative expression and design flexibility.

Increased Property Value: Well-designed and implemented outdoor smart lighting can add to the overall curb appeal of a property. This could increase its market value, especially if the lighting enhances the aesthetics and security of the home.

When considering outdoor smart lighting, choosing a system that aligns with your specific needs and integrates seamlessly with your existing smart home ecosystem is important.

If your interest is piqued, reach out to Streb Electric and ask about smart lighting — we’ll be glad to help you out and even give you an estimate.

7 Home Electrical Safety Tips Everyone Should Know

Between aging wiring and upgrading to new appliances, it’s essential to keep a close eye on the electrical health of your home.

Electricity keeps our lives moving from blow-drying our hair before work to celebrating our new air fryer.

But here’s the tricky part:

Electrical fires are the second-leading cause of home fires in the USA, primarily due to aging wiring systems and a growing dependency on electronics.

Whether you’ve just moved into a new space or are looking to give your current home a much-needed self-inspection, here are the top tips to keep your home safe from common electrical dangers.

1. Perform a Home Electricity Check-Up

Electrical Safety Foundation International suggests scheduling routine check-ups on your home’s power setup. We’re talking about everything under your control, such as plugs, appliances, bulbs, and surge protectors.

Move from room to room to confirm:

  • All plugs and switches work properly
  • Plugs fit snugly into your outlets
  • Light bulbs match the wattage of your lamps
  • Fuses are appropriately turned to the on position
  • Major appliances, space heaters, and A.C. units connect to the wall outlet (not surge protectors or extension cords)
  • Wires do not run under rugs or up against furniture
  • Wires are not pinched by staples, nails, windows, or doors
  • Cords are damage-free and property intact
  • All products feature the seal of the Underwriters Laboratory (U.L.)
  • Appliances and wiring do not come in contact with water

As for electrical issues outside your control—it’s crucial to work with a licensed electrician instead of attempting repairs or further inspection yourself.

Color Codes: All home electrical wires made in the USA have standard color codes—NFPA 70, National Electrical Code (NEC)—set up by the National National Fire Protection Association. 

Each color identifies the function of the wire in the circuit. Never attempt to repair a faulty switch, change an overhead light fixture, or splice wires. 

How To Identify Different Electrical Wires by Their Color Codes

• Electrical wires are wrapped in colored insulating casings to indicate each wire’s purpose.

• Green, green with yellow stripe, or bare copper are ground wires.

• Black wires are hot wires running to the switch’s electrical outlet.

• Red wires are hot wires standard in a 240-volt outlet or when a wall switch controls the outlet.

• Blue and yellow wires are hot wires for ceiling fans and three- or four-way switches.

• White or gray electrical wires are neutral wires.

There’s a reason for that rainbow of wires.

It’s important to note that working with any electrical wiring is typically best left to a professional and can be very dangerous. Proceed with caution.

2. Know the Warning Signs

You could follow all the proper safety rules when plugging in and caring for your home’s wiring and still end up with an issue hidden out of sight. For example, older wiring—such as knob-and-tube wiring in older homes—can lead to problems over time due to frayed cords or incorrect alterations.

Keep your eyes, ears, and nose out for these red flags of electrical problems in your home:

• Buzzing sounds from appliances, walls, lamps, or wiring

• Warm light switches, electrical outlets, or areas around ceiling lamps

• Weird odors surrounding electrical units

• Breakers frequently tripping

• Outlets that spark

• Flickering lights or bulbs that burn out quickly

• Signs of pest teeth marks in wires or animal droppings nearby

3. Avoid Electrical Overloads

In addition to keeping an eye out for electrical issues, how do you prevent them from happening in the first place? Start by understanding how much an electrical outlet can handle and how to avoid overloading your system. Most outlets can take between 15 and 20 amps of power, so monitoring each item’s power level is essential.

We know how tempting it is to fit just one more plug into that surge protector or to hook up a Griswold Family level of holiday lights to one outlet. However, overloaded systems are one of the top culprits of electrical fires. 

For example, avoid plugging any of the following into a surge protector or extension cord:

• Air conditioners

• Space heaters

• Refrigerators

• Microwaves

• Toasters

• Hairdryers

• Curling irons

• Sump pumps

• Slow cookers

• Air fryers

• Pressure cookers

You should never plug one extension cord into another or extend a power strip with another.

A quick note on extension cords: If you rely on them throughout your home, you may need more sockets and electrical capacity. Contact an electrician at Streb Electric to speak about proper wiring.

4. Reconsider DIY

Electrical repairs or alterations can stop us in our tracks, and for good reason. When wiring comes into the picture, we recommend contacting Streb Electric professionals to oversee and complete the project. 

If you need to complete a simple DIY appliance project, like cleaning your oven or replacing a garbage disposal, always switch off the breaker to that area of your home before working. 

Unplug all appliances and lamps before making simple alterations—even changing a bulb. 

Anything past this requires the help of a pro to avoid shock hazards, fires, or electrical wiring issues that affect the rest of your home.

5. Unplug Unused Appliances

If you do not always need an appliance—such as a slow cooker, hair straightener, or blender—unplug it when not in use. Be sure to safely store the cord and item away from children and pets. 

If you’re headed away on vacation, consider unplugging energy-sapping electronics like modems, computers, and chargers.

6. Consider an Arc Fault Protection Interrupter (ACFI)

Arc faults cause a whopping 30,000 home fires throughout the U.S. each year, according to the ESFI. Since the issue stems from damaged wires, outlets, and appliances, you’ll likely encounter arc faults in older or poorly wired homes.

Arc fault protection interrupters can detect the moment this damaging fault occurs, cutting off power before problems worsen. A handful of states currently require AFCIs in new home constructions, but you can hire Streb Electric electricians for installation.

7. Childproof Your Outlets

Tamper Resistant Receptacles, or TRRs, are the long-term answer to covering outlets from small curious hands. If you have little ones in the house, TRRs add a spring-loaded cover to outlets to keep someone from inserting unwanted objects into the wall.

Electrical safety goes far beyond avoiding a tripped breaker or a power surge to your laptop. By paying close attention to your home’s wiring, earn peace of mind that you’re doing all you can to prevent this common offender of home fires.

The Streb Electric Safety and Savings Plan is a private membership service club that serves an exclusive group of our clients. We offer it only to people like you who really love your home and want to protect it from unexpected electrical breakdowns. The Safety and Savings Plan is electrical security for your home!

Streb Electric offers a wide range of electrician services, including electrical panel changes or upgrades, correction of violations, electrical safety inspections, energy saving lighting controls, whole house surge protection, and much more. Call us today, and we will help you keep your home safe.

Protecting Small Children from Home Electrical Hazards


The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) stated that, on average, there are more than five hundred deaths and four thousand injuries yearly due to electrical accidents in the United States. Children under 15 are particularly at risk, as they are more likely to be injured by electrical shocks and burns than adults. There are several potential electrical hazards in and around the home that result in accidents.

In 2018, the ESFI reported that children under 15 accounted for 16 percent of electrical injury deaths and 12 percent of electrical injury hospitalizations in the United States. Most of these injuries occurred in the home and were caused by contact with electrical outlets, cords, and appliances.

Home Electrical Hazards – Prevention Tips and Advice

How can you protect young children in your home? The first step is to be aware of the most common risks associated with electricity, then educate your family and take steps to reduce electrical hazards. 

Here are a few of the most common electrical hazards that pose risks to children in the home and steps you can take to prevent accidents:

Electrical Outlets

Hazard: Children are naturally curious, and electrical outlets are always within easy reach throughout the home. Sticking little fingers, keys, toys, and other objects into outlets is tempting, which can lead to electric shock. 

Prevention: New parents commonly use outlet covers to protect children from them. However, they can easily be accessed by an intelligent toddler. Instead, we recommend installing spring-loaded covers that close off the openings when not in use to reduce the risk.

Electrical Cords

Hazard: Young children (and puppies) find the pliable plastic on electrical cords an attractive material to chew on, which can lead to electric shock or and electrical fire. 

Prevention: Always keep cords out of reach and repair or replace any frayed or damaged cords immediately. Only rely on extension cords for temporary, short-term use. 

Lamps and Appliances

Hazard: Children may touch hot appliances, leading to burns or injury. If a lamp or electrical appliance, such as an electric grill, is on a table or counter, a child could pull on the electrical cord, causing it to topple onto them.

Prevention: Keep appliances unplugged when not in use and teach children to stay clear of appliances. Always plug appliances into outlets that are out of reach of children.

Water and Electricity

Hazard: Most children love being around water, whether in the bathtub, the backyard pool, or the hot tub. The most significant electrical risk in the bathroom is from appliances like hairdryers coming into contact with water, leading to electrocution.

Prevention: Never leave young children unattended in bathtubs, swimming pools, and other bodies of water. Ensure that GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) receptacles are installed everywhere as required by law, including bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, garages, etc. GFCIs can detect when an appliance comes into contact with water and instantly stop the flow of electricity. Be sure to test your GFCI outlets to ensure they work correctly regularly.

Outside the Home

Hazard: Overhead powerlines, buried underground electrical utilities, power tools, and extension cords – all present a risk of electrocution.

Prevention: Teach kids to avoid power lines and poles and not to dig or play in areas where underground utilities may be present. Keep kids away from electrical equipment such as generators, central air conditioners, pool and hot tub breakers, outdoor outlets, extension cords, and portable power tools.

If you are concerned about electrical hazards in and around your home, call Streb Electric. We are qualified electricians who can help identify potential hazards and provide guidance on protecting your family from electrical hazards.

Additional Safety Resources

Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI): The ESFI is a non-profit organization that provides information and resources on electrical safety, including tips for parents and educators.

National Fire Protection Association (NFPA): The NFPA is a non-profit organization that provides information and resources on fire and electrical safety, including tips for parents and educators.

Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC): The CPSC is a government agency that provides information and resources on product safety, including electrical safety.

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE): The DOE provides information and resources on energy efficiency and safety, including electrical safety.Your local electric utility: Many electric utilities offer information and resources on electrical safety, including tips for parents and educators.

Benefits of LED Lighting

What is LED, and how do LED Bulbs Work?

LED stands for Light Emitting Diode. The “light emitting” part is pretty much self-explanatory. The LED light bulb passes an electric current through semiconducting material, producing light. This is known as the diode. Photons (or light) are then emitted, called electroluminescence.

This means that a material (in this case, the diode) casts light when power is applied. Hence, the phase light-emitting diodes where the electrons jump from a side with more electrons to a side with fewer electrons across a junction (called the p-n junction).

By applying power to this p-n junction, the side with fewer electrons fills up with now-charged electrons, creating light.  

In contrast, light sources such as the traditional incandescent bulbs use a small filament or wire to pass electricity. The resistance created by the filament makes it get so hot that it glows and produces light.  

LED technology and LED lighting products do not produce heat to produce light, so they run cooler and are much more energy-efficient or energy saving than incandescent.

Benefits of LED Bulbs

They are energy-efficient. The same light intensity is attained and uses less wattage because the LED bulb does not lose energy to heat as the incandescent bulbs do. 

Other Benefits

  1. The safety component: LEDs do not contain mercury that bulbs like CFLs or fluorescent lamps have.
  2. They last long: LED bulbs can work up to 50,000 hours. The incandescent bulbs tend to burn out about 1,000 to 2,000 hours. CFLs burn out around 15,000 hours. 
  3. They can be dimmed: LED bulbs are adjustable with LED-rated dimmers, enhancing your lighting spaces.  
  4. They have a slow failure rate: Most light bulbs tend to burn out quickly, but LED bulbs fade slowly, which gives you time to replace them. 

Summary of Benefits of LED Bulbs:

  • Long Life. Long lifetime stands out as the number one benefit of LED lights
  • Energy Efficiency 
  • Ecologically Friendly
  • Durable Quality
  • Zero UV Emissions 
  • Design Flexibility 
  • Operational in Extremely Cold or Hot Temperatures

LED bulb lighting technologies are becoming more affordable and versatile and are considered the most efficient lighting solutions.

LED Bulbs and Regular Light Fixtures

LED bulbs can be used in regular light fixtures. This includes using LED bulbs in fixtures now using incandescent or CFL bulbs. LED bulbs were created with the intention that they replace old bulbs that are less energy efficient.

Choose LED bulbs with the same wattage, shape, and base compatible with the fixture. As LED bulbs and light-emitting diodes are being manufactured in every possible form and design, it should be easy to find the right bulbs for your lighting needs. 

Many people need clarification when it comes to the wattage. They think they have to use an LED bulb with the same wattage as an incandescent or CFL bulb. However, this is different. LED bulbs use fewer watts than other designs to produce a similar light output. 

For example, a 10-watt LED bulb produces the same amount of light output as a 60-watt incandescent bulb. This is good because the LED bulb uses less energy and creates the same amount of light. So, when you replace an old light bulb with a modern LED bulb, you should go for a lower wattage.

Lifespan of the LED Bulb

The average lifespan of most LED bulbs is about 25,000 hours, much longer than incandescent bulbs (approximately 1,000 hours). LED bulbs are the most energy-efficient, and they’re the most durable and long-lasting.

LED bulbs are also more cost-effective in the long term because they last longer and consume less energy, though they can be more expensive to purchase. 

However, each bulb is different, so check the product details before purchasing if you want the exact lifespan.

What Color is an LED Bulb?

LED color temperature ranges from a warm yellow light to a cool white light. However, LEDs emit light that tends to be on the cool side compared to other light bulbs.

LED Bulb Advances

Despite all its success, the traditional incandescent light bulb has several disadvantages. Old-fashioned standard bulbs are not energy-efficient and produce excess heat because of how they work.  

With eco-conscious thinking and actions becoming more commonplace, people are looking for more efficient newer bulb designs like the LED. The LED bulb is the most energy-efficient and eco-friendly light bulb found today. The benefits of the LED bulbs ensure your home is safe and efficient.

Still Have Questions?

Call us at (440) 953-5819 to speak with one of our friendly, professional electricians at Streb Electric. Or visit us online! Whether in person or via phone, we’re happy to assist you in choosing the correct light bulb.

How Many Smoke Detectors Do I Need?

The soft chirp of a smoke detector is more than just a background noise; it’s a life-saving tool. Smoke detectors are indispensable in safeguarding our homes from potential fire hazards. The number of smoke detectors one needs primarily depends on the size and layout of the residence.

The Basics of Smoke Detectors:

At its core, a smoke detector is a device that senses smoke, typically an indicator of fire. There are primarily two types of smoke detectors:

  • Photoelectric: These respond more quickly to smoldering fires by detecting the larger particles released by such fires.
  • Ionization: These are faster at detecting flaming fires as they identify smaller particles.

Despite their differences, both types detect the presence of smoke. When smoke enters the detector chamber, it interrupts a path of light or electrical current, triggering the alarm.

Reasons for Having the Right Number of Smoke Detectors:

Ensuring that your home has adequate smoke detectors isn’t merely adhering to safety protocols—it’s a proactive approach to safeguarding what matters most.

  • Increased Safety and Protection: More detectors mean a higher chance of early detection, which can be the difference between a minor incident and a major disaster.
  • Faster Response Time in Emergencies: With detectors installed throughout a home, fires can be detected quicker, allowing for a swift evacuation.
  • Minimize Property Damage: Early detection gives the occupants a better chance to extinguish the fire before it can cause significant damage.
  • Peace of Mind for Occupants: Knowing that every corner of your home is under the vigilant watch of a smoke detector brings a profound sense of security.

National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Guidelines:

The NFPA, a recognized authority on fire safety, has set forth guidelines that every homeowner should be acquainted with. Their recommendations, grounded in thorough research and expertise, provide a robust framework for smoke detector placement.

  • Detectors in Every Sleeping Room: Since fires can occur at night when everyone is asleep, having a smoke detector in every bedroom is paramount for early detection.
  • Detectors Outside Each Sleeping Area: Install detectors in the hallways or common areas outside bedrooms to maximize protection. This ensures that smoke is detected even before it reaches someone sleeping.
  • One Detector on Every Level: From the basement to the attic, every level of a home should be equipped with at least one smoke detector. This ensures holistic protection against fires that might start on any floor.
  • Larger Homes Need More: If your home has vast square footage, you might need more detectors than the average-sized home to cover every nook and cranny.

Factors to Consider When Determining Quantity:

Determining your home’s exact number of smoke detectors requires a more granular approach.

  • Size Matters: A larger home naturally requires more detectors to cover its expanse effectively.
  • Multiple Floors: Homes with numerous stories or levels warrant a detector on each floor.
  • Room Count and Layout: An open-concept living area might need fewer detectors than a home segmented into many rooms.
  • High-Risk Areas: Kitchens, garages, and basements, being prone to fires, should always have detectors. In kitchens, it’s best to install them away from cooking appliances to avoid false alarms.
  • Architectural Features: Homes with vaulted ceilings, atriums, or unique architectural elements may require additional considerations to ensure effective smoke detection.

Proper Placement of Smoke Detectors:

Placing them correctly is crucial once you’ve determined how many detectors you need.

  • Ceiling vs. Wall: Smoke rises. Thus, ceilings are the best spot for your detectors. If placing on a wall, ensure it’s close to the ceiling but not in the “dead air” space where walls and ceilings meet.
  • Close to Fire Sources: Areas with potential fire hazards, like fireplaces or stoves (though not too close to avoid false alarms), should have a nearby detector.
  • Avoiding False Alarms: Ensure detectors are away from windows, vents, or cooking areas that might trigger them unnecessarily.
  • Interconnected Alarms: Modern homes often come with interconnected smoke alarms. When one detector is triggered, all alarms in the house sound off, ensuring quick evacuation.

Special Considerations:

When contemplating the number and type of smoke detectors, special considerations should be considered.

  • Smoke Detectors for the Hearing Impaired: Traditional smoke detectors rely on auditory alarms, which may not be effective for people who are hard of hearing. However, specialized detectors equipped with strobe lights and bed shakers are available. These devices offer a tactile or visual alert, ensuring that those with hearing difficulties are alerted promptly in case of smoke detection.
  • Integration with Home Security Systems: Modern homes often feature integrated security systems encompassing intrusion detection, fire alarms, and more. When a smoke detector is integrated into such a system, the central unit can alert the homeowner via phone or app and even notify the fire department automatically, enhancing response times.
  • Smart Smoke Detectors: Smart home devices now include smoke detectors that offer various benefits. They can send alerts to your phone, be silenced from your device, and even inform you which room the smoke is coming from. Some models can differentiate between types of fires, offering a more nuanced response.
  • Lifespan of a Smoke Detector: Like all electronic devices, smoke detectors have a finite lifespan. On average, they should be replaced every ten years. Moreover, if your detector frequently gives false alarms or doesn’t respond to tests, it may be a sign to replace it sooner.

Maintenance and Testing:

Owning a smoke detector isn’t a ‘set it and forget it’ scenario. Regular maintenance ensures they function correctly when you need them the most.

  • Regularly Testing Your Smoke Detector: Every smoke detector has a test button. Testing your device at least once a month is recommended to ensure it’s operational.
  • Replacing Batteries: Even if you don’t hear the low-battery chirp, replacing smoke detector batteries at least once a year is a good practice. For those with 10-year lithium batteries, replace the entire unit when the battery runs out.
  • Cleaning and Dusting: Dust and debris can interfere with a detector’s operation. Gently vacuum around or over the detector regularly. Some models may also benefit from a light dusting.
  • Replacing Outdated or Malfunctioning Detectors: Don’t compromise on safety. If a smoke detector is not working optimally, replace it. Keep in mind the 10-year lifespan and use it as a guide.


There’s no overstating the significance of having the correct number of functional smoke detectors in your home. These unassuming devices guard our homes, offering an early warning system that can save lives and minimize property damage.

But simply having them isn’t enough. Like any tool, they require maintenance to perform optimally. Set reminders for regular testing, battery replacement, and device cleaning. Stay updated about the latest smoke detection technology; when the time comes, replace outdated units without hesitation.

Your home is not just bricks and beams; it’s memories, moments, and the people you love. So, take a moment to assess your home’s needs, ensuring a vigilant smoke detector shields every corner. Safety is more than just a precaution; it’s a commitment to the well-being of those we cherish.

What You Need to Know about Upgrading Your Electrical Panel

There are two main reasons homeowners choose to upgrade their electrical panel. Typically, we get calls when a customer needs electrical work, like adding a new circuit for an electrical appliance like a new range, hot tub, or electric car charging station. A panel upgrade is often required when the existing circuits cannot handle the additional loads safely.

Another common reason is the age of the electrical panel. Electric panels typically need replacing every 25-40 years. Even if the panel has not reached this age yet, there may be warning signs that it needs replacement. These signs include:

• Lights flicker

• Circuit breakers that keep tripping

• Small electric shocks when touching appliances

• A burning smell

• Scorch marks or sparks coming from power outlets

• Warmth around the electric panel

If you notice any of these problems, call Streb Electric. We can inspect your electrical system, track down the source of the problem, and recommend solutions to ensure the system works correctly.

Even if the panel is in good working order and not very old, it may not meet the demands of today’s tech-filled home. With Smart devices, continual phone and laptop charging, screens in every room, and new electrical gadgets being added regularly, there’s more electricity demand than when the panel was installed twenty years ago. And electrical codes have changed over the past 40 years.

Do you find yourself using power strips or extension cords around your home? A lack of outlets is a common symptom of a home with an undersized electrical capacity. 

Fuse Box versus Circuit Breaker Panel

The significant difference between circuit breakers and fuses is that fuses are single-use. They work by melting when the current is too high. Replacing fuses is more costly and time-consuming than resetting a circuit breaker. Fuses can also present a fire hazard if not correctly matched to the circuit. 

While electricians no longer install fuse boxes, they are still found in some older homes and are a genuine safety concern. Sometimes insurance companies may refuse to cover your home or payout if you get coverage in the event of an electrical malfunction and fire. Having a fuse box in your home is one of the main reasons you should consider upgrading to a modern electrical panel.

Time to Upgrade Your Electrical Panel

1. Remodeling

When different parts of your electrical system are updated while remodeling your home, you must replace your breaker.

Replacing junction boxes and any old wiring can be a blessing in disguise. You’ll have a safer, more efficient electrical system that boosts your resale value.

2. Adding Appliances

In older homes, historically, there have been modest appliances installed. Your breaker will need to be updated as you remodel certain areas.

If you install an additional large freezer in the basement, your current panel may be unable to handle it.

An electrician can determine if your new home demands match your panel’s amps.

When a Larger Electrical Panel is Needed

Home size determines what size your electrical panel needs to be. Usually, the decision comes down to a 200-amp electrical panel versus a 100-amp panel. 

You may be able to use the 100-amp panel for a small home. Particularly if you do not have an HVAC system. 

The best fit for large homes, especially those with AC systems, is generally a 200-amp panel.

An electrician will help you install the correct panel, and whether or not to go with the 200 amp panel.

What You Need to Know about Upgrading Your Electrical Panel

Is Upgrading my Electrical Panel Worth it?

Having a safe home is priceless, and if you upgrade your electrical panel, it is always worth the associated cost. Preventing electrical fires and other electrical hazards are a couple of benefits when upgrading your electrical panel.

Besides safety, energy efficiency, and increased peace of mind, this upgrade guarantees a continuous flow of electricity to all areas of your home. That way, you can constantly say goodbye to flickering lights and flipping breakers. 

Can I upgrade my electrical panel myself?

 Upgrading an electrical panel yourself without being familiar with electrical wiring can be extremely dangerous. 

Panel upgrades are a job that should only be undertaken by a licensed electrician. If your home requires electrical upgrades, be safe and call Streb Electric.

How To Tell if a Circuit Breaker Is Bad

It’s essential for homeowners to understand the differences between a bad breaker and a device malfunction.

What Happens When a Circiuit Breaker Stops Working?

When a circuit breaker stops working, it cannot do its job of being the line of defense between your home and your electrical appliances. What this means is that the it does not trip when there is a surge in electricity. This impairs the electrical safety of your home until it is fixed.

Fortunately if it is going bad, if detected early then repairs should not be too costly.

When a circuit breaker stops working, it means that it fails to perform its intended function of protecting an electrical circuit from overload or short circuit conditions.

Here are some possible outcomes when it fails:

1. Failure to Trip: It may not trip when an excessive current flows through the circuit. This can lead to overloading the circuit, causing overheating and potential damage to the electrical devices connected to it. It increases the risk of electrical fires and can pose a safety hazard.

2. Inability to Reset: If a circuit breaker fails to reset after it has tripped, it may indicate internal damage or a malfunction. This can leave the circuit permanently disconnected, leaving the affected area without power until the issue is resolved.

3. False Tripping: A malfunctioning circuit breaker may trip frequently even when the electrical load is within the breaker’s rated capacity. This can be due to internal faults, loose connections, or other issues. False tripping can be inconvenient and disruptive, as it cuts off power unexpectedly and requires manual resetting.

4. Physical Damage: A circuit breaker may exhibit physical signs of damage or wear, such as a melted or discolored casing, loose connections, or a burnt smell. These signs often indicate that the breaker has experienced a severe overload or short circuit and may no longer function properly.

5. Electrical Hazards: A malfunctioning circuit breaker can lead to electrical hazards, including the risk of electric shock, electrocution, or electrical fires. Without the protection of a functioning circuit breaker, excessive currents can flow through the circuit, potentially damaging equipment and endangering individuals in the vicinity.

In any case, when a circuit breaker stops working, it is crucial to have it inspected and replaced or repaired by a qualified electrician to ensure the safety and reliability of the electrical system. It is important to know how to tell if a circuit breaker is bad.

Common Warning Signs and How to Tell if a Circuit Breaker is bad

Won’t Stay in Reset Mode

If your circuit breaker will not stay in “reset” mode, then might be short-circuiting. If you cannot reset the circuit breaker, you should call an electrician to inspect and examine the inside of the unit closely, as well as the walls. You want to make sure no dangerous issues are arising.

Notice a Burning Smell

If you notice a burning smell that appears to be coming from the electrical box, something is faulty. You should immediately shut off the main power to the home and then call a professional straight away for emergency service. Not doing so has the potential to set your house on fire.

It Feels Hot to the Touch

If the circuit breaker feels hot it may be a fire hazard. Turn off the power to your home and call a professional immediately for emergency service.

Visible Damage To the Outlets or Box

Are you noticing burn marks by appliances, the circuit box, or outlets? Scorch marks mean a wire has melted and your house could soon catch on fire. Shut off the power right away and call that professional.

Frequent Tripping

It could be a bad breaker, or an additional one is needed (as in an overloaded circuit), if it turns off every time you turn on a switch in a specific location. It’s a good idea to call a professional at Streb Electric for a home electrical panel upgrade.

It’s Old

Engineers design breakers to work for many years, but that isn’t always the case. The circuit breaker in your home could, quite simply, be old. Call a professional to come out and diagnose the issue because the breaker may need to be upgraded and replaced. If you need to replace the circuit breaker, contact Streb Electric today.

The circuit breaker is a protective device and must be working properly; otherwise, anything in your house that runs on electricity won’t function correctly. Be sure to know these warning signs of a bad circuit breaker to prevent fires and other damages to your home.

If you notice any of these signs, it’s advisable to consult a qualified electrician to inspect and diagnose the issue with the circuit breaker. They will be able to provide a professional assessment and determine whether the breaker needs to be replaced or if there is another underlying problem with the electrical system. Remember, working with electricity can be dangerous, so it’s crucial to prioritize safety and seek professional assistance when needed. It is very important to know how to tell if a circuit breaker is bad.

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How To Update Electrical Wiring In An Old House

The downside of buying an older house is that sometimes you may need to spend more money on maintenance or updates. This is especially true regarding safety issues like an old electrical system

Many home buyers prefer a house with a bit of history instead of a newer-built one. An old home can be full of charm and wonder. Original wood floorboards, detailed molding, period-specific touches that can ignite a conversation, the list goes on and on.

Understanding how to update electrical wiring in an old house will help you assess, fix, and maintain this critical part of your older home.

Before we get into how to update the electrical wiring in your old house, let’s look at whether you need to. If you are a homeowner with a historic home, you may need to replace your outdated wiring system. If everything is working and up to code, you may not.

The second reason has to do with selling or renting your property. When you find a potential buyer or renter, an inspection must be done before you can seal the deal. This involves a licensed electrician reviewing all the wiring in your home to make sure everything is up to code.

Suppose the electrician finds outdated wiring (often in older homes). In that case, you might fail an inspection and can only sell or rent the house once the new wiring is installed.

  • Is your wiring outdated or not up to code? For two key reasons, having up-to-date wiring that meets current wiring codes is critical. The first is safety. U.S. electrical codes created by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) are intended to prevent fires.
  • Do your systems use aluminum wiring? Aluminum wiring presents several dangers, such as loosening over time, overheating, and causing fires. If the electrical system in your older home has aluminum wiring, it might be time for rewiring.
  • Are your amps able to provide your home with enough power? Most older houses use a standard 60 amps or 100 amps, but modern homes require 200 amps. If your home doesn’t have 200 amps, it might be time to call an electrician.
  • Do you frequently experience electrical problems? Many signs of the need for new wiring in an old home can be observed daily. Burning smells, discoloration of outlets and switches, flickering lights, and frequent circuit breaker trips are some signs homeowners can look out for.

4 Steps To Update Wiring In An Old House

Now that you know the signs, let’s dive into the process of rewiring an old house. This consists of reviewing all your electrical systems, understanding your local codes, making a list of your desired electrical projects, contacting a reputable electrician, planning for demolition and reconstruction, and finding hardware that matches your home.

1. Review All Of Your Electrical Systems

List all your electrical systems and where and how you use them. Why? You can’t tackle a project like rewiring an old house without knowing exactly what you are getting into. Here are some things you should be sure to cover.

  • Inspect your circuit breakers: Look for rust or signs of pest activity. Ensure all circuit breakers flip on and off easily and don’t get stuck.
  • Test your GFCI outlets: All outlets near a water source should be protected by ground fault circuit interrupt (GFCI). Press the test button to make sure all GFCI outlets are safe.
  • Test all other outlets: Buy a cube tester and plug it into each outlet in your home. A light will display that corresponds with specific wiring issues. Also, check for outlet tightness. If it wiggles, that isn’t good. Be sure to do these tests on your outdoor outlets as well.
  • Look at all the wiring you can see: Look over any wiring you can see, like in the basement or attic. Make sure there are no cracks or splits.
  • Test your voltage: If certain appliances are acting weird, short circuit, or lights are flickering, it might be a voltage issue. Check the power at each outlet with a voltmeter. For standard 120-volt outlets, you might see it indicate between 110 and 130 volts. That’s normal. If the volt readings are outside this range, you have a problem to address.
  • Look at your extension cords: Ensure they are free of cracks or splits. Also, ensure the extension cords you use for power tools have the correct amperage rating.

2. Understand Your Local Codes

It’s essential to understand your local codes for electrical work, such as how many outlets you can have in each room and what type of wire you need to use. This ensures a safe rewiring of your old house and passing necessary inspections.

3. Make A List Of Desired Electrical Projects

Make a list of any projects you need completed before finding an electrician, such as:

• Upgrading the main service electrical panel

• Running wires directly from a circuit breaker to an outlet

• Spacing outlets at 6 – 8 feet apart to avoid extensions

• Installing grounding wires and three-prong outlets

• Adding ground-fault circuit interrupters in the kitchen, bathrooms, and outdoors

Electricians that you call for a quote need to know the scope of work before telling you how much it will cost. They also need this to determine when they can get the job done and how long it will take.

4. Contact A Reputable Electrician

Going the DIY route is an excellent way to save money. Still, it’s best to hire a reputable electrician to complete your electrical rewiring. Electricians are highly trained to get work done safely and effectively.

They are also trained to make sure that they protect your existing infrastructure.

At Streb Electric we are electricians that understand older homes.

Streb Electric is an electrical services company based in Eastlake, Ohio, servicing Eastern Cuyahoga, Lake and Geauga Counties. We offer the personal service of a small, family-owned business, with the professionalism and wide range of services of a large company, making us the perfect choice for electrical projects of all sizes. Contact us today to get your older home safe and up to code.

The Top Eight Electrical Upgrades for 2023

Are you building a new home? Maybe you’re thinking about adding an extra room to your existing home.

Something many homeowners don’t consider is the electrical component in these kinds of projects. Given the types of options out there it can be overwhelming to decide what options best fit your electrical needs. From smart home systems to power surge protection and electrical panel upgrades there are a lot of choices today.

In the US 50,900 fires are attributed to electrical failure or malfunction each year. These fires, in turn, accounted for 490 deaths and 1,440 injuries. These numbers show that electrical issues are a very serious matter and are not something that should be thought of lightly.

Any device hooked up to your home’s electrical circuit can produce the necessary amps to shock you fatally. From 1992 to 2002, electrocution was the 6th leading cause of workplace fatalities.

This danger is why you should call an electrician to ensure your safety and to make sure there is no damage to whatever it is you are working on.

In today’s society electricity is all around us. You are using electricity right now to read this article; our homes use electricity, our cars, phones, computer, electricity is everywhere. Because electricity is so commonplace today, we forget there is real danger involved.

Even though an electrical problem might seem simple on the surface, it could be a very complicated. When you try to fix an electrical issue even a seemingly minor mistake can damage your appliance, start a fire, or electrocute you.

An additional reason as to why you should call an electrician is because depending on what electrical work is being done you will need to get a permit and have inspectors look at the work. Hiring a professional electrician greatly enhances your chances of obtaining the necessary permits.

Electrical problems you’ll want to watch for in your home:

  1. Faulty wiring can lead to an overload in energy use, which could cause frequent tripping in circuit breakers and blown fuses.
  2. Overloading outlets often lead to short-circuiting plugs. The best way to avoid this is by using extension cords sparingly when necessary.
  3. Corroded wires can lead to overheating and fires. This means you must take care of any frayed or loose wiring.
  4. Frequent electrical shocks can be a major problem if you’re working around wires that aren’t properly grounded. For example, you might get an electric shock when using certain appliances or even get your hair wet in the shower. Grounding these power sources is crucial to avoid this issue in the future.

The bottom line: Always call in professional help when dealing with electricity issues in your home.

Top 8 Electrical Upgrades 

1. Smart Home Systems

Smart home systems allow homeowners complete control of their devices while they’re home or away. They add a layer of protection that lets you manipulate your house. Essentially, so people think you are home, even when you’re not. And it’s all from your smartphone.

From switches, outlets, and smoke detectors you can control from your phone, full home automation is no longer a thing of the future, it’s here now.

2. Remote-Controlled Devices

In our busy world, if we can automate a device to save time, we have that ability nowadays. From ceiling fans and window treatments (and even lowering the chandelier from your vaulted ceiling to changing light bulbs or cleaning!), remote-controlled devices are on the rise.

3. Hidden Outlets

No one likes unsightly cords from their devices to the outlet! Hidden outlets behind your televisions, projectors, or museum-lighted art displays can remedy that issue.

4. In-Home Chargers

From electric cars to all your electrical handheld devices, dedicated charging stations can help your electrical system work for you.

5. Whole House Surge Protection

All it takes is one powerful electrical surge or lightning strike to severely damage your home’s electrical system and any connected devices, even if you’re using power strips or an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS). A whole house surge protection system provides extra protection for your electrical system.

6. Electrical Panel Upgrade

If you’re adding a new room or upgrading your electrical system, an electrical panel upgrade may be necessary. This will ensure that your electrical system is up to code and can handle the new load.


At Streb Electric, we specialize in repairing and replacing electrical panels to help improve the safety and efficiency of homes.

7. LED Lighting

LED lighting is a great way to save money on your energy bills. It also produces less heat than traditional lighting and can help reduce cooling costs in the summer.

8. Electrical Wiring

Old or faulty wiring can be a fire hazard. If you’re renovating or adding a new room, make sure to have your electrical wiring inspected and updated as needed.

Now that you have some ideas, what’s next?

Call Streb Electric to Make It Happen!

Whether we’re partnered directly with you or your chosen contractor, we always put you, the customer, first by:

• Providing quick quotes for service

• Showing up when scheduled

• Working effectively and efficiently

• Being courteous of your home and belongings

• Cleaning up when we’re done

With our ironclad warranty on all our work, we promise 100% satisfaction. For over 40 years, Streb Electric has been serving the needs of Lake County, Geauga County, and Western and Eastern Cuyahoga County.

Don’t just take our word for it! Check out these reviews from our customers!

Ready to get started? Contact us today.