One of the least expensive ways to make a big impact with your home renovation project is by changing your kitchen lighting. By just switching out the lamps and adding new lights in different places, you can completely change the mood of the room. Go from plain to pizzazz by...Read More
From new homes through remodeling and renovations, we’ll give you peace of mind that your installation is safe and fully compliant with building codes. In commerce and industry, we’ll ensure the safe and efficient functioning of your business’s electrical operations, help you save money and avoid costly downtimes.
About 90 percent of the power used in south Florida homes is electric, with the majority of that being created by burning coal or natural gas. The call for renewable energy sources is growing, for energy conservation as well as economic reasons. Alternative energy sources aren’t as common in south Florida as they are in other parts of the country, but installations are on the rise, revealing a brighter future for renewable energy in this part of the state.
Alternative energy isn’t just the province of new construction. Home remodels and business renovations in south Florida can be the perfect time to add an alternative, cleaner source of power to your building. Depending on your environment, you have multiple options to consider:
You would think that solar power in Florida would be a natural part of green building. After all, we’re known as the sunshine state. In past years, though, homeowners and business owners have been forced to pay fees to power companies even if their solar panel array produces all the power they use. In essence, everyone in the state was forced to pay for being hooked up to a power company, even if they never used it.
Today, a combination of energy conservation lobbying and financial incentives in the form of substantial tax breaks are making solar energy a better bargain for south Florida residents. While it can take years for a full panel array to pay for itself in saved energy costs, the fact that solar energy doesn’t add to greenhouse gases can tip the scales when deciding to install panels.
Compared to the great plains of Kansas and Wyoming, south Florida doesn’t have a steady supply of strong winds to count on. Many wind generators are needed in a given area to produce useful amounts of electricity because of the relatively ineffective technology available. The numbers for this get more attractive for wind turbines placed over the water and on extra-high poles that catch stronger air currents, but in south Florida this is only possible for residents with large plots of land or long water frontage.
One of the most exciting new concepts in green building for the south Florida area is using kinetic energy to produce electrical power. For residents who have property on the water, this can be a solid source to rely on in years to come. Kinetic energy power plants are small, floating machines that are anchored to the sea bed. Attached to the ground with a cable, these machines, housed in pods, bob up and down with the waves. Every time the pod goes up or down, it creates a small amount of energy that can be stored to be used later. Some brands include small water wheels that increase the electrical output, while others are simple passive systems with levers that move with the waves.
A kinetic energy production field requires multiple pods installed in the water, so it’s obviously only useful for residents with water frontage, but it’s growing in popularity in some communities for the production of municipal power as well as for individual owners.Read More
Older homes, like many in the south Florida area, often need a complete residential rewiring to keep them safe and up to code. If your home is more than 50 years old, it’s time to consider contacting a professional electrical contractor to inspect the condition of your home’s wiring. Even if age isn’t a consideration yet, there are other signs that indicate you need to have your wiring inspected. Look for:
Residential rewiring isn’t a minor job, and the cost depends on many variables. It’s a serious renovation job, but in many instances there are ways to minimize the costs.
Rewiring your home involves removing all the old wiring and replacing it with newer, non-metallic wire. This new wire doesn’t get hot when surrounded with insulation, it’s easier to work with and it’s safer inside your walls.
In the most elaborate wiring jobs, electrical contractors remove the interior walls, replace all the wiring and rebuild the walls with the new wiring inside. This can take a lot of time and can be the most expensive method, as well as doing damage to older, historically significant buildings.
Contractors can replace the wiring using a series of small holes cut into the walls, along with a thin line called fish tape that draws the wire from one small hole to another. This method requires patching holes, but it keeps the integrity of older plaster walls while installing newer, safer wiring. Running wires behind existing walls can be much less expensive than replacing the walls themselves, and can save homeowners thousands of dollars in construction costs.
The price of each part of the job will vary from season to season, but it’s important to remember that many details go into the final cost. It’s not the price of the job itself as much as it is that of each individual part of the job.
Building permits are often the first item you’ll spend money on when having wiring redone. The permits will cost the same whether you or your electrical contractor pulls the permits, but your professional knows which ones you need and won’t waste money on those you don’t.
If you’ve got an older house that still has a fuse box, it will need to have a new circuit breaker installed. This can cost up to $3000, depending on the size of your home’s electrical demand load.
While you can save a bit of money reusing your old switches and outlets, you’ll still have to pay for your contractor to install them. A residential electrical south Florida contractor will charge around $100 per outlet for installation.
The most expensive materials cost is, of course, for the wiring itself. New wire can cost thousands of dollars, even for the smallest home, but it can pay off in peace of mind.
The most important item on your home rewiring job is the cost of a professional electrical contractor. Rewiring your home is never a DIY job; it takes a knowledgeable professional to safely install an electrical system that will last for decades.Read More
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a pretty bad name for a pretty great set of systems designed to save the average homeowner time and money. When new construction electrical plans include extra time and materials to incorporate smart home technology, it’s a smarter fit than waiting until the technology improves and the homeowner wants to retrofit. Add it into your original home plans, because this technology is only getting more popular.
Call it the IoT, smart home technology, or computerized systems, it all means the same thing: a collection of appliances and devices that use wireless technology to speak to each other. This allows for easier maintenance, alerts that prevent expensive accidents, and even big savings on power and even grocery bills. Some of the more popular Internet of Things home additions are:
All IoT systems rely on wireless connections or local area networks (LANs) for communication. This means installing more robust wiring throughout the house to allow current and future connections to take place. When you compare the cost and trouble of tearing down walls and rebuilding after rewiring, there’s no question that it makes sense to incorporate this technology into new construction electrical plans. Even if you don’t think you’ll ever have any need for smart home technology, having your electrical contractor in south Florida and it makes good financial sense. Most homes are resold eventually, and having your building wired and ready for the Internet of Things can be an impressive selling point for many new buyers.Read More
The computerized lighting system concept is a small part of a new technology known as the Internet of Things (IoT). It’s a large group of systems that gather information from many devices, each of which has a sensor. These devices don’t really need the internet to work, as they mostly take advantage of wireless connections or over a wired LAN, or local area network. Among the many devices included in the Internet of Things are:
The key to saving money and power on any electronic system is maintenance. Maintaining your appliances and devices on a regular basis allows you to prevent problems from happening, as well as fixing problems when they’re small and repair costs are less expensive. Electrical contractors following a traditional maintenance schedule will change bulbs, check electrical wiring, look for signs of wear, and replace parts as they wear out. This works to keep costs low and electrical systems running. But with computerized lighting systems, you can go one step further.
Because the individual parts in these systems each have a sensor that talks to other sensors in the group, your contractor has the ability to find out information about your system at a much more rapid pace. If your office lights are dimming at a certain time of the day, he can tell whether it has to do with other building systems that kick on at the same time, draining some of the available power, or if you have a light fixture that’s going to need replacing. And he can tell before he even leaves the shop, because your system will have sent an alert signal, letting him know about the problem. All without ever having to inspect your lamps and wiring.
Electrical maintenance in south Florida is a challenge, because of all the outages we have in this area. Between older electrical systems in our communities and the high volume of electrical storms all year round, we have a higher incidence of electrical problems that most of the rest of the country. This makes it even more crucial for your electrical contractor to maintain your system on a regular basis.
A computerized system can offer a lot of useful information. Most systems can offer multiple types of information from the same system, such as hours used, power surges, and average power usage. All systems can be set to trigger an alert from multiple causes, and require a different response for each problem. Systems can automatically call your contractor and generate a work order, in effect calling in an emergency before one actually arises. They can even identify potential problems for your contractor to discuss with you, defining future work to allow you to budget accordingly.
Having a system that calls for a repair before a problem even arises may sound like a way to increase the amount of contractor visits, but just the opposite situation actually exists. Computerized systems create a concept called condition based management, or CBM. With a CBM system in place, most regular maintenance calls are no longer necessary. Your contractor only has to come out when something’s about to go wrong, and your system will tell him when it’s happening. He’ll still repair troubles before they become large problems, and he’ll still run some checks for wiring and other equipment, but for the most part your contractor will only show up when he’s really needed.Read More
Whether you’re building a new home, undertaking an electrical remodeling and renovation project or building a commercial structurer that needs commercial electrical installation, at some point, you’re probably going to need to have an electrical contractor on site.
If you have a general contractor handling the construction for you, then they’ll probably be taking care of the scheduling of trades like electrical, but if you’re still wondering when your electrical contractor should be on site (and why timing matters!) read on.
On most projects, an electrical contractor will work as a sub-contractor, with the main or general contractor determining how the construction or remodeling process would progress.
Problems can occur when a general contractor requests that an electrical contractor be on site too early, because there are usually costs involved in having any subcontractor wait on site. If they’re not earning their money, they’re losing it! This is why it’s so important that you work with experienced contractors and sub contractors, so that there is careful planning, and those sorts of additional costs can be avoided.
If there’s a delay in getting your electrical contractor on site during a construction or renovation project, whether residential or commercial, that is a problem too. If there is wiring to be done (and there usually will be) walls and finishes cannot happen until your electrician has been on site.
Every construction project is different, and there are likely to be different factors involved in determining who needs to be on site when on your new build or renovation project, but there are a few constants. These are times when you will definitely want to see your electrical contractor or their representative on your work site:
Usually, the timing of these visits to site will be worked out by the general contractor and your electrical contractor, but if you are managing your own renovation or remodel, you might have to be more involved in the process. Make sure that there’s a clear schedule for any project, so you can limit delays.
Good electrical contractors will be on site when you need them on site, and they’ll work together with you and your team (including construction professionals and general contractors) to get work done on an efficient time scale.
Make sure that you choose an electrical contractor that has the capacity to meet your deadlines, because in construction, like life, time often really is money, and timing can be very important to construction success. Keep communicating, and ensure that everyone is on the same page as far as scheduling, and things will go a lot smoother.Read More
Commercial electrical can be a complex process. Contractors often work with a variety of construction professionals like architects and engineers, larger general contractors, their direct clients, and many other people to complete new construction projects, or on maintenance projects that include electrical service contracts.
Unlike residential electrical in South Florida, which is usually a straightforward process that mainly revolves around getting a few quotes and choosing the contractor that offers the best deal, commercial electrical usually includes a bidding process. A big part of that bidding process is electrical estimating, and we thought we’d share a little more about how the electrical estimating process works, so that you have a little more insight into what we do.
The electrical estimating process starts with an invitation to bid, or with an open bid invitation. When we are specifically invited to provide a bid on a project, it’s usually by a general contractor or a construction professional (like an architect) who we have worked for before. Sometimes, projects are advertised for open bid, which means that any contractor who meets the minimum criteria for the bid can provide pricing.
Once we’ve decided to provide a bid on a commercial electrical project, the next step is to establish what the scope of work and specification is. If there is a formal bid document, that will usually provide most of the information, but this step of the process may also involve contacting our client to ask for information, attending formal site meetings, reviewing drawings and more. The more information we have about a commercial electrical project, the more accurate our estimates can be.
As an established electrical contractor, we have established relationships with suppliers, and our electrical estimating system already has most of the common parts, consumables, wires and cables and other elements included in it, but every once in a while, we need to find something specific, and this usually happens early on in the estimating process.
Once we’re sure that we have all the product information and pricing on hand, the next step is to do a detailed take off of materials and a labor estimate, and to compile everything into a detailed bid and proposal.
After we quote on commercial electrical projects, there may still be work to be done. Sometimes, our clients decide to make changes to the specifications and scope of work, sometimes they request alternatives. The process can take some time, and we usually expect to answer at least a few questions along the way.
Very often, the estimating process doesn’t end on commercial electrical projects just because the job has started. Just like we sometimes discover surprises on residential electrical projects in South Florida (particularly renovations and retrofits), there are sometimes surprises on our commercial installations and electrical service contracts too.
When those issues arise, our project management and estimating teams will usually work with the client to come up with the best, most cost effective solution to the problem.
As you can see, however, estimating for commercial electrical is a long and ongoing process. If you do have a commercial project, and you’d like to know more, be sure to contact our team. We’re always happy to help with advice, budget pricing and insight.Read More
It has become a common sight in the Sunshine State, to see solar panels on the roofs of homes and businesses. After all, with all that sunshine, it makes sense to take advantage of the energy savings and energy efficiency benefits that going fully or partly off grid offers, and what better way than to harvest sunshine!
Whether you’re interested in green building in general, or just considering retrofitting your home with solar panels to take advantage of energy savings and lower utility bills, you might have wondered how it all works. So we decided to give you the short and simple version of how solar panels work, and here it is.
The solar panels that power homes and businesses are known as photovoltaic or PV panels. There are other types of solar panels, such as thin film, and other methods of collecting solar energy like parabolic troughs, but if you’re going off grid, it’s PV panels that will do the work for you.
Solar panels work by creating an electrical field, by sandwiching two layers of silicon together, and by treating each of those layers to manipulate them into having a particular charge. The top layer will be treated with phosphorous, to add electrons, and create a negative charge, while the bottom gets added boron, which removes electrons, and creates a positive charge.
With the electrical field established, photons from sunlight can “knock electrons loose” and those electrons are then collected, and become electricity.
When you look at PV solar panels in such a basic, fundamental way, it can be difficult to understand why it costs so much to convert your home, get energy savings and conserve energy. However, there is a lot more to a solar power system for a building than just the panels (and even those are complex to design and manufacture.)
First, there’s the issue of the type of power that has been generated. Our homes run on what is known as AC, or Alternating Current, but the power that comes from a PV panel is DC, or Direct Current. Since the two don’t mix, the first thing that needs to happen is to use a piece of equipment called an inverter to convert the DC current into usable AC power.
There’s usually also a piece of equipment called a regulator installed early on in the solar power system. This piece of equipment helps to ensure that the power from your solar panels isn’t too much for your batteries or panel to handle.
Next, there are usually batteries, which are typically deep cycle batteries, which store the electrical power collected by the solar panels, since there is no power generated at night, and your home will still need to have power when it’s dark!
Finally, there’s the connection to your electrical panel, utility meter, and in some cases, the main grid.
Solar panels also need to be carefully oriented to collect sunlight efficiently, and there are many other considerations that need to be made. In short, while the principles of solar power are not too complicated, the systems can be, and if you’re thinking about going off grid, it’s always a good idea to talk to an electrical contractor who has some experience!Read More