Posts made in December, 2015

5 Types of Electrical Remodeling to Consider

Posted by on Dec 31, 2015 in Blogs, Home Renovation | Comments Off on 5 Types of Electrical Remodeling to Consider

5 Types of Electrical Remodeling to Consider

When you are renovating a home, chances are there are going to be some electrical remodeling tasks that you consider doing. Whether it is for energy savings, safety or aesthetics, you need to consider whether the things you are considering changing are a want or a need, and assign your remodeling budget accordingly. Here are some of the best electrical remodeling options you could choose.

  1. A Bigger, Better Panel

If your remodel includes any additions or changes to your home that will require more outlets, fixtures or appliances, or place more load on your electrical, then you may find that your current panel is too small to accommodate the changes you want done. Or you may find that your panel is able to cope, but only just. If you have an electrician on site, and there is any chance that you are going to need a bigger panel, it is always better and cheaper to do it at the same time as other work on site.

  1. Wired Smoke Alarms

Another great addition to your home renovation plan are hardwired smoke alarms. These are basically the same as your regular battery operated alarms, but instead of having batteries that you need to replace from time to time, they are hard wired into the electrical in your home. That means you will never forget to change the batteries, and you will always be monitoring your home.

  1. Add Solar or a Backup Generator

When you have an electrical company on site for renovations, it’s a good time to add a solar power system or a backup generator. A solar panel system could allow you to be partially or totally off the grid for some or all of the year, while a generator can ensure that you have power during those Florida storms.

  1. Upgrade Your Wiring

This one is not so much an option as a necessity if you have old wiring. Homes that have old wiring are susceptible to fire, and it is too much of a risk to keep it once you know it is there. This is definitely something you want to time to ensure that it happens while you’re in the middle of renovating a home, as it’s likely that drywall will need to come down to access all the wiring.

  1. Add Outlets and Fixtures

If you are upgrading an older home, then it is likely that you do not have enough outlets in each of the rooms, and changes are you have lighting plans that require additional fixtures. These are exactly the kinds of electrical remodeling you should do while you are in the process of a larger renovation, to save time, effort and money.

Electrical is one of the hidden systems in your house that you hardly think about, but which works hard for you. With the savings in time and money that come from bundling your electrical remodeling with a renovation, it is certainly worth considering which kinds of electrical upgrades your home needs, and including them in your renovation plans.


Read More

Why a Whole Home Generator is Vital to Emergency Preparedness

Posted by on Dec 24, 2015 in Blogs, Generators, Residential Electrical | Comments Off on Why a Whole Home Generator is Vital to Emergency Preparedness

Why a Whole Home Generator is Vital to Emergency Preparedness

Until you have experienced a blackout, you never really think about getting backup power. However, once you have, you know what to expect. Everything in our modern lives depends on power to work. Being without it, even for a few hours, can be a miserable or even downright dangerous proposition.

We take a look at why you should consider a backup generator, what your options are, and how you can go about getting the right home generator.

Who Should Have a Backup Generator?

Ideally, everyone would have a backup generator, because blackouts and power failures can happen anywhere, anytime, to anyone. However, while that is certainly true, there are a few people who need power more than anyone, including:

  • Parents with young children, who need to sterilize or heat bottles or other items.
  • Anyone with a medical condition who requires power for treatment.
  • Elderly people who may injure themselves due to poor lighting.
  • People who work from home and who need power to earn a living.

There are many other cases where power is a necessity, but I think we can all agree that even if it is not strictly necessary to our health and wellbeing, it is necessary for our comfort and happiness!

What Are Your Backup Generator Options?

When it comes to home generators, you have two basic options: a portable generator or a backup generator (also sometimes known as a whole home generator.)

Backup generators are generators that are wired into your home’s electrical system, so that when the power shuts down, they automatically take over. These types of generators can either power some of your appliances (ranging from the bare essential survival appliances to more extensive ranges), or they can be what is called a whole home generator. As the name suggests, this type of generator provides enough power to keep your whole home running.

Portable generators, as the name suggests, are built into a frame, which usually includes wheels, so that it can be moved around. This type of generator is not wired into your home, and you will need power cords and power bars to use your appliances, which makes it less convenient. On the plus side, however, these types of generators can accompany you on camping and fishing trips, so they are multifunctional.

How to Get a Generator

If you are considering buying a generator for your home, then the best way to get all the information you need is to talk to a residential electrical contractor. If you opt for a wired-in backup generator, they can advise you what size and type you need to meet your emergency power needs, and they can probably get you a better deal on a higher quality unit than you would get in a hardware store.

A backup generator is never a bad investment, and in places like Florida where there are frequent big storms, it is one you will probably find good use for sooner rather than later.

Read More

How Electrical Vehicles are Improving Green Efficiency

Posted by on Dec 18, 2015 in Blogs, Energy Savings, Green Buildings | Comments Off on How Electrical Vehicles are Improving Green Efficiency

How Electrical Vehicles are Improving Green Efficiency

In 2011, Barack Obama set the goal of having 1 million electric vehicles on the road by the end of this year. It is now clear that while we won’t reach that goal, there have been significant strides in the electrical vehicles market. Although the industry hasn’t achieved its target of a million units, it has made great strides and we are improving not only the state of EV’s on the road, but also the ideals of electrical efficiency and green building in general.

The Silent Electrical Revolution

In spite of falling short of those goals, there are some good signs that there is a silent revolution going on in the automotive world:

  • Of the 300,000 battery powered vehicles on the road today, nearly 120,000 were sold in 2014 alone. That means that the demand for plug-in powered cars is increasing, and that is a good sign. It means that people are realizing the value of alternative energy, and that is something we all need to do.
  • Far from being boring and slow like they used to be, manufacturers like Tesla have finally managed to make electric cars sexy, and that means that the demand is growing.
  • The market for hybrids has never been bigger, either, and nearly 230,000 units were sold in the USA in 2015 alone!
  • There is already a demand for certain electric vehicles that are due to be available in 2016, including Chevrolet’s Volt and several Tesla models.
  • Volatility in the oil market is likely to continue, which will make the search for viable alternatives ever more important.
  • Improvements in batteries and electric motor efficiency are making the payback period for electric cars, and the lifecycle costs, a more attractive proposition for buyers.

These factors make it clear that while the growth in demand for electric cars has been slow it is gaining momentum, and battery-powered and plug-in cars are not going to disappear anytime soon.

What Are Electric Cars Doing for Electrical Efficiency?

It is wonderful that electric cars are finally becoming a genuine mainstream vehicle option in America, but you may be wondering what impact they are having on electrical efficiency in general, and green building in particular.

There are several ways that electric vehicles are impacting how we build homes and other structures. On the one hand, consumers are becoming better educated about options and more environmentally conscious, which means they are more open to alternative power, energy savings and efficient home strategies.

On the other hand, the improvements being made to batteries and motors in the automotive industry is also driving innovation and change in other industries, including electrical, electronics and HVAC, all of which means it’s only a matter of time before we have more options for efficient home building.

Whatever your feeling about green power and electric cars, however, it’s worth finding an electrical contractor in south Florida who can advise you on how to make your home more efficient. Not only will you be helping to reduce the impact on the environment, but you can also save a bundle on utility bills.

Read More

How to Make Your Home a High Performance Electrical Superstar

Posted by on Dec 11, 2015 in Blogs, Energy Savings, Residential Electrical, Smart Homes | Comments Off on How to Make Your Home a High Performance Electrical Superstar

How to Make Your Home a High Performance Electrical Superstar

High performance homes are in big demand. People love to buy these types of homes, because they know that a certified high performance home will have the best heating and cooling efficiency, the best ventilation, and the best electrical efficiency. Many new homes are built to high performance standards from day one, but it is possible to retrofit too.

If you want to make your home a high performance superstar, there are a few steps you can take to make positive changes to your power consumption.

Get a RESNET Approved Contractor

The first step in transforming your home into a finely tuned electrical machine is to find a contractor who is RESNET approved. RESNET is the umbrella body that manages the HERS (Home Energy Rating System), and ensures that contractors who are performing HERS construction or upgrades are following best practices. There is a handy search function on their website, to help you find a contractor in your area.

Getting Your HERS Rating

Often, when working with an existing building, the first step in transforming your house into an energy efficient home is to get your HERS rating. This is a number, based on a variety of energy related factors, which indicates how energy efficient or otherwise your home is. It is a number that will either be above or below 100 (which is the benchmark for HERS ratings.)

If your home has a rating below 100, then that means it is more energy efficient than average, while ratings above 100 are less efficient.

Knowing where your home falls on the spectrum is important, so that your contractor can determine what changes need to be made to make your home as efficient as possible.

Improving Your HERS Rating

There are several things you can do in your existing home to make it more energy efficient, and to improve your HERS rating. Here are a few very simple changes that can make a big difference:

  • Switch out appliances for energy efficient ones. If your appliances are older, chances are they are not as efficient as they could be, and you could save a considerable amount of energy by using newer, Energy Star rated ones instead.
  • Upgrade lighting to be energy efficient. Switch out fixtures for LED or CFL friendly versions, and trade your regular garden lights for solar powered versions.
  • Improve your insulation. Even though you probably do not need the heating benefits in Florida, you can cut your cooling bill considerably, including the power required to run your air conditioning units.
  • Replace windows with energy efficient versions. These windows have an invisible film on them that prevent the entry of a percentage of solar rays into your home. Again, this can make your home cooler and save energy and money.
  • Upgrade your water heater and fix dripping faucets. You may not think that plumbing upgrades would affect power consumption, but since heating water is a big chunk of your power bill, changes like this can improve your energy consumption and rating significantly.

There are many reasons to upgrade your home and improve its HERS rating. You can inspect and improve electrical protection at the same time, you will save power, and your home will be more energy efficient and less hard on the environment.

Read More

Make Your Home a Thing of Beauty This Holiday – Efficiently!

Posted by on Dec 4, 2015 in Blogs, Energy Savings, Residential Lighting | Comments Off on Make Your Home a Thing of Beauty This Holiday – Efficiently!

Make Your Home a Thing of Beauty This Holiday – Efficiently!

There are a few things in life that you can’t escape. Death and taxes, and the absolute necessity of turning your home into a beacon of light during the festive season that can be seen from space. Or at least from passing aircraft.

The only trouble with holiday lighting is that while it is beautiful and fun, and it is a big part of the season, it is not exactly energy efficient.

It can be, however, and here’s how:

Better Bulbs

If your holiday lights are old-fashioned incandescent bulbs, then they are probably sucking enough power to light up a fair chunk of your block! Banish these power guzzlers, and replace them with LED lights. These light bulbs use a tiny fraction of the power of traditional lights, and they burn cooler, so they not only promote energy savings but are safer too!

Get Energy Star Rebates

Energy Star offers rebates on the purchase of approved lights. Rebates vary by area, by type of light, by brand and by store, so if you plan to take advantage of this, do some research before you make a purchase.

Project Your Lights

If all you really need to be happy is a light that glows, then why not consider one of the light projectors instead of strings of lights? These units use a tiny amount of power, are easy to install and operate, and most have a variety of setting options.

Add a Timer

Even in the most bustling neighborhoods, it is unlikely that passersby will see your lights in the early hours of the morning. Likewise, if you leave your lights on during the day, you are going to be getting very little bang for your power buck.

If you want to have your energy savings cake and eat it, too, invest in a timer. You won’t have to wake up in the middle of the night to turn off your lights, and you’ll never forget to turn them off in the morning. Many timers are easy to install and set, and there are even some with integrated, photo-sensitive switches, which mean that they will sense when it gets light and dark, and turn lights on and off accordingly.

Reflect On It

What many people don’t realize is that reflected light can be just as effective at making your home glow. Consider installing lighting alongside baubles, or add glinting bunting made from metallic garlands under lights to boost your lighting. While you won’t find snow in South Florida, there are other ways you can use this to your advantage.

Consider installing lighting above water features, ponds or pools to light up the water. Anything that reflects light will boost your home’s glow and help to turn it into a showpiece.

A Win, Win, Win Situation

Decorating your home for the holidays is a must, and lights are a major part of that, however, with a little forethought and planning, you can have your lights, save money on energy bills, and be kinder to the planet. With all that money you are going to save on power, you can probably afford even more holiday lights!

Read More