Residential Electrical

Why Cheap Standby Generators May Cost More in the Long Term

Posted by on Apr 30, 2016 in Blogs, Generators, Residential Electrical | Comments Off on Why Cheap Standby Generators May Cost More in the Long Term

Why Cheap Standby Generators May Cost More in the Long Term

Have you ever really thought about the term “grudge purchase?” You know the types of things we mean. Insurance. Dentistry. Car repairs. They’re all things we need, but we don’t really want to spend our hard earned money on them. While we’d like to believe otherwise, we realize that a standby generator or a whole home generator probably falls into the same category. They may be necessary for life in South Florida, but they’re not really sexy or exciting, are they?

That might be why so many people are tempted to buy cheap units, and hope for the best. We’ve seen how that turns out though, and we’d like to advise you against it. That cheap generator may cost less upfront, but there’s a good chance it will cost more in the long term, and here’s why.

Poor After Sales Service

When you buy a cheap generator, chances are you’re either getting it from a guy operating from the back of a van in an alleyway (very bad idea!), or you’re buying a unit that’s been imported from somewhere that makes dubious quality products for low prices.

In either case, while you may pay less upfront, you’re going to find that when you need after sales service (and you will), you will struggle to find it. You might not be able to get replacement parts. Service technicians may not be available. Or, if you bought from the guy in the van, you might simply not be able to find him.

Damage to Your Home

One of the biggest problems that we’ve seen when people buy a cheap standby generator or whole home generator is that there tends to be some sort of damage to your home at some point. Maybe the unit is installed incorrectly, maybe there’s insufficient electrical protection, or maybe it creates a short circuit or a power surge.

Whatever the reason for the damage, the results are usually extensive and costly. Some of the cases we’ve seen have included fires when faulty generators caught alight, or fried electronics when they were installed incorrectly and causes a power surge to appliances that were plugged in.

Trouble with Warranties

We’ve replaced a lot of standby generators over the years, and whenever it’s a cheap unit that we’ve switched out, we’ve heard a similar story. The home owner saved a little on the initial purchase, but when the unit stopped working properly and they tried to get it replaced under the warranty, they found that it was full of holes.

A Good Generator Is an Investment

There are good reasons we’re choosy about which generators we supply to our customers. Firstly, we’re not willing to put our name on anything we don’t believe in, and secondly, because we know that a good generator is an investment.

Good quality standby or whole home generators will serve you well, without any trouble, for many years to come. They’ll be there when you need them, and if they need a repair, we’ll be able to find the parts you need.

So if you are in the market for a generator, why not talk to us? We might not give you the cheapest unit out there, but we’ll still be here when the guy in the van has disappeared.

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Electrical Honey-Dos: When Should You Call an Electrical Contractor?

Posted by on Mar 17, 2016 in Blogs, Electrical Maintenance, Residential Electrical | Comments Off on Electrical Honey-Dos: When Should You Call an Electrical Contractor?

Electrical Honey-Dos: When Should You Call an Electrical Contractor?

Most people have a level of comfort when it comes to small electrical repairs. Changing the light in a stove or fridge, switching out a light fixture, and other minor tasks may all fall into the realm of things that your “honey” can do for you, but there are times when you need professional help. Here are a few instances where you should not attempt to do repairs yourself.

1. When There Is Visible Damage

When you can see visible damage to wiring, when an outlet has a scorch mark or when something has melted, it’s a sign that all is not well with your electrical, and that can be dangerous (or deadly) to people who aren’t qualified electricians. If you see this sort of damage, then this is not an electrical DIY project. Call the professionals, sooner rather than later.

2. When There’s Water Damage

When your electrical problems are also water problems, then you definitely need to call in the professionals – electrical and otherwise. Water and electricity are a dangerous combination, and not one that you want to mess with.

3. When You Need Changes Made

Adding an outlet. Expanding a panel. Changing the wiring in part of your home, or adding more wiring for an addition. These are all things that you need the expertise of a professional to do correctly and safely, and are not tasks that you want to undertake as DIY residential electrical in South Florida.

4. When There Are Shorts or Sparks

If you’re having trouble with your panel, and you regularly have circuit breakers tripping, that is a clear sign of serious electrical problems somewhere in your home. Likewise, if you see sparks anywhere in your home electrical, then you almost certainly have a problem that needs professional attention.

5. When You Live in an Old Home

Older homes often have complicated, outdated or just plain weird electrical. If your home is older, then there’s a good chance that you could have knob and tube wiring, asbestos in your walls or other hidden dangers to contend with, you might not even recognize some of the things on the board, and there may be fire hazards hidden in your walls. If you start having electrical problems in an older home, chances are you’re going to need professional help.

6. When You’re Doing a Major Appliance Upgrade

If you’re remodeling your kitchen, and you’re going from modest, old style appliances to power hungry commercial grade ones, or you want to turn a room into a home theater, then you probably need professional help. Major changes to your power consumption can overload your panel, and if you’re planning anything big, it’s best to get the all clear first.

This list is not complete, and there are probably many other times when you would need electrical protection in West Palm Beach. If you’re in any way unsure or uneasy about any electrical DIY, minor or major, contact an electrical contracting company. They’ll be able to tell you if it’s something that a handy homeowner can handle, or whether you need a little more skill (or a permit!)

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Building a Housing for Your Standby Generator

Posted by on Mar 10, 2016 in Blogs, Generators, Residential Electrical | Comments Off on Building a Housing for Your Standby Generator

Building a Housing for Your Standby Generator

If you are installing a home standby generator, and you live in Florida, you are probably motivated by bad weather. Because sure, the energy savings you get when the power is out for a few days thanks to a big storm are good for your wallet, but they’re really not good for anything else, are they?

Before you contact contractors about your generator and to get a price for the electrical installation in West Palm Beach, it’s a good idea to figure out where you’re going to place the generator, and how you’re going to keep it safe from the storm. Because diesel powered generators really aren’t a great addition to the décor in your home, and the weather outside is likely to be a factor when it’s needed. Here are a few things to keep in mind while you construct the housing:

  1. Ensure that your design includes a raised platform of some kind, to keep your generator out of any water that may be on the ground. Storms can cause flash floods or water accumulation of a few inches to a foot or more, and it’s always a good idea to keep your generator above ground for that reason. Be sure to make the platform long enough that you can wheel the generator forward when you need to refill the fuel tank or make repairs to the unit.
  2. Make sure that you construct your generator enclosure close to your home. Whether you choose an automatic or manual transfer for the system, your electrician will need to connect wires to the generator, and you want to be able to get to it easily too.
  3. Measure the frame of the home standby generator, from the ground to the highest point, across at the widest point, and from the front to the back at the widest point. Add two or three inches to each dimension. Those will be your inside dimensions for your frame.
  4. Build a frame for the enclosure. You can make this out of wood or steel (depending on your carpentry or welding skills). Ensure that you use the measurements you have taken before as the inside dimensions for your frame. If your generator is going to be close to your home, you might not need a back panel, but you can add a front and a back panel if you hinge them for easy access.
  5. Cover the frame with plywood or steel sheeting. If you choose plywood, remember that you will need to seal the enclosure well, to prevent the wood from rotting. If you opt for steel, choose a galvanized product that will resist rust. Use screws or nails to fix panels to a wooden frame, or rivets to fix to a steel frame.

Your home standby generator is built to be hardy and tough, and it should be able to handle a little water without too much trouble. However, Florida storms are a lot more than a little water, which is why a home generator enclosure is a good idea. It doesn’t have to be completely air tight either. Just make sure it keeps most of the weather out, and that it’s located outside of your home, so the fumes from the generator running are safely outside your home.

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4 Exciting Electrical Gadgets for Your Bathroom

Posted by on Jan 21, 2016 in Blogs, Home Renovation, Residential Electrical | Comments Off on 4 Exciting Electrical Gadgets for Your Bathroom

4 Exciting Electrical Gadgets for Your Bathroom

If you thought water and electricity didn’t mix, think again! These days, there are plenty of electrical gadgets on the market that are designed to be safe for use in the bathroom. Not only that, but bathrooms are finally getting some much needed attention in the arena of smart fixtures and fittings, and some of the new ones truly are amazing! If you’re looking for something awesome for your bathroom, or are doing some electrical remodeling, here are some options to consider.

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Smart Homes: Safety and Security Options to Protect Your Family

Posted by on Jan 14, 2016 in Blogs, Residential Electrical, Smart Homes | Comments Off on Smart Homes: Safety and Security Options to Protect Your Family

Smart Homes: Safety and Security Options to Protect Your Family

Smart homes have been a major trend over the past few years, and the trend towards transforming our living spaces and bringing the internet of things into our homes won’t be going anywhere this year. In fact, there are some pretty amazing new electrical protection gizmos and gadgets that you can expect to see a lot more of this year, including:

  • Facial recognition software. What used to be the preserve of spies and government agencies has gone mainstream, and new video surveillance technology for homes includes software that can recognize whether the person who entered your home is family or a stranger, and will tell you as much on your smartphone!
  • There are also products on the market that can differentiate between humans, pets and other types of motion, which means fewer false alarms on your home security system.
  • Smart garage doors are another trend this year, with products now available that allow you to retrofit your existing garage door opener to talk to you, also via your smart phone.
  • Monitor, turn on, turn off and check in on appliances thanks to technologies from major manufacturers like LG, that let you check in on your gadgets from the office or the other side of the planet. Oh, and while you’re at it, consider switching your fridge for one that shows you what’s inside without having to open the door. Opening and closing refrigerators can waste a lot of power if you’re someone who can never find what they’re looking for!
  • Voice recognition, fingerprint activated locks and wearables that tell you when someone has entered your home by vibrating are all security features that we are going to see more of this year and beyond.
  • CO2 and gas alarms on your smart phone, as well as the alarm unit itself. Why wait to get home and discover a problem, when your home can let you know before there’s a major problem?
  • There’s even a system that can detect leaks and mold in the walls of your home, using your existing wiring as a sensor network. Talk about safe and secure homes! Not even fungus gets past the new technologies!
  • Baby monitors have gone high tech too, with wireless pan, tilt and zoom cameras replacing nanny cams and baby monitors, but if you do opt for this type of camera, make sure that you pay close attention to network security. After all, major online security companies have specifically identified cameras as a weak point for hackers.
  • Finally, there are a range of products designed to make sleep safer, from crib units that alert you when a toddler has escaped, to beds that track kids’ sleep patterns.

There’s no denying that the smart home offers unparalleled levels of electrical protection this year, and whether you’re looking to go high tech or just upgrade your home security system a little, it’s a good idea to talk to an electrician in South Florida about your plans. They can help you decide what’s possible with your existing wiring, or what changes need to be made.

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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.

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