Thinking about buying a generator?

Thinking about buying a generator?

With all of the outages we’ve experienced lately, you may be considering purchasing a generator. There are a couple of things to consider before buying.

First of all, what do you plan on running? A small portable generator can handle the basics such as a refrigerator, microwave and a few lights. These generate about 3,000 – 4,000 watts and typically cost between $400 and $800. If you want to power a bit more, a 5,000 – 8,000 watt generator may be right for you. A generator that size will be able to handle everything a smaller generator can and some more items – such as a computer, portable heater, and more lighting. These typically cost about $500 – $1,000 for a portable generator. Go for a large portable and you can add on a small water heater, a/c, or similiar item that uses about 3,000 – 5,000 watts, giving you a total of about 10,000 watts to work with. Be prepared to pay $2,000 – $3,000. Larger stationary generators are also available if you would like the added power and are willing to pay the price, sometimes $10,000 or more.

Remember that generators can cause hazards, including carbon monoxide poisoning and electrocution, so be cautious in using them. Be sure that they are never used indoors or in an attached garage. These are just some tips – be sure to read up for safety information when dealing with generators.

Need some more help? Use this calculator to determine what size generator you need based upon your panel and what you would like to power. http://www.electricgeneratorsdirect.com/stories/46-How-to-Size-a-Home-Standby-Generator.html

How to Make Sure the Person You Hire is a Florida State Certified Electrical Contractor

Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation logoYou’re ready to start a new electrical project or need repairs in your home.  How do you know if the person you hire is in fact a Florida State Certified Electrical Contractor?

It’s quick and simple.  Visit the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulations at https://www.myfloridalicense.com/wl11.asp?mode=0&SID= and do a quick search.  Every State Certified Electrical Contractor will be able to provide you with a state contractor’s license number, which will begin with EC followed by 8 digits.  Just enter the license number or the person’s name to search.  If the person you are hiring is not able to provide you with a number to begin with, that is definitely a red flag.

Look for our article “Why I Should Hire a State Certified Contractor” to explore the benefits of doing so.

What Exactly Does a Surge Protector Do Anyway?

What Exactly Does a Surge Protector Do Anyway

Many believe that surge protectors are especially essential in Florida, the lightening capital of the world, particularly during hurricane season when the number and intensity of storms increases.  In fact, lightening a mile away can cause a surge.  That alone is a very valid reason to have a surge protector installed in your home. What many homeowners don’t realize however, is that surges are a daily occurrence anyway, with most homes experiencing up to 20 or 30 surges a day.  This can be due to work on power lines and other external factors unrelated to the weather.

So, what do surge protectors do anyway?  Surge protectors are installed directly into your main panel and do two main things.  First, they protect things that are hard-wired in your home, such as fans, outlets, and fixtures.  Many people automatically think about the risk to electronics, appliances, and technological devices, overlooking some of the most important items in your home which are greatly relied upon – like your fans and outlets.  The second thing that surge protectors do is lessen the intensity of the surge before it can get to things in your home, often to a level that things like your TV, computer, and appliances can handle.

There are many additional benefits to installing surge protectors.  You generally get about 30% more life out of your appliances when a surge protector is installed and you may even get a discount on your homeowner’s insurance.

Do beware – in most cases, a surge protector is a surge protector.  Some manufacturers will try to impress you with statistics and fancy jargon, but don’t be fooled into spending more on a product that is supposed to be the Superman of surge protectors.  If you’re being asked to spend $600 or $700 or even thousands of dollars on a single surge protector in your panel, don’t be fooled.  Do ask about the warranty however.  You can opt to add additional surge protectors for your a/c, phone lines, etc., which will up the price tag but may be worth it for you.  We will address that later.

When said and done, a small investment in a surge protector in your panel can save you thousands in damages and repairs down the road.

 

LEDs – The Next Big Thing?

LEDs are the next big thing – and it looks like they’re here to stay – for several reasons. First of all, they are amazingly energy efficient. While a traditional incandescent bulb may use 40 watts of electricity, an LED will use only 4 or 5. They also cost pennies on the dollar on your electric bill. The down side? They are more expensive than traditional bulbs as an initial investment,, but with the promise of lasting anywhere from 8 to 28 + years, you will certainly regain your losses. LEDs also come in several colors – a 2700 giving off a warm color and a 5000 producing a cool, blue color, great for task lighting or if you just prefer it, with other colors in between. They also don’t get hot believe it or not. So, when you do get ready to change it, assuming you outlast the bulb as promised, go ahead and reach for it. You’ll be safe.