Electrical Technology Of Our Time:CFL’s

CFL, incandescent bulbs, LED’s, halogen, all lamp technology of our time.  So how do you choose which one is right for your home? 

CFL’s are all the rage these days. A CFL is a compact florescent light that replaces your incandescent bulb.  It is designed to save you money on your light bill. By 2012, all incandescent bulbs must be replaced with a more efficient bulb.

What is a CFL?  A CFL is . . .

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Save Money While On Vacation

Leaving for vacation soon?  Do you prepare your home?  Once the suitcases are packed, here are some tips to help save you money while you are on vacation.

First, unplug you computer completely, including monitor, printer, and PC unit.I also recommend you unplug your TV and all electrical equipment.  Your TV draws electricity even when it is off:  so it is better to unplug it completely.

Second, clean out all food from your refrigerator.  You can start this a few days ahead of time.  If you are gone more than a weekend and you loose power, your refrigerator may not smell so good.

Third, if you are leaving during the hot summer months, turn your air conditioning thermostat up to 78 degrees.  Don’t turn it off completely.  You want it to circulate air to keep mold from growing.  When returning from your vacation, simply turn it back to your usual setting.

When you leave, save money by designing your home efficiently.  It will save you money while you are lying on the beach.  What do you do to save money in your home while on vacation?

An Electrical Situation: Dangerous

A loose connection can cause drastic energy loss.  You can have loose connections in receptacles, panel boxes, or terminations.

I have come to recognize the problem.  A customer calls and says she doesn’t have air conditioning, or half her house power is out and she doesn’t know why.  What happened?  Most likely,there is a loose lug in her electrical panel, her main panel.  This can happen due to heat from the energy transfer called current.  I have been called out to this situation on more than one occasion.

A panel board buss,where a breaker is attached in the panel, is a new type of panel.  Over time you can loose connections there due to overloading each individual breaker.  Some breakers are made from aluminum and some are made from copper.  Copper is better.  Breakers are snapped in and they loose spring tension over time because of heat.  Mostly because they were installed on a circuit that was overloaded and improperly installed.  For instance, a refrigerator uses between 600 to 800 watts which combined with other circuits could overload or make the circuit overloaded.  So a dedicated circuit should be run for the refrigerator.

Sometimes the loose lugs can cause a panel to burn.  That is a dangerous situation that needs immediate attention by a licensed electrical professional.  I am not trying to scare you but it is a serious situation.  If half your house looses power for no apparent reason, call an electrician immediately.

Has this happened to you?

Sizing Your Generator

I had a customer call me about coming out to her place of business.  She wanted a generator for her business.  She said she wanted a generator that was "8 foot tall and 20 foot long."  I asked her to repeat want she wanted again.  And again she said, "I want a generator 8 foot tall and 20 foot long." I stopped myself from asking any more questions.  I got her address  and said I would be out to examine her site the next day.

Sizing your generator for your home or business does not go according to the physical size of a generator.  A generator is sized according to what the load is at your home or business.  Load means the amount of power used at any giving time.  The power used is not necessarily the total power you have coming in to your home or business.  Most people have 200 amp services in their homes.  Business can vary between 200 to 800 amps and up.  Usually, I size these generators according to what your maximum air conditioning load is.  I take in accordance your lock rotor amperages on the air conditioning.  Lock rotor amperages run a lot higher than runing amps.  It takes a lot more power to start an air conditioner than it does to run it.

The size of the generator is calculated according to what you have to use in an emergency situation.  For instance, water heater (if electric) electric stove, water wells, all these things have to be taken into consideration.  Most people don’t use all these appliances in an emergency situation.  So, take my advice and hire a professional to calculate a generator size that is good for your home or business.  You may need a smaller size generator, one smaller than 8 foot tall and 20 foot long.

Have you bought a generator recently?  Who sized it for your?

What is A Power Inverter?

What is an inverter?  An inverter is electronic equipment using and changing DC electric to AC electric.   This means in normal terms that if you had a car battery which is 12 volts, that is considered DC electric.  Standardly what you use in your home is AC current.  An inverter in changing that DC electricity into house hold use electricity.  For instance, DC 12 to AC 120 volts.

Inverters can be used to run almost any size equipment in your home, depending upon the input of DC input.  Inverters are generally used with solar systems where DC is inverted to AC.  In some cases, I have seen inverters used in construction when AC was needed on a job and none was available.  Clamp on inverters can be jumped off your batter system can give you AC power depending upon the size of the inverter according as to how much power.  Sizing is important part of getting the right amount of AC power.

An inverter is another way to generate electricity but it has to have a source of power.  For instance, a battery is a source of power but batteries won’t last forever.  Batteries are judged according to amp hours used.  Inverters has wattages according to their size.  That tells you how much AC you can get out of an inverter.

Does an inverter or a generator suit your needs?

High Energy: Lightning Strikes

I had a customer call me about her power in her home after a storm.  She complained of her electronics not working, no TV, no radio.

Lightning can travel through the circuitry in your house.  It can blow all your electronics – motors, controllers, pumps;  all electronics.  Lightning is very hard to control.  It is said that for every thousand volts of lightning, it can jump an inch.  For example, it you have 6000 volts of lightning, it can jump 6 inches, or 12000 volts can jump 12 inches.  Usually the volts is much higher than that, usually into the millions.

Lightning can happen anywhere.  Sometimes no equipment can be saved.  A strike can be dirverted through antennas that are directed to specific groundings that are located on all corners of your home.  Nothing can stop a lightning strike.  The best way is to divert.

Lightning suppressors help with thousands of volts and surges through an electrical system.  But sometimes these surges can not be avoided because of the distance that lightning can jump.  I have personally seen lightning strike one area and jump 6-10 feet to another area, the path of least resistance.

I recommend surge suppressors on each of your electronics.  Most look like a strip: some come with your appliances.  What do you do to avoid a lightning strike?