As business owners, we all care about our health and the health of our employees. So, we invest in clean air products, water treatment products, and even healthy vending machines. We encourage physical activities and hire cleaning crews to keep allergens and dust to a minimum. But, what if one thing we’re missing is right above us - our office lights?
If you haven’t made the switch from traditional fluorescent lighting to LED lights in your office yet, you may want to consider it now to improve your health and the health of your employees.
LED lights to give off a whiter light than traditional compact fluorescent bulbs- resulting in less strain on your eyes when trying to read or focus. This is such a great benefit to reduce the strain your eyes already undergo during a day of staring at a computer monitor, spreadsheets or measurements. LED provides you with a clearer view of what you are looking at. Compact Fluorescent bulbs cast objects in a yellow glow, and light that is focused in one direction.
CFL light bulbs contain mercury - a highly toxic metal that poses serious health risks, while LED lights contain no such toxic chemicals or metals. Studies performed by the United States Department of Energy and scientists from Carnegie Mellon both found that LED lights are as efficient to manufacture as CFL lights and LEDs will become even more efficient in the future. With a market that’s rewarding businesses for going green by offering incentives for energy saving methods, LED lighting could benefit your business in more ways than one!
California is no stranger to fire danger, especially over the last few weeks. The state has seen its fair share of wildfires and so far this year alone, it’s been some of the most serious yet. Over a million acres have been affected, and 41 lives lost too date. Though the majority of the most recent wildfires spread out through California have been contained, some are still fighting and burning and causing excessive amounts of damage. Many cannot return to their homes, simply because it does not exist anymore. Those who are lucky enough to still have a place to come home to need to take some things into very serious consideration before living comfortably again; such as electrical systems in still-standing homes.
After an event like a wildfire, it is crucial to have your home inspected if you were in an affected area. These inspections will provide a peace of mind in knowing your home is safe or has the potential to be safe, rather than be kept guessing and hoping.
Fire can damage electrical wires very obviously and will cause additional fires inside the home if sparked. If a firefighter is present during the blaze and attempts to contain the fire, the water from the hoses will also damage any exposed electrical wiring. It is important to make sure all electricity is turned off, and appliances are unplugged before returning to the affected home.
Entirely new wiring might be a possibility after a wildfire. This will ensure that all of your wirings is up to date and code, plus it will be brand new. No issues or worries if there will be a short or spark due to the previous disasters. So if your home has been affected by the recent wildfires affecting all of us in California, please contact us for a complete whole home electrical inspection and we can give you recommendations on how to proceed with any electrical repairs in your home, making sure your family is safe and sound.
After a natural, or sometimes even manmade, disaster such as a wildfire it is smart to have a professional electrician assess the damages to your home. It could easily save your life one day.
Toilet paper isn’t often considered a very valuable asset given that most people prefer not to think about it much at all. Toilet paper is an entrepreneur’s dream because it is one of just a few raw materials with a negative cost. Treatment facilitiesactually pay per ton to get rid of it!
Scientists have proposed a two-step process for the conversion of toilet paper, taking it from an unwanted waste to a product that’s quite useful. For chemists actively researching the idea of using toilet paper as a resource for generating electricity, they hope to achieve the “ultimate waste recycling concept.”
Since the cellulose contained in toilet paper comes from trees, the electricity produced is renewable and offers a great opportunity for meeting society’s demand for renewable energy. Further, while most renewable resources often show discontinuous peaks (plant stems can be recycled, but only after the harvest; sunlight is only available in the daytime and depends on cloud cover, and wind supply is unpredictable) waste toilet paper, on the other hand, is a continuously available resource.
The proposed system’s capital costs are still relatively high (mainly due to the fuel cell investment costs), but are expected to decrease as the market for fuel cells develops. Researches expect the system could eventually become more competitive with a LCOE of about 11cents per kilowatt hour.
While the project team is currently undertaking the project in Amsterdam, they are excited about plans to take their concept abroad even speculating the first Waste Toilet Paper to Electricity plant being built in China.
If you’ve ever viewed a map of a satellite in orbit, you’ve seen all the lights that are visible to the naked eye. So, why does it appear there are only a few stars to see when you look up at a night sky? How many are really hidden by light pollution? More people are beginning to ask that question as the problem of light pollution increases. One solution to this problem is “dark sky friendly lighting.”
Dark sky friendly lighting prevents light from being cast above a light fixture to provide a distinct lighting pattern. This solution casts lighting only towards the ground where it is needed. Dark sky lighting uses only the light levels needed (without over-lighting) and avoids casting the light back into the atmosphere. Turning these lights off when not in use also contributes to lowering light pollution.
Non-dark sky friendly lighting fixtures cast light in every direction, including upwards. Over-lighting wastes energy confuses wildlife and disturbs breeding patterns by it’s twilight effect. Over-lighting also produces a dangerous, distracting and tiresome glare for drivers.
Dark sky friendly lighting is crucial to solving the light pollution problem that disrupts our ecosystems and threatens our ability to study and learn from astronomy. Wasted energy costs around $2.2 billion per year, in the US alone.
The fact is, the biggest danger of DIY Electrical work is the simple fact that electricity is deadly and when not handled properly, the consequences are irreversible.
A lot of DIY electrical home improvement projects are often done while you’re in a hurry and without a proper plan. Something as seemingly small and simple as forgetting to turn off the electrical breaker, using the wrong tools for the project or even just touching the wrong wire by accident can send extremely high voltage coursing through your body - at the least causing major burns and at worse causing heart attack and death.
A lot of people feel like because flipping a light switch on and off is so simple, that we forget how truly deadly and powerful electricity is. Most DIYers will simply experiment with the breaker, testing different electrical circuits until they see the lights turn off in the area they intend to work in and assume it’s safe to start working. This is a huge mistake because it is not always true that all outlets and fixtures in one area will be on the same circuit.
It is imperative to use a licensed electrician for your home’s electrical work. They will be well versed and licensed in all of the safety and building codes required to be sure the job is done safely and correctly. It is also very important to adhere to all safety and building codes should you ever intend on selling your home or having it inspected. DIY Electrical work can cause you to instantly fail an inspection, costing you a lot more money down the line to have the work repaired.
DIY Electrical work puts you and your family at the real risk of electrical fires, electrical shocks, injury or death that can be caused by even the tiniest mistake.
When it comes to Electrical work in your home, leave it to the experts at Myers Electric. Contact us today!
Wi-Fi thermostats are an exciting evolution of heating and cooling control for your home or office. This state of the art technology builds upon the basic options of temperature control, scheduling and digital interfaces that existing programmable thermostats include, but with a much wider variety of added features.
The new features include increased savings through energy efficiency and feedback, remote access to programming and adjusting, geofencing, and alerts. Once your Smart Thermostat is synced up with your Wi-Fi router, you have remote access from using your phone, tablet or computer from across the room or the world! The future of heating and cooling comfort is now - no matter where you are, your Wi-Fi thermostat keeps you connected to your home’s environment with control right in the palm of your hand.
Check out what this exciting new technology offers as outlined on SmartHome.Com
First and foremost, your thermostat should excel at controlling the temperature in your home.
Heating & Cooling Stages - Most homes only have a furnace and an AC unit. Some installations may have a more sophisticated setup that involves multiple heating or cooling stages based on the level of heat needed. Not all thermostats can control 2, 3 or more heating and cooling stages. Check your current thermostat and make sure you purchase one that is compatible with your heating and cooling system.
Temperature Swing - change in degrees that will turn the HVAC back on, the smaller the number, the more frequently it will come on, the larger the number, the more energy you will save.
Programmable Fan - if you use a whole house fan to cool your home this will be an important feature to consider.
Keypad Lock - a great feature if you want to prevent others from tampering with your settings.
Auto Changeover - allows the thermostat to automatically determine when to switch back and forth between heating and cooling.
If you're looking to decrease your carbon footprint - or simply your gas and electricity bills - some Wi-Fi thermostats are better than others. Various features help you conserve energy by only running your system when you are home or by learning your habits to automatically create a schedule.
Scheduling - classification of set points for 7 (same for each day), 5-2 (Monday-Friday & Saturday/Sunday), 5-1-1 (Monday-Friday & Saturday & Sunday), 1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1 (different each day).
Vacation Mode - the ability to quickly turn off all schedules when you are away from home or on vacation.
Automatic - if the thermostat learns and adapts to your use and automatically and turns on and off based on your use.
Feedback - ideal for monitoring energy usage and savings, some may even send you a text or email to let you know how you are doing.
Geofencing - will trigger your thermostat to turn your HVAC system on based on your GPS location (using your smartphone).
Target Temperature Time - a number of minutes of how long it will take your system to reach its target temperature.
A thermostat in a dark and deserted hallway can only monitor the temperature in that hallway. Some Wi-Fi thermostats can use additional sensors spread throughout your home to more accurately heat or cool your home.â
Zones - relatively new to Wi-FI thermostat, temperature sensors can be placed throughout your home to determine if the system should be on or offive.
Weather - because a Wi-Fi thermostat is connected to the Internet, it can use local weather conditions to determine operation automatically.
Humidity - for those wanting to maintain a specific humidity, a built-in or communicating humidity sensor can be used determine if the system should be on or off.
Motion - limits the use of your HVAC system to periods when motion has been detected (ideally to detect when someone is home).
Status Indicators - a built-in diagnostic tool to let you know if your system is running efficiently; often a new filter can make a big difference.
Design, Aesthetics, and Support
The overall look and feel of the device, ease of use and on the device, and the remote control functionality from smartphone, tablet or PC should also weigh heavily. HVAC systems can be complex - even if their end goal is simple - so you should also consider the support that a manufacturer provides as well if your initial setup doesn't go exactly as planned.
Looks - this product will sit on a wall, likely in clear view - do you want it to blend in or stand out?
Installation - can you install it yourself or does the product recommend a professional HVAC technician perform the installation?
Integration - does the product have a standalone app, does it work with other devices, or is it a part of a total home automation system?
Local Control - can you control everything you want directly on the thermostat and how easy obvious are the controls?
Mobile Application - do you want to be able to program everything from your app, or simply turn it on or off?
Support - What is the warranty, are there any online forums, email support, phone support, live chat?
Thinking of making the switch from gas to hybrid or electric? Well, we’ve scoured the internet to find the most in-depth coverage of each type of car, including their benefits and drawbacks. Read up on what the experts have to say at Autotrader:
Before we cover the advantages and drawbacks of EVs and plug-ins, it's important to understand the difference between the two vehicle types.
Plug-in hybrid cars are exactly what their name suggests: They're hybrid cars that can be plugged in. Examples include the Cadillac ELR, the Chevrolet Volt, and the Toyota Prius Plug-In. Mostly, plug-in cars use two different powertrains, both of which can drive the wheels.
There's an electric motor that lets drivers go a certain limited distance (often between 30 and 40 miles), and there's a normal gasoline engine that kicks in once the electric motor is depleted.
Electric vehicles, on the other hand, are fully electric, meaning they don't use any gasoline. Popular examples include the Ford Focus Electric, the Nissan Leaf and the Tesla Model S, among others. Because electric vehicles use electric power alone, there's no backup engine to help you out when the batteries run out of juice. But usually, they have more room for batteries since they don't have to make space for the gasoline engine. That means EVs offer a longer electric-only range than plug-in hybrids.
Electric Vehicles: Benefits and Drawbacks
Electric vehicles offer several advantages over plug-in hybrids. The main attraction is that electric vehicles help the environment more than plug-in hybrids since they don't use any fuel at all. That's a problem for shoppers looking to minimize their carbon footprint as much as possible.
Additionally, electric vehicles help drivers save more money than plug-in hybrids do since they don't use any fuel. They also offer a longer electric-only range than plug-in hybrids. That means drivers who want to cruise for as long as possible without using a drop of fuel will be better served with an EV than a plug-in.
Of course, there are some drawbacks to EVs. By far the largest is range: While a plug-in hybrid can usually travel 30 or 40 miles on fully electric power and an extra 200 to 300 miles on gasoline, most electric vehicles are limited to 60 to 70 miles of total range. That means drivers with a long commute, or those who routinely travel more than 60 to 70 miles without overnight stops, would be wise to consider a plug-in hybrid instead of an EV. An exception is the Tesla Model S, which can travel well over 150 miles between charges. The Model S still doesn't have the range of most plug-in hybrids, however, or the ability to refuel as quickly.
Plug-In Hybrids: Benefits and Drawbacks
Of course, plug-in hybrid cars also offer their advantages and disadvantages. The primary advantage is described above: range. While an electric car can only travel as far as its batteries allow, plug-in hybrids use gasoline engines in addition to their electric powertrains. The result is that plug-in drivers get the best of both worlds: electric-vehicle efficiency around town, and traditional car range for longer trips.
When it comes to disadvantages, the biggest drawback endured by plug-in hybrids is variety. There simply aren't many models to choose from, as most automakers have instead decided to offer fully electric vehicles instead. This is large because drivers interested in an electric car tend to want the full experience, using no fuel and benefiting the environment as much as possible. In fact, today's crop of plug-in hybrids is limited to just a few models (the Chevrolet Volt and Toyota Prius Plug-In are the most popular) compared to a larger offering for EVs.
Taxes and Other Savings
If your primary purpose for buying a new car with a fuel-efficient focus is gas-pump savings and tax rebates, don't worry: Both plug-in hybrids and EVs will benefit you. While plug-in hybrids still need to be filled with gas occasionally, fuel costs are still much lower than traditional cars. Moreover, federal income tax rebates apply to both plug-in hybrids and EVs, as do most state tax credits. Even states that allow alternative-fuel carpool use tend to allow both plug-in hybrids and EVs. In other words, you won't go wrong when choosing an EV or a plug-in hybrid; you'll just have to choose the one that works best for your situation.
The short, safest and most efficient answer to this question is yes. According to the national code, with relation to electrical panels in closets: NEC 240.24D Overcurrent devices shall not be located in the vicinity of easily ignitable materials, such as a clothes closet. However, there are a few issues to consider a bout the language of this code and how it applies to your specific situation.
A quick Google search on the issue brings up a widespread debate among the Electrician Community about what can be properly defined as the “vicinity” or what constitutes a “closet." Some electricians might suggest that a panel located on the opposite wall of a clothes closet is still within the “vicinity." Some electricians argue that the definition of a “clothes closet” (as described specifically in the code) can easily be changed by removing the clothing rod and making the closet a space that doesn’t store easily ignitable material.
The bottom line is your family’s safety. An experienced and professional electrician wants to give you an honest assessment of your situation. If you have an electrical panel in a closet used to store clothes, you’re already taking an enormous risk. If a loose connection occurs in your existing electrical panel, sparks, those simple sparks can easily ignite the clothes hanging in your closet, and in a matter of seconds, set fire to your entire home.
Cutting corners to save money when it comes to electricity could easily be the worst decision you’ve ever made - electrical accidents are responsible for more home fires than almost any other cause. Upgraded and properly located electrical panels bring you peace of mind about your family’s safety, lower your electric bill costs, and increase your home’s energy efficiency.
The benefits of making proper electrical decisions will always outweigh the convenience of taking the easy way out.
Regardless of our station in life, we are all looking for ways to increase our savings and decrease our stress when it comes to the daily running of our home.
More often than not, electricity bills are one of the largest bills we pay each month and even after cutting corners, we find that we cannot seem to get it small enough. The home battery solution is a newer and more convenient alternative. These home batteries are quickly becoming a solution that fits every home’s need for lower utility bills. Here are just a few reasons why:
Home Storage Batteries maximize consumption of your power In a traditional solar panel power setup, the solar panels on your roof, and your home are backed up to the grid - this means that if you are not producing enough energy from your solar panels, you will still have power fed to your home from the grid. Typically, if you make more power than you consume, you can sell the excess back to the grid for discounts or credits on your electric bill. However, sell-back fees have changed quite substantially over the years and continue to be subject to change. Residential battery storage lets you control and store all of your excess power. If you have a solar panel system that’s giving you more power than what you use, these batteries store the power for you instead of selling it back to the grid. The power from these batteries is then availed for inclement weather or low sun conditions.
Home Storage Batteries keep your home’s electricity resilient If you have solar panels, survival is possible until your solar power runs out and the grid takes over. However if the entire grid is down, you and your neighbors are left with no power at all. The home battery solution means as long as there is power left in your batteries you can continue using your home’s electricity at no cost.
Home Storage Batteries reduce your carbon footprint Removing your home from the grid and making it self-sufficient is one of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint. In the past, ‘going green’ was not a reliable way of living each day comfortably, especially concerning energy sources. Newer technologies like the battery backup system are both earth-friendly and dependable.
Home Storage Batteries dramatically save on your electricity costs A home battery system installed into your home’s solar power system means your electricity bills will either be non-existent or so much more affordable than they were, you will barely notice them. The cost savings you will discover in your utility bill will more than pay for the home battery system quite quickly, and you will save hundreds, even thousands of dollars every year on your electricity bills.
Home Storage Batteries are affordable to install Believe it or not, solar systems and home battery solutions are affordable to have installed in your home. There are government incentives to install a solar system, and the costs involved is outweighed by the amount of savings each year on your utility bills.
Two-prong outlets are not just inconvenient; they also pose a real safety hazard. The third prong on a plug is designed to give a fault path in the event of a short in the wire or device that is connected shorts out. Without a ground path, electrical shock or fire could occur. A metal light fixture, for example, could become energized on its exterior, making it dangerous to touch, and because there is no grounding, the breaker will not trip - a potentially deadly scenario.
The solution, however, is not just a quick replacement from a two-prong to a three prong receptacle. First off, if the wiring system is not properly grounded, then this “fix” is an illegal one. The simplest way to figure out if your wiring is properly grounded is to purchase a three-prong plug tester that will show "open ground."
In some cases, a home's wiring is grounded, yet three prong receptacles were not installed during construction because it was cheaper to install two-pronged receptacles. In other cases, there is no wire or proper grounding path. Improperly grounded wiring is not uncommon in houses built more than 50 or 60 years ago.
Most likely, your old two prong receptacle is so loose that plugs fall out of it, or it is brittle discolored and cracking - if any of these situations exist, the time to replace them is now. If you have discovered that you do not have the properly required grounding, GFI’s are the solution to protect the circuit. GFI’s can be used with breakers or receptacles. It is possible for a single GFI outlet to protect an entire circuit, but it is crucial that you hire an electrician to determine your exact circuit paths.
The reason GFI receptacles are both legal and advised is that they can detect trace levels of leakage current, and open the circuit even faster than the breaker. This reason is why GFI’s are required near sources of water (like the bathroom and kitchen), or outdoors.
An electrician will determine for you whether you can install standard plugs, or if you need a GFI. If you do need a GFI, your electrician will know how to wire it correctly, and in the right location.
Not only is solar power as an alternative energy source rapidly becoming the most popular way to power a home, but San Francisco Bay homeowners are also in one of the most prime locations to take the most advantage of it. California holds the record for the most solar power usage over every other state in the nation. Because of the area’s fantastic access to sun exposure, many solar energy customers enjoy the benefits of relying solely on solar rather than the traditional power grid.
In addition to location, there are many benefits to going solar in the San Francisco Bay area. These advantages include:
A relatively short payback period for solar investments.
Solar investments provide an Investment Rate Return of 10-20% that is more secure than the stock market and better than a savings investment.
After your solar energy pays for itself, it becomes practically free.
Not only does solar power save you significant money on your electric bill, but it could also eliminate it!
Solar energy fixes your costs of electricity; thus you’re shielded from ever increasing electricity rates that sometimes go up an average of 6.7% per year.
Solar energy is renewable, clean and sustainable, which makes it an environmentally friendly energy. Installing home and commercial solar panels help to protect our environment.
Solar energy does not generate pollutants that contribute to climate change and global warming, smog or acid rain.
Solar energy contributes to the local economy and job growth.
Solar power systems are expandable and adjustable - they can be added to or reduced when the need for more or less energy arises.
Although the upfront costs of a new solar power system are somewhat high, even with finance charges, your solar power system begins to save you money on your electricity bills on day one. Solar energy is a fantastic solution and environmentally friendly alternative energy that's an excellent idea for residents of San Francisco Bay and all Californians.
Energy Saver is the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) consumer resource on saving energy and using renewable energy technologies at home. This year, they have compiled a list of the most useful winter energy savings tips of 2016. Here are the top five:
Take Advantage of the Sun’s Natural Heat When you open the blinds or curtains on your south-facing windows during the day, you allow sunlight to heat your home naturally. Close them at night to reduce the chill from cold windows.
Keep Drafty Windows Covered Avoid being exposed to the chill brought in through drafty windows by purchasing and applying a heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet on a frame or tape clear plastic film to the inside of your window frames during the cold winter months. Install tight-fitting, insulating drapes or shades on windows that feel drafty after weatherizing.
Adjust your Thermostat Remember to wear layers so that while you’re home and awake, your heater’s temperature stays as low as is comfortable. Turn your thermostat back up ten to fifteen degrees while you’re asleep or away. This method alone can save you around ten percent on your heating bill. Programmable thermostats make it easier to set back your temperature at appropriate times.
Locate and Seal Leaks or Gaps Seal air leaks around utility cut-throughs for plumbing pipes, gaps around chimneys. Seal gaps around recessed lights in insulated ceilings, and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets.Add caulk or weatherstripping to seal air leaks around leaky doors and windows.
Service and Maintain Your Heating Systems Schedule regular service and maintenance appointments for your heating system.Find out what maintenance is required by you to keep your heating system operating efficiently. Replace your furnace filter once a month or as needed. Find out what maintenance is required to keep your furnace or boiler running properly. Wood- and Pellet-Burning Heaters: Clean the flue vent regularly and clean the inside of the appliance with a wire brush periodically to ensure that your home is heated efficiently.
If you or anyone you know was recently affected by Hurricane Matthew, we are glad you are safe, and we hope you and your friends and family caton restore your property quickly and smoothly.
These disasters are a poignant reminder that everything can change in the blink of an eye due to circumstances beyond our control. With the holiday’s coming up, it is with a heavy heart that we remind our customers that just like natural disasters, a house fire from faulty electricity can mean devastation. The good news is, that unlike natural disasters, with the proper planning and precautions electrical fires can be prevented.
This is the time of year when homeowners need to make certain that there are no fire hazards in their home. These hazards are primarily associated with putting up outdoor lights and Christmas decorations. Setting an appointment for an electrical safety inspection gives you the assurance that all of your wiring and electrical receptacles are good. Too often as electricians, we hear of families that had their Christmas tree and their house catch fire simply because there were too many items plugged into one outlet, using extension cords. Remember safety first: you can NEVER have too many electrical outlets.
With November and Thanksgiving coming up, there are few worse things than being in the middle of cooking and baking several different recipes and having a breaker trip. An electrical inspection will allow you to get your breakers properly checked and be fully prepared for all the festivities and excitement that's to come.
You and your family’s peace of mind is our number one priority this holiday season and throughout the year. We want you to have a safe and happy holiday season.
Kids are naturally curious and have a strong desire to explore the world around them. When it comes to electricity, however, seemingly innocent exploration can lead to highly dangerous consequences. While it’s important to teach children to respect electricity, it is also important for them to learn how to handle electrical situations responsibly.
Remind your children to:
Always, always, always stay away from power lines. Always assume they are "live and dangerous" and will cause serious, even fatal injuries.
Never climb any trees growing near power lines.
Never touch outdoor wires with your hands or any other part of your body or by using other objects.
Always keep flying kites, model airplanes, etc. in large open areas like fields and parks, outside of the danger of trees and overhead power lines. If a kite gets stuck in a tree that is growing near a power line, let it go - do not climbup to get it.
Never go into or near an electric substation for any reason. Electric substations contain extremely dangerous high-voltage equipment, which can kill you. Never attempt to rescue a pet that goes inside. Instead, call your local electric utility company.
One of the most significantly UNDER-reported issues facing the our country today is our crumbling infrastructure of roadways and bridges. Countless lives have been lost from automobile accidents or simply crossing the street. Not only that, but many roads are poorly lit where the drivers can't see very far ahead of them increasing the risk of an accident. How many lives have been lost because of icy roads or wet roads with poor drainage?
What if I told you there is already a road for the future that will solve almost all of those problems and create clean energy to power entire towns all while keeping electric cars fully charged as the drive? Sounds like science fiction right? It's becoming more of a reality everyday and may one day change the world.
Imagine a road that melts its own snow (no more salt/sand, no more contaminated runoff), lights itself (greatly reducing the need for streetlights, illuminated warning signs, etc.) and where repairing a pothole requires only a screwdriver. This road pays for itself in in just a matter of years and as you are driving on it is collecting energy from the Sun to power your home.
The answer to our dependence of fossil fuels and safer roads are solar powered road ways.
The idea was created when actual childhood sweet hearts, Scott and Julie Brusaw, were playing with toy cars on an electrical track as kids. As they grew up the wondered how they could apply that same kind of system in real life. In 2006 the couple envisioned replacing asphalt surfaces with structurally-engineered solar panels capable of withstanding heavy vehicular traffic.
These solar panels would have self sustaining LED lighting incorporated to signal traffic signs, warn of a person or animal crossing the road, alert drivers of traffic problems ahead and the list goes on. The solar panels can be quickly replaced by just one technician as well as melting ice and snow on the surface, eliminating the need for salt on winter roads. They also envisioned charging electric and hybrid vehicles as they are on the road as well as using the electricity collected to power the town around them.
After building a solar parking lot to test the new technology the public were amazed at the potential and a crowdfunding campaign was start in 2014. So far they have raised raised 2.2 million dollars which passed their goal of 1 million. Solar Roadways could be the road that takes us into a future of clean practical energy to make the world a better place.
To learn how cool solar roadways are watch this video.
True to its name, a whole house fan can significantly reduce the temperature in your entire home. However, the make and model of the fan must be suitable to the size of your home in order to be effective.
Typically installed in the ceiling of the upper level of your home, connected to the attic, a whole house fan needs to be centrally located, installed air tight and have access to proper ventilation to provide the most efficient operation. There are several benefits to using a whole house fan for your home, compared to a central air conditioning system and the following are just a few:
Speedier Operation Whole house fans work by drawing hot air from your entire home, up into the attic and then outside through ridge or gable vents. In turn, empty space is filled with fresh, cool air from outside. Compared to your central air conditioning, a whole house fan works much quicker, and you’ll feel the air cooling effects within minutes.
Lower Operating Costs During daily operation, a whole house fan costs you around 10–25% of the money your central air conditioner costs you to run. It is much more affordable and will save you hundreds of dollars on your energy bill every summer. After one summer of operation, your whole house fan will pay for itself.
Affordability For half the price of a window air conditioning unit, you can purchase a whole house fan. At 10 times less expensive than your central air conditioning unit, it makes perfect sense to own one.
Cleaner Air Instead of recirculating your home’s air the way your central air conditioner does, a whole house fan is drawing in fresh air and then letting it out of the house, leaving the air inside your home healthier and easier to breathe. This helps eliminate and prevent odors and allergens and provides superior ventilation.
Quieter Operation Unlike the loud rumbling emitted by your central air conditioning unit, newer models of whole house fans operate quietly, and without disturbing the silence. With a whole house fan, even as a light sleeper, you won’t be interrupted by the sudden kicking on and off of a thermostat.
For more information, visit our page with detailed information about Whole House Fans.
For a period of time from the late 1880s to the late 1930s, the most common design used in the electrical wiring of our homes and commercial property was called Knob and Tube wiring, also known as K&T Wiring. And this type of wiring is VERY common throughout the East Bay Area. With modern advances in electrical wiring, there are much safer and more efficient methods for electrical wiring and many benefits to upgrading or completely removing and replacing the knob and tube wiring in our homes and commercial properties.
One of the most common issues with Knob and Tube wiring is that the insulation material used to construct the outer casing is made from rubber which breaks down and degrades over time. What this means for buildings with Knob and Tube wiring is that over time, the wiring becomes more dangerous as the rubber begins to break down and expose bare, live electrical wires to moisture and air. With replacement to more modern wiring systems, the insulation material used is durable plastic - providing protection that lasts.
While the complete upgrade or replacement of Knob and Tube wiring is an investment, the benefits are well worth it. The safety the upgrade or replacement provides far outweighs the cost and tragedy of a home fire or electrocution and will also most likely make you eligible for a significant reduction in your home insurance premium.
Improve your electric’s efficiency and the safety and protection of your home and family by contacting Got Watts Electric today to discuss the upgrade or replacement of your home’s Knob and Tube wiring.
As simple as positioning your car above a plug-less charging pad, electric car charging just got a whole lot easier.
Once, only thought of as a concept before being integrated into plugless car charging stations, plugless charging is now available to be installed in your very own garage and requires virtually no effort on your part outside of giving your electrician a call.
With a plugless car charger, your vehicle will operate exactly as it always has, with no interference or effect on your car’s native systems, software or apps. You won’t have to exchange it for your existing charging system, allowing you to continue to charge at plugging stations, and your car will charge just as quickly as it does with an L2 system – only charging becomes wireless.
When you visit an authorized plugless installer, your plugless adapter is installed in your vehicle at no charge to you and electrical installation requirements for your home can be met simply by a call to your electrician.
Your electrician must perform the hardwire installation of the plugless system in your garage, and your plugless system comes with the necessary hardwiring equipment to allow your electrician ease of access for a quick and seamless installation.
When you contact the expert electricians at Got Watts Electric™, we will examine your existing electrical system and discuss where you plan to install your plugless system. We will perform all required electrical work needed to prep and mount the control panel to your wall, connect the control panel to your home’s wiring, position the parking pad exactly where you need it in your parking area and configure the plugless system to recognize your vehicle.
Although it may seem they are just somewhat larger than an average light bulb, the light fixtures at the top of parking lot light poles and those that line city streets are a whole lot larger and heavier than most people imagine.
This creates a plethora of issues when one of these lights goes out. First, how does someone safely reach that high of a level to change the bulb when it has burned out? Then there is a giant issue of simply getting the bulbs up to where they can change them and getting them properly connected considering their size and weight.
No matter what, it’s a job that has to be done because parking lot lighting is necessary for both safety and convenience and proper lighting in outdoor spaces is necessary to help avoid accidents and criminal activity from taking place. Poorly lit parking lots can strap a property owner with hefty liability and negligent charges should damages occur.
Thankfully, the professionals at Gott Watts Electric have new and improved Boom Lift Trucks!
Electrical crews require a safe and secure method of reaching the replacement bulb as well as having the ability to maneuver themselves and the equipment close enough to the pole to change out the old bulb and install the new one. A boom lift truck makes the most sense for the job.
Boom Lift Trucks are great for changing out parking lot lighting, street lighting, signage, and anything placed at a level that needs to be reached safely and have the job done correctly.
An important part of keeping your home maintained and safe is knowing what to look for when it comes to updating your electrical outlets. Since 2008, National Electrical Code requires that new and renovated dwellings have tamper-resistant receptacles, or TRRs. Designed to prevent children from inserting objects into outlets, TRRs have spring-loaded shutters that close off the receptacles’ contact openings (slots). When a plug is inserted straight into the receptacle, both springs are compressed and the shutters open. But, if someone attempts to insert an object into only one opening, the shutters do not open and there is no contact with electricity. source
But if your home was built or renovated since 2008, you may not know what lies behind the outlets in your home. Discolored, buzzed or charred outlets are a sign that a dangerous electrical fire could occur. Loose wires behind the outlet can lead to an electrical arc that can burn up as far as 1500 to 1800 degrees.
Look for the following important clues to determine if it’s time to update your electrical outlets:
brownish or blackish looking discolored outlets or sockets
the smell of smoke or of burning
sockets that are loose and / or won’t hold a plug
sparks when something is plugged or unplugged
lights that frequently flicker or stop working unexplainably
a circuit breaker that trips frequently
A professional electrician knows these are dangerous signs and knows immediately what to do with them. Pulling the plug or turning an electrical item off will not stop a fire that’s already starting.
According to the NOAA (National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration), this year’s El Nino is one of the strongest ones on record. It has not only suppressed hurricanes in the Atlantic, but has also increased temperatures, warming up North America to record heat temperatures.
The El Nino is predicted to reach its peak in December 2015 and then gradually fade late in the Spring or early Summer of 2016. On the bright side, a warmer winter means most people will benefit from lower heating bills.
The reason behind the effect of El Nino is that nearly a third of all homes in the United States use electricity to heat their homes. Lower demand on the electrical grid from heating means electric rates stay relatively tame. Even better, since about half of homes use natural gas for heating, reduced demand on gas will lower winter natural gas prices and electricity - resulting in a lower energy bill.
But there’s some negatives as well…namely some wacky weather. It’s already started here. After years of scare rain, California has been experiencing almost a constant heavy rain. While this is great for helping us recover from years of drought, flooding, mudslides and potentially strong storms are a major concern.
And a big concern you might not be thinking of is your home’s electricity. We rely on electricity to make our live easier but how can we live without it for a few days? Are you prepared to be without power if a storm hits?
The best way to be prepared is to stock up! Stock up on food that can be made without any electricity and lots of water. Canned goods, soups and good ole PB&J are great for emergencies. Make sure to have enough food to last a few days for family members and pets. Don't forget a manual can opener.
Always have extra batteries, flashlights, first aid kits and basic essentials in stock in case of a power outages. Try to have battery operated appliances available such as radios, heaters, fans and anything else you may need, especially medical equipment.
Have a plan to live without technology for a while. Learn how to use things manually, like the garage door opener. Have supplies ready for a gas or charcoal grill and grill out one day to avoid meat spoiling. Cell phones may still work so keep car chargers handy and charge phones in the car. Think old school to get you through.
But the single best way to be prepared for a power outage is not to have one. Consider purchasing a generator to fall back on when the lights go out. Contact the experts at Got Watts Electric to find out more.
Cold weather brings so many good things with it. From cozy, warm sweaters to snuggling up next to a warm fire, the colder weather is a lot of people’s favorite time of year. But what about that pesky static electricity? You know the stuff. You get out of your warm car and bam! You’re shocked by the car door, or you walk across the room to give your aunt Betsy a hug and you shock each other, or the sweater pulled over your head makes your hair stand on end.
So what can you do to lower your run-ins with that pesky irritation that comes along with those crisp cool days?
One solution is to increase the humidity in your house. Some people do something as simple as boiling a large pot of water on the stove so that the steam fills up the house, or you could purchase a humidifier to reduce the frequency and severity of the shocks.
Try switching to clothes with natural fibers. Synthetic fibers pick up more of a static charge and act as a conductor for electricity within your body.
If the static electricity in your life is at a serious level - such as in a job in an electronics or manufacturing industry, you can purchase special shoes that prevent electric shock - especially in colder climates.
One surprising way to prevent static shock from occurring is to wear a thimble on your thumb, or carry a coin. This prevents you from feeling the pain from the shock, although the shock is still occurring.
For static shock control in work areas, stand on rubber mats, or wear anti-static wrist bands.
For these and other winter safety tips, contact the professionals at Got Watts Electric, the East Bay’s Premier Electrician today.
In order to understand how an electrician’s typical day goes, it’s important to know the differences between types of electricians. There are electricians who have completed trade school in both installation and maintenance, but more commonly an electrician specializes in either one or the other.
These guys typically start out their day very early, waking up and driving to the location of a construction site. Usually when the construction of a building is about halfway done, the installation electrician is called upon to wire the building. The installation electrician will follow the building’s blueprints and determine where the circuits and outlets will be located. They are also responsible for ensuring that the blueprints are within the local regional electrical codes as well as the National Electrical code.
Once the blueprints have been assessed, installation work begins using tools like hacksaws, conduit benders, drills and wire strippers. After the installation is complete, the electrician goes over and reviews all of the work he has done with the construction superintendent, packs up his bag and moves on to the next job. Jobs like these sometimes take several days to complete and others can be finished in a day.
Installation electricians also perform jobs for homeowners who need projects completed like installing updated wiring or lighting, ceiling fans, and even home theaters. Like the construction site jobs, the jobs for homeowners begin with the electrician assessing the project, providing an estimate, completing the work, reviewing it with the homeowner and moving on to the next job on his list.
Unexpected surprises are the usual theme of a maintenance electricians day. He may start off with a list of appointments and then get bombarded with emergency calls. He spends his day replacing circuit breakers, fuses, outlets and switches. If the maintenance electrician is employed solely by one factory, he must have the knowledge and ability to repair and maintain specific machinery, motors, and even robots.
Whether he’s an installation electrician or maintenance electrician, an electrician never has the same day twice.
In our homes today, appliance timers are proving useful for saving power by automatically turning off and on appliances when we need them. We use the timers to control anything from lighting, sprinklers, water heaters and coffee makers.
Here are various types of appliance timers available on the market today to provide you with Energy cost savings:
Timers that use a standard 120V outlet are convenient for having coffee ready when you wake up in the morning, then turned off around the time you’re ready to leave for work. The same type of automatic timer is used to turn lamps or lighting on and off.
Wall-mounted automatic timers - these timers take the place of your traditional light switch. You can find them to include motion sensors that provide you with light that senses your movement, hands free, no matter what time of day or night it is. These are available in indoor or outdoor models.
More complex / programmable automatic timers - these can be used to turn on a variety of appliances like lights, fans, or a heater at the exact time you want and to shut off exactly when you want. You can even set different times for different days of the week. These automatic timers are available in both mechanical and digital models.
Sprinkler timers - whether electronic, battery operated, or mechanical, sprinkler timers all serve the purpose of turning on the water to wet your lawn and garden for a specified amount of time on the days you tell it to water.
Cost Savings - The money you can save in power and water is significant when you use automatic timers. The savings will of course vary from one person to another depending on your habits and the cost of the timers you purchase.
Contact Got Watts Electric today for more advice on purchasing, installing and properly using automatic timers to your best advantage.
As a homeowner or renter, keeping a close eye on what your electrical system is telling you is crucial to the safety of your home and family. Several internal issues could be lurking in your home that require immediate attention and if they are continually ignored, serious problems could occur.
The majority of electrical related home fires and devastation are caused by faulty electrical wiring. Most of the time you cannot see the electrical wiring behind the walls of your home, so fixing these issues can become a huge challenge.
If you notice any of the following signs, contact your electrician immediately for an electrical inspection and repair:
Frequent Circuit Breaker Trips – If your circuit breaker frequently trips, it is a sign that the circuit breaker is either overloaded or there is an issue with your circuit breaker’s wiring. Frequent circuit breaker trips could also indicate an electrical appliance that is connected to the circuit is faulty and this needs to be addressed.
Dimming House Lights – If during the course of the day your lights are dimming spontaneously without external factors like an oncoming storm or strong winds, this could be a warning sign that your house lights have faulty wiring or their circuit is overloaded.
Flickering House Lights – Like dimming house lights, flickering house lights outside the presence of a storm or strong winds are another warning sign that there are issues with the wiring in your home. Flickering lights can be caused by damage to the wiring leading up to the lighting fixture or within the lighting fixture itself. Flickering lights are also a sign that your electrical system may be overworked or outdated.
Buzzing sounds from Electrical Outlets – If you are hearing a slight buzzing noise from any of the switches or electrical outlets in your home, it is a warning sign that there is a problem with loose wiring in the outlet box or a problem with the device itself. Another tell-tale sign of an issue with wiring in switches and outlets is faces of the outlets or switches that are warm or even hot when you touch them.
Smell of Burning Plastic – Even if the smell is very faint, if there is a scent of burning plastic anywhere in your house, this is immediate cause to shut off the breaker and call an electrician right away. This could indicate melting wires or the start of very dangerous electrical fires.
At Got Watts Electric, the safety and security of our customers is our number one concern. If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms or other issues that cause you concern, do not hesitate to contact us today.
From the late 1880s to the late 1930s, the most common method used in the electrical wiring in our homes was called Knob and Tube Wiring (also known as K&T Wiring). With modern advances in electrical wiring, there are much safer and more efficient methods for electrical wiring and many benefits to upgrading or completely removing and replacing the knob and tube wiring in our homes.
One of the most common issues with Knob and Tube wiring is that the insulation material used to construct the outer casing is made from rubber which breaks down and degrades over time. What this means for homes with Knob and Tube wiring is that over time, the wiring becomes more dangerous as the rubber breaks down and exposes bare, live wires to moisture and air. With replacement to more modern wiring systems, the insulation material used is durable plastic - providing protection that lasts.
While the complete upgrade or replacement of Knob and Tube wiring is an investment, the benefits are well worth it. The safety the upgrade or replacement provides far outweighs the cost and tragedy of a home fire or electrocution and will also most likely make you eligible for a significant reduction in your home insurance premium.
Improve your electric’s efficiency and the safety and protection of your home and family by contacting Got Watts Electric today to discuss the upgrade or replacement of your home’s Knob and Tube wiring.
As with anything new, there are opposing sides offering ways to talk you out of the idea. Electric Cars are no different. With information gathered from sierraclub.org (an environmental information resource) Here are 5 common myths about electrical cars debunked to help you make a more informed decision:
Gas prices will kill sales of electrical / hybrid cars When it comes to electric cars, conventional wisdom states that sales will inevitably decrease side gas prices. After all, the argument goes, if buyers can't expect to save as much by cutting fuel costs, they'll be less inclined to buy a plug-in, right? Wrong. Gas prices appear to have no correlation whatsoever to U.S. sales of plug-in hybrid and battery-electric vehicles. While the price of gas fluctuates depending on economic factors, electric cars stay an economical purchase and therefore are not affected by gas prices.
Plug-in vehicles are unsafe, and their batteries will fail in only a couple of years. As for safety, automakers have largely received good crash-safety ratings for the electric cars that have been tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). As for battery durability, every manufacturer warranties its battery pack against failure for either eight or 10 years, depending on what state the car is sold in.
Electric car batteries pose a recycling problem. Internal combustion engine vehicles use lead-acid batteries, and their recycle rate is about 98% in the US. The newer batteries for electric vehicles, such as those made of lithium-ion, include even more valuable and recyclable metals and will have a life well beyond the vehicle. In fact, a Belgian company plans to use Tesla Motor's electric vehicle battery pack material to produce an alloy it can further refine into cobalt, nickel, and other valuable metals as well as special grades of concrete. Technology will soon allow for EV batteries to store energy produced by solar or wind power.
My electricity bill will go way up. While you'll spend more on electricity for the electric car, the savings on gas will more than cover it. If you drive a pure battery electric vehicle 15,000 miles a year at current electricity rates (assuming $.12 per kilowatt hour though rates vary throughout the country), you'll pay about $500 per year for the electricity to charge your battery, but you'll save about $1900 in gas (assuming $3.54 per gallon, a 28 miles per gallon vehicle, and 15,000 miles driven). So $1900 minus $500 equals $1400 in savings - a 74% reduction in fueling costs. Some utilities are offering EV owners lower off-peak/nighttime rates. The more we successfully advocate for these off-peak incentives, the lower your electricity payments will go.
Electric vehicles are much more expensive than traditional vehicles. While the initial sticker price of EVs is higher than traditional vehicles, you need to do the math to account for a variety of factors. For individual consumers, there is currently a federal tax credit of up to $7,500 for the purchase of an electric vehicle, as well as a partial federal credit for the charging unit.
Several states have additional tax credits on top of the federal ones. Additionally, the average plug-in vehicle driver will save between $700 and $1600 a year in fuel (the cost of electricity compared to gasoline). Due to a cleaner, more streamlined system under the hood, an EV may save the average driver about 46% in annual maintenance costs, according to one federal government study.
At Got Watts Electric, we spend a lot of time helping our East Bay Area clients find out if they have indeed hired a good electrician. Since it takes one to know one, we feel comfortable giving you plenty of advice in this area. Based on some amazingly bad craftsmanship that we have witnessed by “professionals” who shall remain nameless – we also wanted to take some time to point out what identifies the bad electricians.
Unprofessional demeanor. Everyone has a bad day, but in the service industries you cannot afford to bring a bad attitude to work. An unprofessional electrician is one who may cut corners, disrespect the client and fudge the numbers to get paid for work not done. Look for an argumentative electrician who loses his cool when the client asks questions or a rude technician who rolls his eyes when presented with a challenge.
Unprofessional appearance. Does the electrician wear a uniform? If not, is the shirt he wears clean and pressed? If he shows up in a shirt that looks like something he rolled out of bed in – and may display an inappropriate slogan from some heavy metal band – you know that taking pride in appearance is not one of this “professional’s” strong suits. What do you think this says about his craftsmanship?
Improper preparation. Lousy electricians – and contractors in general – waste your time by making frequent trips to the shop to pick up the odds and ends of the trade. A job that should only take about two hours now eats up four or five hours of your time. Why? The hallmark of a good electrician is his arrival in a well-stocked van that contains everything necessary to get the job done.
Unreliable scheduling. Speaking of respecting your time, if your electrician makes a 10 a.m. appointment and you are still sitting there at noon without a professional hard at work, you have found someone who is unreliable. While traffic jams can happen in the East Bay Area, a reliable professional will contact you as soon as it becomes clear he's running late. He will ask if it is convenient that he arrives a little later and will have the office call you to reschedule the appointment if you do not have additional time on that day.
Faulty craftsmanship. This is the biggest red flag of a lousy technician. Although he has the training and knowledge to do a job according to code, he chooses to cut corners and puts together a wiring job that is faulty. Homeowners may not always be able to pinpoint exactly what the problems are, but a shoddy job site with live wires left unprotected is a good hint. Neat electricians rarely commit code violations.
At Got Watts Electric, we are committed to a standard of excellence. We service all of your electrical needs in a professional and customer driven manner and your satisfaction is always our goal.
There was a time that outlet covers were just boring pieces of plastic that hid the metal housing and wiring of your outlets. Sometimes you could even find some ornate wooden covers or maybe even one with your favorite sports team’s logo emblazoned on it.
But one thing electrical outlet covers have never been known for was providing any sort of useful function other than decoration. With advancements in electrical technology, all that is changing! A simple thing like an outlet cover now has a purpose…an automatic, forever there, light!
Whether you want to call it a nightlight, accent light or guidelight…tiny LEDs have made it possible to put the lights directly into the covers, and have them draw their power (and very little power at that) directly from the outlet itself. Even better still, they are “light controlled”, so as the room darkens, the light comes on automatically. And since the light is built into the underside of the cover, both your outlets remain open for you to have access. There’s almost no reason at all why every outlet in every bathroom, hallway, kitchen or foyer shouldn’t have the soft glow of illumination coming from the outlets.
You have a lurking danger in your home, something you may not even think about. Almost everything in your home runs off of electricity, from your cell phone charger to your refrigerator. Without these items, how would you live your everyday life? Electricity is a blessing in the modern day home, however, it's also a large hazard if you're home isn't properly protected! Some of the most common hazards are also some of the most easily prevented!
1) Water presence
This is such a no brainier, but also very overlooked. Your bathroom most likely has a GFCI outlet, which is fantastic, but bathrooms are not the only place where water could possibly cause electrocution. In the kitchen, in the garage, and any outlet that could be close to a wet floor; all of these should be GFCI outlets as a precaution.
2) Extension cords
Extension cords are handy when you can't reach an outlet, however they should never be used as a permanent solution. In fact, when used improperly, extension cords can cause shock hazards. Cheaply made extension cords can cause fire hazards as well! The best thing to do is install another outlet.
3) Exposed outlets
Do you have children in your home? If so, investing a few dollars in outlet covers may be the best money you spend all month! Putting plug covers over unused outlets prevents small objects from being jammed into your outlets.
4) Leaving appliances plugged in
Sure, you use your toaster every day, or your microwave. But the majority of appliances need to be unplugged after every use. This includes hair dryers, and cell phone chargers. Though they may not use much electricity, they do have current flowing through them. These currents mean that electrical fires are possible.
5) Using high wattage bulbs
Using a 100-watt bulb in a lamp that calls for a 60-watt bulb may seem harmless, but in fact it can cause a large electrical hazard, by melting wires and possibly starting an electrical fire! Always be sure to use the correct wattage.
These are just a few of the most common electrical hazards that we hear of on a daily basis…but there are more. Is your home safe? Call Got Watts Electric today for a complete whole home electrical safety inspection.