Posts Tagged ‘power’

Generator Purchase Be Prepared – Sept. 2011

September 8, 2011

With the summer of 2011 winding down I thought what better time than now to touch base on the hottest topic in the trade. As we all know the recent storm damage from Irene left many people without power for hours if not days. Some may have prepared for this with having a portable/manual generator or others with a whole house/automatic generator both being great when your power has been knocked out. With the automatic start standby generator having the greatest benefit of not having to start manually and not having to refuel on a 3-4 hour basis. We had many requests before, during, and after the storm for providing or setting up a generator as you could expect.

You can read my blog post here for more information about generators themselves:

https://caronelectric.wordpress.com/2009/07/01/generators-dont-be-left-in-the-dark/

The 3 biggest questions you should ask yourself when you’re looking to add backup power to your home are the following:

1) What items in your home are vital to your needs. Some may answer this with the simple necessities like the fridge, stove, heat/ac, and one or two rooms would suffice. Others may have Critical Care equipment in the home or a home based business that at any point in time can not disrupted and in those instances the entire home may be required to be on the backup power. As with many homes in New England you may have a sump pump or well system that must be powered during an outage. Consider all of these things when reviewing your home. The amount of power you will need will directly affect the size of the generator that will be required. Prepare a list of your required equipment to be powered so the sizing can be done properly.

2) What fuel source do you expect to power the generator with? Your choices for standby/automatic start generators are either Natural Gas (preferred by most due to direct connection) or Propane (requires installation of a tank on site done by your fuel company) finally the last option used on most portable manual start generators is Gasoline. When the generator is tied into your existing natural gas connection its a hands free fuel source you will never have to worry about it running dry, if tied into a Propane tank you must check to assure your tank is full and ready if the generator is called upon. Lastly if gasoline is used you must go out every few hours and refill the generator tank to keep it operational. Know what fuel source you expect to use and if your prepared to have to manually start it or if you would prefer an automatic start hands free generator.

3) The cost of course and what is your budget? If you answered the 2 questions above first it will allow you to understand better what you should budget for the project. The more items you need powered the larger generator required to do so. The fuel source you decided will dictate what options are available and if you want to be responsible for fueling and starting the unit yourself. Obviously the portable manual start generators are going to be the cheapest route but come with the least amount of hands free operations and are usually sized smaller with less ability to run larger loads. The automatic standby generators come at a higher cost but the benefits of an automatic transfer within seconds of an outage with no need to manually refuel it is the best option for most.

At Caron Electric we provide the Kohler generator product line to our customers but we have the ability to wire and install any generator that a consumer is interested in using. We have found Kohler to be the best equipment on the market and we provide a full maintenance program as well as the companies Superior 5 year limited warranty to assure its proper operation when you need it. The question is not if you will need backup power for your home the question is when will you need it next. Be prepared and if Irene was not a reminder then remember back to the Ice Storms of last year when many were without power for a week and longer. I hope you have found this blog post useful and feel free to comment.

If you have any questions about generators or would like to have a free estimate provided for your home or business in MA feel free to reach out to 800.440.9940 or service@caronelectric.com

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Grounding; Knowledge for your Home or Business

July 15, 2009

Grounding; Knowledge for your Home or Business

     When speaking about proper grounding in the home or business we are referring to the capability of your system to carry a fault current back to the electrical panel where a fuse or breaker would trip, shutting off the power to that area. There is also the grounding from the main electrical panel to the cold water pipe and a ground rod that is driven outside of the home or business. Both of the above would require a site visit to assure they are done up to code, correct sizing of the wire is a must to assure proper grounding. Not having the proper grounding in your home or business could leave the site without protection from electric shock or fire. Damage to equipment, your home/business, or your person is much greater when proper grounding is not present.

     A few common things to look for to assure you’re properly protected with a grounding system in the home or business is the following…

 

3-prong outlets: Although a test should still be done to assure the grounding wire is connected and working properly; the presence of 3-prong outlets usually means the outlets are grounded. Any 2-prong outlet should be considered suspect. Never use a 2-prong to 3-prong adapter as this bypasses the necessary ground on the equipment. Any appliance or equipment with a 3-prong cord requires a proper ground to assure correct operation.

 

GFI/GFCI outlets: The presence of a ground fault circuit interrupter outlet is required in the following areas bathrooms, kitchens, garages and outdoor locations. Mainly any damp location requires a GFI/GFCI outlet not a standard outlet. The GFCI outlet has a small test and reset button located on the front of it. The GFCI outlet has an internal circuit that will shut off if it senses any current leakage or unequal incoming and outgoing currents. If you don’t see any outlets like this in the areas discussed it is highly recommended to update the system to include them. Electricity and water is a dangerous combination and without protection is a hazard waiting to happen.

GFCI breakers: The ground fault circuit interrupter breaker is essentially a GFI for an entire wiring circuit. The GFCI breaker is installed in the electrical panel. It monitors the amount of electric current going to and from the circuit itself. It will trip and shut off power to the entire circuit if any problem voltage/current is sensed. The presence of this style of breaker is normally a confirmation that the circuit is being properly grounded.

Surge Protectors are not grounding your equipment: Many people mistake the use of a surge protector as the grounding for your equipment. I have even seen surge protector strips being used in conjunction with a 2-prong to 3-prong adapter to plug it in. Although a point of use Surge Protector is a great thing to have you must still have the proper grounding on that line to properly protect the equipment. If using a point of use surge protector please verify the outlet it’s being plugged into is properly grounded. You can also get a whole house surge protector that would be installed directly at your electrical panel. We highly recommend these products but having one does not assure the grounding in the home is up to code.

 

     The simplest way to verify the condition of your current grounding system is to have a licensed, qualified electrician that is up to date with the local and state codes do an evaluation. Caron Electric provides this service as a free estimate to any consumer in our coverage area. Wiring in the home or business can always be updated to assure you have a proper working grounding system. You can contact us anytime at #800.440.9940 or service@caronelectric.com

Visit our website to read more about Caron Electric Inc. http://caronelectric.com/index.html