Friday, October 30, 2009

Top Causes of Home Electrical Fires

When was the last time you had to reset a circuit breaker in your house? Is your home more than twenty years old? Have you recently bought a home? Are you planning to purchase a major appliance? Now may be a good time to upgrade your home electrical system!

For homeowners, it's not just a matter of convenience-there are significant safety issues. According to the United States Fire Administration (USFA), each year home electrical fires claim the lives of 485 Americans and injure 2,305 more. Home electrical problems account for 67,800 fires and $868 million in property losses.

Fires can be caused by electrical system failures, appliance defects, incorrectly installed wiring, misuse and poor maintenance of electrical appliances, and overloaded circuits and extension cords.

Top Causes of Home Electrical Fires

1. Inadequate electrical capacity. Today's homes have an increasing number of devices that consume electricity including clothes dryers, water heaters, electric ranges and ovens, frost-free refrigerators, dishwashers, even media centers. In warm climates, air conditioning is a major power drain.

As you add appliances to your home, the power supply may become inadequate. Anytime you add a major appliance you should have your electrical system checked by a qualified professional. Don't ignore warning signs like fuses or circuit breakers tripping or lights dimming!

Here are the primary causes of inadequate power in your home:

• Overloaded circuits
• Limited service panel capacity
• Insufficient number of outlets
• Overtaxed transformer
• Inadequate feeder lines

Adding receptacles (or even worse, using extension cords) does not increase the available power. If you find that you are plugging in multiple appliances into one outlet, you need to increase the power supply directly from the distribution panel.

2. Obsolete equipment or electrical systems. Thirty years ago, domestic power use was much less, even in warm climates. The average new home required 60-amp electrical service, which was connected to a screw-in fuse panel with two fuse blocks.

Ten years later the average home required 100-amp electrical service and circuit breakers had become standard equipment.

Today, the average new home is equipped with 200-amp electrical service and a distribution panel handling up to 40 fifteen-amp circuit breakers. The kitchen may be equipped with receptacles capable of supplying more than 60 amps to the countertop appliances alone. The air conditioning or HVAC system may take more power than an entire home did 30 years ago.

If your home is even twenty years old, chances are it needs to be upgraded! The thirty-year-old distribution panel in your basement or garage the one with the screw-in fuses are almost certainly a fire hazard. Why? Over time, the contacts deteriorate. The point of contact between the buss bar and the base of the fuse oxidizes or charcoals. As current flows, increased heat is generated, leading to failure or fire. In California, if a home is equipped with an electrical distribution panel that uses screw-in fuses, many insurance companies will not renew homeowner insurance.

When you upgrade your home's electric systems, you'll rest easy knowing that you have greatly reduced the chance of a devastating fire.

Thomas Hauck Communications Services provides writing and editing solutions for businesses and nonprofits. Visit us at for information on how THCS can impact your bottom line.

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Thomas A. Hauck - EzineArticles Expert Author

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Recycling Has cut our trash by 2/3

This is Terry "The Metal Man". I met him 5 years ago cleaning out a construction site. He is one of the nice demo and recyclers I have ever met. He stops by our shop once every week or two and picks up all the metal that we take off our jobs. Before we started to work with Terry all of the metal use to find it'e way to the land fill. What a waste. Recycling does take some extra time but it really is worth the effort. About one third of the trash we use to produce was recyclable metal bits and pieces.
If you look in the back of you shop you will also see a blue dumpster with an AW painted on it. That is our Allied Waste dumpster that we use for all the cardboard and paper waste that comes from packaging and the office. That dumpster recycled about another one third of the waste that use to go into the land fill.
I never though that we could lower the amount of waste we produce that such a large amount. Now that I'm doing it I'm really proud of the results.
Terry "The Metal Man" gives his phone number in the video. I would recommend for any demo or metal pick up type of work. He is strong as an ox. He once picked up a piece of macherinary with one hand thad that Chad and I could barley budge. I would trust him with keys to my home.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

2009 Fire Precention week- Electrical safety.

Thai video is from the NFPA. When ever anyone is talking about the "Code" they normally are referring to the NFPA. There are lots of other codes. Some are made by individual township. Other have to do with general building code. The NFPA is concidered by most inspector as the standard when it comes to electrical safety. I have included a their self description below.

About NFPA

NFPA headquarters
1 Batterymarch Park
Quincy, Massachusetts
USA 02169-7471

Tel: +1 617 770-3000

Sales/Member Services
+1 800 344-3555 or
+1 617 770-3000

Fax: +1 617 770-0700

The mission of the international nonprofit NFPA, established in 1896, is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training, and education.

The world's leading advocate of fire prevention and an authoritative source on public safety, NFPA develops, publishes, and disseminates more than 300 consensus codes and standards intended to minimize the possibility and effects of fire and other risks.

NFPA membership totals over 75,000 individuals around the world and more than 80 national trade and professional organizations.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Energy Saving Tips Using Your Thermostat

Energy Saving Tips Using Your Thermostat
By Ruthan Brodsky

Twenty years ago thermostats were turned up and down for comfort levels with absolutely no thought to saving energy. In fact, the wars over the thermostat are legendary in most families. There is usually one spouse who wants the house over 72 degrees and the other who wants the temperature at least 68.

Today amnesty has been declared! Energy efficient homes and saving money now take precedent regarding where to set the thermostat.

Finding and setting the right temperature is the first goal. The general recommendation is to set the heat at 68 F degrees and at 76 F degrees in the summer. Any time you can either move this number up or down two degrees will give you a substantial cost savings.

For example, if you have your thermostat set at 70 F degrees in the winter and feel comfortable walking around in a short sleeve shirt, you may want to turn the temperature down two degrees and wear a long sleeve shirt and a fleece vest. Setting the air condition at 76 F degrees and turning on the fan is enough to pull out the humidity in the air and keeping it at that level will save energy because the air conditioner will not have to turn on and off.

One quick energy saving tip to keep in mind is that if you are not going to be home for a period of time, whether it is visiting family, taking a vacation, or going to a business trip, Turn you thermostat down in the winter to at least 65-62 F degrees. As long as your furnace is working your pipes will not freeze. If you are leaving during the summer months turn your thermostat to 78. If you live in a climate where there are a lot of insects, keep the air circulating by keeping on the fan.

Programmable Thermostats

If you are serious about saving energy and money your very best decision is to invest in programmable thermostats. They are not too expensive selling at just a bit more than a standard model. However, they can save you money.

For instance, they work the same as other thermostats. When your home temperature changes so much that the furnace or air conditioner needs to kick in, they do the work. However, you can program them to turn on before you come home from work. If you are gone most of the day and there is no one at home, why would you want to keep the furnace blasting all day? If the period of time that you are gone is longer than a couple of hours, these programmable thermostats are a blessing.

You simply set the time in which you will be home and at that time they will kick on. Better models can be programmed for various days of the week such as Saturday when you may be home all day. When the time comes to turn on, they turn on by themselves and get your home at the right temperature.

You can also program them for different temperatures at night when you are sleeping. By raising the temperature in your home during the summer a couple of degrees, or lowering it a couple of degrees in the winter, you are saving a great deal of energy and lowering the cost of your utility bills.

I invite you to find more information on successful approaches to energy efficiency by claiming your free report on green living at

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Importance of Carbon Monoxide Detectors!

Earlier this week I took a call from a customer who had had us out earlier this year to install a smoke alarm system for their home. This is a pretty common thing that we do and when our tech's went out to do the install they also installed a carbon monoxide detector with the system since the client did not already have one. When the client went to use their gas fireplace for the first time this year the smoke alarm system began to sound even though there was no smoke present. We dispatched our techs out to take a look at the system to make sure that the system had been wired properly or to find out if it was just malfunctioning. After numerous tests it was determined that there was nothing wrong with the system and that it was the carbon monoxide detector that was setting the system off.

There is no way to determine the presence of carbon monoxide in your home without a carbon monoxide detector because it is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas that is very toxic to humans. Carbon monoxide results from the combustion of organic matter with an insufficient oxygen supply and is often produced in domestic or industrial settings by motor vehicles and other gas-powered tools, heaters, and cooking equipment. Symptoms of mild acute poisoning include headaches, vertigo, and flu-like effects; larger exposures can lead to significant toxicity of the central nervous system and heart, and even death. Had this family not decided to have the carbon monoxide detector installed with the smoke alarm system the results could have been catastrophic.

For more information about carbon monoxide poisoning you can visit the the Environmental Protection Agency's website at:

To schedule an appointment to get a free estimate on having a smoke alarm/carbon monoxide system installed in your home to help protect your family give us a call in the office at 215-512-4102

Generation 3 Electric
CRS "Offensive Coordination"

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Another happy customer!

We absolutely love getting happy feedback from our customers and this postcard made us all smile :)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Generation 3 electric's dog

Ever wonder who was that dog on our thank you cards, safety stickers and other hand out? That is MR. D.O.G. or Oggi for short. He is the official mascot of Generation 3 Electric. Sometime you may hear him in the back ground getting into trouble when you call into the office. Oggi wants all the attention.

Michael's Jackson

This is post is for Grace (She posted a comment Friday). I told Michael that you were asking about his baby. He was happy to know that you were thinking of him. He sent me over this pic of baby Jackson in his Phillies out fit. The pic with the Michael's jackson hang in our front office. It was decorated by Marande and Tracy with gloves and the ZZZZ's. Wend Mike would come in after the baby was first born he looked exhausted. Jackson was not a sleeper. We would tease him and tell him Jackson was sleeping now so he would be well rested for Mike's return.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Electrical Safety

Here is a vidio of a new way to keep your home safe from electrical fires. This device is an arc fault breaker. No home has ever cought fire when the electric circuits were protected with one of these breakers.

Protect Your Family From Summer Electrical Fires @ Yahoo! Video

Friday, October 16, 2009

Happy Customers!

We recently installed some recessed lighting for this lovely lady in the East Passyunk section of South Philadelphia.

Happy customers make us smile! It's what we strive for.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The electrician

ReadySolar Brochure

We are pleased to share with you the NEW ReadySolar brochure.
Click on an image to read the full page of the brochure.
If you have any questions regarding this or would like more information on having a ReadySolar panel system installed please give us a call in the office!

Economics of Solar Energy Systems

Economics of Solar Energy Systems
Grid connected solar electric (photovoltaic or PV) systems provide significant economic benefits
to homeowners. There are several ways to consider the benefits of these highly reliable systems:

Solar is a hedge against future electric rate increases.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, national average electric
rates have increased 5% per year since 1970, and this trend is
expected to continue through 2030. This means that todayʼs $100
monthly electric bill will likely be $160 in 10 years and $340 in 25 years.
With 25 years of guaranteed production, a solar energy system allows
a homeowner to “pre-pay” for their electricity at a fixed rate.

Solar adds value to a home.
As long as the system is installed in an aesthetically pleasing way,
solar immediately adds resale value to a home. In fact, the exact
value is very easy to quantify. The panels are guaranteed to produce
power for 25 years. At any given time the remaining production under
warranty can be calculated and multiplied by the current electric rate
(with escalation, if desired) to come up with an accurate value that the
system adds to the home. A solar equipped home has lower
operating costs (monthly bills) than a comparable non-solar home.

Solar pays back.
Over its lifetime a solar energy system will typically provide electric bill
savings equal to 2-3 times the initial price of the system.

Solar provides a significant return on investment.
Solar provides a significant, reliable, and long lasting return on
investment. Consider that returns from investments in the stock
market or savings accounts are taxable income. The investment in
solar provides electric bill savings, which are not taxable. To compare
an investment in solar to other investments, it is important consider the
value of the electric bill savings in pre-tax dollars. Depending on state
rebates and local electric rates, the 25 year electric bill savings from
an investment in solar typically provides a 10% to 20% average annual
return on the initial investment.

When financed, solar can provide immediate savings.
By financing solar in a 30 year mortgage or other secured loan, the net
loan cost (after tax benefits) is often equal to or less than the first year
monthly electric bill savings. This means that the homeowner is “cash
positive” on the investment from day one. Additionally, the loan is a
fixed payment, while electric rates are always increasing.

Specific economic returns of solar energy systems vary by geographic location and are affected by state and utility rebates, current and future electric rates, and average sunlight for an area. Contact your Ready Solar representative for more information about specific locations.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Solar power is here in Philadelphia

I'm very excited to find this new solar power system. This is a picture of Mike Briggs from Pollart electrical sales. He is here at our Wednesday staff training class showing our technicians all the features of Ready Solar.
This is the first system that I have seen that should work well in Philadelphia row homes. It is designed to sit on a roof without damaging or puncturing a flat roof. Most other system are only made for slanted roofs like you would see in the burbs.

This system is also expandable. We can install a 1KW system for under $10,000. Next year or the year after that when/if there are grants/credit available another 1kw panel can be added and that should make make the money available to the end user.

This can be done because all the electronics are built into the panel. You can see them on the back side of the unit if you look closely. The panels are rated for 25 year life span. 1Kw should equal roughly to a 1/4 of a standard Philly row's power consumption. With an electric bill, Pollart Electrical Sales can run the real numbers.

We are currently looking for willing clients to help us test the system on their home. That means any of the first clients we find will to try this system will receive a huge cost break on the installation.
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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Recessed lighting

Improve Your Kitchen With Better Lighting

When we think about home improvement projects, we often think of changing or adding to a room. One of the most important improvements you can make in the kitchen is to make sure you have the proper lighting. You need to make sure that the room is not only illuminated, but that you have enough light to work, no matter which area of the kitchen you are in. Here are some tips on how to plan for perfect kitchen lighting.
Overhead Lighting
Many kitchens, and especially older ones, only have one type of lighting, or even worse, perhaps only one light! You may be thinking that a big light
centered in the middle of the ceiling will serve your need effectively, but it is rarely enough. If you decide to go with one overhead light, make sure that you
plan to incorporate enough reflection to let the light bounce into every part of the room so that it is lit properly.
One thing to consider if you only have room or resources for lighting on the ceiling is track lighting. This type of lighting will allow you to direct the light
to specific areas of the kitchen. You can install a light or point a light to each work area as well as your stove and kitchen table. Or, try using track kitchen lighting for the work area and then install additional lighting over the table or island areas.
Counters And Work Areas
Typically, one big light in the middle of the room will be inadequate for proper task lighting. It is problematic since when you are standing at the
counter with your back to the light you will be casting a shadow right on the area you want to illuminate. Task lighting is important for proper food prep
and will make your kitchen chores much easier.
For great task lighting consider kitchen lights that are installed on the bottoms of the cabinets that overhang your kitchen countertops. You'll be able
to easily see while you are chopping vegetables and preparing meals. This lighting is soft enough to provide the right amount of light and can be easily turned off as needed or leave just one light on at night as a "night light" of sorts.
Island And Table Lighting
You'll also want to consider how you light the island and table areas. Here is where you will want to ensure that lighting is adequate, and looks great with the style of your kitchen.
For eat in islands, the most popular type of lighting is the kind that hang down from the ceiling. The length of your island dictates how many lights you will need. The table lighting should be chic and is most practical if you can get lighting on a dimmer. Typically, you would want some sort of chandelier for right above the table, but be sure to match the style to your kitchen decor.
About the Author
Lee Dobbins writes for where you can find out more about home improvement and renovation.