Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Christmas Lights: Dos and Don'ts

A good set of well-placed Christmas lights can make the difference between a simple, run-of-the-mill house and a knockout feature of holiday cheer. Putting up Christmas lights can bring both a sense of achievement and a renewed vigor for the holiday season. Anyone can hang Christmas lights, regardless of skill level or experience, but following these key steps will help take your Christmas display to a whole new level.

1) Gather the proper materials: What kind of lights are you looking for? The more festive and larger-bulbed C7 and C9s? The traditional green-cap string lights? Or perhaps icicle lights to match the winter season? Make sure to get timers and controllers as well as clips to hang the lights.

2) Measure, measure, measure: Grab a tape measure and get to work. There are few things worse when stringing lights across the door and window frames of your home than coming up short just before the end.

3) Carefully consider your hanging surfaces: Christmas lights can be installed on the roof line, gutters and shingles, but did you know there are specific clips for each surface? Be sure to inspect these surfaces for any potentially loose elements. You wouldn’t want the line to fall and risk an accident or electrical issue.

4) Pay attention to power wattage: Overloading a circuit or blowing a fuse is a common occurrence with improperly installed holiday lights. First, check the total number of amps the wire is rated for. Remember that number. The professionals multiply the wattage of the bulb by the number of sockets and then divide by 115. For example, 10 watt bulbs x 100 sockets / 115 = 8.69 amps. This number needs to be less than 10% of what the wire is rated for. Got it? Simple math.

5) Finally, hang them up and turn on the power! Enjoy your beautiful work of holiday art.

Christmas lights have been an American tradition for longer than any of us can remember. But unfortunately, if not installed correctly, they run the risk of causing electrical issues and unwelcome headaches. If you’d like to know more information about how your wattage is affected, feel free to give us a call at 1-888-969-BECO or visit us at our website. We’d love to help you safely spread holiday cheer this season.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Choosing The Right Generator For Your Home

The right generator at the right time can turn a homeowner’s nightmare into a disaster averted. From the smallest of setbacks to potentially life-threatening situations, a generator is one of the smartest investments you can make. If the power goes out in a thunder or ice storm and doesn't come back on for some time, a generator can keep you and your family safe, warm and secure. Equally valuable is its ability to preserve food in the refrigerator and freezer. But how do you decide what kind of generator to get? There are two basic types, each with their own merits to consider.

The first option is a standard portable backup generator. This version is the least expensive method of supplying backup power and is easy to move. These generators range in price from $500 for a 3,250-watt unit to $1,500 for a 10,000-watt unit and can be stored away easily until power goes out. But more portability concedes less functionality. This option requires extension cords to be run to individual appliances, and there’s a small risk of carbon monoxide poisoning if not placed at least ten feet from your home while in use. Running a cord from the unit to an outlet inside your home, instead of directly to the appliances, can create back-feed into the electricity circuits and seriously injure electricians working on lines even miles away. An electrician can install a manual transfer switch sub-panel off your main circuit panel to avoid this issue. This is a somewhat costly alternative that limits what can be powered in your house, but it’s the safest way to run power through your internal circuitry from a portable generator.

The second option is much more of a long-term investment and powers a great deal more. A standby generator is built into your home circuitry, so it doesn't require that you manually fill it with gas or hassle with extension cords. When the power shuts off, a standby generator automatically turns on, powered by your house’s fuel lines. This option is best if you frequently lose power or are operating a business or home that relies on a consistent feed of electricity. Standby generators are powerful enough to run a central air conditioner, kitchen appliances and other large items at the same time, but reliability and power come at a price. This option ranges from $5,000 for a 7,000-watt unit to about $15,000 for a 30,000-watt unit. When a loss of power threatens your safety, the standby generator is a much more secure option. Also, you won’t run the risk of injuring electricians operating on your power grid.

Portable and standby generators each have their advantages and drawbacks, so it’s best to weigh the two options to make the best decision. The important thing is that when disaster strikes, you’re prepared for any situation. Having a generator ready to use is a big part of a security plan for the safety of your home and family. If you want to learn more about where generators fit into your plan for power loss, you can give us a call at 1-888-969-BECO or visit our website. As a certified Generac dealer, we look forward to helping you.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Our Top Seven Electrical Tips For Around the House

Electricity is one of the most versatile tools at home. Thunderous in power, it can cause extensive damage or even start a fire if not properly applied. But it also powers our hairdryers and televisions, brings life to our rooms in unique ways and helps spread joy every holiday season. There are as many safety tips to remember as there are decorative ideas to employ using electricity around the house, and you often don’t know which appliances are energy hogs and which aren’t getting enough. So here is our shortlist of the big ones—our seven most useful tips for electricity in your home.

1. Energy efficiency is the buzzword of the decade, so make sure your light bulbs are CFL certified, you use timers or motion-sensor lights outside, and consider a yearly energy audit.

2. Electrical fires often start in the kitchen. Be sure to unplug any unused appliances and keep them away from children and pets.

3. Avoid overloading your outlets and power strips. That’s a dangerous spark waiting to happen.

4. Do not use water to try and put out an electrical fire. Go for the fire extinguisher instead.

5. Modifying or forcing a three-pronged cord to fit in a two-pronged socket can lead to appliance malfunctioning and dangerous sparking. If you have to, grab an adapter instead.

6. If you live near power lines, be sure to keep your trees and bushes trimmed to avoid contact with the line.

7. Due to a winter storm, a thunderstorm, an overloaded transformer or otherwise, your power is destined to go out at some point. Consider investing in a standby generator to ensure you’ve prepared for the worst.

While these tips only scratch the surface of the important role electricity plays in our lives, they’re a good start to better home efficiency, safety and enjoyment. You can always contact us through our website or call 1-888-969-BECO to speak to a representative about how to best use electricity in your home. Specialists since 1961, we offer electrical audits, free estimates on electrical issues, generators and much more, so feel free to drop us a line anytime, day or night.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

High Point Furniture Market: A Beco Inc. Case Study

The High Point Furniture Market is internationally renowned for one thing: furniture. And whole lot of it. Twice each year, the Furniture Market open up and tens of thousands of attendees from the US and around the world come to shop, talk and trade furniture. As the largest furnishings industry trade show in the world, the market draws more than 75,000 people every six months. Naturally, the event requires an incredible amount of planning, foresight and a little bit of luck to pull off. Beco Inc. has proudly been a partner of the Furniture Market for several years as a service provider for a wide portfolio of showrooms, and the October showing is right around the corner.

Beco Inc. understands the importance of electrical planning being properly implemented, especially in a timely manner. In the weeks before the market opens, a word often used to describe the state of affairs is chaotic. Therefore, in partnering with the Furniture Market, we have made it a priority to work side by side the showcase proprietors to ensure as smooth a transition from planning to ribbon cutting as possible. Throughout the many years as a Furniture Market electrical contractor, we have partnered with big furniture names such as Broyhill Furniture Company, Vanguard Furniture Company, IHFC, Center Point and Drexhill Heritage, but that barely scratches the surface of our list of clients. One of our goals is to improve upon our efforts for every showcase we help produce, so seeing our electrical work come to life makes us more excited every year.

With 180 buildings, 11.5 million square feet of show space, more than 2000 exhibitors and 100+ countries represented, the High Point Furniture Market is without a doubt the world’s home for furniture. Our experience with the IHFC and furniture industry showrooms have also led to the formation of a dedicated, fully-licensed team of trained electricians who really light up when the events come around (pun intended). If you’ll be one of the many visitors to this October’s Furniture Market, check out this list for some of our showcase work to look for. Or, if you’re a showcase owner looking to fix an electrical problem or even plan an entire lighting scheme, be sure to give us a call at 1-888-969-BECO, and we’ll help make your Furniture Market exhibition one to remember. The fall Furniture Market is just around the corner. We hope to see you there!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Big Five: What To Ask Your Electrician

It’s always difficult to pick the right electrician for a job. Your neighbor recommends one person, your brother recommends another, a website says this company over here is even better, and you just received a business card in your mailbox from someone entirely different. Who’s the right one for the job?

What makes this question even harder is that while there are many good electricians out there, a few unlicensed practitioners can still sneak in under the radar. Regardless of the electrician, you should know which questions to ask when you’re looking to hire for a job. Electricians should be able to answer your questions if they’re professionals. Narrowing that down further can be difficult, so we’ve prepared the top five questions you should ask when hiring an electrician.

1. Are you a licensed electrician?
This should always be your first question. Licensed electricians are trained to know the proper way to fix any job, and unlicensed workers aren’t. It’s that simple.

2. How much experience do you have?
It’s not entirely necessary for an electrician to have a decade of experience under their belt, but even a few years of experience will tell you they know what they’re doing.

3. Are you insured? 
All electricians should be carrying at least $500,000 in liability and workers’ compensation insurance.

4. What does your estimate include? 
It’s an all-too-familiar story. People hire unqualified electricians who then sneak less work for more pay. Make sure you know exactly what work you’re paying for, and you’ll avoid this headache.

5. How can I keep my energy bills down?
While they’re on the job, a qualified electrician will have useful knowledge about how to keep bills down, how to prevent future bills from popping up, as well as how to optimize your electrical use. It’s a good question to ask and could help pay for your next family vacation.

While these are our top five questions, you should certainly feel free to open up the dialogue with your electrician. You might also ask to see a work in progress, or if they can show you their permits.

At Beco Inc., our trained, professional electricians are always happy to help with any electrical need. We've served High Point, Greensboro, Winston-Salem and the surrounding areas of the Triad for decades, so you know you can count on us. Contact us anytime for a free estimate, or if you decide to use another contractor, we hope these five questions will come in handy.

Friday, July 17, 2015

The Beco Preferred Customer Program

For over 50 years, Beco Inc.’s electrical contractors have provided quality services to business of all shapes and sizes in Central North Carolina. During that time, we’ve established some valuable long-term customer relationships. As a way to show our appreciation for long-term customers that need ongoing services for their offices and facilities, we created the Beco Inc. Preferred Customer Program for our commercial and industrial clients.

It’s very simple. Customers who agree to a monthly maintenance lighting inspection will have a scheduled monthly visit by a professional Beco Inc. technician in order to inspect both interior and exterior lighting in your business. In addition, you will also receive a 15% discount on service labor rates for any services we provide during the term of the agreement.

As you know, it’s important for businesses to provide their employees with working environments that are both safe and productive. Maintaining good interior as well as exterior lighting is vital to those goals. Climbing up and down ladders to change lighting is not part of most employee job descriptions. As a preferred customer, we’ll maintain all of your lighting fixtures so that your employees can concentrate on their job.

Beco Inc. has the equipment needed to reach the highest places so you don’t have to make an unnecessary investment on something you may only use once a month. Beco Inc.’s bucket truck can get to the highest parking lot and exterior security lights to keep your employees and properties safe.

Beco Inc. recommends that our preferred customers keep an inventory of light bulbs on site. Beco Inc. will manage the inventory and include the cost in your invoice. And most importantly, your preferred customer discount applies to service labor rates on anything Beco Inc. does for you, whether changing out light fixtures or outfitting a new space for electrical service.

Keep in mind that Beco Inc. is a full-service electrical company with a fleet of 40 trucks and over 100 employees. Our highly trained and experienced technicians can handle everything from new construction to repair work on infrastructure. Beco Inc. has also installed integrated solar power systems for businesses, including operating a solar farm at our own facility in High Point. If your business operations require emergency backup power, Beco Inc. is the experienced professional for all commercial backup generator maintenance and service.

The Beco Inc. Preferred Customer Program sounds simple because it is simple. We’ll keep your lights on and give you a 15% discount on labor for any electrical services you need. Backing it up with friendly, responsive customer service and support, you’ll have peace of mind knowing you can rely on us.

So, if you’re interesting in finding out more about the discount that your business would be eligible for with the Beco Inc. Preferred Customer Program, give us a call today or fill out the simple request form. We’ll look forward to hearing from you. Remember, when it comes to commercial and industrial service, it’s best to call Beco Inc.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Why You Need a Generator for Your Home

Imagine yourself in this situation: A storm has struck the East Coast, and although every year you hear reports of blackouts and areas without power from around the country, you wouldn’t think it would be a concern here in North Carolina. But when this quickly-moving storm breaks power lines across the state, you and your family are left without power. How do you keep warm, maintain communication and cook food? If you own a generator, chances are you’ve thought of this very scenario, and that you already have a plan to keep your household safe.

This past year our country has seen increasingly powerful storms strike at unexpected times, and the most important word is always “preparation.” However, as the cost of being unprepared rises, so does the usefulness of a standby generator. According to a report released in 2013 from NASA’s Earth Observatory, future storms are likely to be less frequent in number but a lot more powerful. This means that generators will become even more important when these mega-storms threaten disaster.

A common misconception surrounding generators, though, is that you really only need them in the winter months. While the winter season can certainly take a toll on the energy grid, it’s just as important to be prepared in every other season. In fact, many readers may remember the largest electrical blackout in US history that occurred just twelve years ago on August 14th, 2003. The widespread outage left nearly 55 million people in the Northeast without power. It was found that the outage was caused by a software problem, demonstrating how a crisis can arise even without natural elements.

If you decide to purchase a generator or are interested in learning more, the best thing you can do is to research what kind of generator might best suit your needs. You can check out more information on residential generator installation from our website, or call us at 1-888-969-BECO to have an expert walk you through your options. The world may be unpredictable, but you can take comfort in having a plan. Investing in a generator is investing in protection for the future.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A More Attractive and Cost-Friendly Home Lighting Plan

One of the best accents of any home is the lighting. Inside, it highlights the walls, brings life to dark corners and prevents countless midnight toe-stubbing accidents every year. Outside, it shows off your home's best features and gives light where you need it most (such as the walkways and back doors). Proper lighting, however, can sometimes cost more than you would like. With a subtle touch and a smart plan, you can use your home lighting to its maximum in both looks and efficiency and save money along the way. To help you get started, we've put together our top four home lighting efficiency tips.

  1. Inside, we recommend you replace at least five of your standard light bulbs with CFL, Energy Star-certified bulbs instead. Not only are they roughly five times more energy efficient, they can often last up to ten times longer.
  2. Outside, you should consider installing light timers and motion activated sensors. It's too much hassle to plug outdoor lights in and out every night and morning, but it's too much money to keep them on all the time. A simple timer or motion sensitive device can ensure your lights are on when they need to be and off when they don't.
  3. Decorative lighting can be tricky to get just right, but consider your approach. Lighting designer Randall Whitehead says, "Think of decorative lighting as architectural jewelry. It can dress up or dress down the look." Find a look that compliments the room but isn't overbearing.
  4. Lastly, you can ensure your home lighting is extra efficient by installing dimmers. Not only will dimmers let you set the mood, they also offer a great degree of control over how much electricity certain lights are using.

There is certainly more to a smart home lighting plan than these four tips, but it's a good place to start. Whether you're a first time or longtime homeowner, you can always contact us for more tips, advice and guidance with your home lighting plan.

Monday, April 6, 2015

The Importance Of An Annual Electrical Inspection

Few things are more worth your time than making sure your home is safe and secure. It seems like every year, electrical equipment fails at the worst this-can’t-be-happening-now time. Whether this has happened to you or not, call a Beco electrician for help any day or night. It will save you more money, and gray hairs, to do an annual electrical maintenance 20+ point safety check.

An annual checkup on your home’s electrical system can be just as beneficial as an annual physical or car tune-up, except you don’t even have to leave the house. A Beco electrician will check each system to ensure it’s operating at optimal levels. Not only can this kind of service save you money down the road, it can give you peace of mind and the knowledge that the wiring behind the scenes isn’t causing you any trouble. Here’s a list of three easy things you can look for today that might indicate something is up.

  1. Circuit Breakers: Circuit breakers can trip when they’re overloaded, old, corroded, or otherwise. Using a working appliance, check each outlet in and outside of your house to make sure they’re functioning properly.
  2. Light Switches: Along the same lines, take a minute to check each light switch. If you notice unexpected flickering, or a switch doesn’t work at all, take note. This could be due to faulty wiring, which can be hazardous if left unchecked.
  3. Light Fixtures: Turn off the lights, reach up and feel the area around each light fixture in your home. If it feels warm, it could be under-insulated, or it’s possible the bulb is exceeding maximum wattage. If surrounding area is warm to the touch, this can run the risk of starting an electrical fire and causing serious damage.

An annual electrical maintenance check is a proactive way to keep your house’s energy and safety in order. A single sparking wire has the potential to be a much bigger problem, but it’s hard to fix what you don’t know about. Contact us to schedule an annual electrical 20+ point safety check today.