Thursday, May 19, 2016

Choosing the Right Standby Generator for Your Home

Between 2000 and 2014, the number of reported power outages continues to rise across the entire country. An aging infrastructure, combined with a growing population and more frequent extreme weather, are straining the electric grid. Energy industry predictions tell us to expect more and more power outages in the years to come.

When the power goes out, many modern conveniences are put on hold. While we may be able to live without television and the Internet temporarily, losing systems such as HVAC and refrigerators can be become very costly. A home standby generator provides the peace of mind knowing power will automatically be there when the grid goes down.

The Difference in Standby and Backup Generators

We have all seen gasoline powered portable backup generators at your local big box store. Limited in power and run-time, these generators require manual hookup and the periodic refilling of fuel. Standby generators are just that, standing by to kick on automatically as soon as power goes out. As the diagram shows, the standby generator, not the homeowner, automatically detects the outage and goes into action.

Things to Consider when Selecting a Standby Generator

While its important to speak to a professional standby generator installer about what is the best fit for your needs, below is a guide to get you started on what to expect:

  1. What kind of fuels can I use? You have several fuel options of Natural Gas (NG), Propane (LP) or Diesel. Availability may narrow choices, but your estimator/installer can help you determine the best fuel for your particular use.

  2. How much power will I need? There are two types of Standby generators, a whole-house or essential circuit system. Adding up the number of watts used by all appliances will help determine the total kilowatts (kW) required to run those systems. Some appliances, such as refrigerators, require a surge of watts when they start, so use the higher number in the total. Your estimator / installer can help you determine the total kW and generator model, to supply the right amount of power you need.

  3. What if I’m not around? If you are considering a standby generator for a second home, there are options for cellular remote monitoring that provide you critical, real-time information about your standby generator.

  4. Who will install it? While standby generators are becoming more available from big box stores, we cannot emphasize enough how important it is to have a certified and experienced company install your generator. Local codes, ideal location considerations, and upkeep are crucial to proper installation and operation.

  5. What about maintenance and warranty? While most generator manufacturers offer great warranties on new systems, you will want a trusted and experienced generator service provider to make sure you continue to get the best out of your new system for years to come.
While having a standby generator will provide peace of mind, its important to make sure that you select the right model for your particular needs. Contact your Beco specialist at 336-889-3477 and set up an appointment for a free estimate on the best standby generator for your home.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

How to Set Your Thermostat in the Spring

The Spring weather in North Carolina is unpredictable, with temperatures sometimes fluctuating by as much as 30 degrees in a day. That weather fluctuation can reek havoc on your thermostat settings, and in turn, your electricity bill. Here is how you can choose the best settings for your thermostat in the Spring to save energy and save money on your electricity bill.

Best Spring Thermostat Settings to Save on Your Electricity Bill

According to research, your Heating and Air Conditioning system makes up for nearly half of your electricity bill. The energy it takes for a HVAC system to turn on and off is greater than that which it takes to maintain a constant temperature. Spring in North Carolina can show large swings in temperature changes, often systems to turn on and off if the thermostat settings are not ideal. Monitoring your thermostat during this uncertain time can be the difference in electricity bill savings.

If you’re like most people in North Carolina, you’ll want to continue to use your furnace when temperatures fall below a certain temperature. One way to cut costs on your electricity bill in the Spring is to keep your thermostat setting at 68 degrees or lower during the colder days when you are at home. Lowering the thermostat by 10-15 degrees when you are away or asleep can help you realize electricity savings.
If you have a programmable thermostat, schedule your settings to your preference. Most of today’s modern thermostats are programmed to manage electricity settings and therefore save energy in the long run.

Cold Spring weather thermostat recommendations - Set your furnace for 68 degrees Fahrenheit or lower when at home in North Carolina, and lower the setting at night and when you're away for four hours or more at a time.

Warm spring weather thermostat recommendations - For warm North Carolina Spring weather, set your thermostat to 78 degrees Fahrenheit or higher for your air conditioner setting when you’re home. When not at home, turn off the air conditioner and watch your electricity bill decline.

Making your home energy efficient in the Spring

Monitoring your Heating and Air Conditioning is not the only way to save money on electrical bills in the Spring. Beco Electric offers a 20+Safety Check program that can find areas of your home that are not only using unnecessary electricity, but also causing a potential safety hazard. Taking these steps can help you to lower your electricity bill all year long.