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Should I Install A Back Up Generator At My House?

December 29, 2005

We believe the answer to this question is a definate YES.

Y2K started the home standby generator revolution. Then it snowballed. The California Energy Crisis. The Ice Storm of 2001. The Great Northeast Blackout. Hurricanes Isabel, Charley, Ivan, Katrina, Rita and Wilma.

Just a few years ago, the thought of owning a standby generator seemed absurd. Now, living without electricity is all too common. Electricity is a vital resource we often take for granted. Until a power outage occurs. Then we are quickly reminded of how much we rely on electricity.

Are you prepared to handle an extended power outage? If not, we can help you. We sell the complete line of Generac Guardian Home Standby Generators to keep you up and running, even during extended power outages.

Generac Power Systems, Inc. manufactures a complete line of emergency automatic home standby generators that can be installed during new construction or retrofitted into existing residences and businesses. Residential emergency home standby generators are permanently installed outside (similar to an air-conditioning unit), supply electrical power to all pre-selected lights and appliances, and are powered by either natural gas or LPG. Models range from 7,000 to 40,000 watts. They work with a matched automatic transfer switch that responds within seconds when utility power shuts down, even when no one is home!

Visit our web site today to get your own Generac Guardian Home Standby Generator and never be without power again. We also offer financing for these units.

Save A Life: Add Smoke Alarms To This Year’s Christmas List

December 23, 2005

Ontario’s Fire Marshal is urging all homes to have working smoke alarms on every level. The new law has come just before one of the most dangerous times of year for fire related deaths.

“A perfect example of how important it is to have more than one functioning smoke alarm is the recent fire in Ancaster,” said Hamilton Emergency Services Chief Jim Kay.

“Unfortunately, the family of four is left homeless for just before Christmas, but they escaped with what’s important – their lives because they had alarms on every level of their house. This new law will help save lives.”

Read the entire article by clicking here

Smoke alarms are a good thing any time of the year. We just shot a video last week of Wayne installing 6 smoke alarms in an older home. This video is currently being edited and we hope to release it the end of January. The video will guide you step by step in the planning, laying out and installing of smoke alarms. If you live in an older home that does not have smoke alarms, then this video is for you.

If you currently have smoke alarms in your home, push the test button to ensure they work properly. If they are chirping, you need to replace the battery.

Do you have an electrical question you would like us to answer? We will answer the first question posted to this blog daily. Your answer will be posted in the next day’s blog. If you need your question answered sooner, visit

Happy Holidays!

Is A Fused Disconnect Required For A Gas Furnace In A Home?

December 22, 2005

Q: When wiring a gas-fired central heating furnace in a dwelling unit, I usually provide a toggle switch at the furnace to satisfy the requirement for a disconnecting means within sight of the blower motor. However, some jurisdictions require a fused disconnect and do not allow a toggle switch. Is a fused disconnect required by the National Electrical Code?

A: The disconnecting means for the motor must comply with Parts III of Article 422 and Part IX of Article 430. For appliances with a motor larger than 1/8 horsepower, a disconnect switch must be located within sight of the appliance or must be capable of being locked in the open position. This requirement appears in 422.31(B).

However, a revision in 420.102(B) now requires a disconnecting means within sight of the motor. The Exception to 430.102(B) does not apply to this installation.

Part (C) of 430.109 recognizes a toggle switch as a motor disconnect under limited conditions. To use a toggle (snap) switch, the motor cannot exceed 2 horsepower and the voltage cannot exceed 300.

These are the requirements: a general use snap switch suitable must have an ampere rating that is at least twice the full load current rating of the motor; a general use snap switch suitable for use only on AC (not a general use AC/DC snap switch) may serve as a motor disconnect provided that the motor full-load current does not exceed 80 percent of the Ampere rating at the switch. Similar rules dealing with the use of toggle switches are found in 404.14(A) and (B).

Part (A) of 422.11 covers branch circuit overcurrent protection. This part says that, “If a protective device rating is marked on an appliance, the branch-circuit overcurrent device rating shall not exceed the protective device rating marked on the appliance.”

Does the branch circuit overcurrent protective device rating in the panelboard exceed the value marked on the appliance? If the overcurrent protective device in the panelboard is rated 20A and the nameplate on the furnace calls for a 15A overcurrent protective device, this could be the reason for the inspector’s request for a fused disconnect at the furnace rather than a toggle switch.

Do you have an electrical question you would like us to answer? We will answer the first question posted to this blog daily. Your answer will be posted in the next day’s blog. If you need your question answered sooner, visit

Light Fixtures, Receptacles And Switches Around Bathtubs

December 16, 2005

Q: Does the NEC allow light fixtures, receptacles and switches within the 8-feet and 3-feet dimensions of a bathtub as mentioned in 410.4(D)?

A: The 3 feet of horizontal space around a bathtub and the 8 feet of vertical clearance measured from the rim of the bathtub apply to only those items listed in 410.4(D). They are cord connected small luminaires, hanging luminaires, track lighting, pendants and ceiling paddle fans. Flush- or surface-mounted luminaires may be located closer than 8 feet above the rim of the tub. Switches cannot be installed in wet locations in bathtub spaces, but there is no restriction on the distance that a switch may be located from a bathtub. This information is in 404.4.

Receptacles cannot be installed in a bathtub or shower space; however, they can be installed in the 3 feet of horizontal space that limits certain types of luminaires and paddle fans, but they should not be located in a damp or wet area.

Do you have an electrical question you would like us to answer? We will answer the first question posted to this blog daily. Your answer will be posted in the next day’s blog. If you need your question answered sooner, visit

Electronic Walls And Ceilings Make It Easy To Change Lighting And Room Design

December 15, 2005

The Alliance for Solid-State Illumination Systems and Technologies (ASSIST), an LED industry group organized by the Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, unveiled a novel concept for lighting homes and offices. The design integrates light-emitting diode (LED) technology with building materials and systems to create electronic walls and ceilings. The design includes interchangeable, modular panels with integrated LED lighting fixtures that “snap” in and out of an electrical grid. Occupants can change the location of light fixtures or introduce new fixtures on a whim to satisfy their needs or their mood.

“The new concept represents a paradigm shift in the way people think about lighting and the way we build and design interiors,” said Nadarajah Narendran, Ph.D., LRC director of research and head of the LRC’s Solid-State Lighting Program.

The design team, led by Dr. Narendran and Russ Leslie, LRC associate director and architect, built a full-scale vignette of an executive office at the LRC to showcase the group’s ideas for adaptable lighting. Rearranging the LED panels on the walls and ceiling in the room is easier than moving furniture, according to the researchers. There is no need to drill holes, patch drywall, call an electrician, or lay out the room according to where the electric sockets are installed. Once in place, the LED panels are controlled by a touch-screen LCD panel mounted on the wall.

According to Narendran, over the past 100 years, traditional lighting has acted as an add-on to spaces. LEDs, however, offer new ways to light an area. This rapidly evolving technology can be embedded into any type of architecture due to its small size, ruggedness, and long life.

“The transformation from gas lighting to electric lighting called for a quantum leap in infrastructure change, but people embraced the new system because the technology allowed for better lighting, flexibility, and a host of additional technological advances,” said Leslie. “Our proposed concept is an equivalent leap in technology and infrastructure change, and one that promotes a ‘tunable’ lighting environment for improved vision, mood, productivity, health, and aesthetics.”

Comments from project sponsors Govi Rao, vice president and general manager, Solid-State Lighting, NA, Philips Lighting: “This is a great example of collaborative industry effort, enabling us to take the first step in this long journey of infrastructure transformation.”

Makarand “Chips” Chipalkatti, Ph.D., innovation management, OSRAM SYLVANIA: “In many ways, this recent design concept with LEDs is profound, as light can now become part of the architecture. In the short term, it may be possible to build replacement LED lamps to fill existing sockets and luminaires, but in the long term the very nature of construction and buildings will go through a change, the way it did during the transition from gas to electric lamps. To truly realize the full potential offered by LEDs in lighting and architecture, we must invest our thinking and resources in the area of new infrastructure and standards.”

Chris Bohler, Ph.D., director, technology systems, GELcore: “The flexibility provided by LEDs, as demonstrated by this project, is second to none in the lighting industry.”

Dan Doxsee, Ph.D., sales manager, lighting, Nichia America Corp.: “The all solid-state lighting demo room shows what is possible when lighting designers free themselves from the paradigm of Edison sockets and use the design freedom that LED technology allows for.”

About ASSIST The Alliance for Solid-State Illumination Systems and Technologies (ASSIST) is a program developed by the Lighting Research Center to advance the effective use of energy-efficient solid-state lighting technologies. ASSIST is a collaboration between researchers, manufacturers, utilities, and government organizations. Its goal is to identify and reduce major technical hurdles and help LED technology gain widespread use in lighting applications that can significantly benefit from this rapidly advancing light source technology. On behalf of ASSIST, the LRC conducts research, demonstration and evaluation, and educational activities. Beyond technical research, ASSIST has been active in fostering discussions between traditional luminaire manufacturers and LED manufacturers.

ASSIST sponsors include Boeing, GELcore, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, Nichia America Corporation, OSRAM SYLVANIA, Philips Lighting, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

About the Lighting Research Center (LRC) and the LRC Solid-State Lighting Program Lighting applications that use light-emitting diodes are referred to as solid-state lighting (SSL). The LRC’s Solid-State Lighting Program conducts research and educational programs to enhance this technology and help it gain acceptance for general illumination purposes. The LRC’s multidisciplinary team researches how lighting systems interact; how people perceive and react to lighting conditions; and how to use LEDs to replace less efficient lighting. To learn more about the LED and SSL research taking place at the LRC, visit the LRC SSL Web site at

The Lighting Research Center (LRC) is part of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute of Troy, N.Y., and is the leading university-based research center devoted to lighting. The LRC offers the world’s premier graduate education in lighting, including one- and two-year master’s programs and a Ph.D. program. Since 1988 the LRC has built an international reputation as a reliable source for objective information about lighting technologies, applications, and products. The LRC also provides training programs for government agencies, utilities, contractors, lighting designers, and other lighting professionals. For more information, visit

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