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Rule No. 1 for electrical work: Turn off power

September 30, 2006

Rule No. 1 for electrical work: Turn off power

This article is not about workers’ compensation insurance. But it’s a good jumping-off point for our opinions on electrical work.

Workers’ comp is based on the danger level of a given job: The more dangerous the job, the more expensive the insurance premium. Makes sense. For example, an in-house salesperson or clerical worker is at low risk of being injured on the job compared to a carpenter or electrician. This is largely because their workplaces are so different; a construction site is usually far more dangerous than a business office.

We used to think electrical work was at the top of the list for expensive coverage. But what we discovered astounded us: Workers’ comp for electricians is relatively low among construction workers.

That got us thinking about what the danger in electrical work is: electrocution. But what is it that most electricians do before they work on your electrical system? Of course, they simply turn off the power. No power, no electrocution.

So what’s the real danger? Forgetting to turn off the power.

People often think it’s safe to turn off a single breaker to work on a given circuit in the home. Nothing could be more foolish. As often as not, electricians will use a single junction box to connect wires from two or more circuits. In other words, you can turn off the breaker to a light or plug and still find an active hot lead in the electric box that you are working on.

When we decide to work on a circuit and don’t want to turn the entire house off, we typically open the junction box in question and test every single wire to absolutely ensure that the power is off before we reach in to touch anything. Entire story

Colorado Energy Firm to Build Solar Plant

September 29, 2006

Colo. energy firm to build solar plant

DENVER (AP) — Xcel Energy has selected a Baltimore firm to build a $60 million solar electric plant in Colorado, the largest solar power project in the country, the Rocky Mountain News reported Saturday.

Minneapolis-based Xcel, with 1.3 million ratepayers in Colorado, plans to build the 8-megawatt solar farm in the San Luis Valley, near Alamosa. The plant, expected to go online by the end of next year, would be capable of powering 2,600 homes.

The project went up for bid in March. Xcel plans to announce the contract Monday, but the newspaper on Saturday reported Baltimore’s SunEdison had been selected to build the plant.

Xcel spokesman Tom Henley on Saturday said the company was not commenting on the report. A news conference is scheduled for Monday.

SunEdison last month acquired California’s Team Solar Inc., making SunEdison the country’s largest commercial photovoltaic solar power installer, according to a company news release.

Gary Schmitz, a spokesman for the National Renewable energy Laboratory in Golden says utility-sized solar projects are rare and the San Luis Valley proposal would be “pioneering.” Entire story

Generators Keep Water Running

September 28, 2006

Generators keep water running

If you live in urban Huntsville and wonder why your taps are still working despite the fact that you’re sitting in the dark during a power outage, there is a good explanation.

According to District commissioner of engineering and public works Tony White, the District, which looks after water and sewer infrastructure in Muskoka, has a pool of approximately 20 generators.

“We have standby power in all of our key facilities and mobile equipment that we can plug into our smaller facilities,” explained White, adding that most plants have four hours ‘worth of storage in them.

He said fortunately during power outages, while the water plants continue to function and pump water into pipes which lead to people’s taps, the generation of sewage during power outages usually declines.

“People aren’t taking showers. They’re not doing laundry and doing things they would normally do when the power is on so the sewage flows drop off quite dramatically in a power outage,” said White, adding that means staff have more time to get portable generators to small treatment plants or pumping stations. Entire story

Do you need a generator to keep your water and appliances working. We offer a complete line of Generac Guardian Automatic Standby Generators and for a limited time, Generac is offering a $200.00 rebate. Contact us with any questions you may have or if you need help sizing your generator.

Generac Eager for Expansion

September 27, 2006

Generac eager for expansion

By Rick Barrett

Roughly 200 corporate office jobs, plus hundreds of production jobs, could be created under a Generac Power Systems expansion that’s planned for the Waukesha County Town of Genesee.

The expansion is scheduled to get under way in the spring, company officials said Tuesday, provided the company can acquire 40 acres next to its current headquarters and manufacturing plant. The deal also hinges on a property zoning change that’s already under consideration by county and town officials.

Generac, which makes generators used in homes, factories and other businesses, has been one of the area’s largest and fastest-growing industrial employers. It currently has more than 1,500 employees in Wisconsin and Iowa.

The company would build a 165,000-square-foot plant and office building on the northeast corner of Hillside Road and Highway 59, Generac noted in plans submitted to the Waukesha County Department of Parks and Land Use.

That property currently is used for a golf driving range. Generac has acquired a limited-time purchase contract from the property’s owners in Illinois.

County officials said it’s essential that Generac get started on its expansion as soon as possible. Entire story

Know What’s Watt with Generators

September 26, 2006

Know what’s watt with generators

By Alan J. Heavens

SUMMER’S STORMS BROUGHT some prolonged electrical outages.

But losing power in colder weather can be deadly, and the damage to plumbing can be expensive.

That’s why this is a good time to think about buying a generator that will meet at least your minimum needs in an outage.

Need to know: Generators come in all varieties, from portable units that are gasoline-driven and designed to power up a few appliances at once, to permanently mounted standby generators that run on natural gas and can operate an entire house.

Watts up: How can you figure out how powerful a generator (how much wattage) you’ll need? Find the data plates on the appliances you own, which will tell you the number of volts and amps each uses. Then multiply the volts by the amps to get the wattage.

It’s a bit more complicated, though.

Most appliances are rated for “run wattage” and “surge wattage.” Run wattage is the electricity needed to operate an appliance continually.

Surge wattage is the higher amount needed to start electric motors found in furnaces or refrigerators.

Because appliances almost never start up simultaneously, you will need to factor in only the surge wattage with the largest difference between run watts and surge watts.

In other words, if you need 6,000 run watts total, and your appliance with the greatest difference between run and surge is 2,000 watts, select a generator that will accommodate up to 8,000 surge watts. Entire story

See our complete line of Generac Guardian Automatic Standby Generators and, for a limited time, you may also receive a $200 manufacturer’s rebate on the purchase of any 7kW – 45kW generator.

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