Avoiding the Deadly Mistakes
Millions of us have lost power (about 2½ million for Hurricane Ike alone, and hundreds of thousands with Hurricane Harvey!) lasting from a few days to more than three weeks. Being without electricity can be devastating because our lives revolve around having available electrical power.
Probably the only thing you use regularly, that doesn’t use electricity is your toilet! But don’t tell that to the utilities that have to pump water from a reservoir, or up a water tower to provide the needed pressure to make the system work!
Thousands of dollars’ worth of food is lost with every extended outage, from warming refrigerators to unpowered deep freezers. We continue to get dirty as we clean, restore, rebuild, and maintain our property, but no power means no laundry gets done either. Weeks of being filthy take a psychological toll, too.
We Texans are good at Barbeque, but how many steer or hogs can you roast in a water-soaked BBQ pit? Zero! Got a spit? Are you going to turn it by hand for the necessary six to ten hours to get the job done?
There are many justifications for having a backup power supply. Not least among them is your home security system. Maybe you have a landline, and perhaps it is still working (because the lines survived and the telephone company has backup power). However, more and more security systems are dependent on a cellular connection to bypass someone cutting physical lines or turning off the power. But once the battery goes dead, that doesn’t work either.
And what if it happens to be 108ºF for a spell in July or August? How about if it drops down to 35ºF every night between December and January? It seems likely that your HVAC is suddenly going to seem a lot more important to you when it isn’t working.
People Have Learned
Many folks now have gasoline-powered generators. The news media did a good job explaining the dangers of CO (carbon monoxide) poisoning, and not running the generator inside your home or even an attached garage.
Nevertheless, when people rushed out to purchase emergency generators, they often didn’t make the best choices for their situation. Desperate to save their food, or whatever their priority was at the moment, they often bought the first thing that was available.
Call us for a Free Inspection
We’re worried about the placement of your generator, and how insidious, odorless, and deadly CO might get into your home. We’re also worried that an under-powered unit is being tasked with too much work and will fail. We’ll happily assess your situation and provide advice.
There is no hard and fast rule, but it is often felt that generators should run at half-capacity on a continuous basis, full capacity only occasionally, and never at surge capacity for more than the time necessary to start a heavy load. Portable generators are a fantastic tool, and a real lifesaver, if you have to refrigerate medicine (insulin), or run an oxygen generator for a person with breathing difficulties.
However, you must remember to maintain them; to make sure you have stabilized fuel available for them; that the oil reserve is topped up, that the batteries are adequate to start them, or that the manual start mechanism is reliable.
Commercial Grade Equipment
Located where we are and subject to extensive power outages, many have opted for a proper power substitute unit. Wired into the household system, it automatically senses the power interruption, disconnects the home from the power grid, and turns itself on.
In just moments, everything can be functioning again. The sort that runs on Natural Gas doesn’t even require you to keep a fuel supply on hand! They come in varieties that can also use propane, diesel, fuel oil, or gasoline. Some may even use more than one fuel type for extra options during a crisis.
What we don’t ever want to see is a Suicide Cord. This is a dangerous, homemade or black-market cable designed to hook up to the 220-volt outlet of a portable generator, and plug into the 220-volt plug of a clothes dryer. It can power both legs of a typical household circuit, restoring full power to an entire house, but is extremely dangerous.
It is called a Suicide Cord because there are so many ways to cause death while using it. If the Mains for the home aren’t disconnected, repair workers can be killed while working on power lines down the road.
The Suicide Cord also has exposed prongs on both ends which can kill if someone touches them. If the load is too high, it could cause a fire since all the power for the entire house is traveling through a single wire back to the electrical panel. And of course, the generator could fail, leaving you with no power.
Emergency power can be provided in a perfectly safe manner, and it can be made almost entirely automatic. You can get through the next outage without lifting a finger (with the right equipment). Give us a call, and we’ll show you how to be safe AND powered.
We’re thrilled to be part of the beautiful Houston community here in Texas. We provide service over quite a wide area, and we always love to hear from River Oaks, Memorial, West University, Bellaire, Southside, Heights, and Royal Oaks, or whichever part of town you call home… But don’t forget that we provide expert Electrical Contracting in Austin, Beaumont, College Station, Dallas, El Paso, San Antonio, and Midland as well.
We are experienced, licensed electricians, not some fly-by-night outfit that wants to turn a quick buck at your expense. There are so many ways do a job incorrectly, so we urge you to call us, because…
We’ll do it right!
Call us today at 713-863-1133 and experience peace of mind and excellent service as we help you reach your dreams and keep your family safe. Take a moment to schedule a design consultation or visit us on Facebook to learn more about our lighting and electrical services. We’d love to hear from you!