Archive for January 2016

The problem with overhead electrical service

There are two types of electrical service – overhead and underground. If you have the former, there’s a chance you could need a visit from an electrician with every wind or ice storm.

As the name implies, underground electric service runs under the street, to a transformer on the block. From there, it comes up under your electric meter and into the house. Overhead electrical service is the more common type that comes from the pole. Lines from the pole run into a riser, into a weatherhead, then into your home.

When storms come, that riser, weatherhead, some wiring, and the electrical meter is what causes many calls for service.

Often, the riser is pulled away from the home. In other cases, the meter itself is ripped away from the home. You don’t always lose power from this. What happens more often is that the power company sees that it’s happened and turn off your power for safety’s sake. They simply tell you to fix it and call them when it’s done to get your power back.

That’s a frustrating moment for homeowners, especially because a riser, weatherhead, meter, and any affected wiring isn’t cheap. It’ll cost you about $700 or so to repair it. But it’s necessary to have power coming to your home. Some people have even reported getting bills for $3,000, but that’s usually because more damage was done to the meter.

What you don’t want to do is try and fix this problem yourself. You may be into DIY projects, but this is one that can get you killed quickly. Aside from the physical danger, replacing a meter isn’t something that you can do. While the power company will sell a meter to an electrician, they won’t sell it to a homeowner.

So while it is a pain to have a surprise expense, it’s better than being powerless. And if you don’t replace the riser, weatherhead, meter, and typically some wiring, powerless is what you’re going to be.

If this happens at your home in the future, keep this number handy and calls us for a speedy repair – (405) 796-0320.

How to choose a generator for your home

When the power goes out, nothing provides peace of mind like owning a generator. Owning a generator isn’t a cheap decision, so let’s take a look at what types of generators are available.

The most common type of generator that you’d be familiar with is the portable generator. They’re available at most hardware stores. Portable generators are powered by gas, and they usually offer enough power to run a couple of items in your home, such as your refrigerator. While they’ll get the job done, they aren’t the ideal generator.

Their first problem is inconvenience. Depending on the generator, you’ll usually have to walk out in the cold every couple of hours to fill them with fuel. The second problem is that when running, portable generators produce carbon monoxide. In some cases, people have been harmed because they’ve left the generator running in their garage for an extended period.

The type of generator that we’re more familiar with is the standby generator. These generators are permanently placed on a concrete pad, just like an air conditioning unit. They’re triggered by a transfer switch that detects power loss and fires up the generator.

It’s important to note that while you can buy a generator at a hardware store, you still need to have it installed by a licensed professional for the warranty. And once the generator is installed, regular maintenance is necessary both to keep it running. There’s no point in having the generator if it doesn’t start when the power goes out because it hasn’t been maintained.

We sell all generators with a 5-year labor warranty to go along with the 5-year parts warranty that the manufacturer provides. We also include 5 years of regular maintenance.

Generators are not a little investment, and they certainly aren’t for everybody. But if you have the ability to buy one, you won’t regret it on the night that the power goes out.

If you’d like to buy a standby generator for your home, call (405) 796-0320.

January gardening tips

Winter months are the time to be preparing for the coming growing season. While it may seem like there’s a lull in the action, you have plenty to do in January if you want to have a full and fruitful garden during spring.

Here are a few tips to help you make January a productive month for your garden.

Turn the soil

Now is the time to turn over the soil in preparation for spring. So if the ground is thawed where you’re at, turn it over and expose all of the insects and larvae underneath so that they can be eaten by birds or killed by the frost. This will also break up frozen layers of soil underneath the surface.

Check for pest problems

The growing season is not an ideal time to discover that you have a pest problem in the garden. Walk around your property and inspect the garden beds for damage or other signs of pests. Take care of pest problems now while they can’t do more damage to your plants.

Start some seeds indoors

January is also the time to get started on some plants for spring. Indoors, start planting perennials and annuals that grow slowly such as geraniums. If you’re growing vegetables, you can sow colder-weather crops like broccoli, onions, cabbage and turnips to transplant.

If it snows, shake off your shrubs

If we get snow during January, make sure to shake the snow off of your shrubs. If enough snow gathers on the branches the weight can damage them.

Protect early growers

If there’s a warm spell, some of your bulbs may get “confused” into starting up for spring. That’s dangerous for them since there’s more frost coming. If this happens, use compost and a thick layer of mulch to protect those plants.

Just doing these basic tasks will help you be better prepared for a thriving, healthy garden in the spring.

Can you trust all home inspectors?

Is a home inspector the best person to investigate a home’s electrical system before you make an offer to buy it? Lately home buyers have been deciding that their best bet for getting an honest assessment of a home’s furnace and electrical equipment is calling a HVAC specialist and electrician.

There are a couple of good reasons to get a technician’s opinion before you buy a house. First, the technician works hands-on in the world of HVAC and electricity every day. He’s seen hundreds of set-ups and knows what to look for. The second is that the technician doesn’t have any skin in the game.

In many cases, home inspectors get a lot of business from realtors. That only makes sense. But if you were a home inspector hired by a realtor, would you be inclined to make a decision that might have a negative impact on the realtor’s deal?

That’s a very expensive decision for a home inspector!

Other than the roof, the most expensive thing that you’ll have to replace is the furnace. If you’re buying a house with a furnace that’s past its prime, that’s a $10,000 expense in your future. Knowing that most homes will have original equipment, and most home builders don’t put in top-of-the-line furnaces, you could be buying a time bomb.

For a couple hundred bucks you could save yourself over $10,000 or even more if you have multiple systems. That’s not a bad deal. It isn’t very easy for us. We’ve been yelled at by realtors and home inspectors for putting a wrench in their deal, but at the end of the day it’s worth it if we save one customer from a nightmare.

Don’t take a home inspector’s word for it. If you want an objective, no-B.S. assessment of a home’s electricity, you call an electrician.

When you’re buying your next home, remember to give us a call at (405) 796-0320.