If you’ve ever experienced the inconvenience of an extended power outage from a storm, perhaps something like Storm Nemo, you’ve probably wondered if you should invest in a generator. Not only is it a huge nuisance, but an extended power outage can result in frozen pipes, food spoilage, and sump pump failures. There is also an additional risk of a house fire when rarely unused fireplaces are put to the test or candles are knocked over accidently.
While portable generators are less expensive, there are a few disadvantages. Portable models do not go on automatically should you be away from your home. In addition, some portable models will only power a few items. The portable models are usually fueled by gasoline. A full tank may only last a day. Oftentimes, there is a shortage of gas during a power outage. This may be due to blocked roads, closed gas stations, or fuel trucks unable to travel and replenish gas supplies. This happened during Hurricane Sandy and the Blizzard of 2013.
For this reason and many others, automatic generators are a better option. A permanently installed generator will supply power directly to your home’s electrical circuit breaker box as soon as the outage commences. After power is restored, the generator will shut down. Permanent generators are safer because the risk of carbon monoxide is lower than a portable generator. Permanent installed units are placed outside a home and are powered by the natural gas or liquid petroleum supply. There is no need to run to the gas station as you must do with a portable generator.
An automatic generator cost varies based on the wattage and features. A small generator with 7-10kw will power just a few basic household appliances. One of those will cost around $1,850 to $4,000.
A large automatic generator with 22-45kw will allow you to power your entire home. This will cost in the $9,000 range. A midsize 12-20kw automatic generator can handle a heating or cooling season. Cost can range between $4,000 and $10,000.
The automatic generator will run as long as its fuel supply remains uninterrupted. A licensed generator installer can install the fuel supply and generator. You should also have the unit serviced annually to assure it is in good working order.
You can determine the right size generator by first identifying a list of appliances that you would want powered during an extended power outage. This may be a few appliances or your entire home. Check how may circuits are used by each appliance. Think about how many appliances you will use at the same time. Some appliances use more when they first start up and less when running. Since a generator is an investment, pick a model that you may add circuits. The permanent generator may also be an investment that pays off when it is time to sell your home. It is becoming a great selling point in areas such as the northeast that regularly experience power loss.
Installation of an automatic generator by a licensed installer should be less than a day. The usually place on top of gravel or concrete pad. The wiring is connected between the generator panel and the circuit breaker panel in the house.
You may be interested to learn that several of our home insurance carriers offer policy discounts if you install a permanent automatic generator. They do this because if the power comes on automatically there is less risk of an insurance claim from fire, food spoilage, frozen pipes, and sump pump failure. In addition, we have several carriers that offer manufacturer discounts for automatic generators. Contact us for an insurance quote and we can check how much a permanent generator will save on your home insurance premium. Simply click the button below.
Thunder and lightning aren’t so frightening- but they can be other things, like “annoying.” If you’ve ever experienced a power surge, you know what I’m talking about.
Power surges happen when the electrical charge of power lines increases. With the greater electric potential, more electricity is free to flow from the outlet in the wall to your technology. When this happens, the excessive voltage causes the technology to create heat. This heat can immediately damage the system, but it can also affect the system gradually. For example, if a computer appears to function perfectly after a power surge, the system may be fine enough to operate, but internal damage has probably occurred.
You might be thinking that the chance of a power surge is very slim. After all, lightning can’t strike so often it affects us, can it? Truthfully, lightning probably won’t be the cause of your power surge. However, there are several other causations of power surges, and these causations are far more common than your typical lightning-induced surge.
For one thing, technology that uses a lot of electricity, such as air conditioners, refrigerators, clothes driers, etc., use a lot of power but at different times. The irregularity of these devices’ electrical use creates an unstable electric flow. In fact, about 70% of power surges originate from within one’s household. The remaining 30% of power surges are caused by wiring issues and downed power lines. As a society that uses electricity 24/7, the chance of a power surge happening is far more common than before.
So, now that you know that power surges post an imminent threat to your technology, what are some things you can do to protect it?
1. Unplug. This is probably the most obvious solution. If your technology is not connected to the power lines, than any damage in the power lines cannot reach your technology. It’s that simple. However, unplugging everything may seem a little excessive. We definitely recommend that for rechargeable devices (such as laptops, cell phones, tablets, etc.) you charge ahead of time before any sort of lightning storm.
2. Surge protectors. Available at your local electronic store for around $20-$50, surge protectors have built-in protection against power surges. The amount of protection each surge protector provides varies depending on the brand and the actual item. One of the best aspects of surge protectors is that they are easy to use, and they often have several outlets, so you can have multiple devices protected from the surge.
3. Surge arrester. A surge arrester is a device that is installed at the main electrical panel of your house. It protects all the circuits in your house from any sort of power surge. Like protectors, these arresters have limits. Investing in one is definitely a good idea, even though these products are slightly pricier ($200-$400 range). These products are more likely to be sold in a home improvement store than an electrical appliance store.
We cannot stress the importance of protecting your technology from power surges. Managing risk is part of our job description, and protecting your technology certainly falls under that category.
If you have any other questions about insurance or risk management, feel free to contact us at anytime.
There are different types of wiring present and used in residential homes and buildings today.
Knob & Tube Wiring
This type of wiring was used in buildings in North America from about 1880 to the 1930s. It consists of single-insulated copper wires run within walls or ceilings, passing through joists and stud drill-holes through protective procelain insulating tubes, and supported along their length on nailed-down porcelain knob insulators. Due to the age of this wiring, if there are an live wires in your home or building, the should be replaced immediately. This type of wiring is also known to cause problems with squirrels and other rodents damaging the wires.
BX wiring are bundles of insulated wires sheathed in a flexible and protective metallic sheath.
BX or Type AC is one of the earliest types of electrical cable made for both residential and commercial uses in the early part of the 20th century. "BX" is the older term for this type of cable. It’s assumed that the name originated from the Bronx, NY since the first BX cable was made there.
BX cable is still used today in both residential and building applications. It is especially used when the wiring is exposed and not protected by interior walls i.e. workshops, commercial buildings, etc.
If the protective insulation is nicked or cut, the wiring should be replaced. Also, if the wires within show degrading of their rubber insulation, these wires should also be replaced.
ROMEX WIRINGThe word Romex® refers to any type of non-metallic sheathed electrical cable. It is electrical wiring sheathed in a plastic coating.
The name comes from the Rome Cable Corp. of Rome, NY, which originally produced the wire. Now the Romex® brand is owned by Southwire and is an actual trademarked brand just like Jell-O or Kleenex. This type of wiring is the most commonly used in homes and buildings today.
As always, you should have any electrical repairs, alterations or inspections performed by a qualified, licensed electrician.
It’s a scene reminiscent of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Our cat was behind the Christmas Tree several years ago and bit into the Christmas Tree lights. There was a loud screetch and lights went out on the tree. Suddenly, our cat is now a big puff of fur and goes running. Luckily, she did not have the same result as the cat in the movie; she never bit into a wire again. However, we have found recently that the younger cat has a propensity for chewing the wires behind the entertainment center. Luckily no fires.
How can I prevent my pet from chewing the wires?
We have since purchased large quantities of electrical loom to protect the new wires. You can purchase the basic loom at a reasonable price from Home Depot. There are nicer applications too but at a higher cost. Another option, although temporary, is Bitter Apple Spray that you have to apply with a cloth to the cords or whatever you want the pet to stay away from.
Should Fido or Fluffy cause a fire and damage the structure, there is coverage for the dwelling (subject to your deductible) – unfortunately, not for the pet.