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Incadescent vs. Fluorescent: Which Should You Choose and Why?

Posted by ewec1 on March 27, 2015 at 12:45 AM Comments comments (0)


At NAE Electric & Automation, we specialize in all things electricity related. If there is a job for us to do, we’d love to take it on. However, service doesn’t always come with a price. Being a customer-centered company is incredibly important to us. That’s why we provide tips and guides online at no cost to you. This guide focuses on the difference between incandescent and fluorescent bulbs in an effort to provide you with the most efficient type of home lighting system.


Incandescent bulbs
are what you think of when you think of a light bulb. They pop up over people’s heads when they get a good idea. Not literally, but you know what we mean. Incandescent light bulbsproduce a yellowish type of light. Most incandescent bulbs are incredibly affordable and range anywhere from 15-150 watts. One very beneficial caveat of incandescent lights is their versatility; not only in wattage, but in shape as well. Customers are able to purchase a standard-shaped light bulb, a version shaped as a globe, and some incandescents even come in the shape of a candle flame.


On the other end of the spectrum, we find fluorescent bulbs. In recent years, there has been a large push to get consumers to move towards fluorescent light bulbs, and you are about to find out why. While requiring more of an initial investment, fluorescent bulbs are much cheaper to power than incandescent bulbs. Fluorescent bulbs can use up to 67% less energy than incandescent bulbs and even last longer in the process! Fluorescent bulbs are also able to use less wattage than standard incandescent bulbs while providing the same amount of light.


Despite these benefits, there are downsides to each type of bulb. As previously mentioned, incandescent bulbs are not energy efficient. Although they might be easy on the wallet at the store, this is not the case on your electrical bill. And while fluorescent bulbs do save money on your electrical bill, they require more cash up front.


In order to make an educated decision, it’s imperative that you decide what is important to you as a consumer. If you are looking to save cash in the long run, fluorescent bulbs enable you to do that simply and effectively. However, if you are looking to use a light bulb that is safer for the environment, but may cost a little more cash, then incandescent bulbs are for you.

 

Electricity doesn’t always have to be a complicated subject. While there are some instances in which you must call your local master electrician, there are many questions that can be answered with a little research and determination. Choosing a type of light bulb is not likely to be an incredibly difficult decision, but diving into the endeavor with some extra information will always prove to be helpful. If you’ve got bigger problems to deal with than a simple light bulb switch-up, then contact us at Northern Electric & Automation, we’d love to help.

Home Automation's Power to Simplify Your Life, Reduce Expenses, and Increase Security

Posted by ewec1 on March 27, 2015 at 12:30 AM Comments comments (0)

 

In today’s costly world, homeowners are fully aware of the expenses related to inflated energy costs and inefficient home security systems.


There is nothing worse than receiving an electricity bill and being shocked by the amount owed at the end of a month or stolen possessions that could have been more strategically secured. Such realities have led homeowners to seek technologies that can help them beat the current system.


A growing number of homeowners are educating themselves on basic energy management and security devices, which often combine the use of innovate shade and control systems. A wide variety of automation solutions help homeowners monitor and control their home lighting from an iPad, iPhone, or wireless, you can pre-program lighting levels and reduce energy output.


It is also amazingly easy to set lighting to turn on and off at specific times. This significantly reduces the possibility of a light being left on throughout the night, or for several days while a homeowner is on vacation. Additionally, with remote access service, no matter where in the world a homeowner travels he or she can turn lights on or off with a simple touchscreen command.


To make the management of lighting much easier to maintain, Control4 offers keypads with captions that can read “kitchen," “hallway," “master bedroom," “patio," and more. With a push of a single button, lighting is ignited in a desired location. The Control4 suite of products also offers dimmers that allow for lights to be set to a particular level.


In addition there are ground breaking products for ultimate lighting, shading, security, and energy control. These systems provide a holistic approach that combines total light and shade functionality. Control the power to adjust the amount of daylight and electric light in a room throughout an entire home. Shades can also be lowered, electric powered curtains closed, and lighting ignited at pre-programmed times.


For instance, if particular rooms within a home are in direct sunlight in the afternoon, the lowering of window shades and closing of curtains can significantly reduce room temperatures. Or when the family is on vacation and dusk approaches, lowered shades, closed curtains, and automated lighting can offer higher levels of security. And for the family that has developed a high-tech home theatre, with the single push of a button window shades can be lowered and lights set to a particular level to create the perfect ambiance.


Many homeowners love the fact that automation systems are fully scalable. This provides homeowners the power to start with a single room and expand when time and budget permits.


Seeking to automate your home for added simplicity, comfort, energy efficiency, and security? The beauty of 2015 is that homeowners have more control than ever before.


The secret to discovering and installing a solution that best fits your needs is to consult with a personalized home automation expert. Contact Eric at Northern Automation and Electric Today!

Home Automation

Posted by ewec1 on March 27, 2015 at 12:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Home Automation’s Power to Simplify Your Life, Reduce Expenses, and Increase Security

 

In today’s costly world, homeowners are fully aware of the expenses related to inflated energy costs and inefficient home security systems.

 

 

There is nothing worse than receiving an electricity bill and being shocked by the amount owed at the end of a month or stolen possessions that could have been more strategically secured. Such realities have led homeowners to seek technologies that can help them beat the current system.

 

A growing number of homeowners are educating themselves on basic energy management and security devices, which often combine the use of innovate shade and control systems. A wide variety of automation solutions help homeowners monitor and control their home lighting from an iPad, iPhone, or wireless, you can pre-program lighting levels and reduce energy output.

 

It is also amazingly easy to set lighting to turn on and off at specific times. This significantly reduces the possibility of a light being left on throughout the night, or for several days while a homeowner is on vacation. Additionally, with remote access service, no matter where in the world a homeowner travels he or she can turn lights on or off with a simple touchscreen command.

 

To make the management of lighting much easier to maintain, Control4 offers keypads with captions that can read “kitchen," “hallway," “master bedroom," “patio," and more. With a push of a single button, lighting is ignited in a desired location. The Control4 suite of products also offers dimmers that allow for lights to be set to a particular level.

 

In addition there are ground breaking products for ultimate lighting, shading, security, and energy control. These systems provide a holistic approach that combines total light and shade functionality. Control the power to adjust the amount of daylight and electric light in a room throughout an entire home. Shades can also be lowered, electric powered curtains closed, and lighting ignited at pre-programmed times.

 

For instance, if particular rooms within a home are in direct sunlight in the afternoon, the lowering of window shades and closing of curtains can significantly reduce room temperatures. Or when the family is on vacation and dusk approaches, lowered shades, closed curtains, and automated lighting can offer higher levels of security. And for the family that has developed a high-tech home theatre, with the single push of a button window shades can be lowered and lights set to a particular level to create the perfect ambiance.

 

Many homeowners love the fact that automation systems are fully scalable. This provides homeowners the power to start with a single room and expand when time and budget permits.

 

Seeking to automate your home for added simplicity, comfort, energy efficiency, and security? The beauty of 2015 is that homeowners have more control than ever before.

 

The secret to discovering and installing a solution that best fits your needs is to consult with a personalized home automation expert. Contact Eric at Northern Electric and Automation today!

 


Electrical Safety Checklist!

Posted by ewec1 on March 25, 2015 at 8:00 PM Comments comments (0)

 

 


Daily life would be unthinkable without the availability of electricity. While the occasional power outage reminds us that candles and barbecue grills are poor substitutes for reading lamps and microwaves, prolonged problems with a home’s electrical system have the potential to cause significant interruptions in daily living. There are three steps to ensuring that you will enjoy continued access to electricity in all situations.


System Inspection

A system inspection is the first step to enjoying your home’s electricity safely and with a minimum of interruptions. Walk through your rooms and take note of your outlets. Are there some that do not support any electrical appliances? Are there others that seem to have one or more extension cords plugged in? If so, you are looking at an unbalanced use of the home’s circuits.


Extension cords – although handy – should be a temporary fix rather than a permanent solution to your power needs. If you are uncertain about your circuit loads, give Eric at NAE a call. He would gladly come out and do a system inspection for you.


Problem Mitigation

If you discover that you have outgrown your available number of outlets and circuits, we can easily install new circuits and outlets to power your new appliances. In the alternative, consider a reduction of any appliances that are currently plugged in. Are there some machines that you do not really use all the time? Perhaps you could store them in a cabinet or at least unplug them until you have a need for them. This frees up not only useful counter space but also opens up some much-needed outlet space.


Professional Improvement

Of course, there comes a time when a professional should be consulted. This free electrical safety checklist highlights the occasions when NAE not only ensure your continued enjoyment of electrical power but also your continued safety.

 

  • Dimming lights. If your lights occasionally flicker or dim, you may be looking at light bulb troubles. If this problem affects all lamps plugged into a circuit, you may be looking at wiring problems. This is a job for the professional.


  • Outlet troubles. Does your outlet feel warm or even hot to the touch? Are the edges somewhat discolored? Do you notice sparks coming from the outlet? You could be dealing with frayed wiring, which is a serious fire hazard! Do not let another day go by without calling a professional. Protect your safety by not using the outlet until after you get it fixed.


  • Appliance troubles. Does it seem like every toaster that is plugged into a certain outlet seems to break right away? Do you get a bit of a tingle when you touch an appliance? Does the coffeemaker have a burning smell when you turn it on? Sure, you could have bad luck with your appliances. Then again, you might be encountering uneven power flows that are causing your appliances to burn. An electrician is able to quickly ascertain where the trouble lies.

 

By the way, if you lose electricity every time a storm hits, let us know. We can easily install a BACK-UP GENERATOR that powers selected circuits in your home. Never lose another refrigerator or freezer filled with food again! 

Spring Safety Tips from Northern Electric and Automation

Posted by ewec1 on March 25, 2015 at 8:00 PM Comments comments (0)

As spring-cleaning time approaches, don’t forget to add “electrical safety” to your annual checklist. Chasing dust bunnies is a worthy goal, but protecting your family and home is one of the most important chores you’ll ever tackle.


10 Electrical Safety Tips


  • Keep power cords and electrical equipment away from moisture. Making contact with charged water is more than dangerous; it is life threatening. If you accidentally drop a dryer or other plugged-in appliance into the water, NEVER unplug it or pick it up before shutting off electricity to the proper circuit. Allow the device to dry for a few days and have an electrical professional examine the appliance to determine if it is still safe and functional.


  • Call before you dig. Prevent damage to underground electrical equipment and avoid potential injury by making sure you are safe to dig. New Hampshire and Massachusetts law requires residents to call at least three full business days before digging. Dial 811 to be connected to Dig Safe.


  • Plug countertop appliances into GFCIs. Should an appliance malfunction or fall into the water, the GFCI shuts off electricity to the appliance before electrical shock can occur.


  • Check electrical devices for UL labels. Underwriters Laboratories certifies the safety of electrical devices, but the appliance and electrical market has seen a growing number of counterfeit UL labels. Look for the UL label on your devices, and read this article by Underwriters Laboratories to learn how to spot a fake label.


  • Clean your exhaust hood after a long winter of indoor cooking. Food particles, dust, and oil buildup encourages bacteria growth and is a potential fire hazard. Remove and clean the hood filter, and use a degreaser to clean exposed surfaces.


  • Vacuum the coils behind your refrigerator. Dirt buildup contributes to appliance inefficiency and is also a potential fire hazard. Carefully clean the coils every few months. When you return the refrigerator to its proper place, leave room behind it for air to safely circulate.


  • Clean dryer ducts. Dryer fires are a major hazard that can be avoided by cleaning the interior and exterior of your dryer hose each year. Every six months, inspect the dryer vent for clogs and lint buildup. There are many professional HVAC companies that provide a thorough dryer vent inspection and cleaning if you are unable to do this, yourself.


  • Check lamp and fixture wattages while you are dusting. Bulb wattages should be equal to or less than manufacturer recommendations, which are listed on the individual fixture.


  • Check power strips and surge suppressors. These electrical devices are designed to manage a specified electrical load. Avoid plugging too many items into the same outlet, which may cause a circuit overload or lead to a fire.


  • Schedule an electrical inspection. Inspections are especially important for homeowners moving into or out of a new home. Northern Automation and Electric can perform visual inspections, inspects circuit panels, and brings all electrical systems up to date with code corrections.

 


Learn More About Electrical Safety

 

According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), the risk of electrical fire is a big concern for homeowners. Over 28,600 annual electrical fires lead to 310 deaths, 1,100 injuries, and more than $1 billion in property loss and damages. At NAE Automation and Electric we educate the community about electrical safety so families can feel secure in their homes. View our FREE SAFETY CHECKLIST and information about preventing generator hazards, putting out electrical fires, and keeping children safe around electricity.

 

To schedule an electrical inspection or discuss safety concerns contact Eric at Northern Automation and Electric 603-662-2108 today!


Should I Buy a Back-up Generator

Posted by ewec1 on March 25, 2015 at 4:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Another record breaking New England winter is behind us, but thunderstorms and hurricans are on the horizon. When you consider that it took until the end of 2012 to restore about three quarters of the electricity in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, looking into the purchase of a back-up generator makes sense for residents and business owners.  Northern Automation and Electric is a authorized dealer for GE and Briggs and Stratton.  We usually get calls from area residents who are wondering if this is the right investment for them. Here are some common questions and their answers.


Q: Why should I invest in a backup generator?

 

A: Do you usually have a freezer full of food? Do you have a medical condition that requires you to use durable medical equipment, which relies on electricity? How about comfort; do you like to be warm or cool – depending on the season – even if there is foul weather? If you answered yes to any of these questions, a backup generator makes sense.


Q: Can it power all of my circuits?

 

A: Depending on the size of the backup generator you choose, you can power your whole house or just a few circuits. For example, if you do not worry about your hobby room and the garage, you can omit these circuits and purchase a smaller model. If you like the option of accessing and using each room to its fullest potential even when the grid is down, a whole-house 17KW model gets the job done.


Q: I travel a lot. How does a back up generator benefit me?

 

A: If you are away from home frequently, or if you maintain a summer residence,  a generator is actually the type of appliance that you should look into. Its mobile link feature allows you to remain in contact with the machine via a smartphone or computer. Wherever you have cellular service availability, you can check in on your generator to see if it is running, when it last ran and what the overall power situation looks like at your home.

 

 

There is a lot more to these backup generators than meets the eye. Technology has moved on significantly from the last time you probably looked into the purchase of one of these appliances. When you call Eric at Northern Automation and Electric, he will gladly discuss the latest in the lineup of generators, how one of these appliances may benefit you, and what model will most likely meet all of your needs.

 

Common House-Hold Energy Drains

Posted by ewec1 on March 20, 2015 at 12:25 AM Comments comments (0)


Many appliances use electricity even when they aren’t powered on. This property is known as standby power, which is used to perform functions that must operate continuously. Energy saving measures often include unplugging electrical devices to eliminate the cost of keeping them in standby mode. This strategy requires you to estimate the cost of standby power for each appliance since it may not be worthwhile to unplug a device when it is not in use.

 

Calculations

 

A year is about 8,766 hours long, so a month has an average duration of about 730.5 hours. This means you can multiply an appliance’s standby power in watts by 0.73 to obtain the kilowatts of energy it consumes each month, assuming it is always plugged in. A typical cost of electricity in the United States is 10 cents per kilowatt-hour. You can therefore estimate the standby cost of an appliance in dollars by multiplying its standby power consumption in watts by 0.0731.

 

Satellite Decoder

A satellite decoder draws about 12 watts in standby mode. It costs 12 x 0.0731 = $0.88 per month to keep a satellite decoder plugged in.

 

Cable TV Converter

A cable TV converter decoder draws about 11 watts in standby mode. It costs 11 x 0.0731 = $0.80 per month to keep a cable TV converter plugged in.

 

Compact Audio System

A compact audio system draws about 9 watts in standby mode. It costs 9 x 0.0731 = $0.66 per month to keep a compact audio system plugged in.

 

Video Recorder

A video recorder draws about 6 watts in standby mode. It costs 6 x 0.0731 = $0.44 per month to keep a video recorder plugged in.


Television Set

A television set draws about 5 watts in standby mode. It costs 5 x 0.0731 = $0.37 per month to keep a television set plugged in.


Inkjet Printer

An inkjet printer draws about 5 watts in standby mode. It costs 12 x 0.0731 = $0.37 per month to keep an inkjet printer plugged in.


DVD player

 A DVD player draws about 4 watts in standby mode. It costs 4 x 0.0731 = $0.29 per month to keep a DVD player plugged in.

 

Microwave Oven

A microwave oven draws about 3 watts in standby mode. It costs 3 x 0.0731 = $0.22 per month to keep a microwave oven plugged in.

 

Power Tool

A power tool draws about 2 watts in standby mode. It costs 2 x 0.0731 = $0.15 per month to keep a power tool plugged in.

 

Video Game Console

 A video game console draws about 1 watt in standby mode. It costs 1 x 0.0731 = $0.07 per month to keep a video game console plugged in.

5 Common Electrical Hazards

Posted by ewec1 on March 20, 2015 at 12:20 AM Comments comments (0)

Electricity is a staple in most homes today, and our reliance on it means that it’s important to learn how to handle it safely. Unfortunately, electrical fires and shocks aren’t as rare as you might think, but the good news is that most of them are completely preventable. By keeping a few basic ideas in mind, you can safeguard your home from electrical hazards and still enjoy helpful appliances and beautiful light fixtures!

 

1. Water

 Most people know that water and electricity don’t mix, and yet many of us end up reaching for the hair dryer or electric razor after a shower as our hands are still wet. Do not touch electrical outlets or appliances with wet hands, and never reach into water to pull out an appliance that’s plugged in. Be very careful about outlets and electronics near water, including swimming pools. Any radios, TVs, phones, curling irons, hair dryers, radiators, lamps, and cords should be kept away from sinks, bathtubs, and pools filled with water. Completely dry hands and feet before touching electronics.


2. Extension Cords

Although they can be very helpful, do not use extension cords for a long period of time. They are designed for temporary applications, so unplug and safely store them between each use. Do not run extension cords through ceilings or walls, as it may cause them to overheat which can cause electrical fires. The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) reports that improper use of extension cords causes 3,300 residential fires each year. If you’re constantly needing a longer cord to plug in an appliance, you’re probably better off installing a new outlet.


3. Curious Children and Pets

If you look around your home or office, you’ll notice that most outlets are located near the ground; this makes them convenient for plugging in electronics, but it also places them at a height accessible to children and animals. This doesn’t mean you have to move all your outlets, but there are a few simple changes you can make to keep your home and loved ones safe. Place plastic covers over outlets to prevent children from placing fingers or objects into the sockets. Plug-in covers are easy to find in any hardware store. Also make sure to keep loose cords away from pets, who may chew on them. You don’t need to cover them (this can actually lead to overheating) but securing cords or taping them down can prevent pets from playing with them.


4. Damaged Wires and Cords

Never use cords that are corroded, melted, frayed, or have turned black. If a cord’s outer sheathing is torn or is exposing the wires within, you run a risk of shock, burn, or electrical fire. To prevent cord tears, always unplug appliances and electronics by pulling on the plug itself, not the cord. Additionally, do not try to “fix” run-down cords by taping the tears; just replace them or have a licensed electrician look at them if you’re unsure. Dealing with faulty cords is a tricky process that is best handled by a qualified professional.


5. Broken Smoke Alarms

Your smoke alarms are one of the most important safety features in your home, but they’re useless if their batteries are dead. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that approximately two-thirds of all home fire deaths occur in homes without working smoke alarms. With a statistic like this, it’s tough to argue against installing functional smoke alarms. Ideally, alarms should be placed in each bedroom/sleeping area and on the floor of every home. Check to make sure they’re working each month by pressing the “TEST” button located on the alarm. If your alarm is sounding off a single “beep” at periodic intervals (versus a constant beeping that indicates smoke detection), that means the batteries are failing and need to be changed immediately.


Does one of these issues sound familiar to you? For residential and commercial electrical services in Massachusetts and New Hampshire call NAE Automation and Electric Today!

Why Are My Lights Flickering?

Posted by ewec1 on March 20, 2015 at 12:10 AM Comments comments (0)


Flickering lights do not always signify a serious issue with your electrical system. What’s more important to note is which lights flicker and how. This is a relatively common issue that can have a variety of explanations. To get a better idea of how to address your flickering lights, tailor your solution to the specific situation.


 Causes of Flickering Lights


 1. One Flickering Light

 

If a single light bulb is flickering, then the issue likely begins and ends with that particular bulb. First, check to make sure that the light bulb is screwed in all the way (when bulbs get out of place, the connection with the socket is compromised). Sometimes it helps to unscrew the bulb completely and re-screw it back in to make sure it isn’t crooked or loose. For your safety, switch the light off before you do this. If the light is still flickering when turned back on, it could mean that this particular bulb is at the end of its lifespan and needs to be replaced altogether.

 

If none of the above apply, try investigating the light switch itself next. Switch the light on and off a few times to see if the flickering dies down. If not, you may have a faulty switch that needs to be replaced by an electrician. Similarly, if you replace the bulb on a plug-in lamp and it still isn’t working, try plugging the lamp into a different outlet. It’s possible that the issue could be stemming from the socket. This type of issue should also be troubleshooted by a professional, as in-depth electrical work can be dangerous.

 


2. All Lights Flicker

 

When all the lights in your house are flickering, you may have a bigger problem on your hands. This can be caused by inclement weather, but if it is happening on a regular basis, your home’s voltage may be fluctuating. Take note of when the flickering happens and call an electrician to give them the details. You should have a professional take a look as soon as possible before further damage is caused.

 


3. Lights Flicker And Then Fully Light Up

 

A third scenario is that your lights flicker for a moment immediately after being switched on, and then reach (and maintain) full illumination moments later. If you have fluorescent bulbs, this is completely normal. This occurs naturally in these types of lights and as long as the flicker stops after completing lighting up, there should be no issue. Many energy-saving bulbs take a few minutes to fully brighten. If the light bulb is a typical incandescent bulb, follow the suggestions in scenario 1.

 

If you’re not sure what might be causing the problem, it’s wise to call NAE Automation and Electric to check it out. The tips above can help you narrow down what might be going on, but doing risky electrical work yourself isn’t recommended.

10 Energy Saving Tips for Your Business

Posted by ewec1 on March 19, 2015 at 11:50 AM Comments comments (0)


The cost of energy always seems to be rising and in response, people are always looking for ways to save on their electricity bill. When you have a business that uses a substantial amount of energy each month, it becomes even more important for you to find some ways to reduce your overall costs. Here are ten very good ways that you can do just that.


Conduct an Audit

You can conduct an audit of your own business so that you can get a better idea of where and how you are using the most energy. Â Knowing where your businesss weaknesses are when it comes to energy usage will help you with the next tip on this list.


Monitor Your Bills

Always make sure that you are looking at your bills closely each month and learn which days you are using the most energy.  Look into curbing your usage on those days (if possible). Monitoring can help you gauge this more accurately.


Reduce A/C and Heating Usage

Make sure that you are not keeping your air conditioner or heater running when no one is in the building. If you dont have people coming into work until 7AM, it makes no sense to have the same heating and cooling settings overnight as you do during the day. Adjust them. Also, keep the blinds shut during the day, which keeps the heat out in the summer. Do the opposite in the winter.


Replace Your Bulbs

Its always a good idea to change from old bulbs that use high energy to the energy efficient bulbs (like CFLs). They use less power and they last much longer, which can help you save quite a bit.


Turn Off the Lights

Instill the importance of turning off lights when no one is in the room. This is important for offices, as well as break rooms and bathrooms. For some rooms, it might be a good idea to install a motion sensor that will shut off the light when no one is in the room.


Energy Saving Appliances

Always look for energy saving machines when it comes to copiers and printers, but dont forget about the appliances in your break room as well. Look for high quality coffee pots and refrigerators that have a good energy efficiency rating.


Better Insulation

Have professionals come out and check to see if the insulation you have at your business is sufficient to help you save energy.


Generate Your Own Power

Some companies are starting to use solar panels to help them generate all or at least a portion of their energy. This could be a good solution for your business as well.


Turn Off Computers

At the end of the day, make sure that everyone turns off their computers and monitors, as they take up energy even when theyre not running.


Programmable Thermostats

Having a good programmable thermostat will make it easier for you to keep the temperatures at the perfect setting no matter the time of year.


NAE has the resources and knowlege to provide a customized quote for your buisness or cost-saving opportunities for your home.


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