How Often Should I Replace My Appliances for Maximum Efficiency and Safety?

August 15, 2019

While you can maximize an appliance’s life span with proper maintenance and careful usage, there will eventually come a time when you have to replace it, no matter hard you work to take care of it. Let’s look at how often you should replace home appliances, along with the fundamental problems associated with not replacing these important machines often enough. Even If It Ain’t Broke…It Might Be Broke In talking about how often to consider replacing home appliances, it’s helpful to keep in mind the old saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” There’s one big problem with this saying in regard to home appliances: Older home appliances that seem to do their jobs adequately may have reached a point of inefficiency that, for practical purposes, renders them “broke.” Ask yourself, for instance: How often does your old washing machine go out of balance or spin-off track during a cycle? Do you find yourself putting it back on track with every load? Does food in your old refrigerator spoil more quickly than you would expect—or more quickly than it used to when you first bought the fridge? Do you find you need to turn the temperature dial to maximum...

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The Latest New Electrical and Electricians Tech and Why They Matter

August 1, 2019

At GVEC Home, we understand that many consumers want to bring their homes up to date with the latest efficiency standards. The good news is that many efficiency upgrades are relatively easy for homeowners to do themselves. Here are a few do-it-yourself upgrades you should consider making around your house. Add LEDs for Greater Energy Efficiency For generations, incandescent lighting was the standard. Many of you probably still remember a time when, after changing a lightbulb and shaking the old bulb, you’d hear the jiggling noise of broken filaments, confirming the bulb was dead. Today, LED lighting is making that dead-filament dance a thing of the past. LED technology can help you achieve significant savings on lighting your home. For one, LEDs lasts much longer than incandescents. Plus, LED brightness has greatly improved over time and is now comparable to that of incandescent bulbs. Certainly, the up-front cost of LED bulbs is slightly higher; however, it’s important to remember that these bulbs outlast incandescents by many years while using far less energy and saving money on your electric bill. In fact, LEDs use less energy per lumen than any lighting type! These factors make LED lighting the clear winner against...

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What’s the Difference Between a Circuit Breaker and a GFCI?

July 16, 2019

GFCIs and Circuit Breakers Do Different Jobs If you’ve ever had electrical work done on your home, you may have heard the electrician talk about circuit breakers and/or GFCIs. It’s not uncommon for people to get confused about how these two devices differ. Although both can alter the flow of electricity in your home, each performs different jobs. Here are some differences and similarities between these two important electrical components, along with an explanation of how they protect a home’s electrical system from damage and home dwellers from dangerous electrical shocks. What Is a GFCI? A ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) is a specialized outlet with a built-in breaker. These devices are designed to prevent shock in the event an electrical device comes in contact with water. You typically find these outlets in kitchens and bathrooms, but also near pools and anywhere else where electricity is used near water. If you’re using an appliance in your kitchen or a hairdryer in the bathroom and its flow of electricity surges because the user comes in contact with water, the breaker inside the GFCI will trip, automatically switching off the current. When a GFCI shuts off the power this way, there’s a...

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Breaker Box Basics: Avoiding Nasty or Life-Threatening Electrical Shocks

July 6, 2019

If you plan to remodel your house, change electrical wiring or alter your outlets or lighting, it’s important to know the basics of electrical safety. Otherwise, you could end up encountering a shock that’s painful at best and life-threatening at worst. Knowing how breaker boxes work is key to avoiding dangerous shocks. Understanding How the Breaker Box Works The breaker box is usually a rectangular panel that opens to reveal an array of switches. Most homes include a single breaker panel, and these can be found at various locations around a home; however, they’re often found in a garage, storage area, basement or hallway. Keep in mind, though, that a breaker box can be located almost anywhere. If you have trouble locating yours, try looking outside. The big switch at the top controls all power in the home. The smaller switches control various electrical circuits. These smaller switches should be labeled, but if not, you can do “flip tests” to see what each switch controls. When Should You Flip the Main Breaker? Flipping the main breaker can help keep you safe if you need to quickly shut off all power in the house. Do this if there’s a flooding event,...

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Six Reasons Your Home Might Be Guzzling Electricity

June 19, 2019

The Shock of High Electric Use At some point, most of us have experienced the unpleasant surprise of opening a larger-than-expected electricity bill. Did the unanticipated expense send you scrambling to understand why your bill was so high? Did you wonder how you might be able to avoid such surprises in the future? This blog is for you. Here’s a look at six things the residential electricity experts at GVEC say often contribute to high energy bills. 1. Weather Matters on Your Electricity Bill Weather matters. You’ll find this simple refrain spread across all GVEC’s social media, on our blog, and in The GVEC Review each month. The hotter or colder the weather outside, the harder your HVAC system must work to maintain the temperature you set the thermostat to. If it’s 103 degrees on a hot August day, for instance, and you set the thermostat to 70, that’s a 33-degree differential! Your AC will likely run nonstop to keep up as long as the difference remains so high. That’s why GVEC recommends a thermostat setting of 78 degrees during the summer. At this setting, the differential on that 103-degree day would be 25 degrees—still not small, but certainly more...

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How LED Lighting Can Make a Difference in Your Home

June 1, 2019

LED Lighting: A Switch Worth Making These days, many people are switching from traditional incandescent lighting to LEDs. This technology provides multiple benefits, and at GVEC, we recommend that you consider making the switch, too. LED costs have come down in recent years, but they remain slightly more expensive than traditional bulbs. The extra upfront cost, however, is worth it in the long run. Here’s why. LED Bulbs Help Lower Energy Costs LED lighting consumes only a fraction of the energy used by incandescent bulbs. In fact, LEDs use less energy per lumen than any other current lighting technology. And of course, the less energy consumed, the less money you pay on your electric bill. As an added bonus, less energy consumed means less demand on the grid, which can be beneficial for all GVEC members, especially during the peak demand times of summer. Consuming less energy is better for the environment, too. LED Lighting Lasts Longer LED light bulbs last longer than any other bulb on the market. In fact, they last 40 times longer than incandescents. No matter where a light fixture is located, a reduction in the need to change bulbs saves time and hassle, but reduced...

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Do It Yourself Electrical Work Isn’t Your Safest Bet

May 23, 2019

It’s a common practice to do repairs around the house without hiring a specialist. The list of reasons for this can range from saving a few bucks to the sense of pride you gain from doing it on your own. With electrical work, it’s important to weigh the safety risks into your choice. Let’s look at the reasons why doing electrical work yourself is not the best option. Many homeowners dislike hiring outside specialists for small and, sometimes, even large repair jobs around the house. “Why pay someone to do a job I can do myself?” these do-it-yourselfers often rationalize. This practice isn’t terribly uncommon. Many do-it-yourselfers take great pride in completing the work—and doing it well—all by themselves. With electrical work, though, it’s important to weigh the safety risks against the cost savings; even that feeling of accomplishment from a job-well-done should take a backseat to issues of safety. Let’s look at the reasons why doing electrical work yourself is not the best option. Getting Your Wires Crossed A home or a business building can contain hundreds of yards of electrical wires, serving to power appliances, electronics, lighting and more. Getting any of these wires crossed or making improper...

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Five Ways to Keep Your Kids Safe Around Electricity

May 2, 2019

Kids are born ready to explore their world. Because of their natural curiosity, they should be taught the risks associated with electricity. Here are five tips for keeping them safe. Kids are born ready to explore their world. Because of their natural curiosity, they should be taught the risks associated with electricity. Here are five tips for keeping them safe. 1. Electricity and Water Don’t Mix Each year, many accidents happen when electrical items come into contact with water. Teach kids to never mix the two. Also, if they notice an electrical appliance in a body of water, they shouldn’t reach in to retrieve it or even touch the water and should instead tell someone about it. 2. Don’t Yank the Cord; Pull the Plug Instead When electrical devices need to be unplugged, kids should be taught how to gently pull the plug to disconnect it from the outlet. Some people have a tendency to yank the cord, and this is dangerous. Yanking a plug can damage the appliance, the plug itself and/or the outlet. Exposed wires can cause much bigger problems. If you notice any electrical issues in Gonzales, TX, GVEC Electrician Services can repair it for you—just give...

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How to Find Quality Electricians for Your Next Project

April 20, 2019

Without a doubt, electrical wiring is one of the most important systems you’ll find in any home or business. Consequently, it’s important to have qualified professionals install and maintain your electrical infrastructure. Here are a few proven tips for finding the best electricians to tackle any given electrical project. Check Out Their Bond and Insurance Virtually every state in America requires electricians to secure a surety bond before a license is granted. Bonds and insurance protect consumers against fraud and shoddy work. Don’t hire an electrical firm for a project if it doesn’t have a current bond. Look at Their License and Credentials Due to the potential danger of their work, electricians must undergo rigorous training to guarantee their competency. Both master and journeymen electricians must pass state-sanctioned tests before they’re issued licenses. Make sure that your electricians are properly qualified before you hire them. Investigate Their Fields of Expertise Like other professionals, most electricians will typically have a niche or two in which they specialize. For instance, some electricians may focus on solar panel installation or exterior lighting installation. Look for electricians who specialize in the wiring that your project requires. Ask Around About Their Reputation Performing research on...

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Benefits of Whole Home Surge Protection

April 9, 2019

Whole home surge protection is a way to reduce the possibility of a power surge risk that can cause damage or harm to wiring, appliances, and valuable electronic equipment. Power surges are described as short bursts of electricity that create a spike in the electrical current. The stronger the surge, the more likely it can cause damage. It’s to be noted that surges inside the home aren’t protected by a whole house system because that protection is designed to stop surges before they enter your home. Here are some important benefits of having whole home surge protection. Stops a Possible Surge When you have a whole home surge protection system, it stops a possible surge prior to entering the residence because a special protection device is hard-wired into the main electrical panel/breaker box. This device should preferably be installed by a licensed professional, like the ones from in Gonzales, since most homeowners aren’t knowledgeable about this procedure or trained to do it properly. In addition, installing the device means working with electricity. This can be a serious hazard for the inexperienced because working around electricity requires continual diligence and caution. Limits Voltage Surge protectors inside the home are power strips...

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