Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Why is my power bill too much!!!

A question like that can't be answered, first, without 1) having a previous bill to go from and 2) know what kind of habits you have in regards to power usage. Sometimes as new homeowners, we don't know what's normal for the new home, especially if we just left something either smaller, gas utilities for some of the appliances, or from home with the parents. Your first winter power bill may knock you clean out your seat. Trust me, I seen it happen(laughing). 

Now, for us more seasoned homeowners, if you've noticed a significant increase in your power bill, then, we can get down to business and checkout some causes here.

At any rate, first, lets take out the power bill. If you notice there were more kwh usage than previous month, you now may be on to something. For instance, the season has changed or between the months of November to February are prime months. The usage of your heater has created a demand. Not only are you using more energy, but now, the cost of using the energy has increased. However, make sure to view the section on your power bill "Year Ago", and this would give you a ballpark of where you should be. If this column is blank, contact power company to retain data.

Another thing is to check the accuracy of your bill. Again, look at your bill. If you only used 100kwh the previous month and now it's 2000kwh the current month. Let us look at the actual reading: start of the month 15000kwh and the end of the month 15100. Clearly you see, there have been only a 100kwh used hear. Therefore, you need to bring this to the attention of your power company. You will be reimbursed.

Okay, time for the heavy duty check, the meter may be running continuously. Shut off all breakers, then go to meter to see if its still spinning or electronic indicators still changing. If this the case,
1) for duplex and apartments, your neighbor may be using your circuit  
2) for the single home unit, the meter may be damage, it's very unlikely, but possible. 

At any rate, get a license electrician over to confirm this and write up a statement to that effect. Then inform power company of damaged meter. While license electrician are on site, he can check for power leakage test, energy cost usage and audit as well.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Why do my Light Bulbs Keep Blowing

Light Engineering 

Light bulbs burning out too often and too soon is a common headache for homeowners. You just purchase some bulbs and you're feeling good about yourself, because finally, you're able to lighten those dark areas in your home and you gotten something accomplished. Then about a couple months later or sooner, you're now replacing them again. Now, your feeling ripped off and a little helpless because you don't know where to go from here. Rest assure, you've come to the right place for you information.

The most common thing to check is maximum wattage of fixture or lamp. 
We tend to want more light in dark areas by any means, therefore we install the notorious 100W bulb in the fixture. Not realizing, not only is this a fire hazard, but also shortening the life of the bulb. All fixtures has max ratings. You may find it either on the socket or globes. If undetermined, treat it as a 60W max rating. When the maximum rating is compromised due to the heat, you then have a breakdown of the insulation, the socket, and also the bulb itself. 

The next thing to check is the quality of the bulb. 
You don't have to be an expert in this area, you just need to know your lighting brands here. Not all bulbs are the same. There are the good, the bad, and the ugly. Buying quality actually matters in buying bulbs, believe it or not. Once you made sure you complied with the max rating and you are still blowing bulbs, you must check quality. I won't endorse here, but you may contact me for the big three brands or your local home improvement store. 

Vibration around the fixture. 
Something as simple as slamming a door can jeopardize a light bulb in a wall sconce near it. Kids playing in an upper room can also trigger the problem. Another thing some of us don't think about, is our ceiling fans. They are common as well. Some bulbs just aren't naturally subject to excessive vibration. The good thing is, there are bulbs design for such application. Just look a little closer next time at the store. There are rough service bulbs, sometimes called ceiling fan bulbs, garage door opener bulbs, and appliance bulbs. They have additional support for the filament in them.

Improper installation 
Sometime screwing the bulb in too tight can cause a problem. The brass tab on the base can be damage over a period of time. When screwed tightly the tab will spring back and forth when depressed slightly. 
A loose bulb or a buld that's cross- thread can pose a problem too. The lack of connection can cause overheating when equals to short life. 

There may be spikes from the power company at times. But a whole house surge protector can solve the bulb problem and a 130V rated bulb, as well. 

There may be other causes as well. Also, good practice is to install bulb with switch off. But remember, some things are just an "Act of God. "