Information


Alexa Light Switches

Many people are interested in having Alexa (or another voice enabled system) control their lights.  Alexa does work pretty good, but, what is the best way to do it?

I recommend the Lutron Caseta line of products.

With these switches, you never have to worry about someone accidently turning off the Alexa light.  Also, if the internet goes out, these great dimmers and switches just work.  They have dimmers, regular on/off switches and lamp dimmers.

If you want to control the lights with your device, or with Alexa, the Kit is required, which comes with the hub.  Plug the hub into your router, install the Caseta app on your device and follow the simple instructions.  Ta’da’

You can thank me later.


Whole House Surge Protection

For sensitive electronics, plug strip surge protection are a no brainer.  When purchasing them, make sure they say “UL 1449 Listed” to be sure they provide minimum protection.  It must say listed, not just “Meets or exceeds”.  You can supplement this protection, and add more by installing Whole House sure protection.

Why would you want whole house protections?  Not only does a whole house surge protector supplement the individual surge strip protection, but it protects the ‘2 pole” items in your house as well.

See the image below:

We recommend the following items for protection the whole house: Square D HEPD80

Make sure you add the flush mount kit, to make sure the installation does not look awkard 😉

Also, if you have a mounted LED TV, make sure the plug behind the TV is surge protected as well.

This is the Leviton Decora Plus surge protector, however Cooper also makes a “Surge protector receptacle”. Its like a “GFCI” only for surge protection.


Costco’s generator offering for 2017

Here is what the Costco in Lynnwood is offering.  It is a Dual Fuel, which means you can run it with Propane, which is an outstanding option, especially if you are a barbecuer and you have several propane bottles available.

It also has the 30 amp plug needed to feed our recommended Generator Bypass Switch setup.


Good generator option at the Woodinville Costco right now

When at Costco, I like to see which Generators they are now selling.  Today at the Woodinville Costco, I ran across this:

The Generac GP8000e.  They are ‘clearing them out’ for $750.  This unit has been discontinued by Generac, but it has good ratings.

Remember, if your house has gas, you can usually get by with 5500 watts.  (I say usually ;))

Also, if you buy this generator, give us a call to show you how to hook it up to your house panel.

Costco generators

Costco generators

 


Some recommended Generators and parts

Here are some basic recommended parts.  You can click the links and buy them on Amazon, or try Home Depot.  The prices are usually the same.  Check with the part number on HomeDepot.com before you go.  Usually the interlock kits are hard to find there.

Generator Interlock Kits:

If you have a Square D homeline panel: Model # HOMCGK2C

Simple and effective

Square D Generator Interlock Kit

This simple kits is mounted on your electrical panel cover and allows you to safe

An inlet box allows you to safely plug a cord in reversed

An inlet box allows you to safely plug a cord in reversed

ly feed your generator power to you house.

To plug it in you need a power inlet plug, this one works great: 30 Amp reliance power inlet box

The of course a generator is needed.

 

 

GENERATORS

Highly recommended:

Best choice generator

Best choice generator

 

 

Honda EU2000I 2000 Watt Super Quiet Inverter Generator

The beautiful thing about this generator is, it will use about a gallon of gas a day.  That is not much.  Also, it is quiet.  If you want power but don’t want to be kept awake, or don’t want to disturb the neighbors, or draw attention to your cozy home, this is

Special Honda cords

Special Honda cords

the choice.  It is low wattage, but very efficient.  It produces the full 2000 Watts while some other that claim to don’t.  If you need more wattage, the beauty of this product is you buy another and use one of these cord sets to double your power.

USED WITH SUCCESS:

Generac GP5500

Generac GP6500

Generac GP7500

It just depends on your house and how much load you have.

As a reminder, you need to calculate how much power you will be using regularly when choosing the generator that is best for you.  However, with the generator interlock kit, you do have flexibility to move things around.

Also, with most of these solutions some items would usually not be usable at your home, for instance, large HVAC systems if they were not gas, large ovens or clothes dryers.  However, even then there are workarounds.

Next I will write a ‘How to” use all these parts together.

Good idea

This post was turned into a page Generators and Parts

 


Another reason to have a backup power plan

Snow and Powerlines go together like peanut butter and sardines

Snow and Powerlines go together like peanut butter and sardines

Some of us love snow days, we get to hang at home, its almost like a vacation.  Sometimes however, snow days are accompanied by power outages.  Imagine sitting at home on a snow day, without power.  It maybe fine for a few hours, or a day but after that, we want some power.  That is the appeal of the generator.  Backup power on demand.

Unfortunately, today, there are more potential causes of power outages than just weather.

Notice this report from AP: AP Investigation: US power grid vulnerable to foreign hacks

Hackers may be able to take down the grid, doh!

Also this from ABC news.  They report the electrical grid may be vulnerable to terrorists.

Then the latest Feds: Cyber-Attack On Ukraine Proves US Power Grid Is Vulnerable

Do we think this will happen, probably not, but there are a lot of reasons to be prepared.

Once again, we recommend you have a back up generator and a means of plugging it into your house.  Running extension cords is not safe.

See our backup power page on how to avoid extension cords.

Also our Generators and Parts page for recommended items.

Or, even easier, give us a call

Good idea

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