wiring a hot tub - electrical

Wiring a Swimming Pool, Hot Tub or Spa? Our Electricians Can Do It All

Trust your Hot Tub Wiring or Swimming Pool Wiring to a Professional

Yes, we do swimming pool / hot tub wiring. In the last few years, pools and hot tubs / spas have become more popular than ever for homeowners. As we spend more time at home than ever before, we begin to rely more on our homes for those extra luxuries, like having swimming pools and hot tubs right in our backyard. Having your own pool is like having a party spot ready to go all the time.

It’s also an excellent way to wear the kids out on those endless summer days and to float your way through heat waves, like that intense heat dome we experienced in late June. That one will go down in the memories of British Columbians everywhere as everyone flocked to the rivers, lakes and ocean.

Heat wave aside, if you’re reading this, you’re either shopping for a pool or hot tub, or you’re approaching the installation stage. Whether you’ve chosen an in-ground pool, above ground pool, plug and play hot tub, or an extra large, extra luxurious spa model, electricity and water is a sensitive combination. It’s crucial to have the swimming pool / hot tub wiring done by professionals.

Do I Really Need a Professional for the Electrical Wiring of a Hot Tub or Pool?

Knowing what extra electrical safety precautions to follow means that a licensed electrician can install your pool or hot tub in the safest way possible. Note that in some municipalities, permits are required to install ANY type of pool or hot tub. Your local electrical inspector may require you to hire a licensed electrician.

It’s important to consider whether your home can support the additional load of a swimming pool or hot tub. Particularly for older homes or commercial buildings that could require an electrical service upgrade. This is something that will need to be taken care of to prevent disappointment and to prevent your new pool or hot tub from overloading your service. We can also take care of any connections to electrical components and extra amenities like solar panels used to power water heaters or lights.

For larger hot tubs or pools that require a 50-amp, 240v feed to power the motors, lights, to link to solar panels or other amenities, they’ll be hardwired to a junction box. The junction box is usually mounted in an access panel on the side or underneath the hot tub unit. 

Even though you can simply plug in a smaller, no-frills, hot tub to any standard 15-amp, 120v Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlet, we can make sure the outlet is properly grounded, then we can fix it if it’s not up to par. You’d be surprised how often we discover an exterior outlet that isn’t up to electrical codes and is unsafe for use anywhere near water.

What is a GFCI Outlet?

A GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) is used around the home and around any places where water is present (bathroom, spa room, swimming pool, etc.)

This can be in the form of a breaker feeding a circuit of outlets, or a separate device in your home. They often look like a regular outlet you’d have around your home, but with a reset button and a test button. The device can be connected to your house wiring differently from your normal outlets, protecting itself and other outlets downstream, electrically. The GFCI can block power during a ground fault in less than 1/40th of a second. This means that if you’ve accidentally dropped your radio into your hot tub, the power will be cut immediately. For best results, replace your GFCI outlets every 5-10 years since their useful lifespan is a max of 15 years. Another safety feature is the Disconnect Switch.

What’s the Disconnect Switch?

This all-important switch is located at least 5 feet away, usually in the form of a timer that lets you turn power to the hot tub or pool on or off.

You’ll see these in rec centres or resorts, usually in the form of a digital or analog timer on an adjacent wall. Ever noticed that you have to interrupt your soak to change the timer? That’s a safety feature because if anyone came in contact with part of the circuit while in the water and while operating the switch, they could potentially be electrocuted. This disconnect switch might be something that a general handyman or a DIY electrician may not know about. 

Regulations for Pools and Hot Tubs

Pools and hot tubs are often the hit of any neighbourhood and are the perfect addition to any block party. Regardless of whether the pool or spa is in-ground or above ground, certain municipal regulations need to be followed. Any overhead electrical lines or telecommunications lines must be a minimum clearance distance of 25’ (7.5m) above the water level and any ladders or diving boards, etc. 

If lines are lower, something as simple as a pool skimming net with a long metal handle could be dangerous. If you’ve got the option to install the pool away from these lines, that’s your best bet. In some cases, BC Hydro may be able to relocate the hydro lines for an additional cost.

What About Underground Wires?

You’ve got plans for the most feature-loaded pool deck money can buy. You’re planning for deck lighting, surround sound, maybe even a stunning waterfall lit up with LED’s. Electrical installations for these types of amenities need to be run at least 5’ from the outside edge of the pool or hot tub. Any wiring for the pool pumps, pool heater, interior lighting or filter can be attached to the pool or spa itself with no issues.

Wiring hot tubs, swimming pools and spas is a lot more complex than it looks. At Kobalt Systems, our technicians have combined decades of experience with pool and hot tub wiring, and they know exactly what your new swimming pool or hot tub needs.

From the gauge of wire to how to bring your vision for your new pool space to life, you can trust us to take care of your new investment and your safety. Contact Victoria-based Kobalt Systems today to inquire about the wiring of your new commercial or residential pool, hot tub or spa.

How a Whole House Generator Can Increase Your Home’s Value

A Generator for your Home is a Wise Investment

A whole house generator can increase your home’s value. In today’s heated housing market, it could mean the difference between the sale of your house or the sale of the house down the block. A whole house generator can increase your property value and provide you with total peace of mind during a potentially disruptive power outage. Don’t be left in the dark during the next power outage!

In this post, we’ll walk you through all the basics of a whole house generator.

What is a Whole House Generator?

A whole house generator is installed outside of your home like an HVAC unit would be. It’s much larger and more powerful than a typical standby generator. It’s connected directly to the electrical channel of your house and can be powered by either diesel, liquid propane or natural gas. 

A whole house generator can keep your entire home running even during an extended outage. On Vancouver Island, the weather can be unpredictable, with high winds, torrential rain and even the occasional heavy snowfall. Because the climate is mild most of the time, the vast majority of Vancouver Islanders are underprepared or unprepared for a power outage.

Do you remember the December 2018 windstorm? More than 260,000 Vancouver Island residents were without power for days, or even weeks in some cases. It was a disaster and one that BC Hydro has said was the worst in its history. Those who had standby generators were able to power on major appliances or a few lights in their homes. Meanwhile, many of those without standby generators were dismayed to find that stores were completely sold out. It was a stressful and upsetting time for many families.

Now imagine having a whole house generator always ready to go. You’d never have to worry about losing power again!  Like others, you may already have a small portable generator. Maybe you’re one of many who bought one after that big outage in 2018. While portable generators are useful for keeping one or two appliances running for a short period of time, there’s nothing like a powerful whole house generator for keeping your entire home running smoothly.

How a Whole House Generator Can Increase Your Home’s Value

Now for the big question – will a whole home generator add value to your home? Yes. A whole house generator is a very smart investment. It can:

  • Lower your insurance rates
  • Make it faster and easier to sell your home
  • Save money by preventing losses caused by a power outage
  • Provide a solid return on investment

According to Generator Advisor, Consumer Reports reported that in some cases, your home’s value can increase by 3% to 5% after installing a whole house generator. According to Builder Online, in a 2018 Cost Vs. Value Report done by Remodeling Magazine, a $12,860 (USD) generator increases resale value by $6,940. This means you’d recoup about 54% of your investment.

Do I Need a Whole House Generator?

In an emergency where the power is out for days, you run the risk of losing all the contents of your fridge and freezer. You also risk running out of running water if your home relies on a well system, since the pump would be non-operational. With a whole house generator, you can keep all the necessary power functions of your home running strong, and even a few creature comforts depending on the size of the generator.

Other than storms, there are a few different scenarios when your home and surrounding area may lose power:

  • Blown transformer
  • Hydro equipment failure
  • Fire
  • Flood
  • Earthquake
  • Other natural disasters
  • Fallen powerline
  • Construction mishap

How Much Generator Do I Need?

The size and power requirements vary depending on the size of the house and what your individual needs are. If you’re looking for a generator that can provide coverage only for essential circuits, a generator with a small load capacity would work just fine. If you’re looking for full house coverage with maximum load capacity, you’d need a larger generator.
*Note: always check your local bylaws regarding the installation and operation of generators.

Some of our clients prefer to power the entire house, while others prioritize things like the fridge, freezer, hot water tank, sump pump and other bare necessities.

Consider Your Home-Based Business

If you run a home-based business or work from home, a whole house generator is an especially sound investment. This will ensure that your office equipment and other necessary equipment continues to work during a power failure. This can prevent loss due to circumstances that you can’t control, like a harsh winter storm or a failure of the power grid. Software engineers, dentists, lawyers and financial investors are just a few examples of professionals who may work from home and could incur costly losses if the power went out at their home-based business. For them, an outage can result in cancelled appointments, equipment malfunctions, lost time and of course, lost income.

At Kobalt Systems, our experts will work with you to determine what will work best for your needs. In the meantime, you can estimate the size of whole house generator you’d need using this simple formula:

  • Add the total watts to see how much power your home will use during an outage
  • Multiply the total watts by 1000 to find the kilowatts
  • Multiply the kilowatts by 1.25 to add a buffer and account for any future power needs

The answer will be the minimum generator capacity needed for your house

Investing in a Whole Home Generator from Kobalt Systems

At Kobalt Systems, we know that purchasing a whole house generator is a big investment. This is why our electrical experts are behind you every step of the way. From choosing the best option for your home to the final installation and periodic maintenance, you’ll be able to rely on Kobalt Systems for every aspect of your new generator.

When installing generators, we go the extra mile to weatherproof them by replacing all the surface screws with stainless steel screws. This helps to prevent rust and corrosion caused by the salty west coast air. The generators are also designed with a corrosion-proof enclosure. We pay special attention to all these details, so you don’t have to worry.

Whole house generators can increase your home’s value and give you peace of mind. You can choose to power the basic appliances or choose a generator to power all your favourite creature comforts. At Kobalt Systems, we supply and install top-quality generators in Victoria and surrounding areas as well as provide annual inspections to keep them running perfectly. With expert installation and servicing, you’ll have total peace of mind with Kobalt Systems. Contact our team today to discover the best whole house generator solution for your specific needs.

 

Electrical Wiring Upgrade

Does Your House Need an Electrical Wiring Upgrade?

Is The Electrical Wiring In Your Older Home A Safety Risk?

Your house will more than likely need an electrical wiring upgrade if it was built more than 20 years ago. This is because over time, electrical wiring can deteriorate or become damaged. Also, your electrical panel may no longer be able to support the increasing amount of energy needed to power your home effectively. 

Overloaded electrical systems and old or faulty wiring can increase the risk of electrical fire in your home. According to Makeitright.ca, an incredible 20% of all house fires in Canada are electrical fires caused by faulty wiring. To keep your family safe and sound, our team of electricians at Kobalt Systems recommends regular electrical inspections and an electrical wiring upgrade for older homes. 

What Should You Consider When Deciding Whether Your Home May Need An Electrical Service Upgrade?

How Old Is Your Home And What Type of Wiring Does It Have?

1940’s and Earlier
Homes built before the 1940’s may still have knob and tube wiring, which doesn’t feature a safety casing or ground wire, making it dangerous to work with.

1960’s- 1970’s 
In the 1960’s and 1970’s many homes were built with aluminum wiring, which can become a safety hazard as it ages. This is due to the tendency for its connections to loosen, which can cause electrical fires.

Older electrical wiring isn’t automatically dangerous or faulty, but be aware that some insurance companies won’t offer coverage if your home has knob and tube or aluminum wiring.

Have You Experienced Any Warning Signs?

Warning signs that your wiring may be faulty or overloaded include: 

  • Circuit Breakers trip or fuses blow regularly
  • Electrical panel is crackling or sparking 
  • Lights flicker or dim when you turn on another appliance
  • Outlets or switches are warm to the touch, discoloured or are sparking
  • You get a tingling sensation when touching an appliance
  • You still have two prong outlets in your home
  • There is a persistent burning smell in your home
  • There are no Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI) in kitchens or bathrooms
  • You rely on power bars and extension cords due to having too few outlets

These are all signs that something is wrong in your electrical system and should not be ignored. In an emergency situation, you can always call a qualified electrician for help on our Kobalt Systems emergency line

Do You Have Enough Power For Your Home?

Older homes don’t have the electrical capacity that our modern lifestyles require. Historically, homes only needed around 60 amps to run all the necessary electronics and even as recently as 20 years ago, homes didn’t have the same requirements we need in our current technological age.

With all the electrical appliances, equipment and smart additions that modern families use, around 150 – 200 amps of electricity is needed to safely and successfully run them. If modern appliances are run on a system without enough voltage, they are at risk of damage.

What Will Your Power Needs Be In Years To Come?

When planning an electrical wiring upgrade, consider future-proofing your home’s electrical system to ensure it’s not only up to building codes but able to meet your growing needs.  Consider what other electrical requirements your household might have in the coming years:

  • Additional computers for a growing family
  • Entertainment equipment, smart televisions
  • An electric car
  • A hot tub or pool
  • An in-law suite or rental suite
  • Additional light fixtures
  • Additional electrical outlets and switches

Kobalt Systems Can Assess Your Electrical Wiring Upgrade Requirements

If answering the questions above has given you any concerns at all about the condition of your home electrical wiring, contact Kobalt Systems for an electrical wiring upgrade consultation today.

What Does an Electrical Wiring Upgrade Involve?

Kobalt System’s team of qualified journeyman electricians will visit your home and conduct a thorough electrical inspection to determine whether your type of wiring and current electrical system is safe and suited to your needs. Among other things, our electricians will search for loose connections, any issues with the circuit breaker panel, test outdoor outlets, determine the types of wiring and determine whether your entire house has proper grounding. 

If it is determined that you require new electrical wiring or additional panel amperage in your home, Kobalt Systems will work with you every step of the way.

Our Electrical Panel Upgrade Service Includes:

  • An electrical load test to determine your electrical needs
  • Working with customers to design a solution that fits your lifestyle and budget 
  • Coordination of permits and upgrade requests via the City of Victoria, Technical Safety Authority and BC Hydro and arrange for inspection and sign off of completed work
  • Minimal disruption when the work takes place at your home. Kobalt Systems offers ON TIME and SATISFACTION guarantees for its work. We arrive on time and leave everything tidy and clean

The thought of rewiring your home may be daunting. You’re likely concerned that it will be a long, messy and expensive task. Rest assured that our careful planning means your electrical upgrade can be completed with minimal disruptions on time and on budget.

While upgrading, you may also want to integrate some smart-home devices into your home. In-home smart technology is more popular and useful than ever and is increasingly built directly into newly built homes. 

Smart Home Technology Includes:

  • Home automation such as smart appliances
  • Lighting control such as motion sensors 
  • Climate control such as smart thermostats and fans
  • Smart security systems with Wi-Fi integration that can be monitored from anywhere on a phone or tablet
  • Safety sensing systems such as fire, carbon dioxide or electrical surge alarms that send alerts when triggered

Having smart-home technology and products in your home may lead to reduced insurance bills and can add value to your home too. You could also consider planning your rewiring project at the same time as that kitchen renovation you’ve been dreaming about!

Financing a big home improvement project like an electrical wiring upgrade can be an intimidating prospect, but Kobalt Systems can ease some of that concern by offering full financing through FinanceIt. With no money down and options for monthly or bi-weekly payments, there is no need to delay those important electrical safety upgrades.

If you have any concerns about electrical safety or capacity in your home, Kobalt System’s team of licensed electricians would be glad to visit your property and assess your needs for an electrical wiring upgrade. Based in Victoria, we’re glad to offer services to residents and businesses in the capital region and the South Island. Contact us today to find out more.

smart home technology

Smart Home Products Can Change Your Life

Smart Home Devices are Raising the Bar

Today’s smart home products are game-changers. They range from motion sensor lighting control to smart thermostats and everything in between, making it simple to complete everyday tasks, save on energy costs and provide convenience across the board.  Smart home technology is a trend that isn’t going anywhere!

In fact, according to Statista, 33 million North American homes rely on smart thermostats for temperature control. Popularity is also growing worldwide, particularly in Europe and Asia.

According to findings from InnoTech Today, “63% of homebuyers want smart locks and alarms, 63% want smart fans and thermostats, 58% want smart lights and 56% want smart carbon monoxide detectors.”

These stats show that even though the smart home market began with a surge of popularity in fun smart home gadgets like cheaper smart speakers and colour-changing lightbulbs from Amazon, homeowners are recognizing the incredible value that smart home products hold.

This benefit goes far beyond the initial entertainment value. In fact, a home that’s outfitted with smart locks, cameras and sensor systems on a Wi-Fi network are more likely to have a reduced insurance rate.

Not only do you get to enjoy the peace of mind knowing your whole family is protected, but you save on your premiums at the same time. For more information on this, talk to your insurance provider.

 

Popular Smart Home Products

Smart Home Automation

Automated Smart Home devices are individual appliances that are designed to make life simpler. Early examples of these would be dishwashers with a setting to delay the wash by 2 or 4 hours. Today, these automated devices have gotten much more advanced. Smart dishwashers and washing machines automatically adjust the amount of water usage and energy usage depending on the size of the load. They even “know” when energy consumption is lower in your area and automatically run during those times. Small appliances have joined the party too. Now you can find things like:

  • smart home technology - smart lightingAn automated pet feeder
  • An automated vacuum that runs on a regular schedule, or on command
  • An automated coffee maker that starts making your coffee when your alarm goes off in the morning
  • A Wi-Fi enabled Instant Pot that you can set from your smart phone

Smart Home Lighting

Since the days of the Clapper in the 80’s and 90’s, homeowners have really liked having the option for hands-free lighting control.

Motion sensor lighting in hallways, in bathrooms and in walk-in closets are becoming extremely popular for the convenience they provide. Lights are automatically turned on and off, providing plenty of visibility and saving on energy costs.

Today’s smart bulbs can also change hues automatically when music is playing, by voice command or based on the time of day. Whether you want to set the stage for a party or dim the lights to settle in with a book and a cup of tea, smart lighting takes care of this, hands free. Is it possible the Clapper paved the way for Google’s Alexa and other smart control devices we know and love today?

Smart Home Thermostats and Fans

It was warm all day, so you turned the heat down to save some energy. But you forgot to turn the heat back up before you went to bed and now the whole house is cold. The heating system needs to work twice as hard to warm the house up and this causes a spike in your power usage. One of many solutions here is to program a smart thermostat to lower the temperature as the family sleeps and increase the temperature by breakfast time so that everyone will be warm and toasty.

When you head to work, you can control the smart thermostat from your phone via Wi-Fi or have it pre-programmed to turn the temperature down again while no one is home. You can also remotely turn the air conditioner on to cool the house down on a hot day. No more cooking dinner in a stuffy, baking hot kitchen after a long day.

If you don’t quite need A/C, you could also program smart fans to get air circulating before everyone gets home. These devices use machine learning as well, to learn your habits. Once they’re programmed, you’re good to go!

Smart thermostats and fans are wildly popular because this convenience increases your home’s value, increases energy efficiency and makes climate control so simple.

Smart Home Locks

Smart locks are a smart home product that protect your house and family. They also let you go hands-free (no more dumping groceries on the ground while you fumble for keys.)

Smart Home Products - Smart LocksIf you’ve gone out for the day and realized you forgot to lock your door, just choose the “lock” option from your mobile phone and your home will be secured.

It’s another of those small but extremely useful conveniences that saves time and gives homeowners peace of mind. Plus, no more running back to the house to double check that you locked the doors.

These devices can also be programmed with individual codes for each family member or regular visitors, ending the need to have multiple keys cut.

Many smart locks also come with tablets or monitors that let you check the status of your doors and lock/unlock the doors with the touch of a button from wherever you are in the house. Smart locks are one of the most affordable advances in smart technology and provide a great starting point for a whole home security system.

Smart Home Security Cameras

On the subject of security systems, smart cameras make it easy to monitor the activity in and around your home. You’ll receive alerts and notifications in real time and be able to view videos in real time via Wi-Fi or data on your mobile app.

You also have the choice to self-monitor or to connect your system to a response centre for immediate emergency response. The latter option often means a reduction in home insurance rates and is ideal if you’re away from home often. You can also choose a device like a doorbell with built-in camera for another method of smart home security.

Smart Home Sensing Systems

Gas leaks, smoke/fires, floods and even electric surges are no match for advanced smart home technology. Detecting and sending alerts to your mobile device, sensing systems prevent disaster.

In the event or a fire or a carbon monoxide leak, an alarm will sound and alerts will go out to the phones and devices set up to receive them. If you’re set up for third-party monitoring, emergency services will be contacted immediately if no response is received. A leak or flood sensor will alert you to the problem, letting you take care of it before it gets out of control.

An electric surge sensor is one of the newer products on the market. In the event of a power surge, it will actually power down the appliances in the house. No more fried computers or ruined microwaves.

At Kobalt Systems, we are full-service electrical contractors, home automation and security experts. Are you ready to add smart solutions to your home or business? We’ll take care of automation designs, lighting control, climate control and anything else you need to make these exciting new technologies work for you, on time and on budget. Contact our team at (250) 213-3788 or email us to start designing your ideal smart system today.

HeaderImage

7 Ideas for a Better Backyard

With mild winters and comfortable, breezy summer nights, we can embrace outdoor living year-round. Having a better backyard means so much more than having a BBQ and a couple of patio chairs – we are seeing an increase in full outdoor kitchens and living rooms. Our experts can help install outdoor lighting, electrical hook-ups, heating and cooling options, and so much more.

Check out our ideas for a better yard and how our electrical experts can help make it a reality.

#1: Outdoor Kitchen
Make al fresco easy with a full outdoor kitchen setup. The options are endless when you have access to multiple power r
eceptacles:
– Keep your bevy’s chilled with an outdoor fridge

– Add a margarita machine for your next staycation
– Create a dedicated space for the grill master in your family

 

#2: Exterior Lighting
From elaborate string lights to exterior yard lighting – no job is too big or too small for our electrical experts. 

Enhance your home’s exterior for more curb appeal, or make it an important piece of your home security system. Our team has the experience and know-how to evaluate where and how to install a successful crime prevention lighting scheme while still maintaining your home’s aesthetics.

 

#3: Work from Home (WFH) Outdoor OasisWorkfromHome
Have you been cooped up inside all winter? More of us are working from home than ever before. Take advantage of the summer months by creating an outdoor office space. We can help install Wi-Fi boosters, electrical and USB receptacles.

 

#4: Outdoor EntertainmentOutdoorTV
Grab a cold beer and catch the game outside. This is becoming an increasing
trend as people shift their living space outdoors. It’s important to note that even if it is placed out of direct rain, a regular TV should never be used outdoors without a purpose-built enclosure. We are experienced in installing full outdoor entertainment systems, including TVs, speakers and projectors.

 

OutdoorFan#5: Heating and Cooling Systems
Stay comfortable year-round with cost-efficient heating and cooling options for your outdoor living space. We offer a wide selection of exterior fan options and patio heaters to suit your style and your budget.

Exterior fans can help keep you cooler by providing a constant circulation of air, creating a breezy and comfortable environment. We can’t forget to mention that the circular air is great for keeping pesky flying insects at bay.
Infrared radiant heaters allow the even distribution of heat without the loss of energy in windy or drafty conditions. It’s an excellent way to provide warmth to spaces like decks, patios and pergolas.

 

#6: Hot Tubs, Swim Spas and Pools
A soak in a hot tub or a swim in a pool could be just the thing to help you relax after a long day. However, before you can experience the true bliss and relaxation water offers, there’s a lot of prep work required to be done first. Our licensed electricians can take care of any service upgrades or wiring required when installing your new hot tub, pool or swim spa.

 

#7: Get Connected
ShedDo you have a shed, greenhouse or detached space needing power? Our electricians have the experience, skills and tools to make your ideas a reality. The task of running underground electricity requires extensive knowledge, and electrical work can be dangerous when it comes to DIY projects.

 

 

 

Take advantage of our mild weather and let our team at Kobalt Systems recreate the electrical comforts of your home’s interior to your living space outdoors.

Based in Victoria BC, Kobalt Systems is proud to be one of the leading experts in exterior electrical services on southern Vancouver Island.  Let our team of experienced and friendly professionals transform your outdoor living area in preparation for summer, and so that you can enjoy it year-round. 

Real-Estate-Sale

4 Tips for Selling or Buying a Home: Don’t Let an Overheated Electrical System Ruin Your Deal

The Real Estate market in Victoria, BC, is red hot these days, and before you jump in and post a for sale sign in your front yard, you should know if your electrical system is up to date. Whether you are looking to buy or to sell in 2021, it’s essential to understand your home’s electrical status.

Check out our tips for buying or selling a home, because you don’t want to let an overheated electrical system ruin your deal in a hot market!


TIP:
Older homes built as recently as 2000 were not designed to accommodate the magnitude of electrical devices that we all rely on every day.

If you are selling a home built before 2000 that has less than a 200-amp service:

  • Complete an electrical service upgrade to add value to your most significant investment and augment your property’s sale value.
  • Don’t be left out! 200-amp service upgrades have become a critical selling feature, which is often included in the property description for older homes.
  • Home inspectors will check electrical panels to make sure they are up to date – if your home hasn’t had an upgrade, this may serve as a red flag to potential buyers
  • Work with us for your electrical service upgrade before listing, and we can provide you with an easy and affordable monthly payment plan through Financeit. No payments & No interest for 3 months. OAC.

If you are buying a home built before 2000 that has less than a 200-amp service:

  • Consider the costs involved in having to upgrade the electrical system of the home.
  • Are you wanting to add a mortgage helper or in-law suite? Can the new property’s electrical service handle the additional electrical load?
  • Are you going to want to add a hot tub or an EV charger down the road?
  • Kobalt Systems is pleased to provide an electrical home inspection and a detailed estimate about what you can expect to pay to upgrade your new home.

It’s recommended that all homes in BC have 200+ amp service – this is especially important in recent months as more of us are working from home and putting additional stress on all the systems within our home than ever before.

Having a strong panel capable of delivelectrical-service-upgradeering the power supply you need in your home provides peace of mind. Not only will your home be better protected from electrical hazards like overloaded circuits decreasing the chance of a fire, but a new electrical panel also increases your home’s resale value.

 

DIY? Not for this! 

Upgrading your electrical system isn’t as easy as putting up a fresh coat of paint. It is extremely dangerous if you are not familiar with electrical wiring. It’s much better to leave this sort of work to a trained and certified electrician.

While a project like this can seem daunting, Kobalt Systems will work closely with you to find a solution to fit your budget. Learn more about what you can expect from an electrical service upgrade

Based in Victoria BC, Kobalt Systems is proud to be one of the leading experts in electrical service upgrades on southern Vancouver Island. The process of selling and purchasing a home can be stressful. Let our team of experienced and friendly professionals prepare for selling or bringing your new home up to today’s electrical standards.

electric-car-charger

4 Important Reasons Why It’s Time: Make the Switch to An Electric Vehicle

Canadians are starting to make the switch from gas to electric vehicles, and after recent government announcements this month, it’s becoming a no brainer. Not only is it better for the environment, but you will also see financial incentives that make it the best choice for your wallet as well.

It’s best to fully charge your electric vehicle (EV) at home, and that’s where most drivers typically do their charging. It makes sense to have an EV charger installed at home, which is quick to get done and more affordable than most people think! Learn more about the benefits of having an EV charger installed for your home or business.

Not yet convinced? Here’s why you should switch to an electric car now.

#1. The Carbon Tax is Going Up! Avoid it with an Electric Vehicle
Carbon-Tax

According to a recent story published by Global News, Canadians can expect to pay roughly an extra 39.6 cents per litre of gasoline by 2030. Following Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s recent announcement, there’s no doubt we will be paying more at the pump each and every year. Wouldn’t it be nice to take back some control when it comes to your routine expenses?

#2. BC has Doubled the Rebate for EV Chargers

EV-ChargerIn December, the government of British Columbia announced that homeowners can now receive a rebate of up to 50% off for at-home EV chargers and associated electric vehicle charging station installation costs. Even if you live in a condo, your strata can apply to receive a rebate of up to $4,000 per charger installed. This rebate also applies to commercial properties and businesses.
According to BC’s Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation, Bruce Ralston, “BC has the strongest uptake in electrical vehicle adoption across Canada”. It’s becoming clear that new incentives like this are making it easier and more affordable for people to make the switch.

#3. Provincial and Federal Government Rebate Programs

The government of British Columbia has invested heavily in the transition away from gas-guzzling cars. Residents and businesses in BC who purchase or lease qualifying new electric vehicles are eligible for up to $3,000 off the after-tax vehicle price.
Government-Rebates
Learn more about the details of the CEV for BC program

BC is also promoting its SCRAP IT program, which gives you additional incentives to get rid of older, higher polluting vehicles.

Lastly, the federal government has federal incentives of up to $5,000 off the purchase price.

When you book your EV charger installation with Kobalt Systems, we will help you navigate the process of applying for rebates from all available sources to make sure you don’t miss out on any savings.

#4. Zero-emission vehicles help fight climate change

Climate-ChangeDid you know that transportation is the second-largest source of GHG(Greenhouse Gas) emissions in Canada? This is why the government is working to make zero-emission cars more affordable with new programs – and even tax write-offs for businesses. 

If the financial incentives aren’t enough of a motivator, just think of how you’ll be doing your part to reduce emissions.

There are so many other reasons why drivers are switching to electric vehicles at a rapid speed. Don’t just take it from us, BC Hydro also provides resources to help you learn more.

Compare electric to gas-powered vehicles with BC Hydro’s cost-savings calculator.

Based in Victoria BC, Kobalt Systems is proud to be one of the leading experts in Electric Vehicle Charging Station installations on southern Vancouver Island. Our team is experienced, friendly and will provide our EV customers with a selection of the most advanced charging systems available. We will lay out all of the decisions a homeowner needs to make when installing an electric vehicle charging system.

7 Holiday Safety Tips

Christmas Safety Tips to Keep You and Yours Safe This Holiday Season

The holiday season is officially here, and with Christmas just a few weeks away, give yourself the gift of reassurance and peace of mind by following our seven christmas holiday safety tips.

Decking the halls can be a hazard to the health and safety of your family. According to the B.C. Government, each year, preventable fires during the holiday season injure British Columbians and cause thousands of dollars in property damage.

It’s essential to take the proper precautions to keep yourself, your home and your loved ones safe.

Here are a few key safety tips for the holidays:

#1: O Christmas TreeChristmas Safety Tips - keep tree watered
Keep your Christmas tree hydrated! Water your tree daily, or cut the bottom at a 45-degree angle and stick it in water to keep it fresh. Remember, green is good.

Even if your tree is fake, the risk still exists. Look for the label “fire-resistant” or “fire-retardant” on your artificial tree. This label doesn’t mean it won’t catch on fire, but it does mean that it’s less likely, and if it does, it’ll be much easier to extinguish.

Tip: Embrace Smart Technology.
Automate your Christmas tree lighting by adding a WiFi smart plug. Have full control with a quick tap on your connected smartphone, or connect to a voice assistant such as Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri. Adding smart tech doesn’t have to be complicated; it provides convenience along with a level of increased safety.

#2: Walking in a Wire-filled Wonderland

Christmas Safety Tips - inspect wiresCarefully inspect each electrical decoration before you put it on your Christmas tree or around your house. After many years of use, wires can become cracked or frayed. Any loose connections may cause a harmful shock or start a fire.

Test any lights before use and after a close inspection. Toss out any defective wires. It’s not worth saving a few bucks as the risk of a severe incident is so high.

Do you know what that third prong on plugs is used for? It’s there for a reason! The “grounding pin” prevents shock in case of failure.

Lastly, make sure that your outdoor lights and decorations are plugged into GFCI protected outlets.

Tip: Do the Math
Be sure to distribute your light strands among multiple extension cords and look for the wattage rating. If the combined wattage of your lights exceeds the wattage rating of the cord, it may overheat.

#3: A Holly Jolly (and well lit) ChristmasChristmas Safety Tips - use LED lights

Make the switch:

  • Use battery-operated candles in place of traditional candles.
  • Use LED lights instead of traditional incandescent lights. They use less energy (which saves you money!), and they run much cooler. Any lights hung outdoors need to be specifically designed for that use. Indoor lights placed outside can potentially cause an electrical hazard in the rain.

Stay away from knock-off or discount electrical decorations such as lights. Be sure to look for a label specifying that an independent testing laboratory has inspected it; there are three standard labels found in Canada (UL, CSA and ETL).

Tip: Read the Instructions
We often toss them out – but for any electrical decorations, especially lights – it’s prudent to follow the use and care instructions exactly as written by the manufacturer.

#4: All I Want for Christmas is Safe and Secure Cords

Christmas Safety Tips - replace worn wires/cordsPinched cords can damage the cord’s insulation, putting it at risk of causing electrical shocks and fire. Make sure cords aren’t stuck under heavy furniture or rugs. Replace any cords or wires that look frayed or damaged.

Always unplug your cords by using the gripping area. Pulling the cord itself can cause breakage.

Tip: Nails and Cables Don’t Mix
Use insulated hooks or Command brand damage-free hanging solutions to avoid electrical issues caused by nails or staples that can pierce the cable.

Christmas Safety Tips - turn off the christmas lights

 

#5: O Holy Night, Goodnight and Sleep Tight

Always turn off everything before going to bed or leaving the house.

 

 

#6: Physical Distancing (before it was the norm)

Christmas Safety Tips - keep decorations away from fire

Besides keeping your distance from those outside your household this year, make sure holiday decorations are at least 3 feet away from heat sources such as heaters and fireplaces.

Tip: Replace your smoke detector batteries every year as you put up your tree.

Batteries in your smoke detector should be replaced annually, and this occasion can serve as a great reminder. Did you know that smoke detectors expire every 10 years? When was the last time you checked yours?

#7: Leave it to the Pros

We can help.

Before you dig out the old lights and pull out the ladder, consider letting us take care of the hassle instead! We are pleased to offer custom Christmas light installations. Allow our experts to handle the hassle of hanging your lights for you, and let’s make our neighbourhoods shine extra bright this year.

As a full-service electrical contractor, no job is too big or too small. From simple residential light fixture upgrades to highly complex commercial electrical projects and everything in between, our vast experience and friendly customer service make us the perfect choice for your electrical needs year-round.

The team at Kobalt Systems would like to wish you well in this coming holiday season. We are looking forward to a prosperous 2021, and all the best for a new year.

energy efficiant appliances

4 Ways to Protect your Electronic Devices from Power Surges

Protection Against Power Surges in your Home or Business

Damage from power surges is preventable. Today’s homes and businesses are filled with modern appliances and expensive electronics. All of these devices require constant surge protection from the damaging effects of a voltage spike or better known as a power surge into your home. A power surge is a burst of electricity that travels through our cords and wires and can cause small or significant damage to our electrical devices and appliances, either instantaneously frying them or shortening their lifespan slowly over time. These power surges are frustrating and potentially costly to deal with, and to make things even more unpredictable, can happen when you least expect it.

Energy-Efficient Appliances

One of the most significant contributors to power surges in homes is old, outdated, power-wasting appliances. Our ovens, dishwashers, washing machines, clothes dryers, microwaves, and air conditioners can all suck significant power from our houses. If we have too many of these devices plugged into the same place, we will likely see an upswing in power surges in our home. Consider investing in energy-efficient devices which will use less power and protect your house at the same time.

Surge Protectorspower bar surge protector on fire

Many people rely on plugging their expensive electronics into surge protection devices (SPDs) and think they are safe. Contrary to popular belief, not every power bar has a surge protector in it. A surge protected bar will cost you more money but will be worth the investment, and help you defend your devices in the event of a power surge. This is the easiest solution, but unfortunately these SPDs won’t cover you completely because power surges can enter through other channels as well. The telephone line, your electrical service line, an antenna and cable are all ways electricity can get routed into your home or business during a power surge.

Upgrade or Repair Wiring

If you have highly noticeable issues in your house with power such as dimming lights, buzzing noises, the occasional smell of burning plastic, or your breakers or fuses getting tripped or burnt out, you likely have problems with your wiring. In many older and current houses, wiring can become frayed, damaged, or brittle which can lead to complications. To protect yourself and your home from power surges, have a professional come in to inspect your wires and identify any problem areas.

Get Smart with Plug Sharing

Power surges happen most often when a circuit is overloaded by a powerful device that uses more electricity and puts off more power than the circuit can handle. The surge will be device and outlet specific. Anything that is sharing the same outlet or extension cord as the device which caused the power spike will be at risk of getting damaged as well. Don’t plug your smartphone in with your ancient window air conditioning unit or your laptop in with your dishwasher and microwave.

 In our opinion adding whole home surge protection to your electrical service is your best shield against unexpected power surges. It truly is the most reliable way to safeguard your devices and appliances.

Our licensed Journeyman Electricians at Kobalt Systems can offer the following surge protection services:

  • Whole Home Surge Protection
  • Business Surge Protection
  • Office and Computer Surge Protection

We proudly provide electrical services in Victoria, BC and Southern Vancouver Island. Contact us today or call us at 250 213 3788

electrical service

How to Better Secure your Sliding Glass Door

Sliding glass doors can look great in your home and they are great for letting in lots of natural sunlight. They make it easy to get outside to your deck, backyard or balcony. But sliding doors are also a less secure entry point into your house—often the entry point of choice for burglars. There’s no getting around the fact that your glass sliding door is not as secure as a traditional wood, metal or fiberglass door. Glass is easily broken and even a thief who’d rather not make all that noise can probably make short work of the flimsy locks on most sliding doors. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to better secure your sliding glass door.

  1. Block the track

We know this is the classic defence, but all too often we still visit homes where there is no track-blocker. Too many people never get around to it. It’s easy to make your own blocker; just saw a hockey stick, broom handle or piece of dowel to the right length to firmly block the door from sliding. You could also purchase a more advanced security bar.

  1. Install a better lock

Many homes have good secure deadbolt locks on their front doors, but then the sliding glass door to the back deck is secured only by the manufacturer’s simple latch clamping onto the frame. The average burglar will pry that open with a screwdriver. The good news is that you can install a better lock and it’s generally not too hard to do. You’ll find there are different options, but one good solution that is inexpensive is a loop lock.

  1. Reinforce the glass

Consult your warranty to determine what kind of glass you have in your sliding door. Older doors often have glass that will shatter quite easily upon impact. It’s possible to apply a security film that will greatly strengthen the glass. There are thin films available that make it difficult to break through the glass. There are thicker protection films that add protection against extreme winds, thrown object impacts and even bullet resistance!

  1. Install a security camera

Get a home security professional to install a motion-activated security camera along with appropriate lighting for the greatest peace of mind. Tie this into a whole home security system and most thieves will run rather than try to break-in. It’s not worth the risk of breaking in through a sliding door if you know you are being recorded and triggering an alarm.

With countless security, exterior lighting and integrated technology options out in the market today, Kobalt Systems residential home security systems start with a base package that customers can choose to build upon to customize and enhance by adding additional hardware. Our team of security experts and licensed electricians are happy to discuss the different options in detail and can help you personalize and design the best system for your home. Enjoy piece of mind knowing your family and home are safe. Contact us today to schedule a consultation 250 213 3788 or email at info@kobaltsystems.ca