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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.

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

Step-By-Step to Help You Troubleshoot Electrical Problems

How to Troubleshoot Electrical Issues

Has this ever happened to you? You go to turn on the coffeemaker in the morning… only to press the button and not see any coffee being brewed! Or maybe you plug in your phone to charge but it never charges!

Most people rarely think about their home’s electrical system. Because your homes electrical wiring system is mostly behind the walls and not visible in your daily life, it’s easy to not worry about it. Out of sight, out of mind. However, when something is not working, we all of a sudden worry about what’s going on behind our walls.

So, when something is not working, what should you do? Use this simple list to help you troubleshoot any electrical problems / issues you face in your home.

First, see if there is power anywhere else in the house. It could be that there’s a power outage affecting your home or the whole block, but you didn’t notice because it was such a sunny day!

If there’s power elsewhere, make sure there is nothing wrong with the appliance or gadget that you’re trying to plug in! (It happens a lot: you might think there’s something wrong with your home’s power when in fact your coffeemaker has just decided to stop working or your phone cord has actually broken.) If there’s nothing wrong with the device then the problem may be associated with that receptacle and/or any other powered items sharing the electrical line. (For example, maybe there are too many appliances plugged in and turned on to that one line.) Unplug other items that share the same circuit.

Next, head to your electrical panel (sometimes people call it a “fuse box” or “circuit panel”) and look for any breaker that has been tripped. Reset it to restore power to that line. (Your circuit panel is made up of circuit breakers that will temporarily “break” the line when something is wrong.)

If power is restored to the line, great! Go back to making coffee… and just keep an eye on how many items you are plugging in to the receptacles that share the line at any one time.

If power is not restored, do not attempt to investigate further or do your own electrical repairs. Electrical current is dangerous and can even be deadly. Leave it to the pros. Get an electrical expert to help you and they’ll quickly and easily diagnose the problem and give you a recommendation to help you solve it.

Think of circuit breaker like a warning sign. If they are constantly tripping something is going wrong with your home’s circuits. Just like the check-engine light in your car, it’s time to call the professionals before something get seriously damaged or catches fire.

The team at Kobalt Systems is here to help, and our Journeyman Master Electricians in Victoria, BC are experts at assessing, repairing, removing and replacing out-dated and faulty whole home electrical wiring systems.  Contact us today 250 213 3788 or email info@kobaltsystems.ca

Electric Service Upgrade – What to Expect

Here’s what to expect during your electrical service upgrade:

  • Kobalt Systems will provide a consultation to determine what your homes existing amperage size is and establish what your electrical needs would be.
  • Through a electrical load calculation, our team will work with you to find a solution to fit your budget, while ensuring the upgrade has the potential for future growth.
  • We will contact the Technical Safety Authority or City of Victoria to obtain the required electrical permits for the work.
  • Our project manager will coordinate with BC Hydro express connect to obtain a BC Hydro request number for your upgrade. We will then complete the electrical contractor declaration and provide details regarding the permit issued by the electrical inspection agency.
  • Now it’s your turn: You will need to create or login to your existing BC Hydro web account and provide the connect request number and then authorize the connection request.
  • Once that you have authorized the connection request, you must approve connection charges and confirm payment method with BC Hydro through your web account. BC Hydro will then review and approve the connection request. We can now schedule your electrical service upgrade.
  • On the morning of the upgrade BC Hydro electrical contractor will disconnect the power connection into your home.
  • Kobalt Systems will then update your electrical service including meter base, panel and grounding system. We will also install additional upgrades or updates that are required to be brought up to the Canadian electrical code standards.
  • Later that same day, once the equipment has been installed a building inspector from the Technical Safety Authority or the City of Victoria will review the home to approve the installation.
  • Once the installation has been approved, BC Hydro will reinstate electrical service to your home.