ICE CO. SPOTLIGHT

The Spotlight will highlight topics spanning industry news, safety, product and equipment reviews, codes and much more! We look forward to a dialogue with you.

Light Up Your Holidays Safely

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Light Up Your Holidays Safely
 

Light up safely over the holidays:

  • Choose the right light for the job: light strings and other decorations are rated for indoor or outdoor use. Read the package instructions, and never exceed the recommended wattage.
  • Replace damaged electrical products (cords, plugs, ornaments).
  • Avoid plugging too many lights and decorations into an outlet. Overloaded circuits can overheat and start a fire. 
  • Use Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI) outlets when plugging in outdoors
  • Buy holiday decorations that have the mark of an accredited certification agency on the package. 
  • Once the package is opened, remember to check for the appropriate approval sticker appearing on the cord for products incorporating light strings. 

Extension Cords/Plugs:

  • Avoid overloading circuits with plugs and extension cords—this can create overheating and result in a fire. Fuses that frequently blow and circuits that trip can indicate too many items are connected to the circuit.
  • Never remove the third prong on plugs—this "grounding pin" prevents shock in the event of electrical equipment failure.
  • Plug outdoor electrical decorations into Ground Fault (GFCI)-protected outlets.
  • Don't run extension cords under carpets, through doorways, or in places where they can be damaged by furniture 
  • Keep outdoor connections above-ground and out of puddles; don't run them across driveways and/or walkways.

Installing Decorations:

  • No more than three light strings can be safely connected together in most cases—read manufactures instructions for directions. 
  • Make sure bulbs don't touch supply cords, wires, cloth, paper, or any material that's not part of the light string.
  • Use the proper clips for securing lights and decorations. Staples and nails can damage electrical cords.
  • Check for overhead power lines before using a ladder to put up decorations, or when you're hanging lights or decorations on trees.
  • Holiday decorations aren't designed for year-round use and can deteriorate over time. Take them down when the holidays are over.

Remember to:

  • Watch that children don’t put electrical decorations or cords in their mouths.
  • Keep an eye on pets that may chew or damage electrical cords.
  • Turn off holiday lights and decorations when you leave the house or go to bed.

Why You Need an Electrician

Friday, August 14, 2015

Electrical contractors are crucial to any new build of commercial or residential premises. They can also be incredibly helpful when looking to renovate an existing building, where your expertise is not that skilled. You may feel that you are capable of performing smaller tasks, but where electrics are concerned it is far better being safe than sorry.

Electricians are trained professionals who understand how dangerous the work can be, and how important it is to stick to the strict guidelines. When you are performing any work within your home that involves electrics, you need to consider if you should hire electrical contractors. There are smaller tasks that you may be able to perform with confidence; however, larger jobs may need an expert.

Many people try to do an electrician’s job themselves, which will often lead to problems further down the line. Therefore, making the decision early on in the project to hire contractors will save you both time and money. If you have found that you are in too deep and do not understand what you are doing, you need to hire a professional electrician. They will be able to notify you of the problem and instruct you how to make it better.

Hiring the professionals to carry out the electrical work within your home or business will ensure that everything is done safely. Electricians will be able to install all electrical components around your home. Plugins, ceiling fans, security lighting, light switches and wiring in appliances can all be done with ease. You will be surprised how easy the electricians will make it look; however, they are trained to do their job.

There are many common issues and problems with the wiring in homes all over the world, and typically these issues have arisen from the wrong people performing the tasks. By hiring qualified and experienced electricians, you will be guaranteeing that your home is safe. They will be able to rectify any existing issues, and ensure that all new work is carried out in the correct manner.

 

If you have been having problems for a while, they will source the issue and fix it correctly. Performing jobs around your home and business may seem like a good idea, and you may think that you are saving money, but you should call an electrician the moment that you begin to find problems with the wiring in your home.


Home Electrical Safety

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Tips for Home Electrical Safety

U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated annual average of 47,820 reported home structure fires involving electrical failure or malfunction 2007-2011. These fires resulted in 455 civilian deaths, 1,518 civilian injuries and $1.5 billion in direct property damage.

With that being said, it is very important to make sure all of your electrical appliances, extension cords, light bulbs and other equipment is in good working condition.

Always ensure you replace or repair appliances that are damaged. Cracked cords, broken plugs and any burning smell from the appliance need to be looked into immediately. If you are leaving your home for a significantly long period of time, it is a good idea to turn-off and unplug heavy duty appliances such as ovens, A/C, heaters etc.

Unplug unused appliances and stow cords safely out of reach of pets, young children or hazardous situations.

Always follow appliance instructions carefully, and do not attempt amateur repairs or upgrades.

Do not staple or nail cords in position at any time; if the cord does not remain where desired, use tape or twist ties to secure it.

Cords should not be placed beneath rugs where they can become a trip hazard or where frays will not be noticeable. Furthermore, covering a cord will prevent it from keeping as cool as possible.

Do not overload outlets with multiple adapters or power strips; relocate cords instead.

 

Lastly, use bulbs that have the correct wattage requirements for each fixture. Using a higher wattage bulb can cause the fixture to overheat.




Fall And Winter Savings

Thursday, September 25, 2014
Fall is approaching quickly, and winter will be here before we know it. And we all know keeping your house warm in those cold months can be quite costly, so we came up with some ways to keep you warm, and your wallet happy.

Winterize your windows! Sounds expensive right? Wrong. Purchase a window insulator kit. The entire kit is a plastic sheet with a window safe tape on one side. They usually cost anywhere from 5-20 dollars and that covers multiple windows. Just stick on the plastic on the inside of your window and apply heat (a hairdryer works best). Depending on how thin your windows are, you can apply two sheets. Just remove in the spring!

Reverse your ceiling fan! We usually use our ceiling fans in the summer, but this winter, use your fan to keep the heat from rising. On most fans, there is a small switch on the fan to reverse the direction in which the blades are rotating. Turn the fan on the lowest setting to reduce the feeling of the air movement.  And just remember, clockwise in winter, counterclockwise in summer.

Make sure your furnace works! Turn your furnace on just to double check it still works before winter hits and your furnace-less. It may smell a little dusty but the smell shouldn’t last long. If it does, call a professional. A dirty furnace filter will cause a slight air shortage causing you to spend more money and get less heat. It’s a good idea to get a new filter annually so you can get all the heat you can.

Bake! Use your oven. After you are done with dinner, cookies, whatever, crack your oven. Especially if your house is smaller, you will definitely feel a difference in temperature.  That oven gets hot so put that heat to good use. Other than baking cookies that is!

Turn the heat down! No, don’t turn it off. Burrrr! But, why heat your house when you’re either gone or asleep most the day anyways?  Turn it down to 60 when you’re at work, 60 when you go to bed and save about 10% this winter while doing so. If that is too chilly, invest in a down comforter, fleece sheets and, use a space heater. Keep your bedroom doors open to get the heat from other parts of the house, and close the vents in rooms you rarely go in so that heat goes into your room.


Summer Fun

Saturday, May 31, 2014


The WARMER it gets the CLOSER it gets...


And you KNOW what that means.....





June, July & August are packed full with fun water activities, family vacations, and some much needed R&R!!


Water activities are great ways you can cool off and keep active during these next few months, which makes this is the perfect time to remind our fellow readers about the simple tips that we all easily forget on the long wait to summertime.




SAFETY BY THE WATER,

 SAFETY IN THE WATER,

AND NEAR THE WATER, 

SAVES LIVES!!!



"TEN people die EVERYDAY from drowning!!! One in five of those people are CHILDREN ages fourteen and younger. Drowning ranks 5th among the leading causes of unintentional injury deaths in the United States." -Centers for Disease Control and Prevention




A less common, but incredibly deadly danger when it comes to swimming, is electrical shock. Pool lights can have faulty wiring or can have products that are not properly grounded. If a person is not killed immediately from the shock, they can be rendered immobile and unable to call for help, resulting in drowning.




When looking for electrical hazards, keep in mind:

-          Underwater lighting/faulty wiring

-          Aging or neglected wiring

-          Underground pumps, washers or vacuums

-          Electrical products near a pool that could potentially fall in (IE. Radios)


Always be ALERT & ACTIVE during all water activities. It can make the difference!!


(Interested in more facts regarding Water-related injuries in the United States? Check out this articleUnintentional Drowning: Get the Facts)

Make pool safety a priority in 2014!


Lighting

Monday, May 26, 2014

Remember having a nightlight as a child? The light that kept away the monsters in the closet or under the bed? Outdoor lighting is essentially the “nightlight” for adults.

 

Outdoor lighting is an important safety feature of your home, but it doesn’t mean you should be spending an arm and a leg on your energy bill! By using energy efficient light bulbs and utilizing solar lighting where possible, you’re able to reduce your energy bill while still keeping your home and family safe.

 

Why Have Outdoor Lighting?


There’s a pretty simple answer. Safety. Outdoor lighting allows you to safely walk around your home at night, see pathways and walkways, be able to know who’s at the door before you open it and it lights up decks, patios and pool areas so you know who may be lurking around your home. Outdoor lighting is a criminal deterrent because it is so easy for someone to notice a criminal running around in the light and call the police.

 

Save Money


By using solar lighting wherever possible, this allows you to cut down on the amount of money you are spending on your electrical bill. If you are unable to use solar due to lack of sun lit areas, you can use energy efficient light bulbs and set up automated lights to cut back on wasted energy.  

Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL) use up to 75% less electricity than standard light bulbs and last up to 10 times longer than your regular lights. There are specially designed CFL lights for outdoor use so be sure to read the packages and get the best light bulb you need!


Placement of Outdoor Lighting



Direct light where it is needed to cut back on wasted lighting and you won’t need to light your home up like a Christmas tree. Always have lights stationed at the top and bottom of stairwells. Light pathways and walkways from the street to your front door, especially around shrubs to rid of any shadows. 




Power Outage Preparation

Thursday, February 13, 2014

POWER//OUTAGES//BLACKOUTS//BE PREPARED!


What would happen if a power outage happened in your home or office RIGHT NOW? 


Would you be prepared? Or far from it?





Not only can a power outage damage your electronics and/or household items, it can be a horrible inconvenience if you are ill-prepared. 


It is best if you can formulate a plan for your home as if a two week outage is about to happen. 


Similar to house fires and natural disasters, a power outage will come when you're least expecting it. If you are already prepared for it, you won't have to panic!




Of course the first thing you think of needing are lights, of course! What about food? Heat? etc. 


To take care of the lights, it is great to have flashlights, glow sticks for the kids (it will help entertain them as well), and a lantern on hand at all times. 


Solar lights would be very ideal as well. Candles can be used as well, but make sure to blow them out before you fall asleep at night!




If you know an outage is possible, fill up your tank! You never know how bad it could get and if you need to flee, it may be hard to get gas with everyone else in the same area trying to do the same thing.


Be prepared to cook outside. You should have plenty of charcoal available. Never bring your grill inside though! Make sure to stock up on enough perishable food items that can be eaten easily with no preparation. 




Think about your pets as well! Stock up on extra food for them. 

Essential items:

  • Cooler with ice
  • WATER! Plenty of if too!
  • Battery operated radio for up to date information
  • Fresh batteries
  • Propane for grill
  • Extra gasoline for the generator
  • First aid kit
  • Matches
  • Paper goods


Click here to read ,"Power’s Out: 5 Tips for a Safe Fridge & Freezer"


Of course there are so many other things to be extra prepared! Click here for extra tips and a great article on preparing for a power outage. 


Also, make sure your pipes are in good condition. If they aren't, you might want to think about replacing them before it's too late. 


Keeping you safe and informed is our ultimate goal!


Until Next Time,

Your ICE Co Team!


 


Winter Savings

Wednesday, January 29, 2014




Winter is in and Fall is out!!


It's that time of year again. In the past few weeks, you have probably noticed a change in the amount of your electric and/or gas bill, and it's probably due to the amount of heater usage. 


Electricity can be very expensive, but saving can be quiet simple!




You may be wasting your heat! It is important to check around your home to be sure it is not escaping under doors or through cracks. You could be wasting some in many minor areas that have been overlooked. 


There are many things you can do around your house to help those skyrocketing energy bills. Many are easy to overlook, so we wanted to break it down for you.




It is important to regularly check the insulation in your home. Close to 50% of household energy usage is from heating, so you want it to keep in as much heat as possible. 


If your windows are letting out heat, without completely replacing them, you may need to seal the windows. Temporary fix items can be found at your local hardware store. Click here for more options to insulate your windows. 




A simple and free solution to get the most out of your heating, is to keep any unused room doors shut. Also turn off the vent in that room as well. No need to waste heat on any empty space!


Also, always remember to turn down the heat when you are out of town or away from the house. There is no need to continuously run it. If you have a programmable thermostat this can make it even easier!




There are many ways to save this season! Global Energy Efficiency has a great info-graphic with tons of great information. Click here to check it out!




Keeping you warm and informed is our number one goal!

Until Next Time,

Your ICE Co Team!



The Incandescent Light bulb Phase Out

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Last week’s blog discussed LED energy efficient bulbs and the cash savings and benefits from purchasing them. This week we are going to discuss what has happened on January 1, 2014, that will change the way you buy your light bulbs. 


Many people love the fact that they can buy a light bulb for only $0.99. Surprisingly though, that cheap light bulb will cost you around $7.00 a year to burn!


The new bulbs that you will have to buy will be more expensive than $0.99, but will only cost around $1.00 a year to burn. That means you will save $6.00 a year per bulb. In the end, your energy efficient light will pay for itself.


 


You will now have three choices when buying light bulbs. The three choices are limited to LED, Halogen, and CFL’s. 

 


Pcmag.com describes each bulb and their attributes.

“Halogen bulbs act most like incandescent bulbs, and have very similar energy profiles. A halogen bulb will last only about 1,000 hours and consume approximately 43 watts for the equivalent of a 60-watt incandescent light. They're the least expensive of the non-incandescent light bulbs, available for approximately $1.25 per bulb. Their per-bulb economy has a trade-off of energy economy, as they use over two-thirds as much energy as incandescent bulbs.”



“CFL bulbs offer a great combination of efficiency and economy, but they have their own drawbacks. CFL bulbs are available for about $2, can last 10,000 hours, and consume 13 watts for the equivalent of a 60-watt incandescent bulb. However, fluorescent light is much cooler than incandescent or halogen light, making it appear more blue than white to eyes used to the warm, orange-tinted light of incandescent bulbs. Many users simply dislike how CFLs look. CFL bulbs are also the hardest to dispose of safely, as most contain a trace of mercury and must be recycled at a proper facility.”



“LED bulbs are the most expensive up front, but offer the most efficiency in the long term. They can cost between $12 and $50 each, but they can last 25,000 hours and consume 10 watts for the equivalent of a 60-watt incandescent bulb. LED bulbs can have adjustable colors, and don't have any toxic chemicals that need to be disposed of safely.


In the long run, LED bulbs are the superior choice, but they're going to remain the most expensive one because of the numerous electronic components used in each bulb. According to Mertz, LED bulbs might reach a low price of $4 to $6, but they simply won't dip below that or anywhere near the price of halogen or CFL bulbs because of the cost of the parts. “


Of course, you can still buy the incandescent bulbs until they run out at your local hardware store. 

There is a lot of controversy over the phase-out, but if you look over the facts, you can end up saving a lot of money.


Click here for more information similar to this chart.

Source - Pcmag





Energy Efficient Products – Switching to LED Bulbs

Thursday, December 26, 2013


You have probably heard of energy efficient products before, maybe from a friend or neighbor bragging about how they saved money on their electricity bill from using these same products.

If you are like me, you are skeptical.  Can I really save money? How much? Which products should I buy? Are they all the same? 

 

This week I’m going to answer some of these specific questions, and what you are about to read, might just surprise you.

My husband has a passion for his reef aquariums in our home. This Christmas he wanted to spend a decent amount of money on some new LED light fixtures for ONE of his reef tanks. By a decent amount, I mean $600.00! For lights?

Of course, knowing my reaction, he had a couple benefits ready to unload on me. After he rambled on about how awesome they will look, he finished off his persuasion by telling me they will save us money on our electric bill and future replacement bulbs. Save? Now we’re talking!

The accounting major in me wanted the numbers, details, all of the facts. After a little digging I found out that the t5 florescent light bulbs will need to be replaced every six months, (depending on usage) at an average of $150.00. That is already an annual cost of $300.00 a year, without including the cost of electricity.

The average LED light will last around 50,000 hours. That means that the LED light will pay for its self in less than one year. The LED lights also require less energy to run all day long. 


Switching to an average perspective, I calculated the normal cost for a regular 60w house hold bulb. The results were pretty astounding. Let’s say you have a 60w bulb that runs for 4 hours a day and cost $1.44 to purchase.

The LED with the same light output only runs 7w and cost $11.99. At a rate of $13.5 cents per kilowatt hour, I would save $11.89 per year on electricity and pay for the bulb in .93 years.

The initial cost for LED lights may be more, but as I have proved to you today, they will save you money long-term. 



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