Renovations

May23

LED Lighting

Written by // Mike Devereux Categories // Additions, Renovations, LED Lighting

There’s been widespread interest in LED (Light Emitting Diode) technology for a number of years. Originally the LED’s were a bluish, weak light which even though it used less electricity, produced little heat and lasted for a very long time, just wasn’t a useful light source. Recently the cost and functionality of LED’s has got to the point where they’re now being commonly used in many applications. There is a lot of demand for LED products and now affordable products are coming to market quickly.

                                          

We have a small travel trailer and after our first camping trip last season and worrying about light’s being left on and batteries dying I found some replacement LED bulbs and installed them for our second trip. No worries about leaving lights on now. Just have to find a solution for the 12V water pump now. I’ll keep you posted.               

As electrical contractors, our main interest in LED’s is for lighting applications.  Compared to a standard 60W tungsten filament light bulb, the lifespan of an LED equivalent is 2500-5000% longer and the energy use is about .04%. Mainly because of the drastically reduced energy use BC Hydro has been offering significant rebates to customers over the past few years. For example, if you replace your standard exit sign, which is on 24 hrs a day 365 days a year, with an LED exit sign BC Hydro will give you a $55 rebate.

                       

We now use LED low voltage puck lights for all of our undercabinet lighting. Exterior flood and security lighting, service stations, traffic lights, automotive brake and signal lights and of course, exit signs are all other areas where LED’s are becoming the standard choice.

                              

They are still more expensive to purchase than standard lights. But when factors such as maintenance and energy use are taken into account they will pay for themselves over a 1-2 year time frame. However, be cautious with LED specification information. At a recent lighting workshop I attended sponsored by BC Hydro we were told that LED lighting is not measured in a consistent way with other lighting types. Maintenance and repair is a significant part of the work we do and installing a product which will reduce that may not be in our best interests, short term. But we will always recommend a product which we feel is the best one for our clients.

 

 

Contact us at  http://www.pacificstarelectric.ca/index.htm for more information

May23

Electrical Service Upgrade

Written by // Mike Devereux Categories // New Electrical Service, Panel Upgrades, Renovations, Sub-panels

Your electrical service is the system which brings power from the electrical utility provider (BC Hydro) to your home. There are 2 different types.

Overhead: Wiring is run on power poles then distributed to individual homes and buildings.

Underground: Wiring is in underground conduits or cables then brought to the individual homes and building through an underground conduit or cable.

Both systems consist of the electrical panel, circuit breakers, meter base, grounding and bonding system

The elecrical utility provider owns and is responsible for the meter installed in your meter base and the underground or overhead lines which bring electricity to the building.

There are a number of different reasons for upgrading your Electrical Service.

1) Renovations, additions, outbuildings

2) Adding significant electrical loads

3) Replacing an outdated or unsafe Electrical Service

4) Damage from wind, vehicle impact, grow-op etc.

5) Requirement by your insurance company or the electrical inspection authority

Panel Replacement or Upgrade

This involves disconnecting power to the building, removing the existing electrical panel, then installing a new panel. The grounding and bonding systems are inspected to confirm they are intact.

Grounding: Approximately 70% of the homes where we have replaced the electrical panel have had no grounding system prior to our work. In older homes (25+ years old) the main water line has often been replaced. The original main water line was copper and this was also the grounding for the electrical system. When the original copper line is removed and the new PVC (plastic) water line is installed the home has no grounding system. The electrical system ground has essentially been disconnected from the earth. Check at your main water shut-off inside the building. There is a clamp that attaches a copper wire to the water lines. If you do not have a minimum of 10 ft of copper water line in the earth at this point you have no ground. The solution is to install an approved grounding plate or grounding rods.

 

Bonding: All metal plumbing, waste or natural gas lines in the building must be bonded (electrically connected) together. Usually natural gas lines installed after the home was built have not been connected to the bonding system. There should be a visible clamp connection from the metal plumbing and gas lines to the electrical panel. If not, the solution is to install a copper wire from the metal lines to the bond connection in the electrical panel.

Installing a Sub-Panel

Often this is all that’s needed if you need space for new circuits or an addition or renovation. The sub-panel is installed close to the original main electrical panel or where the new circuits will be needed (outbuilding, suite, new kitchen etc.).

Sometimes the existing breakers can be reconfigured or replaced to free up additional circuit space as well.

Service Rebuild

This involves removing the existing meter base, panel and (overhead service only) the conduit or cable attaching to the BC Hydro lines, then installing new components.

400A Electrical Service

400A services require a BC Hydro meter cabinet and CT's installed. Basically, there are no meters that are capable of mopre than 200A so the current must be stepped down through the CT (current transformer) so the elctricity usage can be determined

CT cabinet on the left, meter base on the right. CT's and meter still to be installed

For questions, or a free estimate on upgrading your electrical service click here:

www.pacificstarelectric.ca

 

May23

Do I Need An Electrical Permit?

Written by // Mike Devereux Categories // Additions, Permits, Renovations

All electrical work, with some small exceptions, requires a permit whether done by a contractor or a homeowner. An electrical permit gives permission or authorization in writing to perform work regulated by the BC Safety Authority. Contractors must obtain permits and submit an  Electrical Contractor Authorization as the work progresses and upon completion of the installation.

An electrical permit is not required for:

1) The replacement of defective fuses, receptacles, switches or lamps with identical types and ratings.

2) Emergency work


Who Can Take Out an Electrical Permit?

The person or company doing the work takes out the electrical permit. If you hire someone to do the work, they must obtain the permit. If you're doing the work yourself, you need to obtain the permit and must reside in the  fully detached single-family dwelling.

A fully detached single family dwelling means any of the following if occupied or intended by the owner to be occupied as a permanent residence:


1) Any detached building containing only one dwelling unit;

2) A manufactured home as defined in the Manufactured Home Act;

3) A recreational vehicle


Hiring an Electrical Contractor

If you’re re-wiring your home or doing renovations that require new or altered electrical systems, the best way to proceed is to hire a qualified electrical contractor licensed with the BC Safety Authority.

All licensed contractors are, or employ, electricians who are certified Field Safety Representatives (FSR).  An FSR is the person who will be responsible for the permit issued to the contractor, with the class of the FSR determining the scope of work the contractor is allowed to perform.  

All FSRs have demonstrated to the BC Safety Authority that they have the necessary qualifications – and passed a written exam administered by us – before being issued a Field Safety Representative Certificate of Qualification. This allows them to install, maintain, operate and repair electrical products.


Areas of the Lower Mainland

Dependng on the area you live there are different requirements for obtaining a permit.

In Vancouver, Burnaby, Surrey, North Vancouver City, North Vancouver District, West Vancouver, Maple Ridge the municipalities themselves issue permits and do the inspections. They inspect 100% of the work.

In the remaining municipalities, Chilliwack, Coquitlam, Hope, Port Coquitlam, Pitt Meadows, Abbotsford, Mission, Whiterock, New Westminster, Richmond, Delta, Tsawwassen, Ladner the province issues the electrical permit and does the inspection. 25% of the work is inspected.

Permit Form Here

permit form.pdf (2.42 mb)

For more information or to request a free estimate click here:

www.pacificstarelectric.ca

May23

Single Phase or Three Phase?

Categories // Additions, Renovations

Single phase power. Household use, safer, less efficient.

 

 

Three phase power. Commercial/Industrial use, 73% more efficient, more expensive to install, motors last longer, speed control is better.

The horizonal line in the center is zero/off/no power. As you can see, in single phase, power output drops to zero then to full then back again. Three phase power never falls to zero. It only falls to 73% of full.

Three phase power is not allowed for household use. The highly efficient overlapping power band is dangerous. If someone grips a cable energized by three phase it is very difficult to let go. Short circuits are more dangerous.

For more information or to request a free estimate click here:

www.pacificstarelectric.ca

May23

Recessed Lighting - Pot Lights/Puck Lights

Written by // Mike Devereux Categories // Additions, Renovations, Recessed Lighting

Why Use Recessed Lighting

Recessed lighting offers a clean, streamlined look. It can increase the amount of light in a room, highlight artwork or other special features, and open up spaces so they look and feel bigger. Recessed lighting, if done correctly, wil increase the livability and value of your home or office.



When to Use Recessed Lighting

Though recessed fixtures are most easily installed between ceiling joists of new building or major renovation projects, there are recessed fixtures are designed specifically for retrofit applications, we use a template to cut a hole in the ceiling or cabinet, new wiring is installed, the recessed light clamps onto the ceiling or cabinet material. The fixtures you choose must be rated for use near insulation (IC rated) if they're being installed in an insulated ceiling.

Where to Place Recessed Lighting Fixtures

The common rule is that 4-inch fixtures should generally be placed at least 4 feet apart 5-inch fixtures about 5 feet apart and 6-inch fixtures about 6 feet apart. Kitchens and bathrooms will need more fixtures. You want to make sure that you have adequate amount of light. Dimmers are a great idea to control the light level and mood in a room.


Center recessed lighting fixtures in front of the objects you wish to light – a painting, bookshelf, or drapery panels, for example – and about 12 to 18 inches in front of that object. The light should generally highlight the object at about 30 deg.


Recessed lights used for reading or task lighting should be carefully placed overhead to reduce shadows.


When lighting a three-dimensional object such as a fireplace, sculpture, or flower arrangement with recessed lighting, it is more effective to light it from two or three different angles.


Use wall-wash or directional recessed lighting fixtures around the perimeter of a small room to help “push” the walls out and make the space feel larger, or aim them at a collection of artwork or photographs to call attention to the display.


Install recessed lighting fixtures (puck light, using your imagination it looks kind of like a hockey puck) in the bottom of your kitchen cabinets. The light will wash your counter top with focused or diffused light depending on the style chosen light.



Recessed lights have 2 parts. The housing and the trim. The housing is the part that you never see, it is recessd into the ceiling. The trim is the piece that is installed into the housing and fits flush with the ceiling.

 

Many different trims are available: all white, white with black baffle, chrome, brushed nickel, adjustable, etc. Make sure you have an idea what type of trims you would like before installing the housings as each housing has only certain types of trims that are compatible.

 

Make sure that the existing circuit is not overloaded.
Dimmers are generally rated for 600 watts, 1000 watt dimmers are available. Make sure to get a dimmer rated for low voltage if installing low voltage recessed lights, you must also know whether the transformer is magnetic or electronic.

If you would like any more information or  would like to schedule a free estimate to look at installing recessed lighting visit our website at:   http://www.pacificstarelectric.ca or call us at 604-463-6695

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