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Can You Save Energy and Maintain the Same Standard of Living?

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Saving energy is a commendable goal. By using less electricity and other energy around your home, you reduce your contribution to environmental degradation and climate change. On the other hand, easy and reliable access to electricity is in large part responsible for the high standard of living that most of us enjoy. Read on to learn more about the intersection between comfort and energy consumption, and how you can cut back while still participating in modern 21st century life.

Energy Consumption and GDP Go Hand-in-Hand

When it comes to residential households, cheap power allows us to run the electrical work that lends so much convenience and comfort to our day-to-day lives – refrigerators, air conditioners, lights, computers, televisions and much more. On a societal scale, access to fossil fuels and the energy potential stored within is what has made possible so many technological and logistical advances in the first place. However, as the years advance, the science is becoming ever more clear – excessive carbon emissions are causing the planet’s climate to change, often in destructive and unpredictable ways.

Of course, no one wants to go back to the days of pushing a plow behind a donkey and churning butter by hand, either. The big question is whether we can separate our energy consumption from our standard of living. Historically, consumption and GDP have risen together in lock-step. Can the United States and other developed countries figure out how to break the chain?

Separate our Lifestyle from Consumption

A recent report by the Energy Collective tells us that “reductions in energy intensity is arguably our most important tool to achieve a sustainable energy future.” What does it mean? That we can get the same or more production out of less energy usage. In some ways, we’ve already made progress – between 2007 and 2013, energy consumption dropped 4.5 percent in the United States, while the Net Domestic Product continued to rise.

That’s all well and good for the country, but what about your household? The same principles apply – for a more sustainable future, look for ways to get the same results with less energy use. That means switching to efficient appliances, like Energy Star certified appliances. It means replacing old incandescent light bulbs with modern LED models. And look for little changes that can make a big difference, like adjusting your thermostat a few notches up or down to reduce the load on your HVAC equipment.

Make a Difference in Your House

You can do your part to cut down on your energy use while still enjoying the amenities of modern life by making targeted efficiency investments and simple behavioral changes. If you need tips on how to reduce your energy bills without reverting to stone age-style living, or need any other electrical work, contact a reputable electrician today.

How To Be Prepared For A Power Outage

One minute, you’re watching television with your family – the next minute, all the lights cut out and the TV goes black. Blackouts are relatively rare, but when they do occur, they can cause serious problems for any family that relies on its electrical. Read on for advice on how to be prepared for an outage so you aren’t left in the dark.

When the Lights Go Out in your Area

Follow these tips to make sure you’re ready when the lights go out:

  • Keep an eye on the forecast: Some blackouts are unpredictable, but they are more likely to happen if there is a heavy storm, which can knock down trees across power lines and create other disruptions to municipal electrical work.
  • Have an emergency kit on hand: Make sure you have flashlights, extra batteries, a radio, cash, water and some non-perishable food stashed in your home so you can get by in the event of an extended outage.
  • Hook up a generator: Many families find peace of mind by purchasing a generator (we do have some suggestions if needed). That way, you have emergency power so you can use your communication devices, or keep important appliances like the refrigerator running so your food doesn’t spoil while the electricity is out.
  • Break out the warm clothes and sleeping bags: If you rely on electricity to heat your home, nighttime could be dangerously cold when you lose power in the winter. Make sure you have enough heavy clothing and bedding so you aren’t in danger of freezing before you can get the heat turned back on.
  • Have a backup plan: It’s no big deal to make it through a few hours or possibly even a day with no power to your household electrical, but if the outage drags on, you may need to leave your home for safety – especially in bitterly cold weather. Make arrangements for emergency lodgings with friends or family in advance so you always have a warm place to stay.
  • Keep in touch with the news: Make sure you know how to use your radio or mobile device to get up-to-date information about the status of the blackout so you can check for updates from the utility company.

Making the Best of a Power Outage:

If you are prepared, power outages don’t have to be a bummer – they can even be an opportunity for family fun. For assistance in choosing and installing a generator, call an expert electrician today at 907-373-3893.

Common Electrical Hazards

Electricity is a staple in most homes today, and our reliance on it means that it’s important to learn how to handle it safely. Unfortunately, electrical fires and shocks aren’t as rare as you might think, but the good news is that most of them are completely preventable. By keeping a few basic ideas in mind, you can safeguard your home from electrical hazards and still enjoy helpful appliances and beautiful light fixtures!

  1. WaterMost people know that water and electricity don’t mix, and yet many of us end up reaching for the hair dryer or electric razor after a shower as our hands are still wet. Do not touch electrical outlets or appliances with wet hands, and never reach into water to pull out an appliance that’s plugged in. Be very careful about outlets and electronics near water, including swimming pools. Any radios, TVs, phones, curling irons, hair dryers, radiators, lamps, and cords should be kept away from sinks, bathtubs, and pools filled with water. Completely dry hands and feet before touching electronics.
  2. Extension CordsAlthough they can be very helpful, do not use extension cords for a long period of time. They are designed for temporary applications, so unplug and safely store them between each use. Do not run extension cords through ceilings or walls, as it may cause them to overheat which can cause electrical fires. The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) reports that improper use of extension cords causes 3,300 residential fires each year. If you’re constantly needing a longer cord to plug in an appliance, you’re probably better off installing a new outlet.
  3. Curious Children and PetsIf you look around your home or office, you’ll notice that most outlets are located near the ground; this makes them convenient for plugging in electronics, but it also places them at a height accessible to children and animals. This doesn’t mean you have to move all your outlets, but there are a few simple changes you can make to keep your home and loved ones safe. Place plastic covers over outlets to prevent children from placing fingers or objects into the sockets. Plug-in covers are easy to find in any hardware store. Also make sure to keep loose cords away from pets, who may chew on them. You don’t need to cover them (this can actually lead to overheating) but securing cords or taping them down can prevent pets from playing with them.
  4. Damaged Wires and CordsNever use cords that are corroded, melted, frayed, or have turned black. If a cord’s outer sheathing is torn or is exposing the wires within, you run a risk of shock, burn, or electrical fire. To prevent cord tears, always unplug appliances and electronics by pulling on the plug itself, not the cord. Additionally, do not try to “fix” run-down cords by taping the tears; just replace them or have a licensed electrician look at them if you’re unsure. Dealing with faulty cords is a tricky process that is best handled by a qualified professional.
  5. Broken Smoke AlarmsYour smoke alarms are one of the most important safety features in your home, but they’re useless if their batteries are dead. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that approximately two-thirds of all home fire deaths occur in homes without working smoke alarms. With a statistic like this, it’s tough to argue against installing functional smoke alarms. Ideally, alarms should be placed in each bedroom/sleeping area and on the floor of every home. Check to make sure they’re working each month by pressing the “TEST” button located on the alarm. If your alarm is sounding off a single “beep” at periodic intervals (versus a constant beeping that indicates smoke detection), that means the batteries are failing and need to be changed immediately.

Does one of these issues sound familiar to you? For residential and commercial electrical services in the Anchorage, Palmer & Wasilla areas, call Allied Alaska Electric today at 907-373-3893!

Easy Ways to Save Energy in the Bedroom

Your bedroom might not consume as much energy as your living room or kitchen, but there are some energy wasters which could be causing your energy bill to go up each month.

    Seal the Windows to Make Your Heating More Cost Effective

Homeowners in the Alaska spend much more money each year on heating expenses. This is why the better you seal your windows, the less money you will spend on electricity and natural gas.

    Draw Your Bedroom Window Curtains

Heavy curtains prevent warm air from escaping your home, which will raise your house’s room temperature.

    Keep Closet Doors Closed

The larger your bedroom is, the harder your heater has to work to keep you warm. Leaving closet doors open effectively increases your bedroom’s size. Close it so you don’t waste energy heating that area.

    Unplug Devices Before Bedtime

Your mobile devices and other electronics draw current even when they’re fully charged. Since most devices only take a few hours to charge completely you might be wasting valuable energy during the night.

Unplug your devices before you fall asleep so you don’t waste electricity and avoid wearing down your device’s battery throughout the night.

    Turn Off Lights Before Going to Sleep

A 60-watt light bulb uses 60 watts of electricity per hour, and at the end of the year that amount could add up. If you leave your lights on while you’re asleep, you’ll use a lot of energy that could have been saved.

For those who prefer not sleeping in total darkness, consider adding a dimmer switch to your lights to help you conserve energy in the bedroom.

    Bedroom energy savings are easy

Saving energy in the bedroom is easy for anyone to do. When you follow these tips, you will lower your energy use and see the results every month on your utility bill.

The Importance of Smoke Alarms!!

Your smoke detector is arguably the most essential safety fixture in your home. However, a National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) report found that at least 5 million homes in the U.S. still don’t have smoke alarms. According to the NFPA, having a working smoke alarm cuts one’s chances in half of dying in a fire. But since most of us are so accustomed to this appliance, it becomes easy to take it for granted and remember how important it is to our security.

Smoke Detector

Obviously, your smoke alarm’s primary function is to notify you of any suspicious smoke inside your house. This includes anything from burnt cooking, improperly extinguished cigarettes/cigars (actually among one of the most common causes of fire), and electrical fires. Your alarm will sound at the first sign of trouble, hopefully notifying you of the fire before flames can spread to other parts of the house. Likewise, many electrical fires first take shape as a spark followed by smoldering wires. Your alarm will be able to give you some warning before the fire gets out of control, protecting you and your family.

To optimize your safety in the event of a fire, we recommend taking the following steps:

·         Install the proper number of smoke alarms for your home. In general, it is recommended to have an alarm on each floor of the house, in every bedroom, and in every hallway.

·         Teach children about fire safety. Properly functioning smoke alarms are useless if no one knows how to react in the event of a fire. If you have kids in the home, teach them how to safely exit the house if a fire ignites. Remind them not to stop to grab any toys or belongings to bring with them, as this is many children’s first instinct.

·         Test your smoke alarms monthly. This can be effortlessly done by holding down the test button on the front of the alarm.

·         If you need to repair, replace, or install additional smoke alarms in your home, a qualified electrician is an excellent resource. They’ll make sure your alarm is installed and operating correctly so you can have peace of mind that your home is protected.

If you need assistance with your smoke alarm or would like to schedule a home electrical safety inspection, contact our staff at Allied Alaska Electric today. Our company is one of the most trusted leaders in Electrical installation in the state.  We are available and happy to answer any questions you may have!