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Should You Have Solar Panels Installed at Your Home?

September 28, 2016 at 5:29 pm | Category: solar

Solar PanelsThe technology for solar power has been around for decades. NASA has been using solar-powered satellites since the 1960s, and some US homes have had passive solar heating systems since World War II. But solar powered homes have only recently become a popular notion.

The benefits of solar energy are immediately obvious: For at least the next few billion years we’ll have access to sunlight, solar energy is clean and has no greenhouse-gas emissions, and it’ll save you money on your electric bills. So why aren’t more homes equipped with solar panels?

Homeowners in San Francisco still feel a little iffy about using solar energy. While it’s been steadily increasing in popularity, it’s not uncommon to have a few questions.

Before you make any big decisions about upgrades for your home, you need to weigh your options. So let’s look at exactly what solar panels could do for you.

At Owens Electric, our professional San Francisco electricians can help you decide whether or not solar panels are right for your home, and we can provide you with a high-quality installation if you decide they are. Keep reading to learn more about how solar panels can benefit your home.

Lower Your Electricity Costs

First of all, you’ll see a dramatic decline in your electricity bill after installing solar panels. Most homeowners see their electricity bills drop by more than 50%. Even if you need a payment plan to have your panels installed, that payment and your new electricity bill are less than the old electricity bill in most cases. You’ll see a return on your investment immediately.

Save Money with Tax Incentives

Through 2016, the IRS is offering tax incentives to help with the growth of solar power in the US. The Residential Energy Efficient Property Credit gives individual taxpayers a credit of 30% to help pay for qualified residential alternative energy equipment, including solar panels. So if you spend $10,000 on solar panels, you’d receive $3,000 in either tax cuts or in addition to your refund. So you can easily reduce the initial investment on your solar panels.

You should also check with your local electric company to see about any rebates they offer for using solar energy. Currently, KCPL is offering $.50 per watt of electricity used as a rebate for any homeowners using solar energy as an alternative.

Help the Environment

Also, solar energy helps out tremendously with the environment. It’s a completely renewable resource, and it provides 6,000 times more electricity in one day than the earth uses in a full year. And your San Francisco home’s solar panels won’t create any emissions whatsoever.

On average, a homeowner using solar electricity will offset the same amount of carbon as if they had planted 2,500 trees of cut down on their driving by 285,000 miles.

If you’re looking for solar panels in San Francisco, call Owens Electric at 800-944-2252, or fill out our online request form.

Contemporary Modern Lighting Illuminates Any Home

September 6, 2012 at 8:46 pm | Category: Lighting

Decorating your home can be quite a challenge if you are not up to the task. You need to decide on the color that you want for your walls. You need to consider the tiles you will put on the floor. You also have to give some thought to the lighting fixtures you will have installed. Given that every decision you make is vital in giving you the design of your home that you desire, the number of contemporary modern lighting fixtures available is enough to confuse anyone in their quest to make the right decision.

Of course, you will find that your tastes and personal preferences will naturally come into play. Then there is also the issue of the current design or style of your home. In short, zeroing on the exact style that you want for your interiors is difficult enough. How much more could finding the right contemporary modern lighting fixture be? It sure does not help that today’s contemporary modern lighting fixtures comes in a wide variety of shapes and colors. Nevertheless, putting all that difficulty aside, you just need to read this article so that you can get a few ideas that will enlighten you (pun intended) regarding all the ways you can light up your home.

So, how do you pick the right contemporary modern lighting fixture for your home? the following are some helpful hints which you can use.

– Floor lamps 
Modern homes can benefit from contemporary floor lamps. These floor lamps are made from different materials – wood, metal and combinations of both. If you want something interesting, you can go for those with unusual yet attractive designs. Just be sure to pick floor lamps that go well with the other pieces that are present in the room. Dare to be creative? Pick floor lamps with bold colors. They will surely provide illumination as well as liven up your room.

– Side lamps 
For lamps to adorn side tables, you can opt for contemporary side lamps. These lighting solutions can give an otherwise drab room a dash of color. Of course, when you want some vibrancy in the room, you have to choose acrylic side lamps that come in different shades – blue, red, pink, orange, purple, and loads more! Then there are chrome side lamps that go well with chrome furniture. If you are not one to experiment, you can pick side lamps with wooden designs. These go well with wooden furnishings.

– Chandeliers and ceiling lights 
There are now more options to choose from when it comes to chandeliers and ceiling lights. You can take your pick from different designs to complement the room you intend to install a chandelier in. Plus, your room can get a whole new look when you pick interesting ceiling lights to give you the illumination you need.

A Guide to Outdoor Electrical Outlets

August 28, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Category: Electrical Tips

Regardless of the climate that you live in, there is a good chance that you use outdoor electrical outlets at some point during the year. That being said, there are some areas that will naturally make more use of this type of outdoor receptacle. When used properly, an outdoor electrical outlet can be a very handy thing to have. It allows you to power devices and appliances that you would normally be unable to use outdoors. How much do you know about the electrical outlets that are on the outside of your property?

For the most part, an outdoor electrical socket is exactly the same as the outlets within your home. In most cases, an outdoor receptacle is a 120v, three-pronged grounded outlet that the majority of our appliances plug into. You can find them on exterior walls, on decks, by pools and sometimes on important pieces of equipment such as pumps and other exterior appliances. Naturally, outdoor outlets are more popular in warmer and more temperate climates. These areas lend themselves to more time spent outside, which makes them incredibly useful.

What Can I Use It For?

The simple answer to this question is that you can use them for anything that you would normally power inside. This type of outlet is very popular for stereos, lights, fans and anything else that might be necessary outside. When used in conjunction with an outdoor kitchen, they can be used to power blenders, microwaves, hot plates and more. With the popularity of electrical lawn devices on the rise, it is also a great place to plug in electric mowers, weed trimmers and blowers.

Are Outdoor Outlets Safe?

As with anything else, outdoor receptacles are as safe as the person using them. Although it may seem less safe to use electricity outside, it is actually very safe to do so. In fact, most outdoor outlets have special protections in place to ensure that they remain as safe as possible. One of the most common ways that they are protected is by using GFCI outlets, rather than standard electrical outlets. GFCI outlets are equipped with special sensors that can detect small changes in electrical current and shut the power off if necessary. This will help you from accidental electrocution if there is a short, if something comes into contact with water and more. To further protect your outlets, it is common practice to cover them so that they are protected from wind, rain, dirt and other elements.

All in all, an outdoor electrical outlet is a great way to increase the versatility of your outdoor spaces. Whether you are using it to power your electric lawn equipment, special lighting or any other equipment, there is an unlimited number of uses for these outlets. If you need additional outlets on your home, or if you just don’t have any to begin with, get in touch with your local electrician. They can not only advise you on safe placement and usage, but install them fairly quickly and efficiently.

Using Wall Lights To Highlight Your Home’s Decor

August 9, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Category: Lighting

If you have filled your San Francisco home with treasures and artifacts that you would love to display to guests and visitors, perhaps the installation of some well-placed wall lights could be the solution to all your problems. With a number of unusual and attractive designs available, lights that are installed on the walls of your home could be very beneficial in accentuating a picture, fireplace, nook, plant or other architectural element.

But why are wall lights so useful in highlighting the decorative features of our home? For one, they are known for being highly suited to the provision ambient lighting, which looks nice but isn’t overly useful for completing tasks by. For two, the way in which light is cast out from these fixtures is perfect for illuminating decorative elements that are placed on or around the walls of your home.

In the bathroom, it is essential that you have proper lighting installed by your San Francisco Lighting electrician, so that you can complete the daily tasks of shaving and applying makeup. Wall sconces, when fitted with the proper globes, are highly effective at casting a more natural appearing illumination across the space. They also avoid the creation of dark shadows, which can make a person appear tired or unwell.

In the dining room, wall lights are used to provide that finishing touch by adding an understated illumination to the walls (which are often left in shadow by ceiling fixtures). They are quite useful in making a space feel bright and cozy rather than dark and dingy, which makes for a much more pleasant dining experience.

In the living room, the correct sort of illumination is essential for setting the mood of your ‘relaxation space’. Wall sconces are widely used in these areas for drawing attention to particular elements of the room, such as a fireplace or a picture, and they are also suitable for lighting around the television without casting an annoying glare across the screen.

In the hallway, it is important that you get the amount of light right, as these rooms are renowned for being the darkest areas of the home. Well-spaced wall lights will effortlessly provide adequate illumination that really opens the space up and banishes those dark corners.

The Power of San Francisco Home Generators

July 30, 2012 at 7:22 pm | Category: Generators

Home generators are one of the most useful machines ever invented. Because of the rapidly evolving technology, people have grown accustomed to making work easier through the use of electricity. In one way or another, electricity is present in almost everything people do – from charging cellular phones to surfing the Internet to watching television to washing and ironing clothes to cooking meals to curing diseases. Electricity has been an important part of everyone’s life and even a quick power loss could be a huge disaster. Thanks to generators, people will no longer have to think about power outages.

A generator is a machine that converts mechanical into electrical energy by rotating an armature through a magnetic field. The device uses an engine, a motor, turbine or other source of mechanical energy to turn the armature.  A voltage is induced in the moving conductors through electromagnetic induction. To generate voltage, relative motion must exist between the conductors and the magnetic field. Today, generators produce most electricity used not only by industry but also in homes.

San Francisco home generators are either portable or stationary. A portable generator is handy and mobile. It is taken from its storage, filled with fuel, started manually and connected to the loads. It is commonly used to run small power tools. A stationary generator, used primarily as power backup, is already connected to the wiring as well as to the fuel source. It, thus, starts immediately or automatically, in which case, there is an auto transfer switch which is installed indoors and which senses power outage and starts the device, such as when the power is restored, the automatic stationary generator turns itself off. For some, the typical transfer time is between ten and thirty seconds which provides convenience. Another advantage of automatic stationary generators over portable ones is that they offer higher power levels. On the downside, they are more costly and they require high installation costs. While some households really need permanent generators due to a high need for emergency power, others can go with portable ones which offer about the same function. Plus, they are relatively less expensive.

Over the years, electricity has been of hundreds of thousands of important uses. People need electricity to charge cellular phones to make calls and send messages. People need electricity to prepare meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. People need electricity to wash and iron clothes and to light and ventilate homes. Evidently, San Francisco home generators are important for an uninterrupted supply of electricity to be able to do things such as house chores as well as office work. They provide every help people need to whatever adversity life brings.


LED Lighting For Your Laundry Room

July 18, 2012 at 5:31 pm | Category: Lighting

Getting the most out of your laundry room starts with the right lighting fixtures from your San Francisco lighting contractor. Without the right lighting in your laundry room, you might as well be doing your laundry in the closet. Conventional lighting can be too hot for an already warm space. Florescent bulbs tend to make a room feel like your cleaning clothes at the DMV. Use this guide to lighting with LED bulbs and you can be sure your mud room will be well lit for an affordable price.

LED Track Lighting

For laundry spaces that need a bright light source, LED track fixtures can be the source that you need to light your washer, dryer and folding area with one simple switch. LED’s are easy to install over existing fixtures. Attach these fantastic laundry lights to a dimmer switch and you can keep the lights low for when you leave the room and turn them on bright when you need to fold the clothes.

Under cabinet Lighting

Many mud rooms have cabinets above the washer, dryer, lavatory or laundry folding area. These are excellent areas for installing under cabinet lights. LED under cabinet systems are easy to install and work well with most hanging cabinet styles. When installing under cabinet LED’s, it’s a good idea to space them apart about two feet for optimal light displacement. Rope lights are also another style of under cabinet lighting that works great in laundry room areas and can provide your laundry space with a continuous ambient light source under the cabinets.

Recessed Lights

A recessed fixture is commonly employed over the top of each laundry appliance and counter space facing directly down onto the surface. These flush ceiling LED fixtures are fantastic ways to keep your laundry room well lit without the need for exposed fixtures. Recessed lighting comes in various styles but LED recessed lighting works particularly better than a conventional can light in many ways. LED recessed lights are much smaller, yet yield more lumens per watt. Since they produce little heat, they can be installed in areas where conventional recessed lighting cannot. They also use significantly less energy making them a great addition to any mud room.

A Guide To Choosing Ceiling Lights For Your Bathroom

June 22, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Category: Lighting

Have you ever heard the saying ‘a change is as good as a holiday’? There is plenty of truth to this statement; take, for example, changing the ceiling lights in your bathroom – this small act alone could make it feel like a whole new space. There is more to this decision, however, than just walking into a showroom, pointing at a fixture you like and saying ‘that one’. Use this guide to ensure that you are making the right choices for your bathroom in regards to San Francisco lighting.

Our bathrooms need to be functional above everything else, and the ceiling lights that you ultimately choose for your space will help to determine with this is the case. There is no point in installing a fixture that looks stunning if it prevents you from completing all of the tasks that you would normally undertake in the space, such as shaving and applying make up. This is not to say, however, that homeowners should forget about the aesthetics of their lighting fixtures – instead, it is about finding a balance.

One way to achieve this is by choosing ceiling fixtures that you can easily adjust in both direction and levels of illumination.


Thankfully, there is plenty of aesthetically pleasing ceiling lights out there that also achieves adequate illumination that can be dimmed or brightened and directed to a certain area. Recessed lights and downlights sit flush with the ceiling and appear as if they’re not even there during the day, whilst a chandelier will make a luxurious and elegant statement. If going for a ‘wow-factor’ fixture, such as a pendant or chandelier, it is recommended that you do the rest of your bathroom as minimalist as possible to avoid overpowering the space.

How to Pick A San Francisco Generator for Your Home

June 12, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Category: Generators

San Francisco generators are your run-to when there are power interruptions. Not having enough electricity could really make it hard for a household to work as normally as it would want, and this is why it’s important that you choose a generator that is most compatible for your home and your energy requirements. What should you consider when choosing a home generator?

  1. Price. When choosing a generator, you should consider just how much you could spend. Even if you really need a generator, it wouldn’t do you much good to spend money that you couldn’t earn. Portable home generators could cost as much as $4,000, but there would be others which could just cost less than $1,000 too. Decide on your budget before everything else.
  2. Size. What type of generator should you use? There are portable generators which are normally small. Home standby generators are used to power up a whole home in case it is needed. And there are those commercial generators which could power up a place a lot bigger than just a house. The size could usually tell you how long a generator can run too.
  3. Fuel Type. There are many types of generators depending on what fuel they use to generate electricity. There are those which are powered by gas, there are those powered by LPG, there are some that works on diesel, and others work on natural gas. There are advantages and disadvantages of choosing one over the other, including price and availability, and you should figure out about them with your professional contractor. We are the only ones who could help you choose the right San Gabriel Valley generators, as well as help you install them safely and properly.
  4. Load. Of course, you’d have to deal with choosing a home generator by the electricity load that you’re about to put into it. Knowing just how much wattage something needs to start and keep running is important if you want to know how powerful you need your generator to be. Make a list of all the things you want to start and run with a power generator, and make sure that you cover all the necessary appliances and equipment first. Your fridge, freezer, heater, pump and water system, gas furnace and fans, stove, lighting, washing machine, radio, computer system and many others could very well be considered as important and necessary. All of these things would require higher starting wattages, but all of them would run on significantly lower wattage.

If you’re thinking about installing a home generator by yourself, then you might want to take a step back and think twice about what you’re about to do. It could be very dangerous to deal with things that you don’t have much knowledge about. If you know a thing or two about generators, decide if they’re enough to help you safely and properly install it in your home. If you’re having second thoughts, it would always be better to have generators installed by your professional San Francisco electrician.

Best Electrical Safety Tips For Your Home

May 24, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Category: Electrical Tips

Every California home has electricity flowing through it and normally safe however, if you have young children or are planning to do work on you home, you must make sure you have some basic electrical safety training and electrical safety rules. Electricity is a part of modern society however without the proper precautions electricity can kill very easily. This article will give you some very basic electrical safety tips.

Small children love to learn by exploring and touching. Parents and caregivers must diligently remove any electrical hazards in their home and keep their children safe. First remove or repair any loose electrical lines. If you have loose electrical sockets or frayed wires protruding from the wall, you should have the issues fixed by your trained San Francisco electrician. Also, replace any frayed power cords on electrical appliances you use. In some cases you can have a frayed power cord repaired but you should also consider replacing the appliance completely.

After any electrical wiring issues in your home have been repaired, take some time to learn about electricity and what to do in the case of an emergency. When there are small children in your home you must know what to do in the case of an electrical emergency. Purchase a training DVD that will explain electrical safety in an easy to understand detail. If learning from a DVD is not for you, some communities offer electrical safety training for free through the electrical power company. The goal of learning about electrical safety is to not become an expert in electricity or electrical repair but to gain enough knowledge to be able to react in an emergency.

Now that you have training and the most pressing electrical hazards in your house resolved. Start childproofing your home. Cover all electrical sockets with plastic electrical socket covers to prevent your child from poking items into the sockets. Be sure that the covers you choose to use cannot be removed easily by your children and are large enough that they are not a choking hazard.

Finally, prepare for the possibility of an electrical fire by purchasing a fire extinguisher specially designed for electrical fires. Water should never be used on an electrical fire because the water has the potential to cause the fire to spread. Knowing about electrical safety means being prepared for the possibility of an electrical fire by purchasing a chemical fire extinguisher and checking the charge on your extinguisher yearly.

While chances are you will never need to use your electrical safety training or use your fire extinguisher the knowledge of electrical safety tips in the home is vital to protecting your children. Take the time to take electricity and electrical safety rule serious and your house will be happy and healthy for years to come.

Do You Use LED Lighting Anywhere?

May 17, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Category: Lighting

Light-emitting diodes have been around for years. Traditionally, they have been used as indicators on electrical devices, such as standby lights on TVs. This was because LEDs were only available in red, but recent advances means that other colours are now available, and the light emitted is much brighter.

White light (used for general lighting) using LEDs can be created via a number of techniques. One example is mixing red, green and blue LEDs. LEDs can also last for up to 100,000 hours, compared with the 1,000 hours of traditional incandescent light-bulbs and compact fluorescent lamps’ (CFLs) 15,000 hours. Not only saving on replacement costs of the fittings and bulbs, but also vastly cutting down on the time spent in renewing and replacing older conventional fittings.

The technology is also much more energy efficient, using up to 90% less energy than incandescent bulbs.

The long lifespans and low energy use make LEDs economically attractive because even though the fittings cost more, the running and maintenance bills are lower.

Additionally the colour mix typically produced by LEDs also produces a more attractive, natural and comfortable lighting environment, than conventional lighting., and with the rising price of electricity, the high efficiencies of LED lighting technology will make it an even more attractive investment in the years ahead.

Give your San Francisco electrician a call for more information on LED lighting and any other questions you may have.

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If you are looking for a professional electrician in the San Francisco area, then please call us today at 800-944-2252 or complete our online request form.