With all the talk you here about green this and green that CFL’s, LED’s, GFCI’s, AFCI’s, Whole house surge protectors, Networking, Cat 5, Cat5e, Cat6, etc.. It can leave the consumer lost in information overload.
Technologies are being invented faster than we can consume them, which in effect causes a learning gap in how the new products are to be used and which ones are best.
Even as an electrical contractor in Seattle I struggle to keep up with the technologies and products being produced today. This opens up a new category or specialty for the contracting world. As an electrician I remember my roots back in Chicago, where we wire all are homes in pipe the old fashion way. Its simple install the conduit and pull the conductors through the pipe, connect a device or two and you were done. If a new circuit was ever needed you just simply pull through another circuit through the conduit and you are done. Now with romex or type nm cable you can save a lot of labor installing these cables and of course no pipe to add to the costs of installation. However if you need to add a circuit to an existing home or office it usually requires some drywall repair and more labor than just pulling over a new circuit in pipe.
As a consumer I like to pay for performance. Why should I spend all this extra money on these new “Green Technologies” Because they save you money in the long run and they protect you and your family from fires that are caused by electrical malfunctions. Just see for yourself, look at your utility bill and see your electrical usage then go to your local hardware store and purchase some compact fluorescent lamps “CFL’s” in place of you incandescent lamps and see the difference in wattage use. You will be surprised. Oh, they usually don’t tell you but try to dim the fluorescent lamps oops that oscillating light looks terrible. Now you need to buy a new switch to replace that old dimmer you bought to save energy. Look, this is why you should always research before you buy into a trend. You can dim a fluorescent however you may need to consult with an electrician first.
I will tell you one thing and that is we are heading in the right direction and while not all technologies are practical for your application there are many ways to improve your comfort and safety. I personally would stay away from electrical products that seem cheap or are just too good of a deal to pass up. After all these products are going into your home and the cheap products are usually the first round design for the manufactures and are made of cheaper components to get them to market faster.
In the end I believe that LED lighting, solar energy and wind power are going to be more trendy as we look forward to 2010 and beyond the prices Will have to come down before the general public excepts these products as a standard replacement to older technologies.
Let’s make 2010 a safe year and educate ourselves to better understand these ever changing technologies and to use them wisely so as to protect lives and promote high standards for others to measure.