One Step Greener

#OneStepGreener is one of the key messages from COP26. It encourages people to take actions that have a positive impact on our environment. Simple steps we can take every day to make life more sustainable and they all add up. 

With all of the recent focus on COP26 many people are asking what they can do in their own lives to cut carbon emissions. We have been focussing on this subject here at Carter Electrical with many blogs showing what changes households can make to become greener and emit less carbon.

At Carter Electrical we understand that people do want green options but are careful to spend their money wisely. Therefore we offer a full range of green energy products from economy lines to state of the art devices. We can now offer Solar PV, EV chargers, Air Source Heat Pumps, storage batteries and energy saving LED lighting. There are also many Government grants available to help you purchase energy creating/saving products.

We also believe that is very important to have your Consumer Unit (Fuse Box) kept up to date. A new unit will keep you safe and ensure that you’re not wasting electricity. Maybe run a check on your energy usage to see if you are wasting power?

It can be done!! Earlier in the year we were thrilled to have received the EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) report for the new build house we worked on in Frimley.

It achieved 98/101 on the EPC, it is net zero on CO2 (Carbon) emissions. The only way to improve the rating would have been with Solar Thermal water heating.

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FAQ-LED Lights

  1. Will I save money with LED bulbs?

With electricity prices soaring we are seeing clients looking for ways to save on electricity usage. Switching your old incandescent lights for LED lighting is a very good method of using less electricity. LED stands for light emitting diode. LED lighting products produce light up to 90% more efficiently than incandescent light bulbs as they don’t produce heat that is wasted. Lighting makes up 15% of the average UK household electricity consumption.

The vast majority of light bulbs now sold are LED but there remains many light fittings in UK households that use old fashioned light bulbs. New figures from AMA Research’s latest Lighting Market Report show that the take-up of LEDs in home lighting is increasing but that only 14% of lights in UK households are LEDs.

2. Do LED bulbs last longer?

As well as being energy efficient LED light bulbs will last considerably longer than old fashioned light bulbs.

Typically, the important parts of a light bulb, such as the filament, weaken over time, which causes the bulb to burn out. But LEDs don’t burn out the same way that other bulbs do; instead, the amount of light they produce decreases gradually in what is called “lumen depreciation”. The lifetime of an LED bulb is based on how long it takes for the lumen output of the bulb to decrease to 30%, so it will likely last longer than the average rated lifetime hour listed on the box if you don’t mind or don’t notice the decreased illumination.

Certain cheaper LED bulbs will only last about 5,000 hours, which is still 4,000 – 3,000 hours longer than the average lifespan of an incandescent, but many branded bulbs are rated for over 25,000 hours.

3. Can I use LED bulbs in my existing light fittings?

When it comes to LED light bulbs, they will turn on and work in any light fixture that provides them at least the minimum wattage they’re specified for. Because of the efficiency of LED bulbs, this figure is often very low. Some LED bulbs may even be tolerant of too little or too much wattage, to a certain point. This is yet another thing they share with incandescent and halogen bulbs.

The major variance factor is lumens. Supplying too much or too little voltage to any light will cause a fluctuation in the amount of light it outputs, but with LEDs, this can be especially dramatic. This is because their power needs fall far below most other types of lightbulbs out there.

To put it simply, look at the wattage and lumens together when buying an LED lightbulb. It may require only 8 watts to shine at a decent level, for example, but reaching that same lumen rating with an incandescent bulb would take far more power. One way to tell is to look at wattage equivalents when buying LED bulbs.

4. What is the brightness of LED bulbs like?

LEDs are capable of emitting an extremely high level of brightness. That’s why wattage is no longer a viable measurement of brightness – instead, look at a bulb’s lumen output when you’re making the switch to LEDs or other energy-efficient lighting.

5. Can LED bulbs come in different colours?

Incandescent bulbs require gels or filters to create different colours and shades of light. On the other hand, LEDs offer a wide range of colours and colour temperatures without the use of gels or filters, which can burn out or fade over time. With LEDs, it is the actual diode (or its phosphorus coating) that is changed to alter the colour of the emitted light, so you can trust that it will stay the same shade until the end of its lifespan.

6. Can LEDs be more flexible in design?

LEDs have tremendous design flexibility. Because LEDs are so small they can be used in virtually any application you can think of. They can be combined in bunches for a traditional bulb, used in isolation as a small device light, or strung out in sequence in a linear fashion. Just about everything you can think of can be done with LEDs.

If you would like to discuss your lights and your light fittings with us please give us a call on 0118 967 7033 or email us [email protected]

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FAQ-Air Source Heat Pumps

We are receiving more enquiries about Air Source Heat Pumps, with questions about the pros and cons of this type of heating. So we have put together a blog in FAQ form-please read on.

1. What is a heat pump?

A heat pump is basically a refrigerator in reverse. A heat pump extracts heat energy from the outside air and transfers that heat in to your house. The heat pump can provide all of the hot water and heating that a house needs. You have already been using a heat pump for decades without realising it.

2. What is an air source heat pump?

An air source heat pump, is essentially a ‘box’ that sits outside your home. It uses electricity but will create much more energy than it uses. It uses a fan to draw air through the piping, where the heat energy is gathered and upgraded.

3. How much will a ASHP cost to install?

The typical air source heat pump cost ranges from £4,000-8,000, depending on the pump brand and its heat output. Installation will be on top of the cost of the pump.

There are a number of factors affecting the cost of installation such as the age and size of your property, the levels of insulation and thermal efficiency, the number of rooms and radiators, etc, so it is difficult to give even an average idea of cost.

However, installations are eligible for 7 years of payments under the Renewable Heat Incentive, which significantly reduces the payback period. You should also make savings on your monthly energy bill so will notice a difference almost immediately.

4. How much will I save on running costs?

This depends on what system of heating you currently use but even with a gas boiler, you are likely to make significant savings.  For oil, LPG or direct electric heating the savings could be even greater.

5. Will I have to Replace My Existing Radiators?

This is very much on a house by house basis – all depending on insulation values as to how much heat loss there is in a property. If it’s a “leaky” house then you may require more heat energy and subsequently bigger radiators to keep warm. However if your house is thermally efficient then you may get away without changing them. 

6. What about when it’s freezing outside?

The system will continue working to maximum efficiency down to -10C and will carry on working to -20C or more, so you can rely on a warm and cosy home even when there is snow on the ground.

7. Are they noisy?

The outdoor part of the system does have a fan which draws the air across the internal components and this will make a whirring noise in operation.  The amount of noise depends on the quality of the product. Today’s modern pumps are very quiet.

8. Do I need planning permission?

Under Permitted Development regulations, an air source heat pump noise level must not exceed a certain level 1m away from a neighbour’s nearest room.

The latest models offer superb style, market-leading energy efficiency and sound levels and are 3 times quieter than previous models virtually eliminating planning restrictions.

Should you have a large property that requires more than one heat pump, planning will be required.

9. What about linking them to smart controls?

Many pumps already come with sophisticated smart controls that allow you to monitor and control your heating from anywhere.

In addition to this, you are able to see how much energy you are using, allowing you to spot trends and vary your heating to match your needs with maximum efficiency and minimum cost.

10. What brand of pumps do Carter Electrical install?

We have installed Mitsubishi Ecodan and Midea pumps to date. The Midea unit is particularly quiet.

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Triple Solution

We are seeing an increasing number of clients ordering Electric Vehicles, both for their home and business use. Therefore we are regularly getting asked for the installation of EV chargers for home and business use. Many clients are also going that one step further and are asking for the complete green energy package of Solar Panels, storage batteries and EV chargers.

This triple solution enables you to create power from the sun, store it if you don’t need it at the time, and then charge your electric vehicle with your own energy. Indeed you might also be able to sell some of your power back to the grid.

Here at Carter Electrical Installations we can offer this triple solution with products to suit all budgets. For the high end solution we recommend LG Solar Panels, with a Tesla Powerwall 2 battery and an Andersen charger for your EV. We would also add Solar Edge inverters-inverters change the DC voltage from the solar panels to AC voltage that can be used in the property. We can offer bespoke packages offering the best value for money for the client. We fit the products professionally and are on hand to give a good level of advice and after service.

Remember there are also government grants available for most green energy projects. We can help you in applying for these.

This image and the header photo show our latest installation for Organico Foods in Reading. This system by Huawei FusionSolar has Solar panels with a battery to store excess energy.

Another recent installation was a 12 panel 4.6kW system installed with SolarEdge inverter & optimisers. We had previously fitted a Zappi for customer’s EV. They have also opted for a Tesla Powerwall AC battery. We’ve installed the Tesla Gateway in preparation for the imminent delivery of the battery unit.

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Energy Loggers-Hire A Professional

This might seem a boring subject to blog about but here at Carter Electrcial Energy Loggers are a vital tool for us. They help us measure clients energy usage so that we can fit the correct solar system. The loggers could also potentially spot electrical usage that the client is unaware of. With subsequent action taken by us they could reduce their energy bills.

The header photo above shows us setting up the Fluke Corporation data logger for a 2 week session so we can advise our client on an ideal sized solar system to meet their usage. That’s why we use the #hireaprofessional

Checking For Overloads

Here is Martin setting up some monitoring equipment at one of our client’s units. They’re having issues with overloads so looking to balance out their power usage across circuits- using the Fluke United Kingdom 1732 power analyser.

The logger discovers sources of electrical energy waste to identify possible energy savings, and conduct load studies. For you electrical nerds the logger:

  •  Automatically captures log voltage, current, power, power factor, energy and associated values
  • It has the highest safety rating in the industry: 600 V CAT IV/1000 V CAT III rated for use at the service entrance and downstream.

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Working From Home? Upgrade Your Home Office

Are you enjoying working from home? Not missing the hour long commute? Want to prove to your boss that you are more productive at home? Want to stay working from home?

However, does your home office hardware and infrastructure support your maximum productivity? Have you moved in to a garden office like thousands of others, but still not got everything working properly? Do you need a power supply to your garden office?

Outlets

First, let’s look at the easy changes that we can do right away, such as making sure your office has enough outlets, so you don’t need to use extension cords. Extension cords are a sign that you need a wiring upgrade. They’re a trip hazard, they’re ugly, and they’re unnecessary when you have the infrastructure you need.

You can tackle a shortage of outlets by calling an electrician. At the same time you increase the number of outlets, you can also add some USB charging points. Instead of clogging up the AC plugs when you’re charging USB devices, simply add USB outlets and charge your devices. In many situations, just changing out old AC points with USB points actually doubles the number of useable outlets. It doesn’t get much easier than that!

Dedicated Computer Circuit

Another easy improvement is adding a dedicated computer circuit for the office/computer equipment. Because computers use more sophisticated components and are more sensitive to any changes in the electrical signal, a dedicated circuit is a needed safety feature. This circuit isolates your computer equipment from other devices on other circuits, such as heaters and refrigerators that intermittently draw more power. Whatever happens elsewhere in the home’s electrical system is separate from your computers.

Another upgrade is a surge suppressor. Installing a whole-house surge suppressor, that is located near the electrical panel, will protect the entire home from damaging electrical surges.

Hard-Wired Internet Connection for Better Speed

Lastly, replacing Wi-Fi with a hard-wired internet connection can provide a more stable connection that’s better for high-bandwidth tasks like videoconferencing. If you ever find that your Wi-Fi is a bit sketchy or unreliable, a hard-wired connection will solve that problem. It’s also a benefit when you have multiple users competing for bandwidth. Also a great solution for a garden office.

Although you might start with just a few upgrades, you may find your home office could also benefit from better lighting, security cameras, and other electrical upgrades that all need more power. Contact us here at Carter Electrical Installations to learn more about these and other improvements that will boost your productivity and enhance your home office security.

PS.

Consumer Units-aka Fuseboards

Check Out The Four Indicators That Signal You May Need An Upgrade.

1- Age- If your fuseboard has not been changed in twenty years then it is likely not compliant with current standards and may not provide you with basic protection. Technology and safety associated with consumer units has also moved on massively in the last thirty years from both the perspective of shock and fire protection and also the ease of use for the homeowner.

2- Does your consumer unit have an RCD (Residual Current Device)? Most modern consumer units should have and this single device massively increases the safety of your home electrics.

3- Live parts exposed- Are the working parts, fuses, or circuit breakers enclosed or are parts of the board exposed? It’s surprising how many fuseboards we come across with fuseholders or blanking plates missing leave live parts exposed to touch.

4- Fire risk- Is your fuseboard constructed of wood or plastic? If it is then it may not meet fire regulations. Should the worst happen, would the location of your fuseboard impede your escape in the event that it caught fire? Many consumer units are located either in an under-stairs cupboard or by the front door and many of these cupboards are also used to store potentially flammable objects.

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Air Source Heat Pumps

The Alternative To Gas Boilers?

Air source pumps serve as an alternative way to heat your home, and could be the ideal solution if you want to generate your own heat and potentially save money on your energy bills. 

Air source heat pumps (ASHPs) absorb heat from the outside air to heat your home and hot water. They can still extract heat when air temperatures are as low as -15°C.

Air source heat pumps need electricity to run, but because they are extracting renewable heat from the environment, the heat output is greater than the electricity input. This makes them an energy efficient method of heating your home.

How much do they cost? The typical air source heat pump cost ranges from £4,000-8,000, depending on the pump brand and its heat output.

Are they noisy? Because heat pumps come in all shapes and sizes, the sound and volume of noise they make varies between models and manufacturers. Fortunately, due to government regulations most modern air source heat pumps can work a lot quieter than older models.

Do you need planning permission for an AHSP? You do not need planning permission but do need to seek permission from the local supply authority as they need to check that the supply to your property can handle the extra draw on the electricity supply. Careful consideration must given given to the siting of the unit as there can be some noise pollution.

What brand of pumps do Carter Electrical install? We have installed Mitsubishi Ecodan and Midea pumps to date. The Midea unit is particularly quiet.

Do Carter Electrical have any accreditations? We have staff that have completed Energy Efficiency, ASHP and water regulation courses.

Types of pumps? There are two main types of air source heat pumps (ASHPs): air-to-water and air-to-heat. An ASHP works a bit like a refrigerator in reverse. The process consists of an evaporator, a compressor and a condenser. The ASHP absorbs heat from the outside air into a liquid at a low temperature, then the heat pump compressor increases the temperature of that heat. In the condenser, the hot liquid’s heat is transferred to your heating and hot-water circuits. So you can use it to warm up your home.

Many air source heat pumps are eligible for payment through the Renewable Heat Incentive, a government scheme that provides payments to homeowners who generate their own heat. 

Air-to-water heat pumps These take heat from the outside air and feed it into your wet central heating system. As the heat produced is cooler than that from a conventional boiler, you may need to install larger radiators or underfloor heating in your home to make the most of it. They qualify for the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), too. Under the UK government’s scheme, you could get money towards renewable heating costs in your home. Air-to-water heat pumps may be best suited to new-build properties. It could cost less if the heat pump is included as part of the building specification, rather than having to retrofit underfloor heating later on.

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Electrician and Electrician Supervisor Needed.

Job Role and Summary for Electrician

As an Electrician working with Carter Electrical, you will be required to work in all aspects of electrical installations in both commercial and domestic settings. You will install and service electrical systems in all types of properties.  You will provide service to our clients who have problems with their installation and electrical equipment. You will be able to inspect the root cause of an electrical problem and resolve it afterwards. Aside from installing and repairing electrical installations and equipment, you will perform other tasks such as working on communication, lighting, ventilation, heating, electrical vehicle chargers, alarm systems, fire alarms, solar PV and control & entry systems. In performing your expected duties and responsibilities, you will ensure all your work complies with safety guidelines and regulations.

Job Role and Summary for Electrician Supervisor

As an Electrician Supervisor working with Carter Electrical, you will be responsible for supervising qualified electricians and apprentices, as well as working on electrical installations in both commercial and domestic settings yourself. You will perform and supervise installation of electrical systems in new build and commercial properties.  You will provide service to our clients who have problems with their home or office electrical equipment. You will be able to inspect the root cause of an electrical problem and resolve it afterwards. Aside from installing electrical systems and repairing electrical problems, you will perform other tasks such as working on communication, lighting, ventilation, heating, electrical vehicle charger, security & fire alarms, solar PV and control & entry systems. In performing your expected duties and responsibilities, you will ensure all your work complies with safety guidelines and regulations.

For full details of duties and responsibilities of the roles please email us at [email protected] for the attention of Laura.

Applications close 4th June. Please no agencies.

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98 out of 101-Energy Performance Certificate

We are thrilled. We have received the EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) report for the new build house we worked on in Frimley.

It achieved 98/101 on the EPC, it is net zero on CO2 emissions. The only way to improve the rating would have been with Solar Thermal water heating.

The new build house is a timber frame construction and we installed Solar PV, Air Source heat pump, MVHR and an EV (Electrical Vehicle) charger. Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery (MVHR) is a continuous source of ventilation that extracts stale, moisture-laden air from a building and resupplies fresh, filtered air back in, resulting in a comfortable and condensation free environment all year round. Besides the energy savings, MVHR systems have a number of other benefits and reasons for its implementation. Occupants with good MVHR systems often value the excellent indoor air quality as the most outstanding advantage.

This is the comment from the tester;
“It’s an excellent result as very few dwellings achieve an A rating, let alone a score of 98. Definitely one of the best results I have seen”

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Green Energy Solution for the Greenkeepers

Caversham Heath Golf Club has merged with Reading Golf Club and is to be called The Caversham. As part of this move there has been an extensive remodelling of the golf course. Included in the renovation of the golf course has been the building of a purpose-built unit for the Greenkeepers at The Caversham. Carter Electrical Installations have been involved from the start on this project and have installed Solar PV, Ducted Air, LED Lights and Fire Alarms. A total green solution!

With the 11kWp solar panel installation the building will mostly, if not always, be self-sufficient. Carter has also installed DC coupled battery storage so any surplus electricity, which there will most likely be plenty, can be stored up for the greenkeepers. This can then be used over night or during ‘peak’ energy times when electricity rates will be higher.

Heating and cooling for the internal offices and canteen area is handled by Daikin air to air heat pump units, giving a perfectly comfortable internal environment all year round. Apart from it being a more efficient system, it is complemented by the solar and battery storage.

All internal and external lighting is by Bell, Integral and Collingwood, and is not only LED, but also controlled by occupancy sensors so they aren’t left on unnecessarily. All in all an excellent outcome highlighting the benefits of an integrated green solution that Carter can provide to commercial buildings.

This project was delivered with the support of a grant from Low Carbon Workspaces. Grants are available to SMEs based in Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Hertfordshire, Milton Keynes and Northamptonshire. To find out if your business is eligible contact the Low Carbon Workspaces team on 01494 927131 and at [email protected] or to find out more go to www.lowcarbonworkspaces.co.uk.

Once you have identified your project, we would be happy to help with the installation

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