Serving Greater Lynchburg

Portable vs. Whole House Stand-by Generator

Portable vs. Whole House Stand-by Generator

On average many homes will lose power once or twice a year for a total of about three hours. However, we know that occasional hurricane remnants are possible locally, and snow storms are prevalent. Therefore, in the Central Virginia area we can lose power for days and sometimes weeks. If you’ve been here for a few years, you remember how miserable it can be.

With the loss of power comes the loss of conveniences that we have become dependent upon. Lack of heating and air conditioning, along with lighting and electronic devices, are just the first problems. We lose hot water and refrigeration and so much more.

The generator, either whole house or portable generator, is a must have in times of extreme power loss. It can literally save the day for your family.

When buying a generator make sure that you buy from a local dealer such as Hickey Plumbing, Air & Electrical. If you think you may pay a little more, remember that you are buying the quality service of the local company also. Parts and expertise are invaluable if your generator goes down when you need it most.

If you happen to buy a portable generator you will read in the manual that comes with the generator warning you of carbon monoxide poisoning. The generator must be placed outside, at least ten feet from the building. You cannot put it in the garage or in the doorway of your home without the threat of being overcome by carbon monoxide poisoning.

Remember with a portable generator that backfeeding power to your home is illegal. Backfeeding is using dual male-ended extension cords to connect the generator to an outlet. Regardless of something you may read on the internet, backfeeding is very dangerous.

Also, let the engine cool down before you fill up the tank to a portable generator. If not, a fire or burning yourself is very possible.

Make sure that you have plenty of oil on hand to refill your generator in case you are without power for an extended time. You also do not want to run out of gas for your portable generator. Remember that if you do not have power, the gas stations may not have power either and will not be able to pump gas. Also along this line, make sure that your gas is clean. Old fuel may gum up your generator making it useless.

Further, make sure that you have heavy duty extension cords. Using undersized extension cords could present a fire hazard.

If you can afford it, a whole house standby generator is by far the best. Unlike portable generators, the whole house standby generator is connected directly to your home electrical system. Thus the advantage is that when you lose power the generator comes on automatically. Whole house standby generators can run off propane or natural gas. This is an advantage in that you do not have to constantly look at the fuel level as in a portable generator. Plus, they are much quieter than the portable.

The difference in cost may be offset by the fact that with the whole house standby generator you do not have to buy the expensive extension cords or transfer switches.

As always, our experienced technicians at Hickey Plumbing, Air & Electrical are happy to answer your questions. Call anytime. We look forward to being of assistance before the power goes out.

Electric Bill Savings

Electric Bill Savings

According to the US Department of Energy almost one half of your electric bill is due to heating and cooling your home. One third of your bill is due to your appliances, cooking and lighting. One quarter of your bill is usage of your water heater and your refrigerator.

With a simple telephone call to your electric company they will send a representative to your home and do an energy audit of your home. An energy audit can help you know what appliances and or heating and cooling equipment you may need to update. Because of advances in technology, even a heating and cooling unit that was purchased as recently as eight to ten years ago can be the reason that your electric bill is higher by as much as $100 a month.

Although a new heating and cooling unit is a major and expensive purchase it can save money in the long run by running more efficiently. Plus it adds value to your home if you are planning on selling that home in the next few years.

Also big culprits in wasting energy in your home are the appliances that are used daily, such as your washing machine, refrigerator, dryer and dishwasher. Replacing them can save you dollars every month. However, make sure that the new appliances you are replacing are U.S. EPA and Department of Energy approved. The appliances will have the Energy Star label attached to them.

Electrical Safety Checks

Electrical Safety Checks

Where would we be if scientists had not learned to harness electrical and give us all of the , appliances, gadgets and electronics that we have all come to depend on. Electricity may be the best invention ever, but it is also dangerous. Thus you must either check out your home’s electrical system or have a professional such as Hickey Plumbing, Air & Electrical come to your home and run an inspection. This should be done especially if your home is more that 30 years old.

Listed below are a few tips of things that you may be able to check out yourself.

First check out your panel box. Above all your panel box should never be hot or even warm. Also in your box make sure that all of the breakers are labeled as to what they control. Those breakers can be a real bother when they may be constantly tripping. If that is happening to certain breakers in your panel it is telling you that this circuit is overloaded with too many gadgets or appliances. A professional should come in and reconfigure your breakers.

Go around to each of your outlets in every room and feel them also. Your outlets, like your breaker box, should not be warm. This could become a serious problem. Notice also if you have any of the two-pronged outlets. Change them out to the three-pronged, grounded outlets. This is a good time to also check cords of your electric devices to see if they have three-prong plugs.

Make a mental note if you have lights blinking. This could also be a potential problem. It could be a light fixture problem or maybe a breaker panel problem.

If you have any cords that are running under rugs move them and reroute them to the plug.

The easiest tip is to always have a fire extinguisher handy. Learn how it works in case you have an electrical fire.

Expert electricians are available with your call to Hickey Plumbing, Air & Electrical.

January Coloring Contest

January Coloring Contest

January Coloring Contest open till 1/31/21. Print and let kids color to enter for prize of gift card plus gift basket of fun stuff. Post the entry on our Facebook page or email to

Winners will be chosen in each category: preschool, elementary and middle school.

Thanks to all the parents and grandparents who are helping their kids enjoy this!