Archive | April 2016

Should I Install Solar Panels Myself?

download (8)Solar installations in the United States have increased year after year and the extension of tax credits for solar panel owners has made it likely that solar installations will continue to grow over the next few years. Buying a solar system and having it installed can be very expensive. Is it ever a good idea to buy a solar system and have it installed independently? The answer is…

It Depends…

What are your goals with solar? Where do you live and what are the conditions of your home? The options available for a homeowner to go solar, varies by location and utility company. Other factors such as available roof space and shading conditions will also impact decisions to go solar.

PPA or Leasing Options

PPA & Solar Leasing Options are great for Homeowners that desire to save money on their power bill without having to spend any cash or invest anything on upfront costs. These options allow free solar installation taken care of by the solar provider. It makes no sense for the homeowner to install the panels themselves and the solar provider will not allow an independent installer for these types of solar options.

Cash Purchase or Loan Options

Most homeowners have the option of buying a solar panel system or securing a loan for a system. There are several solar providers that have different types of panels and different types of agreements and warranties. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of installing your own solar panels.


  • Can save money and installation costs
  • Can sustain savings long-term without costly warranties
  • More flexibility in the type of panels desired
  • Can receive wholesale discounts on equipment

A homeowner has the option of buying only the solar panels from a solar company without having to purchase any attached services and fees. Once the panels have been purchased the homeowner can attempt to wire and install the system personally or have a third-party electrician or professional install the system. If a homeowner knows how to install and wire the system correctly money can definitely be saved through this course.

If the homeowner lacks the knowledge or skills, the homeowner can still buy the panels wholesale and have an electrician or third-party install the system and save money. If the system is installed correctly a warranty may be available to secure the investment and allow the homeowner to enjoy owning their own system without paying additional costs for system monitoring and maintenance.

Even under the warranty time and labor costs may arise cancelling out any savings that were achievable with this option. As long as the system is installed correctly the homeowner will be able to buy the panels at a lower cost than they would pay from a solar provider that bundle installation and monitoring services. They will also have more freedom in choosing the type of panels desired and the design they want on their roof. If the customer desires to monitor the system after personally installing it they will still have to pay a portion of these costs.

If a homeowner has the knowledge to install or knows a good electrician this option should be considered by homeowners that have determined they want to buy a system outright. The research and time required to do the work will be an opportunity cost.


  • The time used in researching and performing the install
  • Void warranties that would protect the system long-term
  • Void the ability to have solar company monitor the system
  • Void repair and system maintenance services
  • Complex issues may arise if system issues occur
  • Installation problems may arise
  • Potential costs from a bad installation
  • Complicated Paperwork and Permitting

A homeowner that buys panels directly from the manufacture and has the system installed personally or through a third-party is taking on risk. They are responsible to make sure the system is installed correctly and must decide on the type of warranties and service they want to invest in. They can opt to have a warranty included with their panels and monitoring services, but they will be responsible for labor and maintenance costs to keep the system intact.

They will also have to get their permitting done through the city and secure an agreement with their utility company to have the system connected to the grid. The paperwork and requirements needed to get a system operating can be quite complicated and costly. A lot of labor and paperwork is required to get a system operational and the homeowner is opening up the potential for expenditures down the road if the system should require labor and maintenance costs due to mechanical issues or unforeseen occurrences.

A homeowner that is serious about buying solar should secure quotes from multiple solar companies and compare the cost of having a solar provider install the system with personally installing the system. It’s important to research all of the steps required to get a system operating in the homeowner’s city with the utility company they do business with. The homeowner should also do a risk assessment and determine the warranties and services that are available to find the best solution that meets their needs.

Air Conditioning Repair Tips – Do It Yourself

download (5)It might seem like a coincidence that your air conditioning unit fails to work only when you need it the most- during the scorching summer season. With a few fine motor skills, some technical knowledge, a bit of logical thinking and some common sense you might be able to correct some of these issues.

#Issue 1: My air conditioner does not cool well.


This is the most common issue that every AC owner faces. Here is the list of things you can do about it.

Make sure the thermostat is set to the right temperature.

Check for the circuit breaker. The issue could be as small as a tripped fuse.

Check if the outlet’s voltage meets your AC’s requirement.

Switch off the AC, remove the filter and get in cleaned. A clean filter allows easy air flow.

Clean the compressor and condenser unit with a damp cloth. Do not use a water faucet.

Make sure that the compressor is working. If it is working you will be able to hear the outdoor compressor and the fan will be turning. If not then it is the time to call your technician.

#Issue 2: Water drips and pools around the base of my AC


Water formed due to condensation and it usually exits the air handler through plastic pipe or a drain tube. Dripping may be caused by a leaky pipe that needs to be replaced o a blocked pipe that needs to be cleaned.

Sometimes condensation can occur when the pump that transfers the hot air into the condenser becomes non-functional. In this case, In this case, you would need the help of a AC technician.

#Issue 3: Huge chunks of ice forms in my AC


This can be caused due to a number of reasons.

Ice formation occurs if the indoor unit’s evaporator coil is frozen and cold liquid refrigerant starts flowing to the outside unit through the refrigerant line freezing up the whole unit. This can be resolved by turning the AC off and the fan on to melt the ice.

Pieces of ice can appear if the filter is not clean which in turn reduces airflow over the evaporator coil, causing it to freeze. Regular cleaning of the filter solves this issue.

Blocked or closed supply and return vents reduce the airflow to the evaporator coil thus causing ice formation. Make sure that these vents are not blocked by cloth or any piece of furniture.

Issues like refrigerant leaks, malfunctioning indoor blower and clogged evaporator coils should be repaired only by trained AC technicians or professionals.

#Issue 4: Weird noises come out of my AC


Certain types of noises can signal that something is wrong with your AC.

Rattling sounds are produced by fans that are loosely fixed. Tighten the screws, clean the blades and check for bent blades that may be striking the interior of the unit.

Screeching noises may be caused due to friction. Prevent the occurrence of this squeaky noise by oiling the air conditioner motor at the beginning of each summer.

Vibrating noise can be caused by simple reasons like a few loose screws in the unit. The solution is simple- tighten them with a screwdriver.

Issues like clicking noises caused due to defective relays and compressor and buzzing noise caused by malfunctioning compressors should be resolved by a trained technician only.


This entry was posted on April 14, 2016 and tagged .

So What Are Teplo Ties

download (6)Wall ties are an essential element in the strength and stability of cavity walls, but by crossing the cavity they act as a thermal bridge between the internal and external leaves. Generally speaking, the wider the insulated cavity, the more substantial the wall tie needs to be and the greater the effect the tie has on the u-value of the wall.

The teplo tie is a wall tie which is made up of a composite material based on basalt fibre and this composite is resistant to corrosion whilst also being alkali resistant. This particular wall tie is a lot stronger and lighter than the stainless steel wall ties. In addition to this and perhaps the most important is that improvements can be made to the thermal insulation of walls because the teplo tie is twenty times less thermally conductive than stainless steel and thus can remove the thermal bridges which are created by the stainless steel wall ties.

Teplo ties improve the thermal insulation of walls through removing the thermal bridges which are created by the traditional stainless steel wall ties. Customers, architects and contractors have been able to improve energy efficiency of buildings and reduce the overall C02 emissions of the building through the significant improvement of the U value in the masonry walls because of teplo ties.

With a thermal conductivity of just 0.7w/mk they are highly professional wall ties and can be used in traditional cavity sizes of just 50mm-100mm but the U value is of most significance at 150mm+ cavities.

Due to the finish which is provided by the teplo ties, the sand finish they act as an excellent mortar key. In addition to this each tie is supplied with an end cap which will reduce the risk of this penetrating through anything on site and causing injury.

So shortly speaking, teplo wall ties minimise heat transfer through thermal bridging, improving the energy-efficiency of a wall and reduce the overall CO2 emission.

The most common size of teplo ties are:

225mm- cavity size 55-100mm
275mm-cavity size 105-150mm
325mm-cavity size 155-200mm

Sure there are many other sizes available on the market, but these are the most common ones.

Wall ties are an extremely important structural component that maintain stability within masonry panels. We are able to supply a number of wall ties in a whole range of lengths and types for use in a variety of applications to restrain and stabilise brickwork, blockwork and stonework.


This entry was posted on April 12, 2016.