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Kill A Watt Power Monitors Help You Reduce Electric Bills

by Barbara 23. February 2014 11:57

Question about the Kill a Watt Electricity Usage Monitors.

Q: "Electric costs in Florida are to increase up to 30% this next year. What advice do you have about deciding which electrical appliances I should replace with more energy efficient ones? How can I measure current usage without going to a lot of expense?

Answer: I suggest you begin checking power usage on appliances with compressors, i.e. refrigerators, freezers, window air conditioners and dehumidifiers. Most appliances over 8 to 10 years old are energy hogs. I replaced my old manual defrost freezer (circa 1971, much in need of a new gasket) about 10 years ago, I checked the power usage  and was horrified: a new unit would pay for itself in less than 2 years just in energy savings!

If you want to check the power usage of a system such as your TV, DVD, speakers, etc, the easiest choice is by using a Kill A Watt Power Strip with Surge Protection


Currently, there are several models of Kill A Watt meters available:


Thanks for your questions. Remember that there are some electric company rebates on Energy Star appliances.
Sincerely, Barbara

Practical Ideas to Reduce Heating and Cooling Bills Now and In the Future

by Barbara 4. February 2014 06:37

Question about how to reduce my energy bills without spending a lot of money.

Q: "My gas bills this winter almost doubled with the very cold weather. Can you give me some ideas about how to reduce my bills without being cold? Thanks. Phil"

Answer: First, contact your gas company to learn if they have a one time free energy audit available to customers. If not, I suggest you contact several insulation contractors in your area to give you their opinions about the R values in your attic and side walls. You may choose not to add additional insulation. With some rebates available in some areas, adding insulation may not be as expensive as you believe.

Next, check for air leakage from your unused electrical outlets that are on the outside walls of your home. Safe Home sells a variety of plugs and covers to reduce the leakage. For examples, look at the electrical outlet covers and sliding door outlet covers such as CoverPlug Duplex Outlet Cover for Electric Outlets, the Plug Guard Energy Saving Safety Outlet Cover, the IVORY STD 3-Prg 1 Screw Outlet Cover,6/PK, the Kiddy Cop Outlet Covers, Leviton 12777, 12/Box, or the Sockit Lockets.  We installed the Care Cover outlet covers one bitterly cold January years ago and learned how much cold air was blocked from entering our home.

If you choose outlet plugs, I suggest you purchase insulating covers that install behind each electrical outlet. To install, remove your current outlet cover, push the insulation around the plugs and replace the liner and the outlet plugs.

Use insulating foam around all water lines into your home. Make sure the "flaps" seal tightly on exhausts from clothes dryers.

Purchase a set back thermostat for your furnace. Many utility companies have a rebate to help pay for this unit.  Do remember that setting the temperature back means that time is required to get the temperature to a comfortable level. We learned in June 2013 that our original furnace was undersized: the new one comes up to daytime temperatures much faster. We keep our nightime temperature set at 68 degrees and daytime at 72 degrees. The natural gas fireplace keeps the family room comfortable on the below zero days and nights.

Change your furnace filters regularly. Choose a MERV rating that works with your furnace. Too high of a MERV rating means you'll not get much air through your filter. Safe Home filters have two layers of filtration. When the white layer gets gray, it is time to change the filter. The second layer filters out odors and chemicals; the first, dirt, dust and pollen. Safe Home filters come in one inch sizes that are self-sealing due to an internal frame and in 4 inch filters that have a self-sealing perimeter.

Use supplemental electric heaters where you need them. We suggest the ECO SAVE Ceramic Heater that is compact and efficient and used only 750 watts of electricity. If your feet get cold while the rest of you feels comfortable, then consider the Toasty Toes Heated Footrest.

If you have the money and your furnace is 15 or more years old, consider replacing the furnace. Make sure you get at least three bids. If the BTU ratings vary a lot, get another bid or two. YOu don't want an oversized furnace nor an undersized one (like the one we had for over 20 years).

We replaced both AC and the main furnace this summer with next to the highest efficiency units. (Total cost was $5400 less the rebates.) The new furnace is two stage, i.e. two blower speeds. We got rebates from both the gas and electric companies. Also we did not choose the most expensive units available. Sometimes you have to choose between a few thousand dollars and paying your HVAC person annual AC and heating tune-ups.

This past month we did use an electric ceramic heater set at 65 degrees F in our tiled bathroom and another one in the kitchen (ceramic flooring). That took the chill off in those rooms. Unfortunately, our new kitten has yet to learn to keep his claws in. So the insulated window shades remain up even in the cold weather. (A toss up between ripped shades and more insulation or keeping Buddy from climbing them.)

If you have other questions, please contact us.

Sincerely, Barbara

Temperature Guard Remote Monitors for Temperature, Humidity & Power Now Need No Land Lines!

by Barbara 5. November 2013 12:25

Q: "I need to know if power fails or the temperature or humidity changes in my home in Connecticut in the winter or in our motor home when we travel in the summer. We winter in Florida and take our animals with us. I live in a safe neighborhood so I am not worried about break-ins. What do you suggest?" Thanks. Calvin

Answer: I suggest you purchase the new CM712 TemperatureGuard Self-Contained Remote Monitor. Microtechnologies introduced the CM712 in late summer 2013. This replaces the VM-500-3 and VM-500-3HT units that required a land line. This is an easily set up unit suitable for computer rooms, homes, motorhomes, boats and more. You may choose to purchase two units, one for your permanent home and one for your on-the-go home. For example, if the 120VAC power in your motor home park fails or your air conditioner stops cooling, you'll know if you are shopping, etc.

The initial cost is about $600. Remember you won't have to pay for a land line. You will need a SIM card, available on a monthly basis from Microtechnologies.com, the manufacturer. Or you can get one from ATT, etc.  Alerts go via the cell network. The three sensors for temperature, power and humidity are built in. If you want you can add a dry contact door sensor. In an RV park, you probably won't need that. The "tweets" are sent right to your cell phone or computer. An internal battery back-up means alerts continue if power fails.

Text Message Alarm Notices Include:

Temperature or humidity goes out of limits

  • A door is opened  (if you have that sensor installed)
  • Water is detected. (if you have that sensor installed)
  • When the alarm condition is corrected.
  • If an alarm condition is not corrected.
  • Power outage
  • Low internal or external battery.

Dual power operation:

120vac with its included wall mount power supply.
12vdc source for use in cars, trucks, campers, boats. Requires 12 Adapter Not Included.

SIM Plan Details:

A SIM card plan is required for the CM712 to connect to the cell network. Two options are: purchase a T-Mobile SIM card through TemperatureGuard.com (Curent cost in 2013 $150 per year or $12.50 per month with an automatic renewal). Or purchase a SIM from AT&T™ or from any GSM cell service provider worldwide. No SIM card is included with the TemperatureGuard unit.

CM712 Features:

  • Quad-band EGSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz
  • Works on the AT&T™and T-Mobile™ cell networks.
  • Program up to four cell phone numbers to send alarm text messages to.
  • Program an ID text so if you have more than one CM712 you'll know which one is in alarm.
  • Programmable high and low temperature limits for each sensor
  • Programmable alarm time delay for each sensor.
  • Handy reminder feature will send additional text messages if an alarm condition continues.
  • Internal rechargeable battery backup. Approximately 6 hours.
  • Ability to connect external battery for even longer life when power is out
  • Wall mount enclosure.


Specifications:

One internal temperature sensor

Measuring range -4°F to 154°F
Accuracy: +-.4 degrees
Resolution: 1 degree

One internal humidity sensor
Measuring range: 0 to 100% RH
Accuracy: +- 3%
Resolution: 1%

Antenna bulkhead fitting: SMA FemaleCM712

Operating Temperature Range: 32°F to 125°F
Enclosure Dimensions: 5.625" x 3.250" x 1.375"
Plug-in wall transformer included

Facts and Questions:

Q: What is the minimum I need to buy to have a basic monitoring system?
A: One CM712 and a SIM plan.

Q: What type of SIM card does the CM712 use?
A: 1.8V or 3.0V SIM card and complies with the Phase 2 GSM 11.14 standard

Thank you for your question. Please contact us for further information.

Sincerely, Barbara

Reasons to Install Sensaphone Remote Monitors Instead of Typical Security Systems

by Barbara 6. January 2012 07:13

Question about advantages of Sensaphone Remote Monitoring Systems over security systems by national or local alarm and security companies.

Q: "We are building a new data center. Our choices are between a national or local alarm and security company with monthly monitoring fees or a Sensaphone system. We want to monitor power, temperature and humidity. We are also concerned about possible water leaks onto the flooring and being able to lower the thermostat in the room if one of the units begins to overheat. Which system do you recommend? Thanks. Bill."

Answer: For a data center, we would recommend the Sensaphone IMS-1000 Internet Remote Monitor, IMS-1002 or Sensaphone IMS-4000 PowerGate2 Outlet Switcher IMS-4302IMS-4000 unit over the Sensaphone Web600 Web-Monitor Alarm, No Land Line Needed. The WEB600 is a great starter solution with accessories like a battery back up, a temperature probe, a zone water detector and a humidity transmitter.  However, when you are talking a larger computer room or data center, you are talking about tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars of equipment that keep your business operational 24/7.

Sensaphone Systems offer these advantages:

  • No Monthly Monitoring Fees: you buy the product and programs it to notify directly any employee or employees you choose without the cost of a central service that runs at least several hundred dollars annually.
  • Real Sensor Values: Universal inputs read actual temperature values and more.
  • Battery Backup: Either included or an inexpensive option.
  • Maximum Flexibility: Notifications using custom voice phone calls, emails, faxes, text messages, SNMP traps, etc. Communication is via land phone lines, cell phones, Ethernet or satellite.
  • Remote Access: You can program remotely whether a phone line product, a web-based products or a satellite product.
  • No Dependencies: stand alone solutions mean you get direct communication without a central service, computer or server in the middle.
  • Field Proven in Sensitive Applications: Proven reliability and validity in emergency response materials, military weapons systems, medicines, Homeland security, etc.
  • Innovation: In-house engineering. Three US patents for unique technologies. Constantly working to make products more powerful and easier to use.
  • Easy to Use: Simple, clear set up and maintenance. You don't have to be an electronics genius! Some products like the IMS series even automatically detect the sensor you've connected and configure it for you. The owners manuals are extensive and clear to follow. Telephone technical support is there, unlimited and toll free.
  • Made in the USA:  Yes! Sensaphone is made in Pennsylvania. All engineering design, manufacturing, servicing, testing and support are here in the USA.

For your data center, Safe Home recommends you choose the IMS-1002 model and then choose from the 9 sensors listed:

If a sensor is disconnected, you will get an alert. Each sensor is continuously monitored by the IMS parent unit. Cat-5 jacks and cables make it easier to connect to remote sensors using existing structured cabling.

The data logging includes a time stamped collection of input values that can be viewed and graphed. Plus you will get a detailed event history of user logins, telephone calles, etc. It is possible to add video integration to have an image sent of the condition that tripped the alarm. This is web-based monitoring with a traditional phone line, too.

You can place the IMS-1000 or IMS-4000 into your server rack. There are no moving parts in the IMS-1000 series units: each is complately standalone with its own internal battery back up.

Please contact us if you have additional questions. Thank you for your questions.

Sincerely, Barbara

IMS-1000 Sensaphone, No Land Line Required, Infrastructure Monitoring System Uses Ethernet Network.

by Barbara 13. November 2011 10:32

Question about the Sensaphone IMS-1000 Remote Monitoring System.

Q: "I have a computer room I need to monitor for humidity, power and temperature. There is no land line in that room. Is the IMS-1000 system the best choice? What sensors will I need to add?  How does this unit mount? I have computer racks in the room. Thanks. Ed."

Answer: Sensaphone designed the IMS or Infrastructure Monitoring System for situations like yours where there is no land line available. It does require an ethernet network. And you can rack mount this monitor into your computer rack. Dimensions (H x W x D): 1.75" x 14" x 7"

The IMS-1000 series of products includes the following key features:

  • Eight sensor inputs to monitor environmental conditions and/or alarm contacts from other computer equipment such as UPS systems.
  • 10/100BASE-T Ethernet port.
  • Internal battery backup for uninterrupted performance.
  • Compact design allows rack-mount, wall-mount, or tabletop installation.
  • Embedded web page to program and manage your IMS-1000 system.

Per Sensaphone's manual for the IMS-1000:

"The system is designed to be a comprehensive method of ensuring 100% up-time of your computer systems. By monitoring all aspects of your computer room, including environmental conditions and network equipment, the system will keep you informed of the status of your infrastructure. Monitored conditions can include temperature levels, humidity levels, line voltage, leak detection, server response, UPS systems, and more. The system allows the computer professional to be notified immediately of any detected problems. Notification can occur via voice telephone call, pager, e-mail, fax or snmp trap. An internal battery backup system insures that the unit will continue to run if main power fails."

Sensaphone does caution: "Caution: The IMS sensors are not TCP/IP devices and therefore should not be connected directly to any wiring infrastructure that is connected to network equipment such as a hub, router, or switch. Sensors use RJ-45 plugs and cables similar to thoseused with Ethernet devices".

Environmental Sensors Needed for Your Computer Room Include:

  • Sensaphone Temperature Sensor 4810 for IMS-1000,4000 The temperature sensor connects to the IMS-1000 via an RJ-45 cable (e.g. CAT5 cable). The connection from the sensor to the IMS-1000 can utilize your existing network wiring infrastructure. For example, the sensor may be installed in another room or another floor. Connect the sensor to your structured wiring network via an RJ-45 jack. At the other end, connect a patch cable from your structured wiring patch panel directly to the IMS-1000 environment input.
  • Sensaphone Humidity Sensor 4820 for IMS-1000,4000 The IMS-4820 Room Humidity Sensor operates between 32° to 122°F (0° to 50°C)and Humidity ranges of 0 to 100% RH. Accuracy is ± 5%. This unit also connects with RJ-45 cable (not included).
  • Sensaphone 4840 External Power Failure Sensor for IMS-1000, 4000 This will handle your worries about power outages. The range is 0 to 250 VAC, 50/60 Hz with an accuracy of ± 2%. The power connection is via a Universal IEC-320 power inlet.

There are several other options as well. These are the:

If you have additional questions, please contact us. Sensaphone does update sensors and remote monitors periodically so product codes and specifications may change.

Thanks for your question.

Sincerely, Barbara

 

Sensaphone Monitors and Temperatures Sensors for Refrigerators, Cold Storage and Freezers

by Barbara 17. October 2011 07:55

Question about which Sensaphone monitor will closely monitor commercial and medical freezers and refrigerators in our facility.

Q: "We need to monitor 8 different refrigerators and freezers where we keep medical supplies. Which Sensaphone units will meet our needs? Thanks. Sue."

Answer: With the limited information you gave, I will do my best to offer you choices to meet your needs.

Sensaphone has two low temperature sensor models

The FGD-0107 is a unique 2.8K Temperature Sensor with Glass Bead Vial. This unit ideal for cold storage temperature monitoring. The glass bead filled vial buffers any momentary fluctuations that may cause a preliminary alarm dial out, such as defrost cycles, opening of doors, and fans circulating air. The glass beads will slow the response time of the sensor allowing normal daily operations to occur without having an alarm initiated. This is a highly recommended sensor for every cold storage application.


The Temperature Range that can be monitored depends upon which Sensaphone controller unit is being used:

  • 400, 800: -20° to 150°F (-30° to 65°C)
  • 1400, 1800, 2800, WEB600: -109° to 115°F (-85° to 57°C)
  • 2000: -125° to 124°F (-87° to 51°C)
  • Express II: -85° to 200°F (-65° to 93°C)

The IMS-4814 Ultra Low Temperature Sensor is designed to connect to the Sensaphone IMS product line (i.e. the IMS-1000 and the IMS-4000) and monitor temperatures in refrigerators or freezers. The electrical connection between the sensor and IMS unit is made via the attached RJ-45 patch cable. The package contains the 1) Ultra Low Temperature Sensor (1) Attached 7’ Patch Cable and (1) Attached 12’ of cable with weatherproof probe. The sensor probe may be secured inside equipment using the included clamp or it may be hung using tie wraps. Do not install the black plastic enclosure inside of a refrigerator or freezer. It is available with an optional NIST temperature certification. (IMS-4814-NIST) The Ultra Low Temperature Sensor comes with an attached 7’ cable with an RJ-45 plug on the end and a weatherproof probe with 12’ of cable. If the sensor installation is close to the IMS unit, you can plug it directly into an IMS environmental input. If the cable is too short you can use the included RJ-45 adaptor and a longer patch cable to extend the length. For applications where the sensor may be far from the IMS unit, you may utilize your existing network wiring infrastructure. For example, the sensor may be installed in another room or another floor. Connect the sensor to your structured wiring network via an RJ-45 jack. At the other end, connect a patch cable from your structured wiring patch panel directly to the Host or Node environment input.

  • Temp Range: -122° to 53°F (-86° to 12°C)
  • Humidity: 5–90% RH
  • Sensor type: Sealed thermistor probe
  • Accuracy: ± 3°F
  • Connector: 7’ Cable with RJ-45
  • Housing: Black plastic
  • Compatibility: IMS-4000, IMS-4000 Node, IMS-1000

So next you need to determine which IMS (Internet Monitoring System) unit you need to handle your monitoring issues. The Sensaphone IMS-1000 has 8 sensor inputs. Configuration is easy: all IMS Solution sensors are auto-configured when you plug them into the IMS-1000. The Ultra Low Temperature Sensor will identify itself as a 4-20mA transducer. On the Properties screen for this sensor you must select the sensor type: either Low Temperature (Deg F) or Low Temperature (Deg C). When a sensor is removed, or the connection is disrupted, the configuration data remains intact but the sensor will go into trouble status and generate a trouble alarm. When the sensor is plugged in again, or the connection is re-established,configuration data remains unchanged and the sensor returns to normal operating condition.

The Sensaphone IMS-4000 in combination with the IMS-4000 node can monitor up to 64 sensors.

Please look at our webpages and decide which features you need. There are cross references on the pages to most sensors and to the IMS-4000.

Thanks for your question.

Sincerely, Barbara

 

Advantages of the Duracell Portable 600 Watt Powerpack 600HD

by Barbara 12. July 2011 10:41

Question about the Duracell 852-2007 Portable 600 Watt Powerpack 600HD

Q: "What makes this unit better than the 450 watt powerpacks I've seen advertised for much less money?" Thanks Sam

Answer: The versatility of this unique and the fact that it is made under the respected Duracell brand are two great reasons to begin with. The units we sell are not from the "old" batch that have old batteries and are left over from the former owner of the brand. This is an emergency preparedness product that gives you about all you need to deal with situations at home and on the road. 450 watts is a minimal power pack/inverter unit.

Duracell Powerpack 600HD Product Features Include:

  •  Runs 115-volt AC (3 outlets)
  •  Runs 12-volt DC (1 outlet)
  •  Built-in 600 power watt inverter
  •  Sealed, non-spillable 28 amp-hour AGM battery
  •  AM/FM radio
  •  Digital alarm clock
  •  Jumper cables designed for safe and efficient jump-starting
  •  Built-in light provides illumination in emergency situations at home and on the road
  •  3-digit display allows for easy battery status monitoring
  •  Audible alarm signals overheat and under voltage conditions
  •  Overload and over-temperature protection to ensure longer inverter life
  •  AC charger stored in the unit. Recharge at home or from a vehicle 

With a six month warranty from the manufacturer, you cannot go wrong with this unit for camping, emergencies where you need a nebulizer and the power is out, etc.

Thanks for your question.

Sincerely, Barbara

Using Portable AC Power Supplies (PowerPacks) to Power a TV at Tailgate Parties

by Barbara 19. September 2009 13:27

Question about operating a TV from a portable power pack.

Q: "We want to buy a portable power supply to use when we tail-gate at football games. We like to watch other football games while partying and waiting to enter the stadium. Which unit or units do you recommend? Thanks." Pete

Answer: First, learn the watts you'll need both to turn on your portable TV set and to keep it powered until the game. Next, how many hours do you plan to operate the TV? Do you plan to operate other AC appliances as well? For example, a 400 watt power pack typically is advertised to operate a 5" Color TV (20 Watts) for about 8 Hours.Or is this a 12V TV?

Most customers are purchasing the 600 watt power packs such as the Duracell or the Duracell XPower Powerpack 1500 Watt Inverter. If you camp a lot or lose power often and have lots of sunshine, add the Go-Power 80 Watt Solar Kit with Digital Regulator to keep the unit charged. A digital regulator is necessary or you may overcharge the unit and ruin the battery.

Thank you for your question. Feel free to contact us once you know the wattage requirements of your TV set.

Sincerely, Barbara

Safety Electrical Outlet Covers Needed for 2009 Hospital and Medical Clinic Waiting Rooms for Joint Commission Accreditation for Medicaid and Medicare

by Barbara 4. August 2009 06:34

Question about Standard 3 prong ivory sliding door outlet covers and Decora outlet covers.

Q: "Our hospital and affiliated communicty medical clinics were advised that the Joint Commission now requires electrical safety proofing of all patient waiting rooms in order to get Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement. This includes installing child resistant electrical outlet covers. Do you sell these in various colors and do you accept purchase orders for larger quantities?"

Answer: Currently the more popular sliding door outlet covers are in ivory and white. We do have red available only in the 3 prong standard outlet type. Most hospitals and clinics need the standard sliding door covers. One hospital has ordered both Decora and standard in ivory and white to match the walls more closely. We do accept purchase orders from hospitals for purchases $250 or over. Otherwise, we do accept credit cards and prepayment by check. Depending upon the quantities ordered, shipment time may be up to 15 business days. One of our hospital customers in Utah is ordered per clinic which means smaller quantities shipped per order and less lead time. Another customer recently ordered over 1000 units which should ship within two weeks. More...

Using Power Inverters Connected to a Lead Acid Battery to Run Appliances.

by Barbara 20. June 2009 05:15

Question about the Cobra Cpi 2575 - DC to Ac power inverter - 2.5 kW or the Go Power 2500 watt inverter.

Q: "hi, i am interested on your Cobra Cpi 2575 - DC to Ac power inverter - 2.5 kW Item Code WTCPI2575 or a similar model by Go Power. i was wondering if it can run amicrowave, a tv and two fluorescent bulbs connecting it to a lead acid battery, and for how long it can provide light to my mountain house, since i have no electricity. i would also like you to recommend me if you know a product for my needs, thank u"

Answer: The power inverters we typically sell convert 12V DC to 120VAC. Your email address indicates that you live in the United Kingdom where power is typically 240VAC. The first unit you refer to has this description: This inverter provides household power on the go! It converts battery power to 120 V AC household power, allowing you to power up multiple loads such office equipment and major household appliances from your vehicle. This unit is ideal for microwave ovens, mini fridges, coffeemakers, laptops, TV sets, video games, CD players, DVD players, cellular phone chargers and much more!

What you missed is that you have to have a vehicle with the engine running in order to power the inverter. If you attach the inverter to a charged 12 volt battery, you will quickly drain the battery of its charge. Remember that watts equals volts times amps. I am not an expert on power inverters. What I do know is that most microwave ovens here in the USA are 1000 watts. This power inverter could power most smaller microwaves if it were connected to an operating vehicle but not to a battery.

A gasoline generator would power your appliances. Another option would be solar panels.

Thanks for your question.
Sincerely, Barbara

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