How to Save Big on Your Electric Bill in 2024​

As we embrace the start of a new year, many homeowners are setting resolutions aimed at improving their lives and homes. One of the most impactful resolutions for 2024 can be reducing your household's energy consumption. Not only does this benefit the environment, but it can also lead to significant savings on your electric bill. Here are some smart energy-saving tips, the benefits of energy-efficient appliances, and how home energy audits can pave the way to a more efficient and cost-effective year.

Generac Generators: Your Solution to Chicago's Winter Blackouts​

As the chill of winter descends upon the Windy City, the reliability of power becomes more than a convenience—it's a necessity. In Chicago, where winter blackouts are as much a part of the season as snowflakes, a Generac generator offers peace of mind and assurance of continuous comfort. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into why a Generac standby generator is an essential addition to every Chicagoland home. ​Understanding Chicago's Winter Power Challenges: Understanding the challenge of winter power outages in Chicago requires a look back through the frosty lens of history. The city, renowned for its robust winds and blistering cold snaps, is no stranger to the havoc wrought by winter blackouts. Historical data reveals a pattern of power disruptions caused by ice-laden power lines and overburdened electrical grids struggling against the increased demand for heating. The impact on homes and personal safety during these times is significant; families are left without heat, risking hypothermia, the elderly and the vulnerable become isolated, and the simple act of staying warm becomes a dangerous battle. Moreover, the cost of being unprepared for such eventualities is steep. Without a reliable backup power system, homeowners face the risk of frozen and burst pipes, irreparable damage to home interiors, and the potential loss of perishable goods. In total, unpreparedness can translate into thousands of dollars in repairs and replacements, not to mention the emotional toll of recovering from winter storm damage. This historical context sets the stage for the importance of a reliable Generac generator, which acts as a bulwark against the unpredictability of Chicago's winters. The Generac Advantage: The Generac Advantage shines particularly bright in the face of Chicago's notorious winters. Known for their reliability, Generac generators have cemented a sterling reputation in the market, recognized by both industry experts and homeowners alike. Their generators are engineered with robust features tailored to withstand the city's severe weather; from freezing temperatures to heavy snowfall, Generac units operate efficiently, thanks to their cold weather kits and ability to start in extreme conditions. Chicagoland homeowners have often shared real-life testimonials about how these generators have been their lifeline during the most brutal winter blackouts. One homeowner in the suburbs recounts a harrowing winter night when the power grid succumbed to a snowstorm, plunging the neighborhood into darkness. Their Generac generator kicked in seamlessly, restoring heat and light, and ensuring the safety and comfort of their family while others waited out the storm in uncertainty. Such stories are a testament to the peace of mind and protection that a Generac generator provides to residents in this region. Choosing the Right Generac Model: Choosing the right Generac model for your home in Chicago begins with a thorough assessment of your power needs, a crucial step that ensures seamless functionality during outages. It's essential to calculate the total wattage required to run your home's critical systems and appliances to determine the appropriate generator size. Generac offers a diverse range of models, each with varying capacities to cater to the small, energy-efficient urban dwelling or the large, power-intensive suburban home. Models range from the compact yet powerful Synergy series, ideal for tighter spaces, to the robust Guardian series, which can power an entire household without a hitch. Beyond selecting the right model, the importance of professional installation and regular maintenance cannot be overstated. Proper installation by a certified electrician ensures that your generator complies with local codes and operates safely, while regular maintenance is the linchpin of reliability, ensuring that your Generac generator remains in peak condition, ready to serve when Chicago's winter weather strikes. Installation Process: The installation process of a Generac generator is a meticulous procedure that demands expertise and precision. It begins with selecting a suitable location that complies with local codes and provides adequate space for operation and maintenance. Next, a concrete pad is poured as a stable base for the generator. The electrical connections are then made, linking the generator to the home's power system via a transfer switch, which is critical for safe operation. This switch ensures that when the power goes out, the generator automatically kicks in, and once power is restored, it seamlessly transitions back. Additionally, natural gas or propane lines are installed or connected to fuel the generator. Throughout this process, Oakwood Electric & Generator stands as a guiding partner, providing professional advice, ensuring all safety protocols are followed, and handling all aspects of the installation with precision. Homeowners are advised to prepare for the installation by clearing the area, ensuring easy access for technicians, and securing any necessary permits, which Oakwood can assist with to ensure a smooth and efficient installation experience. Economic Benefits: The economic benefits of investing in a Generac generator can be significant when considering the potential losses during power outages, especially in regions like Chicago that are prone to winter blackouts. A cost analysis reveals that while the upfront cost of purchasing and installing a generator may be substantial, the protection it affords against the expenses incurred from a blackout – such as spoiled food, frozen pipes, and temporary lodging – is considerable. Moreover, Generac generators are designed for efficient operation, which can lead to long-term savings on utility bills. Their use during peak demand times can help in managing energy costs through load-shedding features. Additionally, the installation of a permanent Generac generator can enhance the marketability and value of a home. Prospective buyers often view a built-in generator as a value-added feature, reflecting a well-maintained and forward-thinking property investment, which can translate to a higher resale value. This increase in property value, coupled with the immediate practical benefits and potential savings, underscores the economic prudence of installing a Generac generator in your Chicago home. Safety and Maintenance: Adhering to safety and maintenance best practices is paramount when operating a Generac generator to ensure reliable service and longevity of the unit. Regular maintenance, including checking oil levels, replacing air and fuel filters, and inspecting battery health, is crucial and often best scheduled before the winter season hits. It's also advised to run the generator periodically to ensure it's functioning correctly and to keep the engine parts lubricated. For safety, always operate the generator outdoors and away from windows to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, and never plug a portable generator directly into a wall outlet, a dangerous practice known as backfeeding. Establish an emergency protocol that includes knowing how to safely shut off the generator in case of malfunctions or when maintenance is required. Oakwood Electric & Generator can provide a comprehensive maintenance schedule, tailored to your specific model, and instruct on emergency safety protocols, ensuring peace of mind that your Generac generator is ready when you need it most Generac's Warranty and Customer Service Generac's commitment to quality and customer satisfaction is underscored by its robust warranty offers, which provide homeowners in the Chicagoland area with a significant level of protection and peace of mind. Generac generators come with a standard warranty that covers parts and labor for a set period, which can be extended with additional coverage options to ensure your investment is protected for years to come. Chicagoland residents have access to exceptional customer service experiences, with local dealers like Oakwood Electric & Generator ready to assist with any queries or concerns. The company's customer support team is known for its responsiveness and expertise, ensuring that any issue is addressed promptly and effectively. This reliable customer service, coupled with the comprehensive warranty, provides homeowners with the assurance that their Generac generator is a dependable safeguard for their home's power needs, especially during the unpredictable Chicago winters. Environmental Considerations: Generac generators are designed with environmental considerations in mind, integrating eco-friendly features that reflect a commitment to sustainability. Many models are equipped with engines that meet stringent emissions regulations, ensuring cleaner operation and reduced environmental impact. Additionally, the option for bi-fuel generators allows for the flexibility of using both natural gas and propane, which burn cleaner than gasoline or diesel, contributing to lower emissions. As a responsible homeowner, maintaining your generator involves using it efficiently—running it only when necessary and following the manufacturer's guidelines for eco-mode operation, if available. Regular maintenance also plays a role in environmental stewardship, as well-kept generators operate more efficiently and with fewer emissions. By choosing Generac and engaging in responsible use and maintenance, homeowners can enjoy the benefits of backup power while minimizing their ecological footprint. Testimonials and Case Studies: The true measure of Generac generators' impact on the Chicagoland area shines through in the voices of local homeowners who've seen firsthand how these systems transform their winter experiences. Interviews with residents reveal heartfelt stories of uninterrupted warmth and normalcy during the most blistering of snowstorms, thanks to Generac's reliable power. Families recount holidays preserved, medical equipment running without fail, and home businesses operating smoothly amidst city-wide outages. The anecdotes range from comforting to life-saving, painting a vivid picture of Generac as not just a product, but a pivotal component of winter life in Chicago. These testimonials and case studies not only demonstrate the practical benefits of having a Generac generator but also highlight the emotional peace of mind that comes with knowing one's home will remain a safe, warm haven, no matter the ferocity of winter's chill. Conclusion In the heart of a Chicagoland winter, a Generac generator isn't just a piece of machinery; it's a sentinel standing guard against the unpredictability of the season. It assures that warmth, safety, and light remain uninterrupted, no matter what the weather outside may bring. For homeowners in Chicago, investing in a Generac generator means investing in the reliability and security of your home and family. Contact Oakwood Electric & Generator today to find out how we can help you stay powered through winter and beyond.

Preparing Your Home Electrical System for Fall and Winter​

As the vibrant colors of summer fade into the warm hues of autumn, it's a sign that fall and winter are on their way to Westmont, Illinois. While many homeowners are busy raking leaves and prepping their homes for the colder months, it's essential not to overlook the electrical systems that power our homes. In this blog post, we'll explore the importance of preparing your home's electrical system for fall and winter and provide you with some valuable tips to ensure a safe and comfortable season. The Value of a Fall Electrical CheckupBefore you cozy up by the fireplace or string holiday lights, it's crucial to make sure your electrical system is up to the task. Here's why a fall electrical checkup is a smart move: Safety: Electrical hazards can become more pronounced during the colder months. Faulty wiring, outdated circuits, or damaged outlets can lead to electrical fires or accidents. A thorough checkup can identify and address potential risks. Energy Efficiency: A well-maintained electrical system operates more efficiently. This means you'll save on energy bills as your home's heating and lighting systems work optimally. Reliability: Fall and winter often bring severe weather, including storms and power outages. Ensuring your electrical system is in top shape can reduce the risk of unexpected breakdowns when you need power the most.Tips for Preparing Your Electrical SystemHere are some practical steps to prepare your home's electrical system for the colder months:  Schedule an Electrical Inspection: Consider hiring a professional electrician to conduct a thorough inspection of your electrical system. They can identify issues that might not be apparent to the untrained eye and recommend necessary repairs or upgrades. Inspect Outdoor Outlets and Fixtures: Outdoor outlets and lighting fixtures are exposed to the elements year-round. Check for signs of wear and tear, and make any necessary repairs or replacements. Ensure that outdoor outlets are weatherproofed. Clean Your Furnace and Heating System: Dust and debris can accumulate in your heating system during the summer. Clean or replace filters, and schedule a professional furnace inspection to ensure it's running efficiently and safely. Consider a Generator: Power outages are common during storms. A backup generator can provide peace of mind and keep your essential appliances running during an outage. Make sure it's in good working order. Replace Outdated Wiring: If your home has outdated or damaged wiring, consider rewiring before the winter season. This not only enhances safety but also allows for the use of modern appliances without overloading the system. Check Your Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Fall is an excellent time to test and replace the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Ensure they are in working order to protect your family. Fall is a beautiful season of change, but it also comes with its own set of challenges for homeowners. By taking proactive steps to prepare your home's electrical system, you can enjoy a safe, energy-efficient, and comfortable fall and winter season. Don't hesitate to reach out to Oakwood Electric & Generator for professional electrical inspections, repairs, or upgrades. We're here to help you make your home a haven of warmth and security during the upcoming months.  If you have any questions or need assistance with your electrical system, feel free to contact us. Stay safe and enjoy the season! ​

The Illinois Electric Vehicle Rebate: Get $4,000 Back on Your New Electric Car​

Are you looking to purchase a new electric vehicle in Illinois? If so, you're in luck! Thanks to the Illinois Electric Vehicle Rebate, you can get up to $4,000 back on your purchase. Not only can you take advantage of federal electric vehicle rebates and tax credits, but you can also take advantage of the Illinois tax rebate. If you purchase an all-electric car from an Illinois-licensed dealer, you can apply for the rebate during an open rebate cycle within 90 days of purchase. Get the details and access the application on the Illinois EPA website. ​What is the Illinois Tax Electric Vehicle Rebate? The Illinois Tax Electric Vehicle Rebate is a program created to help residents of Illinois purchase new or used all-electric vehicles. This rebate provides up to $4,000 for the purchase of an all-electric vehicle that is not an electric motorcycle, and $1,500 for the purchase of an all-electric motorcycle. To be eligible for the rebate, purchasers must apply for the rebate during an open rebate cycle and within 90 days of vehicle purchase. Applications are available on the Illinois EPA website.  What do I need to do to apply for the rebate?  Illinois residents who purchase an all-electric car from an Illinois licensed dealer can take advantage of the $4000 Illinois Electric Vehicle Rebate. To apply for the rebate, applicants must submit a completed application form within 90 days of vehicle purchase. Along with the application form, applicants must submit FOUR types of documentation as listed in Section 4 on the second page of the form: a copy of the bill of sale, purchase invoice, or purchase agreement from an Illinois dealership; documentation of proof of purchase such as a copy of a canceled check, invoice or bill showing that the applicable amount has been paid or that no remaining balance exists, or loan documents; a copy of the Illinois vehicle registration or temporary permit provided by the dealership at the time of sale/delivery; and an IRS W-9 or W-8 form (substitutions for these forms using other government documents or financial statements are not acceptable). Applicants are asked to only submit the requested forms and documentation and not include other items not needed to process the application such as those related to warranty coverage, insurance, vehicle title, power of attorney, and similar. If all requirements are met, the applicant will receive the Illinois Tax Credit for Electric Vehicle. When can I apply for the rebate?  The Illinois Electric Vehicle rebate is available on a rolling basis, but the application period is currently closed. Rebates from round 2 will be issued to eligible applicants based on funding availability. Low-income applicants are given priority in rebate disbursement. If funds are still available, rebates will be issued based on the date received by the Illinois EPA. Residents who purchase an all-electric car from an Illinois licensed dealer can apply for the Illinois Tax Credit for Electric Vehicles within 90 days of the vehicle purchase. Applications are available on the Illinois EPA website.   

What To Consider When Buying A Home Standby Generator​

It happens every year.  A big storm comes through your town and sure enough, your power goes out. The city's electrical grid has failed once again and you are left without electricity. Whether you own a commercial property or residential property, nobody wants to have their daily life interrupted by an unexpected power outage or insufficient power supply. In some areas, generators are the only viable power source. These homes are considered off the grid and can supply the same amount of power as if you were plugged into the grid.  Your life can come to a standstill if a power outage occurs unexpectedly. Your phones and tablets will all eventually run out of battery, and the refrigerator, air conditioner, water heater, and all other appliances will stop working.  Since we are in the midst of summer, many homeowners are on the lookout for a reliable and affordable power source alternative so they are prepared for emergencies. Next are some key factors to consider while searching for a home standby generator  What Type Of Generator Do I need? There are many factors to think about when choosing a generator but none greater than the type. Some of these influences are the amount of power it generates, the ease of use, and cost. Generators also differ based on the type of fuel they require.  Portable generators are lightweight and easy to transport. Usually, they run off gasoline and produce a minimal amount of power given their extremely compact design. This is the perfect solution if you only need to power a few lights, charge a few devices, or if you need a portable source of power.  Inverter generators produce the cleanest energy of the three and are the quietest. The power is generated from converting AC current into DC current cyclically. The conversion process is what powers your home or business property.   Standby generators run on gasoline or propane. Most are equipped with a sensor that will detect when the power goes out and start supplying your property with power automatically. No need to pull a ripcord, refuel, or even press a button. Finding the Perfect Home Standby Generator Finding the best standby generator is way simpler than you think and it is a great investment.  SafetyFirst of all, a standby home generator is safe. You don’t have to worry about getting gasoline or messing around with power cords. Having a standby generator installed reduces the risk of fire, carbon poisoning, and the chances of an electrical shock. It also ensures that security systems, temperatures, perishables, and medical devices all can be maintained. Peace of MindSecond, it is extremely convenient and gives you the peace of mind knowing that power is automatically restored to your entire house. You can easily continue with your day with no interruptions like nothing ever happened.  Great ValueLastly, A standby generator is an investment that pays for itself every time the power goes out while simultaneously increasing the resale value of your home. It also delivers the cleanest power possible for sensitive electronics found in today's homes. How to choose the best home standby generator Choose a Fuel Source The first thing you are going to need to do is to identify the fuel type that would make the most sense for your property.  Standby generators up to 22kW will usually be either liquid propane or natural gas. If you are looking for a generator that runs on diesel, you will need to upgrade to a liquid-cooled whole-house type that would be costly.  Before the installation of your generator, a contractor will verify this with you, but you can find this information for your reference on the Generac website and our product pages on our website.  How Much Power Do I Need? After you know what fuel source your generator will run on, the next step is to find out how much power you will need during an outage and whether or not you want to only back up crucial appliances such as refrigerators and air conditioners, or power the entire house.  Larger generators are rated by the kilowatt (kW), which measures the generator's electrical power output. The best way to determine how much power your home needs depends on if you want to power your HVAC equipment or your central air conditioner during a power outage.  During the summer a blackout could happen amid a heatwave and could make life miserable and a deep freeze could happen in the middle of winter that could crash your holiday plans and leave your pipes susceptible to bursting.  If you do plan to run your central air conditioning, you will need a generator that can handle it.  So how do you know what size you need? It is not as complicated as you think. Just take a look at the air conditioning unit’s data plate which is located directly on the air conditioning unit itself. This will tell you the size of the generator either in tons or BTUs. Remember that there are 12,000 BTUs for each ton of capacity and 3.517 Kilowatts of energy.   Choosing A Transfer Switch Just like your porch light that needs a switch to turn it on, your generator will need one too.  An automatic transfer switch will allow your generator to automatically turn on the moment a power failure is detected. It does this by constantly monitoring the utility power and after an outage, it starts the engine and disconnects power coming from the line and sends energy to your home through the generator power.  Having the correct switch is just as important as choosing the right generator as they work as a team to restore the power lost. To know which will work best for you, you will need to know the amperage of your electrical service panel. You can see this by locating the main breaker in your electrical panel.  The average-sized house has a 200-amp main breaker, so the maximum amount of electricity your home can consume is 200 amps. Smaller, older homes may have 100 to 150-amp service. It's extremely important to get the same amp switch as your home's panel.   You Control The PowerRecently, several manufacturers are now adding Wi-Fi capabilities to their home standby generators. If you already have a home standby generator that doesn’t have Wi-Fi built-in. You can easily have a wireless monitor installed without having to buy a whole new unit.  You now have everything you need to get started choosing a standby home generator. Don’t wait until the last minute before a storm to install one. It takes time to acquire the necessary zoning permissions, professionally plan and install so depending on it being complete in a few days may not be a reality. Times may be even more backlogged for installers due to the expectations for extreme weather situations.  To make it easy, Oakwood Electric & Generator offers professional home standby generator installation in Westmont, Il, and surrounding Chicago suburbs.  Plan and protect your home against every kind of power outage. You will never have to worry about the power going out again!  Check out our selection of Generac Home Standby Generators. ​


Expert Electrician Tips For Homeowners & Businesses​

Expert Electrician Tips For Homeowners & Businesses​

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