8 Most Common Reasons to Hire an Electrician for Exterior Updates

There are so many different projects we work on for homeowners on a daily basis, but our most common visits for exterior updates are often overlooked. Here are the biggest reasons homeowners call Westphal to take care of their exterior wiring and electrical needs.

Add Outlets
Homes are often built with a limited number of exterior outlets and aren’t usually laid out to meet the homeowners needs. We get invited out to add specific GFCI outlets for exterior use in many places on the perimeter of the home. Sometimes it’s to solve one specific need, and other times people are asking for our advice on placement which can include a discussion about basement or crawlspace access.

Smart Doorbell or Cameras
We are in the age of smart devices – homeowners added more than 5 million smart doorbells in 2021 alone. We install doorbells in many different situations including replacing an existing low voltage doorbell, replacing a battery operated doorbell, or adding a doorbell in a new location.

Update Exterior House Lights or Add New Light
Design trends change and many home exterior lights are getting updated. We help make sure the wiring is run properly and you are able to have the controls you desire for a new exterior light update. Most of the time, we can also add a new or additional switch if you’d like to add one.

Generator Connection
Following the Texas power grid challenges of 2021, we’ve seen an uptick in requests to wire generators to a homes circuit breaker box in order to provide power when electrical service is interrupted. Usually, we are installing the generator and wiring at the same time, so we’re able to make a seamless setup for the homeowner.

Outdoor Landscape Lighting
We don’t provide landscape lighting, but we will get power where it needs to go so when your landscape lighting contractor arrives, they’ll be able to get you up and running without issue. Often homeowners request that we run service to a landscaping island in a yard or an outlet for tree uplighting or downlighting or even in soffits for can lights.

Outdoor Living or Outdoor Kitchen Wiring
One of the more popular projects in home improvement has been outdoor living updates, especially outdoor kitchens. For a complete kitchen, you’ll need exterior rated outlets and plan to get power to your outdoor space. From refrigerators to outlets for small appliances and lighting, our team is experienced and ready to help.

Heat Tape/Ice Melt
In the upper Midwest, our freeze/thaw cycles have continued to challenge home gutter systems. In order to avoid major ice issues, many homeowners request exterior outlets that can carry the necessary power to supply a heat tape system. We’ll often add a new breaker and run a new line to a new outlet to minimize exposure for the system.

Holiday Lighting Connections
Some homeowners have really taken their holiday lighting to the next level in the past few years. We’ve had many calls asking for specific outlet in just the right place so they can up their exterior lighting game.

These are just a few of the many ways we work in residential exteriors. For all your electrical needs, you can count on Westphal & Co. Contact us to receive a free quote for your renovation project and any other electrical system needs you may have.

How to Extend Your Electric Vehicle’s Range in Winter

EV Car in Winter

Electric vehicles are great cars that function all year round. However, if you live in the parts of the country that experience cold winters, you will notice your driving range reduces when the temperature goes south. This loss in the range is significant because it affects how long you can drive before charging the battery.
In this article, we consider six steps you can take to extend your electric vehicle’s range in winter. However, we will first examine why an EV’s range reduces during winter.

Why does an EV’s range reduce during winter?

Most modern EVs use lithium-ion batteries. Inside these batteries, charging and discharging result from the movement of electrons. However, when the weather is cold, the rate of movement of the electrons slows down, causing inefficiencies. This is why your range goes down as the temperate drops. For similar reasons, charging the car takes longer during the cold.

How to extend your electric vehicle’s range in winter

While you can’t do anything about the weather, there are steps you can take to alleviate the effect of the temperature on your battery.

Preconditioning

Heating the car during winter takes a lot of energy. However, you can limit how much of your battery goes to heating by running the heater while still plugging into the charger. Some models allow you to precondition or warm up the battery before driving off, which will net you more driving range.

Park the car in a garage

The temperature in your garage will be slightly warmer than outside which will help your car hold battery charge for longer period and help it charge faster. If your garage is equipped with a heater, you will see a big improvement in battery holds and charging times.

Use localized heating

Instead of heating the whole car, turn on the seat heater if your vehicle has it. Also, warm your hands by heating the steering wheel. This will help you consume less battery and stay warm during your drive.

Adjust your driving habits

Instead of rapid acceleration that drains the battery, drive steadily. Also, use regenerative breaking as much as possible, or switch to low-power Eco mode. Avoid towing cargo behind your EV during winter.

Always carry a charging cable

If you have your charging cable with you, you can take advantage of any charging point you come across as you move about during the day. Some EVs have a frunk (front trunk) convenient for storing a charging cable.

Use winter tires

Winter tires are specially made to have more grip on the road when the temperature is low. Switch to a set of winter tires so that your electric car handles better the slippery conditions and assure the tire pressure is correct for more efficiency.
For all your electrical needs and garage EV charging station installation you can count on Westphal & Co. Contact us to receive a free quote for your project.