How Do Solar Panels Perform in the Winter

Winter performance of solar panels is the most common question we answer. It’s a misconception that solar panels need sunshine and heat to charge. In fact, solar systems run off daylight not heat. So solar panels perform very well in the winter unless you live at the north pole and see absolutely no daylight. However cities like Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Saskatoon, Grande Prairie, Lloydminister all have the perfect winter climate for Edmonton solar panels.

How cloudy is your climate?

If you live in a cloudy climate you’ll want to make sure your solar panels are high efficiency and are anti-reflective. This way your panels can still charge from daylight, without needing alot of sunshine. However because daylight hours are reduced in winter, you will be collecting less energy. Thankfully Alberta and Saskatchewan have big wide open skies, dry air with plenty of sunshine and daylight in the winter.

How do solar panels deal with snow?

A high quality solar panel, shouldn’t have an issue with being covered by snow. Panels that are installed properly in at an appropriate angle and location will enable the snow to slide off the anti stick surface quite easily. In rare circumstances, a very large amount of wet sticky snow in a short amount of time will result in snow staying on the surface of your solar panels. In this case hire a professional to remove the snow, with good instructions on where the panels are. Proper care and attention should be used when removing snow from solar panels.

How do temperature shifts affect solar panels?

Temperature shifts can affect solar panels quite adversely, but only if they are low quality solar panels. Big differences in temperature cause solar panels to expand and contract. Lower quality solar panels will crack due to moisture seeping into the expansion and contraction lines and allowing for corrosion. It is important if you live in a climate that experiences drastic temperature changes to have a high quality product. Preferably with no metal on the front and copper, plated with tin, all along the back.

Solarcor Products and Warranty

At Solarcor Energy all our products are high quality. You never have to worry about our products failing because we offer a warranty on both installation and the products. More importantly though your solar system will be custom designed to match your location and energy consumption needs, so problems are unlikely to occur in the first place, saving you the hassle of dealing with warranty issues and reinstallation.

Choosing A paint Finish

The walls and woodwork can experience some wear and tear over time and especially if you have children or pets. When you go to touch up the paint you discover the paint colour looks completely different. You may be surprised to know it’s not the colour but the paint finish that’s causing this effect. Paint colours in different finishes change the sheen that is mixed into the paint. When choosing a paint finish it’s important to consider the area or room you are painting. Here are some tips from Victoria BC Painters Paint Works.

We can spend a lot of time pondering the colour we think will look good and compliment our furniture or drapes. Next you need to choose the finish that will work whether it’s durability or you need to hide some minor flaws.

Paint finishes come in four general categories depending offering a different level of reflectivity and durability.

Flat Finish

Paint with a flat finish gives the wall a well saturated, rich colour. Ideal for covering imperfections in joints for example it is the most forgiving finish. It lacks any type of sheen and the major drawback is it’s lack of durability that requires care when cleaning.

Best places to use flat paint are ceilings, low traffic areas and rooms that don’t require extensive cleaning

Washable Flat

Washable flat paints only come in Premium flat colours it’s washable and allows for easy touch ups. So it’s washability in addition to the other great attributes of a flat finish like good color saturation and hiding imperfections make it a good choice.

Best places to use would be general living spaces.

Eggshell/ Satin/ Low luster finish

Eggshell is the most popular finish for any areas that may need frequent cleaning. It provides a subtle sheen with great coloring that can hide minor imperfections as well. Light reflective it has a low angular sheen yet lacks the chalky appearance of flat paint or the sheen of a semi gloss finish. Offering the truest color match it will be the most like the swatch color when you paint your walls. Possibly it’s best feature is its strength allows it to dry just a bit harder than other finishes and it’s highly resistant to moisture.

Best places to use  are living areas, kitchens, any high traffic areas

Semi Gloss finish

Provides a high sheen is light reflective while giving off a beautiful glow this is the most durable of all the finishes and very easy to clean.

Best places to use are on wood trim, kitchen cabinets and doors.

Thanks to Paint Works for their tips on choosing a paint finish.

Why should you wear safety glasses during summer yard work?

Summer means undertaking lots of enjoyable outdoor activities; it also means a time for various eye injuries. Summer is the perfect time for people to accomplish home improvement works, yard work, gardening, etc., but this makes potential eye injuries just around the corner and more probable.

So before you indulge in summer fun, it is crucial to take safety measure to ensure that your eyes are protected. Here are some tips from Calgary Optometrists Dr. Alex Wilson & Associates.

A lot of eye injuries occur inside and around the house, in the kitchen, garden, garage or lawn. Regrettably, these injuries are avoidable with proper safety knowledge.

For instance, line trimmers that spin at 6,000 and 14,000 rpm can throw pieces of debris, rocks, and nylons. What’s worse is that glasses or reasonable distances away from the line trimmer can’t offer maximum protection.

An eye injury is a terrible experience, but it can be prevented or minimized beforehand. Here are some experiences for you to ponder:

  • A woman who was 15 feet away from a line trimmer and was wearing normal prescription glasses but lost her eye as a piece from the line trimmer broke.
  • A veteran landscaper’s sunglasses were knocked off by a piece of rock tossed by a line trimmer and resulted with his eyes bleeding. Fortunately, his vision returned but after a long period.
  • A kid lost his vision when he was 30 feet away from a lawnmower that tossed a tiny metal.

To stay safe from eye injuries, observe these guidelines:

  • In using powered lawn care equipment like a saw, hammer, or grinder, make sure to wear polycarbonate safety goggles that have side guards or wraparounds to stop debris entering through the framers. Normal glasses provide minimal protection against debris. Ideally, every home must have a minimal of 1 pair of ANSI-approved protective eyewear that is worn while doing any activities or projects. ANSI-approved protective eyewear is safety equipment approved by American National Standards Institute (ANSI) eye protection standard. ANSI-approved protective eyewear is available in many hardware stores. For people who require glasses correction, they can go to the optical department, which can put prescription put into safety glasses to provide vision while using power tools.
  • Bystander, particularly kids are sometimes the victims of injuries in the eyes due to power equipment. Ensure that bystanders are away at a safe distance when using power equipment.
  • Before using power tools, make sure to check lawns and gardens for debris materials.

Thanks to Dr. Alex Wilson & Associates for these tips on keeping your eyes safe when you are doing summer yard work.

How surge protectors work?

Surge protectors or surge protective devices are designed to control transient overvoltages and divert surge current or both. They come highly recommended from electricians in Victoria BC. It has a minimal one nonlinear part. In short, SPDs or surge protective devices intend to control overvoltages with an aim of avoiding damage and downtime to equipment and because of transient voltage surges getting to the devices they protect.

So you can understand better, here’s an example: think of a water mill that’s being protected by a pressure relief valve. The valve doesn’t do anything until there’s an overpressure pulse happening from the water supply. If that happens, the valve will open and pushes the extra pressure away so it will not get in the water wheel.

If there’s no relief valve, then extreme pressure could destroy the water wheel or maybe the linkage for the saw. Even if the relief valve was there and functioning properly, traces of the pressure pulse will still go to the wheel. However, pressure may have been lowered not to destroy the water wheel or upset its functioning. This shows how surge protective devices work. They lower transients to intensities that will not destroy or upset the work of sensitive electronic devices.

How does it function?

The electrical appliances you’re using get power from wall sockets. The power coming from the socket goes directly to the appliance through the cable. In surge protective devices, the main power line has another connection connected to it that goes into the ground wire also called the Earth wire, which is a wire that sends any unwanted electrical current to the earth. Usually, the surge connection is not active. But, if there is the presence of a large than the normal voltage that created excessive current, the excess electric current is sent safely to the ground. This means that there’s no excess current flowing in your appliance, so it is safe from danger.

How can the surge connection identify if it’s time to divert excess current? Through a device known as a varistor or voltage-dependent resistor, created from a material known as a metal-oxide semiconductor, which is normally a bad electricity conductor. If there’s excess voltage, the varistor becomes a good conductor and begins carrying electric current normally. As long the surge voltage continues, the semiconductor sends excess current into the ground. After everything goes back to normal, the semiconductor switches back.

This means that your appliance isn’t only protected, but it will go on to work normally.

Thanks to Jaycox Industries for explaining how surge protectors work.

Which pool cover is best for you?


A swimming pool cover is an important piece of device if you have a pool. This is used to cover your pool during the winter or if your pool is left unattended for a number of days. Pool covers help protect your pool from rubbles such as dirt and leaves, and they act as protection if you have kids and pets. Covers can also minimize the need for pool chemicals since your water is not exposed to the sun.

With so many options, how do you choose?

There are various types of swimming pool covers, and each of them has their unique assets. Important this is to know each type so can decide on what to buy. Listed below are few types of pool covers to help you pick what’s right for you.

Automatic Pool Covers

Automatic pool covers can help with safety concerns and are very easy to use. Basin on its name, automatic pool covers will automatically open or close at a single press of a button. They are very easy to operate and are more secure compared to other types of pool covers.

Unfortunately, this type of cover is quite expensive, but the benefits are greater than the price. A lot of pool owners say that the extra amount is worth it, and also, it is so cool to just simply push a button, and it will open and close on command.

Automatic pool covers can only be installed by professionals. If properly installed; it’s hard for anyone to fall into the pool.

Tarp Pool Cover

Among the various types, this is the least expensive. A basic tarp is used to cover your pool and help in place using water tubes. They can help in blocking out the sun, which lessens the chance of algae growth (particularly if used with UV system). Though this cover is not that expensive and can help block the sun, chances of water from rain and snow building up is very high.

Thermal Pool Covers

Thermal pool covers can be considered as among the best type of pool covers. They can block sunlight, making sure algae growth is lessened. They can also retain heat much better compared to solar covers. Thermal covers are made from insulating foam material, and although they are more expensive compared to other types, they can insulate better compared to solar covers.

Safety Pool Covers

These are made by either solid or mesh and are placed over your pool. They are held by attached springs and hooked in an anchor. Mesh safety pool covers is more common because the solid kind permits more build up same to the tarp cover. Though these covers are not made to be walked on, they can take on a certain amount of load, which makes them ideal if you have a concern about safety.


Upgrading Your Electrical System to Become More Eco Friendly

Taking easy simple steps to reducing energy consumption in our everyday lives can have an enormous positive impact of the environment. These small changes from Jaycox Industries aren’t just healthy for the planet, they will also help you save money.

Change light bulbs

Did you know the typical 60 watt light bulb lasts 1500hrs while CFL (compact fluorescents) last 10,000hrs? The regular incandescent 60 watt light bulb wastes a lot of energy on producing heat, while the CFL doesn’t- resulting in an energy savings of 75% and a reduction in fire hazards. And because they last so much longer using CFL lightbulbs reduces waste in the landfill and saves the earth 9 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions. Also coming on the market are LED bulbs, though currently they are more expensive, they stand to reduce energy consumption even further than the CFL bulbs.

Replace appliances with energy efficient models

Laundry appliances, dishwasher, fridge, freezer and oven/stoves are major draws on power. Starting with your fridge and freezer is going to have the biggest impact on savings due to these appliances running all day every day. Next target your dryer and consider a natural gas dryer to reduce consumption even more. Or consider hanging your clothes to dry. This can be a little tough in our moist chilly winter here in Victoria! But definitely a realistic option for the beautiful summer, spring and fall months.

Install programmable thermostats

Heating or cooling your home when you aren’t there is a serious waste in energy and programmable thermostats prevent this waste. In Victoria there are rebate incentives to having programmable thermostats installed and sometimes you can even have the entire cost covered. Making sure you aren’t wasting climate control energy on heat or air conditioning for hundreds of hours a month when you aren’t home will result in a big reduction in energy consumption and save thousands of dollars over the years.

Helping the planet and saving you money is really about making small changes. CFL or LED light bulbs, modern energy efficient appliances and programmable thermostats are all great places to start. They items keep you comfortable yet are part of everyday green living.
If you would like to cut down on your hydro bills and want to help the environment at the same time, please contact our Victoria electricians and find out how they help.