POWER OUTAGES

I believe all of us have had frequent episodes of power outages at moments when you least expected or were glued to your T.V watching your favorite program or movie, in fact as I write this article I have to keep saving just to avoid what would happen in the event of a power outage. Power outages are basically short term or long term losses of electric power in a given area.

The interesting question would be what causes power outages? They are caused by some of the following factors or even a combination of them,

  • Overloading of the electricity mains.
  • Damages on the electric distribution network.
  • Faults at the point of power generation.

Power outages are of various kinds;

1. Brown out: This is caused by a drop in voltage of the power supply and it is what usually occurs when you see the lights dimming.

2. Black out: This is the most severe form of power outage and results in total loss of power. it may take place for a few hours to days or even weeks depending on the magnitude of the cause and the commitment of the generating or Distribution Company involved.

3. Transient fault: This is a momentary electric fault which results in loss of electric power supply but power is restored as soon as the fault is sorted.

Now as a business person who wants to avoid interruptions of business services due to power failure or just as an individual tired of frequent power interruptions, how can you cushion yourself? Imagine sitting in the darkness with your family over dinner or even dipping profits in business! Not acceptable.

One of the ways I recommend is having a power backup system which are specifically designed for small domestic and commercial applications and provide standby power in the event of mains power supply failure. They have many advantages including:-

· Instantaneous and automatic changeover when the mains power fails which is especially beneficial when used with electronic equipment such as computers and TV’s.

· Totally silent and non polluting operation which particularly suits enclosed space applications.

· Very low running costs – just the power to charge a battery.

An example of a dayliff power back up system.

GENERATORS AND NOISE

From time to time as people consider buying generators they want to know how loud it can be depending on the intended use since for domestic applications you would want something relatively silent. Generator noise is usually given as decibels just like any other sound producing apparatus. The decibel which is normally abbreviated dBA is the unit used to measure the intensity of a sound. Our human ears are amazingly sensitive; a person’s ears can distinguish between wide ranging sounds such brushing their fingers on a notepad to the loudest explosion or Jet aircraft.

When looking at generators and their noise levels, they are normally considered and measured within the industry at a given distance, some will be given at about 1m or mostly 7m but it will be indicated on the generator the decibel level on the generator and at what distance. Below is a chart to give you an idea about decibel intensities taken from Encarta 2005;

0 – Threshold of hearing

10 – Rustle of leaves, a quiet whisper

20 – Average whisper

20-50 – Quiet conversation

40-45 – Hotel, theater between performances

50-65 – Loud conversation

65-70 – Traffic on a busy street

65-90 – Train

75-80 – Factory noise (light/medium work)

90 – Heavy traffic

90-100 – Thunder

110-140 – Jet aircraft at takeoff

130 – Threshold of pain

140-190 – Space rocket on takeoff

Generally a generator that one person considers quiet another person can deem noisy. If you are looking for a generator and are considering the noise levels it always good you have it tested so that you gauge for yourself but then again on the other hand it is not possible to find one that is completely silent.

LIGHTING FOR SWIMMING POOLS

Just as a follow up to what we have been discussing lately about swimming pools we thought it necessary to digress a little bit from siting to lighting of pools since there has been so many inquiries about it lately, with so many desiring to know how they can go about it and enhance the pools they already have.

In addition to the primary function of bathing, a pool is also a feature which can be considerably enhanced at night by the use of underwater lighting. Specially designed pool lights are available and it is strongly recommended that only approved types are fitted or else electrical shock can result.

Safety Standards specify that all pool lighting should be low voltage (12V) and the supplier will provide a step down transformer for this. Also note that higher electrical current will result from the low voltage and cable size will need to be specified accordingly.

A qualified electrician should be used for advice on the lighting installation. Most lights are provided with a niche that is cast into the pool wall and the lamp unit is then fixed to it, though flat types are available for post construction installation. The separate lamp unit allows for bulb replacement without emptying the pool. Basic light types are the established sealed beam models available in 300W and 125W sizes and the newer LED types, some models offering a color changing feature. LED lights also have the benefit of using much less power absorbing between 25-50W which reduces power consumption and cable size. Lights should be installed about 75cm below the pool water surface and a general rule is to fit one light every 20-25m of pool surface area.

Dayliff LED lights

CONSTRUCTION OF SWIMMING POOLS

Construction of swimming pools has always been a fascinating subject for many being that the luxury and relaxation it offers is the ultimate desire of a varied group of home owners, holiday makers and so many other individuals. This is but a series of many others to come on this subject but specifically for now we deal with identifying a site for the swimming pool.

SITING

The location of a pool is often dictated by the physical conditions on site, though if this is not the case major considerations are:-

· The pool should harmonize as effectively as possible with the rest of the development. This is of great importance as a pool is a feature as well as a utility and effective integration into the development can add considerable aesthetic appeal as well as enhancing a property’s value. Unless there are specific reasons a pool should never be isolated.

· It must have as much direct sunlight on it as possible, especially between 10am and 4pm

· It should not be situated close to trees.

· Another very important consideration of siting is top-level setting. Often this is dictated by the adjacent buildings (e.g. the pool should be at verandah level), though frequently it will be set independently.

· Before final setting it is vital to take levels (as falls over even short distances can be deceptive) and then decide what the optimal level is.

· Important considerations are that the pool should be well founded at all corners and no corner should protrude too much above the prevailing ground level or else the site will be difficult to landscape. As a general rule it is best to keep the highest corner no more than 60cms above ground level.